Grand Lake theatre takes national stage |

Grand Lake theatre takes national stage

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre has the national stage for its audience. DramaBiz magazine is writing a feature story on the theatre company, set for release in its May/June edition.

RMRT, which is gearing up for its 40th summer season of live theatre in Grand Lake, caught the attention of the magazine because of its success and its plans for growth.

“We love to profile successful theatre companies,” said Joel M. Dorr, editor-in-chief who interviewed both Chad Scott (managing director) and Michael Querio (artistic, music and play director).

He said the magazine company frequently asks its readers for story ideas, especially if they have something to do with the business side of theatre.

“In the case of Chad Scott and RMRT,” he said, “there were two distinct angles that we are covering ” the fact that they sell out with regularity and the planned expansion for their theatre.”

RMRT has enjoyed three consecutive years of sell-out performances in its current 192-seat venue at the Historical Grand Lake Community House, but felt the need for a larger venue when it had to turn away more than 65 interested ticket buyers almost every night in 2007. The property is also adjacent to the company’s “Betty Dick Off Broadway Cabins,” which have created a good community for their visiting actors.

The company purchased the Eslick property in Grand Lake last fall ” three lots at the corner of Grand Avenue and Vine ” and plan to build a new theatre building there.

Renovations of the existing house and outbuildings have already begun and the company plans to use the structure for office space, operations, set and costume production and storage this summer. Scott said the company couldn’t have done that without “an amazing outpour of donations and volunteers.”

Architects have also been hired to design a theatre that would maintain the “Grand Lake rustic” look. The old Eslick Motor Court, said to be the oldest in North America, sits on the newly purchased property and the theatre company and the representatives of the Grand Lake Historical Society have discussed possible restoration and use of this historic facility in the theatre complex.

RMRT’s administrative and artistic team, which includes Carol Wolff, Querio, Chad and Sally Scott, and Jeff Duke, are all involved in the planning for the new theatre building.

“It is our dream to produce a show in our own facility and we hope to see that dream come true,” Chad said. “There is a definite need for a new facility and we’re dreaming, and we’re taking the appropriate steps to make those dreams come true.”

DramaBiz magazine launched in 2005 “with the sole purposes of helping theatre run the business part of their operation better. Our goal is to research, identify and share success stories from across the country in hopes that it helps other theatres thrive and ultimately give them more staying power.”

The magazine circulates through 13,465 live theatres (from high school to Broadway) and comes out nine times a year. The issue featuring RMRT is scheduled to be mailed out to regular subscribers May 20 and may be ordered at People may also access the story online or download a pdf of it on the magazine Web site.

Dorr said he really wanted to do the story for this issue because it will be distributed at the National Performing Arts Convention in Denver (June 11 to 13).

“Since conferences tend to generate a larger percentage of attendees geographically closer to the conference site, I wanted to feature a Colorado theatre,” he said. “This will be good exposure for RMRT and a good read for our audience as they learn first-hand how a summer stock theatre packs the house, raises the fundraising roof and expands its theatre.”

“This indicates that RMRT has been recognized as a national model theatre, and that’s going to only continue I think,” Chad said. “That’s exciting. It’s exciting for the town … and for everyone. Look for (other) exciting announcements and events this summer that will go toward our dream.”

RMRT’s fundraising dinner at C Lazy U is scheduled for May 31 and the annual welcome back party at the Daven Haven is June 3. To reserve a spot or for more information, call (970) 627-5087 or visit Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre is a nonprofit Colorado corporation.