Guest Blog: The History of Super Summer Theatre

By: Todd Harbach, vice chair executive board, Super Summer Theatre

In our city dubbed the Entertainment Capital of the World, there has always been the glitz and glamour surrounding the show rooms on the Strip, but not all of the working, blue-collar Southern Nevada residence base might be able to frequent those. Few of these residents in Southern Nevada and their families travel to New York City and see The Great White Way. They might not venture to The Smith Center without some greater understanding and thirst for the live entertainment experience they are missing. 

On top of this, few community theater venues survive for talented people to practice their craft. That’s why I must write about a place that I am happy to say still exists after 43 years here in the Las Vegas area: Super Summer Theatre.

Super Summer Theatre was born out of a commitment by the Las Vegas Junior League in 1976.  The Junior League formed the State Parks Cultural Arts Committee, charged with supporting public awareness of the newly formed Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. The committee’s goal became Super Summer Theatre’s mission statement, to provide family-friendly, cultural events annually at an affordable value, all introduced in the outdoors, so people could be shown the multifaceted use available at their new state park.

It was the Junior League’s policy to turn over viable projects to community-led organizations after two to three years. The Junior League dubbed the 1979 season as Super Summer 79, and the State Cultural Arts Committee then took the reins. Its board was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1980 and promptly started using the dba Super Summer Theatre.

Shows continued outdoors with no building until 1987, when Gov. Richard Bryan was invited by the board to break ground on the theater in the performance pavilion. The theater was opened the following year, so performances had lighting and sound in a theater building with a permanent stage, protected from the weather.

In 2015, Super Summer Theatre welcomed our 1 millionth patron at the Ranch. At that time, the board announced our intentions to embark on our most aggressive capital-improvements project since the theater building was completed, for the sake of preservation and upgrading our performance pavilion. After meeting those goals, the performance pavilion was rededicated as the Boman Pavilion in 2017. The Thanks A Million Campaign provided funds for many of the capital improvements that you see and hear today at the Ranch performances. The board’s hope is that audience members will enjoy performances with family and friends at the Ranch for generations to come. 

It has literally taken an army of support helping Super Summer Theatre with the task of producing family-friendly entertainment since 1976. We have shared our mission, and the community rallies to support the organization’s mission statement. 

Our family-friendly shows, produced with the effort of so many, result in the ancillary benefits of bringing awareness to a beautiful venue like the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, the Boman Pavilion and our Super Summer Theatre Studios, where many a career in the performing arts has been rejuvenated, enhanced and even launched into greater recognition.

We appreciate the opportunity to entertain and introduce so many audience members annually to a live art form. Super Summer Theatre is thrilled that we can introduce audience members to the experience of the performing arts in a natural surrounding that we are blessed to support with our mission. 

We are pleased to invite you to come out and enjoy the best seats under the stars at Super Summer Theatre. For more info visit www.supersummertheatre.org.

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