How I came to be in Estes Park:
by Greig Steiner
To begin with, and going back in history a ways, I met Jerry Carlson when we were both in the army at Ft. Lewis, Washington. I was the director of the post theater and was casting Androcles and the Lion when Jer showed up to play the part of Androcles. We became fast friends and did a number of shows together in Washington.
I was getting out of the service and Jer asked me if I would be interested in being the art and technical director for a theater he planned to open in Estes Park, Colorado, when he got out himself. I said call me!
I was resident designer for the Student Theaters and TV studio at the Pasadena Playhouse when he did call a year later to re-iterate his invitation. My winter season was over the first of June and he wanted to start the next week so I said yes. I drove to Estes Park and started building the Dark Horse Theater. We had four great years, producing over 20 shows at the rate of almost one opening every week of the 9 week summer seasons.
One of the first people I met the first week in Estes was Ann Hale, who came to apply for a job as Publicity Director for the theater. She had just graduated from the University of Nebraska in Journalism and wanted to use her talents in her work. Of course we eventually married and settled in Estes, but that’s another story.
The Dark Horse Players moved from the old Dark Horse Theater to the Backroom Theater which I built in the ballroom of the old Chez Jay Hotel. (currently, Lonigan’s).
(As a side note: one of our young actors, who had come from New York, driving a Yellow Cab, was Judd Hirsch. It was the first time he was ever on a stage. He went on to great success in the TV show “Taxi”).
That was our last season together as a group. When the rest of the bunch had all gone off to their respective winter jobs, I was locking up the place for the last time when Dave Stirling, who was walking down the street, hollered at me and asked where I was off to. I told him I was going back to California to get back to work at the Playhouse. I had three theaters and a TV studio to open and only a week to do it.
Dave asked if I had ever thought of easel painting, which oddly I had been thinking of for some time. He asked me to stay in Estes Park and paint with him. He said I could live with him so I wouldn’t have too many expenses. It sounded good to me and as there was a pay phone right there, I called California and said to give my job away, I wasn’t coming back. And I never did!
A year later Ann and I were married and settled in for the long haul. We have been married for 41 years and are still living in Estes Park, Colorado, our home town.