The Madams of Central Colorado will take the stage once again on July 8, and whether you’re a local or a visitor to the Upper Arkansas Valley, this is one show not to be missed for a number of reasons.
An historical production portraying Central Colorado’s former “ladies of the evening,” the Madams will create a parlor atmosphere for the show and draw the audience into the performance at times. Kathi Perry, Buena Vista Heritage board member since 2007, said because of the countless historical details presented throughout a Madams show, it’s not uncommon for folks who’ve been to the production before to return and learn something new the second time.
Now in its 11th year, the Madams show was written by Perry both to educate attendees and as a fundraiser for the 501(c)(3). “At BV Heritage our mission is to educate. The first year we did the show someone asked how we can glorify the lives of these women. We are trying to educate people in a lighthearted way so that they will remember.”
In 2017 the need for fundraising has become more pressing than ever, as the BV Museum is in need of $2 million of restoration over the next 10 years. Because of this, all proceeds from the upcoming Madams shows will go toward this renovation. “The building was built in 1892. It was originally the courthouse, then a school and then a museum. It stands out and towers over the town; these old buildings need constant love and care while staying as original as possible. We have some cash matches lined up through grants, but we have to raise our part, and it’s a challenge.”
Perry, who portrays Elizabeth “Cockeyed Liz” Spurgeon along with a half dozen other “madams,” clarified that everything in the show is totally true; nothing is made up. A good portion of the actual lines used in the Madams show came directly from recorded interviews of the real women portrayed by the madams. Local attorney Fred Mazulla, who was fascinated with Central Colorado’s historical “shady ladies,” collected the recordings. Perry said that since the shows began, people (particularly from Salida) have come to her and offered their own historical account of the madams to add to the facts of the show.
The show, beginning at 7 p.m. on July 8 at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum, is presented in good taste; however because of the sensitive nature of the topic, it may not be recommended for children under age 13. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce, at the heritage museum or at the door.
If you miss this one, the Madams perform again during Gold Rush Days on Aug. 12 and on Sept. 9; the Madams are in need of one more “tart,” or performer, for shows in 2018. For more information about Buena Vista Heritage or to donate to museum restoration, or to inquire about a role as a madam, visit buenavistaheritage.org.