‘The Vagina Monologues’ to mark revival of historic Steamboat theater | SteamboatToday.com

‘The Vagina Monologues’ to mark revival of historic Steamboat theater

Nicole Inglis

Barbara Davison, Ann Ross and Amber Hallsted rehearse Wednesday night for this weekend's run of "The Vagina Monologues," a fundraiser for Advocates Building Peaceful Communities.

— When Tamara Beland walks out onto the stage in the new Black Box Lounge inside the Chief Plaza Theater on Saturday, the venue's new executive director said, she'll have a lump in her throat when she introduces that night's show, the first local production there in decades.

And it's sold out.

"Just in dress rehearsal, I felt an overwhelming sense of emotion," said Beland, who is performing in the premiere production. "It's been so much work over the last two months.”

The 50 available tickets for the resurrection of the Chief Plaza Theater, a V-Day Steamboat Springs performance of "The Vagina Monologues," have been sold, and on Saturday night, 20 local performers will stand up in the first finished room of the theater's Phase One renovation process.

"I think people are excited to see what we're going to do, and I feel proud of the show we're going to bring them on Saturday. It's an eclectic group of women and a very powerful performance."

The Chief Plaza Theater, formerly a four-screen movie theater, was purchased by local nonprofit Friends of the Chief in fall 2012.

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Beland was hired 2 1/2 months ago to oversee its renovations and book community and performing arts events there in the interim.

The first round of renovations is raw, Beland said, but she's proud of the Black Box Lounge.

"It's us getting up and going so we don't go dark, and it's making sure we have a home for the arts and for the community," she said.

Although the Chief event is sold out, the production opens with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. Tickets are $20 and are limited.

Kim Keith, who helped launch the V-Day Steamboat Springs event three years ago, said the prospect of Saturday's special event is thrilling.

"It's a very intimate setting," Keith said. "The acoustics are great, and the sound is going to be so intense. I'm so excited. It definitely a step up. At the Chief, it's going to be a whole different level of sophistication."

Keith, the events and marketing coordinator for Off the Beaten Path, is producing the show, and Kyle Paolantonio, also in her third year performing in the event, is directing.

Steamboat's V-Day event is just one piece in a worldwide patchwork of "The Vagina Monologues" performances going on this week.

According to http://www.vday.org, more than 5,800 V-Day events were produced by volunteers across the world in 2012 with the aim of raising awareness about violence against women as a global issue.

This year, Steamboat Springs is stepping up to the plate again, holding its third annual fundraiser for Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, a local nonprofit that serves victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Yampa Valley. Last year, the event raised $6,000 for Advocates.

The performances feature local female readers and their interpretations of the essays by Eve Ensler that were based on hundreds of interviews with women from across the world.

The content is sometimes graphic and relates back to women and their sexuality. The topics range from sexual abuse and repression to admiration for the beauty of birth and coming of age.

"There are some funny ones, some sad ones," Paolantonio said. "They're supposed to make you feel more comfortable with the issues surrounding women, and they do it in a way where they make you laugh and then punch you with the problem."

She said the event this year has brought in a flood of donations, support and buzz from the Steamboat Springs community, which is what V-Day is all about.

"This year, I feel we've finally achieved our goal that Steamboat Springs is aware of and interested in supporting women and girls in our community," Paolantonio said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

‘The Vagina Monologues’ schedule

Thursday: Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, 8 p.m., $20

Friday: Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, 8 p.m., $20

Saturday: Chief Plaza Theater, 8 p.m., sold out

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