Back in the 1890s, a gold rush of major proportions was underway in Cripple Creek and the boomtown atmosphere called for entertainment. While many tired, thirsty, and socially hungry miners preferred the gambling halls, saloons, and dance halls that lined the streets of the small communities around the mining district there was also a more sophisticated lot who yearned for aspects of the society they left back East…Theatre, Opera, Ballet…The Arts.
Grand opera houses were located in both Cripple Creek and Victor. Back in those days patrons saw the likes of such notables as Texas Guinan and Lily Langtree. After many years of successful theatre in the region, two World Wars and The Great Depression of the early 1900s took their toll on the Arts in Cripple Creek and by the mid-1940s there was no theatre to be found in the little city.
In 1946 Wayne and Dorothy Mackin brought theater back to Cripple Creek when they purchased the Imperial Hotel and began producing Classic Victorian Melodrama. The Imperial Players performed in Gold Bar Room Theater of the old hotel and helped revitalize the town with a new tourism economy. The award-winning theater venue (called by Time Magazine “The Old Vic of Classic Victorian Melodrama”) was visited by such notables as Victor Borge, Arthur Godfrey, Walt Disney, Mary Tyler Moore and Lowell Thomas. It also kick-started the career of Ragtime pianist Max Morath who got his start at the keyboard in the Imperial.
Wayne & Dorothy Mackin continued pr
139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, CO 80813
ALBUQUERQUE LITTLE THEATRE