LaVeta's Theater
Francisco Center for the Performing Arts
127 W. Francisco St.
La Veta, Colorado 81055
Phone: 719.695.0687
Email: FCPA
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The Francisco Center for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is governed by a Board of Directors and primarily supported by its members, generous private donors and show audiences. Board members, all of whom must be current FCPA members in good standing, are elected annually at a meeting of all FCPA members. The annual members' meeting normally includes free drinks, free food, free entertainment and considerable conviviality among members! (See our "Become An FCPA Member" page for details on how you can join the fun and support theatre in LaVeta.) The current members of the Board of Directors, elected at the 2018 annual meeting on June 2 are:
  Long-time LaVeta resident Coral Anderson is well-known about town from her numerous community contributions. While she is a critical care nurse at Denver's Swedish Medical Center in “real life,” in her spare time (?!?) she has accumulated a list of FCPA theatre credits so lengthy that they can’t possibly be reproduced here. Those credits include director duties in Death By Dessert, Happy Hollandaise, Not On This Night and 2015’s Sylvia plus numerous roles in interactive dinner theatre comedy ~ most recently, as one-half of the hilarious circus duo “Kit & Kat” in 2015’s Midway To Murder and as “Shirley Dimple” in 2014’s The Last Noel. Her roles in recent stage productions include her unforgettable portrayals of “Claire Finley” in Happy Hollandaise, “Patsy” in Oprah Made Me Do It, campaign manager “Marsha Goodhop” in Town Meeting and psychiatrist “Leslie” in Sylvia. Never one to rest on her laurels, Coral tackled improvisational comedy in the 2013 production of The Edge of Therapy as the narcissistic, chain-smoking socialite “Lavinia” and kept the crowd in stitches as the ditzy French maid “Fifi” in the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone and as “Paige Turner” in 2014’s The Treasure of Shiver River. Coral currently serves as the FCPA's Vice President. 

Current FCPA president Peggy Arnold-Hoobler, a seasoned veteran of the stage, possesses innumerable musical theatre credits both in LaVeta and elsewhere. Locally, FCPA patrons will recognize Peggy from her utterly unforgettable turn as “Louise Seger” in the June 2014 sell-out musical Always . . . Patsy Cline, which she also directed. In 2013 she directed the smash summer hit Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, while also serving as “The Narrator” and member of the singing ensemble. Peggy also directed 2015’s dramatic musical Quilters and the FCPA's 2016 summer’s musical The Marvelous Wonderettes. And no one is likely to forget her memorable turn as “Mother Superior, Mary Regina” in 2009’s Nunsense, which she also directed. As if directing and performing in musicals weren’t enough to keep her busy, Peggy has also directed a number of the FCPA’s summer melodramas and olios, most recently 2014’s The Treasure of Shiver River, along with the 2012 holiday production of The Gift of the Magi. Retired from thirty-three years in education, Peggy now spends her time volunteering and staying active in numerous clubs and organizations including, of course, the FCPA's Board of Directors.

Montana native Peggi Spencer has called Colorado home since 1982. After years practicing law in Denver and commuting to LaVeta weekends and holidays, Peggi and husband John retired to LaVeta full-time in 2006. One of only two non-thespians on the FCPA board, Peggi is the proverbial “behind the scenes” worker bee, thoroughly enjoying her various backstage roles designing sets, creating playbills, posters and print ads, designing and managing the FCPA website and online ticket sales, tracking the FCPA finances as its Treasurer, dusting, vacuuming, painting, cleaning the restrooms and occasionally settling into the director’s chair (Town Meeting, Oprah Made Me Do It and the FCPA's 2015 production of Sylvia).

Maria Wyland was born and raised on Long Island, New York, but nearly qualifies as a LaVeta “native” after 25 years in town. Local theatre audiences may remember her starring role as the recently deceased (but hard to forget) “Maria Rosetti” in Death by Dessert, “Louise the Cat Burglar” in Happy Hollandaise, the hapless “Monica” in the spring 2011 production of Oprah Made Me Do It, the cash-strapped bistro owner "Maria Mangiate" in the FCPA's dinner theatre production of Whack Whack . . . Or Say Goodbye, Mob Style! at Sammie's in LaVeta and, more recently, as reality show contestant "Peyton" in Paradise Is Murder in Cuchara. A former title examiner (with the erstwhile Stewart Title) by day, Maria gives back to the community in her spare time, whether it’s leading a girl scout troop, teaching Sunday school, or fighting fires as a former member of the volunteer LaVeta Fire Department. In recent years she has been an enthusiastic participant in the FCPA, lending her time and considerable talent to the theatre’s productions and serving as its Secretary on the FCPA Board of Directors.
  Shane Clouse, an FCPA board and stage veteran, is easily recognizable from his many roles in FCPA productions over the years and as the guru of the theatre's sound and light board where he worked his magic coordinating sound, lights and a slide show during 2013's musical Respect: A Musical Journey of Women and again in 2015’s Sylvia. While Shane has appeared in countless FCPA productions over the years, his more recent roles have included the villain “Sidney Swindle” in Someone Save My Baby, Ruth!, “Wing Tip” in The Shame of Tombstone, and pirate “Orin Gold” in The Treasure of Shiver River. He has also entertained dinner theatre-goers in a number of shows and, most recently, mastered the role of "Doug," to the audience's delight, in The Old People Are Revolting.
  Rae Drury brings a long history of speaking in front of large groups to the FCPA board, having spent 30 years as a trainer and writer for the State of California while writing, developing and emceeing "roasts" for birthdays, retirements and other celebrations. After moving to LaVeta permanently in 2011, she quickly became involved in the FCPA with the encouragement of daughter Laurie Erwin and cousin Peggy Arnold-Hoobler. While Rae is relatively new to the stage, she played roles in both the 2011 and 2013 melodrama olios and made her official stage debut as the lofty (but destined for a dramatic demise) "Margo Chastain" in Paradise Is Murder, the FCPA's 2013 dinner theatre event at The Timbers in Cuchara. She made a splash as pirate "Burlap Bonnie" in the summer 2014 melodrama The Treasure of Shiver and entertained diners as screen diva "Lana Desmond" in The Last Noel.

Atlanta native Bruce S. Johnson spent nearly every summer of his life in Cuchara until moving here permanently six years ago. Bruce is best (and, most likely, will be forever) known for his memorable portrayal of “Greg” in 2015’s summer comedy Sylvia. A soccer coach and 30-year veteran of both elementary and middle school education (mostly teaching science), Bruce made his Cuchara stage debut as "Monroe" in 2013’s dinner theatre event Paradise Is Murder and his LaVeta stage debut as hero “Marshall Marshall Law” in 2014’s The Treasure of Shiver River. He again entertained dinner theatre audiences as “Gabby Cartwright” in The Last Noel and “Bonkers” the clown in Midway to Murder and, most recently, as “Reporter #2” in The Old People Are Revolting and "Andrew Makepeace Ladd III" in Love Letters. In his spare time, Bruce enjoys hiking, birding, photography and all manner of sports while also serving as Cuchara’s chief security officer and Wednesday night bingo~caller extraordinaire.

  Mitzi Keairns, a true LaVeta native and one of its most recognized residents, was the owner of the historic LaVeta store Charlie’s until selling it in the spring of 2012. Never one to say “enough!,” Mitzi has been a tireless participant in various local organizations including Rotary Club, Hermosa Club, PEO, Friends of the Francisco Fort and the Chamber of Commerce. In addition to her numerous civic responsibilities, Mitzi has demonstrated her acting chops as the ditzy waitress “Frankie” in Death by Dessert, the captivating TV moderator “Jane Lemur” in Town Meeting, as “The Woman” in 2013’s The Shame of Tombstone and, most recently, as sweet retiree "Peggy" in The Old People Are Revolting.
British native Mark Worgan began his long career as an entertainer, comedian and magician in 1990. For over 20 years, he ran “Magic Rabbit,” a successful children's entertainment business working for leading entertainment centers and private and corporate clients, while also finding success as an adult performer in British theatre, radio and television. After a guest spot on a BAFTA award-winning TV show, he was offered his own theatre show at one of the U.K.’s leading comedy venues and, among other accolades, was appointed an Associate Of The Inner Magic Circle, one of the highest honors awarded in the world of magicians. He was also named Sussex Magician of the Year eight times, as well Close Up Magic champion and winner of the Mentalism Trophy on several occasions. Recognized for his comedy and magic skills, he was chosen as a guest headliner on board many of the world’s top cruise lines, sailing around the world several times. Most notably, he met wife Cyndi (then from Texas) during this period. Mark made his LaVeta stage debut as the utterly unforgettable (and quite gaseous) "Howie" in 2016's The Old People Are Revolting. Mark and Cyndi now live in Cuchara as year-round residents. In addition to lending his prodigious talents to the FCPA, he serves as a volunteer firefighter for the LVPD.


The building now known as the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts was originally a Presbyterian Church built in 1892 on land donated by Colonel John Francisco and Mrs. P.Q. McComb. The Church, a stately white wooden building on Francisco Street, was built by William H. Adamson at a cost of $1,200. Initially it contained two rooms, a 38' x 40' audience room and a second 16' by 22' room. In 1893, the Church boasted a membership of 35 souls.

In the early 1970's the Presbyterians signed the structure over to the town of LaVeta for use by the Francisco Fort Museum. Today it is managed by the Francisco Center
  for the Performing Arts. Over the years, several talented troupes of actors and entertainers have called this stage home, beginning
in 1975 with the formation of the Spoon River Players, which later became the Fort Francisco Players and, currently, the Spanish Peaks Players. The Spoon River Players, a community theater group, was started by LaVeta High School's drama teacher Robert W. Johnson and debuted with the production of Edgar Lee Master's The Spoon River Anthology.

On July 31 and August 1, 1976, the Spoon River Players performed its first play, The Silver Whistle, in what would become the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts. Between 1976 and 1981 the Players used the old church for plays with little modification to the facility. In fact, during the first five years or so, the theater
was heated with a couple of wood stoves to allow for winter productions. A 1981 lease agreement between the Fort Francisco Museum and the Players formed the Fort Francisco Center for the Performing Arts.

The Spoon River Players continued to produce from three to six plays a years until the mid-1990s,
including melodramas, musicals, comedies, mysteries and tragedies. Productions included, to name but a few, Oklahoma, Wait Until Dark, Mousetrap, A Star-Spangled Girl, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Our Town, A Streetcar Named Desire, Blithe Spirit, The Rainmaker, Steel Magnolias, Man of LaMancha, The Night of January 16th, and The Importance of Begin Earnest. LaVeta High School's drama program also staged some productions at the Francisco Center over the years including A Thurber Carnival in 1981 and The High School Zone in 1998. Today, the LVHS Senior Class play at the theater is an annual springtime event.

In 1985 the Players once again produced Edgar Lee Master's The Spoon River Anthology to honor the 10th anniversary of the theater. Over 25 cast members were on stage, and it was noted then that well over 200 residents of the area had been involved in productions at the theater during its first decade. By now that number has most likely doubled, if not tripled.

In the mid-1990s a new acting troupe, the Fort Francisco Players, was formed to pick up where the Spoon River Players left off.
To be continued . . .

The FCPA says THANK YOU to Nancy Christofferson, "LaVeta: The First 40 Years" and to Robert W. Johnson for their contributions to our little history and to Dick Anderson, LaVeta, for his sketch of the FCPA theater.

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