'The first grown-up theater play I actually saw as a child was at Star Bar," recalls Alysabeth Clements Mosley, 20-year member and artistic director of the Star Bar.
Mosley, now 45, along with husband and executive director Dylan Mosley, now head the company. And they recently achieved a milestone by finding it a permanent home at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts' David Lord Theater downtown.
"We were born as a downtown theater company," says Mosley. "I even think our first shows were Shakespeare vignettes in 1972 in Acacia Park."
But over the course of four decades, Star Bar has wandered in Bohemia, moving from public stages (Acacia Park, Manitou Springs' Soda Springs Park), to garages and available dance studios. In the late 2000s, the gypsy company found itself "grinding to a halt."
After several seasons of inactivity, it just "kind of went dark," Mosley says. "No one was really at the reins [for a long time]. It had just lost people through attrition, and it had just kind of stopped."
Mosley, who met her future husband during rehearsals for The Heidi Chronicles in 2007, was determined to keep Star Bar from going the way of the dodo. So she and Dylan resuscitated it, making Star Bar the oldest ongoing theater company in the area.
And it's back in full swing in a new partnership with Cottonwood, whose space is also the home theater for THEATREdART. With a season ahead that includes Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, Star Bar kicks off Friday with Robert Glaudini's Jack Goes Boating. Directed by Mosley herself, this 2007 play follows four middle-aged friends who are forced to examine their own humanity through interactions with each other.
It's not your typical retrospective midlife-crisis story, Mosley explains.
"This isn't so much about aging ... I really think that 40 is the new 30," she says. "When you're 40, you really feel differently about love and things than when you're 30. But [you] still have fun and smoke pot and things like that."
Also a 2010 movie starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (though this isn't a tribute production), the romantic comedy shows a man blossoming to earn the affections of a woman, while the married couple who set them up begins to show signs of strain.
"You're not going to walk out having an existential crisis," Mosley says laughingly. "It's a nice little play. And sometimes it's OK to be a little fucked up."