The newlyweds, David and Shelly Christensen. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

On Saturday night, March 19, David Paul Christensen got a new wife Shelly Donn Allen, got a new husband and last name, they both got new extended families and Pam Sadler may have a new career as a wedding planner.

The Mesquite Community Theatre and its audience members saw several firsts that night. It was the first time the community theatre held a wedding. It was the first time the Virgin Valley Theatre Group incorporated a real wedding into a performance’s intermission, and it was the night Ken Juber, a new Nevada Marriage Officiant, performed his first wedding.

The wedding was the brainchild of Juber who recently became a wedding officiant and wanted to promote his new business venture. He couldn’t think of a better way to promote it than to hook up with the current theatre production which happened to be Wedding Belle Blues. The theatre group and Ken ran a contest and David and Shelly won and got hitched on stage,

Ann Murphy caught the bride’s bouquet. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The theatre group provided the venue and the story they’ll be telling their grandkids. Front Porch Flowers provided two bouquets, the crown of daisies on the bride’s head and a boutonniere for the groom. Why two bouquets you ask? One to keep and one to throw.

The bride did throw the bouquet after a little bit of urging from the rest of the audience to get some single women to stand then get close enough to catch it. Ann Murphy, Mesquite’s own Ms. Senior Nevada, caught the bouquet. When asked if she had any plans she said, “No….well you never know, but, no.”

The groom’s family came from out of state to attend the wedding. The bride’s family was, unfortunately, unable to get the time off work to travel to the wedding but through the magic of Zoom, were able to attend virtually thanks to the groom’s sister.

Being new to Mesquite themselves, David’s family members weren’t familiar with Mesquite or the surrounding areas. When they heard about the wedding from David, and the wedding/play combo. They checked into it online and found news about the play.  They knew they had to be there but checked the map for the location of Lizard, NV or Lizard, AZ but couldn’t find it. Wedding Bell Blues, the play, is set in Lizard, NV for those who might be wondering why the family was looking for that town.

With the conditions of the contest and having to schedule the wedding during one of the show dates, the couple and their families only had two weeks to prepare. The couple planned to get married but not quite this fast, they were thinking of scheduling the wedding a bit later in the year. This opportunity came up and they thought, “why not.”

I had the opportunity to sit backstage with the bride. Shelly was extremely grateful to the Virgin Valley Theatre Group for making all the arrangements. She said she gets anxious about things, and this was a breeze. Everything was planned for her with no muss or fuss required of the couple. She wasn’t the least bit nervous about getting hitched in front of a theater full of strangers, but she was as excited as a first-time bride, even though this is not the first round up for either.

You may kiss the bride.
Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Shelly is bringing 5 grown children to the family and David has two. They already have a few grandchildren between them to tell their story to. Until the grandkids come visiting, they’ll be telling their unique wedding story to Mr. Fitzwater Darcy or Fitz as Shelly calls him, their Sheepadoodle.


The audience enjoyed the wedding very much. They enjoyed the fake wedding just as much. Don’t forget, this was a theater production. The melodrama is also a hit with the audience. The characters are brilliant.

Miriam Samuels attended the play on Saturday and has also worked with Chad Calmelat who plays Brighton Early. She said the singing was wonderful and, “Who knew Chad had such a great singing voice?” She said the acting was outstanding and the characters were so darn cute and funny. She highly recommends attending this show if you haven’t already; it’s well worth it.

This play is a Virgin Valley Theatre Group original written by Nancy Arnold and Sue Kjellsen. There are two more performances Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Mesquite Fine Arts Center and the Mesquite Community Theatre box office on Thursday from 4-6 p.m. or one hour before each performance. For more information visit the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s website



Cast of Wedding Bell Blues or How the Virgin Valley Got Its Groove On

Bill Wright                       Adam Zapple

Bob Blood                       Hugh DeMann

Chad Calmelat                Brighton Early

Deb Thomason               Missy Sippy

Francesca Gregerson    Paisley Tye

Glen Bjornson                 Slip Shod

Jerrie Clarke                    Sarah Nader, Singer

John Sadler                      Uncle Lucky Chance

Joy Craig                          Mrs. Sippy

Kathleen Bartley             Auntie Rainbow Trout

Lyle Palmer                     Isaiah Prayer

Marie Palmer                 Crystal Ball/Madam Rue

Mitzi Bender                  Barbara Seville, Singer

Nancy Arnold                 Dora Jarre

Rita Hermie                    Claire Voyant

Sandee Trout                 Sadie Word

Sandra Royer                 Nibbles the Donkey

Sue Kjellsen                    Isabell Ringing, Singer


Written by Sue Kjellsen and Nancy Arnold

Directed by Nancy Arnold

Stage Manager              Pam Sadler

Props                              Nancy Rosen

Costumes                       Marnie Bartolini

Set Design                      Richard Sisneros

Lights/Sound                 Chris Finnegan

Music Director              Rita Hermie

Sandee Trout plays Sadie Word. Photo by Teri Nehrenz
Marnie Bartolini designed all the colorful costumes for Wedding Bell Blues. Photo by Teri Nehrenz



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