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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Thingamajig’s galas will feature surprise returns of popular actors

Photo courtesy Carole Howard
No promises, but these talented actors may be among the 16 popular performers returning to Pagosa this summer for Thingamajig Theatre Company’s two fundraiser galas on July 31 and Aug. 5. Left to right are: Steven Sitzman, Samantha Luck, Bailey Claffey and Trevor Brown. Theatre co-founders Tim and Laura Moore are keeping secret the identities of the cabaret-type show’s artists until patrons open their summer programs the first time they come to the theater.

By Carole Howard
Thingamajig Theatre Company

Friends and fans of Thingamajig Theatre Company co-founders Tim and Laura Moore know how much they enjoy putting on breathtaking productions that entertain, amaze and inspire their audiences. What may be less well known is that the Moores also greatly enjoy surprising their audiences with astonishingly unexpected treats.

This summer, the Moores are taking surprises to new levels because they are keeping secret the identities of the cast members who will perform at the theater’s fundraising galas on July 31 and Aug. 5 and be auctioned off for unique follow-up private events. 

Theater fans will not learn which actors are coming until they open their summer season programs the first time they come to the theater — either to see “Sylvia,” the canine comedy which opens on June 25, or Dennis Elkins’ one-man shows on July 7 and 9.

“All we’re willing to say at this point is that they are some of the most popular actors ever to perform at Thingamajig over the past decade,” said Laura Moore with a saucy grin. 

Added Tim Moore: “We thought a series of surprises would be a fun way to celebrate the theater’s 10th anniversary while also raising funds to ensure the success of our next 10 years.”

Actors auctioned off

Only about half of the costs of Thingamajig productions are covered by ticket sales. The remainder of the theater’s funding comes from private donors, business sponsors, program advertising, grants and proceeds from the gala fundraisers — the most important events of the year to keep the theater up and running. 

Thingamajig’s annual fundraiser galas have become must-attend affairs on our community’s festive summer social calendar because of the exciting live performances on stage and the audience members’ exuberant bidding on the actors for private gatherings after the big event. 

Among the most popular auction items are the campfire sing-along, the progressive dinner and the trip to New York City next January with the Moores as they audition actors for the 2022 season. Many more auction opportunities are now being finalized as the actors get creative in matching their talents to events that would be entertaining for patrons.

Galas’ cabaret-style

The theme of the first gala 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. 

Both evenings will be cabaret-style shows. Melissa Firlit will choreograph and Boni McIntyre will be the music director. Both Firlit and McIntyre have been very popular directors and actors with Thingamajig audiences over the years. 

Doors open for the galas at 6 p.m., with the shows starting at 7 p.m. Season sponsors will donate preshow goodies. 

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” and other benefits, please phone (970) 731-SHOW (7469). They are not available on the theater website.

‘Sylvia’ to open June 25

The crown jewel of the theater’s summer season is the return of “Sylvia,” the touching canine 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. 

Back by popular demand, “Sylvia” was the highlight of Thingamajig’s first season back in 2011 when Laura Moore played the part of “Sylvia” to huge acclaim. Now she will reprise the role from Friday, June 25, through Sunday, Aug. 29, in honor of the theater’s 10th anniversary. Tim Moore, the theater’s producing artistic director, will direct the production. 

You can find the dates and times of “Sylvia” and order tickets for the show on the theater’s website at pagosacenter.org or by phoning (970) 731-SHOW (7469). Tickets are $35. 

Elkins to be featured in
special engagement

Also available are tickets for Dennis Elkins’ two one-man shows in a special limited engagement on July 7 and July 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 each, available at pagosacenter.org or by phoning (970) 731-SHOW (7469). 

Elkins, one of Thingamajig’s most admired artists, returns to Pagosa to perform in the first two plays of his autobiographical trilogy. 

The first is “box.” 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. 

After intermission, the audience will be treated to “bag—,” based on Elkins’ trip to India in the winter of 2017 as he approached his 60th birthday. Elkins crisscrosses India in hopes of uncovering the mysteries of life and middle-age, bringing along a three-item to-do list: Seek wisdom from some appropriate spirit, scatter some of his son’s ashes in an appropriate place and see the Taj Mahal. 

10th anniversary
for Thingamajig

Thingamajig 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 two inspiring productions and the fun gala events after the long COVID closure,” said Tim Moore. 

Restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic required Thingamajig — like theaters around the world — to go dark on March 15, 2020. That resulted in a 15-month closure of Pagosa’s esteemed local professional theater.

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. The Moores will remain flexible and nimble regarding various seating configurations and other requirements, given the ever-changing COVID environment. 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. 

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