Grand Lake Melodrama brings back tradition of audience interaction
December 24, 2008
Everyone wins when it comes to the holiday melodrama, especially the good guys.
This year’s traditional production is titled “Stop that Villain,” or “Have You No Shame, Rip Roquefort.” In true melodrama form, audience participation is encouraged. People can cheer, boo and hiss as the classic tale of good and evil unfolds. After all, “everyone needs more laughter in their lives,” said Barbara Ahrens, director for her ninth year.
The cast is made up of volunteers and residents who have been working hard to bring the quality performance to the stage. Cheers go to the hero and heroine of the show, Merton Manly (played by Scotty Munn) and Little Jane Dovetonsil (Schelly Olson).
With his dark cape and crooked morals, Ripley Roquefort (Mark Ginsberg) strolls into town with much more up his sleeve than a fifth ace. He and Poker Annie (Mark’s wife Annie Ginsberg) stir up trouble and are much deserving of the “Boo”s.
Kathy Hyatt plays Jenny Flutterpearl, Natasha Stenicka is Comatose, Robert Canon is “Horseback,” Lisa Tarr is Bathsheba Pickles, Jim Cervenka plays Judge Lynch, Haley Olson is Claudette, Carolyn Alcorn portrays Auntie Em, and Ashley North is Tin Pan Ali.
The story takes place at Flutterpearl’s hotel in turn-of-the-century Grand Lake. The hostess is giddy as she practices for amateur night at the Grand Arts Opera House.
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Meanwhile, Poker Alice arrives for a game of cards with Roquefort. True to his nature, Roquefort exploits all he can. He cheats at cards and flatters Flutterpearl into forgetting to charge him rent. To add injury to insult he, Alice and Comatose, Flutterpearl’s less-than-desired servant, discourage her from performing.
Excitement returns to the scene when Horseback, a down-and-out miner, announces the arrival of the stagecoach. On it are Bathsheba Pickles and her faux-French maid Claudette, Judge Lynch, Auntie Em, and Dovetonsil. Bathsheba inquires about Ripley’s nefarious reputation and offers to help him. Judge Lynch has come to Grand Lake to deliver news of the death of Ripley’s uncle Jasper.
The uncle’s fortune was left to his naughty nephew, with a catch. In order to receive his inheritance, Ripley must marry Dovetonsil. Auntie Em, Dovetonsil’s chaperone, and the not-so-honorable judge agree to help him secure his bride.
Things look promising for Ripley until Sheriff’s Deputy Manley and Tin Pan Ali threaten to deal the crooked card player some justice. To Ripley’s horror his queen hits it off with the debonair deputy and he now must be wary of threats from Tin Pan Ali.
Act II opens as “Rip” schemes about how he can still get his hands on his uncle’s money. His mind is lost in the shuffle and he must take action. He can’t focus because Poker Alice is determined to beat him at cards and Deputy Manly is winning over Dovetonsil’s heart.
Bathsheba and Horseback aid the villain in his evil efforts but will it be enough? Is “Five-Ace Poker” a real game? Will audiences at the Grand Arts Opera House be permanently scarred by Flutterpearl’s singing? Will Manly give Dovetonsil a big rock?
Tickets are available at Never Summer, Granby Mini Mart, Elk Horn Gallery, and at the door. Proceeds benefit the Grand Arts Council.