Royal Gorge Railroad
The RGRR is a tourist train that runs 12 miles west out of Canyon City, CO, through the Royal Gorge, beneath the famous hanging bridge, and back to Canyon City.
"Murder at Bottomsrood" 11/20/04:
We arrived at 4:00 pm in a snowstorm. The crew already had the engine hooked up and the train ready to pull out at 5:00.
The audience was seated in the dining car. We took a passenger car behind the open observation car as our "green room".
The first thing to do was work out the blocking ("you go over there, I'll come from over here, and then we'll move to that point") in the dining car...
And get friendly with Lizette, the upstairs maid, and other characters...
Maybe too friendly... Don is hugged by the irrepressible Russian Count Pavlov Petrotsky, a famed psychic.
Conductor Neil helps Mother Victoria off the train to greet her guests. Normally the scene of "Murder At Bottomsrood" is Bottomsrood Manor in Batavia, NY, circa 1900. This night, however, we inform the guests that, in accordance with the late Albert Bottoms' wishes, we would be taking the train to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where we'd be staying at Albert's favorite place, Middle Finger Lodge.
A quick rehearsal in the "green room"...
... and then we pull out through the Royal Gorge. The RGRR set up for night travel by installing blue string lights on the observation car and side-pointing floodlights beneath the dining car to light up the river and canyon walls.
The guests were fed and entertained with a seance - followed by murder - in the dining car.
While the audience members wrote down their solutions to the murder, the train hurried back to the depot through an intensifying storm...
... but we returned safe and sound to the depot after having had a good time all around.
"Murder On Location" 11/27/04
Dressing in the "green room". This is the outfit that Michael typically wears on road trips, no matter what the weather - except that he usually has on tasteful black running shorts instead of these red ones with... with... are those devils???
The characters of "Murder On Location": Ruth Tomain, aging actress; Jack Hammer, relative newcomer; Belva Deare, ingenue; Mel Grimm, evil producer; and Otto Von Graph, talented director.
Ruth gives Jack a demonstration of her acting technique.
Don plays Britt Dawson, the railroad detective who will help the audience solve the mystery should a murder happen to occur enroute. Don likes this car because he also has a solo career playing Teddy Roosevelt. (See Contact Us for further info.)
RGRR's Chef Mario oversees the preparation of an excellent dinner in the galley.
The RGRR disappears into blue mountain twilight.
We met onboard a mother and daughter from Akron, CO, who were on vacation and feeling a little guilty that they would miss Sunday services the next day (Mom is the organist at the Methodist Church). So we made them part of the show by describing how Otto was throwing a party and had invited a couple of "hot Methodist babes."
As they got up to de-train at the depot later they told how much they enjoyed the show and added that they "really hate to leave." We knew exactly what they meant. Sometimes we don't like to give up the fantasy either.