Magic is back onstage at the Gold Hill Hotel |

Magic is back onstage at the Gold Hill Hotel

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

“Let the magic of theater begin.”

With those words, spoken by Gold Hill Theater Troupe producer Bill Fain, visitors to the Gold Hill Hotel on Wednesday and Thursday evenings are treated to performances of original comedies, published dramatic plays or even Shakespearean works.

“What we usually do is two plays and one musical or follies,” Fain said. “We usually try to do an original play written by troupe members and do a published play like ‘Agnes of God’ or ‘Steel Magnolias’ and do a variety show or Follies.”

Two plays and the follies are done in the spring, with two more in the fall, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. In addition, Friday Night Follies, a combination of song, dance and comedy skits is offered through the spring, summer and fall.

This spring features “Yellowjacket Margaritas II, A Western Fairy Tale,” by local residents Perry Marshall Arnn and Michelle Gellar-Reynolds on Wednesdays and “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harding on Thursdays.

“Yellowjacket Margaritas,” is a musical farce that involves a couple of men in Virginia City’s heydey who want to find a room to rent, but the only place that has rooms is an all-female boardinghouse. What they do for a roof over their heads leads to a murder mystery.

The names of the characters give a hint of the play’s tone.

Cameron Crain and Michael Ford Harris play the two home-seeking men, Charles Manalot and Beau Anero and Michelle Gellar-Reynolds and Jeanne Weber are the boardinghouse owners, Victoria Secrest and Jasmine Wanabesmart.

On Wednesday, Crain was relegated to working the lights after a leg injury prevented him from taking the stage, and Arnn took his place for the evening,

Squeek LaVake plays piano for the show, and the songs are unbeatable, as is the play’s surprise ending.

There was also a cast change for Thursday’s offering of “Steel Magnolias,” with Emma Musser doing a creditable job replacing Brittany Crain, who bowed out because of a scheduling conflict.

“‘Steel Magnolias’ is one of the wittiest plays I’ve ever seen,” Fain said. “But I love comedies and audiences prefer them.”

Though not a comedy, there was, as Truvy, played by Cathylee James said, “laughter through tears” in the play, which is about the bonding of five women who help a friend through the loss of her daughter.

The play was made into a successful movie in the 1980s, starring Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah and Shirley McClain.

The cast of the Gold Hill “Steel Magnolias” put in strong performances, particularly James, Weber as Ouiser, Leslie Stevens as Clairee and the irrepressible Gellar-Reynolds as Bible-thumping Annelle.

Dinner and a play are $28, with the play only costing $10. The Follies, which includes a four-course gourmet meal, is $45.

Fain said theater fans can expect a Shakespeare play in August in the hotel’s gazebo area.

“We’ll start rehearsing ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ in June,” he said. “It’s a little bit hard because at nighttime, it gets cold up here. August is pretty predictable to be warm, but June and July can be cold enough to need an overcoat.”

Fain said the troupe, made up entirely of amateur performers and writers, may even do “Oklahoma,” as there are many members who can sing, dance and act.

“We started out to do that and we aborted,” he said. “We decided it was a little too ambitious for us at the time, but it might show up in the future.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.

If you go

WHAT: “Yellowjacket Margaritas II, A Western Fairy Tale”

WHEN: Wednesdays through May 30; Dinner 5-7 p.m., play, 8 p.m.

COST: $26 for dinner and play; $10 for play only

WHAT: “Steel Magnolias”

WHEN: Thursdays through May 31; Dinner 5-7 p.m., play, 8 p.m.

COST: $26 for dinner and play; $10 for play only

WHAT: Friday Night Follies

WHEN: Fridays through May 25; 7 p.m.

COST: $45 for dinner and show

WHERE: 1540 Main St., Gold Hill

CALL: 847-0111, reservations recommended