Theater group back in business

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The blue awning still reads "Seventh Street Playhouse," but it is covered in a thick layer of dirt. The steps are half blocked by drifting snow.

The last time an audience filled the seats of the playhouse was in July 2003, when the Steamboat Community Players staged "Cosi." Unable to afford the rent, the theater group packed 17 years worth of sets, props and play bills into the back of a semi-trailer for storage while it looked for another venue.

Since then, the group has staged one production, "Seven Angry Jurors," at the Depot Art Center. Otherwise, the Steamboat Community Players has been little more than a phone number people could call to find out that no plays were scheduled.

A year and a half later, the group is back. Colorado Mountain College has given it an office and storage space in Monson Hall, Room 312, and the group has a schedule of four productions for 2005.

Marie Sellitto Jensen, the new president of the Steamboat Community Players, was introduced to the group when she showed up at the theater to help its members pack.

She moved to town from Evergreen five years ago and through taking small parts in "Cabaret," the annual Steamboat Springs Arts Council fund-raiser, she got the theater bug.

The goal of the Steamboat Community Players, she said, is to provide a theater experience -- be it acting, directing or assisting backstage -- to anyone who wants to try it.

"There's been a huge hole in the community since (2003)," she said.

The Players held auditions Saturday and Sunday for the upcoming "Evening of One Acts." Fifteen people auditioned, and 15 people were given parts. Actors ranged in age from 10 to 65, Jensen said.

The Players are looking for a permanent home and are hoping for the approval of the proposed Riverhouse Theatre on Yampa Street. Until then, the actors will be holding their plays at the Depot.

After an almost two-year hiatus, the ensemble is returning as a skeleton of its former self with a small number of the former Steamboat Community Players members still involved.

The group is looking for board members, directors, actors, a secretary and fund-raisers.

"An Evening of One Acts" is scheduled for Jan. 28, 29 and 30 and Feb. 4, 5 and 6.

For information or to volunteer, call the Steamboat Community Players at 879-3254.

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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