Something for everyone at the showpiece Lensic theater

SANTA FE, NM – I was standing up on stage at the “Leaders of the Lensic” party, fantasizing about what it would have been like to be Judy Garland just belting it out in front of these lights.

And then I let go of that futile fantasy and moved on to imagining the other configurations that Nathan Salman’s grandchildrens’ initials – L, E, N, S, I and C – could have spelled, like SCENIL or CLIENS or NICLES, back when Salman had the showpiece theater built and named it thusly in 1931.

But it was hard to compare without a pencil, so I left that and began to wonder what the Leaders of the Lensic actually do, when up alongside me and into my daydreams came board president Michael Engl, so I asked him.

Well, they don’t have bake sales. They’re the big donors, who contribute at least $1,000 to the theater, and some a lot more – funds that get scooped up for a number of uses and, as it turns out, provide the main source of support for the theatre.

They keep the doors open! They pay the salaries and the bills and keep the lights on! They underwrite the community sponsorships that give the stage to community groups at low or no cost.

Or maybe there’s an excellent program available, but the theatre wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to bring it to town … the donors to the rescue. School bus field trips, and educational and outreach programs are all covered by donors variously known as Friends or Leaders.

So many venues use the Lensic, they’re impossible to list here. Handel’s “Messiah” was sold out a few weeks ago, with desperate people pacing the sidewalk hoping to find a scalper, and I saw a lot of flappers at the sneak preview of next season’s “Downton Abbey” (several new characters, plots and twists, and Lady Mary is still a priss).

Opera lovers rave about the Metropolitan broadcasts and Judy Collins sounded like an angel last month, just like she did on my state-of-the-art cassettes every day in college in the early ’70s! Who knows where the time went?

You can also see performances by acrobats, dancers of all varieties and theater companies; serious readings, National Theatre Live and multimedia performance pieces; and comedy acts, literary and political lectures, and films! There’s something for everybody at the Lensic. If you don’t find yourself somewhere here, where are you?

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email


Joe Illick and Gina Browning are a power couple from Performance Santa Fe.


Kay Ingalls is a Lensic lover.


Shannon Boniface celebrates Lensic leaders with Mayor Javier Gonzales.


Mr. and Mrs. Ray Lutz are big friends of the Lensic.


Bob Martin, the Lensic’s Managing Director, thank the theater’s supporters.


Joanne and Jim Peppiat-Combes put their heads together.


Shannon Boniface and Alexis Girard were all smiles at the Lensic party.


Michael Engl is board president for the Lensic.


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