Breckenridge Texan

Newly repaired National Theatre opens with ‘The Choir’; stage dedicated to Becky Payne

Newly repaired National Theatre opens with ‘The Choir’; stage dedicated to Becky Payne
April 23
21:14 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

When a storm system moved across the area on May 13, 2022, it brought golf ball- and baseball-sized hail that damaged many buildings and vehicles in downtown Breckenridge. At the National Theatre, in the 100 block of East Walker Street, the roof was severely damaged, leading to water damage throughout the historic building.

On Sunday, April 16, Friends of Historic Breckenridge, the organization that owns and operates the National Theatre, re-opened its doors to guests for the first time in over a year, hosting an event for its members. In welcoming the crowd, Bo Asher, president of FOHB, explained that the theater had sustained more than $200,000 worth of damage in the storm.

In the ensuing months, the theater has had the roof replaced over all three sections of the facility — the auditorium, Mike’s Bar, and the reception area. Drywall was repaired and walls were painted  throughout the building. Because of the historic tile on both sides of the building, the building underwent 30 days of water extraction to make sure that the tiles could be preserved. Additionally, the theater received a new air conditioning unit, ceiling tiles, lighting, carpet and hardwood floors, and the stage floor was replaced.

The scheduled event for the evening was a production of the play “The Choir,” presented by a revival of the local theater group Breck On Stage.

But, before the show started, Asher made a special announcement.

Becky Payne thanks Bo Asher and the Friends of Historic Breckenridge crowd gathered at the National Theatre, where the newly replaced stage was dedicated as the “Becky Payne Performance Stage.” (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

He brought FOHB Vice President Becky Payne to the front of the auditorium. “So Becky has been an integral part of Friends of Historic Breckenridge and the National Theatre. In fact, she has been part of this organization from day one, back in the mid ’90s,” Asher said. “Whenever there is something I need that’s related to the theater, if I can’t find it, she’s the one I go to.”

Asher explained to Payne and the crowd that the members of the FOHB board wanted to do something special to honor her and her dedication to the facility. Then, he unveiled a plaque on the front of the stage and announced that it is the newly designated “Becky Payne Performance Stage.”

As an additional tribute to Payne, who also has taught ballet in Breckenridge for many years, some of her current students presented a brief performance.

“Since ballet is language Becky speaks fluently, what better way to break in our stage than with a ballet performed by former current students,” Asher said. “Emma, Sara Kate, Hanna Grace and Joy (Griffith) began dancing three years ago when Miss Becky offered to begin teaching them once a week. Her profound generosity has led to meeting twice a week for what the girls have described as their very favorite times of the week.”

Before the girls came on stage, Asher explained that they would be performing a révérence. “A révérence is a short combination that is danced at the end of each ballet class,” Asher said. “It is intended to show honor and gratitude for the ballet instructor’s time and dedication to her students. Today, on behalf of our whole community, they will be performing a révérence for Miss Becky.”

Lesli Howk’s character and those around her react to her growling stomach during “The Choir.” Pictured from left are Dana Moser, Krystal Hash, Lesli Howk, Debbie Windsor and Raymond Quillin. Click here to see more photos. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Following the ballet performance, the curtains were drawn and the stage was set up for “The Choir” performance.

Directed by Melinda Lane, “The Choir” is a comedy written in 1958 by Texas playwright Ramsey Yelvington (1913-1973). Set in the 1950s, it gives the audience an inside look at the thoughts going on in the minds of a church choir and their director while the preacher presents his sermon.

A second performance of “The Choir” that had been scheduled for May 20 has been postponed. Updates will be provided as available.

The cast includes Denny Lane, Debbie Windsor, Dana Moser, Krystal Hash, Cassandra Miller, Lee Olsen, Vince Moore, Zoey Cotter, Josiah Moreno, Raymond Quillin, Eric Brennan, Kristi Bass, Adam Dixon, Lesli Howk, and JB Sparks, and Anna Moreno on piano.

Now that the theater has been repaired, the FOHB has a variety of events planned, including:

  • Free movie — “Jesus Revolution” — to be shown at no charge on Saturday, April 29, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and then again on Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m.
  • Free movie — “80 For Brady” — to be shown at no charge on Saturday, May 6, at 7 p.m.
  • Children’s Theater Workshop — the Missoula Children’s Theatre will return this summer to present “King Arthur’s Quest” with workshops June 12-16, and a performance on Saturday, June 17. More information to come about cost and registration.
  • Bluegrass Concert — the band Shine will return to the National Theatre with a concert on June 24.

To see more photos from the April 16 event, click here to view the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

Chaos ensues in the minds of the church choir members in “The Choir.” Pictured, from left, are Vince Moore, JB Sparks, Dana Moser, Krystal Hash, Lesli Howk, Debbie Windsor, Raymond Quillin (back), Lee Olson (behind Quillin), Cassandra Miller, Adam Dixon (behind Miller), Josiah Moreno and Zoe Cotter. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The cast of “The Choir” gathered for a cast picture after the play on April 16. Pictured, from left, front row, are Lesli Howk, Debbie Windsor, Cassandra Miller, Kristi Bass, Zoey Cotter and Anna Moreno; center row, from left, Adam Dixon, Melinda Lane, Krystal Hash, Dana Moser and Vince Moore; back row, from left, JB Sparks, Denny Lane, Josiah Moreno, Lee Olson and Eric Brennan. Not pictured is Raymond Quillin. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Becky Payne thanks her dance students, Emma, Joy, Sara Kate and Hanna Grace Griffith, for their performance following the dedication of the new “Becky Payne Performance Stage” at the National Theatre. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 5:35 p.m. April 24, 2023, to update information about the previously scheduled performance of “The Choir,” which has been postponed.


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