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The Ballad of Baby Doe 50th Anniversary


A colorful new production of The Ballad of Baby Doe provided the exciting centerpiece of a celebration, in Central City, Colorado, of the anniversary of the opera's premiere fifty years ago in the town's famed opera house. The event, hosted by the Central City Opera Association on June 30th and July 1st, 2006, attracted members of the cast, musicians and stage crew from the original production, in addition to loyal DoeHEADS from New Mexico, Washington, California, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, New York and Wisconsin.
Though the Friday matinee performance, starring Jake Gardner, Joyce Castle and Joanna Mongiardo served as the festivities' primary feature, attendees were also treated to a "reunion" luncheon held in the historic Johnson House, a pre-performance piano lecture in the Williams Stable building, a bus trip to the Tabor sites in Leadville, a beautifully catered dinner in the Teller House and a panel discussion that featured, among others, Mimi Shaw, the wardrobe mistress for the 1956 production, and Leyna Gabriele, one of the two sopranos who originated the title role.     
The special vibes were invigorating and even the weather co-operated most of the time, which is evident from the attached photos, most of which were taken by DoeHEAD Gareth Rosenau of Takoma Park, Maryland. Special thanks are due to the folks at Central City Opera, including Pelham Pearce, John Moriarty, Deb Hruby, Valerie Hamlin and Deborah Morrow.  

2006 Central City Opera Ballad of Baby Doe poster


traditional performance poster at the Opera House main entrance


Central City Opera House with Doeheads


Central City Opera House stage


auditorium interior Central City Opera House


1956 Baby Doe Leyna Gabriele and Wisconsin journalist
James Metz in the Opera House courtyard


Dr. Ann ("Mimi") Shaw, 1956 wardrobe mistress and
Leyna Gabriele visit backstage dressing rooms at the Opera House


Douglas Moore, July 1956, showing "Always through the changes"
autograph, hanging backstage at the Opera House


lunch being delivered to the Johnson House


l to r Stanley Burk (Burc Lander - 1956 cast - one of the four dandies), Lisa Lundgren,
Carole Lundgren, James Grathwohl at Johnson House luncheon


Doeheads at Johnson House luncheon


Photos in dressing room, backstage at the Opera House


l to r, James Grathwohl, Dave Kanzeg, Gareth Rosenau, Rebecca Paller,
Mimi Shaw, unidentified, Gayla Lindquist, Stanley Burk (Burc Lander),
Leyna Gabriele, James Metz at Johnson House luncheon


Members of 1956 The Ballad of Baby Doe Central City production at Johnson House luncheon


Williams' Stables just before "Opera Notes," pre-performance lecture