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Theatre & Film Festivals

On Stage with Maralyn Thoma

Read more: On Stage with Maralyn Thoma by ASHLEY BRUCE, Cascade A&E Editorial Intern


Maralyn Thoma’s career has been “a wild ride from the beginning,” as she puts it. Experienced professionally in dancing, writing, acting and movie producing, Thoma will now embrace a new role: host of the Bend Follies as well as starring in Helen on Wheels, on stage at 2nd Street Theater.

Thoma was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Houston, Texas, and her career started at age 15 when she traveled with friends to Las Vegas and stayed to become a chorus girl at the Sahari Hotel. A year later, at her mother’s insistence, Thoma returned home to finish school. Upon graduation, she took a job as Summerstock dancer, one of eight girls selected.

“I knew from an early age that I was destined to be a performer,” she comments. “I wasn’t afraid of anything—it didn’t occur to me to be afraid.” Fear aside, Thoma pursued a career on Broadway in New York City, where she danced for 10 years. She moved from New York to Los Angeles with two small children in tow. She felt California would be a better atmosphere for her daughter and son. In 1980, Thoma landed a scriptwriting job at Columbia Pictures, where she worked on soap operas Santa Barbara, General Hospital, Days of our Lives and Passions. In 1991, her writing on Santa Barbara won her an Emmy.

Four years later, Thoma decided on a more “peaceful” career and moved to Bend. In 2001, Thoma opened 2nd Street Theater, where she has been “involved in producing shows ever since.” Recently, she has been rehearsing for Cricket Daniel’s new play at 2nd Street Theater, Helen on Wheels, which plays through April 12. This is her first time performing in a play since 2008 and she says it is “a thrill to be asked to do this one.”

Thoma plays Helen Wheeler, a gun totin’, whisky drinkin’, granny living in the small town of Crockett, Oklahoma. When Helen isn’t locked up in the local clink, she’s on her front porch shootin’ up critters. Not even the local sheriff, who’s already taken away all of her ammo, her driver’s license and her NRA card, can manage to uphold the law when it comes to Helen and her sidekick, Zona and their daily Thelma and Louise antics.

Thoma is energetically preparing for her role as co-host in the Bend Follies, a lighthearted comedy aimed to raise money for the Tower Theatre Foundation. She will be joining Chuck Arnold, the executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association. Thoma was very flattered to be asked to co-host with Arnold, whom she says, “has great improv skills.”

“He is a very funny guy,” Thoma added, “We’ll have fun together and will do our best to make the audience enjoy it…he’s going to be the comedian host, and I will be the Betty White side-kick.” Executive Director of the Tower Theatre Foundation, Ray Solley, jokes, “The pressure is now on Thoma and Arnold and Ruder [Follies producer] to extend our one-year winning streak, damn it!”

But, the pressure doesn’t concern Thoma. She concludes, “As I said, it’s been, and still is, a great ride.”

Helen on Wheels tickets at www.2ndstreet theater.com. Tickets for the Follies can be purchased from TowerTheatre.org.

Cascades Theatrical Company Season Opens with Funny Money

Read more: Cascades Theatrical Company Season Opens with Funny MoneyCTC is proud to announce the next regular season show will open on Friday, March 14 (with a preview night on Thursday, March 13). Funny Money is an English farce written by Ray Cooney whose writing career to date has sent 18 plays to London’s West End, including his biggest success Run for Your Wife.

Funny Money is a play that everyone can relate to. What would you do if you picked up the wrong briefcase on your way home from the office? Take it to the police, of course. But what if the briefcase contained nearly a million pounds in used bank notes? Suffice it to say that lead character Henry’s wife ends up with a nervous breakdown, Henry ends up with his best friend’s wife and a drug dealer ends up with Henry’s briefcase. There are also two policemen and a taxi driver whose lives will never be the same again.

The cast for this show includes Jean Perkins played by Rebecca Singer, Henry Perkins by Tom Kelley, Bill by Ethan Antram, Sgt. Davenport by Craig Simi, Betty Johnson by Janis Sharpe, Vic Johnson by Bill Casler, Slater by Will Futterman and a passer-by Michael Donnenwerth.

Ron McCracken will be making his directing debut at CTC with this show.

This British farce will keep you laughing and engaged throughout.

Tickets: 541-389-0803. Box office open 12-4pm ,Monday - Friday. www.cascadestheatrical.org. The show runs until March 29.


CTC proudly presents All Aspects Theater. This is a hands-on, multi-week series of workshops for ages 13-18. From curtain up to curtain call this program will encompass everything to do with mounting a stage production. This program will be lead by Brad Thompson, who has a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota and an extensive theatre background.

Classes run on Wednesdays and Saturdays until April 19, culminating with a Shakespearean Monologue competition. Tuition is $150. Scholarships and multi-family member discounts available. For that teen who has an interest in any aspect of theater this is the class for them.

Brad Thompson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How a Teenager Helped End Racism in America The Little Rock Nine Come Alive at the Tower

Read more: How a Teenager Helped End Racism in America The Little Rock Nine Come Alive at the Tower LessonPLAN (Performing Live Arts Now), the Tower Theatre Foundation’s award-winning series bringing students and families to the theatre and using performing arts to enhance education, returns Friday, February 7 at 7pm for its third season with an adaptation of the award-winning Warriors Don’t Cry. The drama recounts a very personal story of 15 year-old Melba Pattillo, portrayed by actress by Jessica Maria Kight, enduring violence and discrimination as she and eight other African-American students, known as the “Little Rock Nine,” integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.

This one-woman performance, in Melba’s own words, is produced by The Bushnell Center in Harford, Connecticut. “When we started working on Warriors over three years ago, there was no way to predict its relevance to the current discussions about bullying, immigration and similar headlines,” said Scott Galbraith at The Bushnell. Equally important, it now demonstrates the progress made in race relations over the past five decades.

The LessonPLAN Series is sponsored by BendBroadband. Supporting sponsor is Warren John West with grants from Children’s Edu-Investors Fund, WESTAF, Bank of the Cascades and the WHH Foundation. The programs are hosted by NewsChannel 21’s Bob Shaw. Study guides and tickets to an educational matinee are available through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

541-317-0700 or TowerTheatre.org. NOTE: Recommended for ages 11-18. Contains historically accurate language, including the “N” word.