Thunder River Theatre opens ‘Of Mice and Men’ Friday |

Thunder River Theatre opens ‘Of Mice and Men’ Friday

"Of Mice and Men" will open at Thunder River Theatre Company on Friday, Feb. 22 in Carbondale.
Katherine Peach/Courtesy photo


What: TRTC’s production of ‘Of Mice and Men’

Where: Thunder River Theatre Company, 67 Promenade, Carbondale

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 (Opening Night)

Cost: $15-$30

Retirement is a misnomer for Lon Winston.

Since the longtime educator, actor and theater director stepped away from Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre Co. 21/2 ago he has been keeping busy onstage and behind the scenes.

“I like being involved in a show every year,” Winston said.

Since handing the reins as executive artistic director over to Corey Simpson in 2016, Thunder River founder Winston has directed and designed 2017’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and 2016’s “Rashomon.”

“I am also a permanent member of the board, TRTC’s theater consultant and I work with Corey to develop our new seasons,” he said.

His latest directorial effort will bring John Steinbeck’s Depression-era drama “Of Mice and Men” to Thunder River

“Doing a classic play — doing any play, really — we are simply creating our model for what we believe that play means,” Winston said. “It’s not right or wrong. It just needs to be new and fresh for us — and honest.”

He said the biggest challenge for him on this show, and any show he directs, is to make it relevant for contemporary audiences.

Winston believes “Of Mice and Men” is a love story.

“It is a profound relationship between two people. It’s not a romance relationship, it is caring friendship.” Winston said. “It must communicate something significant to our audience — whether it’s Greek drama, Shakespeare or American classics.”

The cast of the production includes Corey Simpson as George. Owen O’Farrell plays Lennie, with Sonya Meyer as Curley’s wife and Colorado stage legend Bob Moore as Candy. Other supporting cast members include Tom Cochran, Gerald DeLisser, Nick Garay, Dana Gaubatz, Brian McIsaac and Willie Moseley.

Winston’s favorite part of producing a play is bringing the cast together.

“Getting them to see the play in a new light, guiding them through the rehearsal process until we reach performance posture,” Winston explained. “I like to light a fire under my actors and then get out of the way. … I see myself as the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.”

After a preview show Thursday night, the two-week run begins 7:30 p.m. today in Carbondale.

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