‘A Jukebox for the Algonquin’ brings a story of sex, drugs, and rocking chairs to Golden’s Miners Alley  

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Courtesy of Miners Alley Performing Arts Center
The cast of “A Jukebox for the Algonquin” at Miners Alley Performing Arts Center in Golden.

When Colorado theater audiences enjoy a regional premiere, they may not think about the forces that went into bringing that play to a local stage. But relationships — both personal ones between individuals in the theater world and institutional ones, between different playhouses — can often be a big part of the mix.

That’s the case with "A Jukebox for The Algonquin," running now at Miners Alley Performing Arts Center in Golden.

The brand new play, written by Paul Stroili, premiered at The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, Mich. in 2023. The company, founded by actor Jeff Daniels, has a strong focus on producing new works.

“One of the reasons I was so attracted to it is that it's extremely funny, in a Neil Simon-esque kind of way … It really has all the feels,” said Len Matheo, director of the Miners Alley production.

Matheo and Stroili have been friends since college. Both men say the play about sex, drugs, and rocking chairs has more going on than the audience may expect. 

“I think people think that a play set in a senior care center is going to be a play about old people. And this is just a play about people who happen to have lived longer,” said Stroili. “But people should not be expecting a sweet sort of Hallmarky type, ‘wacky old people’ type thing. It's got some teeth, this play.” 

It was during Matheo’s visit to the Purple Rose Theatre to see the premiere of “A Jukebox for the Algonquin” that Stroili learned about the big changes at Miners Alley; the company recently cut the ribbon on a new performing arts center in the heart of Golden. 

Eden Lane/CPR News
Members of Miners Alley cut the ribbon on their new performing arts center in Golden's old Meyer Hardware building, on Dec. 2, 2023

Now the playwright is also in the cast of this, the second professional production of his play.  

“It’s just been great and it's a lot of fun to step into the shoes of a character in the play,” said Stroili.

Matheo describes the team at the Purple Rose as welcoming, and open to future collaborations.

“I would love to nurture this kind of relationship, to create these new plays (and) do more of Paul's work now I'm a fan,” said Matheo.

Matheo believes that this new relationship with the Purple Rose, and playwrights, has powerful potential to expand the Golden-based theater company's mission. 

“Now that we have taken Miners Alley Playhouse to Miners Alley Performing Arts Center and Miners Alley Theater Company, I really want to foster new work like this,” said Matheo. “And not just new work from Colorado, which there is a good amount, but just from all over the country.”

"A Jukebox for the Algonquin" runs through April 7, 2024, at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden.