It’s time to draw the curtain, because Cody’s summer shows must go on. Even with limited theatre space, music, singing and acting shows are scheduled to go.
With an increase in permitted crowd size for public performances, most of the shows planned for this summer will be able to be performed, including “Wild West Spectacular” by the Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre and the “Cody Monologues” by the Cody Center for the Performing Arts. Already underway are Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue and Cody Cattle Company and its Triple C Cowboys band.
Seating has been cut for most of the venues, restricting the shows’ incomes even more due to an expected decrease in tourism this summer.
“I think the biggest changes affecting us due to the coronavirus are just two major decisions,” Dan Miller said. “One, when Yellowstone closed their lodging, that means no 80-plus tour buses bringing in tourists, and two, we are having to restrict our seating, so what would usually have over 120 people seating has gone down to 50, and only around 25 of those can be used.”
However, Miller said that didn’t put a damper on his enthusiasm to perform, that the situation was “strange, because I never considered not doing it.” He considered every other possibility before receiving permission to perform in his own venue.
“We are exceptionally blessed to perform,” Miller said. “Now we are down from 1,400 to 14, and you’d think we’d be disappointed by that, but I prefer not to think of it that way. My enthusiasm to play music hasn’t died down, and I’ve been playing with my daughter Hannah and Wendy Corr for over ten years. Would I rather be performing for a hundred people? Absolutely. But to play for the crowd in any capacity, I am grateful for.”
Whether it’s a nightly routine performance or an event months in the making, it seems like Cody’s passion for the arts hasn’t died down. Jen Kaelberer, spokesperson for the Wild West Spectacular show, said the cast was more than excited for the show.
“We have folks from Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, and they are all in Cody right now rehearsing,” Kaelberer said. “They are aware of everything going on and are knowingly taking the risk. We’ve only had one actor back out after the cast announcement in April, and I think that says something. I think it says that all of our performers know what they want to do, what they’re willing to deal with and they’re eager to do the show.”
Due to constantly changing circumstances, Kaelberer said that anyone interested in attending a performance should pay attention to websites and social media in order to stay updated. She also said she encourages people buying tickets ahead of time, as it will help with necessary audience control this year and help project feasibility for a full season.
Following are some details about the individual shows:
• Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue: The show started May 29, with a show every evening Monday through Saturday this summer at 7 p.m. The dinner option at the Irma Hotel starts at 5 p.m., with a more specified menu than last year. Due to the limited seating, reservations are required. Call Wendy Corr at (307) 899-2799.
• The Cody Cattle Company: The dinner and show started on June 4. The nightly, hour-long show starts at 6:30, after dinner is served. With different serving procedures and a more limited seating, making reservations is recommended, either by phone at (307) 272-5770 or at codycattlecompany.com.
• Cody Center for the Performing Arts: Children’s summer classes have been revised and updated, with most of June’s classes underway and July’s classes available for signup on their website codyperformingarts.com. CCPA’s “Cody Monologues” will go forward with their tour this year, starting in Pinedale on June 18. The Rock Springs performance has been cancelled, but the Red Lodge performance is still set for August 1, and the regular Cody shows are Tuesday through Saturday, August 4-15 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at codymonologues.com. This year introduces a new character to the show, Lorna Simpson, mother of Pete and Al Simpson. The special “Covid Monologues,” a compilation of writings from Cody citizens’ experiences with COVID-19, are anticipated for July 20 at 6 p.m.
• Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre/Rocky Mountain School of the Arts: Info on summer classes and sign up can be found at rockymountaindancetheatre.com. A few of their performances this year have already been cancelled, including their biggest fundraiser “Swing into Spring” in April and their “Masterpieces of Ballet and Spring Production” in May, but the Wild West Spectacular Show will go on, starting July 1-5 at 2 p.m. and then going Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. July 8-Aug. 7. Due to expected lower attendance, the full season may be reduced to keep up with the show’s costs. Updated information and tickets can be found at codywildwestshow.com.
• Cody Community Theatre: The one exception to Cody’s summer theatre season is Cody Community Theatre’s performance of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” originally planned for late June and early July, as it was cancelled back in March due to being unable to hold practices as planned. CCT has the rights to do the musical, so organizers said it could be performed in the future, but regardless it will not be a part of this summer’s season.