Stage Door Theatre making comeback

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The Stage Door is making a comeback! In case you missed it, the community theater that was in Yukon for many years has a new “home.”

And Stage Door is having a real “fun” fundraiser this Saturday night, July 20 to boost its continuing capital fund drive. It will be a “Say What?” improv comedy night at 7:30 p.m. July 20 at its “new” venue – Chester’s Party Barn, 5201 Cimarron Road NW.

Stage Door had to temporarily suspend operations a few years back with the closing of the historic Yukon Museum and Arts Center (also known as Old Central School), 601 Oak. For many decades, that three-story building was Yukon’s ONLY school … but it eventually became too difficult and costly for the City of Yukon and school district to continue operating.

The local theater troupe maintained a presence in Yukon for 30 years starting in 1987 (the year I moved to Oklahoma, BTW). I was a big supporter of Stage Door over the years and did my best to publicize their frequent plays and other shows.

I recall about 15 years ago when I presented the opening monologue for a “Saturday Night Live Revue” act at Stage Door.

More than a decade ago I was cast as the New York Sun editor from 1897 in a “reader’s theater” performance of “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” at Stage Door.

At the time, I was a natural choice since I was a newspaper editor in Yukon. Fellow cast members included then-future Yukon Mayor Ken Smith and then-Yukon Staples manager Kirk Otto (who you can see each December in Central Oklahoma Ballet’s “Nutcracker.”)

Anyway, I worked with Frieda Penn for many years to help promote Stage Door theater in the newspaper. Frieda was always good about sending me well-written press releases and providing photos … if I was unable to come out and take any myself.

After several years of radio silence, I heard from Frieda this Monday when she sent me a flier for this Saturday’s Stage Door benefit improv comedy night.

Frieda says the show will be in the vein of “Whose Line Is It, Anyway.” She promises Saturday night’s program will be filled with laughter.

Stage Door has recruited special guest “improvisers” who will appear. These “Say What?” performers will act out and improv a series of characters, scenes and skits according to the instructions of the host and audience.

If you’ve never watched improv comedy, it’s quite an event!

(Father Tim Baer and Yukon’s Grace Church will host another improv comedy night on Friday, July 26 to benefit Compassionate Hands … another great cause. I’ll write more about that soon!)

Tickets for this Saturday’s Stage Door improv comedy night are $15; concessions and a wine/beer bar will be available too.

Get advance tickets online at ticketstorm.com. Paper tickets are being sold at the Old Store in Piedmont or get them “at the door” Saturday.

As a former Stage Door actor and supporter, I wish Frieda and the rest of this performance troupe the best of success in their capital campaign.

Chester himself has offered Stage Door land out at his farm.

“He is a wonderfully generous and kind man to help us out,” Frieda told me. “We spent several years looking in Yukon, but there is just nothing the size that we need and that someone is willing to donate for us to use.”

Stage Door operates entirely through donations, fund-raisers and ticket sales; the local community theater simply can’t afford to pay to lease a 12,000-15,000 square foot building.

Chester’s may be “out in the boonies,” but it is centrally located in Canadian County. Good luck Stage Door … getting ready to SOAR!

* * * * *

I wanted to convey my appreciation to a special group of women who planned and presented last Saturday’s “Benchwarmer” dog adoption event for Pets & People Humane Society at 701 Inla.

Karen Terry, Peggy Nichols, Robin Knapp, and Sheila Shoemake toiled tirelessly over two months to plan this event and help find loving “furr-ever” homes for dogs that have been at the Yukon shelter for a long while.

Saturday was a long day and I was happy to volunteer while spending time with dedicated Pets & People staff and board members. These good folks know each animal well and will help ensure the animal and owner will be a “good match.”

As a bonus, I enjoyed a tasty Coit’s Root Beer from their food truck. I used to frequent the Coit’s on Penn Avenue just south of I-44 when I attended college at Oklahoma City University three decades ago.

If you were not able to make it last Saturday, there are still plenty of great animals at the shelter who want to meet you.

As you’ve read in your Yukon Progress, Pets & People will launch a $500,000 capital campaign to build its own rescue center west of the new Yukon animal control facility.

Ground-breaking will be early fall. Please help your local humane society with its “Raise the Woof” effort by contributing. Pets & People has about $100,000 committed but much more is needed.

Stay warm this week.