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Chautauqua returns with ‘Humorists’

After a year filled with historic moments as the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, Boulder City Chautauqua is adding some much-needed humor into people’s lives.

After missing last year’s presentation, Chautauqua returns Oct. 22 and 23 with “Great American Humorists.”

The three performances will feature Doug Watson as Will Rogers, Karen Vuranch as Julia Child, Susan Marie Frontczak as Erma Bombeck and McAvoy Layne as Mark Twain.

“We are excited about them because we all need some humor at this point with everything going on in the world,” said program director Ihla Crowley. “I think people are ready, too.”

Crowley, who served as Boulder City Chautauqua’s first program director about 30 years ago, has stepped back into the role this year.

After working with Chautauqua for 10 years, she turned over the reins to another group, which ran the program for 20 years. Crowley said she was asked to come back this year as the organization regroups.

“We are trying to return to our roots.”

As the city continues to grapple with the coronavirus, the Chautauqua committee had to make a few changes to this year’s program, including the location. Crowley said though they would have preferred to remain at the historic Boulder Theatre, it wasn’t available this year.

The new site, Boulder Creek Pavilion, has a slightly smaller capacity — 350 vs. 398 — and is flat. To help ensure all spectators can see the Chautauqua scholars, a stage will be set up and the rows will be staggered, she said.

The Oct. 22 performance, set for 6 p.m., will be a double feature with Watson and Vuranch. Frontczak’s presentation is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 23 and Layne will take the stage at 6 p.m. Oct. 23.

Crowley said Layne takes his appearances as Twain seriously and barely comes out of character “even for business.”

Each presentation will feature the scholar’s monologue, a question-and-answer session as the Chautauqua character and a question-and-answer session with the scholar.

Prior to each presentation, there will be entertainment provided by Bob Buetler, Steve Cottrell, Elaine Hardy and Sharon Resnikoff.

Performances will be held at the Boulder Creek Pavilion, 1501 Veterans’ Memorial Drive.

Tickets are $15 per person per performance. They are available at the Boulder Dam Hotel, 1305 Arizona St.; Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, 100 Nevada Way; and Ace Hardware, 541 Nevada Way. They can also be purchased online at www.bcchautauqua.org.

A meet-and-greet reception with the Chautauqua scholars is planned for Oct. 21. Tickets are $35 each.

For more information about Chautauqua, visit www.bcchatauqua.org or call 760-877-0425.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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