Melodrama hot ticket |

Melodrama hot ticket

by Caryn Haller

The cast of “Home on the Range or Let’s Rustle up Some Grub” are hoping the audience will have as much fun watching their melodrama as they do rehearsing for it.

The annual historical society fundraiser is Feb. 9-12, with tickets sold out for the Saturday performance.

In honor of the late Sue Smith, who created the melodrama fundraiser seven years ago, Linda Diego wore Smith’s melodrama shoes as part of her heroine costume.

“The melodrama is a blast and the cast makes it a party every practice,” Diego said. “Everybody has a sense of humor.”

After five seasons of melodramas this is Diego’s first year playing the heroine.

“For once she gets her man,” Diego said. “I’ve been single for so long and I’d like to move out of the fast lane and settle down on a ranch.”

An integral part of any melodrama is the music. And for five years pianist Linda Sandstrom has helped set the scenes and introduce characters with her playing.

“I love to play for this because I can make up stuff and rewrite old folk songs and music,” Sandstrom said. “The music is important. It sets the mood and gets you from one scene to the next.”

Sandstrom’s husband, Ron, plays a surprise character who appears during the second half.

“This character is central to the play because Basque people are so central to Carson Valley,” Ron said.

He also said his favorite part of being in the melodramas is the audience reaction.

“I enjoy the spontaneity of the audience as they react to us,” he said. “We never know for sure exactly what they will laugh at. Sometimes it’s a surprise.”

During his last melodrama in 2006 Scott Imus played a protagonist. This year he plays the livestock-stealing villain.

“What’s good and what’s bad about this role is I’m a bad guy, so everybody hates me,” he said. “This is quite a change, but I think this is going to be more fun.”

Mary Stephans has helped behind-the-scenes of the melodramas for four years. This is her first year acting in one, playing a fashion consultant.

“I like the camaraderie of the people and the corniness of it is fun,” she said. “Everybody has such a good time.”

Maggie Allen, who plays a cleaning woman/judge, should have asked Stephans for fashion advice when picking out her costume.

“I’ve been allowed to create how I look,” she said. “I got to have the ugly dress, rubber gloves and a hat that doesn’t match.”

The price for the Feb. 9 no-host cocktail show is $10. The dinner show on Feb.10 is $20, and the Feb. 12 luncheon matinee is $15. The Tahoe-Douglas Elks Lodge No. 2670 will provide the hot dog lunch on Sunday.

Tickets are available at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 782-2555 to reserve by credit card.