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The Chautauqua Players were formed in 1975, by Rodger Hoopman. The name of the company came from the traveling Chautauqua shows that toured the country in tents in the early part of the 20th century. A revival tent had been offered to the company as a potential performing space in the summer of 1975. After one attempt at setting up the tent and the myriad problems involved (eight hours of work, putting the top on upside down and returning the next day to find the tent collapsed), the tent idea collapsed as well.
In the fall of 1975, the Chautauqua Players produced their first show, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, in the Old Eagle Theatre in Old Sacramento, and its success led to production of a Sherlock Holmes drama. The financial success of the two productions led Hoopman to a partnership with Gene Morrow and Eric Ericson and the pursuit of their own performing space.
The original 65-
Establishing an active children’s theatre program under the direction of Guy Beck (and later under Lisa Krause), and an ever-
With the close of that production, the company focused on finding a new facility. In the interim period, several shows were produced at the Old Eagle Theatre, Sierra 2 and Eaglet Theatre’s Stage 2.
With the help of the theatre community, the use of theatre patron Bill Wahl’s home as office space, and donations from the community, and after several failed attempts to keep the company downtown, the group, now a non-
With the support of the Carmichael Recreation and Parks District and the theatre’s new board of directors, the Chautauqua Playhouse opened its first full season in September of 1985 with Rodger Hoopman as producer and Bill Rogers, instrumental in the transition, as general manager.
Since that first season, Chautauqua has produced a season of six plays per season (running from September through May) plus a six-
Bill Rogers left the theatre in June 2004, to move to South Carolina and Rodger Hoopman assumed the position of Producer/Artistic Director. After years of involvement as an actor and director, Warren Harrison joined the organization as co-
Season subscribers and the theatre-