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Phenomenal, incredible, fantastic. These are the words that my friends and I couldn’t stop saying after seeing “Les Miserables in Concert” at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on opening night. We began applauding after the first major solo and continued to do so throughout the entire musical. The audience was actually filled with emotion — in wonderment at the voices of this cast.
We also loved “Beauty and the Beast.” In addition to the delightful singing, dancing and acting, it’s hard to figure out how the performers were able to negotiate the stage and small dressing areas with those amazing costumes.
And then there is “A Chorus Line” — I get choked up just trying to describe this production. I am bowled over by the talent that Tim Moore, artistic director, and Laura Moore, executive director, have brought to the stage in our little Pagosa Springs.
“A Chorus Line” requires really talented dancers, singers and actors. As Tim has said, “You can’t fake it.” As a result, the cast members and choreographer that he assembled for this summer run are amazingly talented. Many are performing in all four of the musicals that the Center’s Thingamajig Theatre is presenting this summer, switching plays from one night to the next. If you haven’t been to one of these musicals, make it a date. They run until Aug. 24.
Recently I was extremely disappointed to learn that the Town Tourism Committee awarded only $500 to the theater out of a budget of $60,000. I’m incredulous. This theater is one of the best things that ever happened to Pagosa. The plays are such a cultural treat. There are free concerts. There is an acting camp for kids. And the beautiful entrance gallery serves as the site for proms, fundraisers and musical performances. Even artwork by local talent is promoted along the gallery walls.
And then there is the economic benefit to our community when 30-35 actors, directors and designers come to town every year for long periods and spend their money. Many of their family members fly here to see the performances and stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, and shop. Even local patrons who would typically stay home for dinner go out to eat before the shows.
The National Endowment for the Arts conducted a study which concluded that arts tourists spend more than any other kind of tourist at shops, restaurants and hotels. Surely the TTC should reconsider their support for the center next year.
I hope that those of you who haven’t attended a play by the Thingamajig Theatre will decide to do so this summer. My new passion is to spread the word about this venue. And as my dear friend, Cheryl Moore, told me, “I haven’t seen ‘Les Mis’ yet but I have the same passion about the performances.”