Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville
Hiss the Villian. Cheer the Hero.
Every summer the Henry Strater Theatre is transported back in time for a season of live Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville performances. Each year, we bring a new production to the stage performing it every night of the week except for Mondays. Our cast is a mix of local and national talent who spend months preparing to entertain our guests from around the world. It’s always a delightful show filled with laughs, mystery, and villainous fun for everyone.
For information about our current production please visit the Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville website. If you would like to make a reservation for any size group, please contact our Box Office at 970.375.7160 or visit the Henry Strater Theatre website.
Henry Strater Theatre History
Originally the Weinland Automobile Garage, the Henry Strater Theatre first opened in 1962 as the Diamond Circle Theatre. Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville began under the direction of Orvis Grout and Diamond Circle Theatre Company (Rod Barker’s Grandmother—Marion Jarvis, Father—Earl Barker, Mother—Jentra Barker, and business pioneers Mahlon T. White, Robert Beers, and Mort McGinley.) It has run uninterrupted for more than 45 years. In 2008 the Strater Hotel acquired the Durango Melodrama & Melodrama and renamed the theatre to Henry Strater Theatre. It received an extensive facelift including improved stage lighting and sound equipment, making it a perfect setting for the Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville.
Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville History
The Victorian Stage Melodrama featured six stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an aged parent, a sidekick, and a servant of the aged parent engaged, all engaged in an exaggerated plot with themes of love and murder. Often the good, but not very clever, hero is tricked by a scheming villain who has eyes on the damsel in distress until fate intercedes to guarantee the triumph of good over evil. Orchestral music or song is used to accompany the action adding drama to the scenes.
Vaudeville is made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. It originated from a variety of sources including the concert saloon, minstrelsy, dime museums, and literary burlesque. The different acts include classical musicians, dancers, comedians, acrobats, jugglers, to name a few. Referred to as “the heart of American show business,” vaudeville used to be one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America, and is essential to the success of the Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville.