Love Finds Its Return To Stage
It’s Lights! Camera! Action! as the upstagers take center stage for Opening Night of The Fantasticks in Leadville Today. Locals and visitors can find their favorite thespians waiting in the wings for their cue as the Lake County Civic Center Association (LCCCA ) in collaboration with the opera house presents the romantic musical The Fantasticks. Tonight, Friday, July 12 kicks off four nights of shows with a curtain time of 7:30 p.m. Additional performances will be held tomorrow, July 13, as well as next weekend, Friday & Saturday, July 19 and 20.
The Fantasticks tells the allegorical story, about a boy, a girl, and their two fathers who try to keep them apart. The narrator, El Gallo, asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The boy and the girl fall in love, grow apart and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo’s words that, “without a hurt, the heart is hollow.
But for most, when it comes to community theater it’s more about the players than the play. And Leadvillites will not be disappointed as they take in the latest performances from such talented thespians as Jude Hill, Brennan Ruegg, Edgar Tarango, Luke Finken and other colorful characters from the local stage scene. Additional notables from the playbill include Pianist Donna Schaefer and the man who (along with a great swell of community support) has returned community theater to the Cloud City, Director Scott Carroll.
“The Fantasticks speaks to me because we get to collaborate as an ensemble. It takes a team of people both onstage and off to make a theatrical endeavor possible,” LCCCA Artistic and Stage Director Scott Carroll said. And in recent years, Carroll has been able to develop an ensemble that not only resonates on the opera house stage but at the Lake County High School Performing Arts Department as well.
Since his arrival as Artistic Director for the Lake County School District six years ago, Carroll has elevated expectations, both for actors and audiences, consistently delivering an end production that keeps people coming back for more. From his initial big splash with Disney’s “The Beauty and the Beast,” to sold-out performances of “Little Shop of Horrors,” Carroll’s solid experience and talents have Cloud City creative types sharpening their theater tools on and off the stage.
“I describe directing as a sandbox. We have boundaries, supported by a vision, and within that sandbox we get to explore and create a piece of theatre that is unique to our circumstances. Within an evening we get to make people laugh, think, and cry,” Carroll said. “It’s truly a gift that we get to share this gem with our community.”
Come and unwrap your gift tonight; you won’t be disappointed.
The Fantasticks is directed by Scott Carroll and produced by Carl Schaefer. Musical direction is by Gustavo Castro. Performance dates are July 12, 13, 19, and 20. All performances will be held at the Tabor Opera House beginning at 7:30 p.m each night. Tickets for the entire run are available for $25 at the opera house box office.
Leadville’s Curtain Call: Break A Leg!
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
“There is an entrance to a building on Harrison Avenue that has an upside-down horseshoe over its doorway. Where is it and why is it upside down?”
That was exactly how Leadville’s Howard Tritz presented the riddle to me many years ago. And since every good journalist likes a challenge, it was game-on to solve the mystery. But what building was it? After all, Leadville has more than its share of doorways that have a horseshoe above the entry way. But upside-down?! That was bad luck! Who would do such a thing?
First a bit of background for readers who may be unfamiliar with this western tradition. A horseshoe is displayed over a doorway, with points up, for good luck. The belief is that the shoe actually “holds” in the luck. People think that if the shoe is hung with the heels pointing down, bad luck may be drawn upwards, and all the good luck will fall out through the two prongs.
So what’s the reasoning behind this practical tool used to protect a horse’s sensitive hoof, determining one’s fate: lucky or not?
Well, horseshoes were made by blacksmiths, who were thought to have special powers, generally because they dealt with fire and iron, a metal strong enough to withstand the effects of fire. It was believed that a blacksmith could heal the sick and that couples married by a blacksmith would experience years of wedded bliss.
Another aspect of the horseshoe that added to its good luck reputation is the fact that it is commonly held in place by seven iron nails. A basic Biblical principle, the number seven is considered to be very important. A rainbow has seven colors; there are seven deadly sins (and virtues); there are seven days in a week; the moon changes from one phase to another every seven days; the list seems endless. Therefore the horseshoe’s seven assembly points enriched its magical properties.
And of course, in a town like Leadville, where one’s financial stability depended greatly on the minerals discovered in the ground, horseshoes are a common sight over doorways, placed in the hopes of increasing a miner’s odds of striking it rich. But why would anyone hang one upside down?
The answer would come – as these things often do – in a conversation over a cold beer. I was talking to Spook, a Leadville native and frequent visitor to the Silver Dollar Saloon when he shared the following story.
“I was coming down into town this afternoon, walking down St. Louis Avenue,” he started off. A point of reference: St. Louis Avenue is more like a “half” street that starts at Poplar Street (east of the Tabor Opera House) and runs west, ending at Harrison Avenue. It’s a very short Leadville street that not many people know of.
Now, back to Spook’s story: “I was headed to the Silver Dollar to get a cold beer – I was parched! Walking down St. Louis Avenue, I saw a group of people gathered outside one of the old stage doors to the opera house, on the alley side. So I stopped to see what they were looking at.”
This group of tourists was disturbed that there was a horseshoe hanging above one of the side doors, in the wrong direction – points down. They had stopped Spook to see if he knew why this lucky charm was affixed in the wrong manner. To which my-friend-in-need-of-a-cold-beer and wanting to remedy the problem as quickly as possible, explained:
“Well, you see folks, that doorway was used by many famous entertainers who performed at the Tabor Opera House. And you know how superstitious those actors are. You never say ‘good luck’ to an actor. So you see, that horseshoe is pointed in the right direction. It says: Break a leg!”
Horseshoe – or not – all the best on Opening Night to the crew of The Fantasticks!