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Cabaret: A Brief History

With Summer in full swing, the Lake Dillon Theatre Company is gearing up for one of it’s most popular events of the year, Summer Sunday Cabarets! This year the LDTC will feature four Summer Sunday Cabarets with a variety of themes including, ‘My first job,’ ‘The Ensemble,’ ‘Beatlemania!,’ and the ever popular ‘Jukebox Musicals.’ With a summer full of excitement and the music of Mamma Mia! these four musical events are the cherry on top of the LDTC’s 25th Anniversary Season.

But where did cabaret originate? And why do we enjoy these intimate story-telling concerts? Here is a brief history.

Cabaret’s origin has been traced to Europe in the late 19th Century. While this kind of entertainment was seen across Europe during this time the first cabaret has been credited to France and took place in November 1881 in Paris. Rodolphe Salis created what was initially called Le Cabaret Artistique which began a culture in which musicians, dancers, poets, and even writers would gather to discuss their ideas and works over drinks and food.

We now know cabaret as a frivols art form in which artists gather to perform for an audience while they dine or drink. When you attend a cabaret at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company you will be greeted with so much more than just a show. Each performer brings their own unique story to the stage. Many times, these meaningful stories engage audiences in ways that a regular theatre performance cannot.

So what are you waiting for? Come to the Cabaret and listen to the music and the story!

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‘Cool Kid’ Chronicles

Polkadots: The Cool Kid Musical talks all about what it means to be a ‘Cool Kid’. People often ask, “What is a Cool Kid?” Well, if you are reading this, then you are already a pretty cool kid! Cool Kids encompass the best of our amazing country: a belief that we are all created equal. Cool Kids come in every shape, size, color, age, orientation, and religion.

Lily Polkadot and Sky Square in ‘Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’

Cool kids surround us everyday! In fact, even YOU are a cool kid! We thought it would be interesting to ask some of the actors here at  Lake Dillon Theatre Company what being a ‘Cool Kid’ means to them!

First, we asked actor Corey Barrow who plays Henry Square in Polkadots. Corey said, “Being a cool kid means owning who you are no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you talk, just know that you are you, and you are magnificent!”

Next, we asked actress Sofie Flores who plays Gabby Square and Mamma Square in Polkadots.

Sofie said she thinks “A cool kid is someone that embraces who they are and treats others with the same respect that they want to be treated with!”

Lily Polkadot and Sky Square in ‘Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’

It is important to be the coolest kid you can be! This means accepting yourself as uniquely you and accepting others as uniquely them. You will never meet the same person twice; we are all different in our own special, and amazing ways! Learning to accept the people around you for who they are is a key component in being as cool as possible. Accepting individuality does not have to mean agreeing or disagreeing. Instead, embrace one another and recognize the amazing contributions that each and every one of us gives to the world around us. Accepting yourself and others is a great way to make a difference in the world so come as you are ‘Cool Kids’! Let’s unite and stay cool!


Come watch Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical at The Lake Dillon Theatre Company July 6, 12, 13, 20, 26; August 2, 3, & 9 At 10:00 AM. Tickets available for purchase at the box office the day of the performance.

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Instagram Takeover: Tony Melson

Want to see opening week from the perspective of an actor? Tony Melson a member of the Ensemble of Mamma Mia! gives you an exclusive view of what tech week entails for an actor at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company during his Instagram takeover!


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It’s the Musical Event of the year!! #LDTC #lakedillontheatrecompany #mammamia

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A tour of the tech spaces! We open tonight! MAMMA MIA! #ldtc #lakedillontheatrecompany #mammamia #tonymelson #itstonytime

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Opening Night Party was a Smash!!! #LDTC #mammamia #lakedillontheatrecompany #tonymelson

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Mamma Mia! runs now – Aug 11! Purchase tickets today!

Actor Spotlight: Gina Ward

The LDTC is getting excited for the heart warming production Mamma Mia!. We are thrilled to bring Gina Ward to Colorado’s beautiful mountains for the first time this summer. Gina will be playing Sophie in the LDTC’s production Mamma Mia!.

Here are a few things about what she is looking forward to, what has challenged her thus far, and a little about her character!


How has your transition been coming from New York to Silverthorne?

I didn’t realize how serious the altitude was. Everything was easy, however when we arrived we immediately went grocery shopping and that’s when it hit me. I honestly thought I dodged the infamous altitude! But no, I was so confused because I got insanely exhausted and it was hard to keep my eyes open and my lips were beyond dry. I soon found out that I didn’t beat the altitude. Now, I drink over a gallon of water everyday and have Chlorophyll every morning and I’m a changed, hydrated woman. 🙂


What has been your favorite past role?

I recently got done playing Stephanie Mangano in Saturday Night Fever. She was my first leading lady. I will cherish her forever. She is strong, independent, and fierce. She helped me become more confident in myself and my art.

Gina as Stephanie Mangano in Saturday Night Fever


What is your favorite song in Mamma Mia!?

I LOVE “Thank You For The Music.” The melody of that song just feels so good to sing!


Gina as part of the ensemble in a previous production of Mamma Mia!


What is the most challenging part about playing Sophie in Mamma Mia!?

HER VOCAL RANGE! It’s crazy. She sings down in the basement and then up in the rafters. It’s bananas.


Gina as Silly Girl in Beauty and The Beast


Tell us a little about your character..

I feel like Sophie has such a bad rap. I feel like she’s usually perceived as manic and sassy. I did a lot of acting Homework before coming so that Sophie’s depth could also be read and people could see that the reason for her madness is love. She wants love from a father figure. She wants love for and from her mother and she wants love and acceptance from Sky. YES, she’s young and made poor decisions; inviting 3 possible father figures to her wedding and not telling anyone……However, her intention is so pure and rooted in love. So I’m working really hard to let that shine through overall.


How do you relate to your character?

I feel so connected to Sophie. Everything in my life is rooted in love. I believe that love is the meaning of life. What’s the point in living if not to be in love and love what you do. Alsoooooo, when I was younger I was just as spontaneous and as reckless as Sophie….it was problematic at times, but I’ve definitely learned from those mistakes as I think Sophie does too.


How are you different from your character?

The main difference between Sophie and I is our age difference and current life struggle. She is young and takes very immature actions. She also struggles with wanting to know who her father is. I don’t know what it’s like to not know who my father is, but I definitely know struggle, so I’m able to relate by using my own past experiences. And although I’m not as young and reckless as Sophie is, I definitely used to be so I can absolutely relate to that.


What has been the most exciting part about working at Lake Dillon Theatre Company?

Welllllll, crazy story……I heard about LDTC in 2016 through Emily Dennis. She had just done Cabaret here and said it was amazing and I shared with her how one of my dreams was to work in Colorado. Fast forward to 3 years later, I’m working at LDTC (not realizing that Emily told me about this theatre years ago) and walked in to find out that Emily is currently in a show here! I hadn’t seen her since we worked together in 2016 and everything hit me! Our conversation from 2016 and how I put into the universe my dream to work here and specifically at this theatre. I remember looking it up after she told me about it. So this dream was years in the making and actually came true. It was a wild realization and I’m so happy that it came true.


Mamma Mia! cast LDTC 2019

Tickets for Mamma Mia! are selling out quick. Don’t wait, get yours today!

In the Rehearsal Room: Mamma Mia!

It’s safe to say Summer is in full swing at the LDTC. Tell Me on a Sunday is in its last week and Mamma Mia! has been in rehearsals for a week now. Since the LDTC has a fast rehearsal schedule once they start we know opening is not far off. With this in mind, there was exciting energy in the room during the cast’s first dance rehearsal.

Before they start director Adam Estes talks Gina Ward, Abigail Gardner, and Christina Schmidt through the scene of “Honey Honey”.

Gina (Sophie) jumps to action as Christina (Lisa) and Abigail (Ali) practice their reactions.

As a director, it is important for Adam to watch every move and make adjustments as needed.


Mamma Mia! Opens June 28 tickets are selling fast so purchase today!


Mamma Mia! Actor Spotlights- Mercedes Perez and Alan Osburn

The Lake Dillon Theatre Company welcomes back to Summit County Mercedes Perez and Alan Osburn.  Perez returns in the iconic role of Donna in Mamma Mia! after her beautiful performance as “Molina’s Mother” in Kiss of the Spider Woman (2012). Osburn joins the Mamma Mia! cast as “Sam” after directing LDTC’s Sleuth (2013) and Cloak and Dagger (2015).  We had a few minutes to catch up with the real-life husband and wife team.


1. We are so excited to have you back at the LDTC for our 25th Anniversary Season. What excites you about Mamma Mia!?


Mercedes:   What excites me about working on a piece like Mamma Mia! is it’s really an ensemble show and I enjoy that kind of work. And of course, the music is fun! Takes me back.


Alan:   The way people go nuts over the music. When I was the Artistic Director at Theatre Aspen we took a theatre trip to London. I was really excited to see Shakespeare, Stoppard, Pinter, all of the great English masters. But no, the only thing my Board of Directors wanted to see was Mamma Mia!. Reluctantly, I went along. The crowd went crazy. One couldn’t help but get excited.


 2. In 2019, we are celebrating the LDTC’s 25th Anniversary season. Do you have any favorite memories from your time at the LDTC?


M:  I played Molina’s mother in Kiss of the Spider Woman in the summer of 2012. I loved the old theatre space in Dillon. When one had to make entrances from the front of the house, you had to go out and around to the front of the building. My favorite time was when it was raining. It was refreshing!


A:   It’s not my “favorite” but I will never forget it. When I directed Sleuth. The morning of opening night, I arrived at the theatre around 10:00 am. We were supposed to have a final dress rehearsal before we had our first audience. When I arrived, I was informed that we couldn’t do the dress rehearsal as the electricity had gone out the night before and the newly painted floor was wet. As I contemplated how to proceed I made a stop at the restroom, only to find it wasn’t working due, to the fact that the pipes were frozen. When I went backstage, Chris Alleman was trying to keep the Fire Marshall from shutting down the theater as the space heaters that were being used to warm up the pipes were a violation of the fire code. When Chris finally came out to the house he said to me, “You will probably never want to work here again.” But here we are, in a brand new gorgeous facility, with state of the art bathrooms, lots of electricity, and not a space heater in sight.


3. Mamma Mia! Is about a mother and daughter’s relationship amidst the daughter’s search for her past. As parents what do you hope to bring to your roles as a mother and possible father?


M:  As a mother of a 16-year-old daughter, I hope that I can bring/portray the understanding and patience it takes to bring up a daughter in complex situations.


A:   I am actually more aware of what the role is going to bring me, as opposed to what I might bring to the role. As a father, one of the things I will dread most of all will be giving my daughter away at her wedding. It might be good practice watching Sophie being given away seven times a week, but somehow I’m thinkin’ I will probably still be a mess.


4. What do you hope audiences take away from Mamma Mia!?


M:   I hope audiences have a good time, forget their worries for a few hours. And laugh!


A:   Just have fun.


5. What is Mamma Mia! about to you?


M:   Accepting and forgiving the bad decisions you made in the past. Getting on with life.


A:   Spending time with the people you love, and a new beginning at long last.


6. We are also exploring the concept of human connection for our season this year. In what ways do you think theatre connects the world today?


M:  In a world of computers, cell phones, and texting, it’s important to keep a connection with live people telling a story. And listening instead of being bombarded by electronic images.


A:   The same way it connected 2,000 years ago when the Greeks came up with the idea in the first place. We all want to know that there are other people in the world, no matter the time or the place, that have to go through what we have to deal with on a daily basis. We all have problems, frustrations, hopes, dreams, and desires. When we see someone on stage dealing with their issues we “connect” and are somehow comforted, motivated, enlightened, or maybe we just smile.


7. You have performed in productions in New York, On regional tours, in Denver, and in regional houses all across the country. As actors what roles have you played that has stuck out to you the most?


M:  The most interesting character I’ve played was Eva Peron in Evita. The most fun was being a cat in Cats. I am a cat person at heart. And the most memorable was the touring company of Les Miserables where I met my wonderful husband Alan.


A:   Playing Javert in Les Miserables on Broadway was the role of a lifetime. It’s not everyday one has the opportunity to be a part of a masterpiece at the highest level. The first Broadway show I ever saw was when I was in college. It was the day before the Tony Awards in New York City and I the guy handing out the swag in the TKTS booth line told me about a dark musical that was up for a lot of awards. When I left the theatre I thought, maybe, just maybe, one day I could be that guy. Playing Sweeney Todd was a life-long dream.


We are thrilled to have you back in the 2019 acting company. What does it mean to return to Summit County and the Lake Dillon Theatre?


M:   Returning to the Lake Dillon Theatre means having a great time with a lot of talented and fun people in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Can’t think of a better summer!


A:   What makes working here special is the pursuit of excellence. The people in charge aren’t interested in just “putting up a show;” they want everything on stage to be the best it can possibly be.


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Tell Me on a Sunday Rehearsals

By now you’ve probably heard, but if you haven’t, the Lake Dillon Theatre Company is opening the first show of the 2019 Summer Season Tell Me on a SundayThis production by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black explores the story of a young British woman newly arrived in New York City. Brimming with optimism, she sets out to seek success, companionship and, of course, love. But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own anxieties, frustrations, and heartaches, she begins to wonder whether she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places. Earlier this week we took a behind the scenes look at the rehearsal process for this one-woman show.

Emily Dennis and Dan Gaeber work beautifully together on “Nothing Like You’ve Ever Known.” After running the song the pair speak about the meaning behind the lyrics and moments for Emily to take during the song. During this rehearsal community member, Jon Kirkpatrick visits for a special page to stage benefit which is available for specific donors to the theater.

Director Josh Blanchard gets up and helps Emily run through the song “Sheldon Bloom.” Before Emily sing through the song they do some quick, fun choreography that brings the story to life.

After the slow run through Emily takes the “stage” and puts the words together with the new steps.

Even seemingly simple steps are practiced.

After they sing and dance through rehearsal Emily diligently writes notes on her score to help her remember for the next rehearsal and ultimately the show.

See all this hard work come together during Tell Me on a Sunday’s run June 1 – 23 in the Henry Studio Theatre at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, CO.

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Chatting with Emily Dennis

We are so excited to be working with Emily Dennis in our first show of the 2019 Summer Season Tell Me on a Sunday. We caught up with Emily to hear about what she is excited about, her favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and some of the unique challenges about being in a one-woman musical.