Children's Theatre, Classes, Musicals, New Works
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The Chautauqua Players were formed in 1975, by Rodger Hoopman. The name of the company came from the traveling Chautauqua shows that toured the country in tents in the early part of the 20th century. A revival tent had been offered to the company as a potential performing space in the summer of 1975. After one attempt at setting up the tent and the myriad problems involved (eight hours of work, putting the top on upside down and returning the next day to find the tent collapsed), the tent idea collapsed as well.
In the fall of 1975, the Chautauqua Players produced their first show, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, in the Old Eagle Theatre in Old Sacramento, and its success led to production of a Sherlock Holmes drama. The financial success of the two productions led Hoopman to a partnership with Gene Morrow and Eric Ericson and the pursuit of their own performing space.
The original 65-seat Chautauqua Playhouse opened at 25th and R Streets in downtown Sacramento in April of 1976. On the 12’x20’ stage in the former warehouse, the company produced mysteries, Moliere comedies, and contemporary comedies and dramas to critical and audience acclaim. Over the next several years, as the repertory became more contemporary, Morrow and Ericson left the partnership and new partner Charles Slater enabled the Playhouse to expand to 135 seats and a larger stage in 1980.
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