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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Thingamajig’s post-COVID season opens tomorrow with ‘Sylvia’

Photo courtesy Carole Howard

By Carole Howard
Thingamajig Theatre Company

The cast has rehearsed and the actors are all set with costumes and makeup for their roles in Thingamajig Theatre Company’s “Sylvia,” which opens tomorrow, Friday, June 25, to a sold-out audience. 

“Sylvia” is a 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. It is the crown jewel of the theater’s post-COVID summer season.

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 June 25 through Aug. 29 in honor of the theater’s 10th anniversary. Tim Moore, the theater’s producing artistic director, will direct the production. 

Three actors will complete the “Sylvia” cast. Carl Morrow, who plays the man who brings Sylvia home, is known to Thingamajig audiences for his roles in “A Few Good Men,” “West Side Story,” “Legally Blonde” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Polly Seale, a new resident of Pagosa Springs with an impressive acting resume, plays his wife. And Rodney Holmes, who performed in Thingamajig’s productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Tarzan,” “The Secret Garden” and “Damn Yankees,” plays three parts in the production.

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.”

Tickets available now

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. 

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

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 inspiring productions and fun 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.

Elkins to be featured in
special engagement

Elkins, one of Thingamajig’s most admired artists, is returning to Pagosa to perform in the first two plays of the autobiographical trilogy he wrote, produced and performs as a one-man show.

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. 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 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, bringing along a three-item to-do list: Seek guidance and wisdom from some appropriate spirit, scatter some of his son’s ashes in an appropriate place, and see the Taj Mahal — not necessarily in that order. 

In “bag—,” Elkins’ 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.

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 bring back some of the most popular 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.

Doors open for both galas at 6 p.m. with the cabaret-style show starting at 7 p.m. Season sponsors will donate pre-show treats.

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.

COVID guidelines in 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. 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. It was cofounded by Tom and Laura Moore 10 years ago. 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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