Written by Arlene Shovald
Chaffee County isn’t Hollywood or Broadway but Kyria (Hansen) Stange has still managed to make a career of the performing arts. “When I was 11 years old in 2008 my parents saw that auditions were being held for Calliope!!, a workshop in musical comedy for kids,” Kyria said. “I grew up with Calliope!! and was in all but two performances over the next 14 years.”
Founders of Calliope!! were former Salidan, Jack Lines and his wife Jerri. Jack graduated from Salida High School in 1951 and moved to New York City where he and Jerri had careers in the performing arts. Retirement brought them home to Salida where they wanted to provide performing opportunities for kids. Kyria and her three siblings were naturals and today she owns Sventastik Productions, offering classes in performing arts for all ages.
“I’m different than Calliope!!,” she said. “Jerri still has Calliope!! but has scaled back some. I bought most of their theater assets and took over her studio.
“Kyria and I met at a party and it was love at first sight,” her husband, Zach, said. “I got involved in performing as well.” “We sang together playing a married couple in a Calliope!! production,” Kyria said as they exchanged loving glances. “We’ve been married six years now and just had our first child. Aria was born Feb. 27, 2023.”
Aria will likely be bringing performance into another generation. Her name means Melody in Italian.
Sventastik Productions is named for Kyria’s brother Ryan “Sventastik” Hansen, who died at 27 of complications of hydrocephalus. A scholarship for Chaffee County performing artists is named for him.
Much as the couple loves Chaffee County, continuing to live here was a challenge.
“Our first home was a rental,” Kyria said. “Zach had a good paying job, but we still couldn’t afford the rent. Next we lived with his parents and then mine. But luck was with us. My parents owned what was Mt. Princeton Greenhouse. My sister was living in a home on their property and when they moved, we moved in. We love it here and want to raise our family in Chaffee County.”
Zach is a production specialist for Fading West, a modular home factory in Buena Vista. “We’re trying to fix the housing crisis here and in Colorado,” he said.
“Suessical the Musical was my first Sventastik production,” Kyria said. “I was in my first trimester when we started rehearsals for our second production, “Shrek.” She laughed. “I was having morning sickness so that was a challenge, but my cast was supportive and the show was fantastic.”