Thursday, August 11, 2022

Cody's wild west show offers whiz bang revue

Dancing, singing, storytelling and a lively pace keep the audience entertained in Cody, Wyoming,
at the popular Wild West Spectacular.  The show just ended a successful run, based on the life of showman, soldier and entrepreneur "Buffalo Bill" Cody, after whom the town of Cody is named.  

Wyoming's Wild West fun in vintage theater tells of Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and more

A cast including college students and graduates, theater majors 
and professional dancers and singers entertains to applause.



The 1936 Cody Theatre is the venue for a
rousing spectacular about Buffalo Bill and more.
STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

WE WITNESSED THE OLD West in glorious, boisterous entertainment at "Wild West Spectacular, the Musical," a rip-roaring show in Cody, Wyoming.

Rocky Mountain Dance Theater produces this visual treat to raves each summer.  It took its final spirited bow for the 2022 season last weekend. If you were fortunate enough to book tickets, you were delighted, amused and perhaps even surprised at the high quality of the extravaganza, produced with a cast of 30 since late June with an ambitious docket of both evening shows and matinees.
 A new season will debut in early summer of 2023, and tickets go on sale in January.

THE HIGH CALIBER of the show has garnered accolades and favorable reviews since its 2016 inception from True West Magazine  and TripAdvisor. Cast members come from across the country. Most have theater degrees or background on the stage.  

Tourists are lamenting the end of the show's run, while Yellowstone National Park and other attractions are still attracting crowds to Cody, but marketing director Jennifer Kaelberer explains. "We have a shorter summer season than other attractions because our actors have commitments."

Members of the talented 30-person cast takes a bow at show's
 end. Additional behind-the-scenes workers include lighting and
technical staff, marketers, costumers, choreographers and more.
Many of the professionals contracted are college students from across the country who must return to campus. Some have contracts with other companies or must satisfy a commitment to a job elsewhere.

THE SHOW has a fresh feeling, boasting both an original script and choreography.  Some of the music is from Broadway's treasure chest of western lore ("Annie Get Your Gun," for instance). Set and lighting are imaginative, augmented by additional original musical pieces.

The legend of Buffalo Bill Cody comes to life as snippets from Cody's colorful life are woven into the action. The international showman had a town named after him and the show pays tribute to his talents and energy with a non-stop dancing, singing, music and storytelling yarn.

It's laced with good-natured humor, colorful costumes, tap dancing, ballet and audience interaction.

We joined a crowd in the vintage Cody Theatre, in downtown Cody on the main street, Sheridan Avenue. If you don't know Cody, look for the famous Irma Hotel -- named after Buffalo Bill's beloved daughter. The theater is right across the street. Clem's Canteen and Creamery offers light refreshments and sweets, including ice cream.

THE FULL, two-hour production ended its run with hoots, hollers and an ovation after a seven-week stint beginning in late June. The venue is the 1936 art deco theater in downtown Cody Theatre, across the street from the Irma Hotel, which is the jewel on Sheridan Avenue, the main venue in town.
Actor Evan Wambeke takes a bow as Buffalo
Bill, surrounded by other capable cast members.

Families, couples and young and old joined in the merriment of the two-hour show, popcorn, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in hand, purchased at Clem's outside the auditorium.
The show is the brainchild of director and Cody native Elizabeth Fernandez assisted by Kaelberer, director of public relations and marketing.  Kaelberer also  runs the front of house and ticketing, and observes each production from the tech deck, taking notes for the director.

Bruce Keller and Christene
"Cookie" Meyers in the house.

A VERSATILE cast of singers, dancers and actors is headed by Evan Wambeke, in his seventh season as Buffalo Bill. Other colorful characters dart in and out of the story -- headliner Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickok, Frank Butler and a top-drawer dance ensemble, whose numbers are show highlights, particularly a poignant homage to the buffalo.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and choreographer Fernandez long dreamed of producing a show about the Wild West and its colorful characters. In 2016, the show debuted -- a full-fledged musical incorporating both original and Broadway tunes, imaginative dancing, vintage film and a lively narrative. A large cast of 30 includes a partial "split cast" -- several "doubles" for the two youngest characters. Each show, though, features 18 energetic performers on stage.

Buffalo Bill's daughter, Irma, as a young woman, is played
by Willow Fernandez. Other actors play Irma as a child.
Here she sings a wistful ballad, missing her touring father.

Tickets for the summer 2023 season go on sale Jan. 1, 2023 and next summer's season will run the last week of June through the first week of August at the historic Cody Theatre.


More info or for next season's ticket information: Social media platforms: Instagram and Facebook @codywildwestshow; codywildwestshow.com;  rockymountaindancetheatre.org; 307 527-9973.
 

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treasured by residents of the United States who visit
Utah's first national park in all its summer glory.
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2 comments:

  1. Sheridan Road TrippersAugust 16, 2022 at 7:33 AM

    We love exploring our own state and Cody is a favorite place. Thanks for getting the word out about this nifty theatrical experience, a class act for certain.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We love Cody and your beautiful Yellowstone Park. So glad to hear of this show.

    ReplyDelete