Opening Night of the Durango Melodrama!

Durango’s historic Strater Hotel is proud to announce the start of its 2012 Durango Melodrama season—all shows to be performed at the Henry Strater Theatre, June 15 – September 22. This season’s feature performance is The Two Orphans by Eugene Corman and Phillipe d’Ennery.


This is the story of two orphan girls, Henriette and Louise, who make their way to Paris. Henriette is kidnapped leaving her blind sister at the mercy of the unscrupulous Mme. La Frochard. The latter provides Louise with shelter on the condition that she begs for money. La Frochard has two sons; Jacques, the elder, who torments Louise, and Pierre, who falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Henriette has been arrested and sent to prison on a misunderstanding. A kindly doctor secures her release, but will she ever see her lost sister again...?


Director Jenny Fitts Reynolds says the play was highly successful in its day and lauded as, “the perfect play” by New York theatre producer Daniel Frohman.

The Two Orphans made its debut at the Porte St. Martin of Paris in January of 1874. It traveled throughout Europe eventually making its way to the stages of New York where actress Kate Claxton played the role of Louise,” said Mrs. Fitts Reynolds. “It was so successful and such a star vehicle for Claxton, that she bought the rights to it and toured the country. She was even known to wear a pouch of ice under her garments to make her shivering real. We hope people enjoy our humble offering, and that it brings back some of the flavors of times long ago."

Later, D.W. Griffith adapted the play for his silent film, Orphans of the Storm starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish. Having last been revived on Broadway in May of 1926 at the Cosmopolitan Theatre as well as being 'infamous' for playing during the Brooklyn Theatre fire of 1876, it is now enjoying a revival right here in Durango, Colorado.


The Victorian Stage Melodrama featured a limited number of stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an aged parent, and a comic man engaged in a sensational plot featuring themes of love and murder. Often the good but not very clever hero is duped by a scheming villain, who has eyes on the damsel in distress, until fate intervenes at the end to ensure the triumph of good over evil.


Doors open at 7:15 p.m. with shows starting at 7:45 p.m., Tuesday thru Sunday. Tickets are available online at the Henry Strater Theater Website and the Durango Melodrama Website, or call the Henry Strater Theatre Box Office at 970.375.7160. Ticket prices range from $18 - $30. Dinner & a Show packages are available. Families are welcome.

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