Marta Becket was born in New York City in 1924 and raised there until she was six. She moved with her mother to Harrisburg,
Penn. and later to Philadelphia where she studied piano and art. At the age of 12, after her parents divorce, she returned
with her mother to New York where she studied interpretive dance with Ingaborg Tarrup and ballet with Mme. Dorothy Duval.
During the Depression, she dropped out of high school to begin a full-time dance career. She danced in nightclubs, army and
navy hospitals and theater restaurants, became a member of the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall and then performed
in the 1946 revival of Showboat. Becket also modeled for fashion magazines and did freelance art work. She then won a role in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and performed at the Alvin Theatre during its year long run which ended in 1951. Her next musical role was in Wonderful Town with Rosalind Russell which opened at the Wintergarden Theatre in 1953 for another year long run. Becket continued with her
art work and illustrated Stories of the Great Ballets, by George Balanchine (Doubleday & Co., 1954) and Star Performance, by Walter Terry (Doubleday & Co., 1954). She developed a repertoire for solo concerts and began touring in 1955. During
this time she met Tom Williams who became her husband and manager. While traveling through Death Valley in 1967, Becket and
Williams came across the Amargosa Hotel, which they had first seen in 1964. On this visit, Marta Becket discovered Corkhill
Hall, an abandoned community center and theatre built by the Pacific Borax Company. She saw the theater as a place to fulfill
her creativity and love of performing. In August 1967, Becket and Williams took over Corkhill Hall which Becket renamed the
Amargosa Opera House. While they renovated the theatre and hotel together, Becket created pantomime dance productions which
first opened to the public in February 1968. She then painted the walls and ceiling of the theatre with elaborate murals of
costumed spectators for her performances and added more murals to the Amargosa Hotel. Through the efforts of Becket and Williams,
the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel were named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Marta Becket continues
to create new productions and perform for audiences in Death Valley Junction.
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