• Access-Ability Video: Your guide to the Bonfils Theatre Complex

    by John Moore | Nov 20, 2014


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is committed to bringing the magic of live theatre to all patrons. In this special video, actors from the local Phamaly Theatre Company tell you about all of the accessibility services available to audiences who join us for shows at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex.

    Topics include drop-off and parking, wheelchair seating, and both audio and visual  accommodations.

    Your hosts are Lyndsay Palmer, Linda Wirth and Stewart Caswell,  actors who perform at the DCPA and are themselves living with disabilities.

    Script written by John Moore. Filmed, edited and captioned by David Lenk. Thanks: Carol Krueger, Randy Dodd, Phamaly Theartre Company and usher Peg Ohlander.

    For more information about DCPA services, click here. Questions? Call 303-893-4000.

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    Local actor Linda Wirth has had only minimal light perception since birth. But that hasn’t kept her from enjoying live theatre at he DCPA both as an actor and audience member. Photo by John Moore.
  • Matthew Lopez in Denver, Part 1: Why? The hunger for new work

    by John Moore | Nov 19, 2014

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    Says DCPA Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez: 'I think it's possible to get an audience to actually be OK with the potential for abject failure. Because they know there is also, then, the potential for great, exciting success.' Photo by John Moore


    Matthew Lopez is one of the busiest writers in America. That he is making time to serve as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ first-ever Playwriting Fellow for the 2014-15 Theatre Company season, he says, is a testament to Denver's growing importance on the American theatre landscape.

    When Artistic Director Kent Thompson asked Lopez to accept this innovative appointment in August, Lopez said yes for one very straightforward reason: “The emphasis here on new-play development.”

    Lopez is the author of The Whipping Man, one of the most-produced plays in America last year, about a Jewish Confederate soldier who returns to his ruined estate just after the cessation of fighting in desperate need of medical help from his former slaves. Lopez is also the author of The Legend of Georgia McBride, a heartfelt comedy about a straight Elvis impersonator who delves into the world of drag performance out of his own brand of desperation – and finds that he likes it. He really likes it.

    Colorado audiences liked both plays as well. The Whipping Man, staged at the Curious Theatre, won nine Henry Awards from the Colorado Theatre Guild, including Outstanding Production. The DCPA’s Georgia McBride won two more, including Outstanding New Play.

    Denver, Lopez says, is a theatre community that appreciates new work. And nationally, he said, the DCPA is increasingly being seen as an industry  leader.

    “It’s everything,” Lopez said. “It's the Colorado New Play Summit. It's the fact that last season, four of the plays from the Summit, including my own, made it into the following season. There is an aggressive push here toward being seen as a premiere theatre for new works. Toward being seen as a playwright's theatre.”

    Still, Lopez is one committed man. At present, he has four active commissions. That means four different theatre companies are expecting him to produce a new play for their right of first refusal. He will have two new plays produced for the first time in 2015. There is also the possibility of an innovative collaboration.  He was a staff writer for one season on HBO's The Newsroom.

    Oh, and he’s also working on his first film: A little movie by the makers of 12 Years a Slave that would be produced by an up-and-comer named Brad Pitt. It’s an adaptation of a Spanish novel called Your Face Tomorrow.  

    “It’s about a Spaniard living in London," Lopez said. "He gets involved with a company he thinks is a consulting firm; but it turns out they are doing really bad things in the world."

    As is the case with many theatre, TV and film projects, writing something doesn’t necessarily mean it will get made. But Lopez is writing his first movie as if it will. And those are just a few reasons Lopez’s calendar would have probably preferred he had not also taken this six-month fellowship with the DCPA.

    But he accepted the appointment with relish.

    The fellowship calls for Lopez to spend one week per month in Denver serving as part of the Theatre Company’s artistic team. Lopez will bring the playwright’s voice into the production process for upcoming world premieres of Benediction and Appoggiatura. He will serve as the Playwright Host for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. And he will have input on the selection of the Theatre Company's  2015-16 mainstage season.

    Most important to Lopez: Every monthly visit to Denver will include a visit to area schools.

    Lopez also will be checking in each month with the DCPA NewsCenter for what will be a six-part series chronicling his visit to Denver. Each part of the series will tackle a different aspect of his fellowship.


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    Here are excerpts from our first interview with Matthew Lopez in Denver:

    Matthew_Lopez_Part1_300John Moore: When Kent Thompson first approached you with this fellowship idea, why was it intriguing to you?

    Matthew Lopez: It came at a time when I found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the opacity of the way theatres around the country make decisions. As a writer, you submit a play for consideration, and you generally get the ‘yay’ or the ‘nay’ – but you are not often privy to the decision-making process. It starts to feel like it's just so random and ad hoc that you forget that there probably actually is a process. So when Kent offered me this fellowship, part of what was interesting was just being part of the artistic staff for a while. That means sitting in on meetings and working on play selection, both for the Colorado New Play Summit and for next year's Theatre Company season. It also means sitting in on marketing meetings and a host of different things. When does a playwright ever get to do that? So that was all really intriguing for me. It’s like being offered a backstage tour of the inner workings of a company.

    John Moore: So is that how the fellowship is actually proceeding?

    Matthew Lopez: Yes, that’s exactly what I'm doing. The only thing I asked for was not to be given a commission to write a new play.

    John Moore: I think a lot of people would naturally expect that a commission would be a part of a fellowship like this.

    Matthew Lopez: Yes, but I have so many commissions right now that I would not be able to turn it around for years.

    John Moore: So how are you going to make this appointment work with your busy schedule?

    Matthew Lopez: Well, it is being scheduled within an inch of its life. Seriously. Before we agreed to definitely do this in August, we looked at what the DCPA's needs were for me; and we looked at what my needs for myself were. Then we looked at the calendar to see if it was in any way even feasible. And it turns out that it actually was. It was going to be a marathon for me, but I think it is worth it. I am really excited.

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    Jamie Ann Romero and Ben Huber in the DCPA Theatre Company's "The Legend of Georgia McBride" in February 2014. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen


    John Moore: Obviously you are high on the DCPA, especially after they staged The Legend of Georgia McBride last season.

    Matthew Lopez: Which means they have excellent taste.

    John Moore: Of course. So tell me what you see happening here at the DCPA that made this a company you wanted to do this with.

    Matthew Lopez: It’s the emphasis on new-play development. What’s happening here doesn't usually happen at "institutions" as large as the DCPA. Institutions often coast. Look, they also do Hamlet at the DCPA. They do Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. So they are not ignoring the mandates of a major regional theatre company. They do both.

    John Moore: But there is a lot of economic trepidation in the American theatre as a whole, which affects the ability of an institution to be consistent with its commitment to new work, including here at the DCPA.

    Matthew Lopez: Yes, and that just proves that it's hard. That is not a mystery to me. I think audiences are trainable -- and I mean that in the most respectful way. There will be growing pains. But over time, if you get an audience accustomed to new works, they are going to become hungry for it.

    John Moore: Another important factor is how you define new work. You mentioned Vanya. That may be the most-produced play in America this year, but it's still new to a Denver audience. So is the new The Unsinkable Molly Brown. This stage adaptation of Lord of the Flies. Appoggiatura. Benediction. One Night in Miami. The 12. I mean, other than A Christmas Carol, it's all new work by the DCPA Theatre Company this season.

    Matthew Lopez: Yes, it is all new work to the Denver audience. For theatregoers at Curious Theatre, The Whipping Man was a new play, for all intents and purposes. And yet if it were to be done in New York again, it would be considered a revival. Still, there is a difference between the Vanya example and having the playwright there, embedded in your company, continuing to develop a new piece. Having a real relationship with the people who are bringing your story to life for the first time. I mean, let’s be honest: Christopher Durang is not going to come to Denver to see this production of Vanya. But to me, there is something special about developing a relationship between an audience and an author in a specific town. For example: I don't have a relationship with New York City audiences. I've not been given the opportunity to have one. I have only had one production there. But I am beginning a real relationship with the Denver audience. My last visit to Denver, I walked through the plaza on my way to see Molly Brown, and one of the ushers said to me, 'Oh, you are that playwright!' That doesn't happen in New York. No one stops me in midtown Manhattan and says, 'Oh, you are that playwright!' By next year, Hartford Stage will have done three of my plays in five years. So I have a relationship with audiences in Denver and Hartford.

    John Moore: Hartford is presenting the world premiere of your play Reverberation in 2015.

    Matthew Lopez: Yes. Hartford audiences were introduced to me with The Whipping Man, and they got to know me a lot better during Somewhere. So they trust me. But Reverberation is a play that would keep even the most stout-hearted of artistic directors up at night deciding whether or not to do it. (Hartford boss) Darko Tresnjak is banking on the good will the community has for me and my work. Now, one of the things that I will say about plays like Vanya, The Whipping Man and Clybourne Park -- these plays that are ubiquitous in regional theatres around the country -- they do blaze a trail in some ways for audiences. For a lot of regional theatre audiences, if it ain't by Arthur Miller, it's a new play. 

    John Moore: Sometimes even if Arthur Miller writes it, it's a new play.    

    Matthew Lopez: True. And that's what I mean when I say audiences are trainable. When there is an openness, you can create in them the hunger for the high-wire act that is a new play. I don't run a theatre, so what the hell do I know? But I think it's possible to get an audience to actually be OK with the potential for abject failure. Because they know there is also, then, the potential for great, exciting success.

    John Moore: With your schedule being so busy, I’m intrigued that so much of your fellowship is being dedicated to time teaching in area schools. I could see how if this gets to be too busy, the class time might come to be considered optional.

    Matthew Lopez: It will never be optional for me.

    John Moore: So why is that so important to you?

    Matthew Lopez: First of all: My parents are both teachers, so I value education. I would have killed for an opportunity to attend a school like the Denver School of the Arts. When I was growing up, I didn't have access to anything like this. If I can be seen in any way as someone who is capable of providing mentorship or inspiration to these kids, then I am happy to play that role. Finally, I have been the beneficiary of a lot of kindness, and a lot of favors, and a lot of people who didn't have time to give me giving me time when I was coming up. I would be tempting fate by not giving it back to the next generation. I'd be the guy out on the deck of the Titanic talking about how there are no icebergs out there.

    COMING NEXT, Part 2: Matthew Lopez visits Denver School of the Arts

    Selected previous coverage of Matthew Lopez in Denver:
    Matthew Lopez named DCPA Playwriting Fellow for 2014-15
    Matthew Lopez's trip down the straight and fabulous
    2015 Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends
    'Georgia McBride' team: 'Subtlety is our enemy'

     

     

  • Lowenstein's accomplishments read into Congressional Record

    by John Moore | Nov 19, 2014

    Henry_Lowenstein_Celebration_Cleo_Parker_Robinson_1_800Chris Page of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance performs "Motherless Child" at the Henry Lowenstein life celebration on Nov. 10. Photo by John Moore. Click here to see our full gallery of photos from the Henry Lowenstein celebration


    Henry_Lowenstein_Congressional_Record_300Henry Lowenstein’s achievements in theatre and his lifelong commitment to equal opportunity were read into the official Congressional Record on Nov. 12 by Rep. Diana DeGette from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

    The rare honor came two days after Lowenstein was championed for consistently breaking down racial and societal barriers at a celebration in the Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center in Denver.

    DeGette staffer Tricia Stevens read the Lowenstein proclamation to a crowd of nearly 400 who gathered on a frigid Nov. 10 evening to mark Lowenstein’s significance to the world of theatre – and the world at large.

    Lowenstein, who escaped the Nazis as a boy in the kindertransport of 1938 and went on to run the famed Bonfils Theatre in Denver from 1956-86, died Oct. 7 at age 89.

    “Henry Lowenstein was one of Colorado’s most respected and honorable residents,” said Stevens, reading DeGette’s words at the Mizel. “He is widely considered one of the most important people in the shaping of Denver.”

    DeGette hailed Lowenstein for consistently fighting against discrimination in any form. “Henry held a deep compassion for artists and for outcasts,” the proclamation read. “This passion formed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, which shaped the artist he would become.”

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    The celebration was a mixture of poignant anecdotes, jokes and performances co-hosted by John Ashton and Robert Wells. In a letter read by Ashton, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock called Lowenstein a jewel in Denver’s crown.

    “Henry Lowenstein, without a doubt, was a giant in the Denver community in general, and in the arts community in particular,” Hancock said. “His incredible love of theatre, his creativity and inspiring vision have set the standard for the high level of performances we enjoy today.

    “Henry was resolute in his commitment to providing opportunities to those who crossed his path, and was an encourager of young people regardless of their race, their religion or their background. As the father of Denver theatre, he embraced thought-provoking pieces that caused the audience to consider the plight of others.”

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    Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee, who grew up seeing performances at the Bonfils Theatre, sings "Believe in Yourself" from "The Wiz." Photo by John Moore


    Hancock’s wife, acclaimed singer Mary Louise Lee, who grew up watching shows at the Bonfils Theatre, then sang “Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz. That theme resonated throughout the evening. International dance icon Cleo Parker Robinson delivered her rousing eulogy wearing colorful, sparkly shoes she once wore in a production of The Wiz. Why? “Because Henry made us believe in ourselves,” she said.

    Robinson’s father, Jonathan Parker, was a prolific actor and crew member at the Bonfils, located on East Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street. But he was first hired as a janitor, and only after Lowenstein intervened and overrode internal objections from Bonfils patrons to whom it was unthinkable the theatre might hire a black man – even as a custodian.

    “Henry made the Bonfils the greatest theatre on the planet because Henry made it our theatre,” Cleo Parker Robinson said. “It belonged to all of us. Henry used art as a way of changing the world so we could see it differently and feel it differently and have the opportunity to experience it differently."

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    Cleo Parker Robinson refers to Henry Lowenstein as her godfather. Photo by John Moore


    Robinson said without Lowenstein, there is no Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, “because the Bonfils made me who I am,” she said. And since his death, “sometimes I have felt like a motherless child,” she added as a way of introducing a dance she choreographed to the song “Motherless Child." It was performed by Chris Page, a member of her dance ensemble.

    “I felt like I was a little lost at first without Henry,” Robinson said. “But then I realized I will never be lost because Henry will always be our godfather, and he will always be a part of our hearts and lives.”

    Other speakers referenced many seminal chapters in Lowenstein’s storied life: Growing up in Berlin with artist parents whose friends included Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, who wrote The Threepenny Opera largely on the Lowenstein family piano. How a curious young Henry peeked in through the painted windows of the Kit Kat Club that inspired the musical Cabaret. Being accepted into the Yale School of Drama masters program without having earned an undergraduate degree. That his sister, Karen, was a spy for the Allies in World War II. Being hired by the legendary Denver Post publisher Helen Bonfils to run her new crown jewel theatre in Denver on the same day in 1956 that she hired Donald R. Seawell to be her attorney. Seawell would go on to use Bonfils’ inheritance to build the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

    Click here to see our full gallery of photos from the Henry Lowenstein celebration

    By the time the Bonfils Theatre closed in 1986, it had been renamed the Lowenstein Theatre and had hosted more than 400 plays and sponsored dozens more in city parks. In retirement, Lowenstein opened and ran the Denver Civic Theatre, which is now the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center.

    Along the way, Lowenstein provided opportunities for hundreds of artists. He launched careers. He encouraged women, gays and people of color. Anyone he ever considered oppressed, as he and his family were. For hundreds of thousands of Colorado audiences, the Bonfils served as their first exposure to live theater.

    “One of Henry’s greatest accomplishments was to provide meaningful creative opportunities to just about anyone he came into contact with,” Ashton said at the ceremony. “He saw a spark in just about everybody -- and he knew how to kindle it.”

    Lowenstein also was hailed for taking programming risks, including the 1971 Denver debut of the gay-themed Boys in the Band.

    “The number of people who came under the influence of Henry and his art is immeasurable,” said his friend, Bruce Jackson Jr. “I don’t think there is a place you can go in the American theatre where you can’t find somebody who either knows, worked with or was influenced by something that Henry did.”

    Michael R. Duran said Lowenstein not only gave him his creative start out of college, he gave him his first professional opportunity to work as a set designer, properties master and director.

    “Working for Henry was like a conservatory of learning,” Duran said. “And when I went out into the world, he was my greatest cheerleader. So on a very personal level, I don’t feel like I will ever lose him.”

    Actor Gwen Harris, who performed for Lowenstein at the Denver Civic and later became a regular performer for the DCPA’s Theatre Company, flew in from Georgia. She remembered Lowenstein being deeply troubled by the true story of a Denver policeman who ran a stop sign and killed a friend of Lowenstein’s -- and went unpunished for it. So Lowenstein rallied donnie l. betts (lower-case intentional) to direct a topical play called Split Second.

    “He was just so focused,” Harris said. “He came right up to me and said, ‘I am telling you right now: You are doing the role.’ And that was it. I did the role.”

    Lucy Roucis, who would make her way to Hollywood before being slowed by early onset Parkinson’s disease, still calls Lowenstein “Uncle Henry.” He gave Roucis her first – and last, she joked -- opportunity to direct. She remembered when she was assisting Lowenstein on a production of A Christmas Carol at the Denver Civic.

    “The stage was high, but you could put your feet against the wall in the first row,” she said. “So there I was with my notebook and my feet up when Henry came up to me and said, ‘Have some respect! Put your feet down!’ And I just said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And I put my feet down!”

    Buddy Butler, a resident director at the Bonfils for 10 years, flew in for the celebration from San Diego, where he is now the Artistic Director of the Magic Carpet Theatre. He said Lowenstein can be aptly described in one word: Humanist.

    “He was a man who cared and felt deeply for others,” said Butler, who directed 35 productions at the Bonfils Theatre. He credited Lowenstein for colorblind casting, which didn’t always sit well with all audiences.

    “We mounted an integrated version of Guys & Dolls, and some people couldn’t believe we were putting love relations on the stage that were mixed,” Butler said. “Some people couldn’t believe that black people were taking parts that weren’t necessarily created for African-Americans. But Henry believed good theatre could be done by good people -- and that good people will always appreciate it.”

    And good people came – and appreciated -- Guys & Dolls, he said.

    “Henry opened the front door, the back door and the side door. He had a vision to create a theatre that would embrace the entire city. Not just the white part; not just the Hispanic part; and not just the black part. Henry said, ‘We are not going to be in the box. In fact: We are not going to have a box.’ ”

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    Deborah Goodman Lowenstein and Donna Smith. Photo by John Moore


    Lowenstein’s sons, David and Joshua, recalled a father who enjoyed backpacking, camping, fly-fishing and four-wheel driving. Who took his kids to rock concerts at Mammoth Gardens (now the Fillmore Auditorium) on East Colfax Avenue.

    “At his commencement address at Colorado State University in 1986, Dad told the graduates to always question authority,” David Lowenstein said. “I was proud of him -- and sort of surprised by his radical nature.”

    Lowenstein had two great loves during his life. First wife Dorie died of cancer in 1990 and was the namesake of the Dorie Theatre at the Denver Civic. He later married Deborah Goodman, a massage therapist from California who had no intention of ever marrying – and certainly not a man in the arts.

    David Lowenstein called his mother a funny and improvisational woman who made for a wonderful partner for his father. “When she passed away, my father was a shell of himself -- until he met Deb,” he said. “She not only loved and supported him -- she also got him to mellow out and relax.”

    The ceremony drew friends and colleagues from around the country. But former Rocky Mountain News theatre critic Thom Wise was most impressed by the attendance of Joyce Meskis. She is the owner of the Tattered Cover Book Store that now operates in the shell of what once was the Bonfils Theatre.

    “Henry imbued in her a love of that building,” Wise said. “That theatre is still standing today because of her. And so I just thought it was incredible that she made the effort to come out tonight.”

    Wells, who runs the Avenue Theater and sits on the board of the Town Hall Arts Center, played Jesus in a wildly popular Bonfils production of Godspell in the 1970s. “No matter who else did the job,” Wells deadpanned “… Henry made sure it was done over.”

    Other performers included Robert Johnson, who sang “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin, and Mark Middlebrooks, who sang “The Colors of My Life” from Barnum.

    At the end of the poignant program, Nyssa Lowenstein likened her grandfather’s life, fittingly, to the act of producing a show.

    “Henry Lowenstein was a groundbreaking performance that had a tough rehearsal process, an inspirational tech week, and a glorious run,” she said. “And even though it has now closed -- the actors, the audience, the stage managers and stage hands, the box office and publicity, the boards and the critics, the directors, the choreographers, the designers and the crew will all talk about that show.”

    And if Lowenstein’s life was a performance, Ashton said as a way of closing the evening, “then all I can say is … Good show.”


    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.

    Read our essay on the life of Henry Lowenstein

    Click here to see our full gallery of photos from the Henry Lowenstein celebration

  • Mayor, Grinch, Jersey Boy and Tiny Tim launch DCPA's store opening

    by John Moore | Nov 17, 2014

    Video: Broadway actor Shaun Taylor-Corbett walks Denver Mayor Michael Hancock through a crash-course in the Four Seasons’ signature 'Walk Like a Man' dance. At the end of the video, young Elias Harger delivers Tiny Tim's signature line from 'A Christmas Carol,' opening Nov. 28 at the Stage Theatre.
    To see our full gallery of downloadable photos from the event, click here.


    An eclectic quartet made up of a Mayor, a Grinch, a Jersey Boy and the most adorable waif in literary history gathered today to once again declare the Denver metro area and the surrounding region open for holiday business.

    The city’s 11th annual "Mile High Holidays" press event is an opportunity for the metro business community to tout all of the varied shopping, entertainment and tourism options available to consumers through the end of January.  

    "The holidays are a magical time of year,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “But they are also a crucial make-it or break-it period for many businesses in the city.”

    This year, the event was held in Cherry Creek North to officially launch the opening of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ bold new enterprise: A temporary, 4,000-square-foot storefront on First Avenue that will blend commerce with performances, information, storytelling, classes and craft activities.

    “We want to welcome everyone to come down to this new Holiday Box Office,” said DCPA Director of Marketing and Sales Jeff Hovorka, “and we really encourage you to give the gift of theatre this holiday season.”

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    Shaun Taylor-Corbett of 'Jersey boys' walking tall with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Photo by John Moore. To see our full gallery of downloadable photos from the event, click here.


    Monday’s lighthearted program included Broadway actor Shaun Taylor-Corbett singing the holiday standard “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” from Jersey Boys, the beloved Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons musical that plays at the Buell Theatre Dec. 10-14. Taylor-Corbett is the son of renowned choreographer and Littleton High School grad Lynne Taylor-Corbett, whose credits include Chess, Titanic, Swing! and the Denver-born Red Hat Society musical, Hats.

    “My mother and her family have a deep history with the city of Denver,” said Taylor-Corbett, who last performed here as Sonny in the 2010 touring production of In the Heights. “At age 17, my mother moved to New York and worked her way up, and she very much influenced me to come into this career.”

    Taylor-Corbett has now spent the bulk of his career working on two musicals that both won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

    In the Heights changed my life, and I remember audiences here in Denver were unbelievable,” he said. “It was special to be back here in my mother’s hometown. I guess I'll have to do Jersey Boys for the rest of my life because I don't see how it can get better than this." 

    Taylor-Corbett said Jersey Boys continues to introduce Broadway to a new, blue-collar audience, for one obvious reason: Who doesn’t love the Four Seasons?

    “Sometimes you have a good story, and sometimes you have a good score,” he said. “This one has both. I mean, every single song is a hit: ‘Walk Like a Man,’  ‘Sherry,’ ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry.’ But the way they weave them into this behind-the-scenes look at these guys’ rags-to-riches story is really the best writing I’ve ever seen in a musical. People just go crazy over it.”

    Even dudes.

    “They do,” Taylor-Corbett said. “Guys will say, ‘I don’t want to go to a musical,’ and then their wives or girlfriends drag them to the show – and they love it, because it’s cool.”

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    Kids listen in as The Grinch reads how he, you know ... stole Christmas. Photo by John Moore. To see our full gallery of downloadable photos from the event, click here.


    On Monday, Taylor-Corbett walked Mayor Hancock through a crash-course in the Four Seasons’ signature “Walk Like a Man” dance -- and he came away impressed with Hancock’s moves.

    “He’s actually the best choreography student I’ve ever had when I’ve done a press event,” Taylor-Corbett said. “And I’m not lying. He’s awesome. And he loves the show. He’s seen it, like, five times with his wife (Mary Louise Lee).”

    The DCPA’s holiday offerings will include A Christmas Carol (Nov. 28-Dec. 28), Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical (Dec. 17-28) and The SantaLand Diaries (Nov. 28–Dec. 24), based on caustic NPR humorist David Sedaris' semi-true experiences working as an "elf" in a Macy's SantaLand display. Non-holiday titles will include Jersey Boys (Dec. 10-14) and Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking (through March 1). Call 303-893-4100, go to the DCPA web site – or visit the new Holiday Box Office, where all ticket fees are being waived for the holiday season.

    The Holiday Box Office is located between Detroit and Clayton streets, sharing a building with the Orvis and Bose stores. The storefront includes a stage for free performances, free activities for kids, costume and set-design samples from recent Theatre Company shows, as well as information about upcoming classes for kids and adults. The store will be open Fridays through Sundays, plus Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. Read more about the store here.

    Taylor-Corbett was also joined on the Holiday Box Office stage by The Grinch from Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and young Elias Harger, who plays Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. The Grinch read the storybook version of his story to gathered children, with Harger turning his pages. And Harger also invoked his character's famous line, "God bless us everyone."

    Mile High Holidays is a cooperative marketing effort that includes two dozen local business partners -- and their efforts are said to boost the local holiday economy by $1 million.  

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    An 'Annie'/'A Christmas Carol' mashup: Elias Harger (Tiny Tim) poses in the 'Annie' cutout. 'Annie' plays the Buell Theatre from April 29-May 10. Photo by Jennifer Nealson. To see our full gallery of downloadable photos from the event, click here.


    Highlights from Monday’s Mile High Holidays press conference:

    • The Mile High Holidays web site details more than 500 events and holiday concerts, shopping opportunities, more than 30 hotel discount packages and holiday weekend suggestions. 

    • Traditional upcoming holiday events will include the lighting of the City and County Building, the Zoo Lights, the Botanic Gardens’ Blossom of Lights, the New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the 16th Street Mall and the National Western Stock Show.

    • The 40th annual 9News Parade of Lights will take place at 8 p.m. Dec. 5, and at 6 p.m. Dec. 6. It is expected to draw a combined 300,000.
    • The Denver Pavilions will open a carousel from Dec. 12-21.
    • The Annual Tuba Christmas (300 tuba players) will take place from 1-2 p.m. on Dec. 21 in Skyline Park.
    • Free outdoor ice-skating returns to Skyline Park from Nov. 25 through Feb. 16. Skates may be rented for $2.
    • The annual Christkindle market featuring authentic German cuisine and crafts returns to Skyline Park Nov. 21-Dec. 23.
    • Officials from Cherry Creek North and the Cherry Creek mall touted the end of the recent storm-drainage construction project that has snarled traffic around the mall for months.
    • Cherry Creek North will offer free valet holiday parking in two locations.
    • The Ross Public Library in Cherry Creek will offer free holiday gift wrapping.
    • The Cherry Creek Mall’s annual Ice Palace holiday Santa Claus exhibit will be themed in partnership with Disney’s Frozen movie. On Dec. 14, patrons are welcome to bring their pets and have their photos taken with Santa Claus.
    Mile_High_Holidays_DCPA_Holiday_Box_Office_800_3

    Box_Office_Mile_High_Holidays_800_6

    From left: Shaun Taylor-Corbett ('Jersey Boys'), Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, The Grinch, Elias Harger ('A Christmas Carol'), Tami Door (Downtown Denver Partnership), Dave Dixon (Cherry Creek Shopping Center), Richard Scharf (Visit Denver), Julie Underdahl (Cherry Creek North) and Jeff Hovorka (DCPA). Photo by John Moore.


    To see our full gallery of downloadable photos from Monday's event, click here.


    DCPA Holiday Box Office: At a glance
    • 2771 E. 1st Ave. between Clayton and Detroit streets in Cherry Creek North
    • Open Nov. 21-Dec. 23
    • Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus Dec 22 & 23; 1-5 p.m. Sundays
    • No handling fees on any in-store ticket purchases
    • More information: Click here

    Mile_High_Holidays_DCPA_Holiday_Box_Office_800_4


    Holiday_Box_Office_Store_800_3_map
  • Video highlights: 'Vanya' cast talks Durang at Page to Stage

    by John Moore | Nov 15, 2014


    Page to Stage is a series of free, monthly lunch conversations between host John Moore and members of DCPA Theatre Company productions at the East Colfax Tattered Cover.

    Here, actors Sam Gregory, Kathleen McCall and Lesley Shires of the hit production of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" talk all things Durang and Disney with Moore, the DCPA's Senior Arts Journalist and former theatre critic at The Denver Post.

    This comic Chekhovian mash-up, winner of the 2013 Tony Award for best play and now the most popular play in America, erupts into chaos when two adult siblings receive a surprise visit from their Hollywood star sister and her hilariously mismatched boy-toy, Spike. It’s the first time in the DCPA's 36-year history that the Theatre Company is staging a play by the absurdist comedy master Christopher Durang.

    Page to Stage is part of the DCPA's CONNECT program, a series of community events designed to enrich your theatre experience and spark a conversation. It’s free — and so is the parking! (Please note that Page to Stage has moved to its new home at the East Colfax Tattered Cover location).

    Join us at noon on Jan. 27 for the next Page to Stage lunchtime conversation at 2526 E. Colfax Ave. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 4 minutes. And, hey: Check out our new media outlet covering Colorado theatre at MyDenverCenter.Org

    Click here to go to our YouTube playlist of Page to Stage highlight videos.

    'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike: Ticket information

    Performances run through Nov. 16
    Ricketson Theatre
    303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike': Previous coverage:

    Vanya: Opening night photo gallery
    Video: Watch a montage of scenes from the production
    Cold coffee, hot popcorn make for a good stew
    Durang strikes an unexpected peace with an indifferent Broadway
    Vanya ... is the most popular play in America
    Vanya: First rehearsal photos
    Vanya''s Lesley Shires donates hats to cancer kids at Children's Hospital
    Video: Eddie Lopez works out with Fox's morning 'Everyday' team
    Check out our Study Guide

    'Meet the cast' videos:

    Sam Gregory
    Eddie Lopez
    Socorro Santiago
    Lesley Shires

    Page_To_Stage_Vanya_800

    They kid, they kid. "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" cast members Lesley Shires, Sam Gregory and Kathleen Mccall-Thompson had a civil -- and laugh-filled -- hour of conversation with host John Moore at November's Page to Stage event at the Colfax Tattered Cover Bookstore -- then posed for this fun photo op. Their hit comedy continues through Nov. 16. And mark your calendars for the next Page to Stage on Jan. 27 with actors from "Appoggiatura." It's free -- and so is the parking.
  • 'Vanya' actor Lesley Shires donates hats to cancer kids at Children's Hospital

    by John Moore | Nov 14, 2014
    Vanya_Lesley_Shires_Hats_For_Zoe_800_1Lesley Shires visits the Children's Hospital in Aurora on Friday. Photos by John Moore.


    Actor Lesley Shires, who plays the lovable aspiring actress Nina in the DCPA Theatre Company's hit production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, spent Friday delivering specially designed hats she made to children in treatment for cancer at the Children's Hospital in Aurora.

    Shires, who grew up in a military family, created a nonprofit organization called Hats for Zoe after her young niece was diagnosed with leukemia. Hats for Zoe provides comfortable, creative caps to kids who have lost their hair to chemotherapy. Shires brought a shopping bag filled with her hats to the Children's Hospital on Friday, along with crafts and games. The hats are specially designed to be kind to the young patients' sensitive skin.

    Shires launched Hats for Zoe after grad school as a way of being mindful about life's true priorities. Shires' niece is now cancer-free. Still, she makes a point to visit the local children's hospital in every city where she performs in a regional theatre production.

    Christopher Durang's celebrated comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. It's about adult siblings whose lives are disrupted by a visit from their Hollywood star sister ... and a boy named Spike. It plays in Denver through Sunday (Nov. 16) in the Ricketson Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org.

    Vanya_Lesley_Shires_Hats_For_Zoe_800_3
    The Colorado Children's Hospital has a Hat Tree on its oncology floor. Fashionable hats designed and donated by Lesley Shires will hang from the Hat Tree for young patients to choose from. Painted wooden birds act as hat hangers on the wall. Photos by John Moore


    Vanya_Lesley_Shires_Hats_For_Zoe_800_2
    Lesley Shires, right, with Colorado Children's Hospital media relations coordinator Melissa Vizcarra, left, and volunteer Erin McGonagle.


    Video: Meet Lesley Shires



    Donations information:

    To make a donation, mail checks made out to "Hats for Zoe" to:
    Hats for Zoe
    c/o Lesley Shires
    728 West 181st Street No. 23
    New York, NY 10033

    For more information, email hatsforzoe@gmail.com or go to Hats for Zoe on the web.

    'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike: Ticket information

    Performances run through Nov. 16
    Ricketson Theatre
    303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike': Previous coverage:

      Vanya: Opening night photo gallery
      Video: Watch a montage of scenes from the production
      Cold coffee, hot popcorn make for a good stew
      Durang strikes an unexpected peace with an indifferent Broadway
      Vanya ... is the most popular play in America
      Vanya: First rehearsal photos
      Video: Eddie Lopez works out with Fox's morning 'Everyday' team
      Check out our Study Guide

      'Meet the cast' videos:

      Sam Gregory
      Eddie Lopez
      Socorro Santiago
      Lesley Shires


      Vanya_Lesley_Shires_Hats_800_4

    • Photos: 'Macbeth' master class project opens tonight

      by John Moore | Nov 14, 2014
      Macbeth_Education_800_1
      Curtiss Johns as Macbeth. Photo by John Moore. To see our complete gallery of downloadable photos from "Macbeth," click here.


      Denver Center Education's new production of Macbeth, a master class directed by Larry Hecht for an ensemble of nine, opens tonight (Nov. 14). To see our complete gallery of downloadable photos, click here.

      Master Class projects are an extension of Education's Advanced Acting classes. Potential class members must have completed two previous acting classes for the right to audition for a Master Class project, culminating in a fully staged production that is free and open to the public.

      "Acknowledging the importance of class work, it is essential for actors to have the opportunity to practice their craft in full-length productions as well," said Hecht, the DCPA's Head of Acting. "Twice a year, we share this work in 'Open Rehearsals' with our friends, families and colleagues."

      Macbeth runs from Nov. 13-22, 2014 in the Conservatory Theatre, located in the third floor of the Newman Building. RSVP at 303-446-4892 or email ladducci@dcpa.org.  

      Photos: Click here

      Cast and crew:
      Robert Anderson
      OD Duhu
      Chelsea Frye
      Curtiss Johns
      Candace M. Joice
      Mindi Kessler
      Stephen Krusoe
      Laura Lounge
      Christy Newhof

      Director: Larry Hecht
      Design and Tech Director: Stuart Barr
      Fight Choreography: Benaiah Anderson
      Voice and text: Ashlee Temple
      Rap Master: Donovan Fountain


      Macbeth_Education_800_2
      The Weird Sisters: Photo by John Moore. To see our complete gallery of downloadable photos from "Macbeth," click here.





    • 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.
    • 5 'Kinky' Qs: What is your message to high-school theatre students?

      by John Moore | Nov 10, 2014
      We visited with the cast of the national touring production of Kinky Boots and posed five questions to them. No. 5: What is your message to high school students when people try to tell them that theatre isn't cool? The DCPA administers the annual Bobby G Awards, which celebrates achievement in Colorado high-school theatre.

      Our guests are Kyle Taylor Parker, Steven Booth, Lindsay Nicole Chambers and Joe Coots. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

      The 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical written by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper just finished its Denver run on Nov. 9.

      Our complete '5 Kinky Questions' series to date:
      No. 1: What is the message of Kinky Boots?
      No. 2: What do pop stars like Cyndi Lauper bring to Broadway?
      No. 3: Were you ever bullied growing up?
      No. 4: What would be your character's Campaign Platform?
      No. 5: What is your message to high-school theatre students?

      Kinky_Boots_Questions_5_800
      Try telling Steven Booth, right, that theatre isn't cool. Photo by Matthew Murphy.


      Our Previous Kinky Boots coverage on Denver CenterStage:



      Listen to our podcast interview with Cyndi Lauper by pushing play.


    • Video: Andy Kelso's National Anthem Day in Denver
    • Opening Night photo gallery
    • Podcast: Listen to our interview with Cyndi Lauper
    • Video: Exclusive interview with Andy Kelso and Annaleigh Ashford of Kinky Boots
    • Cher and Cyndi Lauper put the "sex" in "sexagenarian”
    • Cyndi Lauper on 'Kinky Boots' ... and how to save Broadway
    • Denver Center's full 2014-15 season announcement
    • Kinky Boots Study Guide

    • And hey, check out our media outlet covering Colorado theatre at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.

  • Video: Meet Sam Gregory

    by John Moore | Nov 10, 2014


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 73: Meet Sam Gregory, who has been performing with the DCPA Theatre Company since 1992, and is now playing the sullen, sexually repressed Vanya, a middle-aged man unhappily living up to Chekhov's gloomy prototype in Christopher Durang's celebrated comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Gregory talks about falling in love with Denver, and, among other things, what Dr. Seuss, Champ Bailey and Clint Eastwood all have in common. (Namely: Him.)


    Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. It's about adult siblings whose lives are disrupted by a visit from their Hollywood star sister ... and a boy named Spike. It plays through Nov. 16 in the Ricketson Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 3 minutes. 


    Meet_The_Cast_Sam_Gregory_800
    Sam Gregory's existential crisis doen't even hit its nadir when his Vanya is forced to dress as a dwarf for a costume party. 
    Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen



    Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    : Ticket information
    Performances run through Nov. 16
    Ricketson Theatre
    303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Charlie Franklin,Lord of the Flies
    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
    Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    Socorro Santiago, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies

    Meet the cast episodes from the 2013-14 season:
    Death of a Salesman
    Just Like Us
    Jackie & Me
    The Most Deserving
    A Christmas Carol
    black odyssey
    The Legend of Georgia McBride
    Hamlet
    Shadowlands
    Animal Crackers
      Our previous coverage of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike:
      Vanya: Opening night photo gallery
      Video: Watch a montage of scenes from the production
      Cold coffee, hot popcorn make for a good stew
      Durang strikes an unexpected peace with an indifferent Broadway
      Vanya ... is the most popular play in America
      Vanya: First rehearsal photos
      Video: Eddie Lopez works out with Fox's morning 'Everyday' team
      Check out our Study Guide
    • Second 'Date*': Off-Center-born exploration of online dating debuts at Avenue Theater

      by John Moore | Nov 07, 2014

      Lucinann_Lajoie_Date_Avenue_640


      Luciann Lajoie is not the type of woman you would expect to become addicted to online dating. She’s smart, outgoing, confident and, by any pop-culture standard of outward beauty, well ... a beauty.

      It has been estimated that more than 40 million people have tried online dating in the U.S. alone. Lajoie is one of them. But Lajoie soon found herself going on as many as three dates in one night. As quickly as she lost interest in one, she was on to another. Along the slippery slope she met with disappointment, loneliness, danger … and plenty of comedy. Just no knight in shining HTML.

      If online dating should have been easy for anyone, it should have been for Lajoie. But, she is here to say, “It’s not so easy.”

      How did this happen?

      When she was 4, Lajoie dressed in a Princess Diana wedding dress for Halloween. She moved to New York hoping to make it big as an actor, and came home to Colorado in her 30s and still single. That’s when she set her sights on a different but presumably attainable dream: She started looking for the wedding ring and the Range Rover and the kids that tend to come with them, she said, “because that’s what I thought was going to make my story complete.” 

      Instead, her foray into online dating became a portal into what she calls a journey of self-discovery. It was Lajoie’s mother who first suggested she start chronicling her experiences. Lajoie took that one step further by interviewing 150 other online daters and harvested stories spanning gay, straight, black, white, Mormon, Jewish and fetishists.

      All that became the basis for Lajoie’s continually evolving one-woman multimedia theatrical show called Date* -- a comic and human quest to find love online. And it reintroduces itself tonight at the Avenue Theatre for a three-week run again featuring Lajoie as the writer, star and self-producer.

      Lucinann_Lajoie_Date_Avenue_250Date* was first staged in 2012 as a co-production with Emily Tarquin and Charlie Miller of the DCPA’s Off-Center @ The Jones – a kind of petri dish for developing new theatre works. Date* distinguishes itself from most one-actor monologues by fully incorporating Lajoie’s interviews. 

      Working with filmmaker Jamie Pelz, Lajoie took excerpts from her conversations and turned them into scripted, recorded confessionals that are performed by more than 25 local actors. The result is a one-woman show featuring Lajoie, her laptop, a bottle of wine and dozens of two-dimensional supporting characters. Local theatre aficionados may recognize Edith Weiss, Chris Kendall, Brian Colonna, Erica Sarzin-Borrillo, Devon James, Karen Slack, Erin Rollman, Emily Davies and Judy Phelan-Hill, among others. It’s such an impressive list that in early incarnations of Date*, the filmed actors threatened to upstage the lone live woman sharing the stage with them. 

      Lajoie has performed Date* in Denver; Scottsdale (Ariz.); and Austin, Texas. But the show she debuts back in Denver tonight, she said, is essentially new. That’s largely thanks to a fortuitous dog-sitting job she got supervising canines belonging to acclaimed theatre director Sabin Epstein, who has helmed several Theatre Company shows for the DCPA including To Kill a Mockingbird. Epstein had seen Date* when it was first staged by Off-Center, and so when fate brought Lajoie and his dogs together, he offered the first-time writer a new creative direction.

      “He wanted to take the focus away from the interviews and come back to my story,” Lajoie said.



      As an exercise in story structure, Epstein challenged Lajoie to write Date* from scratch, leaving the filmed interviews out completely. Six weeks later, when Epstein was convinced Lajoie’s story could stand on its own, they reinserted some filmed excerpts, but only those that directly related to her story.

      “It used to be two separate worlds,” Lajoie said. “Now, it's very clear that I am watching these videos. I am taking in what they are saying. I’m learning from them, and that is informing my decisions. So they are really more of a Greek chorus now, which is awesome. I feel like I am in really good company up there.”

      The resulting play, she said, is now about a woman coming to terms with how to look at being single. “It really comes back to dealing with yourself,” Lajoie said. “And we are just using the online dating addiction as a vehicle to illustrate her journey.”

      Lucinann_Lajoie_Date_Avenue_Quote


      Lajoie’s journey as a writer, she said, “was to finally tell the story I want to tell, and to let it get dark and messy if that’s what it needs to be.

      “I realized that if this is going to be an interesting piece of theatre, it has to be a hero’s journey. And to be a hero, she has to struggle with something. It’s great to have all these things happen along the way that are funny, but if there is not also a message to impart that you find to be extremely important, it's all for naught.”

      Date* was Lajoie’s first attempt at playwriting, and she needed help. Off-Center’s Tarquin was invited to a reading at Lajoie’s apartment in 2011. In those early days, Lajoie was trying to write Date* as a traditional play with four actors. Tarquin disabused her of that notion. 

      “I told her I thought it should be a one-woman show,” Tarquin said, “and that we’d just create a lot of work for Charlie.”

      She refers to Charlie Miller, the DCPA’s resident projection and multimedia expert.

      “Luci’s story is so interesting, you really just have to tell it as it is,” Tarquin said. “She writes herself so well, in fact, I think this might be one of the best one-woman shows I have ever seen.”

      Lajoie knows how she lucky she has been to cross paths with everyone in her story – online freaks, frauds, sweethearts and cons. And also creative drivers like Tarquin, Miller, Epstein and Pelz.

      “It’s awesome that our big first opportunity with Date* was with Off-Center at the DCPA. That was so helpful for us,” she said. “We have survived and thrived, to a certain extent, because of that. None of this would have been possible without Off-Center.”

      Date*
      *Real Online Love Affairs (Off the Record)

      Starring Luciann Lajoie
      Curated by Off-Center @ The Jones
      Co-created by Allison Horsely and Director Ashlee Temple
      At the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave.
      Nov. 7-22, 2014
      7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
      Tickets: $26.50 for adults; $23.50 for students and seniors.
      Call 303-321-5925 or go to www.avenuetheater.com

      Featured (videotaped) actors: Paul Blomquist, Gabriel Donaldson, Andrew Bueno, Edith Weiss, Chris Kendall, Jayce Smykil, Taurean Cavins-Flores, Brian Colonna, Patricia Dreier, Greg Nemer, Charley Cox, Erica Sarzin-Borrillo, Arthur Goodman, Patricia Goodman, Devon James, Karen Slack, Harlan Pelz, Erin Rollman, Emily Davies, John Fortmiller, Judy Phelan-Hill, Judy GeBauer, Hannah Duggan, Damon Guerrasio, Laura Lounge, Michael Collin

    • 5 'Kinky' Qs: What is your character's Campaign Platform?

      by John Moore | Nov 07, 2014


      We visited with the cast of the national touring production of Kinky Boots and posed five questions to them. No. 4: In this heated election week, we wonder: What would be your character's Campaign Platform if running for office? And just wait till you see wait Lola wants for one and all.

      Our guests are Kyle Taylor Parker, Steven Booth, Lindsay Nicole Chambers and Joe Coots. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

      Coming next, Question 5: What is your advice to high-school theatre students?  

      The 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical written by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper is now playing in Denver through Nov. 9. Call 303-894-4100 or go to www.DenverCenter.Org.

      Our complete '5 Kinky Questions' series to date:
      No. 1: What is the message of Kinky Boots?
      No. 2: What do pop stars like Cyndi Lauper bring to Broadway?
      No. 3: Were you ever bullied growing up?
      Today: What would be your character's Campaign Platform?

      Kinky Boots: Ticket information
      Oct 29-Nov 9
      Buell Theatre
      Accessible Performance: Nov 9, 2 p.m.
      Tickets: 303-893-4100 | www.denvercenter.org
      Groups (10+): 303-446-4829

      Kinky_Boots_Campiagn_800

      Now here's something we can all agree on: That's a fabulous pair of boots. Photo by Matthew Murphy.


      Our Previous Kinky Boots coverage on Denver CenterStage:



      Listen to our podcast interview with Cyndi Lauper by pushing play.


    • Video: Andy Kelso's National Anthem Day in Denver
    • Opening Night photo gallery
    • Podcast: Listen to our interview with Cyndi Lauper
    • Video: Exclusive interview with Andy Kelso and Annaleigh Ashford of Kinky Boots
    • Cher and Cyndi Lauper put the "sex" in "sexagenarian”
    • Cyndi Lauper on 'Kinky Boots' ... and how to save Broadway
    • Denver Center's full 2014-15 season announcement
    • Kinky Boots Study Guide

    • And hey, check out our media outlet covering Colorado theatre at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.

    • 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.”

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      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:

      Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_3


      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: 5 'Kinky' Qs: Have you ever been bullied?

      by John Moore | Nov 05, 2014



      We visited with the cast of the national touring production of Kinky Boots and posed five questions to them. No. 3: "Kinky Boots takes a strong stand against bullying. Were you ever bullied growing up?"

      Our guests are Kyle Taylor Parker, Steven Booth, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Joe Coots, Grace Stockdale and David McDonald. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

      Coming next, Question 4: What would your character's top campaign issue be? 

      The 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical written by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper is now playing in Denver through Nov. 9. Call 303-894-4100 or go to www.DenverCenter.Org.

      Our complete '5 Kinky Questions' series to date:
      No. 1: What is the message of Kinky Boots?
      No. 2: What do pop stars like Cyndi Lauper bring to Broadway?
      Today: Were you ever bullied growing up?
      Next: What would your character's top campaign issue be? 

      Kinky Boots: Ticket information
      Oct 29-Nov 9
      Buell Theatre
      Accessible Performance: Nov 9, 2 p.m.
      Tickets: 303-893-4100 | www.denvercenter.org
      Groups (10+): 303-446-4829


      Kinky_Boots_Five_Questions_3_800
      Joe Coots, right, plays a bully who eventually gets in the ring with a performance artist (and co-worker) named Lola, played by Kyle Taylor Parker. Photo by Matthew Murphy.




      Our Previous Kinky Boots coverage on Denver CenterStage:


      Listen to our podcast interview with Cyndi Lauper by pushing play.


    • Five Questions with the cast, No. 2: What do pop stars like Cyndi Lauper bring to Broadway?
    • 5 Questions with the cast, No. 1: What is the message of Kinky Boots?
    • Video: Andy Kelso's National Anthem Day in Denver
    • Opening Night photo gallery
    • Podcast: Listen to our interview with Cyndi Lauper
    • Video: Exclusive interview with Andy Kelso and Annaleigh Ashford of Kinky Boots
    • Cher and Cyndi Lauper put the "sex" in "sexagenarian”
    • Cyndi Lauper on 'Kinky Boots' ... and how to save Broadway
    • Denver Center's full 2014-15 season announcement
    • Kinky Boots Study Guide

    • And hey, check out our media outlet covering Colorado theatre at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.

    • Meet the cast video series: Socorro Santiago

      by John Moore | Nov 04, 2014

      In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 72: Meet Socorro Santiago of The Bronx, N.Y., who performed in the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere of Living Out in 2006 and is back making comic hay as the soothsaying, voodoo-doll-pricking maid Cassandra in Christopher Durang's celebrated comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.


      Santiago talks about the meaning of her name, growing up next to Yankee Stadium, possibly holding the record for having played 13 different characters on NBC's Law & Order and why she gets the finger driving on I-25 

      Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. It's about adult siblings whose lives are disrupted by a visit from their Hollywood star sister ... and a boy named Spike. It plays through Nov. 16 in the Ricketson Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 3 minutes, 20 seconds. 

      And, hey: Check out our new media outlet covering Colorado theatre at MyDenverCenter.Org

      Vanya_Meet_The_Cast_Socorro_800

      Socorro Santiago plays a maid who can foretell the future -- and work a mean voodoo doll -- in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."
      Photo by John Moore



      Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
      : Ticket information
      Performances run through Nov. 16
      Ricketson Theatre
      303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

      Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

      Charlie Franklin,Lord of the Flies
      Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
      Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
      Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
      Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
      Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
      Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
      Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
      Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
      Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
      Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
      Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies

      Meet the cast episodes from the 2013-14 season:
      Death of a Salesman
      Just Like Us
      Jackie & Me
      The Most Deserving
      A Christmas Carol
      black odyssey
      The Legend of Georgia McBride
      Hamlet
      Shadowlands
      Animal Crackers
        Our previous coverage of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike:
        Vanya: Opening night photo gallery
        Video: Watch a montage of scenes from the production
        Cold coffee, hot popcorn make for a good stew
        Durang strikes an unexpected peace with an indifferent Broadway
        Vanya ... is the most popular play in America
        Vanya: First rehearsal photos
        Video: Eddie Lopez works out with Fox's morning 'Everyday' team
        Check out our Study Guide
      • Video: 5 'Kinky' Qs: What does Cyndi Lauper bring to Broadway?

        by John Moore | Nov 02, 2014


        We visited with the cast of the national touring production of Kinky Boots and posed five questions to them. No. 2:  What do you think Cyndi Lauper and other stars from pop music like David Byrne and Duncan Sheik are bringing to the Broadway musical that might encourage new theatre audiences?

        Lauper won the Tony Award for writing the music and lyrics to Kinky Boots. Our guests are Kyle Taylor Parker, Steven Booth, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Joe Coots, Grace Stockdale and David McDonald. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        Coming next, Question 3: "Bullying is a major throughline of Kinky Boots. Were you ever bullied growing up?" 

        The 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical written by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper is now playing in Denver through Nov. 9. Call 303-894-4100 or go to www.DenverCenter.Org.

        Our complete '5 Kinky Questions' series to date:
        No. 1: What is the message of Kinky Boots?
        No. 2: What do pop stars like Cyndi Lauper bring to Broadway?
        Today: Were you ever bullied growing up?
        Next: What would your character's top campaign issue be? 


        Kinky_Boots_Video_Cyndi_Lauper_800
        Cyndi Lauper is shown in this file photo from the opening-night afterparty of "Kinky Boots" on Broadway in 2013. Photo by John Lamparski of WireImage.


        Kinky Boots: Ticket information
        Oct 29-Nov 9
        Buell Theatre
        Accessible Performances: Nov 9, 2 p.m.
        Tickets: 303-893-4100 | www.denvercenter.org
        Groups (10+): 303-446-4829

        Our Previous Kinky Boots coverage on Denver CenterStage:



        Listen to our podcast interview with Cyndi Lauper by pushing play.


      • 5 Questions with the cast, No. 1: What is the message of Kinky Boots?
      • Video: Andy Kelso's National Anthem Day in Denver
      • Opening Night photo gallery
      • Podcast: Listen to our interview with Cyndi Lauper
      • Video: Exclusive interview with Andy Kelso and Annaleigh Ashford of Kinky Boots
      • Cher and Cyndi Lauper put the "sex" in "sexagenarian”
      • Cyndi Lauper on 'Kinky Boots' ... and how to save Broadway
      • Denver Center's full 2014-15 season announcement
      • Kinky Boots Study Guide

      • And hey, check out our media outlet covering Colorado theatre at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.

      • Video: A behind-the-scenes look at 'Lord of the Flies'

        by John Moore | Nov 01, 2014


        Watch our video on the making of "Lord of the Flies," above. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.


        It's been a month of savagery, chills, screaming audiences and morning matinees for students for the game cast of the DCPA Theatre Company's Lord of the Flies. This  provocative adaptation of William Golding's classic novel, directed by Anthony Powell, struck a deep chord in audiences young and old.

        Lord_Of_The_Flies_Gumley_Hole_400Stranded on a deserted island, a group of English schoolboys become intoxicated by sudden freedom. Their time on the beach quickly descends not only into a barbaric power struggle, but an exploration into whether man's inherent nature is to be civilized or animalistic.

        It was a blast. And we at the NewsCenter were there, chronicling much of it.

        In this brief video, we take a look back, starting with weeks before the cast arrived, when DCPA Shop Foreman Bob Orzolek demonstrated for us how the technical team was going to produce a real, safe indoor fire for scenes on the beach. We show you rehearsals with Movement Coach Laurence Curry, recording sound effects, the cast taking questions from an engaged student audience and more. Matthew Gumley, who plays Piggy (pictured up and right) was often asked about taking the 10-foot push off the cliff to his character's death (there are sponge blocks and a trampoline down there breaking his fall).

        Rarely have young audiences been so engaged in the live theatre. Oftentimes post-show talkback discussions would spill outside under the arch of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, where students would meet departing actors and pepper them with more questions about themselves, the play -- and working without girls.    

        Lord of the Flies closes tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 2). We're sure gonna miss those beastly lads.

        Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        Here's a look at more of our backstage photos of the making of Lord of the Flies.


        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.

        Lord_Of_The_Flies_Jennifer_800
        From left: Charlie Korman, Charlie Franklin and Matthew Gumley. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.    

        Lord of the Flies
        : Ticket information
        Performances run through Nov. 2
        The Space Theatre
        Featuring Charlie Franklin, Gregory Isaac Stone, Matthew Gumley, Kurt Hellerich, Jack DiFalco, Ben Radcliffe, Noah Radcliffe, Allen Dorsey, Skyler Gallun, Ben Griffin, Charlie Korman and Geoffrey Kent.
        Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org


        Our Previous Lord of the Flies coverage on Denver CenterStage:


        Lord_Of_The_Flies_Skyler_800


        Skyler Gallun (above) and Ben Griffin (below) transform into full-on savages during intermission of "Lord of the Flies." Photos by John Moore. Read -- and see -- more about the actors' intermission paint job by clicking here.

        Lord_Of_The_Flies_Griffin_800
      • Photos: The comic magical mystery of 'Lord of the Butterflies'

        by John Moore | Oct 31, 2014
        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_2
        Shirley Delta Blow knows her way around a deserted island. Photo by John Moore. To see our complete 'Lord of the Butterflies' photo gallery, click here.


        Lord of the Butterflies
        is Off-Center @ The Jones' homage to the DCPA Theatre Company's mainstage presentation of Lord of the Flies. In local Drag Queen Shirley Delta Blow’s silly retelling of the classic novel, a plane trip gone terribly wrong strands Shirley and fellow queens Zoe O, Olive de Bottom and Dan D Lite on a deserted island. All they have to survive on is their wits, fabulous wardrobes and fellow passengers: Lesbians named Jackie, Simone and Rachel.

        In this outrageous re-telling, the struggle for island dominance comes complete with delightful dancing, magnificent musical performances, irreverent improvisation ... and lots of glitter. The cast also features Sarah Kirwin, Jessica Robblee and Mara Wiles. The show was conceived by Emily Tarquin, developed by Stuart Sanks and directed by Michael Emmitt. Costumes by Meghan Anderson Doyle.

        The Nov. 7 performance is sold out. So your last chance to see Lord of the Butterflies is tonight, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m.

        Here are a few more images from Thursday night's performance. To see our complete 'Lord of the Butterflies' photo gallery, click here. All photos by John Moore. 


        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_

        Sarah Kirwin comes back-to-unicorn-mouth with her inner demons.


        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_3
        The lovely ladies of Shirley's island strike a 'Charlie's Angels' pose.


        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_4

        Olive de Bottom meets the Lord of the Butterflies.


        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_5
        Shirley Delta Blow.


        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_6

        A Shirley Delta Blow photo montage by John Moore.


        Off-Center_Lord_of_The_Butterflies_800_7

        Smokin' in the boys'  room. To see our complete 'Lord of the Butterflies' photo gallery, click here.


        'Lord of the Butterflies': Ticket information
        Remaining performances Oct. 31 (available) and Nov. 7 (sold out)
        7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show
        Run Time: 90 minutes
        Ticket Price: $18
        Age Recommendation: Appropriate for audiences aged 18+
        Advisory: Unpredictable adult themes and language


        More NewsCenter coverage of Off-Center @ The Jones:



        Check out the Cult Following cast's 'Improv Parody' of 'Lord of the Flies.'  (Note: No relation to the fully staged production of 'Lord of the Butterflies.')


        Off-Center's Season Announcement Party

        Improv Parodies: 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown'
        Art and Artist: Spotlighting 'Cult Following's' Jessica Austgen
        Off-Center adds levity to the Denver Sonnets Project
        Video: 2014 'Gayest Oscar Party Ever'

      • Video: 5 'Kinky' Qs: What's the message of the musical?

        by John Moore | Oct 30, 2014


        We visited with the cast of the national touring production of Kinky Boots and posed five questions to them. No. 1: What is the ultimate message of Kinky Boots? Our guests are Kyle Taylor Parker, Steven Booth, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Joe Coots, Grace Stockdale and David McDonald. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        Coming next, Question 2: "What do you think Cyndi Lauper and other stars from pop music like David Byrne and Duncan Sheik are bringing to the Broadway musical that might encourage new theatre audiences?" 

        The 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical written by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper is now playing in Denver through Nov. 9. Call 303-894-4100 or go to www.DenverCenter.Org.

        Kinky_Boots_Q1_800
        Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola with the cast of the national touring production of "Kinky Boots." Photo by Matthew Murphy.


        Kinky Boots: Ticket information
        Oct 29-Nov 9
        Buell Theatre
        Accessible Performances: Nov 9, 2 p.m.
        Tickets: 303-893-4100 | www.denvercenter.org
        Groups (10+): 303-446-4829

        Our Previous Kinky Boots coverage on Denver CenterStage:

      • Video: Andy Kelso's National Anthem Day in Denver
      • Opening Night photo gallery
      • Podcast: Listen to our interview with Cyndi Lauper
      • Video: Exclusive interview with Andy Kelso and Annaleigh Ashford of Kinky Boots
      • Cher and Cyndi Lauper put the "sex" in "sexagenarian”
      • Cyndi Lauper on 'Kinky Boots' ... and how to save Broadway
      • Denver Center's full 2014-15 season announcement
      • Kinky Boots Study Guide

      • And hey, check out our media outlet covering Colorado theatre at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.

      • Photos: Opening night of 'Kinky Boots' in Denver

        by John Moore | Oct 30, 2014

        Kinky_Boots_Opening_800_1


        Kinky Boots, winner of six 2013 Tony Awards including Best Musical, opened its two-week run in Denver last night (Oct. 29). Kinky Boots follows a struggling shoe-factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds they have more in common than they ever could have dreamed. The motto of this fun and inspirational musical based on a true story: "When you change your mind about someone, you can change the world." Featuring a Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, direction and Tony-winning choreography by Jerry Mitchell and an uplifting, comic book by four-time Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein. Photos by John Moore.

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        A kinky boot sported by audience member Jaime McNear.


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        Cast and family members.



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        David McDonald, who plays Charlie's father, is a 1977 graduate of Denver's Lincoln High School.


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        Andrew Theo Johnson plays Young Simon/Nina.



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        Eden Lane, host of Colorado Public Television's 'In Focus with Eden Lane.'


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        SOME PHOTOS FROM OUR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS:
        (Note: If we find more, we'll add them as the day goes on. Or email yours directly to jmoore@dcpa.org)


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        Untitled

        Backstage shenanigans.



        Kinky_Boots_Opening_800_10

        Denver Drag Queen Nina Flowers (undressed!) with cast member Hernando Umana.



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        Going meta: our shot of Nina Flowers taking a personal shot, and the resulting montage posted on Nina's Facebook page below:


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        Kinky_Boots_Opening_800_11


        Cast members Bonnie Milligan and Lauren Nicole Chapman.


        Kinky Boots: Ticket information
        Oct 29-Nov 9
        Buell Theatre
        Accessible Performances: Nov 9, 2 p.m.
        Tickets: 303-893-4100 | www.denvercenter.org
        Groups (10+): 303-446-4829

        And hey, check out our media outlet covering Colorado theatre at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.


        Our Previous Kinky Boots coverage on Denver CenterStage:

      • Video: Andy Kelso's National Anthem Day in Denver
      • Podcast: Listen to our interview with Cyndi Lauper
      • Video: Exclusive interview with Andy Kelso and Annaleigh Ashford of Kinky Boots
      • Cher and Cyndi Lauper put the "sex" in "sexagenarian”
      • Cyndi Lauper on 'Kinky Boots' ... and how to save Broadway
      • Denver Center's full 2014-15 season announcement
      • Kinky Boots Study Guide
      • POPULAR POSTS
         
        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 a not-for-profit 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.