• Video: Phamaly says thanks to artistic director Steve Wilson

    by John Moore | Jan 28, 2015


    Steve Wilson. Photo by John Moore.On Dec. 31, Steve Wilson resigned as Artistic Director of Denver's nationally acclaimed Phamaly Theatre Company. Over 14 years. Wilson created countless professional performance opportunities for actors with disabilities - 200 in 2014 alone.

    Wilson is a graduate of the DCPA's National Theatre Conservatory masters program, and last month was named the True West 2014 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year.

    Friends gathered at the Garner-Galleria Theatre on Jan. 12, not to say goodbye, but to say thanks. It was particularly poignant when Lucy Roucis, who has advanced Parkinson's Deisease, thanked Wilson for treating he like a peer.

    "Most important, you saw me as an actor," she says. "You treated me like someone who gave a (bleep)."

    Others featured in the video include Chris Silberman, Bryce Alexander, Maureen Ediger, Harper Ediger, Mark Dissette, Jeremy Palmer, Mickey Mauck, Kim Jackson, Laurice Quinn, James Sherman, Carol Kelly-Rohach, Paul Behrhorst and Kathi Gibbs Wood.

    Video by John Moore.

    Previous coverage of the Steve Wilson story:
    Wilson resigns from Phamaly Theatre Company after 14 years
    Wilson named 2014 Theatre Person of the Year
  • NEA: Colorado ranks No. 1 in performing-arts visits

    by John Moore | Jan 27, 2015
    Attendance at arts events in the Denver Performing Arts Complex are outpacing other parts of the country. Photo by John Moore.

    A new federal government survey ranks Colorado No. 1 in per-capita trips to theaters, concert halls and museums. 

    Nearly 52 percent of Colorado adults reported attendance at live performing-arts events in 2012, far above the national average of 37.4 percent. An even greater number, 59.2 percent, say they went to a visual arts event, topping the country's total average of 39 percent.

    Attendance at nonmusical plays in Colorado is roughly twice the rate of the country as a whole.

    The results are from a new study just released by the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Here is a link to the NEA's summary of the report
    Here is the link to download a copy of the report


    The study was reported in today's Denver Post. The results are "validating," DCPA head of marketing Jennifer Nealson told reporter Ray Mark Rinaldi for the story. She suggests they are rooted in a combination of high-quality institutional organizations, many with national reputations, and a local enthusiasm for arts. The DCPA's own research shows that 62 percent of families in the region have attended its shows in the past seven years.  "We have a high penetration in the marketplace, and we're always trying to find new ways to make things accessible to audiences," Nealson told The Post.

    But nationally, the proportion of Americans who attended at least one "benchmark arts activity"  has gradually fallen over the last 10-year period, from 39 percent in 2002 to 33 percent in 2012.

    Click here to read the full story in The Denver Post.

    Snapshot of national statistics:
    By percentage of overall adults nationally:

    59.4 percent say they have attended a movie in the past 12 months
    58.2 percent say they have read a book
    50.1 percent say they have attended a performing art event

    15.2 percent say they have attended a musical in the past year
    8.3 percent say they have attended a non-musical play in the past year

    40.7 percent of those who say they have attended a musical in the past 12 months are male
    59.3 percent of those who say they have attended a musical in the past 12 months are female

    42.1 percent of those who say they have attended a non-musical play in the past 12 months are male
    57.9 percent of those who say they have attended a non-musical play in the past 12 months are female

    Of those who say they have attended a musical in the past 12 months:
    80.4 percent are White
    7.1 percent are Hispanic
    7.0 percent are African-American

    Of those who say they have attended a non-musical play in the past 12 months:
    80.7 percent are White
    6.4 percent are Hispanic
    8.5 percent are African-American

    A few more random findings:
    By percentage of adults in the Mountain region:

    21.1 percent say they enjoy Broadway show tunes
    41.7 percent say they enjoy country music (No. 1 type of music)

    51.8 percent of adults who read literature, second only to New England (51.9)
    47.0 percent: National average of adults who read literature

    55.5 percent say they have taken a class in any performing art in their lifetimes
    8.7 percent say they have taken a class in acting or theater






  • Doris Duke Foundation awards $125,000 for 'Benediction'

    by John Moore | Jan 27, 2015
    Kent Haruf

    The photo above shows a page from the memorial held for Kent Haruf in Salida last year.



    The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has awarded the DCPA Theatre Company a $125,000 grant to directly support its upcoming world premiere production of Benediction, which will finish the trilogy of plays based on the novels of Kent Haruf. The grant also designates funds to commission playwright Eric Schmiedl for his next play — which would be his fifth with the DCPA Theatre Company.

    The purpose of the grant is to support the commissioning and production of a new work by an American playwright, and to help companies nurture continuing relationships with individual playwrights.

    “We are honored that the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has selected the Theatre Company for this generous grant,” said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. "And we are thrilled to have the resources to continue our long-term commitment to this gifted playwright.”

    The grant is administered through the foundation’s new "Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative."

    “We are thrilled to support the DCPA Theatre Company in their exciting, ongoing collaboration with Eric Schmeidl,” said Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Program Director for the Arts. “Through this new larger initiative, the foundation aims to help address the historically poor compensation of playwrights, to encourage long-term relationships between theaters and writers, and to support the production of plays that serve theaters’ nonprofit missions, even if such plays do not have immediate commercial appeal.”

    For more information on the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, please visit www.ddcf.org.

    Benediction runs January 30 through March 1, 2015 in the Space Theatre at the DCPA.

    Hailed a “masterful look at the end of life” by The Denver Post, this stage adaptation of Kent Haruf’s best-selling novel again takes audiences to the high plains of Colorado. Benediction focuses on three central characters searching for meaningful connections despite separation, loneliness and a race against time. 


    Benediction: Ticket information
    Performances run Jan. 30 through March 1
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily except Mondays
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org


    Our previous coverage of Benediction:
    DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7
    Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
    Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71
    Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
    Kent Thompson on the 2014-15 season, play by play
    2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete 'Plainsong' trilogy
    Video: 'Benediction' reading at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit
  • Meet the cast video series: Lenne Klingaman

    by John Moore | Jan 26, 2015


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 80: Meet Lenne Klingaman, a favorite of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival who is back with the DCPA after having starred in 'Romeo and Juliet' in 2013. She's now playing Sylvie and Young Helen in the Theatre Company's world premiere staging of Appoggiatura. Just wait till you hear here first name - pronounced 'Lenna' - comes from. Appoggiatura plays through Feb. 22 in the Ricketson Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore. Run time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

    Appoggiatura: Ticket information
    Performances run through Feb. 22
    Ricketson Theatre
    Performances daily except Mondays
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our Appoggiatura "Meet the cast" video series (to date):
    Meet Darrie Lawrence
    Meet Nick Mills
    More to come  

    Coming up:

    Join 'Appoggiatura' cast members Darrie Lawrence, Mehry Eslaminia and Julian Remulla at noon Tuesday, Jan. 27, for Page to Stage, a lunchtime panel conversation with DCPA Arts Journalist John Moore at the Colfax Tattered Cover. Free.

    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    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
    Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    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

      Darrie Lawrence and  Lenne Klingaman in 'Appoggoatura.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen
      Darrie Lawrence, left, with Lenne Klingaman in the DCPA's staging of "Appoggiatura." Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
    • DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7

      by John Moore | Jan 26, 2015
      'Dad and Sonny - Until We Meet Again,' by Chaney Haruf Matsukis
      'Dad and Sonny - Until We Meet Again,' by Chaney Haruf Matsukis.


      Kent_Haruf_Dies_2The DCPA Theatre Company and Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson will be hosting a Celebration of Life for author Kent Haruf at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, in the Stage Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.

      Haruf was perhaps Colorado’s most celebrated novelist. He wrote Plainsong, Eventide and Benediction, all of which have been adapted for the stage by the Theatre Company. The final chapter of the trilogy, Benediction, opens for first previews on Jan. 30 in the DCPA's Space Theatre. 

      Haruf created quiet, moving stories of the rural townspeople of fictional Holt, Colorado, that millions of readers found to be universally identifiable. All three novels were adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl and dīrected by Thompson.

      Haruf, 71, died of lung disease on Nov. 30 at his home in Salida, about 150 miles southwest of Denver.

      Those attending are asked to RSVP by clicking here to assure a proper head count.

      Benediction
      : Ticket information

      Performances run Jan. 30 through March 1
      Space Theatre
      Performances daily except Mondays
      Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org


      Our previous coverage of Benediction:
      Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
      Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71
      Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
      Kent Thompson on the 2014-15 season, play by play
      2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete 'Plainsong' trilogy
      Video: 'Benediction' reading at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit


    • Photos from Opening Night of DCPA's 'Appoggiatura'

      by John Moore | Jan 24, 2015

      Photos from Opening Night of DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere staging of Appoggiatura on Jan. 23, 2015, at the Ricketson Theatre. The play, by three-time Pulitze nominee James Still, is about three people in mourning for the same man sharing grief in Venice.

      Appoggiatura plays through Feb. 22. Call 303-893-4100 or go to go to the DCPA's web page.

      Appoggiatura opening
      The cast of 'Appoggiatura' on Opening night. Photo by John Moore.



       Coming up:
    • Join 'Appoggiatura' cast members Darrie Lawrence, Mehry Eslaminia and Julian Remulla at noon Tuesday, Jan. 27, for Page to Stage, a lunchtime panel conversation with DCPA Arts Journalist John Moore at the Colfax Tattered Cover. Free.
    • The next "Perspectives" conversation hosted by Douglas Langworthy will be on "Benediction" at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, in The Jones Theatre, 13th and Arapahoe streets. Free.

    • Appoggiatura: Ticket information
      Performances run through Feb. 22
      Ricketson Theatre
      Performances daily except Mondays
      Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

      Our Appoggiatura "Meet the cast" video series (to date):
      Meet Darrie Lawrence
      Meet Nick Mills
      More to come

      Our previous coverage of Appoggiatura:
      The mystery of Appoggiatura unfolds with tonight's opening
      Video: Our Appoggiatura montage of scenes
      Interview: Playwright James Still is running to catch up to himself  

      Video: Talking Appoggiatura with James Still and Risa Brainin
      Photos: Our Appoggiatura photos so far
      Appoggiatura Director Risa Brainin named head of National Theatre Conference
      Appoggiatura named to new DCPA Theatre Company season
      Kent Thompson handicaps the season, play by play
      Summit Soliloquy: James Still introduces Appoggiatura
      Appoggiatura: So what's in a name?

      Appoggiatura: Cast and crew
      Helen: Darrie Lawrence
      Sylvie: Lenne Klingaman
      Aunt Chuck: Rob Nagle
      Marco/Young Gordon: Nick Mills
      Kate/Ensemble: Mehry Eslaminia
      Old Man/Trio/Gordon: Paul Bentzen
      Vivaldi: Julian Remulla

      Written by James Still
      Directed by Risa Brainin
      Set Design by David M. Barber
      Costume Design by Meghan Doyle
      Lighting Design by Charles Macleod
      Sound Design by Tyler Nelson
      Composer/Musical Director: Michael Keck
      Dramaturg: Doug Langworthy
      Projection Design by Charlie Miller
      Choreography and Movement by Bob Davidson
      Voice and Dialect: Kathy Maes
  • Video: Our interview with Alan Thicke of 'Dancing Pros: Live' in Denver

    by John Moore | Jan 24, 2015
     
    Alan Thicke, host of "Dancing Pros: Live!" talks with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore about "Growing Pains," his place in pop-culture history with "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Facts of Life," and who would win a dance-off between Thicke and fellow game-show host Tom Bergeron. That and his reason for stopping in Denver. Look for fun cameos from Karina Smirnoff and Benji Schwimmer.

    In "Dancing Pros: Live," some of the world’s finest dancers battle it out live on stage, and the audience chooses the winner. Two performances remain on Jan. 24 at the Buell Theatre. For information on "Dancing Pros: Live,"  call 303-893-4100, or click here:

    Performances:
    7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23
    2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex





  • The mystery of 'Appoggiatura' unfolds with tonight's opening

    by John Moore | Jan 23, 2015

    Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen

    “Titles are mysterious,” says playwright James Still, author of the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere staging of Appoggiatura. It’s a word few people know ... and even fewer can pronounce.

    But Still hopes the mystery of the word becomes a part of the audience’s experience of the play – starting tonight with its opening performance at the Ricketson Theatre.

    “Sure, I could have called this play Three Americans in Venice,” Still said at “Perspectives,” a public dialogue with DCPA theatregoers that preceded the first preview performance. “But since the play is partly about the poetry of Venice, it would seem strange to me if the title didn’t reflect that in some way.”

    “And besides - we all get to learn a new word, and what it means.”

    That word is Appoggiatura. And it is pronounced “uh-poj-uh-too-ruh.” It refers to the embellishing note that precedes an essential melodic note just before it leans into a resolve. Which is just what happens to Still's characters through the course of his play. 

    “The play is about three people sharing grief in Venice,” said Rob Nagle, who was last seen in Denver playing more than 30 roles in The 39 Steps. In Appoggiatura, he plays just one - a man named Aunt Chuck. 

    Darrie Lawrence and  Lenne Klingaman in 'Appoggoatura.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen“There is an older woman named Helen, who was married to a man for several decades," said Nagle. "He left her for my character, and they were together for almost 25 years before he died. So these are the two people who loved him most in his life, and they are now vacationing together in Venice. There is enough water under the bridge for them to do that. And along with them on this trip is Helen’s granddaughter, Sylvie, who I helped raise. That’s why my character’s name is Aunt Chuck.”

    And that is your launching point: “You have three people trying to get through a challenging trip. And at the same time, they are trying to say goodbye to the man they all really love,” said Nagle.

    Panel moderator Douglas Langworthy asked Still about the genesis of the play, and Still said there are many: Personal experiences; his time spent in Italy; and especially, he said, “the experience of sorrow and grief - and how that can put us in a kind of altered state, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Some wonderful things can happen to you in that state … and that is part of what the play is about.”

    Another of Still’s influences was Shakespeare.

    “We all know Shakespeare wrote a play set in Venice called The Merchant of Venice," he said. “But there are moments in my play that more resemble A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or The Tempest. There were moments in the writing of the play where I would think, ‘If Shakespeare lived now and had access to the technology we have today, what would he do in this moment?' And so you’ll see how we tried to do that.”

    Venice is essentially a city on water, and both Still’s script and David A. Barber’s scenic design reflect that fluidity. The action moves so rapidly throughout Venice that Still joked his story takes place in “30,000 locations.” Barber embraced modern technology by creating a streetscape that changes not physically but through video projection overlays he made in collaboration with the DCPAs Charlie Miller.

    “It's almost like you are taking a tour of Venice,” Barber said. “I like the idea that video projection can layer over actual scenery so you have some very real architecture the actors can embrace and interact with, but you can paint it over with light to keep changing it.”

    Another essential ingredient of the play, directed by Risa Brainin, is live music from three street musicians playing violin, mandolin and guitar. The whimsical story even features an appearance by no less than Vivaldi himself (Julian Remulla).

    “Venice was Vivaldi’s hometown,” Still said. “He was a choir director as well as a composer. I thought the music had to come from someone who grew up there. Music is a kind of muse to one of the characters in the play. Music is part of the storytelling. It is very much woven into the fabric of the play.”




    Still explained to the audience that Appoggiatura is actually the second chapter of a trilogy – but the first to be produced.

    “The first play is called The House That Jack Built, and it takes place in Vermont at Thanksgiving,” he said. “Aunt Chuck and Sylvie (the granddaughter) are only off-stage characters in that play. You learn about them, but you don’t meet them. The second play is Appoggiatura, and it takes place about six months later, all in one day in Venice. You will hear the name 'Jack' in Appoggiatura, and I hope you will listen for it, because it is an important piece of this overall story. And then the third play is called Miranda, and it is some years into the future. That is a very different play about another family member who is in the CIA. That play takes place in Yemen."

    It wasn’t his intention to write a trilogy – Still only set out to write Appoggiatura. “But my feeling is that plays come with their own souls, and my job is to uncover it," he said. "So you listen very deeply to the play, and then let it be the play that it is - even if it has a hard title to pronounce.”

    To anyone who thinks playwriting is a glamorous life, know that while Still will be in Denver for tonight’s opening performance – he will be on a plane bound for Washington D.C. at 6 o'clock Saturday morning.

    Rob Nagle Quote

    Still has the almost unheard-of good playwriting fortune of opening two different world-premiere plays within five days of each other. The Widow Lincoln opens Jan. 28 at Ford’s Theatre, famously known as the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Still was commissioned to write a play marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death. 

    “It’s about Mary Lincoln, and it is based on a very little explored historical footnote,” Still said. “The morning after Lincoln died, Mary was taken back to the White House. But she refused to go into any rooms where she had any memories of her husband. So she ended up going into a little storage room - and she didn't come out for 40 days and 40 nights.”

    All that is known about Mary Lincoln’s exile comes from a two-paragraph letter she wrote about a year later. “So that's the play: Imagining what happened in that room,” said Still, who has been regularly commuting between Denver and D.C. since Dec. 7.

    Before tomorrow's pre-dawn flight, there is tonight’s opening of Appoggiatura. It’s a wonderfully funny play that will land on audiences like a soft note finding its home in a musical ballad.

    "This is a heartbreaking, deeply moving story about love and loss, the desire to connect - and finding a way to say goodbye,” said Nagle. “It dances beautifully in this realm of extremes. You go from a really lovely, light moment, and then all of a sudden, a turn hits. Some of the scenes, I have to say, they kill me. They hurt inside because they’re so meaningful to me.”

     Coming up:
  • Join 'Appoggiatura' cast members Darrie Lawrence, Mehry Eslaminia and Julian Remulla at noon Tuesday, Jan. 27, for Page to Stage, a lunchtime panel conversation with DCPA Arts Journalist John Moore at the Colfax Tattered Cover. Free.
  • The next "Perspectives" conversation hosted by Douglas Langworthy will be on "Benediction" at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, in The Jones Theatre, 13th and Arapahoe streets. Free.

  • Appoggiatura: Ticket information
    Performances run through Feb. 22
    Ricketson Theatre
    Performances daily except Mondays
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our Appoggiatura "Meet the cast" video series (to date):
    Meet Darrie Lawrence
    Meet Nick Mills
    More to come

    Our previous coverage of Appoggiatura:
    Video: Our 'Appoggiatura' montage of scenes
    Interview: Playwright James Still is running to catch up to himself  

    Video: Talking Appoggiatura with James Still and Risa Brainin
    Photos: Our Appoggiatura photos so far
    Appoggiatura Director Risa Brainin named head of National Theatre Conference
    Appoggiatura named to new DCPA Theatre Company season
    Kent Thompson handicaps the season, play by play
    Summit Soliloquy: James Still introduces Appoggiatura
    Appoggiatura: So what's in a name?

    Appoggiatura: Cast and crew
    Helen: Darrie Lawrence
    Sylvie: Lenne Klingaman
    Aunt Chuck: Rob Nagle
    Marco/Young Gordon: Nick Mills
    Kate/Ensemble: Mehry Eslaminia
    Old Man/Trio/Gordon: Paul Bentzen
    Vivaldi: Julian Remulla

    Written by James Still
    Directed by Risa Brainin
    Set Design by David M. Barber
    Costume Design by Meghan Doyle
    Lighting Design by Charles Macleod
    Sound Design by Tyler Nelson
    Composer/Musical Director: Michael Keck
    Dramaturg: Doug Langworthy
    Projection Design by Charlie Miller
    Choreography and Movement by Bob Davidson
    Voice and Dialect: Kathy Maes
  • Video: Our interviews with Dancing Pros ... Live from Denver

    by John Moore | Jan 22, 2015


    Edyta Sliwinska, Benji Schwimmer and Karina Smirnoff. Photo by John MooreThe world’s finest dancers battle it out live on stage in Dancing Pros: Live!, and the audience chooses the winner. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore met in Denver with three stars of the show in advance of their Jan. 23-24 appearances at the Buell Theatre: Co-founder and guest star Edyta Sliwinska, head judge Karina Smirnoff and competing dancer Benji Schwimmer.

    Dancing Pros: Live! pits five teams of professional dancers from Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance along with dance champions from around the world performing in a variety of styles including Cha-Cha, Waltz, Tango, Swing, Freestyle Samba and the Jitterbug. Using electronic voting remotes, the audience will vote for their favorite couple at the end of the show. Video by DCPA Arts Journalist John Moore and Video Producer David Lenk.

    As the video ends, Edyta (pronounced "editor," without the r) teaches the interviewing journalist Moore a few moves. While Schwimmer remains tauntingly unimpressed with his Samba moves, the visionary Sliwinska opines, "Wow, you have some internal rhythm right there." For information on "Dancing Pros: Live,"  call 303-893-4100, or click here:

    Performances:
    7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23
    2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex



    Karina Smirnoff and Benji Schwimmer of 'Dancing Pros: Live.' Photo by John Moore


    Photo provided by 'Dancing Pros: Live'
  • 'Peter Pan' made Matthew Lopez cry - and fly - like a baby

    by John Moore | Jan 21, 2015

    Matthew Lopez. Photo by John Moore.

    As a television viewer, DCPA Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez said, 'Peter Pan Live!' 'did the thing that it was meant to do.' Photo by John Moore.




    Reaction to NBC’s nationally televised presentation of Peter Pan Live! last month was mixed, but Matthew Lopez’s response was unequivocal.

    “I loved it. I was completely charmed. And I was crying like a baby,” said Lopez, the DCPA Theatre Company’s first Playwriting Fellow for the 2014-15 season. “I thought it was fantastic.”

    That’s pretty impressive from one of the nation’s hottest young playwrights - a guy whose gritty, groundbreaking first play opens with a Confederate soldier having his gangrenous leg cut off in the opening scene of The Whipping Man.

    Or is that just Matthew?

    “Oh, I am a crier,” said Lopez, who also wrote the DCPA’s world premiere charmer The Legend of Georgia McBride. “I am not going to lie: I love to cry.”

    Peter Pan holds a special place in Lopez’s second star to the right, dating back to when he was a 5-year-old kid from the Florida Panhandle. While visiting New York, his family took him to Peter Pan. It was his first play. And it was on Broadway.

    “When I saw Sandy Duncan fly over the audience in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, I fell madly in love with theatre,” Lopez said. “From that moment on, I knew theatre was the only thing I could possibly do with my life. I did not want to become a lawyer. I did not want to become an accountant. I did not want to become anything other than someone who works in theatre.”

    His first job in the biz? Playing Michael Darling in a school production of Peter Pan.

    Fast-forward, and you can just imagine how Lopez felt when he heard NBC would be staging a three-hour live presentation of Peter Pan on Dec. 5 starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken … and a whole bunch of kids from Newsies.

    Lopez had to record the broadcast for un-live viewing because of another commitment. He got home late, cued it up, and soon he was laughing, cheering … and bawling.

    “I think a lot of this has to do with my own personal experiences with the show, but it was just so magical," he said. "Just hearing that score again was so exciting for me. And that little kid who played Michael Darling (John Allyn) was so adorable. When he started to fly, I started laughing so loud that I woke up my fiancé. He came out from the bedroom and he was like, ‘What the hell are you watching?’

    "I just pointed at the television and said, ‘Look! It's Peter Pan Live!’ And then I re-wound it, and he was charmed by it, too."

    The waterworks really began during Distant Melody. “I was a basket case just crying on the sofa,” he said. “I was remembering my childhood. And remembering the impact that song had on me. Whenever that songs starts to play, I cannot help it. I think we all have that thing that triggers our most wonderful, Proustian memories. Peter Pan is definitely my Madeline.”

    Lopez thinks watching live theatre on a television is inherently artificial because it’s typically performed in a theatre. “The direction is set up to accommodate camera angles,” he said of the Peter Pan Live! broadcast. “The set is designed to move around the guy who is holding the SteadyCam on his chest.”

    That said ... Who cares?

    “It was just so delightful for me to see really talented people tackle this beautiful chestnut of a show at the holidays," he said. "I have known and loved that show all my life."

    Matthew Lopez Quote

    For someone who knows the show so well, it’s telling that Lopez didn’t take much notice to wholesale changes in the score.

    Peter Pan Live! producers enlisted Amanda Green —  daughter of original lyricist Adolph Green — to expand and adapt the score using only carefully chosen material from the songbooks of original writers Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.  The new songs included Captain Hook’s “Vengeance” (adapted from a song in the musical Do Re Mi); Wendy’s “Only Pretend” (also adapted from the Do Re Mi score); and “A Wonderful World Without Peter,” a duel song between Hook and Peter adapted from “Something’s Always Happening On The River” from Say Darling. And the racially insensitive song “Ugg-a-Wugg” was softened.

    “You know what?" Lopez said. "It didn't even stick out to me that the music had been changed. It just all worked as a piece for me. And I can tell you, I sent the DVD to my nieces and nephews for Christmas. I bought two copies on Amazon.com that same night. And I was listening to the music on my iPhone a couple of days later.”

    We asked Lopez his thoughts on some of the more widely discussed talking points coming out of the broadcast, including:

    John Moore: Should NBC maybe have done this in front of a live television audience?

    Matthew Lopez: I was wondering the same thing. The thing that is missing with television is the direct relationship between the performers and the audience, and I think that would have helped. I saw Peter Pan in Los Angeles just two years ago, and when Cathy Rigby flew in, the entire audience just erupted into cheers. For me, the whole reason the show exists is that moment when the Darling children start to fly. They think lovely thoughts and candy, candy, candy. And then they are told to think lovelier thoughts, and Michael thinks of Christmas and he goes zooming up into the air. For me? It doesn't get any better than that. You can take your chandelier falling any day. Keep it. I want that little kid zooming up into the air when he thinks of Christmas. But you do lose something when it's on television because they are doing it for you. The missing ingredient is the audience.

    John Moore: So what did you think when you got to the moment when Peter asks the audience to Clap to save Tinkerbell’s life -- and they flashed the Twitter hashtag #SaveTinkerbell?

    Matthew Lopez: Did they? I didn't notice. I was too busy clapping. I can't have Tinkerbell's death on my conscience. I was clapping like mad.


    Allison Williams in 'Peter Pan Live' John Moore: I kind of liked that you could see the wires. That's what Julie Taymor is all about: Let them see the magic. Don't hide from it. But others disagreed.

    Matthew Lopez: I agree that you have to see the wires. That was the whole point. 

    John Moore: I mentioned in an earlier story that Broadway set an all-time record last year with a combined annual audience of 12.2 million last year. Peter Pan Live! was seen by 9.4 million people on one night. I can only imagine how many kids are going to grow up and talk about that night in 2014 when they saw Peter Pan Live! on TV.

    Matthew Lopez: Yes, and let's not forget: They were doing live musicals on television long before you or I were born. The only time you were ever going to see Julie Andrews in Camelot was when she appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. 

    John Moore: NBC is committed to continuing the tradition. What would you like to see them take on next?

    Matthew Lopez: Somewhere!

    John Moore: There you go. I should tell people here that Somewhere is your play that opened last February at the Hartford Stage. That’s the story of a Puerto Rican family with show-business dreams that are threatened by displacement from their home to make room for the building of the Lincoln Center in 1959 New York. What else?

    Matthew Lopez: The Legend of Georgia McBride. ... The Whipping Man Live! For Christmas!

    John Moore: Awesome.

    Matthew Lopez: That amputation scene would be great!

    John Moore: It’s been reported that NBC is considering The Music Man. Variety says NBC will also mount a live telecast of Aaron Sorkin’s military courtroom drama A Few Good Men. And Fox is about to give Grease the live treatment.

    Matthew Lopez: Spring Awakening would be pretty darn cool. And A Chorus Line would be great, although you probably couldn't get away with that on network television.

    John Moore: So, overall, you seem pretty pleased.

    Matthew Lopez: I think it did the thing that it was meant to do, at least in my house: It moved me. And it transported me. And it made me laugh. And it made me cry. It reminded me of being a kid. And that is a pretty rare thing.



    Check out our complete photo gallery covering Matthew Lopez's Playwriting Fellowship in Denver, above.

    MATTHEW LOPEZ IN DENVER: THE  SERIES TO DATE:
    Part 1: Why take the Playwriting Fellowship? The hunger for new work
    Part 2: Lopez to students: Be citizens. Be informed. Have opinions.
    Part 3: Is sweetness a risk in the American Theatre?
    Part 4: Peter Pan made Matthew Lopez cry - and fly - like a baby (today)

    AMERICAN THEATRE WRITES ABOUT THE MATTHEW LOPEZ FELLOWSHIP:
    Paying Playwrights More Than Play Money

    SELECTED PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF MATTHEW LOPEZ AT THE DCPA:
    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'
  • Video: Check out our 'Appoggiatura' Montage-iatura

    by John Moore | Jan 21, 2015


    Written by three-time Pulitzer nominee James Still, the DCPA Theatre Company's world-premiere staging of Appoggiatura follows three closely related Americans, each nursing a hunger and a wound, as they travel to the romantic city of Venice seeking solace. As time bends and magic beckons around the corner, this favorite from last year's Colorado New Play Summit weaves a quirky and lyrical narrative exploring love, loss and the human soul in its fully staged debut at the Ricketson Theatre. Here, video producer David Lenk provides a sneak peek. Appoggiatura runs through Feb 22. Call 303-893-4100, or click here.

    Appoggiatura
    : Ticket information
    Performances run through Feb. 22
    Ricketson Theatre
    Performances daily except Mondays
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our Appoggiatura "Meet the cast" video series (to date):
    Meet Darrie Lawrence
    Meet Nick Mills

    Our previous coverage of Appoggiatura:
    Interview: Playwright James Still is running to catch up to himself  
    Video: Talking Appoggiatura with James Still and Risa Brainin
    Photos: Our Appoggiatura photos so far
    Appoggiatura Director Risa Brainin named head of National Theatre Conference
    Appoggiatura named to new DCPA Theatre Company season
    Kent Thompson handicaps the season, play by play
    Summit Soliloquy: James Still introduces Appoggiatura
    Appoggiatura: So what's in a name?

    Darrie Lawrence and Julian Remulla of 'Appoggiatura.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    Darrie Lawrence and Julian Remulla of 'Appoggiatura.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
  • Meet the cast video series: Darrie Lawrence

    by John Moore | Jan 20, 2015

    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 79: Meet Darrie Lawrence, a member of the inaugural DCPA Theatre Company in 1979 who is back in Denver for the first time since 1984 to star as Helen in the world premiere staging of Appoggiatura. Lawrence talks about the early days playing opposite Tyne Daly, Delroy Lindo and others. How did she get into all of this in the first place? "I love being the center of attention!" she says with a laugh. Appoggiatura plays through Feb. 22 in the Ricketson Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore. Run time: 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

    Also in our Appoggiatura "Meet the cast" video series (to date):
    Meet Nick Mills


    Appoggiatura
    : Ticket information
    Performances run through Feb. 22
    Ricketson Theatre
    Performances daily except Mondays
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our previous coverage of this year's Appoggiatura:
    Interview: Playwright James Still is running to catch up to himself  
    Video: Talking Appoggiatura with James Still and Risa Brainin
    Photos: Our Appoggiatura photos so far
    Appoggiatura Director Risa Brainin named head of National Theatre Conference
    Appoggiatura named to new DCPA Theatre Company season
    Kent Thompson handicaps the season, play by play
    Summit Soliloquy: James Still introduces Appoggiatura
    Appoggiatura: So what's in a name?


    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    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
    Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    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


      Darrie Lawrence in 'Appoggiatura'Darrie Lawrence, right, in the DCPA's staging of "Appoggiatura." Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
    • Three student plays chosen for Colorado New Play Summit readings

      by John Moore | Jan 16, 2015
      Teen Playwriting Finalists
      The Denver Center for the Performing Arts this morning announced the three finalists for  the second annual Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition for Colorado high-school students.

      Finalists Kaytlin Camp of Gunnison High School, Jack Hansen of Arapahoe High School and Catherine Novotny of Grandview High School will receive a professional staged reading of their one-act plays at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. The finalists also will receive a $250 cash scholarship and complimentary pass to any reading or production at the Summit. In addition, each finalist’s Theatre or Language Arts teacher will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. After the Summit, one play will be chosen to be performed by students participating in DCPA Education’s summer classes.

      “We were blown away by the number of submissions we received this year,” said Allison Watrous, DCPA Director of Education. “It was a privilege for our team to read all 158 submissions and take on the nearly impossible task of narrowing them down to these three finalists. It is thrilling to see that the passion for theatre is alive and well in Colorado high schools.”

      Public readings of the three plays will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb 21, in Conservatory Theatre, located in the Newman Center at 13th and Arapahoe streets. The readings will be free with an RSVP. Click here.  

      Last year’s inaugural program included 83 workshops in 33 schools, serving 1,764 students and 42 teachers across 11 counties. This time, the program nearly doubled in size and reach. DCPA education staff conducted 143 workshops in 45 schools, serving 2,899 students and 67 teachers over 14 different counties (including Chaffee, Larimer, and Las Animas).

      Meet the three Finalists:
      Name: Kaytlin Camp
      School: Gunnison High School
      Teacher: Mr. White
      Play title: Lark's Mechanics
      What is your play about? A girl who owns a mechanic shop, and the interactions she has with her customers.
      Excerpt:
      TACITA: Cato, may I ask you a bit of a... um, sensitive question?
      CATO: Sure, go ahead.
      TACITA: Are you a part of the ....uh... protests taking place in the cog district? CATO: ...Yes. I don’t see why you would consider that a sensitive question.
      TACITA: Well depending on who you mention it to they could react badly.
      CATO: Yes, I’m aware. Does this change things in your eyes?
      TACITA: Not really, I’m actually not that surprised.
      CATO: Oh you’re not surprised? I thought you said I was mysterious.
      TACITA: Well you are, but like I said before I don’t know you that well, So I’m not that surprised. I’d be more surprised if I found out you were a mermaid.
      CATO: I think it’d be impractical for a mermaid to have a mechanical arm.
      TACITA: Oh you never know, they could have some type of underwater mechanics. CATO: You say that like mermaids actually exist.
      TACITA: Can you prove they don’t?
      CATO: Touche.

      Read more about Kaytlin here

      ____________________________

      Name:
      Jack Hansen
      School: Arapahoe High School
      Teacher: Ian Ahern
      Play title: The Tale of the Almighty Sword
      What is your play about? A sword crafted by the gods. The story is told through the different people who possess the sword, as the sword brings them closer to God.
      Excerpt:

      JACQUIS: I am the best swordsman to ever live, and I say this hunk of metal is a piece of (bleep!)
      ALMIGHTY VOICE: (Offended) Well... Why is it so awful?
      JACQUIS: For starters! The weight is all wrong! Secondly the hilt of the sword is all wrong! It almost takes two hands to wield it, but there is only room for one! Thirdly -­
      ALMIGHTY VOICE: Fine! Fine, I will rebuild an even better sword.
      JACQUIS: Ha! Good luck you imbecile! You couldn’t build anything even if you were given seven days!
      ALMIGHTY VOICE: (He gasps.) That was just rude! You don’t even deserve a sword! (As he says that, JACQUIS dropped the sword and smoke appears indicating that the sword disappeared. 
      ALMIGHTY VOICE (in almost a crying voice): A good day to you sir! Bloody drunk!
      (A ripple of thunder strikes indicating he is gone.)

      Read more about Jack here

      _____________________________

      Name: Catherine Novotny
      School: Grandview High School
      Teacher:
      Briana Lindahl
      Play title:
      Election
      What is your play about?
      Fallon and Adam are racing to win a student presidential election. Their principal sends them on a mission to uncover a cheating scandal to prove their worth.
      Excerpt:

      HARRY: Did you come to seek answers?
      KELLY: My math teacher is giving an exam tomorrow. Her name is Mrs. Trescott. Third period pre-calculus. It’s encompassing everything we’ve learned since coming back from summer break.
      HARRY: Already have the answers. I will have my superior put these answers subtly on a poster in her room. She will not notice it, but you will. Now, give me $100 and this all happens.
      KELLY: Isn’t your price a little steep?
      HARRY: That’s the price of cheating. Feel the guilt. At least you’ll be getting a good grade. Now, pay up.
      FALLON: I can’t believe Kelly is cheating.
      ADAM: You’re right, Harry is just the money transaction. He’s not in charge of anything. We have to tell Mr. T.
      KELLY: Fine, here’s the money. (She hands over the cash and then runs out. Fallon and Adam are about to leave when another door opens. The other person stands in the shadows.)
      Read more about Catherine here


      Meet our 10 Talented Semifinalists:

      In the DCPA NewsCenter, we presented daily profiles introducing readers to all 10 of our finalists. Get to know them here (listed alphabetically by play title):

    • Divide by Kiana Trippler, ThunderRidge High School
    • Election by Catherine Novotny, Grandview High School
    • Lark’s Mechanics by Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High School
    • Life According to Mauve by Keely Kritz, Denver School of the Arts
    • Open Mic by Joshua Contreras, Gunnison High School
    • Paper Clips by Christina Arias, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    • The Suburbs by Kendra Knapp, Valor Christian High School
    • The Tale of the Almighty Sword by Jack Hansen, Arapahoe High School
    • The Window on the Fourth Wall by Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School
    • Unspoken by Nathan Mast, Thomas B. Doherty High School



    • Video from the teen play readings at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit



      The Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition was sponsored by the Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from FirstBank, MarkWest Energy Partners, The Ross Foundation, Stonebridge Companies, and June Travis.

    • Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit

      by John Moore | Jan 16, 2015
      Colorado New Play Summit by the Numbers


      'Appoggiatura' Playwright James Still and Director Risa Brainin at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore. The Colorado New Play Summit is turning 10 next month, and it’s growing fast. The DCPA Theatre Company’s signature event is expanding to two weekends, and adding workshops and other interactive programming. So, even for the thousands who have attended the Summit over the past 10 years, next month's event will be very different. And for no one will it be more different than our four featured playwrights, who will have twice as much time to workshop their developing material with our directors, actors and creative staff. Here’s a Summit primer with all you need to know: 


      When is the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit?
      Over the weekends of Feb. 14-15 and Feb. 20-21.

      OK, so what exactly is the Colorado New Play Summit?

      The featured attraction of the Summit will be professional readings of four promising, carefully chosen new plays that will then be considered for inclusion in next year’s full DCPA Theatre Company season. Like this year's two current world-premiere plays: Appoggiatura, by three-time Pulitzer finalist James Still, and Benediction, the completion of celebrated author Kent Haruf’s Colorado plains trilogy, adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl. Both plays were first read at the 2014 Summit, and then selected for full production this season.   

      So what is a reading, anyway?
      Professional readings are rehearsed for at least a week, with a director, but with only minimal blocking, and little if any external production effects such as lighting and sound. In general, you will see some of the best actors in the country stand at music stands and read their lines, although, rest assured, the acting is often quite complex and moving. Readings allow the audience to focus on listening to the playwright's words, and their minds then fill in the rest of the picture. While the primary goal is to help writers see and hear their work in process for whatever the future may hold, 57 percent of all Summit readings have gone on to fully staged productions at the DCPA.  

      Is one weekend at the Summit any different from the other?
      Yes. The first weekend is designated as the “public weekend,” and is almost sold out. The second weekend is designated as “industry and subscriber weekend.” While the general public is welcome to attend either weekend, the first weekend features single $10 tickets to individual readings. The “industry and subscriber” weekend is more like a festival, with extra events, meals and parties that are all sold together as one complete weekend package.  

      Colorado New Play Summit


      What are your featured plays  this year?

      Here’s a quick summary:

      The There There by Jason Gray Platt
      One couple traverses a lifetime in a single sitting in this expansive, stirring new play.  From their first touch in the present day through the next 45 years, the dynamics of their relationship fluctuate as quickly as the latest twists of technology. Packing an entire life into six potent scenes, Platt’s masterful dialogue probes thBrian Quijada of 'Victory Jones.' Photo by John Mooree heart and questions what it means to hang on to humanity as the 21st century advances.

      The Crown by Theresa Rebeck
      (A DCPA Theatre Company Commission)
      For the small-town regulars at The Crown, life is an endless series of jokes and over-the-top conversations that liven up the neighborhood watering hole… until a well-heeled woman walks in and tries to buy the beautiful antique bar. A comedy with quirky humor and quick wit.

      An untitled new comedy by Tanya Saracho
      (A DCPA Theatre Company commission)
      Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a Latina character on an L.A.-based TV series. She soon discovers that Abel, the Chicano studio custodian, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows and she begins incorporating Abel’s insights into her scripts, Lucia’s professional stardom starts to rise, but her personal life only becomes more and more complicated. A smartly drawn Hollywood insider comedy from Tanya Saracho, recently named Best New Playwright by Chicago Magazine. 

      Holy Laughter by Catherine Trieschmann
      (A DCPA Theatre Company commission)
      An Episcopal priest finds the reality of leading a church is radically and hilariously different than what she learned in seminary. As she wrestles with church finances, eccentric parishioners, changing sexual mores and her own doubting human heart, Abigail struggles to make peace with the realities of contemporary church life. Hymns, liturgical dance and a wicked tongue lift this antic portrait of a small, struggling congregation to comic heights. Trieschmann wrote last season's hit comedy, The Most Deserving.


      Candy Brown performs at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit.


      Where do all of these new plays come from?

      The DCPA accepts direct submissions from all playwrights residing in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Other playwrights must submit plays through an agent. In addition, the DCPA Theatre Company maintains a healthy commission pipeline. That means certain playwrights are paid stipends to write plays for the DCPA Theatre Company’s right of first refusal. Here is a current list of playwrights whose new works are in various stages of development through the DCPA Theatre Company’s development program:

      José Cruz Gonzalez
      Lauren Gunderson
      Kimber Lee
      Theresa Rebeck
      Tanya Saracho
      Robert Schenkkan
      Eric Schmiedl
      Mat Smart
      James Still
      Catherine Trieschmann
      Paula Vogel

      What else is happening at the Summit besides play readings?

      Playwrights Slams:
      Kristin GreenidgeThe Playwrights Slam is an informal, fun and free Summit tradition where selected playwrights share their works-in-progress in front of a live audience. It’s like a poetry slam, but for playwrights. The public weekend will feature the first ever Local Playwrights Slam at 7:30 p.m.  Saturday, Feb. 14, in the Jones Theatre. Attendance is open to anyone who has bought a ticket to an individual reading. Just call the Box Office at 303-893-4100 for tickets and to RSVP if you would like to attend. The Industry Slam the following Friday night (Feb. 20) will begin around 10:30 p.m. The Summit's four 2015 featured playwrights will be invited to read.

      Observe Matthew Lopez’s Acting and Playwriting Workshops:
      5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, and Sunday, Feb. 15, at The Jones Theatre
      Open to all "local weekend" package holders
      DCPA Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez is opening up his classroom for observation during two acting and playwriting workshops. The acting workshops will use scenes from four of his own plays, and the playwriting workshops will focus on scenes by local writers. It's a great chance for writers, actors and audiences to discover the relationship between a playwright's text and actors’ interpretations. Free.

      Observe Paula Vogel’s Playwriting Boot Camp:
      8 p.m. Friday, Feb 20; and 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 22
      Available to all Industry and Subscriber package holders
      Paula Vogel has garnered awards from the Pulitzer Prize to induction into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. She led the playwriting program at Brown University for more than 20 years, and now serves as a lecturer at Yale. She has taught and influenced countless playwrights over the years. "Industry and Subscriber" weekend package-holders are invited to join Vogel for her signature playwriting boot camp. No prior playwriting experience is necessary to participate. Reservations and tickets are required. Call the Box Office at 303-893-4100 to RSVP if you would like to attend.

      Scriptopia Software Demo Session
      11 a.m. Sat., Feb. 21

      Utilizing tablets, Scriptopia aims to aid the re-writing and rehearsal process by digitally syncing new pages, notes, and more for writers, actors, directors, and stage managers. Off-Center has been experimenting with the software this year, and one of the Summit readings will use it during the two-week development period; DCPA staff will share our discoveries and challenges along with Scriptopia founder Kay Matschullat.

      High School Playwriting Readings
      8 p.m. Saturday, Feb 21, in Conservatory Theatre (Newman Center)
      DCPA Education’s second annual one-act play playwriting program nurtures young writers in Colorado high schools. This fall, DCPA Education teaching artists conducted 143 workshops at schools all over Colorado. A committee blindly judged 158 submissions and chose three (to be named today) to be read at the Colorado New Play Summit. Each of the three winners will receive a $250 cash scholarship. Industry and Subscriber Weekend package holders may attend as part of their package, but this event is also open to the public with an RSVP.

      Off-Center’s Cult Following: Secrets & Confessions

      8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19 at The Jones
      The DCPA’s Off-Center is a theatrical testing center that generates new ideas, experiences and practices for the DCPA. This programming is not part of the Summit, so it requires additional ticket purchases. The cost is $15, and it includes two beers and popcorn. But tickets at the Denver Center web site, or call 303-893-4100.


      2015 Colorado New Play Summit: Times and Ticket information:
      Summit days begin at 11 a.m. and events run well into each evening.

      Public weekend:
      • $10 Individual readings
      • $34 (four-reading packages)
      • $28 (four-reading packages for students and professionals under 35

      Industry and subscriber weekend:
      Packages range from $175 for students, subscribers and “Young Leaders” (35 and under) to $255 for full packages. Packages include meals and access to all events.

      For more information on the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit, or to order tickets, call 303-893-6030 or click here to go to the DCPA’s web site.

      The 2014 Colorado New Play Summit.
    • Photos: The Shelly Bordas memorial service

      by John Moore | Jan 14, 2015


      Push play to see a full photo gallery from the Shelly Bordas memorial, and a retrospective of her life told in photos.


      Steven J. Burge with Shelly Bordas' son, Nathan. Photo by John Moore. Friends and family packed the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center on Tuesday to honor actor, teacher and mother Shelly Bordas, who died Jan. 4 of cancer. Here are photos from the service by the DCPA's John Moore.

      Sarah Rex of DCPA Cabaret's Forbidden Broadway sang the Ave Maria, accompanied by Mitch Samu, and Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's upcoming The Cripple of Inishmaan sang Safe Within Your Arms, composed by Mark Hayes.

      Speakers included Pam Clifton, Steven J. Burge, Emily MacIntyre, John Moore, and Bordas' sister, Katie, and uncle. The pastor was David Kates.


      Our previous coverage of the Shelly Bordas story:

      Shelly Bordas' final message to theatre community: 'Love rules out'
      Shelly Bordas is Colorado's 2013 Theatre Person of the Year
      Denver Actors Fund assists Shelly Bordas
      Podcast: Shelly talks about appearing in Theatre Group’s Debbie Does Dallas
      Photos: Shelly Bordas benefit performances raise money, lift hearts

      The three-part video series:


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

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


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

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

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

    • The 2015 Scenesters, No. 9: Catherine Novotny, Grandview High School

      by John Moore | Jan 14, 2015
      Today on Denver CenterStage, we continue our exciting daily countdown of the 10  student playwrights have been named semifinalists for our second annual statewide playwriting competition. (Details below.)

      9 Novotny 400Scenester No. 9: Catherine Novotny

      School: Grandview High School

      Teacher: Briana Lindahl

      Play title: Election

      What is your play about? Fallon and Adam are racing to win a student presidential election. Their principal sends them on a mission to uncover a cheating scandal to prove their worth.

      Favorite word that appears in your script: "Stakeout," because it really shows what young minds will do to uncover the truth ... and it also has a sense of mystery.

      Excerpt: "You can’t hack your way out of everything."

      Who was your inspiration for writing your play? The TV show Scandal. Politics in TV shows fascinates me, and I had in mind a teen perspective of government. The best part of Scandal is the political corruption, and that gave birth to the cheating ring.

      Killer casting:
      Aubrey Plaza, who plays April n Parks and Recreation as Fallon. She is dry, almost secretive, but she really means best. She has this sense of wisdom that is covered under a mask of slight sarcasm.

      What did you learn from writing this play? That there are so many ways a story could go. One word could change the whole outcome, which is why it is important to give your characters depth beyond just the plot.

      ________________________________________________________________

      About the Denver Center’s 2014 Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition:

      What: “Your Story. Our Stage”: A one-act playwriting competition designed for area high schools. Local playwrights and DCPA Education staff members taught 143 playwriting workshops in 45 Colorado high schools. More than 2,899 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 13 counties, including Chafee, Larimer and Las Animas.

      Why: To nurture Colorado’s young playwrights; develop theatre artists and audiences; develop new plays; and advance literacy, creativity, writing and communication through playwriting.

      How: A total of 158 submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals. Ten semifinalists are being identified through this rolling daily countdown. At the end of the countdown, three winners will be named. They will receive a cash scholarship of $250 each AND a staged reading in the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit next month. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play also will be presented as a fully staged performance exercise for DCPA Education students in the summer of 2015.

      Our complete countdown of 2015 semifinalists (to date):

      No. 1: Christina Arias of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
      No. 2: Joshua Contreras, Gunnison High School
      No. 3: Keely Kritz of Denver School of the Arts
      No. 4: Nathan Mast, Thomas B. Doherty High School
      No. 5: Kiana Trippler, Thunder Ridge High School
      No. 6: Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School
      No. 7: Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High School
      No. 8: Jack Hansen, Arapahoe High School
      No. 9: Catherine Novotny, Grandview High School
      Bonus: Read about 2014 winning teen playwright Laurain Park

      COMING THURSDAY: MEET SCENESTER NO. 10!



      Video from the teen play readings at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit

    • Partial casting announced: 'The 12' will bring Broadway rockers to Denver

      by Hope Grandon | Jan 13, 2015

      From left: Richard Seyd, Terence Archie, Jeannette Bayardelle, Tony Vincent, Colin Hanlon and Anthony Fedorov.
      From left: Richard Seyd, Terence Archie, Jeannette Bayardelle, Tony Vincent, Colin Hanlon and Anthony Fedorov.


      the_12_thumbToday, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced the full creative team and partial casting for the Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere of The 12, a new rock musical with book and lyrics by Tony and Pulitzer Award winner Robert Schenkkan (All The Way), and music and lyrics by Neil Berg (Grumpy Old Men).

      The cast will include a host of veteran Broadway and TV rockers, led by Terence Archie (Rocky) as John, Jeannette Bayardelle (Hair, The Color Purple) as Mother Mary, Anthony Fedorov (American Idol Season 4 finalist, Rent) as Andrew, Colin Hanlon (Rent, Wicked, Modern Family, Submissions Only) as Pete, and Tony Vincent (The Voice, American Idiot, Jesus Christ Superstar, We Will Rock You) as Tom.

      The director will be veteran Richard Seyd, joined by Connor Gallagher (Choreographer), Michael Mancini (Music Director), Wendy Bobbitt Cavett (Music Supervisor), John Iacovelli (Scenic Designer), Denitsa Bliznakova (Costume Designer), Lap Chi Chu (Lighting Designer) and Zach Williamson (Sound Designer).

      Seyd is a Los Angeles-based director whose most recent work includes Noises Off by Michael Frayn at La Mirada Theater, and By the Waters of Babylon, also written by The 12's Schenkkan, at the Geffen Playhouse.

      The 12, set to an original, authentic classic rock music score, follows the disciples as they face the ultimate test of faith in the wake of their leader’s unthinkable death. The world premiere will begin performances on March 27 and run through April 26 in the Stage Theatre.

      “The score of The 12, while totally original, is my open love letter to many of the great genres in the history of classic rock and roll, and can only be tackled by powerful, authentic voices,” said Berg, the composer. “We are thrilled with the cast we have assembled so far and cannot wait to bring this unique musical to Denver.”

      The new musical is described as "thrilling, heart-pounding music - and one of the most influential stories of all time." Broadwayworld.com calls the show "a powerful rock and roll experience that rises up from where Jesus Christ Superstar ends.”

      Complete casting will be announced at a later date.

      Performance schedule:

      • Opens for previews March 27. Opening night April 3. Runs through April 26
      • Performances 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; plus 1:30 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday.

      Tickets and subscriptions:

      New and renewing subscribers may reserve season tickets by calling 303-893-6030. TTY 303-893-9582. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to Broadway and student shows, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single tickets may be purchased online at www.denvercenter.org, by phone at 303-893-4100 or at Denver Center Ticket Services in the lobby of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex. No children under 4 admitted.

      Our previous coverage of The 12:
      Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical 'The 12'

    • Colorado couple's clever response to hate crime draws national attention

      by John Moore | Jan 12, 2015



      CNN's coverage of the hate crime in Denver Thanks to the power of social media, a local actor's response to an act of vandalism at his new apartment just days before Christmas has drawn cheers and national media attention. 

      Award-winning local actor, director and choreographer Matthew D. Peters' fiance, Sean White, returned to their Denver apartment on Dec. 21 to find a hateful epithet crudely scratched into their front door. But White decided to fight hate ... with funny. After sanding off the graffiti, he wrote the vandal a colorful note, and what he said in it has since drawn media attention from more than 25 news organizations and bloggers, including CNN and the Huffington Post. But things really took off when Glee star Jane Lynch (who appears at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on Feb. 14) and Star Trek star George Takei got involved.

      "We realized you can’t fight hate with more hate," Peters told the DCPA NewsCenter for this video. "We were both initially upset, but that wasn’t going to solve anything. Humor sometimes takes the power out of the other person."

      Peters is currently performing in Fiddler on the Roof at BDT stage in Boulder. Last month, he earned a True West Award from the DCPA for his direction of Swing! at the Town Hall Arts Center.

      Video reporting by John Moore.

      The offended door, before and after


      Additional coverage:

      BDT Stage to host benefit performance of Fiddler on the Roof for Denver Actors Fund
       

       

    • The 2015 Scenesters, No. 7: Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High School

      by John Moore | Jan 12, 2015
      Today on Denver CenterStage, we continue our exciting daily countdown of the 10  student playwrights have been named semifinalists for our second annual statewide playwriting competition. (Details below.)

      Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High SchoolScenester No. 6:  Kaytlin Camp

      School: Gunnison High School

      Teacher: Mr. White

      Play title: Lark's Mechanics

      What is your play about? A girl who owns a mechanic shop, and the interactions she has with her customers.

      Favorite word that appears in your script: "Adhesive-duck-cloth-strips."

      Excerpt: "Well I must say, this is the first time I have had the pleasure of meeting a human who eats gears."
       
      Who was your inspiration for writing your play? "I was sitting in class and thought,  'Huh, something steam punk-ish would be cool.' "

      Killer casting: I would cast Osric Chau (Halo 4, The Man with the Iron Fists)
      as Asa simply because he's a good actor, and it's really easy to imagine him freaking out because of a spider.

      What did you learn from writing this play? That it is indeed possible to finish things. It just takes persistence, magic, and the glorious drink called coffee.

      ________________________________________________________________

      About the Denver Center’s 2014 Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition:

      What: “Your Story. Our Stage”: A one-act playwriting competition designed for area high schools. Local playwrights and DCPA Education staff members taught 143 playwriting workshops in 45 Colorado high schools. More than 2,899 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 13 counties, including Chafee, Larimer and Las Animas.

      Why: To nurture Colorado’s young playwrights; develop theatre artists and audiences; develop new plays; and advance literacy, creativity, writing and communication through playwriting.

      How: A total of 158 submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals. Ten semifinalists are being identified through this rolling daily countdown. At the end of the countdown, three winners will be named. They will receive a cash scholarship of $250 each AND a staged reading in the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit next month. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play also will be presented as a fully staged performance exercise for DCPA Education students in the summer of 2015.

      Our complete countdown of 2015 semifinalists (to date):

      No. 1: Christina Arias of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
      No. 2: Joshua Contreras, Gunnison High School
      No. 3: Keely Kritz of Denver School of the Arts
      No. 4: Nathan Mast, Thomas B. Doherty High School
      No. 5: Kiana Trippler, Thunder Ridge High School
      No. 6: Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School
      No. 7: Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High School (today)
      Bonus: Read about 2014 winning teen playwright Laurain Park

      COMING TUESDAY: MEET SCENESTER NO. 8!



      Video from the teen play readings at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit

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

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