Actors rehearsing for Thingamajig Theatre Company’s summer season


More than 30 professional actors, directors and production crew have been arriving in Pagosa from across the country as rehearsals begin this week for Thingamajig Theatre Company’s Broadway in the Mountains summer season at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

The theater’s three summer musicals are Jimmy Buffett’s “Escape to Margaritaville” opening May 31, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” opening June 14 and “Beauty and the Beast” opening June 28. They will run in rotation until late August. All are family-friendly shows.

“Finding Nemo Kids” playing July 13-16 will be the theater’s Whatchamawhozits children’s summer camp show.

This year’s fundraising Broadway Gala will take place on July 30 with a newly imagined format showcasing the incredible talents of the summer performers.

Returning favorites plus new talent

Eight of the summer actors are much-admired favorites with local and out-of-town audiences from previous performances at Thingamajig. They are Justin Autz, Alexandria Bates, Cassandra Brooks, Dennis Elkins, Dominic Girolami, Zac Mitchell, Keenan Pasqua and Tyler Price Robinson.

Others on stage will be talented new faces. 

The summer season actors were recruited by Tim Moore, artistic director, on a monthlong nationwide audition trip that took him to New York City, Michigan and the Unified Professional Theater Auditions (UPTAs) in Memphis, Tenn. He met with about 5,500 artists in person and some 10,000 more online before choosing the final cast.

Moore said, “I’m looking forward to a really fantastic season this summer, and I know our audiences will love these amazing shows and performers.”

Favorite directors take leadership roles

Three popular directors are returning to Pagosa to direct the musicals.

Andrew Barratt Lewis is here from Utah to direct “Escape to Margaritaville.” He is associate professor of musical theater at Weber State University in Utah and is well-known here as a talented director and choreographer. Also a Thingamajig favorite, he directed “Bright Star” in the summer of 2022, as well as the Christmas shows “Grand Night for Singing,” “Miracle on 34th Street” and “All is Calm” for the past three years.

Melissa Firlit comes from New York City to direct “Beautiful: The Carole King Story.” She is greatly admired by Thingamajig audiences for her work as director of multiple hits from serious dramas like “Red,” “Proof” and “Marrow” to blockbuster musicals like “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Aida” and “West Side Story.” She also serves as artistic director of the Thingamajig Playwrights Festival, which develops and workshops the plays of emerging playwrights.

Ann Evans Watson comes from Michigan to direct and choreograph “Beauty and the Beast” after making her directorial debut at Thingamajig last summer with “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.” She is associate professor of musical theater at the University of Michigan, a vocal instructor and coach. Many of her students have performed on Broadway and have won prestigious acting awards.

In addition to his acting roles, Girolami will be music director for all three shows. He was both music director and a performer last Christmas in “All is Calm” in his first visit to Pagosa.

Costumes are the responsibility of Nanette Cheffers, Lexi Saeger and Kirri Schaefer. Mackenzie Lowe is returning as lighting designer. Choreography is being handled by Davey Burton Midkiff.

Three hit Broadway musicals

“Escape to Margaritaville” showcases the songs of Jimmy Buffett. The plot revolves around a bartender and a singer in a run-down hotel bar in the Caribbean who meet and romance two women vacationing from Cincinnati. Newsday called it “a delightful, energetic frothy drink of a show.”

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is the story of the early life and career of one of the most successful female singer-songwriters in the latter half of the 20th century. One reviewer praised the show for its “bounce and Broadway glitz.” It was honored with multiple Tony nominations and one win, plus a Grammy for best musical theater album.

“Beauty and the Beast” returns to the Thingamajig stage for a 10th anniversary revival after being a huge hit here in 2014. The Disney musical made news as Broadway’s 10th longest-running production in history, renowned for its poignant story, popular songs, elaborate costumes and clever transformation of actors into beloved animated characters. The movie version won two Academy Awards and five Grammys for its music.

Season ticket benefits

To ensure you don’t miss any of the three summer musicals, consider buying season tickets. Multiple benefits go along with being a season ticket holder, including invitations to exclusive events, a free drink on opening weekends, discounted tickets, no ticketing fees, reserved seats, unlimited ticket exchanges at no extra charge, come-again tickets to see a show again while bringing a paying guest when you attend an opening weekend performance, and an invitation to the wine and cheese winter season announcement in August.

A new special perk this summer took place May 19. Season ticket holders attended the first sing-through rehearsal of “Escape to Margaritaville” followed by dinner with the cast. 

Season tickets are $120 per person and $260 for the gala. Reserved seats are $210 per person and $350 for the gala. 

They are available on the theater’s website at or by phoning the box office at 970-731-SHOW (7469). 

Individual tickets and all show dates also are available on the website. There are special lower prices for kids 12 and under because all three musicals are family-friendly.

Friends of the Theatre benefits

You also can pay your annual Friends of the Theatre dues of $35 per person on the theater’s website.

Becoming a Friend brings you many exclusive interactions with the actors and directors throughout the year, including multiple social gatherings like welcome and farewell parties, an exclusive summer cabaret concert, invitations to Tech Tuesday potlucks and Behind the Scenes presentations, plus excursions to Williams Lake for water sports in the summer and Wolf Creek for skiing in the winter.

About Thingamajig Theatre Company

Thingamajig Theatre Company was co-founded in 2011 by Tim and Laura Moore. It is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theatre in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and production experts come from across the U.S. to produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round. 

Thingamajig also is dedicated to providing theatrical experiences and educational opportunities for youth and teens in our community.