Veteran Hayden thespian anchors Steamboat show


— You may have seen the glow of his office light late at night or heard him at recreation center hearings and local parades. Perhaps you saw him at a Town Board meeting, or bumped into him at lunch downtown Hayden. Heck, you might have rented business or residential space from him. But did you know that Mark Fischer, Hayden Renaissance man, is singing and dancing in the Steamboat Springs centennial celebration production of "Signatures?"

The Steamboat centennial production "Signatures" will be performed for the final time at 7:30 tonight at the Christie Base on Mount Werner. Tickets are $5 for adults and children younger than 12 get in free, courtesy of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. Tickets are available at the Steamboat Springs Art Council, the Tread of Pioneers Museum, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Call 879-9008 for information.

"He's a real song and dance man," director Nina Cochran said. "He really runs the gamut of roles in the musical, and he's really risen to the occasion."

In one of his interesting roles in "Signatures," a 90-minute historical musical that will be put on Aug. 17-19, Fischer plays a Steamboat Pilot reporter/narrator who serves as the informant and transition-maker for the variety of scenes.

Cochran said Fischer takes his work seriously, and that his fellow actors and actresses are depending on him quite a bit.

"When he auditioned we told him we'd use him a lot," she said. "He's playing a lot of different personalities from a founding father to an ace reporter to a crazy vaudevillian. He's a lot of fun to work with."

Fischer isn't a novice to the limelight. When he first came to the area some 25 years ago, the then-bachelor thought acting with the Boomtown Players in Craig would be a good way to meet people. From the 1970s and until 1982, Fischer performed in "Oklahoma!," "My Fair Lady," "The Wizard of Oz" and "South Pacific," among others.

"He was very hammy," Boomtown Players director Jill Grimes said. "Mark is a natural, he's very comfortable on stage. And in his productions, he had many of the key lines that really made the plays."

In addition to some topics unique to Steamboat, the "Signatures" production includes scenes documenting the Utes in northwestern Colorado, as well as mining.

"Overall it's a very entertaining production," Cochran said. "And a heart-grabbing one. Anyone that lives in the area will understand what we're doing. It's not just about Steamboat. We really make a connection to the land and the overall spirit of this place. It's a reminder of why you're living here, and to help you appreciate what's around you."

In Fischer's mind, one of the most exciting reasons to see the play is that it is the first-ever showing of a major production.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "For me, to participate in the first show, and for the audience to see it. Most musicals have been shown a hundred-thousand times before. But this one, the creative process has been going on from the first rehearsal. We're really molding and shaping a piece of clay that's still unshaped. To be part of an opening night on stage that no one has experienced that'll never happen to me again."

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail


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