Opening Night at Thunder River Theatre Company |

Opening Night at Thunder River Theatre Company

In this season of Golden Globe awards and Oscar nominations, it is nice to know that we have our own professional troupe of actors in the Thunder River Theatre Co.

The company presented Israel Horovitz’s “Park Your Car in Harvard Yard” to 98 people on Friday, Jan. 30, in a leased space at the Sopris Shopping Center in Carbondale.

The group built their set from scratch and converted a bare storefront space into a mini playhouse complete with three decks of theatre seating.

The play is about a cantankerous, cynical, high school music teacher named Jacob Brackish, played superbly by TRTC’s director, Lon Winston. Brackish, a lover of classical music, in the last year of his life, reflects on his failures and missed opportunities. His grievances toward life play out meticulously to the background music of Bach, Vivaldi, Strauss, Brahms and Mozart, which is an ingenious strategy that uses the music as a symbolic, often ironic metaphor that compliments the story.

Valerie Haugen, TRTC’s associate director, plays Kathleen O’Hara, the timid, yet brash young woman who answers Brackish’s ad for a housekeeper. Her motivations in caring for the man are revealed through her sometimes cruel and crude words and actions, along with a wicked sense of humor that slowly and dramatically exposes her nature. Haugen’s ability to take her character through such a precise and believable transformation in 87 minutes is something you would expect to see on Broadway. And it is why GSPI readers have voted her best actress five times in the annual Locals’ Choice Awards.

This is real theatre. The play, with its solid plot, sharp dialogue and humor, allows Haugen and Winston to lead the audience through a complete and satisfying experience. And although the pair will not collect gold statues this year, they win, easily. Not only for their gifts of acting, but also for their collaboration, passion and desire to nurture a theatre company here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The show runs tonight through Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Sopris Shopping Center.

Kelley Mauldin, left, of Missouri Heights, is a member of Thunder River Theatre Co. and a massage therapist; Amanda Armijo, 14, attends Glenwood Springs Middle School and Blaize Johnson, 14, also of Glenwood, attends Yampah Mountain High School.

From left, Betsy Bowie, Scott Bowie and Sharon Cain, all of Carbondale.

Carol Trulove and Red Cain of Carbondale.

From left, Chris Lawrence of Redstone, Ro Mead of Carbondale and Rick Lawrence, also of Carbondale.

Ethan McVoy, 14, is a freshman at Colorado Rocky Mountain School and Maggie McVoy is a realtor with Carol Ann Jacobson Realty in Aspen.

From left, Peggy Chain of Carbondale owns Mountain Side Sewing; Mark Chain is a planner for the town of Carbondale; Sharon Boucher of Redstone owns Avalanche Ranch and John Baker, also of Redstone, is an architect.

Nicole and George Soukup of Carbondale. Nicole is an esthetician at Tezaal in Basalt and George works at Valley Liquors.

From left, Karin Teague, her husband Harry Teague of Harry Teague Architects in Aspen and Bonnie Liebmann of Old Snowmass, who is president of Thunder River Theatre Co. Guild.

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