Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Poetry and villainy get comeuppance at summer melodrama

As an actor, I'm a pretty good writer.

That's why I spend my stage time as a master of ceremonies at the Cheyenne Old-Fashioned Melodrama each summer. As one of the emcees, I fire up the crowd and keep the action moving. I occasionally do battle with hecklers or, during Cheyenne Frontier Days, drunken hecklers. I'm big and I'm loud, two important assets for any melodrama emcee.

The melodrama this year was written by Brooks Reeves and Rory Mack. It's called "The Rhyming Rapscallion" and centers around Tallen and Truly Handsome's shame at raising a son (Hardly) who wants to be a poet. His father, you see, wants Hardly to go into the family business of saving damsels in distress. He'd rather write poetry all day. Wouldn't we all! As always, there's the villain (BOO!) by the name of Dirk Degenerate and the villainess (HISS!) Shirley Take, or Miss Take if you prefer.

It's raucous fun. Just when it appears that Dirk Degenerate may win the day, there's the chase scene, the reversal of fortune, and the good guys triumph in the end, just as in real life. There are can-can dancers, too, and olio performances between acts.

"The Rhyming Rapscallion" or "A Tale that Goes from Bad to Verse" or "Dirk and Tallen Handsome" (a multitude of titles!) opens at Cheyenne's Historic Atlas Theatre on Friday, July 11, 7 p.m. For complete schedule, go to


mpage225 said...


Glad to hear the melodrama is alive and well and you continue to emcee. The melodrama performance of 2004 was one of the highlights of our trip out West. Hope to get back to see it again.


Michael Shay said...

Hooked on acting, or should I say "hooked on emceeing." It's fun. This summer's melodrama is a bit kookier than most, another reason to like it. Better get back West before gas prices get any higher!