When the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad excursion train pulls out of the Fish Camp station for an evening run July 15, the riders will be getting more than the visual glories of the pines, the echo of the whistle and the clickety-clack and huff-and-puff sounds of the historic Logger train. When they reach the picnic area at Lewis Creek Canyon, Oakhurst’s Golden Chain Theatre Traveling Troupe will perform a mini-melodrama, “A Fastidious Finagling Fiasco Fixing Fresno Flats.”
(Sheriff Dead Wood and school teacher Mary Posa are out to save the town of Fresno Flats)
The YMSPRR has offered these Moonlight Special trips for 36 years. The evening begins with a 6:30 p.m. steak barbecue with musical entertainment by Sugar Pine. Then it’s a narrow-gauge trip through the woods and into the past of Sierra Nevada logging. From 1899 to 1931, the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company was a big player in timber, the largest industry in these mountains.
At the turn-around picnic area, the Golden Chain Grub Gulch Can-Can Dancers will greet the train, and open the highly imaginative tale of how nearby Oakhurst got its name.
Playwright Roger Clugston has created a couple of bad guys — Al Waahnee (Mykael Mitchell) and his sidekick Shifty Sands (Chris Moore) — who come into the burgeoning community of Fresno Flats with the idea of taking over the town with a series of lies, faked documents and rumors. But postmistress Sue Kell (Devin Faucette), schoolteacher Mary Posa (Shanna Strange) and the none-too-bright Sheriff Dead Wood (J.R. Romero) have a plan to stop them.
Tickets for the Moonlight Special are $49 for adults and $24.50 for kids 3 to 15 years old. Seats go quickly and early reservations are encouraged. More information and reservations: (559) 683-7273, www.ymsprr.com or Facebook.
The Moonlight Special Melodrama runs again on Aug. 12.
(Good always triumphs in the melodrama Moonlight Special. See it July 15)