The Durango Melodrama will add a second production for its 2011 season, which begins Friday at the Henry Strater Theatre.
In its return to the Strater Hotels house theater after a failed experiment that saw the Diamond Circle Melodrama temporarily relocated at the Durango Arts Center, the renamed Durango Melodrama produced only The Tavern in 2010. In most years, the Diamond Circle offered two plays every summer, and that will be the case once again this year.
First up is The Pursuit of Happiness by Lawrence and Armina Marshall Langner, to open Friday. Set during the American Revolution, its the tale of a Hessian soldier who wants to surrender to the Americans as he is charmed by the idea of the American Way. Hilarious complications ensue.
Beginning June 24, the Melodrama cast will perform After Dark by Dion Boucicault. Adapted by John T. Baker, the play is set in 19th century London and is the convoluted combination of mistaken identities, lost inheritances and trickery that characterizes classic Melodrama. After Dark features a hero, a beautiful heroine and the highly anticipated arrival of the speeding train as it races toward its victim, plus a conspiring villain.
The Pursuit of Happiness will be performed on odd-numbered dates and After Dark on even nights. As always, each play will be followed by a traditional Vaudeville routine with song, dance and comedy.
The Durango Melodrama at the Henry Strater Theatre will run Tuesday through Sunday until Aug. 27 and resume Sept. 7 to 24.