Each spring for the last 25 years, a local group of volunteers known as the Illustrious Onion Skin Player's has come together to put on a melodrama, sing a-longs, and olio's (song and dance), from the late 1800's.
Ruth Creek formed the group in 1985, pattering it after the Sawduster's Theater of Coquille, Oregon. "Onionskin Players", named to reflect Ontario's title as "The Onion Capital of the World" has steadily grown, both in number and professionalism, as have the numbers of financial sponsors and ticket holders. People of all ages come from throughout the Treasure Valley to move back in time to a place that escapes inflation, war and taxes. The troupe takes great pride in providing wholesome entertainment for the all.
Performers and stage crew for the 'Onion Skin Players come from all over the Treasure Valley and as far away as Sweet, and Boise Idaho.
Auditions give all volunteers a chance to read lines for a part in the play, to sing and to dance or to be one of the many helping stagehands.
The plays are performed in the "Grand Manner" of melodrama with exaggerated motions and expressions. The audiences are encouraged to 'BOO' and 'HISS' the Villain, cheer the Hero, and sing along with such well-known oldies as "Five Foot Two" and "Yes Sir! That's My Baby". Attention to detail-from the feathers in the ladies' headpieces to the shine of the hero's boots-is what distinguishes our group. Lots of sequins and jewels are a must. The sparkles of the jewelry and the 'swoosh' of the villain's cape all help draw the audience into the performance.
The Onion Skin Players enjoy a widespread reputation for their professional and fun entertainment.
In 1997 the Onion Skin Players were looking for a place to put on their yearly play. After a tour of the magnificent 'Star Theater' and agreement was met between the Wheelers, then owners of the 'Star', and the Onion Skin Players. Work parties were held to clean the once used dressing rooms, now covered in coal dust. As each door opened, the magic of the old theater put a spell on the present day cast. Visions of actors putting on their make-up, costumes, and hats, rehearsing their lines, songs or jokes filled all of their minds. When they stood in silence in the middle of theater or on the stage, one could actually hear or maybe feel the years of joy the theater had given to those who walked thru its doors.
In August of 2000, Mrs. Wheeler decided to sell the theater. The 'Onion Skin Players finalized an agreement with the Wheeler's for the purchase of the theater.