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The Hotel Colorado, the “Grande Ole Dame,” often unappreciated or misunderstood, presides with great dignity over her land on her throne at the foot of the Roaring Fork Valley. Photos of her many famous and infamous guests decorate her walls.
She was at times a place for the wealthy to play, and at other times for soldiers to convalesce. She was both appreciated and abused in her past, but never, until now, truly brought to life, and what a life, through music and artistic talent.
On Saturday night, Nov. 27, as the program so aptly stated, “A romantic musical woven into the historic tapestry and legends of The Hotel Colorado” was born. A cast of gifted and uniquely talented local volunteers flawlessly and brilliantly performed “Grande Ole Dame,” a masterful musical created and produced by Joyce Bulifant and her husband Roger Perry.
Both Joyce and Roger have a lifetime of achievement in stage, television, film and the arts. But their past success is only a means to give back and to help others. Most recently it was to create this original musical, “The Grand Ole Dame,” a view of the hotel’s rich history, as seen through the eyes of a mother and two young children and their grandpa, who left his heart there as a young man. They wrote the book (the play), music and lyrics of this big-league, original musical worthy of Broadway; one which educates the young about the past, brings back sweet memories for the old, and rivets an entire audience with tears and laughter.
Benefiting Childhelp River Bridge, an advocacy center for abused children, Joyce, Roger and the dedicated cast from the Roaring Fork Valley raised a nice sum of money for a cause close to Joyce’ heart. That in itself is reason enough to congratulate and celebrate all their efforts. But this musical biography and touching love story is not merely a local event based on a local hotel. It is, rather, a grand musical with wonderful characters of the hotel’s rich past; a romantic story and a historic look at not a Greenbriar or a Broadmoor, but a hotel with a rich history undiscovered by much of this country.
Some people of means in this extraordinary valley could easily elevate this historical and romantic work, this Colorado treasure, to national prominence. Wouldn’t it be nice if a few from the Roaring Fork Valley helped to take this wonderful story of Colorado’s past to the rest of America? And so, I would urge those who can see not only the artistic side, but also the business side, to contact Joyce and Roger and explore this story’s possibilities. This little musical could have a big future.
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