Museum banks on ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’

Juli Jacobson will star in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” on Oct. 22 and 23 at the Avalon Theatre in downtown Grand Junction. The production will benefit the Museum of Western Colorado. Tickets are available at all museum locations and at the Avalon.

If there’s a musical that cries out “Colorado,” it’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

And if there’s something that exists to illustrate the lives and times of Coloradans, it’s the Museum of Western Colorado.

So, when the Museum of Western Colorado and members of The Lost Theater Troupe were looking for a project, it’s only natural that they would turn to the story of Margaret Brown, who gained riches as the wife of Leadville engineer J.J. Brown, and notoriety in Colorado as an early supporter of women’s suffrage. She also gained fame as an intrepid survivor of the sinking Titanic and immortality as the heroine of Meredith Wilson’s Broadway play.

“A lot of young folks don’t know the show,” producer David Kenworthy said, but people as young as their 40s still tap their toes and know the words to “Belly Up to the Bar, Boys,” the play’s signature number.

The Lost Theater Troupe, whose name harkens back to the now-closed Cabaret dinner theater in downtown Grand Junction, will stage the tale of Margaret Brown. She was better known to her friends as “Maggie” but never as “Molly” until the musical, which hit Broadway in 1960, or 48 years after the Titanic sunk and 28 years after one of its best-known survivors died in New York City.

Juli Jacobson of Grand Junction will play Molly in the musical, accompanied by Rich Lyon, who plays her husband, J.J. Brown, and Dave Allgood as Prince Louis de Lanière, for whom she nearly falls while visiting Europe.

The production will be staged Oct. 22 and 23 at the Avalon Theater.

“Unsinkable” is “the biggest show ever for the Lost Theater Troupe,” Kenworthy said.

The troupe earlier this year put “Cannibal, The Musical,” on stage at the Avalon Theatre, also as a fundraiser for the museum.

The 30 or so cast members have worked tirelessly on the production, honing the big production numbers and preparing the set, which includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Leadville and points in between.

“The dedication level is amazing,” Kenworthy said. “Everybody has a real job” in addition to preparing for the show.

Ingenuity is also key, as another cast member, Michael Combs, has learned from building a fog machine with little more than a 40-gallon drum for a base.

With “Unsinkable,” the troupe hopes to gain legitimacy and begin staging more, smaller productions in the east wing of the museum, Kenworthy said.

That goal, however, is down the road and the troupe now is focused on staging “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

More information is available at the museum, and on the Lost Theater Troupe’s Facebook page.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and are available at all museum locations and at the theater.


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