Musicals in Nature: Idaho's Starlight Mountain Theatre
The lights, the action, the music -- every element of a musical theater creates a world of excitement and imagination. The talent required to meet such expectations could theoretically be created anywhere, but a quality musical theater needs commitment and passion -- which is just what Starlight Mountain Theater was built on.
Over a decade ago, R. Ed Davis envisioned bringing a musical theater group to his community, which would foster a love for the dramatic arts in the area. As a former aspiring actor and theater professor at the University of Mississipi, Davis was dedicated to his desire to bring theater back home with him. With the help of his family, he succeeded! Over the years, each member has developed an expertise in theater and have continued to utilize their talents to grow their quality and quantity of performances. Davis' wife, Jan, is the co-founder, director, writer, and choreographer for many of the plays. Their children have acted in some of their shows, like their daughters in their first season's rendition of Fiddler on the Roof. Today, other family members help out with lights, music, sound, and musical direction.
As the Starlight Mountain Theater expanded, it added members to its theater family. Many actors and actresses have been given the opportunity to pursue a theater career thanks to the efforts of the Davis’. In the hope to reach out to the community and inspire others to be a part of the theater culture, Starlight Mountain Theater created a educational programs, internships, and apprenticeships.
Visit the theater
The Starlight Mountain Theater is open during the warmer months of the year. From June to September, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the theater’s productions. Tickets for the shows, which are normally performed Monday through Saturday, cost $24 or less. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, for an extra $11 you can get a catered dinner by a local restaurant -- served to you by the actors of the play.
This three-hundred seat amphitheater is located off the fork of the Payette River, just outside of Garden Valley. This intimate setting is both easy to reach as well as private enough for the shows. In fact, this area has excellent camp sites ideal for both tents and trailers - and cabins! Now you can enjoy the rugged excitement of the outdoors and musical theater in the same place. Of course, as this is a mountainous environment, it can get cold or damp almost year round. Be sure to pack a coat or blanket so you can be comfortable.
The Starlight Mountain Theater Group has set a high bar for performance quality. Talented actors from all over the United States have participated in these performances, temporarily moving to the area to commit to their work. These actors are usually between 12 and 25 years of age, though there are occasionally older actors, and perform every night of the week. These shows are highly interactive, and actors are often spending time during intermission selling concessions to the audience members.
This group has performed many musicals, and dozens of them have been Broadway material. Some of the most popular examples include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Sound of Music, Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof, and Oklahoma. These excellent performances are stunning, and definitely worth seeing if you are in the area. Whether you're a theater fanatic or simply want to enjoy a night under the stars, visit the Starlight Mountain Theater Group and experience a musical show worth remembering.