Telluride Theatre: “Men on Boats,” 3/2-3/5 & 3/9-3/12!

Telluride Theatre: “Men on Boats,” 3/2-3/5 & 3/9-3/12!

Telluride Theatre celebrates the spirit of the Grand Canyon with its next production of “Men on Boats.” The show was written by playwright Jaclyn Backhaus and will be performed in the Bob Black Box at the Michael D. Palm Theatre, March 2-5 and March 9-12, 2023, 7 p.m. nightly.

Seating is limited each night. Tickets are $30 general admission for adults; $20 for children ages 13-18 – the show is appropriate for kids ages 13 and up – and are on sale now at

What happens when you have 10 explorers, four boats and one Grand Canyon? You get “Men on Boats,” the true(ish) history of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition to chart the course of the Colorado River through Colorado, Utah and Arizona.

“Men on Boats” was written by Jaclyn Backhaus and calls for women to play all the male characters of the story.

“When I read this play I just knew it was perfect for our audience,” said Telluride Theatre Artistic Director Sasha Cucciniello who is directing the show. “It celebrates the grandeur and wonder the West holds; the sheer magnitude of the landscapes we love so much. The play also touches on many social issues that were prevalent back then, and we are still experiencing today. It is such a fun, beautiful take on exploration, claiming land and the lure of the West. I am so excited to share it with everyone.”

Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran and personal friend of President Grant, led the government-sanctioned journey that was not without hardship, camaraderie and even the fateful question of quitting while they were ahead. Powell assembled a rag-tag group of explorers (and some wanna-be explorers) to chart the course of the Colorado River.

Anyone who’s spent time traveling throughout the West knows how vast and inspiring the landscape is. To look down into the Grand Canyon, or float through it on the Colorado River transports you to another world, home to geological wonders scientists dedicate their entire lives to studying.

The play pays homage to both the sheer magnitude of the mighty Colorado River that carves through the Grand Canyon and the sheer heroics, with a bit of fallible cockiness and cluelessness in a comedic retelling of one of the West’s most iconic expedition tales.

“Men on Boats” stars Sue Knechtel, Julia Caulfield, Ramie Holquist, Suzanne Cheavens, Itzel Hernandez, Ursula Rose Ostrander, Vanessa Ramirez, Meghan Knowles, Shan Thorpe, Stanya Gorraiz and Karen Guglielmone.

Telluride Theatre Producing Director Melissa Trn is the play’s set and costume designer. Kellie Fox is lighting and projection design and Travis Young wrote music for the show as sound designer. Carl McMahon and Samuel Young are the show’s stage managers.


Telluride Theatre is committed to advancing the performing arts in our region through innovative productions, education programs and community involvement. The nonprofit creates theatre that lives in moments of truthful human connection, promotes joyful celebration and is an open dialogue, accessible to all audiences.

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