ABOVE: Professional singer and actor
Paige Salter shines in the 2013
a Cabaret" at Fort
16 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2014
JULY 2014 • NEBRASKAland 17
Text and photos by Mark Harris
A World-class Act
ABO ABOVE VE: Pr f ofe i ssional singer d and actor
The Playhouse at Fort Robinson
ne spring morning well before Nebraska's tourist
season, the cast of Fort Robinson State Park's Post
Playhouse Theater awoke to the sharp crack of
nearby rifle fire. Actor and musician Dan Denton grew up in
Kansas so he's familiar with western ways, but men blasting
targets cavalry-style from the backs of galloping horses still
registered as odd.
The shooting competition was one of many cultural
changes Nebraska's sparsely populated Old West country
presented to Denton and his fellow performers, but a
summer acting gig at Fort Robinson is coveted.
Janet McWilliams, star of "Annie Get Your Gun,"
remarkably resembles the Annie Oakley seen in historical
photos, but as a vegetarian from Philadelphia, that's where
the likeness ends.
"If you love meat, Nebraska is really the place for you,"
she said laughing. "It took me a while to acclimate."
But small sacrifices at the Fort are offset by better things.
"On the East Coast, people are always in a rush and
nobody has time to sit and talk to you," McWilliams said.
"Here, everyone wants to know who you are and what
you're doing. It's hard to train yourself to slow up and calm
down like western Nebraskans."
Paige Salter from Chattanooga, Tennessee, is in her
fifth season at the Playhouse, and agrees with the unique
atmosphere. "I hate to be all cheesy, but it's a magical
experience out here. When I first came, I'd never seen
a place where there weren't buildings everywhere!
Everywhere I looked it was a postcard picture. I'm kind of
obsessed with the beauty now and I don't miss the
lack of malls and Internet."