Butte Opera House

Butte Opera House
139 E. Bennett Ave.
Cripple Creek , CO 80813
United States


Dreams are built on romance and excitement and often on the mystique of giving life to old buildings.

In 1946 Wayne and Dorothy Mackin drove over Tenderfoot Hill, saw the view of the Sangre de Christos and below the town of Cripple Creek. They purchased the Imperial Hotel with the dream of making Cripple Creek their home and place of business. They quickly found that there had to be some sort of attraction to bring guests to the hotel and looked into using the building for entertainment.

The first year they hired a struggling group of players from Kansas to put on a show and the second year they started producing their own shows. In 1953 Wayne and Dorothy began the tradition of producing true turn-of- the century melodrama on the stage at the Imperial, and this tradition continued for 45 years. That tradition ended in the early 1990s.

Bonnie and Stephen Mackin (who had managed the hotel for Wayne and Dorothy the last 10 years they had it) walked up the stairs to the Butte Opera House in early February, 2000 and saw their own dream similar to the one Wayne and Dorothy experienced when they came over the hill to Cripple Creek. They saw a building that had been neglected for over 50 years in the process of being restored to its former glory and felt Dorothys spirit say, Give it a whirl.

The result was a renewed tradition of melodrama for the 2000 summer season. After Wayne Mackins death in the summer of 2003, the spirit of the melodrama was dampened. In 2004 the Mackins daughter, Stacy took over production of the show, stepping in as the third-generation melodrama producer. Stacy, who also serves as the Butte Opera House Manager, is assisted by veteran melodrama actor Mel Moser.

This year, the tradition continues as the third generation of melodrama producers is creating again the Cripple Creek legacy melodrama, in the great tradition of Dorothy and Wayne Mackin.
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