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What if the two top actresses of the day were playing the same coveted role in back-to-back productions of a popular play? And to further fuel the tension, what if a bomb-toting anarchist jumped into the picture?

It’s not such a far-fetched idea in the newest production from Sopris Theatre Company at Colorado Mountain College. The hilarious farce “The Ladies of the Camellias” opens at CMC Spring Valley April 5.

The cast of "Ladies of the Camillias" at their first read through of the play.

Well before the next Sopris Theatre Company play hits the stage, the cast of April’s production of “The Ladies of the Camellias” reads the play together for the first time. Photo Brad Moore

It is 1897 Paris, and famous theater divas and rivals Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse – the biggest, most temperamental stars of the time – are scheduled to perform back-to-back productions of the famed Alexandre Dumas play, “The Lady of the Camellias.”

Ramping up the tense situation is Ivan, a young Russian anarchist who threatens to blow up the theater unless his comrades are released from prison. In this fictional imagining, Duse and Bernhardt meet for the first time, as Ivan’s hostages, while remaining ultimate thespian professionals.

Incidentally, over the past 150 years the play within this play – the original Dumas novel and play – spun off the opera “La Traviata” and dozens of films going by the name “Camille.”

Curtain for “The Ladies of the Camellias” will be at 7 p.m. April 5-6 and April 12-13. Matinee performances will run at 2 p.m. April 7 and 14 at the New Space Theatre, Calaway Academic Building at CMC Spring Valley, 3000 County Road 114.

Admission is $18 for adults, and $13 for seniors and students, as well as CMC employees and graduates. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com or by emailing svticketsales@coloradomtn.edu.

For more information, contact Brad Moore at 970-947-8187 or bmoore@coloradomtn.edu.

More at coloradomtn.edu/theatre.