Buffalo Bill Experience
BUFFALO BILL RIDES AGAIN!!!
After retired Marine Gunny Jeff Norman heard for the umpteenth time, I could SWEAR you were Buffalo Bill! Jeff decided to see just where this likeness and unexplored trail might lead. Already having a keen fondness for frontier history, Jeff headed straight for Goldens Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, procuring every reference on Buffalo Bill Cody he could find, which led him further to a myriad of Google searches, libraries and book stores. After all the research I came to the conclusion that I genuinely liked the man. Even with his human frailties, underneath the showman persona I believe he was the real deal and had a big heart, advocating for kids, womens rights, and Native American culture.
I envisioned creating a script that would convey Buffalo Bills story that showed the human side of this American icon that included his associations with many other American legends, and present it in a way that was both humorous and informative, using Hal Holbrooks one-man play, Mark Twain as a model, in which another American icon was so successfully brought to life on stage.
Besides the development of a comprehensive, entertaining, yet not an academic type of script, another challenge would be recreating Buffalo Bills signature wardrobe, especially Bills unique hat with the tilted brim, thigh-high boots, and oversized belt with its shiny square buckle. Local craftsmen willing to take the challenge would help Jeff accomplish this, and after a years worth of script development, in May of 2013, Jeffs BUFFALO BILL EXPERIENCE would make its debut for a prestigious historic society.
I felt just as nervous as Buffalo Bill must have felt on the sold-out opening night of Ned Buntlines melodrama, Scouts of the Prairie, specifically written for Bills acting debut in 1872, Jeff recalls. Ive been through Marine Corps boot camp, fought my way to a second degree black belt in Jujutsu, competed in state level softball competition and performed at a sold-out Red Rocks concert, but Ive NEVER been so nervous as I was walking up to that stage with all those eyes on me! Somehow, once I got past the first line, it was like Bill was up there with me, giving me courage to get through it.
Much to Jeffs relief, at the conclusion of the show, many of the audience members lined up with appreciative comments, and the several kids in the audience seemed to be so enthusiastically receptive that Jeff decided to go one step further and offer a childrens version of his show to elementary schools and Scout meetings.
So, I went to work creating a kids version of my presentation that would be more of an adventure story about frontier life that included the childhood challenges of Buffalo Bill and his fellow legends Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull challenges that arent so different than those that kids in school face today, and reinforces the roots and importance of Scouting in the development of the west.
All the kids eyes really light up when they hear about Bills adventures, and the thank-you notes I receive after a show are touching and heartfelt. One of my favorites was from a young girl who closed her note with I had never heard of you, but now I want my life to be an adventure like yours was, and ride a horse all over the world! That really made me feel good, because at the conclusion of the show I encourage them to have an adventuresome life and to see where their own trail leads.
It became evident that both kids and adults are enamored with history. Ive been amazed to see hundreds of folks in attendance at many recent shows! In many presentations I bring along what I call a mini-museum, displaying artifacts, scale models, photographs, and documents from Buffalo Bills era, sometimes even an old 1866 Springfield rifle, just like Bills favorite, Lucretia Borgia. Little did I know when I started this, that Bills story is connected to so many other historic people, places and events. My library of books about the plains era is easily ten times what it was when I started this venture.
Now a veteran of the stage, having performed for thousands of kids and adults throughout Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, New York, Nebraska, Iowa and Texas, Gunny looks forward to exploring every possible way to get Buffalo Bills legacy out there, especially with the 100th anniversary of his death in 2017. Jeff explains, My goal is to have folks experience Buffalo Bill Cody by relaying his adventures and achievements with all the bravado and exaggeration Bill might use when telling a story. Hopefully it will spur folks on to dig deeper into frontier history on their own.
Broomfield Auditorium (View)
3 Community Park Road
Broomfield, CO 80020
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|