Colorado Theatre History

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The Denver Post Operas (and Musicals) were large scale productions performed in the beautiful marble pavilion of Cheesman Park near downtown Denver in the summertime starting in 1934 (there was a brief period during World War II when there wasn't a show). Known for their extravagant and spectacular production values, the shows were well attended (reportedly up to 20,000 patrons) and a popular social event where people could gather with friends, share a picnic dinner and enjoy a live production with a full orchestra. Helen Bonfils, the owner of the Denver Post, actress, producer and philanthropist, fully funded the shows from the sets and costumes, the union stage hands, to the performers, and the musicians. She offered these shows free of charge to the theatre going audiences. Max Di Julio, director of Loretto Heights College Music Department, was the conductor. Miss Helen Bonfils died in 1972, so in tribute, her favorite musical, "The Sound of Music" was presented and dedicated to her that year.