Alice Klauzer

Lighting up the stage

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— Call her Lisa. She's famous.

Everyone in the Midwest wants to see her and her sister sidekick, Lisa, especially at Little America in Cheyenne, Wyo. where they are most popular.

For years, Alice Klauzer and her comedic partner, Barb McKown, made Steamboat Springs' locals laugh with the Cabaret skit, "The Lisas."

"It's so polyesterville," said Nancy Kramer, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council.

"I think Alice digs into her Nebraska roots for 'The Lisas.' They are the kind of act that performs in a lounge in the middle of nowhere and you wouldn't want to go to that lounge.

"The Lisas are not a group you would pay to go see, except at Cabaret."

"We're a bad lounge act," McKown said. "But we think that we are absolutely adorable."

Klauzer and McKown shop long and hard for their tacky Lisa outfits and blonde wigs.

The women start rehearsing in January and get together once a week to build their skit.

"(Alice) is totally motivated," McKown said. "She likes to work as a team and she can see the bigger picture.

"She can see what everybody can do together without any one person standing out."

Klauzer has been involved with Cabaret, Steamboat's annual variety show, since 1996.

"(Alice) helps put together the whole show," McKown said. "She works with Scott Parker, and before it was Doug Lockwood, to hold auditions, produce and direct the entire show. She and Scott hold the whole thing together."

The Lisas skit gained Klauzer a lot of face recognition in Steamboat and introduced the town to another side of the woman known for her role in the local business world and for her service on the boards of several local non-profits.

Anyone who has only seen Klauzer on stage may be surprised to meet the reserved banker who has a hard time speaking in front of large groups.

Klauzer served as the president of the Arts Council two years ago and still serves on that board. Kramer has seen both sides of her personality.

"She needs to wear a wig in order to feel confident in front of a room of people," Kramer said. "She needs the wig to hide."

"Under a wig you are a different person," Klauzer said.

"At our annual meetings, when I need her to give a speech, I have to write it all out in large print and triple spaced," Kramer said.

Klauzer's confidence comes back, however, in the boardroom.

Since her 1979 arrival in Steamboat as a young woman in her mid-20s, she has worked as the deputy clerk in district court, assistant vice president at First National Bank, served on the board of Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, participated in Rotary, ran Ed Burch's campaign for sheriff, served as the president of the Arts Council and spent 10 years as the owner representative for Mountain Resorts.

Last October, she left Mountain Resorts and returned to banking as the marketing director of Alpine Bank.

Klauzer has used the job to connect non-profits to the bank's advertising campaign, giving air time on local radio stations to groups that normally may not be able to afford it.

"She brings a practical approach to things," Kramer said. "She is responsible for some of the direction that I have taken the council.

"She tries to get everyone to have fun. She likes to bring out the fun side in folks instead of just focusing on the policy piece."

Klauzer was born in Clinton, Iowa but grew up, graduated high school and went to college in Hastings, Neb. She studied to become a dental assistant but never did.

Instead, Steamboat gave her job opportunities to grow as a professional and as a person.

Her job with Mountain Resorts taught her to balance different personalities, Klauzer said.

"Because she can do that, she knows how to accommodate everyone at a board meeting while still getting things done," Kramer said. "She brings the marketing piece to the Arts Council."

Klauzer worked for Dave Zabel, president of Mountain Resorts, during her 10 years in that position.

He is retired now, but remembers her fondly.

"All the owners loved her," he said. "She has a very up personality. She always made your day."

It was a stressful job, juggling the needs of so many clients, but Klauzer made it her goal to stay above it.

"I try not to get stressed out," Klauzer said.

"You know the cliche -- If it's not bleeding or dying, don't worry."

She keeps a positive attitude, partly, by staying physically active, she said.

"If you stay in it, play in it," Klauzer said.

In her off time, she snowshoes and enjoys running and every two years, she and her husband, Randall Klauzer, travel to a different country.

On recent trips they visited Italy, Paris, London and Germany.

"Germany was a hoot," Klauzer said.

"She always uses that word," Kramer said.

"She says 'hoot' and everybody laughs, just like pushing a button."

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