Theatrical Roast features renowned Summit County locals
Lake Dillon Theatre Company debuts its Theatrical Roast Saturday, and though it promises to be funny, it won’t be in the “Comedy Central” vein.”We’re not that mean spirited,” said artistic director Christopher Alleman, who decided to host the roast, taking a cue from other theaters nationwide.The evening includes dinner (salmon, pork or pasta) and 20-minute skits, each depicting parts of the lives of John Warner (dentist and Breckenridge mayor), Freda Nieters (legendary skier and ski instructor at Keystone) and Bob Craig (founder of Keystone Science School). Alex Miller (editor of Summit Daily News), B.J. Knapp (founder of the theater company) and Alleman have spent the last few weeks getting to know their “characters” and writing scripts.For instance, Miller’s piece will revolve around Craig, touting him as the most interesting person in the world. “This was a rather unique bit of writing for me, since typically I’m either doing straight factual writing for the newspaper or completely fictional things in my other writing – this was sort of a blend. I didn’t really know where it was going to start or end, but I knew it had to be both fun and respectful to Bob Craig,” Miller said. “The best part about it, of course, was spending time with Bob at his home and hearing some of his remarkable life story. I also worked in a bit of a surprise ending with a few ‘special guest appearances.’ It should be a fun evening, and I can’t wait to see what BJ and Chris came up with for Freda and John.”Knapp found herself completely moved as she got to know Nieters. Knapp spent hours with the ski legend, and also read a book Nieters’ mother wrote about coming to America from Norway, took a trip to the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Vail and interviewed Nieters’ daughters and friend. “We’ve shared tears, and we’ve shared a lot of laughs,” Knapp said.Knapp will employ actors to recreate scenes from when Nieters coached the Summit High School ski team, then move onto Dr. Pill (think Dr. Phil) to cover “some of her domestic situations and changes she made midlife.”But to take a jab at Nieters “would really be impossible,” Knapp said. Instead, she focuses her prods on the situations and people around her.”She’s a most extraordinary woman,” Knapp said. “It’s her capacity to really accept what has been dealt to her through the difficult passages she’s made and to do something courageous and positive with them … she can ultimately make something good out of the (worst) circumstances in her life.”I am hoping that my piece really allows the audience to celebrate her life and what she is – period. And I hope they laugh along the way.”Alleman is taking a musical spin on Warner’s life as a dentist and town mayor. “After the first two minutes (talking to Warner), I knew exactly what I was going to do,” Alleman said, explaining that as soon as Warner talked about how he dresses up as a tooth fairy – pink tutu and all – and hands out toothbrushes and paste to kids, Alleman couldn’t hold back. He’ll also add a stint about Warner overseeing marijuana dispensaries in Breck.”We hope to make this an annual event,” Alleman said. “It’s a good opportunity to support friends and watch their lives be put on stage for 20 minutes.”
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