2016 – The summer of Historic Elitch Theatre

The planning for the 125th celebration came from the hearts of admirers for our beloved Mary Elitch and the last two remaining structures; the theatre and the carousel shell. These historical structures became the perfect backdrop… Read More


The planning for the 125th celebration came from the hearts of admirers for our beloved Mary Elitch and the last two remaining structures; the theatre and the carousel shell. These historical structures became the perfect backdrop for the community to gather for entertainment; reminiscing and admiring the wondrous legacy that has been bestowed upon us to be stewards of. No matter how large or how small the occasion was to be, it was of utmost importance for it to bring the community together in a joyous fashion, to recall  fond memories to create new ones.  What the theatre was and what the theatre will become was filled the hearts and minds of those in attendance throughout the “Summer of Historic Elitch Theatre,” as it was proclaimed to be by Governor John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock.

Partnering with The Tennyson Berkeley Business Association (TBBA) for a community Memorial Day barbeque with local business owners Block & Larder, XO Gifts, Call to Arms Brewing, Local 46, Jolly Goods and Goldspot Brewing was the kick-off to the season.  The fabulous food and brew were savored as Play ‘n Dirty got the crowd grooving to great music.  Other highlights of the Memorial Day weekend were the announcement of the 2016 New Works screenplay finalists and the winner of the Mary Elitch female playwright award.

June started off with new branding, a new website courtesy of FireAnt, sold out First Friday Theatre Tours and a visit from Channel 9’s Coleen Ferreira.  Movie goers packed the lawn for our 5th annual outdoor summer film series.  The delighted crowd enjoyed the musical talents of “Bear Antler” as the sun cast a colorful sunset behind the silhouette of the theatre and the big screen came to life with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

To partner with our visual artists we called upon two of our favorite nationally known local chalk artists, Chris Carlson and Naomi Haverland.  Chris honored the theatre with a 3D creation that took first place at the Denver Chalk Art Festival.  For the showing of “Jaws” he created a terrifying 3D giant shark.  Naomi brought Pee Wee Herman to life on the sidewalk on the night of “Pee- Wee’s Big Adventure” and a happy movie goer went home with an original Columbia 1950’s cruiser.   Later in the summer Naomi presented the theatre with a whimsical portrait of Mary Elitch, which was unveiled with admiration at the “Night at the Trocadero.”   The portrait will permanently grace Mary’s theatre box.

We continued on in the spirit of Mary Elitch by partnering with Lalu: imagine, create, play and Kid’s Carpentry Colorado to bring education to underserved children.  The free week long workshop introduced three of Mary’s favorite studies poetry, music and art.  Lalu owner Julie Scarlata, along with Elitch Theatre Board of Director Tracy Frickey shared the story of Mary Elitch and guided the students through rhythm and rhyme to create poetry and art about the glorious animals that were owned by Mary.  Alice Sampson from Kid’s Carpentry Colorado introduced tools and equipment, along with safety procedures on how to craft their own musical instruments.  On the last day of the workshop an air of pride along with music filled the air.  Each student left with completed projects in art, music, poetry and woodworking and more importantly a sense of community.

In August we were proud to open the doors to the second year of readings for the New Works Festival.  Energized directors, actors and actresses filled the theatre for weeks; gaining spirited momentum with the anticipation of Christina Crawford’s arrival.  Ms. Crawford sponsored and presented the first every Mary Elitch Award for a female playwright to Sandra Marie Vago for “Listen.”  The audience praised the selection with an enthusiastic round of applause.

The close of the 125th summer season came to a magical conclusion as Governor John Hickenlooper addressed the attendees of “The Night at the Trocadero.” Faces of multi-generations smiled as starlit skies held the memories gone by close to their hearts.  Dancers glided across the carousels wooden labyrinth floor as “Sentimental Sounds” and the “Hazel Miller Band” belted out toe tapping tunes.  Families, friends, neighbors and the city ended the evening as it began 125 years ago; excited, entertained and hopeful for a grand future for Elitch theatre.

The Board of Directors is so proud and thankful for the sponsors, volunteers, donors and attendees for making the 125th a successful celebration.  Please share the excitement with friends, family and your community as we head in to Colorado Gives, so we can continue the entertainment and restoration. Schedule today or throughout the year by going to   each donation no matter how large or small helps us in the drawing for an additional $5,000.


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