Thingamajig to reopen June 25 after 15-month COVID closure

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    Photo courtesy Thingamajig Theatre Company
    Thingamajig Theatre Company opens its summer season June 25 after being closed for 15 months because of COVID. The crown jewel of the season is the return of “Sylvia,” the poignant comedy about a dog, starring Laura Moore in the title role (above left), adopted by a middle-age man whose wife does not approve (above right). Tickets are available at the theater’s website or by phoning (970) 731-SHOW (7469).

    By Carole Howard
    Thingamajig Theatre Company

    Thingamajig Theatre Company will open its doors on June 25 for an exciting summer season that includes the comedy “Sylvia,” starring Laura Moore, and two fundraising gala concerts bringing back some of the most popular actors ever to grace the theater’s stage. Separately, Dennis Elkins will perform in two one-man shows in a special limited engagement in early July.

    The announcement was made by Tim and Laura Moore, co-founders of the theater, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary with this summer season. 

    “We can’t imagine a better way to commemorate this milestone than being able to reopen the theater with so many inspiring and fun events after the long COVID closure,” said Tim Moore, producing artistic director. Restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic required Thingamajig — like theaters around the world — to go dark on March 15, 2020.

    ‘Sylvia’ returns to
    our stage

    The crown jewel of the 2021 summer season is the return of “Sylvia,” the touching comedy about a dog and her new owner, a middle-aged man who brings her home to live in his apartment in New York City, much to his wife’s distress. It was the highlight of Thingamajig’s very first season back in 2011 when Laura Moore played the part of “Sylvia” to huge acclaim — and now she will reprise the role in honor of the theater’s anniversary. Tim Moore will direct the production.

    “We have produced hundreds of shows for thousands of patrons over the past decade,” said Tim Moore. “It is ‘Sylvia’ that is brought up more often than any other show with the request that we stage an encore run.” 

    Photo courtesy Carole Howard
    Thingamajig Theatre Company’s Tim Moore, producing artistic director, has announced that the theater is opening its doors on June 25 after being closed for 15 months because of COVID restrictions. The exciting summer season will include the comedy “Sylvia,” and two fundraising gala concerts bringing back some of the most popular actors who’ve performed here in the past decade. As well, Dennis Elkins will present two autobiographical one-man shows. Tickets are available at pagosacenter.org or by phoning (970) 731-SHOW (7469).

    This remarkable comedy will open June 25 and run through Aug. 29. You can find the dates and times of the shows and order tickets on the theater’s website at pagosacenter.org or by phoning (970) 731-SHOW (7469). Tickets are $35.

    A multiple Drama Desk Award-nominated comedy, A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” has been produced thousands of times on Broadway and in regional theaters. 

    “And for good reason,” said Laura Moore. “It’s comedy gold with a canine touch. I am thrilled to be playing Sylvia again for our Pagosa audiences.”

    Elkins featured in
    special engagement

    Elkins, one of Thingamajig’s most admired artists, will return to Pagosa to perform on July 7 and July 9 at 7 p.m. in the first two plays of the autobiographical trilogy he wrote, produced and performs as a one-man show.

    The first is “box.,” originally performed in Pagosa to standing ovations and rave reviews by audiences at Thingamajig’s Playwrights Festival in 2018. 

    Among the reactions: “Brilliant.” “Deeply incisive.” “Alternating very funny and hugely sad.” “A special treat to see such first-class acting in our little mountain town.” 

    It focuses on the psychological trials in our lives associated with packing and unpacking boxes — literally and figuratively. We follow Elkins through major events in his adult life including his mother’s death, his son’s overdose, coming out of the closet and leaving academia at Fort Lewis College. It is an intensely moving and intimate portrayal, even comedic at times. 

    After intermission, the audience will be treated to “bag—,” the second installment of Elkins’ personal trilogy. Pronounced “bag dash,” the play had readings in Ireland, workshops in various American cities and a virtual debut at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2020 under COVID conditions. This will be its second in-person U.S. production after its debut at the Denver Fringe a week before it comes to Pagosa. 

    “bag—” is based on Elkins’ trip to India in the winter of 2017 as he approached his 60th birthday. In this poignant comedy of travel and identity, Elkins crisscrosses India via buses, tuk-tuks and taxis in hopes of uncovering the mysteries of life and middle-age while clutching his backpack and a three-item to-do list: Seek guidance and wisdom from some appropriate spirit, scatter some of his son’s ashes in some appropriate place and see the Taj Mahal — not necessarily in that order. 

    The story showcases Elkins’ writing and acting skills as well as his naïve world view as he attempts to find his future through a culture so different from his own. His insightful storytelling offers wonderment and humor balanced against cynicism and fear of being the “other” — while sharing tips for travelers that will reshape your own expectations for the changing world around us.

    Tickets for the two Elkins evenings are $35 each, available at pagosacenter.org or by phoning (970) 731-SHOW (7469). 

    Two fundraising galas

    Thingamajig’s annual fundraising galas have become must-attend events on our community’s festive summer social calendar because of exciting live performances and auctions for unique follow-up private events with the actors. This year’s gala concerts will be even more special because there are two of them and they will feature a selection of favorite cast members who have performed at Thingamajig over the past decade.

    The theme of the first gala concert on July 31 is “The last 10 years,” when the audience will be treated to the best numbers from previous Thingamajig musicals. The theme of the second on Aug. 5 is “The next 10 years,” which will feature musical performances from some great Broadway shows the Moores hope to produce in the future — “sort of our wish list or our bucket list,” as Tim Moore put it. 

    Past season ticket holders were given the first opportunity to purchase gala tickets, and only a very limited number still are available as part of the season ticket package. To purchase that package, which also includes a ticket to “Sylvia,” please phone (970) 731-SHOW (7469). They are not available on the theater website.

    COVID guidelines in
    the Black Box

    All of the summer events will take place in the theater’s Black Box under whatever COVID health guidelines are in effect at the time — for example, relating to masks, social distancing and audience size. Because the logistics may be subject to change, the Moores will remain flexible and nimble regarding various seating configurations and other requirements, given the ever-changing COVID environment.

    As of this writing, it is expected that everyone in the audience will be required to wear masks and each party will be seated 6 feet apart from their nearest audience members. The actors will not be wearing masks, but they all will be vaccinated.

    Thingamajig Theatre Company is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and designers come from across the U.S. and around the world to produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round — COVID permitting, of course.