By Susie Sarlo
Posted Jul. 11, 2014 @ 1:00 pm
The Picketwire Players of La Junta, Colorado, are one of four theaters in Colorado who secured the rights to produce “Les Miserables” in 2014. Based on Victor Hugo’s influential masterpiece, it tells the story of broken dreams, sacrifice, unrequited love, and the survival of the human spirit. The magnificent score includes the unforgettable songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “Master of the House” and many more.
Our patrons continue to keep us alive with their generous contributions and unwavering support. It’s the pride of our patrons that keep us diligently working to provide La Junta and surrounding areas with great community theater. As we move closer toward being in operation for 50 years, our patrons mean more than ever, they allow us to continue to weave the tales you enjoy with the excellent productions you have come to expect. Picketwire is fortunate to have received sponsorship from the Otero County Health Department Tobacco Program. With this generous sponsorship, Picketwire purchased innovative visual effects, creating a new and incredible experience for our audience in our small town theater.
Picketwire’s veteran summer director, Tracey Salzbrenner, brings the Arkansas Valley yet another stellar summer musical experience. Tracey previously directed “The Producers,” “9 to 5” and “Urinetown: The Musical.” When asked why she chose “Les Miserables” for the 2014 summer musical, Tracey said: “This is one of the most powerful musicals of all time. Who wouldn’t want to direct it?” She went on to explain that while it is posing a great challenge, “Many people love this musical with great passion, so I wanted to bring joy to our community.” In addition, many Picketwire Players as well as community members asked her to do “Les Miserables.” “As a director, it is my job to listen to requests and try to accommodate them as I can.”
Tracey has a long history in theater. She acted in plays for the Children’s Theatre of La Junta, La Junta High School productions (under the direction of Kelley Jo Smith) and then in Picketwire plays. Her performance as Mrs. Lovett in Picketwire’s “Sweeney Todd” is still remembered.
Assisting Tracey with her duties are longtime collaborators, Cameron Salzbrenner (Assistant Director) and Desiree Goheen (choreographer). Cameron has worked on many Picketwire plays for over a decade. Goheen said of Cameron: “He is ‘Mr. Organized.’ He keeps us grounded and is always the calm during the storm.”
Desiree has been Tracey’s choreographer and sidekick on every summer play since “The Producers.” Desiree values Tracey’s vision of each show and values that “Tracey takes plays that people know well and puts a spin on it for Picketwire and for the talent that we have in the Valley. Tracey seems to bring out the best of people in the cast.” Desiree went on to say that Tracey and Picketwire, as a whole, are very accepting of everyone. “We are a family.”
Desiree started dancing lessons at age 4 with Darlene Blackford (who is also acting in “Les Miserables”). Her first play was in high school under the direction of Bonnie Grossen. She then went on to act in several Picketwire plays such as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Sylvia.” She laughed when she said, “I don’t even think about what I am going to do during the summer anymore, I know I am going to do a Picketwire play.”
“Les Miserables” production dates are July 31, Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at Picketwire Center for Performing and Visual Arts, 802 San Juan Avenue in La Junta. The play begins a half hour earlier than usual – at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 384-8320. You can also purchase tickets online beginning July 15 at www.picketwireplayers.org.
‘Les Miserables’ cast:
Jean Valjean, Joe Trainor; Javert, Thomas Seaba; Fantine, Natalie Summers; Eponine, Leeanne Roath; Marius, Scott Goheen; Cosette, Katie Lagergren; Thenardier, Stephen Mathews; Madame Thenardier, Jenny Mathews; Enjolras, Levi Grimlund; Combeferre/Feuilly, Henry Kelley; Courfeyrac, Janika Grimlund; Gavroche, Noah Summers; Joly, Kalee DuBois; Grantaire, Ben Meiklejohn; Jean Prouvaire and Lesgles, John Eubanks; the Bishop of Digne, Norm Milks; Little Cosette, Teagan Summers; Young Eponine, Alexia Nunez-Rebel
Grant Elliott, Tim Baublits, Todd Hillstad, Rockie Sanders
Melody Bryant, Cheyanne Foeppel, Janika Grimlund, Jenn Harsh, Laura Hillstad, Julie Meiklejohn, Darlene Blackford, Bridget Pleasants
Other Featured Players
Dawn Pollmiller, Debbie Dennis, Susan Shand, Nicole Haberman, Courtney Ayala, Brenda Erwin, Randi Hiner, Jessica Rebel, Cassandra Maurer, Kayla Greenley, Lexie Summers, Addison Aragon, Evan Lagergren, Kaydence Lagergren, Kaylee Rumrill, Alicia Rumrill, Linsey Goodwin, Johnathan McKelvey, Jayden Martinez, Nenna White, Jim Stroud, Deborah Settle, Gabe Guerrero, Cira Fowler