An impressive amount of creative energy flows through the teeny-tiny town of Los Alamos (pop. 1,275), some of which will be on view at the Los Alamos Theatre Group’s new production of Milo Sampson 1946, a Musical. The show, which runs from July 1-17 at the Depot Mall (515 Bell St.), is a passion project for writer/director Jeffrey Bloom, a Hollywood expat who has been putting on plays in the town since 2018, alongside his producer wife, Carole Bloom.
Settling in Los Alamos 10 years ago, Jeffrey said he met so many interesting people and “larger-than-life personalities, I figured we could probably put a theater group together here.” The first show, The Chesterfield Women, was a benefit for Los Alamos Senior Center and featured detective Milo Sampson, who shows up again this summer.
The six shows (Milo is the seventh) have been a labor of love, benefitting different nonprofits. This year the proceeds go to Summer in the Park, a free day camp that provides food and recreation for local kids, many of whom are the children of agricultural workers.
Jeffrey writes the book and lyrics, and Connie Rohde and Lee Stanchfield write the music and coach the singers. The first show they did one song, and now they’re up to 10, Jeffrey laughs. “The music is getting better and better. And the singers are getting better. It’s really an exciting process to watch what happens with a group of people that care and knock themselves out.”
The cast includes Darcy Aviles, Doug Clark, Diane Lindquist, Jason Mergenov, Marisa Matela, Shelby Sim, Mike Terry, and Debbie Ulrick. The 1940s-style murder mystery also boasts a stalwart volunteer tech crew, including Dan Thompson, who owns the Depot Mall and has created a “nice little theater” as a home for the group.
“It’s fun, but we take it really seriously, and everybody works hard for a long time,” said Jeffrey. “The money all goes to good causes, and lots of people in this town are really happy about it. It’s such an unusual thing to have theater in town; it’s the size of a grapefruit, but it’s pretty spectacular.”