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There's a big-time Ballyhooat the FAC

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Rebas annual gifting of gentile jam proves a poor - masking of her true Jewish identity.
  • Rebas annual gifting of gentile jam proves a poor masking of her true Jewish identity.

One of the greatest things about living in Colorado Springs is being surrounded by "devoted to their craft""type actors.

Unfortunately, many of these men and women don't believe that the people of our fair city take advantage of theater often enough. Leah Chandler-Mills, one of the actors in The REP's upcoming production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo, says, "Colorado Springs is in some ways surprisingly backward in support of the arts. There are a lot of people who haven't discovered the live theater here."

In what she calls her "former life," Chandler-Mills was part of the first theater class at Julliard. After graduating, she formed an acting company, which led her to perform in more than 80 shows, on and off Broadway.

Chandler-Mills, now settled in Colorado Springs, believes storylines like that in Ballyhoo can change people for the better if they'll come out to see them. "Acting is listening and talking," she says. "It's give and take. The theater is about communication, spoken and unspoken."

Ballyhoo is about a Jewish family hiding its ethnicity from an affluent Southern community (and even themselves) in 1939. They are confronted with the prejudice they have internalized from their community when they are introduced to Joe, a practicing Jew from Brooklyn.

In Ballyhoo, Chandler-Mills plays Reba. The moment of change comes when Reba's daughter, Sunny, falls in love with Joe, which motivates her to confront the family's denial of their Judaism.

Sounds like an invitation to re-examine our own prejudices, maybe even about the theater itself. Come to the play and find out if you, too, can be a better person, or if theater makes you more the stubborn goat you're so bent on becoming.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center SaGaJi Theatre,

30 W. Dale St.

Runs Jan. 12-28; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m., and Sundays, 2 p.m.

Tickets: $18-$21; call 634-5583 or visit csfineartscenter.org for more information.

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