HOW THE HENRY STRATER THEATRE CAME TO LIFE
Originally the Weinland Automobile Garage, this historic theatre first opened in 1962 as the Diamond Circle Theatre. Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville began under the direction of Orvis Grout and the Diamond Circle Theatre Company (Rod Barker’s Grandmother—Marion Jarvis, Father—Earl Barker, Mother—Jentra Barker, and business pioneers Mahlon T. White, Robert Beers, and Mort McGinley.) It ran uninterrupted for 45 years, including a period under the direction of Jeannie Wheeldon. In 2008 the historic Strater Hotel acquired the Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville and renamed the theatre to Henry Strater Theatre. It received an extensive facelift including improved stage lighting and sound equipment, making it the perfect setting for comedy shows, concerts, and other performances. The theatre is open year-round presenting a variety of entertainment, and is a great venue for weddings, parties, and meetings. Please visit our Show page for information about upcoming performances.
HISS THE VILLIAN AND CHEER THE HERO!
The Victorian Stage Melodrama featured six stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an aged parent, a sidekick, and a servant of the aged parent engaged, all engaged in an exaggerated plot with themes of love and murder. Often the good but not very clever hero is tricked by a scheming villain who has eyes on the damsel in distress until fate intercedes to guarantee the triumph of good over evil. Orchestral music or song is used to accompany the action adding drama to the scenes.
Vaudeville is made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. They originated from a variety of sources including the concert saloon, minstrelsy, dime museums, and literary burlesque. The different acts included classical musicians, dancers, comedians, acrobats, jugglers, to name a few. Referred to as “the heart of American show business,” vaudeville used to be one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America.