In early 1973 a group of young actors gathered after rehearsal at a local watering hole called the Star Bar (just north of where Chinook bookstore used to be on Tejon, across from Acacia Park) to deplore their artistic condition. The church where they were mounting a production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible had objected to the playwright's language and asked that certain portions be stricken from the script. Eventually, according to founding member Stephen Pino, one of them - he, James Bohnen, Les Baird, Cynthia Hodell, Spencer Stuart or Deni Blakemore, (Mr. Pino can't recall whom) spoke up: "What are we doing? Just sitting here complaining? If we don't step up and form a company that gives us what we need then we're just d!psh!ts."
The mandate was clear. And so the Star Bar Players were born. Bohnen and Baird, avid fans of the New Yorker, made Star Bar's official date of establishment February 21, 1973 in commemoration of their favorite magazine's original publication date: February 21, 1925. The earliest productions took place in the summer of '73, says Bohnen, who went on to found and, until 2011, serve as artistic director of Chicago's acclaimed Remy Bumppo theatre, "...in Acacia Park, Soda Springs Park and other places. We did three different "evenings" (although all performances were in the afternoon [Pino: "...until someone left a box full of fresnels on the edge of the stage one day, and we actually had lights!"]): one was two Shakespeare cuttings, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream; another was two Moliere farces, The Miser and The Doctor in Spite of Himself; the third (which was memorably horrid, and infrequently performed) was a group of short plays and pantomimes. It was all done with no money and a bit of exciting ambition."
Star Bar became an integral part of the Springs' cultural landscape and has come to hold the distinction of being the oldest theatre company in the area. We've gone through countless incarnations in the last four decades, always with excellence in mind. Now we've come full circle, returned to our roots, rebooting in 2009 after a season in mothballs with little more than that same exciting ambition. After more than twenty years of comfortable ensconcement at our beloved Lon Chaney theatre we became a gypsy company again, working first in a garage-turned-workshop and later a dance studio before spending three seasons at 128 N. Nevada, around the corner from Acacia Park, a stone's throw from where it all began. In March 2014 we found ourselves homeless once again and went dark for just under a year. As of October, 2014, we've partnered with the Cottonwood Center for the Arts - still downtown, where we belong. We're proud of our past and excited about the future; we hope you'll be a part of it.