2012 Cutler Bros.

A New Cutler Bros. Theatre

New Stage, new Era

In August 2011 Kelly landed the music job at Deer Lodge's grade school after graduating from the University of Montana in May with a Music Education degree.  The moment he landed the job in Deer Lodge he knew that Cutler Bros. needed a more permanent home, we couldn't store 7 truck loads of sets, props, and costumes in friends and neighbor's garages anymore.  After a quick search of the open Deer Lodge real estate Cutler Bros. Productions found its home at 301 Main Street, previously "Discount Video" and previously, previously the Crichton Hardware Store.  

The space seemed ginormous, but after adding a stage, dressing rooms, costume racks, a prop's room, and more, it quickly shrank to size.  The building was purchased in November 2011, about the worst time to start a business in Montana.  The 1st ever show was a "Christmas Comedy Night" featuring local hairdresser Stacey Clark and over 200 people showed up for the event.  We borrowed lawn chairs from an outfit in Helena, MT and the audience was so packed we had some people sitting on the windowsills at the front of the building.  The "makeshift" stage was created out of milkcrates and plywood, and following "Comedy Night" we realized we needed a larger and more solid area to create our theatrical events.  The new stage seen above was built and designed by Roger Frazer.  He also assisted in designing the lighting system and updating our sound equipment.    


"Oliver!" Twist the Musical was the first official show on the new Cutler Bros.' main stage in May of 2012.  The cast boasted over 20 children.  Kelly, being the new music teacher in town, had access to all the kids ages kindergarten - 8th and he recruited many of them to try their hand at theatre.  

Greydon Nicholson played the Artful Dodger.  

Jenn Logan and Paul Chapman 

Jim Cameron played the sinister Bill Sykes and Ramona Chrisman took the lead as Nancy.  She won Best Death Scene and Best Leading Actress at the 2012 Award's Banquet.  Cameron won Best Villain, naturally.

On one particularly exhausting crunch week rehearsal we arrived at the part of the show where Bill Sykes dies.  We had created this tall platform that Cameron was going to fall off of after getting shot with a pistol.  We never practiced the fall or even talked about it, but Cameron decided to spread his arms after getting shot and mummy fall off the back of the stage landing flat on the concrete behind the set.  It was a serious moment at the time, now we look back and laugh, "What were you thinking!?" 

Dodger and Fagin

Kelly played the manipulative, yet father-like "Fagin" who takes in these homeless young men and teaches them to pick-pockets as a livelyhood.  The Artful Dodger is the best of the best when it comes to this.  During Fagin's song "I think I better Think it out Again," Kelly would appear to the crowd from all over to pull the laughs, including one time coming from beneath the stage itself.  

The audience bathrooms at the time were to the left behind the brick flats.  Audience members had to come through a backstage curtain to use the restroom.  

Ramona's son Marik would play Oliver Twist.  A talented young man that would take many roles with Cutler Bros. Productions in the future and would also go on to sing the National Anthem at the 2024 "Final Four" basketball tournament.  

Kyle Gillette played Mr. Bumble, a role of comic relief. 

Crunch Week FUN!

Crunch week, or "Hell week" as some like to call it, is the final week of rehearsals before a show opens.  It is generally a pretty stressful week because it is when the entire show manages to "come together."  Seen here is a Sunday rehearsal, 5 days before Oliver! opened, where the children in the cast were blowing off some steam.