Old name, new company
June 23, 2005
For Stuart Handloff, the story of this production began in 1972. He was 22 years old and a new resident of Steamboat Springs. Searching for his niche in town, he walked up the stairs in the building that now houses Old Town Pub and found a theater under construction.
The new theater would house the Great American Laughing Stock Company for most of that decade. Handloff did technical work, lights and acting with the Laughing Stock Company until it died.
More than 20 years later, as Handloff walks away from his job as the drama instructor at Steamboat Springs High School, he is reviving the old Great American Laughing Stock Company as a way of creating a new place for himself in the local theater scene.
He put together a five-person cast of young actors, ages 15 to 21, and named Brian and Christel Houston as musical directors.
“Whenever you do a musical in this town, you make sure the Houstons are available,” Handloff said. “If they aren’t, you don’t do it.”
The original Great American Laughing Stock Company produced plays year round. The new incarnation will be “more modest,” with one play a year, usually on Fourth of July weekend, Handloff said.
Its first production will be “I love you. You’re perfect. Now change,” a musical comedy that explores relationships from first date to old age.
“This musical played in Denver for years, and I think I saw it half a dozen times,” Handloff said. “It’s very funny, very touching as it looks at relationships from every possible angle.”