Rustlers of Red Rock – Brush Creek Playhouse reopens after two years

March 2022 Posted in Arts & Music, Community, People

By Melissa Wagoner

It’s been two years since the last performance of Brush Creek Playhouse, The True Tale of the Sleeping Beauty, was shut down mid-season due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since then, the iconic red building – built in 1895 as a school house on the corner of Brush Creek Drive and Silverton Road – has sat empty, awaiting the day when health restrictions would once again allow an audience to fill its seats.

“Last year we were going to do something and then [Delta] hit and I said, I can’t in good conscience, expose anybody,” Norman Gouveia, a member of Brush Creek since 1984, recalled. “Then the show I was going to do, I couldn’t do because I couldn’t get enough cast members.”

Matt Savino as the villain, Black Bart Bushwacker

Simone Stewart as heroine Lily White

That show, a 1920s mystery called The Bat, has since been moved to the fall season of 2022, and a lighter, more melodramatic piece has taken its place – Rustlers of Red Rock by D. Chapelle.

“It’s just an absolute hoot. We want people to boo and hiss,” Gouveia, the director of the show, said. Audience participation is encouraged during this kind of show. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Set on the fictional, Circle D Wagons Ranch, the story centers around ranch owner, Blossum White (Simone Stewart) and her mother, Lily White (Elizabeth Newman) who set out to save their ranch with the help of faithful ranch-hand, Quiet Harry (Ron Drake) and bold hero, Steve Dashing (Nick Hittle) from the villain, Black Bart Bushwacker (Matt Savino).

“Melodramas are a real fun way to introduce live theater – you get to over-emote and really get into it,” Gouveia said, describing the dual purpose of this production – familiarizing three new actors with Brush Creek Playhouse, and reacquainting the surrounding community with the theater. 

“These are the kinds of shows you want,” he continued. “They show the audience what theater can do because the actors and the audience have a good time.”

And Gouveia should know. A veteran director,  he has overseen melodramas for the Brush Creek Playhouse for more than 20 years – a mere slice of his 57-year history with the theater.

“If anybody had told me I’d still be doing this 50 years ago, I’d say they were crazy,” he laughed. “But it’s like anything else, you’ve got to really want to do this.”

And he does. At 76 he’s still going strong, but he also recognizes that won’t always be the case. 

“It’s urgent that we attract new directors,” he said, listing set and costume designers, lighting technicians and actors as potential positions for community volunteers. 

“The theater needs an infusion of young blood.”

For the time being Gouveia isn’t thinking about any of that, instead he is prepaing to open the doors to the season’s first audience on March 18 – an occasion many worried might never come. 

“We’ve had cast members from previous shows call and say, ‘are we still here?’” he said. “So, we have to let the community know, we’re still here.”

That’s what he hopes Rustlers of Red Rock – a show appropriate for all ages – will do.

“Come out to the show,” he urged. Listing the production runs March 18 through April 3 with performances on both Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. as well as a Sunday matinée at 2 p.m. “Because the quality of what we do here – I’d match it against anybody in the Valley.”

“Rustlers of Red Rock”

By D. Chapelle

  • Corner of Brush Creek Drive and Silverton Road
  • March 18 through April 3
  • Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: $10 adults and $8 seniors over 60, children under 12 and students with ID
  • Ticket sales: Books N Time in Silverton and at the door

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