Arts / Theater

‘The Impossible Paradise,’ play tells story of Estes Park’s earliest pioneers

Sprague Evans & MacGregor 1ESTES PARK – The Impossible Paradise: The Story of Estes Park’s Earliest Pioneers” opens at the Estes Park Museum on Friday, May 22. The show will run through Sunday, May 24; show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

This original play, written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park, tells the story of Estes Park’s earliest pioneers and their unique and powerful influences on how the area was settled, homestead, and developed. It is also the story of a love doomed from the start, but powerful enough to last beyond death. There’s romance, intrigue, and even a murder!

Some of the colorful characters in this original work are Rocky Mountain Jim, the drunkard with a poet’s heart and a brilliant mind; Isabella Bird, the world-traveling woman whose letters home to her sister were published in books sold all over the world; Griff Evans, the pioneer who somehow survived in the wilderness of early Estes Park year-round with a wife and six children; cameo appearances by Joel Estes, and homesteaders Alexander MacGreggor and Abner Sprague; and, Lord Dunraven, the Irish Earl who wanted the entire Estes Park area for himself.

Estes Park’s Historian Laureate, James H. Pickering, author of numerous books on Estes Park history had this to say about the play: “I like it a lot. The supposition that Griff, impressed by both Theodore Whyte and the Earl, threw in with them is not particularly far-fetched. You have a real gift for dialogue. It makes the characters and their personalities come alive in a way narrative history does not. Bravo!”

hiking partyBoyer Buck has directed three previous plays at the Baldpate Inn: “Love Letters” and “Southern Comforts” in 2012; and, in 2013, the radio play, “Marriage Can Be Murder.” She is a freelance writer and has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years.

For this production, the cast includes local actors Dave Jarrells as Rocky Mountain Jim; Sandra Hofmann as Isabella Bird; Rich Mitchell as Griff Evans; Chris Erskine as Joel Estes, Colonel Sigley, and Lord Dunraven; Kurtis Kelly as Alexander Macgregor and John Winslow; Scott Buck as Abner Sprague and Thomas Winslow; Lonnie Erskine as Jane Evans; Savannah Erskine as Jenny Evans and Henrietta Bird; and Kay Mitchell as the narrator. Kathy Littlejohn is the stage manager for the production.

Tickets are $11 for Museum Friends and Foundation Members and students; $13 for adults. Online tickets are on sale now at
Physical tickets are on sale now at the Estes Park Museum during gallery hours: Mondays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. There is very limited seating, so advance tickets are recommended.

For more information on exhibits, events, tours and programs, please visit or call the Estes Park Museum at 970-586-6256. The mission of the Estes Park Museum, located on 200 Fourth Street, is to collect, interpret and preserve local history, as well as present exhibits, programs and events for the education and benefit of residents and visitors of all ages.

TOP PHOTO: Abner Sprague (Scott Buck), Griff Evans (Rich Mitchell) and Alexander MacGregor (Kurtis Kelly) discuss Lord Dunraven’s involvement in acquiring land illegally in Estes Park.

LOWER PHOTO: John and Thomas Winslow (Kurtis Kelly and Scott Buck) accompany Isabella Bird (Sandra Hoffman) to Estes Park, whereupon they meet Rocky Mountain Jim (Dave “Bear” Jarrells) in “The Impossible Paradise.”

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