by Amy Arnaz
Historic Boulder Theatre
“I’m going to buy that theatre and fix it up for the ballet company.” That’s what my husband, Desi Arnaz Jr., said to me as we drove past the Boulder Theatre ten years ago.
Built in 1932, the Boulder Theatre slowly fell into disrepair and when the “For Sale” sign went up on the marquee we decided to buy it. Knowing the old theatre couldn’t compete with the new, modern cineplexes popping up all over Henderson and Las Vegas, Desi decided to use the theatre for live performances.
So the movie screen came down after being up for 65 years a stage was built and the Richners placed 50 tons of air conditioning on the roof. We also said goodbye to the soda fountain, asbestos, old carpet, old plumbing, old electrical and old windows. We still have the original windows upstairs in one of the storage closets. The men from Rants Plumbing dug up the floors and installed new sewer lines all the way to the alley where the city sewer line is buried and changed out all the plumbing. Chuck’s Electric brought in enough power to light Cleveland! With a grant from the Boulder City Redevelopment Fund we installed fire sprinklers and a fire alarm system throughout the building. Roel Construction remodeled the lobby and all the offices upstairs.
Now Boulder City Ballet Company has a permanent home. Using the big stage for lessons and rehearsals has allowed the ballet company to blossom and present the most-loved ballets of all time The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.
We rarely rent the theatre out, but sometimes between ballet rehearsals and performances, we present other shows like A Tribute to Dean Martin, the town favorite Chautauqua each September, Desi’s band Ricci, Desi & Billy, a seminar sponsored by the Lucy-Desi Museum called Legacy of Laughter, occasional performances by The Red Mountain Choir, and in February of 2008 we’re renting the theatre to Lee Lanier for his Dam Short Film Festival.