When Mel Sussman and his wife moved to Rio Rancho from the East Coast, they noticed that something near and dear to their hearts was missing from their new home – a community theater.
“We saw that there were community theaters in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but none in Rio Rancho,” Sussman said.
In late 2019, despite a lack of rehearsal space and funding, he and his wife decided to start one of their own called the Rio Rancho Players Community Theatre. They held auditions and cast roles in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Our Town,” a production that dates back to the 1930s, following the lives of everyday people in a small town, not unlike Rio Rancho.
Unfortunately, the night the group was scheduled to perform, the state went into lockdown.
Sussman says he was defeated.
“I cried a lot, I walked around in circles,” he said. “But I knew there wasn’t anything we could do except wait.”
Once the state lifted some restrictions, they held more auditions, casting some original actors and some new ones. News Radio KKOB will feature the story Friday as part of its Good News Files.
“Our Town” starts Friday, Oct. 1, and will run through Oct. 16 at Avix Art, 4311 Sara Road SE, Rio Rancho. Visit rr-cc.org for showtimes and to purchase tickets.
“The Good News Files” is a collaboration between the Albuquerque Journal, 96.3 News Radio KKOB and KOAT-TV. The stories highlight good news stories in the community.