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Best Bloomers Melodrama Celebrates Yosemite Grant

OAKHURST – By day they may be high school students, lumber store employees or teachers, but at night they transform into characters like villain, victim, victor, hero, heroine, and even, President. That’s the beauty of the Golden Chain Theater (GCT), now presenting a very special performance of “Bonnie Belle’s Best Bloomers,” written by the late Daniel A. Ross.

The traditional “boo-hiss” hooplah is all to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant by President Abraham Lincoln. Monday, June 30 is the precise anniversary of the grant signing.

On Saturday afternoon, June 28, GCT performers will take to the stage on-and-off at Oakhurst Community Park for Yosemite Festival, to give audiences exerpts, or a “taste,” of classic melodrama.

Then, on Monday, June 30, the show goes on big-time at the Golden Chain Theater, curtain up at 7 p.m., for a flat entrance fee of $10 per person.

Photographs by Steve Montalto. Click on images to enlarge.

Golden Chain Theater production of Bonnie Belles Best Bloomers - Erik Hurtado Rowland Ott Meagan Montalto Joel Bradshaw Roy Allison Carol Kovach - Photograph by Steve Montalto 2014This traditional melodrama, set in the local area, centers around Dora Belle’s efforts to find her late husband’s secret gold mine in time to avoid foreclosure by the unscrupulous Vicious McSknay. Dora is played by Carol Kovach, with Erik Hurtado as Vicious. Dora asks a friend, Doug Moore, to help find the map as his reputation for losing things makes him experienced in finding things! The part of Doug Moore is portrayed by Roy Allison.

Roland Ott enacts the character of Stump Woodrow, a rather dense sidekick, who is also a victim of the villain’s swindling ways and manages to complicate everyone’s efforts to find the map.

Golden Chain Theater production of Bonnie Belles Best Bloomers - Erik Hurtado and Rowland Ott - Photograph by Steve Montalto 2014Meanwhile, the hero, Al Wahnee, a traveling soap salesman, attracts the attention of Bonnie Belle, and also ends up saving the day. The parts of Al and title character Bonnie Belle are played by Yosemite High School students Joel Bradshaw and Meagan Montalto.

With trips in and around Yosemite, Doug searches for the map in every community around, and does eventually shed the vital clue to the map, and wins widow Belle’s hand.

It’s worth noting that Roy Allison, Erik Hurtado, and Roland Ott are all employed with H & L Lumber, in Oakhurst. Those gentlemen, along with students Meagan Montalto and Joel Bradshaw, are new to the theater with this production. Carol Kovach is a veteran actor and director.

The program will feature the Grub Gulch dancers, the Grub Gulch Grannies, and Ms. Georgie Dayton singing patriotic songs.

Golden Chain Theater production of Bonnie Belles Best Bloomers - Gary Hu and Carol Kovach - Photograph by Steve Montalto 2014The Yosemite Grant of 1864 protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, creating the foundation for the National Park System. President Lincoln, played by Chawanakee Unified School District teacher/administrator Gary Talley, will make a special appearance during the evening.

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