Drama Troupe takes center stage at Steamboat Springs High School | SteamboatToday.com

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Drama Troupe takes center stage at Steamboat Springs High School

New teacher, club bring passion for theater to community

Steamboat Springs High School’s new theater teacher Jamie O’Reilly

Steamboat Springs High School's new theater teacher Jamie O'Reilly, left, gives direction to student Charlie Tisch during a rehearsal of “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Tuesday.
Nicole Inglis

— In a little more than three weeks, the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium curtain will rise on a cast of about 11 students. But there's much more going on behind the scenes of the "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" production.

There are student costume designers, light and sound technicians, a student assistant director and, new this year, support from a student-run drama club.

"She's really into making this our production," Drama Troupe President and senior Kelly Ernst said about Jamie O'Reilly, the school's new theater teacher who replaced Amy Pottinger, who left for a new job.

O'Reilly's first order of business was starting the drama club.

"I want them to learn to take care of their own program if they want it to thrive, and they do," O'Reilly said.

The Drama Troupe comprises about 25 members who meet about once per week.

"In a school like Steamboat, it's easy to get overshadowed by things like sports," troupe member Jessica Miller said. "It's great to get a group of people together who are passionate about performing."

And the momentum is building in the wake of that passion.

The group wants to offer high school theater to more than just those who are cast in the musicals and plays.

Troupe members hope to take trips to workshops, conferences and shows on the Front Range as well as host movie nights and workshops to promote theater in the community.

To do that, they'll be hosting a few fundraisers, beginning with a booth at the Downtown Halloween Stroll on Monday.

The students will wander through the crowd acting out skits to raise awareness about their club. At their booth in front of Johnny B. Good's Diner, members will paint faces, tell stories, read fortunes and possibly host a costume contest.

The funds will help buy a new spotlight to replace a broken one. Next on the list of purchases will be a few new microphones.

In addition to the Halloween fundraiser, the group will be looking for contributions to build up its meager costume closet throughout the year. Everything from the basics — polos, flannels, slacks and dresses — to period costume wear would be welcome.

Drama Troupe vice president Cara Becker said building awareness and participation in theater and the performing arts could only enhance the high school culture.

"It creates a brilliant sense of community," Becker said. "It's coming together to put on something that everyone can be proud of."

To reach Nicole Inglis, cal 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com