The historic Gold Bar Room Theater is open, and once again entertaining visitors with a wide variety of shows, from historic performances of Wyatt Earp to comedy nights. This family-friendly tradition has been a part of Cripple Creek since 1946, when Wayne and Dorothy Mackin bought the Imperial Hotel and started a 45-year tradition of dinner theater with classic melodrama.
The Imperial Players performed to summer crowds in the 280-seat Gold Bar Room Theater and helped revitalize the town with a new tourism economy. The award-winning dinner/theater venue was a hit and such notables as Victor Borge, Arthur Godfrey, Walt Disney, Mary Tyler Moore and Lowell Thomas visited the theater. Ragtime pianist Max Morath got his start at the keyboard in the Imperial.
The theater closed in the early 1990s when the Imperial was converted to a casino. The theater was left intact in the basement of the hotel. Gary and Wini Ledford, owners of the Carr Manor (the historic Cripple Creek High School), purchased the historic Imperial Hotel and Restaurant in 2009 and have brought life back to the Imperial, including the Gold Bar Theater. Open again in all its glory and nearly intact from those historic Mackin days, the stage sports the last hand-painted stage drop that was created for 1990s shows. If you are planning a stay in Cripple Creek, check out the Gold Bar Room’s Entertainment Calendar, along with hotel, dinner and theater options.