Two-Bit Town | Urban Living

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Two-Bit Town

Posted By on July 13, 2016, 4:00 AM

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There's a little community theater on 25th Street in Ogden called Good Company Theatre. It's owned by two women known as "The Washington Sisters" who dedicate their nights and weekends to the arts they create for that two-bit town.

Ogden's 25th Street is known as the "two-bit street" because you could, back in the day, get about anything for two bits including drugs, prostitutes and a fleabag hotel room. Al Capone was rumored to have claimed that Ogden was "too wild a town" for him, and we know that during Prohibition, tunnels ran under some of the hotels and bars to move liquor. There are plaques on buildings on the restored street and any old-timer will tell you a tale or two about the naughty businesses that were there. Funny, but the theater itself is above Jack and Jill's adult novelty store—keeping the traditions and tales somewhat alive in this century.

I've been asked for the last four years to come to the theater and help produce and read in The Vagina Monologues each year, and have since become a huge fan of the sisters and their work to bring new plays to the area to O-Town. They also have drag shows which sell out instantly. I told them they needed their own annual cash cow, like Saturday's Voyeur is for Salt Lake Acting Co. The Voyeur musical raises so much money for Salt Lake's little theater that they can bring in some pretty amazing plays throughout the year and pay for the royalties, costumes, sets and music. I opened my big mouth and said I'd write them an old-fashion melodrama about naughty old 25th Street, because the only down-time of the year is in July—a local time for picnics, parades and pioneers. My mentor at Westminster College, Professor Jay Lees had us all star in melodramas back in our day. Think The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and little Nell and Dudley Do-Right. Boo at the villain (Snidely Whiplash in the R and B cartoon) and cheer at our hero in this new show.

I caved in and so It's a Two-Bit Town was born. It took me about three weeks of researching the town's history and the art form of melodrama itself. Luckily, my professor from long ago channeled himself through me and it was a snap to put together. It's not something you see very often these days in theaters, but is a ton of fun for a cast and for the audience because of the audible reactions encouraged from the ticketholders. Those interested in booing or hissing at my work can do so July 14-24. You can find more info at GoodCoTheatre.com or by calling 801-917-4969.

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