• 'Joseph ... ' brings Boulder native Ace Young home

    by John Moore | Apr 10, 2015
    Ace Young as Joseph and his wife, Diana Degarmo, as the narrator in the national touring production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Photo by Daniel A. Swalec
    Ace Young as Joseph and his wife, Diana Degarmo, as the narrator in the national touring production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Photo by Daniel A. Swalec


    Boulder native Ace Young was born to be on “American Idol.” Being the youngest of five boys, he says, “made me very competitive very early in life.”

    That life began in 1980 at Boulder Community Hospital. The Youngs bounced around Boulder from rented house to rented house because, Young says with a laugh, “no one ever wanted us in their house for more than a year.”

    Why not? Five boys, he said.

    “It was like a tornado.”

    Young Ace was a bit of a rough-houser, he claims, but he also was an Eagle Scout who sang choir, played sports and took International Baccalaureate classes at Fairview High School. To pretty much anyone but Ace…he was a good kid.

    “To my parents’ knowledge, I was a good kid,” he says with another chuckle. “But that didn’t mean everything I did was always parentally approved. Let’s just say my brothers got me out of a lot of trouble.”

    Ace YoungYoung started (parentally approved) voice lessons at age 9. His first paid performance was singing in front of the food court at Boulder’s Crossroads Mall when he was just 11. It was a family affair: His brothers carried speakers and his dad ran lights for a 30-minute show that included original songs and covers by the likes of Michael Jackson. There was even some 11-year old rapping in his set because, Young said, “Hey, Kris Kross was huge back then."

    Young has been huge ever since appearing on “American Idol” back in 2006. He is now starring in the title role of the national touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and he is fulfilling a lifelong dream by closing that 15-month tour at his hometown Buell Theatre.

    “You have to understand: The first theatre show I ever saw was Phantom of the Opera at The Buell Theatre in 1992,” he said. Family outings meant a day at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. “That was like going to church,” he added. “We got dressed up, we got a meal, and we watched an amazing show. I loved it.”

    Young is starring in Joseph... with his wife, Diana DeGarmo, playing the Narrator. She was the runnerup on Season 3 of “American Idol,” but Young is happy that’s not where they met. “That’s because she was only 16 when she was on ‘Idol,’” he said, “and that would have been weird.”

    No, Young met DeGarmo as a 22-year-old woman when they both were featured in the Broadway revival of Hair (he as Berger and she as Sheila). “That was a very challenging show, and we both jumped fully into it,” he said. “Not only did we become best friends, but we fell in love.”

    They are now performing together in a Joseph... that Young guarantees is different from any you have seen before.

    “We like to say this is not your mamma’s Joseph... ,” he said. “Andy Blankenbuehler, our director, is a Tony Award winner for a reason. We call him our modern-day Joseph. He has really pushed this production to a brand new level.”

    In this staging, every brother has a unique personality. There are no throwaway songs. Every moment matters. And that titular technicolor dreamcoat?

    “It has its own dressing room,” said Young – and he’s not kidding. “It is worth more than all of us.”

    The coat was hand-sewn and hand-dyed with all 29 of its lyrical colors. It was designed after Marc Chagall’s famous stained-glass windows. “It literally jumps off the stage,” said Young.

    Recent technological advances have allowed the creative team to push the visual limits of the show in other ways. Instead of just hearing about the troubling dreams Joseph interprets, for example, “You actually see the dreams happening onstage,” Young said.

    Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber approved a change to the ending of the show that allows Young and DeGarmo to sing a wholly reimagined reprise of the opening song as a duet played to an acoustic guitar. “We sing it with a Simon and Garfunkel harmony vibe,” said Young, “and it tears the roof off every night.”

    The couple is grateful for the growing trend of casting popular singers from competitive TV shows such as ‘'American Idol’' and “The Voice” into Broadway and touring productions. And Young’s wife started it all.

    “Diana was the first-ever 'American Idol' finalist to do a Broadway show,” he said of DeGarmo’s year with Hairspray in 2006. “If it weren’t for her paving the way, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make my Broadway debut in Grease in 2008.”

    He has advised anyone who follows in his TV footsteps to never take work that follows in TV, film or theatre for granted. “I let them know that the next thing you do after this has to matter, because so many of them don’t take it seriously and they think it is going to last forever,” he said. “But if you don’t do a good job, you are never going to be asked back.”

    Young can’t imagine a better place to close this chapter of his professional career than Denver. “To be able to finish in my hometown where I grew up for the first 20 years of my life is just going to be amazing,” he said. But he’s even happier for his parents.

    “My mom has about 170 friends coming to one performance — and I have known every single one of those 170 people my entire life,” he said. “I bet half of them changed my diapers.”

    Those diaper-changers will see a show, Young promises, “that shoots you out of a cannon from the very beginning.”

    And yet, what he loves most is the very end.

    “Every night, I see kids in the crowd that have the bug,” Young said. “They are feeling what I felt when I saw Phantom at The Buell Theatre as a kid. They are being inspired to be part of the arts. And when you are the one onstage giving that out, it feels like you are passing it forward.”

    Video: Ace Young proposes to Diana DeGarmo live on "American Idol'':

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
    Ticket information

    April 22-26
    Buell Theatre
    Call 303-893-4100 or buy online
    Groups (10+): 303.446.4829
    Note: ASL interpreted, Audio described and Open Captioned performance: 2 p.m. April 25
  • Video: Mayor declares 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 06, 2015


    Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and his wife, Mary Louise Lee. Photo by John Moore. On Friday, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock declared April 3 to be Motown The Musical Day in Denver. He was accompanied by his wife, performer Mary Louise Lee.

    Hancock and Lee celebrated their 20th anniversary by flying to New York and seeing Motown The Musical on Broadway. The Hancocks already have attended the show three times in Denver. Hear what they have to say about the importance of Motown music not only for them, but for all music lovers.

    Lee made her professional debut at age 18 performing in the Motown inspired musical Beehive at what is now the Garner Galleria Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

    The national touring production of Motown The Musical will be visiting Denver through April 19.

    Read the entire proclamation at the bottom of this page.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Mayor Michael B. Hancock and wife Mary Louise Lee declare April 3 to be 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver. Phot by John Moore.
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock and wife Mary Louise Lee declare April 3 to be 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver. Photo by John Moore.



    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    Video: Our Little Michael Jacksons in Denver
    Video: Allison Semmes on channeling Diana Ross
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes

    Photos of Motown the Musical's stay in Denver:


    Here are  photos from the national touring production of 'Motown The Musical' in Denver. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow.



    The proclamation:
    April 3 is 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver.
  • Video: 'Motown' moments: Allison Semmes on Opening Night in Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 02, 2015


    Allison Semmes in Denver. Photo by John Moore. Allison Semmes, who is playing Diana Ross in the national touring production of Motown the Musical that just opened in Denver, talks with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore just after the opening performance at the Buell Theatre. Motown the Musical plays through April 19.

    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site


    Previous coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes


    Here are  photos from the national touring production of Motown The Musical's opening night in Denver on Tuesday, March 31. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow.

  • Meet Little Orphan Sandy: From death row to national applause

    by John Moore | Mar 22, 2015
    Photos from the national touring production of 'Annie', coming to the Buell Theatre from April 29 through May 10. Photos by Joan Marcus. Pictured below right are Issie Swickle, who plays Annie, and a dog named Sunny who plays Sandy.


    By Sheryl Flatow


    The adorable, sad-eyed terrier mix playing Sandy in the national tour of Annie is Sunny, a 4-year-old rescue dog who was named by her trainer, Tony Award honoree William Berloni, after the lyric “The sun’ll come out tomorrow.” Like her character in the beloved musical, the canine went from a hard-knock life to sunny tomorrows. But when Berloni found her, she had just one tomorrow remaining: she was only a day away from euthanasia.

    Issie Swickle as Annie and Sunny as Sandy. Photo by Joan Marcus.Berloni came across Sunny when he was looking for a dog to play Sandy in the 2012 Broadway production. He already had two candidates and was asked to find a third. He saw an online photo of Bruno — the dog had been misidentified as male — at a Houston shelter on a Friday and called to ask if he could come to see her on Monday. He was told she was scheduled to be put down on Saturday.

    “The thing about my job is I connect with someone, whether it’s online or in person, and if I don’t take them, they sometimes die,” Berloni says. “A trainer who used to work with me was living in Houston and I said, ‘Go over and see the dog, and if she’s sweet pull her and we’ll get her to New York and find her a home.’ It was less about the dog being a candidate for the show than it was about saving her life. It wasn’t until I temperament tested her — saw that she was friendly, and learned her aggression triggers and how she deals with stress — that I told the show we had one more candidate.”

    She got the role, making her the tour’s lone holdover from Broadway. In fact, Sunny aside, the touring version is based not on the recent revival, but the original 1977 production. The show visits Denver's Buell Theatre from April 29 through May 10.

    Martin Charnin, the show’s lyricist and original director, is again directing the musical, which has a book by Thomas Meehan and music by Charles Strouse. The choreographer is Liza Gennaro, who has incorporated selections of her father Peter Gennaro’s original dances. The new design is by Beowulf Boritt (set), Suzy Benzinger (costumes) and Ken Billington (lighting).

    Berloni, who has trained animals for 19 Broadway productions, as well as television and film, owes his career to Annie. He was an aspiring 19-year-old actor when he was asked to find and train a dog to play Sandy at the Goodspeed Opera House, where the show was first produced.

    “I had no idea what I was doing,” he says. So he trained the dog purely by instinct, which became the basis of the methodology he continues to use. “It’s really more of a life philosophy than a training philosophy. It’s taking the time to understand someone else’s feelings and language, as opposed to assuming they should understand yours. You take a dog who’s happy, friendly, likes people, and deals with stress, teach them some behaviors where there’s a cookie involved at the end, and they’ll do what you want eight times a week.”

    Berloni works only with rescue animals and estimates that he’s saved some 400 dogs over the years. When the animals aren’t performing, they live with Berloni, his wife and daughter on their Connecticut farm. “We currently own 25 dogs,” he says. “They’re either actors in training, working actors, or retired actors. We also have a couple of horses and pigs, a llama, a donkey, a pony, two cats and a macaw. The dogs reside in special wings of our home; it’s a communal living situation. They pay the mortgage, so I figure they should have luxury accommodations.”

    Reprinted from Playbill® Magazine, October 2014. PLAYBILL® is a registered trademark of Playbill Incorporated, N.Y.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


    From left: Isabel Wallach as Duffy, Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly, LillyBea Ireland as Tessie, Issie Swickle as Annie, Angelina Carballo as July, Sydney Shuck as Kate and Adia Dant as Pepper. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    From left: Isabel Wallach as Duffy, Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly, LillyBea Ireland as Tessie, Issie Swickle as Annie, Angelina Carballo as July, Sydney Shuck as Kate and Adia Dant as Pepper. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Annie

    April 29 through May 10
    Buell Theatre
    ASL interpreted, Audio described & Open Captioned performance: May 10, 2pm
    Tickets: 303.893.4100 | denvercenter.org
    800.641.1222 | Groups (10+): 303.446.4829

  • Bee Gees tribute concert honors 'The Kennedys of the music business'

    by John Moore | Mar 02, 2015



    If Matt Baldoni ever gets to meet Barry Gibb, he says, “I do have a pretty long list of questions for the man.”

    At the top: 'How am I doing?”

    Why? “Because quite frankly,” Baldoni said, “If Barry didn't like what I was doing, I couldn't do this.”

    Matt Baldoni. Australian Bee Gees ShowBaldoni is playing Gibb in The Australian Bee Gees Show, a multimedia concert tribute to the band that sold more than 220 million records, first as a rock act and then as perhaps the most identifiable band of the disco era. A family member who charts such things says other artists have professionally covered Bee Gees songs 535 times. 

    On Thursday night (March 5), the company that first brought Denver RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles, will give the Bee Gees the tribute treatment at the Buell Theatre.

    No. 2 on Baldoni’s list of questions for Barry Gibb probably wouldn't be a question at all.

    I guess what I would like to say to Barry Gibb is, 'Man, I am really sorry that your family ended up being the Kennedys of the music business, and that you have had to suffer this many innumerable tragedies,’ ” said Baldoni. 

    “Think about it: All three of his brothers are gone. But believe it or not, their mom is still alive. She's 94, I believe, and she has lost three sons, man. So I figure I better be on top of my game, because we are representing a family here.”

    Baldoni, originally from Grass Valley, Calif., is a classically trained guitarist and tenor singer who has both portrayed Frankie Valli on stage and sung backup for him. He His Broadway and touring credits include Mamma Mia, Monty Python's Spamalot and The Who's TOMMY, and he has performed in an ongoing production of The Australian Bee Gees Show, housed at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas. We got a chance to speak to him as he prepared for a performance in Fayetteville, Ark.

    Australian Bee Gees Show

    John Moore: Let's start with the show. Would you say this evening is more of a rock concert or a theatrical musical, or a little of both?

    Matt Baldoni: A little bit of both. The songs are really the star of the show. Everybody knows them. It's our responsibility to reproduce them with the most accuracy and authenticity as we can. But there is also a huge theatrical element. We carry an insane lighting rig, and there are video walls behind the performers. We have costume changes to reflect different Bee Gees periods. It's theatrical in that it's a two-act show and there are some story and video segments included. And of course, we are portraying characters.

    John Moore: But it’s less like Mamma Mai and more like, Rain, right?

    Matt Baldoni: Yeah. It's not simply a cover band. This is an entire production at Rain level.

    John Moore: Do you get any feedback from the Gibb family?

    Matt Baldoni QuoteMatt Baldoni: There is one older sister whose daughter organizes all of the different Bee Gees fan clubs all over the world. We speak to her regularly, and she monitors both our resident show in Las Vegas and our tour. We work with her to make sure that we are always respectful and authentic about what we are doing.

    John Moore: So would you say the key to making the show work is authenticity, then?

    Matt Baldoni: Yes, but I do think there is a point where attention to detail can become a little bit obsessive. Las Vegas has more of tribute acts than any other city in the world – and I have seen way more bad ones than good ones. I have seen some of the other guys, no matter who they are paying tribute to, get a little bit obsessive about their characters. But in all reality, this has to be fun. I am drawing from five decades of Barry Gibb - but there is a little bit of me in there, too.

    John Moore: How long has this show been going now?


    Matt Baldoni: It was started 18 years ago by a group of Australians. I am the only American in the front line of Bee Gees.

    John Moore: So what is it like being the only American?

    Matt Baldoni: I have had great training. All the guys I am singing with are Australian, and I have toured Australia a number of times. I would say I have seen a thousand times more of Australia than most Americans ever see. I have gotten to see all kinds of crazy things like Aboriginal people and backcountry farms all the things that really make Australia Australia. We've also visited the Gibb’s hometown in Redcliffe, Queensland, where there is a Bee Gees monument. We have seen their childhood home and we've sung in the hotel where they sang their first gig as children. That really helped me get a better understanding of the significance of these guys.

    John Moore: Help me understand this whole Australian connection. I know the Bee Gees are the pride of Australia, but I always thought they were British, and grew up about an hour from the Beatles.

    Matt Baldoni: They were born on the Isle of Man, off the mainland of England. Their father was a bandleader, and when the children were very young he got a gig in Australia. I guess Andy had just been born. So the entire Gibb family made the big voyage down to Australia. That's where their entire childhood was spent, and that’s where their career started.

    John Moore: I can guess which songs we are surely going to hear during the concert, but can you pick out a lesser-known song or two and tell us why it's in the show?

    Matt Baldoni: The show moves in chronological order. In Act I, we have both the '60s period and the '70s disco period. The '60s really showcased Robin Gibb, as opposed to Barry. Robin sang lead on a lot more of the material. A song a lot of people know would be "I Started a Joke," but we also have a couple others like "Spick and Speck," which was their first No. 1 record. Also a very dark ballad featuring Robin called "I Can't See Nobody."

    John Moore: If people only know the Bee Gees from their Saturday Night Fever disco period, how would you describe them as a band in that '60s period?

    Matt Baldoni: People like to lump them in with the Beatles but, unfortunately, every rock band that showed up after 1962 was lumped in with the Beatles. But in all reality, for us as musicians, the '60s period is the most adventurous material for us to play. It requires more musical skill and a higher sense of awareness. When I get to Saturday Night Fever and all the disco stuff, that is just absolute hell on my voice. I have to sing way, way high falsetto for about eight songs in a row

    John Moore: So what's your favorite song to perform in the show?


    Matt Baldoni: "How Deep Is Your Love?" Probably because I am a guitarist by origin, and I have some training in jazz, I really think the harmony and the chord changes are Beethoven or Gershwin-level brilliant.  I think that melody is going to go down in history. People are going to be singing that son a hundred years from now.

    John Moore: Some people may not know just how many songs the Bee Gees wrote for other artists. What's a title people might he surprised to learn the Bee Gees wrote for someone else?

    Matt Baldoni: We do have a segment in the show where we play some of those, actually. The '80s were a tough period for them, because when disco died, it died a really quick and horrible and painful death. And then they were like, "Oh my God, what the hell are we going to do?" But the guys never stopped working. The immediately went into the studio and started producing and writing for other people. I think one that most people don't know the Bee Gees wrote was "Islands in the Stream" for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Barry wrote songs for Michael Jackson. When I was in Frankie Valli's band, we use to sing "Grease is the Word." Barry wrote that for Frankie. He also wrote "Immortality" for Celine Dion, and "Guilty" for Barbra Streisand. 

    John Moore: The death of disco was remarkably quick.

    Matt Baldoni QuoteMatt Baldoni: Disco was over in about 5 minutes. What Barry says about it is pretty funny. He said, “Disco was great for every band but the band it was created around. He said, "For us, it was really awful. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we were bigger than the Beatles, but we were a total joke, with the big teeth and the hairy chests and the medallions and the white bell-bottoms. All we did was write songs for a movie soundtrack." It really hit them hard. So it’s nice that it's no longer a joke and that people hold those guys with reverence again.

    John Moore: Tell me about an adorable audience interaction after your shows.

    Matt Baldoni: Man, we get those every night. I think my favorite happened about a year ago in Las Vegas. There was a huge, sellout crowd, and we were talking to fans after the show when I hear this woman with this thick Irish accent behind me asking, "Is he related to Barry? Because he's a dead (bleeping) ringer!" So I turn to her and she in her 60s, and she is just dressed to the nines. She told me she had come all the way to Vegas from Ireland, and that her No. 1 priority was to see this show. She started getting all misty-eyed, and I asked if she was OK. And she tells me, “In the summer of 1966, I was Barry Gibb's girlfriend," and she started crying.

    John Moore: That’s sweet!  


    Matt Baldoni: Look, dude: I don't know if she was telling the truth or not, but I would like to think she was. So I asked her, "What kind of a guy was Barry back then?" And she said, "Oh, he was so sweet. He was so gentle and kind. And he even bought me a ring." And I know from a friend of the family that that's what Barry used to do: He would buy every girl he was attracted to a ring.

    John Moore: See, I am the jerk who would have said to this lady, “You were Barry Gibb's girlfriend? You and 500 others."

    Matt Baldoni: But in all honesty, Barry got married in the early 1970s, and he has been married to the same woman ever since. More than 40 years.

    John Moore: OK, so I am going to ask one last, really hard-hitting question.

    Matt Baldoni: Bring it.

    John Moore: What do you think of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's Bee Gees routine?

    Matt Baldoni: Oh, dude, I think it's hilarious. Both of those guys are insanely talented. I don't take myself too seriously. More important, Barry finds it really funny, and of course he joined them on stage. Look, there is no such thing as bad publicity when entertainers of that level of fame bring more exposure to the Bee Gees' music  - and that all contributes to how good the timing is for The Australian Bee Gees Show. But I would be really curious to hear what both of them think of what we are doing.

    The Australian Bee Gees Show

    Thursday. March 5
    8 p.m.
    Buell Theatre
    Call 303-893-4100 or click here to go to the show page

  • Stomp: As loud as you can, Denver

    by NewsCenter Staff | Feb 17, 2015
    Stomp. Photo by Steve McNicholas.
    The cast of Stomp.  Photo by Steve McNicholas.

    Stomp
    is back in Denver in all its explosive, syncopated glory with those incredible percussionists who treasure the old adage about one man’s trash…

    The troupe still doesn’t look at everyday objects the way the rest of the world does. In their hands, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and the general detritus of the 21st Century takes on a life of its own. Stomp, created and directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, is an exploration of the outer limits of rhythmic invention. It’s a Pipe and Drum Corps for our age.
      
    And speaking of age, it has not withered Stomp. That concatenation of sound and skill, is back with its rhythms and drumbeats intact. The same goes for its nonstop movement of bodies, objects, sound — even abstract ideas. There’s no dialogue, speech or plot. But music? Absolutely. Uncommon music, created in nontraditional ways — with everyday objects ranging from matchbooks to every household item you can imagine. You’re bombarded by a caterwauling noise that under any other circumstances you would choose to shut out.

    But not here.

    Here all is syncopated and choreographed with the precision of an army bugle corps (minus the bugles) and by the fertile imagination of buskers or street performers from the streets of Brighton — the spot where Stomp’s creators hail from and where they dream up versions of this utterly inventive, unexpected, whacked-out show.

    There is no dialogue and there are no political statements to misconstrue, Just surprising sights and sounds of the moment, from the ringing of hollow pipes to clashing metal to  industrial strength dance routines involving a lot of supremely coordinated bodies.


    Stomp: Ticket information
    March 10-15
    Buell Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or click here to order online
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
  • 'Motown The Musical': How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes

    by John Moore | Feb 05, 2015


    Berry Gordy Jr. changed the landscape of American music when he founded Motown Records in 1959. And Motown Records changed the landscape of the world.

    On Jan. 12, 1959, the 28-year-old obtained a loan of $800 from his family to start Motown. He set up his Detroit headquarters in a modest house emblazoned with an immodest sign: “Hitsville U.S.A.” The slogan was premature, but prophetic. The company had its first hit record in 1960, and between 1961 and 1971 landed 163 singles in Billboard magazine’s Top 20, including 28 songs that reached No. 1.
     

    Clifton Oliver as Berry Gordy in 'Motown the Musical.' Photo by Joan MarcusGordy, now 85, discovered, developed, and launched the careers of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye – to name just a few – and Motown became the most successful business owned and operated by an African-American in the United States. 

    “The love we felt for each other when we were playing is the most undisputed truth about our music,” Gordy said. “I sometimes referred to our sound as a combination of rats, roaches, soul, guts and love.” 

    Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul is told in Motown the Musical, which will be performed in Denver from March 31 through April 19 at the Buell Theatre.

    Although Motown was home mostly to black artists, Gordy envisioned the music as “the sound of young America” – and by that he meant Americans of all colors and ethnicities. He started Motown just before the civil rights movement was in full flower, when neighborhoods throughout the country remained segregated, and music by black artists was mostly relegated to black radio stations and the chitin’ circuit.

    But Gordy and his team of writers, producers, in-house musicians and vocalists created fresh sound, an amalgam of gospel, blues and mainstream pop. Gordy endeavored to reach across the racial divide with music that could touch all people, and barriers began to tumble. Motown’s artists became a staple on mainstream white radio stations and at top venues around the world. Blacks and whites were seen dancing together at concerts. 

    The following is part of Gordy’s story, in his own words:




    On Motown’s unlikely rise to the top: How did you do it?

    Hitsville had an atmosphere that allowed people to experiment creatively and gave them the courage not to be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, I sometimes encouraged mistakes. Everything starts as an idea, and as far as I was concerned, there were no stupid ones. “Stupid” ideas are what created the light bulb, airplanes and the like. … It was an atmosphere that made you feel no matter how high your goals, they were reachable, no matter who you were. I had always figured that less than 1 percent of all the people in the world reach their full potential. I realized that by helping others reach theirs, maybe I could reach mine.

    Obstacles faced by black artists prior to Motown:
    The biggest obstacle faced by talented black artists was having a place to go – a record company where they would be accepted, where the records would be distributed, get played, and where they would get paid. Another obstacle was an artist having access to great material and great production in order to get a hit record.

    How Motown changed the culture at white radio stations:
    Most black artists, I feel, were ignored because of segregation and the music industry’s blatant pigeonholing of artists as “Rhythm and Blues,” “Rock’ n Roll” or “Pop.” When I started out, I wanted music for all people: the cops and robbers, the rich and poor, the black and white, the Jews and the Gentiles. When I went to the white radio stations to get my records played, they would laugh at me. They thought I was trying to bring black music to white people, to “cross over,” and I said, “Wait a minute; it’s not really black music. It’s music by black stars.” I refused to be categorized. They called my music all kinds of stuff: Rhythm and Blues, Soul. And I said, “Look, my music is Pop. Pop means popular. If you sell a million records, you’re popular.” And that’s what we did.

    What made your music popular?
    I believed it’s what’s in the grooves that counts. Our music con­veyed basic feelings, cutting through cultural and language barriers. Every project I do – records, movies, TV or Broadway play – that’s what I have in mind. It’s all the same. I felt that people were all the same, that people have so much in common, and that our similarities were so much more powerful than our differences. So we just put out our music. We worked hard to deliver to people things like joy, love, and desire, the emotions that people felt but couldn’t always express.

    Motown the Musical


    On reaching white audiences:
    We released some of our early albums without showing the artists’ faces on them. The Marvelettes’ album Please Mr. Postman had a picture of a mailbox on it; Bye Bye Baby by Mary Wells, a love letter. We put a cartoon of an ape on the cover of the Miracles’ Doin’ Mickey’s Monkey; and an Isley Brothers album had two white lovers at the beach on its cover. This practice became less necessary as our music’s popularity started overcoming the prejudices.

    The committee approach to choosing records:
    In many ways, Hitsville was like growing up in the Gordy family— fierce closeness and fierce competition and constant collaboration.  I believed competition breeds champions.  I knew that competition could be a very effective tool in getting results, so I set up Quality Control, a system I had heard about at Lincoln-Mercury. The Friday morning product evaluation meetings were the lifeblood of our operation. That was when we picked the records we would release. Careers depended on the choices made those Friday mornings. Some of the employees who came to the meetings weren’t creative people, but I felt their reactions to the songs would be like those of the average record buyer. A noncreative person’s vote counted just as much as a creative person’s. I took the democratic approach because although I was in charge at Motown, I made logic the boss: no egos or politics allowed. Not even mine. And I did it because of truth. “The truth is a hit,” was what we used to say in our Quality Control meetings at Motown.

    Touring the South
    Things were very bad when we went to the South. I remembered in 1955 how terrified I was when I'd heard about Emmett Till, a 14-year-old kid from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi. Dragged from his grandfather's home, he was beaten unmercifully, lynched and his body was thrown in the Tallahatchie River. I couldn't believe it when I heard that his crime was “thinking” under a white woman's dress. Thinking! The two white men who had killed him were freed. Our first Motortown Revue started off in Washington, D.C., but as the bus approached Birmingham and other cities in the South, we were greeted with signs of  “Whites Only,” “No Coloreds Allowed.” Then our tour bus was shot at. We were aware of how tough the racial conditions could be – but my artists being shot at? All of a sudden the real world had shown its ugly face. Despite the hostility and racism we faced, we knew we were bringing joy to people. The audiences were segregated. The venues had a rope down the middle of the audience separating blacks from whites, but soon the rope was gone and black kids and white kids were dancing together to the same music. It created a bond that echoed throughout the world.

    Many of the quotes above are taken with permission from Berry Gordy’s 1994 autobiography, “To Be Loved.”

    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Mar 31-April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | Click here to order tickets in Denver online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

  • 'Cinderella': In this telling, girl's got backbone

    by NewsCenter Staff | Feb 02, 2015
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Paige Faure and Andy Jones. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
    Paige Faure and Andy Jones from the Broadway company of 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'  Photo by Carol Rosegg.


    Once upon a time, whether you read it in a book, sang along with the Disney cartoon or sat riveted to the television watching Julie Andrews, Lesley Ann Warren or Brandy, you fell in love with Cinderella. But it wasn’t until 2013 that this classic fairy tale actually graced a Broadway stage.

    Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s Cinderella was the only musical of the legendary duo that was written for television. Largely based on Charles Perrault’s 1697 version of the tale, Cinderella starring Julie Andrews debuted on March 31, 1957, to an audience of 100 million people — nearly 60 percent of the US population at the time.

    It’s no wonder that the show met with instant success. Rodgers and Hammerstein hold one of the most successful legacies in musical theatre history. Their 11 collaborations yielded two Pulitzer Prizes and 35 Tony, 15 Academy, two Grammy and two Emmy awards. Their contributions to what many have called the “golden age” of musical theater include Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music.

    But no amount of public adoration made it an easy transition from a 90-minute television version into a full-length Broadway musical.

    Cinderella

    “I was approached by producer Robyn Goodman to do a Broadway version of Cinderella,” said book writer Douglas Carter Beane, “and the first thing I said was, ‘There’s not enough score to do a full show.’ And then I went home for the holidays, with all my sisters and my nieces and my nephews and my kids. We were looking to do a little project together and I just went online and I typed in “Cinderella.” And from that was the Charles Perrault, the original French version. And I read it and I was knocked out. It’s only, like, a page and a half. But it already had so much stuff in it that Americans and English people had just taken out.

    “First was that the court was overwhelmed with ridicule and sarcasm, yet Cinderella was kind. Second was that she didn’t just see the Prince once; she saw him a number of times and actually saved him from the viciousness of the court. And the third was that one of the evil stepsisters turned out to be OK.

    “So I went back to Robyn and I said, ‘I found it. I found the way in.’ It is a perfect mesh of Rodgers and Hammerstein and their bigger shows, which always had big themes about kindness and responsibility."




    When Director Mark Brokaw read the book, "The first thing I thought was that Doug had done a fantastic job of taking the traditional story of Cinderella that everybody knows, but upending our expectations of who the characters were and how the story unraveled.

    “In this telling, Cinderella’s got backbone. It’s like those clown dummies that go down when they get punched, but come right back up. She’s able to absorb and then come back and keep going forward. And I think that’s at the heart of Doug’s tale — charity, generosity and kindness will triumph, ultimately. Those are the greatest qualities; better than beauty, better than wealth; that if you have those other three things, you have everything.”

    And the show, too, has everything. “The glass slipper is there and he has to find her, and the fairy godmother and the wicked stepmother are there,” said producer Robyn Goodman. “It just has a slight modern spin on it, so that girls feel that princesses can save the world; that they are proactive, they’re compassionate and that the basic theme of the show is kindness.”

    “It’s a wonderful introduction to classic Broadway for kids,” said Doug Beane. “We knew that we had a contract with a lot of audience members that it was their first show and if we didn’t do this right, they would never come back!”

    Lucky for us, the glass slipper — and the modernization of this classic fairy tale — is a perfect fit.

    Article compiled by Suzanne Yoe from Cinderella publicity materials.

    Cinderella

    Feb. 3-15 | Buell Theatre
    ASL, Audio Described and Open Captioning: 2 p.m. Feb 15
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 | denvercenter.org
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829

    'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'  Photo by Carol Rosegg.

    'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'  Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  • A 'Gentleman's Guide' to the DCPA's 2015-16 Broadway season

    by John Moore | Feb 02, 2015
    The video montage above shows DCPA Broadway's 2015-16 season offerings.


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts' 2015-16 Broadway season will feature the 2014 Tony Award-winning best musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, and the previously announced national tour launch of If/Then, it was announced this morning. The season also will include Matilda The Musical; Disney’s Newsies; Beautiful – The Carole King Musical; Murder For Two; and A Christmas Story, The Musical.


    Added attractions will include the Denver returns of Disney's The Lion King, once, Riverdance, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and the previously announced The Book of Mormon. Also heading to Denver: Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage; The Wizard of Oz; and The Sound of Music. The full lineup:

    Broadway 2015/16 Season at-a-glance (Subscription shows in bold)
    The Book of Mormon,
    Aug. 11-Sept 13, 2015, The Ellie
    Matilda The Musical
    , Sept. 9-20, 2015,  Buell Theatre      
    If/Then,
    Oct. 13-25, 2015, Buell Theatre      
    Murder For Two
    , Oct. 27, 2015-Feb 21, 2016, Garner Galleria Theatre
    Disney's The Lion King
    , Nov. 4-29, 2015, Buell Theatre      
    A Christmas Story,
    The Musical
    , Dec. 16-27, 2015, Buell Theatre      
    Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage
    , Jan. 26-31, 2016, Buell Theatre      
    The Wizard of Oz
    , Feb. 7-13, 2016, Buell Theatre      
    A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder,
    Feb. 16-28, 2016, Buell Theatre      
    Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour,
    March 8-13, 2016, Buell Theatre
    Disney’s Newsies, March 23-April 9, 2016, Buell Theatre      
    ONCE
    , May 24-29, 2016, The Ellie
    NETworks Presents Disney's Beauty and the Beast, June 7-12, 2016, Buell Theatre
    The Sound of Music, June 21-26, 2016, Buell Theatre      
    Beautiful –The Carole King Musical,
    July 19-31, 2016, Buell Theatre   

    Season subscriptions start as low as eight payments of $26.13 and are available starting at 10 a.m. today (Monday, Feb. 2) by calling 303-893-4100, or visiting denvercenter.org.

    Season subscribers also may purchase tickets to the added attractions before they go on sale to the public. A single ticket on-sale for all additional shows in 2015-16 will be announced at a later date.

    The Broadway season at a glance:

    MATILDA THE MUSICAL
    Matilda The Musical: Broadway cast. Photo by Joan Marcus.Winner of 50 international awards, including four Tony Awards, Matilda The Musical
    is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda The Musical continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End.

    IF/THEN
    If/Then If/Then
    is a contemporary Broadway musical about living in New York today – and all the possibilities of tomorrow. With unforgettable songs and a deeply moving story by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning creators of Next to Normal, this “fascinating, ambitious, and original new musical (New York Post)” simultaneously follows one woman’s two possible life paths, painting a deeply moving portrait of the lives we lead, as well as the lives we might have led. Read more: Denver Launches National Tour

    MURDER FOR TWO
    Murder For Two: Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback. Photo by Joan MarcusMurder For Two, direct from its smash Off-Broadway run in New York, is a hilarious, 90-minute murder mystery musical comedy with a twist: one actor investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects and they both play the piano! The New York Times calls it “ingenious. A snazzy double-act!” and Entertainment Weekly describes it as “a charmingly frenetic, all-stops out musical comedy!” Murder For Two is the winner of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical and a Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominee.

    A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL
    A Christmas Story, The Musical: Christian Dell'Edera as Flick. Direct from Broadway: A Christmas Story, The Musical, nominated for three 2013 Tony Awards including Best Musical, comes to hilarious life onstage. Based on the classic 1983 movie, the story takes place in 1940s Indiana, where a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa and a triple dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream.

    A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER
    Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best
    A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder: Lisa O'Hare, Bryce Pinkham and Catherine Walker. Photo by Joan Marcus.  Musical
    Coming direct from New York,  A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars. Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance…and be done in time for tea. Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-’em-dead hit show.

    DISNEY’S NEWSIES
    North American Tour of Newsies. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer. They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines… Direct from Broadway comes Newsies, the smash-hit, crowd-pleasing new musical from Disney. Winner of the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography, Newsies has audiences and critics alike calling it “a musical worth singing about” (The New York Times). Filled with one heart-pounding number after another, it’s a high-energy explosion of song and dance you just don’t want to miss. Based on true events, Newsies tells the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York. It’s a rousing tale about fighting for what’s right…and staying true to who you are. Newsies was brought to the stage by an award-winning creative team. It features a score by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and Jack Feldman (The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride) and a book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), with choreography by Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific) and direction by Jeff Calhoun (Big River).

    BEAUTIFUL — THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL 
    Broadway cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical: Jeb Brown, Jake Epstein, Jessie Mueller, Jarrod Spector and Anika Larsen. Photo by Joan Marcus.Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, Beautiful has a book by Tony Award-nominee and Academy Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince and took home two 2014 Tony Awards.

    Page to Stage


    Broadway 2015/16 season subscribers may also purchase these added attractions before they go on sale to the public:

    DISNEY’S THE LION KING
    Disney's The Lion King': Jelani Remy as Simba. Photo by Joan Marcus.More than 70 million people around the world have experienced the phenomenon of Disney's The Lion King, and now you can too, when Denver’s best-loved musical returns to the Buell Theatre.  Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, this landmark musical event brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway.  Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals. The Lion King also features some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.  There is simply nothing else like The Lion King.

    DIRTY DANCING: THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE
    Dirty DancingDirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage is a record-breaking live theatre sensation, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do you Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

    THE WIZARD OF OZ
    The Wizard of Oz: Original London cast. Photo by Keith PattisonThis new production of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage. Developed from the ever popular MGM screenplay, this production contains the beloved songs from the Oscar - winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for the whole family.

    RIVERDANCE: THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR
    Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Photo by Clark James Mishler.The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song.  Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland - in rock, music, theatre and film - nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour is composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, and comes directly to North America from a sold out run across Europe and Asia.

    ONCE
    Once: Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal. Photo by Joan Marcus. Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical, once is a truly original Broadway experience. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights... but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, once draws you in from the very first note and never lets go. It's an unforgettable story about going for your dreams and the power of music to connect us all.

    NETworks Presents DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
    Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Photo by Matthew Murphy.Disney's Beauty and the Beast,
     the smash hit Broadway musical, returns to Denver.  Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of more than 35 million worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song.  

    THE SOUND OF MUSIC
    The Sound of MusicThe hills are alive! A brand new production of The Sound of Music, directed by three-time Tony Award winning Director Jack O’Brien, is coming to the Buell Theatre. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song. The Sound of Music enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in more than 50 years when The Sound of Music Live! aired on NBC in December, 2013 (seen by more than 44 million people); 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.

    Already currently on sale to the general public:

    THE BOOK OF MORMON
    The Book of MormonThe Book of Mormon is back by popular demand for a limited engagement Aug. 11-Sept. 13 at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Book of Mormon broke house records during its last engagement in 2013 and currently holds the all-time record at The Buell Theatre for the highest weekly gross (for an eight-show performance week) at $1,993,690. The Book of Mormon also broke house records during the three-week national tour launch engagement in fall 2012, and currently holds the all-time record at The Ellie for the highest weekly gross at $1,443,977. In addition, The Book of Mormon currently holds the all-time single ticket on-sale record for the DCPA with more than 38,000 tickets sold on June 10, 2013. Tickets are now on sale to the general public.

    To purchase a subscription:
    Call 303-893-4100 or 800-641-1222
    Visit the ticket office located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at Speer Boulevad and Arapahoe streets. 
    Subscription packages also may be purchased online at denvercenter.org/bwaysubs.  Groups of 10 or more: Please call 303.446.4829
    Please be advised that the DCPA – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for these productions in Denver.

    Prices
  • DCPA to launch national tour of 'If/Then' in October

    by NewsCenter Staff | Jan 29, 2015
    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced today that the national tour of If/Then, which was named best musical of 2014 by New York Magazine, will launch in Denver in October 2015.

    Performances begin Oct. 13 at the Buell Theatre and run through Oct. 25. If/Then will be part of the 2015-16 Broadway season. The remaining shows on the upcoming season will be announced at a later date.

    'If/Then'If/Then is a contemporary new Broadway musical written by Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), and directed by Michael Greif, the creative team behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical Next to Normal. 

    “The Denver Center is proud to bring this hugely entertaining and deeply moving new American musical to Denver," said John Ekeberg, Executive Director for DCPA Broadway. "If/Then caught the attention of (late predecessor) Randy Weeks and me very early on, given the stellar producing and creative team behind it.

    "The producer, David Stone, is committed to bringing new musicals to theatre audiences around the world, including such titles as Wicked, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Next to Normal and now, If/Then. The DCPA continues to be committed to supporting new work. So to be able to launch the tour of this thrilling musical here in Denver is a privilege for all of us here.  I’m so excited that our audiences will be the first to experience this show straight from Broadway.”

    If/Then follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to re-start her life in that city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

    The Washington Post called If/Then “a smart, deeply touching and big-hearted new musical. Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s score is invested with melodic urgency, bringing you to tears or breathlessness.”

    If/Then
    features choreography by Larry Keigwin, set design by Tony Award nominee Mark Wendland, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner and sound design by Tony Award winner Brian Ronan.

    Casting for the national tour of If/Then will be announced at a later date. The original Broadway Cast recording is available on iTunes. For more information about If/Then, please visit IfThenTheMusical.com.

    Ticketing information:

    If/Then will be a featured production on the 2015-16 DCPA Broadway season, which is not yet announced or available at this time. Subscriptions for the 2014-15 Broadway season are currently on sale and start as low as four payments of $26.81. Restrictions apply. To purchase a subscription, please call Denver Center Ticket Services at 303-893-4100 or 800-641-1222, or visit the ticket office located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Steets. Purchase online at denvercenter.org/bwaysubs.

    Follow theDenver Center for the Performing Arts on Twitter @DenverCenter, or on Facebook.  

  • AEG Live presents Bill Cosby; Saturday shows not related to DCPA

    by John Moore | Jan 14, 2015
    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is not presenting the Bill Cosby performances this weekend. Photo by John Moore
    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is not presenting the Bill Cosby performances in Denver this weekend. Photo by John Moore


    Responding to inquiries about Saturday's upcoming Bill Cosby shows at the Buell Theatre, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts released a statement today, saying:

    Independent presenter AEG Live has rented the Buell Theatre from the City of Denver for the Bill Cosby engagement on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.
    • Event questions for Bill Cosby should be directed to AEG Live: 720-931-8700; or email frontdesk@aeglive.com
    • Ticket inquiries for Bill Cosby should be directed to TicketMaster: 800-745-3000

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is not presenting Bill Cosby on Jan. 17, 2015. The DCPA is the theatrical tenant of the downtown Denver Performing Arts Complex. Its mission is to present Broadway musicals and locally produced plays.

  • Video: Highlights, interviews from Randy Weeks celebration

    by John Moore | Nov 12, 2014


    Friends, family and dozens of industry executives were among the 1,500 who attended a celebration of Randy Weeks' life at the Buell Theatre on Nov. 3.

    This video captures highlights, excerpts from musical performances and interviews afterward. Guests include David Turner (The Book of Mormon), Hal Luftig (Kinky Boots), Nancy Gibbs (Peter and the Starcatcher) and Anita Dloniak (Pippin The Musical) on why their entire national touring production has been dedicated to the late DCPA President.

    Also: Denver Post Chairman William Dean Singleton; Director Ray Roderick; actors Kris Andersson (Dixie Longate), Shannan Steele and Michael Gold; and Denver School of the Arts students Jimmy Bruenger and Madison Kitchen. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 12 minutes.

    To read our full report or access downloadable photos from the event, click here.


    To watch videos of complete, individual songs performed at the celebration:
    I Love a Piano
    Old Cape Cod
    Give My Regards to Broadway
    One (Singular Sensation)

    Our coverage of the death of Randy Weeks:

    Celebration draws 1,500 to recall a singular friend in story and song
    DCPA president Randy Weeks dies at London conference
    Video: Randy Weeks honored with dimmed lights, moments of silence
    Randy Weeks photo gallery
    DCPA to celebrate Randy Weeks' life on Nov. 3
    A look back at Randy Weeks' 'It Gets Better' video
    'Pippin' dedicates entire tour to Randy Weeks

    Randy_Weeks_Celebration_Video_800
     
    Linda Klein, left, and Barbara Gehring of "Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women" left their current road stop in Rochester, N.Y., to attend the Nov. 3 celebration of DCPA president Randy Weeks, who was represented, in a way, by a Brooks Brothers mannequin stand-in. Photo by John Moore


    TO SEE OUR COMPLETE GALLERY OF DOWNLOADABLE PHOTOS FROM THE RANDY WEEKS CELEBRATION, CLICK HERE.

    Memorial Contributions:
    Memorial gifts can be made to The Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for the Bobby G Awards, which supports the advancement of musical theatre for Colorado high school students. Please make checks payable to Denver Center for the Performing Arts and mail to: DCPA Development Office, 1101 13th Street, Denver, CO 80204.
  • Randy Weeks celebration draws 1,500 to recall a singular friend in story and song

    by John Moore | Nov 05, 2014



    A month before Randy Weeks died in a London hotel room, he mailed his godson a random greeting card that said: “Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but in the number of moments that take our breath away.”

    That was but one of many poignant remembrances peppered between showstopping musical numbers at a bittersweet public celebration on Monday afternoon for the President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, who died in his sleep Oct. 9 while attending a conference of theatre presenters. He was 59.

    It was delivered from the Buell Theatre stage by Jimmy Calano, who was Weeks’ pledge son 40 years ago at the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Later, Calano asked Weeks to be the godfather to his own son.

    “Although Randy was cheated out of his fair share of breaths, he took our breath away by the power of his friendship, by the way he made us feel special, and by how he flat-out took care of us,” Calano told a crowd that was estimated at 1,500 by the city of Denver.

    Video: Cast members from 'Kinky Boots' sing 'Give My Regards to Broadway' to honor the late Randy Weeks. To see our entire downloadable photo gallery from the Randy Weeks celebration, click here.

    Attendees included family and friends; DCPA employees past and present; theatre audiences; more than 100 fraternity brothers; and members of the local and national theatre communities including theatre owners, producers, presenters, booking agents, press agents and representatives from both The Broadway League and the Independent Presenters Network.

    Dean Singleton, chairman of The Denver Post and a member of the DCPA’s Board of Trustees, said, “We have lost one of the greatest minds in theatre. Not only did Randy bring Broadway to Denver, but he made Denver the first stop for some of the greatest productions leaving New York. Randy had the unique ability to convince people that Denver was the right place for a first stop -- and he delivered.”


    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_Quote_2

    In his 23 years as the Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway division, Weeks presented more than 400 shows that served 11.6 million patrons. In his tenure, Denver hosted the launches of 10 national touring productions, including The Lion King, The Book of Mormon and, most recently, Pippin. Representatives from those shows and more flew to Denver to attend Monday’s classy send-off. The program culminated with University of Northern Colorado freshman Abby Noble singing “One (Singular Sensation)” from A Chorus Line alongside nearly 30 members of the Denver School of the Arts’ recent production of Hairspray.

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_1

    Abby Noble of Grandview High School and the University of Northern Colorado, right, performing with students from Denver School of the Arts. Photo by John Moore. To see more photos, click here.

    In May, Noble was named Outstanding Actress in a Musical at the Bobby G Awards, which honor achievements in Colorado high school theatre. The program was spearheaded by Weeks in 2012 and quickly became his greatest professional joy. He also served on the Friends Foundation at Denver School of the Arts.

    Two of Monday’s performers were DSA students Jimmy Bruenger and Madison Kitchen, who fell in love with Broadway musicals by watching productions that Weeks brought to the Buell Theatre stage. Monday’s celebration afforded both the opportunity to perform on that same stage for the first time. Even in death, Bruenger said, Weeks was making dreams come true.

    “When I found out we were being asked to perform here, I started hyperventilating,” Kitchen added. “Both of us saw Kinky Boots here just last night. And so to be on that stage for the first time today? It’s incredible.”

    Video: Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Abby Noble sings "One" with students from Denver School of the Arts.


    The Pippin tour has recently bestowed upon Weeks what is believed to be an unprecedented honor: The entire tour has been dedicated to Weeks, who will now be acknowledged in programs in every city Pippin visits. The idea was suggested by Kathleen O’Brien, Weeks’ counterpart with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

    “This has been the best tour-opening experience in my 27 years out on the road, and Randy is the reason,” said Pippin national press rep Anita Dloniak, citing the camaraderie and professionalism he inspired in his staff. “And he throws the best parties,” she added. Honoring Weeks, she said, was one way for the Pippin family to grapple and cope with their grief over his sudden death. 

    “He is just a wonderful force to be reckoned with,” Dloniak said. “A giant ... but a gentle giant.”

    Nancy Gibbs attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver and has since produced many major theatricals including Wicked; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (the longest-running show in Denver theatre history); Traces; Next to Normal, and Peter and the Starcatcher, which launched its first national tour in Denver in August.

    “Randy was a leader,” Gibbs said. “Once he stepped up to the plate, he knocked it out of the ballpark.”

    David Turner, General Manager for The Book of Mormon, said it was Weeks who convinced producers that Denver was the only place for that tour to launch.

    “Randy was the one who knew that the writers (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) were from here, and he really wanted us to make that connection,” Turner said.

    The Book of Mormon launch in Denver sold all 51,000 available tickets in less than five hours. Turner called that an “extremely important” validation of the show.

    “For everybody who wasn’t sure how The Book of Mormon would be received outside of New York, that was an incredible vote of confidence,” Turner said. 

    Weeks was respected by his colleagues for his uncanny ability not only to maximize blockbuster, popular fare, but to predict the next big thing. One of the most poignant moments in Monday’s celebration came when seven members of the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots took the stage to sing “Give My Regards to Broadway” in Weeks’ honor. The show is currently playing in Denver through Sunday (Nov. 9).

    “During a very early preview performance of Kinky Boots, Randy ran up to me at the intermission and said, ‘Promise me this show will play Denver,’ ” said Kinky Boots’ Hal Luftig. “To a producer with a show still in previews, that meant the world to me. And now, here we are in Denver, playing to packed houses every night.”

    Weeks also was credited for his willingness to take risks both large and small. Weeks could have responsibly passed on important, challenging musicals with questionable commercial road potential, like Next to Normal (about a mother’s suicidal depression) and Spring Awakening (about 1890s German teens experiencing puberty in the complete absence of information). But when Weeks came across shows that had the potential to change audiences’ lives, he felt a deep obligation to schedule them.

    “He was so clearly willing to take risks here,” said The Book of Mormon’s Turner, “and over time, he developed an audience that was willing to take risks with him. That combination is very rare.”

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_2
    Actor Shannan Steele and director Ray Roderick banter with an aptly dressed Randy Weeks stand-in at Monday's celebration. Photo by John Moore. To see more photos, click here. 

     

    Added Ray Roderick, who directed large world premieres like I Love a Piano in the Auditorium Theatre and small cabaret shows in the Garner Galleria: “Randy saw the Denver community as one that was going to embrace good work no matter what it was. Denver is a very big demographic, and a very smart demographic, and Randy managed to please a lot of different kinds of people.”

    Weeks was remembered on Monday for far more than just his many professional successes. He was remembered as an uncommonly compassionate friend … and a most decidedly uncommon dresser.

    Weeks was known for wearing argyle sweaters and golfing pants adorned with animal prints only Rodney Dangerfield could love. The sweaters were a tribute to his late mentor, Robert Garner. “But the pants were all Randy,” said his longtime assistant, Claudia Carson, who directed the musical portion of Monday's celebration. Family members confessed that Weeks left seven pair of Brooks Brothers animal-print pants behind in his closet at home.

    “We’re going to miss Randy because he was always there with outstretched arms and a sweater that looked like something out of 1962 Paris Vogue,” joked Kris Andersson, otherwise known as Dixie Longate, whose Dixie’s Tupperware Party has played in the Garner Galleria Theatre four times. “It was so vogue that you probably wouldn’t want to dress that way. You’d look at it and go, ‘Really?’ But Randy owned it.”

    Andersson’s longtime manager Michele Helberg credited Weeks for “reinvigorating the Dixie brand” five years ago when he first brought the Tupperware Party to Denver. And Andersson credited Weeks for green-lighting last summer’s mouthful of a sequel, Dixie’s Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I Learned While I was Drinking Last Thursday.

    “He used his influence with other people in the industry to take a new artist and a new piece of work and move it forward further than if we had to do it on our own,” Helberg said. “If it hadn’t been for Randy and his Denver Center family, I don’t think we would be where we are right now.”

    "Randy used to say, 'It’s all about the fun,' ” Andersson added. “We get to have fun every day of our lives, and a really big part of that is because Randy looked at our show and said yes. And then, when the opportunity came along to do the new show, Randy put tickets on sale before I had even written it. He had that much faith in me.”

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_3

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_Quote_1



    Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein are two other performers whose lives were forever changed when Weeks decided to move their two-woman sleepover Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women from the Avenue Theatre to the DCPA.

    And here’s the thing: “He picked up our show without ever even seeing it,” Klein said. In those days, the title was truth in advertising: No men allowed.

    “He had heard about it, and he knew that women loved it, and so he just said, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’ ” Klein said.  

     That came as no surprise to Ekeberg, Weeks' protege and successor.

     “Randy led with his heart, and he put his heart into everything,” Ekeberg said.

    Girls Only played at the Garner Galleria Theatre for two years and has now been seen by 250,0000 women … and a few men. “That’s not something Linda and I could have done on our own,” Gehring said.

    Girls Only is currently playing in Rochester, N.Y., but the Denver-based duo came home for Monday’s celebration.  “We had to,” said Klein. “We needed to grieve with our friends.”

    DCPA Chairman Daniel Ritchie welcomed Monday’s crowd, and the master of Ceremonies was CBS-4 Critic-At-Large Greg Moody. Speakers included all three of Weeks’ siblings -- Pam Weeks, Joel Weeks and Stephanie Gamble. Others included Al Nocciolino, representing the Broadway League and the Independent Presenters Network. He was with Weeks at the London conference. He told Monday’s crowd that Weeks spent his final day shopping, and bought a deck of cards adorned with vintage fighter planes for his history-buff dad. That night, Weeks attended a performance of the controversial new play King Charles III in London's West End. Afterward, Nocciolino said, “Randy was holding court and telling everyone he had just seen the best performance he had ever seen.” 

    Video: "I Love a Piano" performed by Shannan Steele, Lauren Shealy, Randy St. Pierre, Michael Gold, Sarah Rex and Jordan Leigh.

    The musical program included performers from some of Weeks’ favorite shows, including I Love a Piano and Forever Plaid. The first show Weeks ever presented in the Garner Galleria Theatre was Forever Plaid, and on closing night in 1992, cast members sang “Old Cape Cod” as a gift to him in honor of his New Hampshire roots. Michael Gold, Drew Frady, Randy St. Pierre and Scott Rathbun sang the song at Monday’s celebration.

    Shannan Steele credited Weeks for hiring local actors, citing the upcoming opening of Forbidden Broadway in the Garner Galleria Theatre, which has an all-local ensemble.

     “I think most of my career wouldn’t exist without his efforts and his vision for the local community,” Steele said. “If you ever got to work under Randy, it was always a huge employment opportunity – and a huge artistic opportunity.”

    Gold, who performed in Roderick’s I Love a Piano, has known Weeks since he joined the DCPA box-office team as a college student in 1978. “I remember seeing him run credit cards over carbon paper; it was that long ago,” Gold said.

    When Joel Weeks took to the podium at the Buell, he referenced Weeks’ eulogy to his mentor, Robert Garner. “In it, he said, ‘How can you know someone for such a long time and never fully comprehend how much they have become a part of your life?’ ” Joel Weeks said.

    “My journey will be an amazing one if I can just try to emulate a fraction of what my brother was.” 

    Ekeberg, the final speaker, said his boss’ true strength lay in one-on-one relationships. “He made you feel special; he made you feel heard, and he made you feel important,” Ekeberg said. To honor that spirit, he urged the crowd to heed the message of Pippin:

    “Find the simple joys,” Ekeberg said.

    Our coverage of the death of Randy Weeks:
    DCPA president Randy Weeks dies at London conference
    Video: Randy Weeks honored with dimmed lights, moments of silence
    Randy Weeks photo gallery
    DCPA to celebrate Randy Weeks' life on Nov. 3
    A look back at Randy Weeks' 'It Gets Better' video
    'Pippin' dedicates entire tour to Randy Weeks



    Video: Randy St. Pierre, Michael Gold, Drew Frady and Scott Rathbun sing 'Old Cape Cod.'

    MORE PHOTOS:

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    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_4

    TO SEE OUR COMPLETE GALLERY OF DOWNLOADABLE PHOTOS FROM THE RANDY WEEKS CELEBRATION, CLICK HERE.
          

    Memorial Contributions
    Memorial gifts can be made to The Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for the Bobby G Awards, which supports the advancement of musical theatre for Colorado high school students. Please make checks payable to Denver Center for the Performing Arts and mail to: DCPA Development Office, 1101 13th Street, Denver, CO 80204.

  • Video and photos: Opening Night 'Pippin' festivities in Denver

    by John Moore | Sep 13, 2014


    Denver hosted the launch of the national touring production of Pippin the Musical on Sept. 10, 2014, at the Buell Theatre. It marked the 11th national tour launch by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Broadway division.

    The video above includes video and photo highlights from the celebration that followed the opening performance in the Seawell Grand Ballroom.

    Pippin, which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, features choreography in the style of Bob Fosse and breathtaking acrobatics. The "Pippin" tour runs in Denver through Sept. 20. Call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore, David Lenk and Emily Lozow.

    To go to our full gallery of free, downloadable photos from the evening, click here.

    This video features a montage of scenes from the national touring production that just launched in Denver.


    Pippin
    : Ticket information

    Sep 6-20, 2014 • Buell Theatre
    Accessible Performances • Sep 20, 2pm
    Tickets: 303.893.4100 • Toll-free: 800.641.1222 • TTY: 303.893.9582
    Groups (10+) • 303.446.4829
    Online • www.DenverCenter.Org


    'The Pippin Profiles' interview series:
     


    Our previous Pippin coverage on Denver CenterStage:

    Video: 5 questions for Composer Stephen Schwartz

    9News anchor Cheryl Preheim has a walk-on cameo on Sept. 16
    Video: Audience testimonials reacting to seeing the show
    Video series: The 'Pippin' Personalities: Five questions with creatives
    'Pippin' meets Denver: Media Day photos
    Broadway's Matthew James Thomas to play Pippin in Denver
    Hello, Denver! 'Pippin' cast and crew arrive

    Photos: Pippin loading in Denver, rehearsing in New York

    My three Pippins gather at Sardi's to honor John Rubinstein
    Photos: Exclusive look at first 'Pippin' rehearsal
    Lucie Arnaz joins Denver-bound ‘Pippin’ as Berthe

    From Pippin to Pappa: Denver tour launch will feature John Rubinstein
    2014-15 season: ‘Pippin,’ ‘Kinky Boots’ are Denver-bound!

    Pippin_Opening_Night_800

    Photo by John Moore. To go to our full gallery of free, downloadable photos from the evening, click here.
  • Photos: Hello, Denver: 'Pippin' cast and crew arrive

    by John Moore | Aug 28, 2014

    Pippin_828_1_Allen

    The cast and crew of Pippin The Musical arrived in Denver on Thursday night to prepare for the launch of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical's first national touring production opening Sept. 6 at the Buell Theatre. Among the actors who got their first look at the set were Sasha Allen (above), Lucie Arnaz and John Rubinstein.

    To see our complete gallery of photos, click here. Photos by John Moore.

    More photos:

    Pippin_828_Lucie Arnaz
    Lucie Arnaz.

    Pippin_828_Full_Cast_2

    A panorama of the first cast meeting in the 2,830-seat Buell Theatre.


    Pippin_828_Theo
    Our two Theos.


    Pippin_828_Full_Cast_1

    Wait, there's more:
    To see our complete gallery of photos, click here. Photos by John Moore.

    Pippin: Ticket information
    Sept 6-20, 2014 • Buell Theatre
    Accessible Performances • Sep 20, 2pm
    Tickets: 303.893.4100 • Toll-free: 800.641.1222 • TTY: 303.893.9582
    Groups (10+) • 303.446.4829
    Online • www.DenverCenter.Org


    'The Pippin Profiles':
     


    Previous Pippin coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

    Photos: Pippin loading in Denver, rehearsing in New York
    My three Pippins gather at Sardi's to honor John Rubinstein

    Photos: Exclusive look at first 'Pippin' rehearsal
    Lucie Arnaz joins Denver-bound ‘Pippin’ as Berthe

    From Pippin to Pappa: Denver tour launch will feature John Rubinstein
    2014-15 season: ‘Pippin,’ ‘Kinky Boots’ are Denver-bound!

  • Time-lapse video: 'Pippin' set goes up in Denver

    by John Moore | Aug 25, 2014


    The upcoming launch of the national touring production of "Pippin The Musical" was an opportunity for a combination of national and Denver-based crew members to install the circus-themed set for the first time, creating a blueprint for how it will be installed in every city to follow. Denver Center for the Performing Arts Video Producer David Lenk created this time lapse that shows the "Pippin" set being installed in Denver's Buell Theatre over a four-day period. Thanks to this team's work in Denver, this same high-flying "Pippin" set will be able to be installed in other cities in a matter of hours. "Pippin" opens Sept. 6 and plays through Sept. 20. Call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org/shows

    Click here to see our complete gallery of photos from the load-in.


    Pippin: Ticket information

    Sept 6-20, 2014 • Buell Theatre
    Accessible Performances • Sep 20, 2pm
    Tickets: 303.893.4100 • Toll-free: 800.641.1222 • TTY: 303.893.9582
    Groups (10+) • 303.446.4829
    Online • www.DenverCenter.Org


    'The Pippin Profiles':
     


    Previous Pippin coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

    Photos: Pippin loading in Denver, rehearsing in New York
    My three Pippins gather at Sardi's to honor John Rubinstein

    Photos: Exclusive look at first 'Pippin' rehearsal
    Lucie Arnaz joins Denver-bound ‘Pippin’ as Berthe

    From Pippin to Pappa: Denver tour launch will feature John Rubinstein
    2014-15 season: ‘Pippin,’ ‘Kinky Boots’ are Denver-bound!

  • The 'Pippin' Profiles: Diane Paulus on directing without a net

    by John Moore | Aug 22, 2014

    Diane_Paulus_Pippin_400Director Diane Paulus’ mantra as an artist is to always expand the boundaries of theatre ... or why bother?

    “As a director,” she says, “one of my biggest interests is creating a visceral experience for audiences.”

    Audiences will be feeling visceral come Sept. 6, when the national touring production of Paulus’ Tony-winning musical revival Pippin launches in Denver. They will be witnessing death-defying flips, tight-rope walks, knife-juggling and more. And “those acrobatic tricks you see are real, “ she said, “and they are real every night."

    That means be no protective cables. No safety nets.

    "With every performance, those are real, extraordinary achievements happening on that stage. It's live. It's happening there. And the audience witnesses it in the moment. And that makes the production so immediate.”

    It is that kind of theatrical daring that earned Paulus spot on Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. … In the world.

    Paulus is the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University in Boston, where she debuted Pippin on its way to Broadway; and where she just opened a pre-Broadway run of a new Peter Pan musical based on the film Finding Neverland.

    Diane_Paulus_Pippin_Quote_1

    Paulus brought the London theatrical phenomenon Sleep No More to America in 2011 on its way to New York. That’s an immersive version of Macbeth that plays out on multiple floors of a warehouse in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. Paulus calls that kind of thing “adventure theatre.”

    The same can be said of Pippin. Paulus got the green light to mount the first major revival of Pippin in 40 years when she told composer Stephen Schwartz she wanted to set his story of a young man search’s for meaning in the dangerous world of the circus.

    “It wasn’t about layering something on that didn’t need to be there,” Paulus said. “It was about the theme of the story: How far are we willing to go to be extraordinary in our lives? That question is at the heart of Pippin’s journey. That question is also at the heart of every circus performer’s life. And it’s a literal one: How far will I go? Will I jump and land upside down on someone’s hand? Will I leap through a hoop on fire? How far can I push my human body to aspire to be extraordinary?”

    What follows are excerpts from our expansive interview with one of the leading figures in the American theatre.

    John Moore: We’re talking to you as you are just days away from opening the Broadway-bound Finding Neverland at your American Repertory Theatre in Boston.

     
    Diane Paulus: Yes, we are in the middle of previews right now.

    John Moore: Well, then, I can't imagine how you can be in any kind of a Pippin headspace, so thank you for making time.

    Diane Paulus: It's a little crazy, but I have my Pippin T-shirt on right now, so I am already in Pippin land a little bit. It's all good.

    John Moore: What was your introduction to Pippin?

    Diane Paulus: I saw Pippin as a little girl growing up in New York City. I was 8 years old, and seeing it on Broadway marked me. It made such a huge impression. I remembered those characters. I remembered that world that (Director and Choreographer) Bob Fosse put on stage. I remembered Ben Vereen and all those players. And of course, I grew up on the score. I wore out my album. I played Corner of the Sky on the piano. I also sang With You at my brother's wedding -- not really understanding that, in the show, that's a song about Pippin getting together with a lot of different women. I sing No Time at All with my college friends at our reunions. So I've been living that Pippin score my whole life. I have always wanted to touch this show again.

    John Moore: What appealed to you most about revisiting it?

    Diane Paulus: A lot of people remember the Fosse and they remember the music, but you don't have a lot of people saying to you, 'Oh, what an amazing story.’ But I have always felt there was a very powerful and important story there. To me, Pippin is almost a pageant play, like a trial of the soul in all these different stages of a man’s life that are theatricalized -- going to war, the temptation of the flesh, the ordinary life. Pippin is the son of King Charlemagne, but he could stand in as an everyman. I got very excited about trying to make the meaning of his story viscerally felt.

    John Moore: And what does it mean -- to you?

    Diane Paulus: For me, the theme of Pippin is this: How far do we go to be extraordinary in our lives? Right now, that is such a relevant question -- more than ever. Just how far do we push ourselves? What is glory? What is it to be extraordinary, and what are the choices that we make in our lives? Ultimately, what I love about Pippin is that it's not a moralistic story. It doesn't say, 'Well, here's the right answer.' It really puts the question out to the audience. When we first did Pippin up at A.R.T. (in Boston), we’re in a college town, and there were young college kids coming to see the show who were completely relating to Pippin. They were asking questions like, 'What am I doing with my life?' 'What is my purpose in life?' 'What am I going to be, and who am I, and why am I here on the planet?' And you know what? I am a mom in my 40s, and I am thinking about things like, 'What are the choices I've made, and how do I negotiate a career and a family, and what does it mean to be extraordinary in my life?' Over the course of this production, I have seen entire generations of people affected by it. I saw an elderly man in his 80s weeping at the end of the show, and I just thought, 'Cleary, this show pushes you to think about the choices you are making, or the choices you have made in your life.’

    Diane_Paulus_Pippin_Quote_2

    John Moore: So what was your biggest directorial challenge?

    Diane Paulus: My biggest directorial challenge was determining what the world of this play was going to be.

    John Moore: (Composer) Stephen Schwartz told me you weren't the first to come to him wanting to put Pippin in a circus. But he did say that your concept was the best. How did you came up with your idea, and what was the pitch?

    Diane Paulus: I really got interested in this idea of circus because, to me, the show has to have an identity for the troupe of players. And the circus has such a strong identity. It's a traveling family that pitches their tent from town to town. They transform the lives of the people who dare to enter that tent. And then they pick up and leave, and they go somewhere else. So you don't ever really know a lot about who those circus people are. You don't think about them doing ordinary things like going to the supermarket and cooking. They just sort of come alive for you for as long as they are in that tent. It's a fantasy world. That was the hook for me: What if this group is a circus troupe, and they have come to town, and they have pitched their tent, and the Leading Player is literally standing outside that tent seducing you, the audience, to come inside and ‘join us.’ And if you dare to enter that tent, who knows what you will experience? Who knows how you will be transformed? You might be so transformed that you might even decide that you want to run away with the circus. That's another metaphor for me: How many of us in our lives have wanted to run away with the circus? Either literally, or metaphorically? When in our lives have we decided to take that leap—and when have we decided, "No," because, for any number of reasons, I can't run away with the circus right now. I have to choose other things. That was the metaphor me.

    John Moore: Your goal is always to expand the boundaries of theatre, and that certainly seems to be what the circus achieves in Pippin.

    Diane Paulus: I have been a great admirer of Les 7 doigts de la main (The 7 Fingers of the Hand). So when I met (Circus Creator) Gypsy Snider, I asked if she would ever want to work on a musical. And then we started talking about Pippin, and the theme meant so much to her. That's when I knew this collaboration would work. Because it wasn't about layering something on that didn’t need to be there. It was about the theme of the story: How far are we willing to go to be extraordinary in our lives? That question is at the heart of every acrobat and circus performer. That’s the first thing Gypsy said to me: ‘That is the life of an acrobat.’

    Diane_Paulus_Pippin_Quote_4

    John Moore: And how does that translate into the theatre experience?

    Diane Paulus: I am always interested in embracing theatre for what I think it should be, which is the absolute, live experience that is witnessed by each audience member. It’s not something we can later replay on our telephones or computers. As an audience member, you are seeing it, and what you are seeing can only be experienced right then and there, and it will be different every night.

    John Moore: How did you decide how you would go about replicating the Fosse choreography – and how much?

    Diane Paulus: There is no one like Bob Fosse. I have always worshipped at the altar of Fosse for what he did as an artist, and for his unique vision. I knew if we were going to bring back Pippin, we had to bring back the Fosse. It's just too connected. Chet Walker was part of that original Broadway production of Pippin. He had worked with Fosse for years, and so having Chet on the team was so important to me. When I first met Chet, he said to me, 'Bob Fosse would never want to re-create something. He never wanted to repeat himself. He and Stephen Schwartz also told me that Fosse loved Fellini. And when you look at it, this fascination with Fellini and clowns is all over even the original choreography. It's almost inside the DNA of the original production. But we had an opportunity with our production to take it further.

    John Moore: When you approached Gypsy, she had never seen Pippin before. She said the first thing that became obvious to her was that the Leading Player was Bob Fosse, and Pippin was Stephen Schwartz. When I mentioned that to Stephen, he just kind of paused and said, ‘That's exactly right.’ What do you think of the comparison?

    Diane Paulus: I am such a huge fan of both of those artists. It was so interesting to work with Stephen because here it was, 40 years later, and he was no longer the young college kid who wrote the show. He's now a mature artist looking back on his life. And I think now he had an appreciation for what Fosse saw in it when they made this in the '70s. So I think Stephen really helped me understand what the brew was back in the '70s between he and Fosse. Looking at it now for this revival as a mature artist, I think Stephen was able to identify more with Fosse. It was so edifying and inspiring for me to really understand the original production and everything that made that birth happen. A lot of people think of Pippin from having done it at their camp, or at their community theatre, or at their college. And so, for a lot of people, they know it as The Kumbaya Pippin. And this is not The Kumbaya Pippin. This story is deep, and it is profound, and it has really intense meaning. I think that was there in the original collaboration between Stephen and Bob Fosse. I remember that heat from when I was a kid, and I wanted to re-create that heat and take it even further.

    John Moore: Obviously a big change with this production is that a woman is playing the Leading Player. Stephen felt no male actor could possibly follow in Ben Vereen’s footsteps.

    Diane Paulus: Well, you know, in the script, it just says, "Leading Player." It doesn't say anything about race or gender. There is no other information, aside what is in the text. So I sent Stephen a note saying, ‘Tell me about this Leading Player. What do I have to know?' Just give me some details.' And he said back, 'The Leading Player can be anyone. Male. Female African-American, white, whatever demographic or ethnicity you want.' The only thing he said is that the Leading Player has to feel different from Pippin. The Leading Player has to represent everything Pippin has not experienced in life. So, with that … I agree with Stephen. The specter of Ben Vereen is huge, and for me that meant we had to have someone who could sing as well as Ben, who could dance as well as Ben, and who could act as well as Ben. So that was really the gauntlet that was thrown down. We had to find someone who is a true triple-threat. I knew Ben could do everything, and I knew we had to find someone who could deliver in all those departments. And, in our case -- maybe also someone who is willing to get on a trapeze and be a little fearless with some of the circus stuff.

    John Moore: How hard was that to find all in one performer?

    Diane Paulus: We auditioned everyone. We auditioned men and women. Every possible ethnicity came through our door. We had no agenda about who we were going to cast. However, I have to confess that Patina Miller was secretly in my brain, because I had worked with her on Hair. And then she helped create this stamp on this role of a powerful woman and leader. She proved that a woman could tell this story in such an interesting way for a modern, 21st-century audience. So now, the female Leading Player is integral. We’re looking forward to what Sasha Allen does with the role now.

    Diane_Paulus_Pippin_Quote_3

    John Moore: Speaking of Hair, I have to ask you about your Jeannie, who was played by Colorado’s sweetheart, Annaleigh Ashford.

    Diane Paulus: Oh my gosh. She is such a joy, and, as everyone knows, so hysterically funny. There is not one word that can come out of that women's mouth that doesn't make you laugh. I loved working with her on Hair. She was so quirky and funny and such a pro. And she is so committed as an artist. I felt really lucky to have had that experience with her.

    John Moore: It looks like Finding Neverland is going to be the next big thing. Can you give us a sneak peek into what kind of a theatrical experience we're in for?

    Diane Paulus: What I love about the show is that it's the story of the power of the imagination through the life of J.M. Barrie. Speaking of expanding the boundaries, he took a leap of faith and created something that everyone felt was crazy back in 1904. I mean, this was a story with boys who could fly and fairies and mermaids and crocodiles. Everybody thought he was nuts. He created Peter Pan -- something we all now think of as a brand of peanut butter. And if people have seen it, they say, ‘Oh, yeah, I've seen it a thousand times, and it’s the most mainstream, accessible musical you could point to.’ But it wasn't in its creation. 

    John Moore: This must be fun for you, having daughters.

    Diane Paulus. Yes. Because at the heart of it, this is about is seeing the world through the eyes of a child. I am making Finding Neverland for my two daughters. What does it means to have spirit of a child in your life?  What kind of worlds can we see through their eyes? I love the show. The heart of it is very strong.

    John Moore: Before we go, I am curious what you think about the new ending for Pippin. Without giving anything away, why do you think this new ending is the right ending?

    Diane Paulus: Our ending now makes perfect sense. This show is about all the trials we have to go through in our lives, and everyone goes through them. And so when Pippin ends, you have this sense that it is all going to begin again. I tell you, when we were making this production, there were kids all over the place, because so many of us have children, and I let everybody watch rehearsal. It was like a circus of children. Every time we finished rehearsal, all of the kids would rush on to the stage and try to climb the poles and try to do all the acrobatic tricks. It was sort of primal. I looked at them one day and I thought, ‘That's the story!’ Even though we know we are going to fall, a kid will always want to climb a tree. A kid will always want to try to climb a pole. It’s a part of human nature, and that to me is what we get in this new ending.

    John Moore: And also looking at it from Pippin’s perspective. He has to make a decision. And I think Stephen was always a little uncomfortable that people might interpret the original ending of a man choosing to be a responsible husband and father as somehow settling. In this day and age, we really should be celebrating those men who choose fatherhood and family, should we not?

    Diane Paulus: Every individual has to face certain decisions at some point in their lives. And you make your choice for a reason. And I think each choice is extraordinary, if you really get in touch with yourself. To me, that's the story. Stop doing what people tell you to do. Identify what's in your heart. That might mean running away with the circus. That might mean choosing a family, and to love someone, which means you can't run away with the circus right now. It's all about the choice. It’s all about the risk of the choice. It's not about which choice you actually make. Can you hear your heart and follow your heart and the truth inside yourself? That is the journey of Pippin. That’s your journey. And that’s my journey, too.


    John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.


    'The Pippin Profiles':  

    Pippin: Ticket information

    Sept 6-20, 2014 • Buell Theatre
    Accessible Performances • Sep 20, 2pm
    Tickets: 303.893.4100 • Toll-free: 800.641.1222 • TTY: 303.893.9582
    Groups (10+) • 303.446.4829
    Online • www.DenverCenter.Org


    Previous Pippin coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

    Photos: Pippin loading in Denver, rehearsing in New York
    My three Pippins gather at Sardi's to honor John Rubinstein

    Photos: Exclusive look at first 'Pippin' rehearsal
    Lucie Arnaz joins Denver-bound ‘Pippin’ as Berthe

    From Pippin to Pappa: Denver tour launch will feature John Rubinstein
    2014-15 season: ‘Pippin,’ ‘Kinky Boots’ are Denver-bound!

  • 'Pippin' pics: Loading in Denver, flipping in New York

    by John Moore | Aug 21, 2014
    Pippin_Loadin_820_2

    Above: Crews prepare the Buell Theatre to host the launch of the national touring production of Pippin The Musical, opening Sept. 6. The cast, meanwhile, is rehearsing in New York in advance of their arrival in Denver for additional preparations beginning Aug. 26.

    Click here to see our complete gallery of photos from both sites. 

    Denver photos by John Moore. New York photos provided by Pippin The Musical.

    Pippin_Loadin_6_820


    Pippin_Loadin_8_820

    Denver photos by John Moore. To see more, click here to see our complete gallery of photos from both sites.

    This just in: The time-lapse video of the load-in:
  • The 'Pippin' Profiles: Circus Creator Gypsy Snider

    by John Moore | Aug 09, 2014

    To lifetime circus performer Gypsy Snider, "circus is like eating and sleeping and family." Photo courtesy Gypsy Snider. 

     

    Note: "The Pippin Profiles" is a series of interviews by Arts Journalist John Moore with the "Pippin The Musical" cast and creative team leading up to the launch of the first national touring production in Denver on Sept. 6. First up: Circus Creator Gypsy Snider.

    In Pippin the Musical, a family of circus performers defies death to tell their story with every flip, tumble and mid-air spin.

    The same is true of those actors performing in Pippin the Musical.

    And the same has been true of Pippin Circus Creator Gypsy Snider since she began her career as a circus performer at the tender age of 4. 

    With all respect to Stephen Schwartz, composer of Wicked and Pippin, Snider was defying gravity long before Elphaba was a green twinkle in his orchestral eye.

    Snider’s parents are the founders of San Francisco’s pioneering Pickle Family Circus, an acclaimed alternative circus often cited as a primary influence on the creation of Cirque du Soleil. Snider is the co-founder of Montreal’s 7 Fingers (Les 7 doigts de la main), a pioneering form of live entertainment that has twice brought Traces to Denver. That innovative show used astonishing displays of athletic skill to tell the real-life stories of seven street teens.

    Snider embraces circus as its own narrative storytelling form. Her brand of physical theatre requires strength, agility and grace.

    Her upbringing was like no other. She grew up around the likes of circus legends Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle. She appeared among an entire town of street performers in Robert Altman's 1980 film Popeye. By 18, she was attending a physical-theater school in Switzerland.

    She co-founded 7 Fingers in 2002 and, for her first foray into Broadway, she was called upon by Pippin Director Diane Paulus to help re-tell Schwartz’s iconic story of a young prince’s quest for meaning in life set within the world of circus. Pippin won the 2013 Tony Award for best musical revival. Its first national touring production launches at Denver’s Buell Theatre on Sept. 6.

    Modern audiences who have a familiarity with circus generally think of Cirque du Soleil. But while Snider toured with Cirque and has a deep love for it, she says Pippin should not be mistaken for it. If anything, she said, it should evoke the old days of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

    “This is old-school, hard-core circus,” she said.

    We’re talking juggling knives and swallowing fire.

    “I would say that Cirque du Soleil is like the grandfather, and we are the rebellious teenagers,” she said.

    Pippin culminates with a boy becoming a man, having to choose between a life of adventure or family. Snider has never had to pick  between the two – her small children are also embracing the circus life. But Snider’s life turned upside down in 2008, when she were diagnosed with advanced-stage colon cancer.

    “It was definitely a life-changing experience,” she said. Much surgery, chemotherapy chemotherapy and radiation followed.

    “Suddenly, my work felt trivial and my family became more important than ever before,” Snider said in a previous interview with Broadway Buzz. “I began to question how taxing show business can be and wondered if I should just move to the country and raise my two daughters in a stress-free environment, instead of in the glory of this wonderful but all consuming lifestyle. It was during this difficult time that Diane Paulus reached out to me about the possibility of collaborating on a new production of Pippin.”

    And when she did, her charge to Snider was simple:

    “Come make this thrilling.”

    Here are more excerpts from our recent conversation with Snider for MyDenverCenter.Org. It took place just before rehearsals were to begin for the national touring production of Pippin as Snider and her family were visiting her parents' family retreat in the Berkshires.

    The Broadway cast of "Pippin," above. The first national touring production of the iconic musical, with circus creations by Gypsy Snider, launches in Denver on Sept. 6. Photo by Joan Marcus.

     

    John Moore: When you brought Traces to Denver in 2011, could you have even imagined what your immediate future had in store for you?

    Gypsy Snider: Actually, Denver plays a semi-big part in this. When I was working in Denver, I saw all of the other productions that were being staged there at the time. I remember sitting there watching the (Denver Center Theatre Company’s) A Midsummer Night's Dream. That’s when I knew that I wanted to get back to the States, that I wanted to work in the English language and that I wanted to work in the theatre. I remember saying that to (Denver Center for the Performing Arts President) Randy Weeks afterward. I got really excited about the possibilities from Denver on.

    John Moore: How did the Pippin opportunity come about?

    Gypsy Snider: My first conversation with (Director) Diane Paulus and (Producer) Barry Weissler coincided with Traces being in Denver. She had just done a Cirque production called Amaluna, so she was really starting to be familiar with the Montreal circus scene. She had already seen tons of videos of things we had done. Barry had been following us for several years. At my first meeting with him in New York, I was like, 'What am I doing? How did I end up here?’ But Barry said, ‘Look, I don't know what to do with you. But I know that I love what you do.’ And so, he continued to follow our shows. Later on, when Diane said, ‘I think we need to put circus into the Pippin story,’ Barry said, ‘How about Gypsy? And she said, 'I totally know who you are talking about.’ And so then they sent me the script.

    John Moore: I read somewhere that you had never seen Pippin before.

    Gypsy Snider: No, I had not. Maybe I had remotely heard the music, but I didn't associate it with the story. So I read the book and … it’s a very strange piece of literature. But I fell in love with it. I instantly knew what I wanted to do with it. I read it in one hour in my bed and I just … knew. When I met with Diane, I rambled on and on. I had no idea what I was getting into. But she was sold.

    John Moore: Sounds to me like you are the rambling river in that story.

    Gypsy Snider: Oh, Diane Paulus is a big river instigator. She saw my enthusiasm. And when she feels someone has an idea that is flowing, she does an incredible job of pushing that flow and guiding that flow.

    John Moore: What specifically did you bring to the creative conversation?

    Gypsy Snider: At 7 Fingers, we have a way of bringing emotion and texture into acrobatics. In a way, I think the passion and the theatricality that circus brings to it quickly became the backbone of this new project. Of course, Bob Fosse and Stephen Schwartz are the backbone of Pippin. But in terms of rejuvenating it, the circus became the backbone of doing it this way. 

    John Moore: What was it like high-flying into the world of the original Pippin choreographer, the late Bob Fosse?

    Gypsy Snider: I was fascinated to learn the extent to which Bob Fosse was a huge influence on my career -- unbeknown to me. There is a kind of sexuality and a violence in his artwork that I always need whenever I am creating a show. I know that sex and violence sells TV shows, but Fosse really criticized the entertainment industry for the addictive and seductive nature of sexuality and violence in entertainment. I don't mean to go off on a crazy tangent, but if we are talking about seducing Pippin into a living a more extraordinary life by luring him into something that could be potentially fatal … that’s the entertainment industry. In that way, we are really looking at a retrospective of Fosse's life. That's what I found so, so fascinating about it. And then there is the innocent side of Pippin: The loving family man, the “corner of the sky” Pippin. That was absolutely the Stephen Schwartz that I got to know, amazingly, through this production. He's just so positive and so hard-working.

    John Moore: How do you think Bob Fosse would have liked the idea of setting Pippin in a circus?

    Gypsy Snider: I feel like Bob Fosse would have wanted us to do this, and that he would have done it himself if this were available to him at the time. Maybe not to this extent, but …  it was there. It was already there in the words.

    John Moore: With this reimagined version of Pippin – both setting it in the circus and, more tellingly, in consideration of the life choice Pippin faces in the end – it seems to me as if maybe Diane Paulus is saying that Pippin is you.

    Gypsy Snider: I think so. Diane and I are both the same age, and we both have two daughters. We have discussed on a very personal level the seduction of the business and this balance you try to achieve, being professional women who have families. It’s really like we are the Catherines -- but we are also being seduced like the Pippins.  It was interesting for both of us how we connected on an emotional level to this musical. Pippin has this choice to make, and one of them it to embrace this simple home life with an older woman and her child living out in the country where there is no magic and there is no makeup -- which is something Fosse presented in a very boring, very pejorative manner. And yet here I am talking to you right now while I am out here in the country with my children -- and I love it. But I also love my work. I feed on it so much, and I am proud to show my children how passionate I am about my work.

    John Moore: For 40 years, both audiences and writers alike have argued whether the ending to Pippin is a tragedy ... or a compromise ... or a perfect, happy ending. I imagine, given your life story, that you are split right down the middle.

    Gypsy Snider: I am split down the middle. For me, circus is like eating and sleeping and family. It's my brother; it's my mother; it's my father. Just talking about it makes me so emotional. There were maybe a few moments in my life when I felt like walking away from it, or perhaps trying something totally different. Circus is a very physically demanding life. It's a very itinerant life. And when my kids started going to school, I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ But circus is my family, too. Sometimes I like to think of it as the mafia because it's a very closed, tight-knit circle. But the reason is because there is so much danger and risk and sacrifice involved. True circus people know each other, and there is a whole sort of respect and value system to it that is so honorable and so genuine and so truthful. To true circus people, there is no nonsense. There is no competition. There is no, 'I am better than you are.' There is no, 'I am going to be a star, but you are not going to be a star.' Each individual circus performer is absolutely unique, and that uniqueness is valued. There is no one way to do anything. Unfortunately, it's not like dance. To survive in the dance world, you have to sacrifice so much of your individuality and soul. Everyone wants to play Romeo, for example. In circus, that is not ever an issue. People don't compare themselves. There is somehow a place for everyone.

    John Moore: How do you feel about getting the whole Pippin creative team together and doing this all over again with a new cast?

    Gypsy Snider: Diane, (Choreographer Chet Walker) and I have been talking about how exciting it is going to be to get back in the room.  I am feeling like this is going to be an incredible reunion for all three of us.

    John Moore: Well, then … welcome in advance to Denver.

    Gypsy Snider: I am so excited.  There is a place in Denver that sells poutine (gravy fries with cheese curds), so I am definitely looking forward to that.

    John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

    Coming up on the Pippin Profiles:  

    • Choreographer Chet Walker
    • Director Diane Paulus
    • Composer Stephen Schwartz
    • Plus ... select members of the acting company

     

    Pippin: Ticket information

    Sept 6-20, 2014 • Buell Theatre
    Accessible Performances • Sep 20, 2pm
    Tickets: 303.893.4100 • Toll-free: 800.641.1222 • TTY: 303.893.9582
    Groups (10+) • 303.446.4829
    Online • www.DenverCenter.Org

     

    Previous "Pippin" coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

    My three Pippins gather at Sardi's to honor John Rubinstein
    Photos: Exclusive look at first 'Pippin' rehearsal
    Lucie Arnaz joins Denver-bound ‘Pippin’ as Berthe

    From Pippin to Pappa: Denver tour launch will feature John Rubinstein
    2014-15 season: ‘Pippin,’ ‘Kinky Boots’ are Denver-bound!

  • My three Pippins gather at Sardi's to honor John Rubinstein

    by John Moore | Aug 02, 2014

    image

    From left: Kyle Dean Massey (Broadway's current Pippin), John Rubinstein (original Pippin and Charlemagne for the national tour) and  Kyle Selig (national tour Pippin).

     

    Cast members from the  Broadway and national touring productions of Pippin The Musical gathered on July 31 to celebrate the unveiling of John Rubinstein’s caricature at the famed Sardi's restaurant in New York's theatre district.

    Rubinstein originated the role of Pippin in 1972. He will be playing Pippin's father, Charlemagne, when the national touring production launches at Denver's Buell Theatre from Sept. 6-20.

    Sardi's, located on 44th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, has been famous for hanging  more than 1,300 caricatures of  show-business celebrities since it opened at its current location in 1927.

    The artist who caricatured Rubinstein was Richard Baratz. The gathering drew cast members from both the current Broadway and upcoming national touring casts, including three Pippins: Kyle Dean Massey (Broadway) and Kyle Selig (national tour).

    Tickets for the Denver stop are on sale now at 303-893-4100 or go to www.DenverCenter.Org.

    Photos provided by Pippin national touring production.

    image

    A photo of John Rubinstein's caricature at Sardi's.

    image

     

    Rubinstein poses with  cast members of the "Pippin" Broadway and tour casts.


     

    Previous "Pippin" coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

    Photos: Exclusive look at first 'Pippin' rehearsal

    Lucie Arnaz joins Denver-bound ‘Pippin’ as Berthe

    From Pippin to Pappa: Denver tour launch will feature John Rubinstein

    2014-15 season: ‘Pippin,’ ‘Kinky Boots’ are Denver-bound!

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ABOUT THE EDITOR
John Moore
John Moore
Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.