~ by Bob Valade ~
The 70-year tradition of melodrama in Cripple Creek continues as the Butte Theater presents their annual Christmas show with a new twist.
Mountain Rep Theatre has ended their inaugural season at the Butte in grand fashion with Molly Wissinger’s fast paced Mountain Holiday. Wissinger weaves a heartwarming holiday tale around the true Cripple Creek story of Manassa, Colorado born, and William Harrison Dempsey’s first fight as the legendary Jack Dempsey.
Set in 1914 Cripple Creek the crowd immediately warms to the Dempsey brothers, Jack (Cameron Varner) and Bernie (Josh Green). From the opening scene the onstage chemistry between Varner and Green is obvious and has the audience squarely in their corner against the villainous Dabman (Levi Penley).
Penley does not disappointment and plays to the audience’s hisses and boos with great comedic timing and expression. The Christmas mood is set throughout the play with the townsfolk delivering beautiful versions of Christmas classics which had the full house singing along.
Act II sees the emergence of Widow Foster, wonderfully played by Courtney Loggins, who ends up getting the biggest laughs of the night. The strong screenplay by Wissinger pays tribute to a great piece of Cripple Creek history while adding all the heartwarming schmaltz of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
The Olio was the perfect topping for this great Christmas treat. The chemistry and creativity that lifted the play was overflowing in the Olio. In particular Levi Penley, Brittany Amber and Malerie Jo all stood out showing off their vocal and comic chops.
A trip to the Butte Theater and Cripple Creek this holiday season to see Mountain Holiday is a perfect Christmas event that will leave the entire family singing and laughing. Christmas joy filled faces of young and old as they exited the historic Butte on a cold Saturday evening in Cripple Creek during one of the initial showing of the Mountain Holiday.
Mountain Holiday runs through Dec. 24, with show times scheduled from Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m; Saturday and Sunday for 1 p.m. matinees and special shows for Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Butte Theater is located at 139 E. Bennett Avenue, next to the fire station. For more information and for reservations, call 719-689-6402, or visit buttetheater.com.