Crested Butte Mountain Theatre History
The Crested Butte Mountain Theatre was born in the summer of 1972 by an energetic, talented group of people who had the vision to see a remote community provide some of its own unique culture. That might be the proper way of saying that a group of energetic, hard-core mountain folk conceived of an idea to try and infuse their small community with even more fun, fantasy, and freedom than already existed at the time. The first show was Dark of the Moon and was played against the backdrop of a full moon rising from behind Crested Butte Mountain. Imagine how spectacular! Spectators sat on blankets in the grass, enthralled by the astonishing event unfolding before them. On stage were their friends - acting, singing, playing, and dancing. That same winter, they produced A Cry of Players in the dilapidated, drafty Old Town Hall.
When Old Town Hall was condemned in the winter of 1975, the Mountain Theatre lost its home (a familiar situation when trying to keep a theatre company alive). The players used any space they could find to continue performing. Under Milkwood was performed in local living rooms. But it was so popular that it had to play in three different locations, including the historic Depot, and finishing its run in the Gothic Building at the base of the ski area.
The Mountain Theatre moved back into the semi-remodeled Old Town Hall for the 1976/77 winter season, which some remember as the Winter of Un, or the winter of no snow (seriously, nary a flake). It marked its return to the space with a memorable production of The Lion in Winter. That production starred long-time resident and theatre great, Tom Mallardi, who passed away in 2002 and after whom the Theatre's current home is named: The Mallardi Cabaret Theatre, formerly Old Town Hall, a renaming that the Crested Butte Town Council was more than happy to allow.
Between this 1976/77 season and 1997, CBMT moved around a bit, sharing Old Town Hall with the CB Town Council, performing at the Center for the Arts and the Princess Theatre, which is now the Princess Wine Bar, and continuing the tradition and producing great plays, both compelling and comedic. In 1998, CBMT secured the Old Town Hall as a somewhat permanent home, leasing the space from the town, and allowing the company to produce major productions at the Center for the Arts and an increasing number of smaller performances at Old Town Hall.
In the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre's 40 year history, we have produced over 200 plays. CBMT continues to offer a creative outlet for diversely talented people in the community: actors, writers, directors, dancers, artists, musicians, crafts people, technicians, and more. We attempt to involve as many people as possible who have the energy, desire, and much-cherished sense of community. Although some may say they also need to "find the time" to get involved, we find that time seems to find them if their heart is willing. CBMT repays the community's overwhelming trust and support with quality entertainment throughout the year and through its community outreach programs, including Teens on Stage.
Through its Arts in Education Program, CBMT is committed to bringing Crested Butte's next generation into the theatre. Youth theatre programs are aimed at exposing children to a wide range of ideas and experiences while insuring future participation in the theatre both on and off the stage. It's no secret that the arts in education programs are being cut dramatically throughout the country; nor is it any surprise that a community like Crested Butte is able to see a lack of education for their children and find the wherewithal to address that lack of their own volition. The Mountain Theatre's support of these programs through the Community School Drama Club and Teens on Stage Program has resulted in critically acclaimed productions of Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet Prince of Denmark, Shakespeare to Seinfeld, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Moliere's The Learned Ladies, and O'Brien's The Disappearance of Daniel Hand.
And since history continues to create itself, we will strive to update this page with turning points, significant events, and corrections or updates to our history.