By Jennifer Pund
Silver Plume’s annual melodrama, which opens for its 40th run at the end of April, is a town-wide, generational-spanning, family affair. Everyone gets involved. The Plume Players’ latest production, Slipping Beauty, or Even Villains Get the Blues, was written by local George Downing, and is a reprise of 1994’s melodrama.
The story follows a maniacal villain hungry for money and power. The melodrama is always plenty of fun for everyone, but it also is the largest fund-raiser in town for historic preservation. Performances take place in the George Downing Theater, April 22-23, 29-30 and May 6-7. There will be a reprise on July 3.
Nicolas Regester, who grew up participating in the town’s melodramas with his parents and other family members, is this year’s director. He and his new wife, Alanna, recently purchased a home in Silver Plume and are “setting down roots to stick around.” They both are dedicated to carrying on the tradition for years to come.
“George is my great grandfather, so I grew up doing it as a child. I went off to college in New York and did quite a bit of theater out there,” he said. “I grew up with it, and it was fun. When I came back into town I had a bit more of a theater background, and it’s a good outlet for the theatrics and thespian in me. I’m just trying to keep it alive. Keep it going. I participate for the heritage of it.”
While Regester is working to keep it going, it was Downing who got things rolling. “George started it. He’s written 34 new melodramas, one each year,” Regester said. “In the last five years, he’s been getting older and hasn’t been able to write new ones, so we’re bringing up the old ones.”
The melodrama characters are performed by other family members and residents of Silver Plume. Even more locals volunteer for lights to make the script come to life and help run the kitchen. “Some of the cast has been with it for as long as [Downing] has been writing. It’s not an open audition or anything, it’s kind of the same characters who show up every year,” Regester explained. “There are 13 total in the cast, and then we get about five volunteers that run the kitchen and prepare the food.”
Slipping Beauty, or Even Villains Get the Blues follows the traditional model with a “sweet young thing,” villain and a hero. “This one takes place around early 1900s, and the villain is trying to build up the businesses in town,” Regester said. “This one has a medical twist, where the villain is trying to build a new clinic and the town’s people are fighting it, wanting to keep things as they are. They don’t want some surgeon slicing and dicing in the middle of their town. The villain in this one has a fun twist at the end which changes the villain model a bit.”
Dinner is served with each performance starting an hour before the show. Enjoy a sandwich buffet with cold cuts, salads, chips, guacamole and salsa and dessert. “The dinner is the traditional one we’ve been doing for years of sandwiches. Dessert is a brownie made at the Alpine Restaurant in Georgetown and ice cream.”
Tickets are $35 for adults and on Sundays, seniors are $30 if a reservation is called in. All money raised goes to the People of Silver Plume, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Silver Plume History.
“The People for Silver Plume run and maintain the museum, theater and host other events for the town. The Town puts on the Cabin Fever Dance and the People for Silver Plume people put on other events for the town,” Regester explained. “They own our museum, and they manage the George Downing Theater that we put the play on in.”
Call 303-569-2023 to make reservations. Saturday doors open at 6 p.m., the buffet dinner begins at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. On Sundays, everything is an hour earlier with doors at 5 p.m.
Enjoy a fun and entertaining evening out—where all the characters are characters—and help Silver Plume’s residents maintain historic buildings by attending one, or more, performances of Slipping Beauty, or Even Villains Get the Blues.
Silver Plume Melodrama
April 22-23, 29-30 & May 6-7 • Sat: 6pm/Sun: 5pm
George Downing Playhouse/Large Town Hall
1025 Main St., Silver Plume
Originally Published in the April 2017 issue of the MMAC Monthly