Death Valley Junction, California: Amargosa Opera House

In the middle of the desert, an opera house preserved by a frustrated ballerina still hosts shows by local performers on Saturday nights.

Hwy 127, Death Valley Junction, CA
From LA, take I-15 N, past Barstow. At Baker take Hwy 127 north, through Shoshone, to Death Valley Junction, at the intersection Hwy 127 and Hwy 190.
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Visitor Tips and News About Amargosa Opera House

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Amargosa Opera House.

Amargosa Opera House

Worth the stop to see the beautiful opera building brought back to life. Definitely a ghost town as well.

[A. Dudley, 03/11/2020]

A flyer hanging next to the entrance doors advertises $5 opera house tours, but might be seasonal.

Amargosa Opera House

The opera house is a wonderful find. Try the little cafe attached to the hotel - it has great homemade coconut cream pie. And check out Amber's drawings. She works in the cafe and does pencil drawings as a hobby, and they are really excellent.

Overall, I loved Death Valley Junction. It's quirky, unique and very friendly.

[Fergus O'Callaghan, 12/14/2010]
Marta's Sidekick Dies; Amargosa Opera House to Go On

Death Valley's only opera house suffered a serious blow when owner/performer Marta Beckett's husband (and co-performer) Tim Willett, 77, died of a stroke on April 15, 2005. Tom was the Amargosa Opera House's comic relief, appearing on stage in a ballerina's tutu and other flamboyant outfits and roles....

[05/03/2005] Complete News Story

Amargosa Opera House.

Amargosa Opera House

We just visited Marta Beckett's Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction, California. As an oft discussed topic in the Travel section of the New York Times, we decided to check it out ourselves. It was everything that we thought it would be -- an almost 80 year old ballerina formerly of New York City puts on a kooky, allegorical show with deeper references than our over-heated brains could process. Much of the show was her "dance pantomines" but in the last two acts, she dances on point. Thrilling and wonderfully refreshing. There's an honesty and innocence that's hard to describe.

You can't beat the location either -- a U-shaped complex of buildings sits alone in the desert, arising like a forgotten toy. The hotel is charming, clean, and filled with beautiful murals. The Opera House itself is overwhelming, filled to the brim with beautifully executed murals of an audience of nobles and commoners.

[Wendy Carr, 05/22/2004]
Amargosa Opera House - Kooky Marta

Marta is alive and well. We've seen her show twice this season (winter 2002), and she's as kooky as ever. The tickets are now $15, and she sells out quite often (there was a full TOUR BUS the last time we went). Her husband has been replaced by her pal, Thomas Willett, who dresses up to play various roles in her plays, including women's parts (the funniest). She does two different shows per season (a reprise from the previous year and a new one).

[Di LaPlume, 04/26/2002]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Big Bovine of the DesertBig Bovine of the Desert, Amargosa Valley, NV - 8 mi.
World's Largest FirecrackerWorld's Largest Firecracker, Amargosa Valley, NV - 24 mi.
CoffinwoodCoffinwood, Pahrump, NV - 20 mi.
In the region:
Cathedral Canyon, Pahrump, NV - 37 mi.

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