Saturday, April 25, 2009

Date Night: Boomtown!

Dh and I just got home from the final performance of Seton School's annual musical -- this year they did Boomtown! I am sooo sorry we waited till closing night to see this musical as it was so good, I want to go again!

This little-known play was written by two professors from a small (now-closed) Catholic women's college in Denver called Loretto Heights. The musical was written by Michael Stewart and the music by Max DiJulio for Denver's centennial year (1958) and only performed once at Loretto Heights. Then-senior, Mary Jo Catlett, reportedly stole the show as saloon owner Mattie. Ms. Catlett went on to fame and fortune as a Hollywood musical/comedy actress.
The musical lay gathering dust in the archives of Regis University until Mrs. Carroll, principal of Seton School and an alumna of Loretto Heights, sought out the play for performance at Seton. She wanted to re-enact the musical in memory of Denver and her home-state of Colorado; a musical that she had only heard bits of her freshman year of college when MaryJo Catlett sang some of the original score to open the new school year. Thank goodness Mrs. Carroll remembered this show as it proved to be a major success for Seton.
The story goes beyond the classic "boy-meets-girl; boy-loses-girl; boy-finds-girl" cycle of a musical. This musical, replete with an amazing original score by then-music professor Max DiJulio, tells the story of how Denver built it's own railroad to hook to the Union Pacific and thus, guarantee statehood for Colorado. The songs in this musical are toe-tapping good fun and spotlight DiJulio's talents of melding music to mood in creating a his masterpiece.
Why this musical hasn't been performed in 50 years boggles the mind! Maybe, now it can be! An article in the Denver Catholic newspaper may help spread the word in the play's hometown.
A cool side-note: the opening night of the very first performance of Boomtown occured on April 17, 1959; the opening night of the first performance of the Seton production occured on April 17, 2009 ... exactly 50 years later! How cool is that?

1 comment:

Mary said...

Sounds like a great play. Somebody here should do it considering it's a local deal!!!