By GERMAINE HUPE/Winters Theatre Company
The members of the Winters Theatre Company have selected an original melodrama, “The Phantom of the Opera House,” as their spring dinner theater production. The melodrama is locally written and combines historical fact and theatrical fiction. The production will be held at the Palms Playhouse, which was known as the Winters Opera House in the late 19th century, making the locale of the play true Winters history.
The fictional plot concerns an acting family, the Burbages, who inherit the Opera House and present everything from Shakespeare to Vaudeville there. The fortunes of the Burbages have taken a decided turn for the worst when a series of accidents occur during rehearsals and a frightening apparition stalks the stage of the Opera House late at night. The ghostly creature is no specter, however, but the villain of the play, a disgruntled actor, arsonist and convicted felon who is seeking revenge against the Burbage troupe who testified against him in earlier days on the East Coast.
The play will be presented on two evenings, Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20. Please note the difference in time for each performance. The Palms Playhouse doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening with dinner at 7 p.m. and the play at 8 p.m. On Sunday evening, the doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and the play at 7 p.m.
The ticket price is $45 and includes a Buckhorn catered dinner, the melodrama and a series of Vaudeville Acts (Olio) typical of theatrical productions of the period. Purchase tickets on the Winters Theatre Company website at http://winterstheatre.org. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-795-4014.
The menu includes Buckhorn tri-tip, roasted potatoes, a vegetable medley, salad, rolls, dessert and coffee. A vegetarian option of lasagna is also included in the menu. A no-host bar is available during the evening.
Audience members who wish to join in the spirit of the times are invited to dress in period costume, as they boo the villain, cheer the hero and sigh with the heroine. “The Phantom of the Opera House” is written in the traditional style and theatrical diction of the late 19th century, but the play differs in that it begins in the present time and then reverts to Winters in the 1890s.