McAvoy Layne is The Ghost of Mark Twain. For thirty years now, in over four thousand performances from Piper's Opera House in Virginia City to Leningrad University in Russia, McAvoy has been preeminent in preserving the wit & wisdom of The Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope, Mark Twain. McAvoy is a winner of the Nevada Award for Excellence in School and Library Service, and author of the book Huck Finally Graduates. McAvoy plays the ghost of Samuel Clemens in the Biography Channel's episode of Mark Twain, and in the Discovery Channel's Cronkite Award winning documentary, 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.' Says McAvoy, "It's like being a Monday through Friday preacher, whose sermon, though not reverently pious, is fervently American."

Doug Watson

About Boulder City Chautauqua

Susan Marie Frontczak has given over 800 presentations as Marie Curie, Mary Shelley, Irene Castle, Clara Barton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Erma Bombeck across 42 of the United States and nine countries abroad. She works with both students and adults to develop their own Living History presentations and is the author of the Young Chautauqua handbooks for Colorado Humanities.
Susan Marie joins millions of Erma Bombeck fans in the U.S. and around the world in celebrating one of the 20th century’s most prolific writers and humorists. As a teen, Susan Marie competed with her mother to see which of them could snag the monthly Good Housekeeping magazine, to be the first to read Erma Bombeck’s column. She says the hardest part of presenting as Erma Bombeck is choosing what to include from a seemingly endless supply of priceless material, and none of her other characters have given her so much to laugh at along the way. 

Opening Acts

McAvoy Layne 

Steve Cottrell, Sharon Resnikoff, Bob Buetler, and Elaine Hardy are local Boulder City residents. Steve started out performing in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco in the 60's and has been performing in various venues ever since. He has been a favorite for Boulder City fundraisers and past Chatauquas. Sharon is an actor and award winning singer-songwriter. She has performed in festivals, clubs and coffeehouses. Bob plays the trumpet and is a former Boulder City's Got Talent winner. He and Elaine, on piano, have teamed up to form this little jazz combo.

About the Chautauquans


Karen Vuranch

Susan Marie Frontczak

Amy and Desi Arnaz, Jr. purchased the Boulder Theatre in 1997 and brought it back to life after being on the brink of extinction. To learn more about this wonderful historic venue, visit

Boulder City Chautauqua

About the Historic Boulder Theatre

Chautauqua began as an educational gathering, originating as an American movement in the late 1800s, providing public lectures, religious programs and concerts during the summer months. Chautauqua was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, showmen, preachers, and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America."

Chautauqua in Boulder City, Nevada, began in 1992, and continues today as an exploration and enrichment of life through three pillars of programming:  education, cultural arts, and recreation.

​Boulder City Chautauqua is a Non-Profit 501 (c)(3) Organization. All donations are  tax deductible to the extent permissible under law.

Dr. Doug Watson is a retired college English teacher and inductee of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. For more than twenty years Watson has been involved in historical characterization and humanities programming. As an employee of the Will Rogers Memorial Museums, Watson is an acclaimed educator-ambassador for the humor and good will that was associated with Will Rogers. Doug Watson and his wife Kay live in Shawnee, Oklahoma. “Doug Watson is a very dedicated historian and talented storyteller. He really does make the humor and wisdom of Will Rogers come alive."

Built in 1933 by Fox Theatres, the Historic Boulder Theatre was the heartbeat of Boulder City for nearly 60 years. Because it was the only air-conditioned building in town, workers from Hoover Dam would pay $.25 for a movie ticket just so they could sleep for a few hours in the cool theatre to escape the scorching heat in Black Canyon.

As the years passed, hundreds of movies were shown on the screen, Will Rogers performed on a small stage in front of the screen, bands played, speeches were given and many couples shared their first kiss during a movie.

Karen Vuranch weaves together a love of history, a passion for stories and a sense of community. She has toured throughout the U.S. with her traditional storytelling and living history performances and has completed five performance tours of Wales and England with Coal Camp Memories. She also participated in a storytelling exchange in China in 2002. Karen brings history to life with interpretations of women from America's past, including Pearl Buck, Mother Jones, Mary Draper Ingles, Emma Edmonds, Clara Barton, Belle Starr, Louella Parsons, and of course, Julia Child. Karen also writes and produces audience participation murder mysteries, often working with community groups, creating a production in just two or three days using members of the community. She has been honored by many organizations, receiving in 2017 the Mountain Lion Award from the President of Concord University, where she is a faculty member. Other awards include the Tamarack Artisan Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Performing Artist of the YEar for Tamarack, the Robert C. Byrd Community Service Award, and others too numerous to mention here. In 1994, Karen and her husband Gene Worthington performed together at the White House.