• 2016 True West Award: 'Night of the Living Dead'

    by John Moore | Dec 08, 2016
    Night of the Living Dead. True West Awards


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 8:
    Night of the Living Dead

                             Paper Cat Films and The Bug Theatre

     
    It started in 2009 as a simple stage adaptation of George Romero’s 1968 cult film phenom about those hilariously slow, flesh-eating zombies in rural Pennsylvania. But writer and director Kris Hipps’ ever-morphing annual live offering of Night of the Living Dead … Live! On Stage! is now a Halloween tradition that has brought both giggles and ghouls to more than 10,000 at Denver’s Bug Theatre over the past eight years.

    You probably know the classic story of seven people trapped in a farmhouse, surrounded by slowly … really slowly … encroaching ghouls. Hipps’ twist is that anything that takes place inside the house is presented live on the stage, while anything that takes place outside the house is projected onto an overhead screen, utilizing pre-filmed sequences that are re-shot each year by Hipps’ partnering company, Paper Cat Films.

    Night of The Living Dead. True West Awards“I've been a zombie fan since the first time I saw the original Night of the Living Dead as a kid and immediately started thinking about ways to barricade our house in case of a zombie attack,” said Hipps, who created the show with Duane Brown.

    Local theatre critic Patrick Dorn calls Night of the Living Dead … Live! On Stage! the Halloween equivalent of It’s a Wonderful Life. “Except that everybody’s either dead or in danger of becoming so, in a most gruesome fashion.”

    Seriously. Deb Flomberg, the only actor to play the same role all eight years, says the cast goes through four gallons of fake blood each year. Flomberg plays Karen, the creepy infected kid who is dying in the basement.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “I accepted the role without having seen the movie, so I didn’t realize Karen was a 12-year-old girl until I got the script,” she said. “I called Kris and said, ‘Hey, I’m 27 years old. She’s 12. But Karen said I was exactly what she wanted, and she gave me the green light to play with it.”

    Night of the Living Dead Quote. Deb FlombergKaren has since developed what Flomberg warmly calls a weird little following. “I’ll be off-stage and people in the audience will start to chant for Karen,” she said. “I was in a grocery story and this lady came up to me and said, ‘Hey you’re that creepy girl!’”

    Hipps keeps her seasonal staging fresh by riffing each year on a singular quirk in the source film. Early on, the movie briefly shows a dead body at the stop of the farmhouse stairs. Romero never goes back to it or explains it. So Hipps does, in a different way each year. Her live stage adaptation always begins with a scene offering a different possible explanation for the dead body at the top of the stairs.

    “One year the zombies broke into the house while a bunch of little old ladies were having a Tupperware party,” Flomberg said. “Another year, the ladies were having a stripper party – and one of the strippers was a zombie. This year, they broke into them having a charades party.”

    Each year, she said, the production also adopts an overall theme. One year, iconic killers from famous ‘80s slasher films kept dropping in. This year, the story embraced common urban legends (such as, “The call is coming from inside the house!”). Next year, the theme will be science fiction. This way, the audience has a reason to come back each year to see what’s different.

    “I think our audiences love the comedic approach that we have taken,” Flomberg said. “We are not trying to scare anyone, or simply re-create the film. We are just offering up our own tribute to the film that started it all in fun and different ways.”

    This year's cast included Joseph Graves as Ben, Janine Kehlenbach as Barbara, Veronica Straight-Lingo as Judy, Seth Harris as Tom, Colin Roybal as Helen, Patrick Brownson as Harry, Deb Flomberg as Karen and Karin Carr, Kris Hipps, Matt Jaramillo, Matt Schultz, Sara Michael and Aran Peters as the hoard of zombies, reporters and other unsuspecting victims.

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando
    Day 4: Michael Morgan
    Day 5: Beth Beyer
    Day 6: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski
    Day 7: donnie l. betts
  • Photos: Hedwig's Euan Morton and Hannah Corneau in Denver

    by John Moore | Dec 07, 2016
    'Hedwig' in Denver
    Euan Morton and Hannah Corneau offered songs from Hedwig and the Angry Inch before a Q&A with local media on Wednesday in the Wolf Room at the Buell Theatre. To see more photos, just click the forward arrow on the image above. Video to come tomorrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Denver: Ticket information

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, that tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage.
    • Dec 6-11
    • Buell Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Dec. 10
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829 

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    John Cameron Mitchell on the ageless appeal of Hedwig
    Hedwig'
    s Stephen Trask: There are Thors all around us
    Mitchell and Trask: The two halves of Hedwig's whole
    Casting: Euan Morton to don Hedwig's wig on national tour
    Hedwig named to Denver Center's 2016-17 Broadway season
    Hedwig creator’s parents are tearing down a wall

    A Hewdwig 800 a
  • DCPA Chairman Daniel Ritchie will step down in 2017

    by John Moore | Dec 07, 2016
    Daniel L. Ritchie

    Daniel L. Ritchie announces the appointment of Janice Sinden as his successor as DCPA CEO in August. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Daniel L. Ritchie announced Tuesday that he will step down as Chairman of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts sometime in the coming year.

    DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden with Vice-Chairman Dean Singleton will work with the Board’s Governance and Nominating Committee to establish a transition plan by March.

    Daniel Ritchie CEORitchie was only the second Chairman in the DCPA’s nearly 40-year history, succeeding Founder and Chairman Emeritus Donald R. Seawell in 2007. Ritchie has led the organization over the past 10 years, culminating in its most successful season in fiscal year 2015-16. Before that, Ritchie served as chancellor for the University of Denver.

    Ritchie, 85, announced his intent to retire as CEO but remain on as chair in 2014. He led the search for the appointment of Sinden as the DCPA's first female CEO in August. "She's just an extraordinary human being, and I have no doubt she will succeed as a person and a leader," he said then.

    Ritchie said he will continue to be an active proponent of the theatre, education and community engagement after leaving the DCPA.

    For more information, including forthcoming comment from Ritchie and Sinden, click on this Denver Post report, which will be updated later today.


  • 2016 True West Award: donnie l. betts

    by John Moore | Dec 07, 2016

    True West Awards donnie l betts




    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 7:
    donnie l. betts

     
    Radio, film and theatre practitioner donnie l. betts is a black man who has been making a personal statement about the marginalization of black Americans for decades with the intentional lower-casing of his name. But in 2016, as protests over ongoing racial inequities in America spilled into stadiums, streets and reservations across the country, the lower-cased betts was having a decidedly upper-case artistic year.

    As America's simmering racial divide was being  ripped open from the Dakotas to Dallas, betts was directing two culturally significant and achingly relevant productions for the Aurora Fox: The first local production of the seminal Native American tragedy Black Elk Speaks since it was premiered by the DCPA Theatre Company in 1994; and the first staging of the classic opera Porgy and Bess by any local theatre company in at least 20 years - and certainly the first since it was reimagined as a more accessible Broadway musical by Diane Paulus and Suzan-Lori Parks in 2012.

    True West Awards donnie l betts Black Elk Speaks Black Elk Speaks recounts with wrenching rawness the systematic genocide that wiped out an estimated 80 percent of the Native American population over a century. The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess tells the story of a reckless, drug-sniffing woman who turns to a disabled street-beggar for rescue from the clutches a violent and possessive lover in the oppressively racist slums of Charleston, S.C.

    No one but betts gets either of those productions to a Denver stage. No one but betts gets the level of cultural authenticity he achieved in Black Elk Speaks with a cast made up largely of indigenous actors. And no one but betts collects the deep cross-section of talent he has on display at the Aurora Fox in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess through Jan. 1.

    Our report from the set of the Aurora Fox's Black Elk Speaks

    We're talking well-known local veterans like Leonard Barrett Jr. as the cripple Porgy, Dwayne Carrington as Crab Man and Michael Peters as the odious Crown, alongside the sensational second generation of Anna Maria High, Faith Goins-Simmons and Tyrell Rae, who all three continue to be lightning on any stage. All of this matters not without a Bess who can off the equal challenges of properly singing - and playing the wounded Bess. Enter the heart-breaking and ear-seducing Tracy Camp from the San Francisco Opera.

    Porgy and Bess, newly opened in these final breaths of 2016, will certainly go down as one of the most significant achievements of the Colorado  theatre season. This production has it all - a rollicking onstage band led by Jodel Charles; an evocative and fluid slum set from Jen Orf; masterful (as always) work from designers Linda Morken (costumes), Shannon McKinney (lighting), and El Armstrong (sound). And perhaps most seductively: It has living, pulsating, innovative choreography from Laurence Curry. It's a dream team.

    Betts Quote "This is a production that must be seen — for the sheer scope of its ambition, among other things," wrote Westword's Juliet Wittman. "Consider what it took for director donnie l. betts to assemble his terrific small orchestra along with a large cast of tuneful and talented African-American actors, and to meld voices that range from operatic to musical theater into a harmonious, soul-swelling whole."

    No one but betts, whose roots in the Denver theatre community go back to the very beginnings of the Denver Center. When the DCPA Theatre Company was created in 1979, betts was the first local actor hired, working  alongside the likes of Tyne Daly, Delroy Lindo and Tandy Cronyn. That ensemble would later be joined by Mercedes Ruehl, Annette Bening and many other future stars.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Betts was a DCPA regular for nine intermittent seasons. But of all the shows he performed in, it perhaps was one he did not appear in - Black Elk Speaks - that would most impact his future life. Betts was performing in another play on a nearby Denver Center stage nearby, but he would watch Black Elk Speaks from the wings every chance he got. Twenty-two years later, he brought it back to life at the Aurora Fox.

    It's been a long road for betts preserving the culture and voice of the disenfranchised, underrepresented and underserved. But as the protagonist of Black Elk Speaks says: "The longest journey is to the heart."

    donnie l. betts/At a glance

    • Born in Dekalb, Texas, the 12th child of 12
    • Attended Angelo State in San Angelo, Texas, on a football scholarship and later Metropolitan State College in Denver and the Yale School of Drama
    • Founding member of the DCPA Theatre Company, City State Ensemble and the Denver Black Arts Company
    • Performed on Broadway in The Gospel at Colonus, 1988
    • Founded No Credits Production, Inc., a film and video production company that launched his monthly Destination Freedom radio series for KGNU in May 1998
    • Occasionally appeared in the Perry Mason movies that were filmed in Denver in the mid-1990s
    • Directed more than 30 theatrical productions in the Denver area

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando
    Day 4: Michael Morgan
    Day 5: Beth Beyer
    Day 6: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski

    True West Awards donnie l betts Porgy And Bess Photos: Top of page, Leonard Barrett and Tracy Camp in 'Porgy and Bess.' Inset right: Doug Good Feather in 'Black Elk Speaks.' Above: A scene from 'Porgy and Bess.' Photos by Christine Fisk for the Aurora Fox.
  • 2016 True West Award: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski

    by John Moore | Dec 06, 2016
    True West Awards Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski Lost Creatures


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 3:
    Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski

                      Presented by Henry Award-winning actor Maggy Stacy

     

    His name is Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski. But you can call him by his initials: PEZ. It just seems to fit. Like the classic candy, he’s sweet, colorful, spreads joy – and is seemingly dispensed all over the world. Or at least throughout the Denver Center and surrounding theatre community.

    The DCPA’s Associate Director of Education is a master teacher, educator and administrator who also found time this fall to direct And Toto Too Theatre Company’s world premiere of the play Lost Creatures. Local playwright Melissa Lucero McCarl imagined what might have happened in 1978 when eminent British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan interviewed reclusive silent-film star Louise Brooks in her dingy apartment for a profile he was writing for The New Yorker. North Denver Tribune critic Craig Williamson said Elkins-Zeglarski “took the roots of the concept and watered it, fed it, nurtured it, and let it grow and fully blossom.”

     

    True West Awards Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski SonderElkins-Zeglarski’s day job is helping DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous run every aspect of a massive program that has provided access to nearly 106,000 students in the past year, of which 84,000 were youth.

    Last summer, he directed Sonder (pictured right), the winning entry in the DCPA’s third annual statewide teen playwriting competition. This week, he is overseeing one of the entries in the DCPA’s Adult One-Act Festival. This winter, he will lead the DCPA’s highest-level adult acting masters class, which will culminate in a public performance of Born Yesterday. Next summer, he will direct advanced high-school students in a production of Our Town.

    Elkins-Zeglarski was born in Sacramento and began working at the DCPA as a Teaching Artist in 2000. He is as gentle with a beginning actor, Watrous says, as he is with a seasoned pro like Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement winner Billie McBride (DCPA Theatre Company's Benediction), who starred in Lost Creatures alongside 2015 True West Award winner Mark Collins and Annabel Reader.  

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Watrous said it is Elkins-Zeglarski’s authenticity that allows him to connect with artists of every experience level.

    “Truly, he leads with humor, grace and generosity,” Watrous said. “Our DCPA Education team is so joyful, and he is at the center of that joy. He provides an ear for every one of our teaching artists, and he is an example for how each of us can grow in our artistry. Everybody is better because PEZ is in the room.

    “Plus, he decorates our hallways for holidays. He brings that kind of joy to work with him every day. And, he owns more PEZ paraphernalia than anyone.”

    True West Awards Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski


    Elkins-Zeglarski's name was brought up for True West Award consideration by 2016 Henry Award-winning Denver actor Maggy Stacy. Elkins-Zeglarski directed Stacy in a short piece for And Toto Too Theatre Company’s fun annual play crawl along six blocks of Tennyson Street last summer. The event raised funds for one of the only theatre companies in the country that is fully dedicated to telling stories written by women. Elkins-Zeglarski also has furthered the cause of storytelling by women with his work on the Athena Project’s past three new-works festivals – in 2016, 41 performances by women playwrights over 38 days.

    “Patrick has been an artist, educator, director and mentor for many of us in Denver,” said Stacy. “His ethics are unwavering. His artistic approach is based on high values and quality standards. And his work supports and empowers his fellow artists and teaching artists.”

    Stacy nominated Elkins-Zeglarski for a True West Award, she said, “because Patrick rarely gets recognized for his commitment and efforts. But the impact of his contributions has had, and continues to have, a mighty rippling effect.”


    Our video report from the culminating performance of DCPA Education's statewide teen playwriting competition last summer. The winning entry was given a full performance directed by Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski.

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando
    Day 4: Michael Morgan
    Day 5: Beth Beyer
  • 2016 True West Award: Beth Beyer

    by John Moore | Dec 05, 2016



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 5:
    Beth Beyer and Into the Woods

    The evocative sounds of the forest as you entered the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse signaled to all who entered that this production of Into the Woods was going to be special. Even before salad.

    Director Donald Berlin’s opulent production had it all – an elaborate scenic design, beautiful live music, colorful costumes, detailed prosthetics, delightful choreography, moody lighting and a list of accomplished actors every bit as deep as the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl roster.

    And for the first three weeks, it even had Debby Boone.

    Yes, the Debby Boone, who lit up America with the biggest-selling pop single of the 1970s, played The Witch for a limited run. And she was the first to flatly admit that Beyer was better in the role than she was.

    "I'm a pop singer," Boone said. "But these guys here at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse all have had training, and they have these huge vocal ranges. I have to say, they have assembled the most gifted, talented cast here that I could ever hope to be among.”

    True West Awards Beth BeyerInto the Woods is Sondheim – meaning it's music that wasn’t meant to be sung by mortal voices. Byers grew up in Colorado Springs and logged 15 years in New York City and around the country in national tours including The Sound Of Music with Marie Osmond and Camelot with Robert Goulet. Like many New York-caliber performers, she chose to raise her family in Colorado (in this case, Loveland), and Colorado audiences from the Country Dinner Playhouse to Lone Tree Arts Center to the Candlelight have been the beneficiaries ever since.

    (Pictured above and right: Tracy Warren, Matt LaFontaine and Beth Beyer in Candlelight's 'Into the Woods.' Photo by Rachel Graham/RDG Photography.)

    Hiring Boone to open Into the Woods was a delicious opportunity to bring unprecedented attention to Colorado’s now 8-year-old and largest remaining dinner theatre, located 40 miles north of Denver at Johnson’s Corner. The plan from the start was to have Boone guest star for three weeks, then cede the role to the gracious hometown girl.

    Read our interview with Debby Boone

    But when Beyer's turn came to take over the role, she really completed the story.

    True West Awards Beth Beyer QuoteOn the surface, that delightful story intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales including Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella. The plot is tied together by the plight of a childless baker, his wife and their infertile interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them. When done really well, however, Into the Woods should leave the audience a bit shaken by the musical’s unexpectedly deep and dark exploration of the consequences of getting what it is we think we want. And that's Beyer’s bailiwick, says Berlin.

    “As a director, one of the best things you can do is work with Beth Beyer because she works on the authenticity and truth of every single moment,” said Berlin. The storybook witch is evil, to be sure. But part of what makes Into the Woods so provocative is the fact that life has wounded her, and she wreaks her havoc on others in part out of a sense of love and protection for her own daughter.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “That character has experienced an incredible amount of heartbreak,” said Berlin. "She acts out of pettiness of ugliness, but there is also a loneliness about her, so the audience sympathizes with her plight. Beth made her eminently relatable, to everyone’s surprise." 

    But she didn’t do it alone. Here is a list of the primary cast and crew who made Candlelight's Into the Woods one of the most satisfying theatregoing experiences of the year in Colorado:

    INTO THE WOODS
    Director: Don Berlin
    Musical Director: Phil Forman
    Scenic Design: Michael R. Duran
    Costume Design: Laurie Klapperich, re-staged by Rae Case
    Prosthetics and FX makeup: Todd Debrecini
    Sound Design: Mark Derryberry
    Lighting Design: Shannon Johnson
    Choreography: Bob Hoppe
    Technical Director: Dave MacEachen

    The Witch: Debby Boone and Beth Beyer
    Narrator/Mysterious Man: David L. Wygant
    Cinderella: Rachel Turner
    Jack: Kalond Irlanda
    Jack’s Mother: Melissa Swift-Sawyer
    The Baker: Matt LaFontaine
    The Baker’s Wife: Tracy Warren
    Cinderella’ Stepmother: Alisha Winter-Hayes
    Florinda: Allison Hatch
    Lucinda: Katie Burke
    Cinderella’s Mother: Maggie Tisdale
    Little Red Ridinghood: Sarah Grover
    Rapunzel: Sarah DeYong
    Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf: Markus Warren
    Rapunzel’s Prince: James Francis
    The Royal Steward: Eric Heine
    Snow White: Taylor Lang
    Sleeping Beauty: Lyndsay Krausa

    Beth Beyer/At a glance

    • Born in Colorado Springs
    • Graduated from Coronado High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder
    • Lives in Loveland
    • Favorite roles have included include Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone (Broadway workshop), Pam in The Full Monty with Sally Struthers (Pittsburgh CLO), Lina in Singin' In The Rain (Walnut St. Theatre, Barrymore Nomination), Adelaide in Guys & Dolls (International Music Festival, Macua China), Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors (Maine St. Theatre).
    • Local favorites have included Nellie in South Pacific (Country Dinner Playhouse), Ilona in She Loves Me (Candlelight Dinner Playhouse). Guys & Dolls in Concert (Lone Tree Arts Center) and Violet in 9 to 5 (Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando
    Day 4: Michael Morgan
    Day 5: Beth Beyer
  • Denver dates for 'Frozen' announced

    by John Moore | Dec 05, 2016

    Frozen

    The Pre-Broadway engagement of Frozen, a new musical based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning musical film, will play The Buell Theatre Aug. 17 through Oct. 1, 2017, it was announced this morning.

    FrozenThe Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Broadway subscribers may purchase additional tickets starting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 12. Broadway subscriptions are available now. Sales to groups of 10 or more will start in February.

    Single tickets will go on sale to the public in the spring of 2017. For more information and to sign up for alerts, go to Denvercenter.org/Frozen.

    Please be advised that the DCPA’s web site – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for Frozen in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

    This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.

    FrozenWritten by a trio of Oscar-winners, Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Up Here) and EGOT-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck). Frozen won 2014 Oscars for Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature.

    Frozen’s director is Michael Grandage, a Tony Award-winner (Red) and director of three Olivier Award-winning Outstanding Musicals (Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Guys & Dolls), and Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, South Pacific, The King and I) is choreographer. The design team for Frozen includes scenic and costume design by Tony and Olivier Award winner Christopher Oram (Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Evita), lighting design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Aladdin, An American in Paris, The Glass Menagerie) and sound design by four-time Tony nominee Peter Hylenski (The Scottsboro Boys, Motown, After Midnight).

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus (Avenue Q, Wicked, The Book of Mormon) is music supervisor and creates vocal and incidental arrangements.

    Frozen is slated to join Disney hits Aladdin and The Lion King on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre.

    Casting and Broadway dates will be announced at a future date.

    Frozen is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

    Frozen: Ticket information
    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut.

    Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    Aug. 17 through Oct. 1, 2017
    Buell Theatre

    • Broadway subscribers may purchase additional tickets starting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 12
    • Broadway subscriptions available here
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more will start in February
    • Single tickets will go on sale to the public in the spring of 2017

    MORE INFO


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Breaking: Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen
  • 2016 True West Awards: Michael Morgan

    by John Moore | Dec 04, 2016
    True West Awards Michael Morgan


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 4:
    Michael Morgan

    There is an everyman quality to actor Michael Morgan. Ironic, given not every man can do what he's done on area stages with uncommon consistency for 20 years. Morgan brings out the extraordinary in ordinary Joes.

    "Michael is an actor's actor," said Lynne Collins, the Arvada Center's new Artistic Director of Plays. "You watch him and you can’t help but go away thinking you really know whatever guy he’s playing. He’s just very relatable and accessible to an audience."

    But when you specialize in inhabiting regular guys, you don't often command the center of a story's attention. That all changed for Morgan in 2016, when he was cast to play two uncharacteristically larger-than-life characters: No less than Shakespeare in Bill Cain's period opus Equivocation for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and the smarmiest swindler in all of Moliere in Tartuffe, which launched the Arvada Center's new black-box repertory company. 

    Michael Morgan Quote Lynne CollinsTalk about two sides of the ethical fence: In Equivocation, directed by Wendy Franz, King James I commissions  Shakespeare - or “Shag,” as he is called here - to rewrite the history of England’s infamous Gunpowder Plot, the notorious conspiracy to blow up Parliament (with King James in it). Shag must decide whether to sell his soul or tell the truth and pay with his life. Tartuffe, on the other end of the ethical spectrum, is a religious hypocrite who lives off the largess of a gullible benefactor and thanks him for it by attempting to seduce his wife. Talk about range.

    The Boulder Daily Camera's A.H. Goldstein called Morgan "mesmerizing" in Equivocation. Westword's Juliet Wittman called him "gut-achingly funny" in Tartuffe.

    "What was so lovely about Michael in Equivocation was that Shag's desire to do the right thing came through so clearly, with a real and genuine heart," Collins said. "Whereas his Tartuffe was the opposite of that in every way."

    But funny.

    "Oh, he’s screamingly funny," Collins said of Morgan. "He has impeccable and unimpeachable comic timing."

    Morgan's breakout year included playing a lovable neat-freak in Buntport Theater's remarkable, gender-fluid world premiere of 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products, which took place almost entirely in a bathroom. He also played the chief slaughterer in Denver performances of Denise Gentilini's I Am Alive, a new musical that tells the story of the Armenian massacre. He was also tapped by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival to play Caius Lucius in Cymbeline and two roles in Henry VI Part 2.

    Perhaps the most remarkable part of Morgan's year is that he was a newcomer to so many of the companies he easily assimilated into. It's no small task to be asked to carry a show alongside former DCPA Theatre Company stalwart John Hutton (Equivocation) or to blend in as a guest artist with an ensemble like Buntport that has been creating new work together for 16 years. But with both companies, he fit right in.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    When Collins was hired by the Arvada Center to create a repertory company, she had the pick of the metro area talent pool to choose from because the precious few she selected would earn gainful employment for an entire season. And Morgan, she said, was not on Collins' radar when he walked in to audition.

    Michael Morgan Buntport Theater"He was not who I had in mind for the role of Tartuffe, but he killed that audition like no one I have ever seen," Collins said. "Because we were auditioning for the entire season, he prepared three short pieces, and I am telling you - I wish now I had a camera set up to record him for acting classes, because what he did was the textbook, perfect audition for a repertory season." That audition also landed him the upcoming role of Virgil in Bus Stop opening Feb. 24.

    Morgan was born in North Carolina and raised in San Francisco. His family moved to Colorado when he was in his teens and he graduated from Manitou Springs High School. He returned to Colorado Springs after graduating from Doane College in Nebraska, appearing in many productions around the city. For years, Morgan was often found backstage, working as a carpenter for companies all over the Front Range. He's also known in film circles for writing and producing his award-winning zombie web series After The Darklights.

    But in 2016, Morgan was meant for the stage. He presently can be seen this holiday season appearing in the original Christmas play called A Krumpus Story, a dark holiday comedy in which Santa is the naughty one. It's being presented by a new company called Boys Hair Club at Buntport. 

     

    (Pictured above right: Brian Colonna, left, and Michael Morgan in '10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products.')

    Michael Morgan/2016 at a glance

    • Buntport Theater’s 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products
    • Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Equivocation, Cymbeline and Henry VI, Part 2
    • Mile Hi Church's concert performance of I Am Alive  
    • Arvada Center’s Tartuffe
    • Boys Hair Club’s A Krumpus Story at Buntport Theater
    • Company member, Curious Theatre

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando
  • Video, photos: Your first look at 'The SantaLand Diaries' 2016

    by John Moore | Dec 03, 2016


    Your first look at the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 2016 staging of The SantaLand Diaries, presented each holiday season in partnership with the DCPA's Off-Center at the Jones Theatre. Michael Bouchard stars in David Sedaris' off-beat monologue about his real-life stint as a Macy's elf in New York City. The SantaLand Diaries has been called "a sure cure for the common Christmas show." Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

    Listen to John Moore's 2015 podcast with Michael Bouchard


    The SantaLand Diaries production photos: Our first-look photo gallery:
    The SantaLand Diaries 2016

    To see more photos, click on the "forward" arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams VisCom for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The SantaLand Diaries:
    Ticket information
    280x200-santaland-diariesAt a glance: Crumpet the Elf returns for more hilarious holiday hi-jinks in this acclaimed one-man show. Looking for a little more snark in your stocking this year? David Sedaris' offbeat tales from his stint as a Macy's elf in New York City do not make for your typical Christmas show.

    Presented by Off-Center and Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    By David Sedaris
    Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
    Directed by Stephen Weitz
    Nov. 25-Dec. 24
    Jones Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    SantaLand Diaries 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisComYou really don't want to be Riley when David (Michael Bouchard) gets going - even if you can't see the misbehaving kid. Photo by Adams VisCom.
  • December: Colorado theatre openings

    by John Moore | Dec 03, 2016
    December Openings. Euan Morton. Hedwig and the Angry Inch. By Joan Marcus.

    Euan Morton ('Taboo') stars in the national touring production of 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' coming to Denver starting Dec. 6. Photo by Joan Marcus.


    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of all upcoming Colorado theatre openings. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


    If it's December that means holiday theatre — and you have your pick of 33 holiday-themed shows of all tonal stripes listed below. You can even choose between nine iterations of A Christmas Carol, including the one at the Denver Center that features a new director and star in its 24th seasonal staging. But for those seeking secular fare, we have five solid recommendations, followed by a complete list of all your theatregoing options.

    Five intriguing non-holiday titles for December:

    1 PerspectivesThe Aurora Fox is presenting the classic Gershwin musical Porgy and Bess with a new book adapted by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks (TopDog/Underdog) and score (It Ain’t Necessarily So, I Got Plenty of Nuttin’) by Dierdre L. Murray. Set in the 1930s, Porgy and Bess centers on the tragic love story of the crippled beggar Porgy and the beautiful Bess, who longs to turn away from her former life as a prostitute. For The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Parks replaced the opera’s sung recitatives with spoken dialogue, widening the focus to include the full cast of characters living on Catfish Row. This production is directed by the intentionally lower-cased donnie l. betts through Jan. 1 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave. 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    2 Perspectives

    December Openings DCPAThe Edge Theatre revisits one of its most critically acclaimed past productions with Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, directed this go-round by John Ashton. The story follows the psychological travails of Eddie Carbone, an Italian-American longshoreman who is a pillar in his Brooklyn community until he takes an unnatural shine to his niece. Through Dec. 31 at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood. 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    3 PerspectivesThe underground world has been waiting 20 years to see a Broadway touring production of the John Cameron Mitchell/Stephen Trask rock-musical masterpiece, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's the story of an internationally ignored song stylist and her quest for wholeness. Read our interview with John Cameron Mitchell. Plays Dec. 6-11 at the Buell Theatre, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    4 PerspectivesOpus December openingsMichael Hollinger's Opus is an insider's look at a high-strung string quartet going through changes in program and personnel. Days before a televised White House concert, the Lazara String Quartet fires its violist and replaces him with a young woman whose skill inspires the group to prepare a monster of a composition — Beethoven's Opus 131. Doubling the difficulty of the assignment is the fact that the heretofore all-male group has been invaded by a player of a different gender and generation. Presented by the Springs Ensemble Theatre from Dec. 8-18 at 1903 E. Cache La Poudre St. in Colorado Springs.  719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org (Pictured, clockwise from top: Jessica Parnello, David Corder, Dana Kjeldsen, Taylor Geiman and Emory John Collinson.)

    5 PerspectivesThoroughly Modern Millie, the winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, is a high-spirited valentine to New York in the 1920s. It tells the story of a young woman from Kansas who comes to The Big Apple in search of a new life for herself. But life has other ideas in mind. As you might expect, you'll get big tap numbers, swinging music and flappers, flappers, flappers. Through Feb. 25 at BDT Stage, 5501 Arapahoe Ave. in Boulder. 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    And that's just the start of things. Here are all your theatregoing options in one handy list:  

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)


    Dec. 1-18: Su Teatro's Joaquín's Christmas
    At 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or su teatro’s home page

    Dec. 1-18: Boys Hair Club's A Krumpus Story
    Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St. Ticket information READ MORE

    Dec. 2-31: The Edge Theatre Company's A View From the Bridge
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Dec. 2, 2016-Jan. 8, 2017: Shrek: The Musical
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Dec. 2-23: Vintage Theatre Productions’s Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Dec. 2-17: Funky Little Theater Company’s The Nerd
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    Dec. 3-18: Phamaly Theatre Company's Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol
    At the King Center on the Auraria campus 303-575-0005 or phamaly.org

    December Openings Granny. Cleo Parker RobinsonDec. 3-18: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble’s Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum
    Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, 119 Park Avenue West, 303-295-1759 or cleoparkerdance.org

    Dec. 3-24: TheatreWorks' A Christmas Carol
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Dec. 6-11: National touring production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Dec. 8-24: Every Christmas Story Ever Told
    Grace Gamm Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org

    Dec. 8-18: Lone Tree Arts Center's It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, lonetreeartscenter.org

    Dec. 8-18: Springs Ensemble Theatre's Opus
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Dec. 8-24: Thunder River Theatre Company’s The Last Romance
    67 Promenade, Carbondale, 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com

     

    Dec. 9-18: Longmont Theatre Company's Best Christmas Pageant Ever
    513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Dec. 9-22: Lost & Found Productions’ 4 X'Mas
    At The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., LostandFoundProductions.net

    Dec. 9-17: Northglenn Players' Nuncrackers
    DL Parsons Theatre, 11801 Community Center Drive, 303-450-8800 or northglennarts.org

    Dec. 15-27: Thingamajig Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol
    Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Dec. 16-18: National touring production of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Dec. 16-18: Evergreen Players' Seasons Readings (improv comedy)
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreen players’ home page

     

    Dec. 20-Jan 1: National touring production of Finding Neverland
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Dec. 20-23: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Holiday Follies
    The Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Dec. 3: Equinox Theatre Company's One Death, Please?
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Through Dec. 3: OpenStage Theatre & Company’s The Flick
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Through Dec. 4: Maya Productions' Conviction
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-7328 or thedairy.org

    Through Dec. 17: Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org READ MORE


    Through Dec. 18: Spotlight Theatre Company's It's A Wonderful Life in repertory with A Christmas Carol, two live radio plays
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Dec. 18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Bad Jews
    At the Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Through Dec. 18: The Bitsy Stage's Sadko's Song: A Russian Tale
    1137 S. Huron St. Free, but reservations are required by calling 720-328-5294 or  emailing patti@BitsyStage.com

    Through Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    A December Openings The Snow QueenThrough Dec. 23: Bas Bleu Theatre Company's The Snow Queen
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Through Dec. 23: Miners Alley Children's Theatre's The Story of the Nutcracker
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through Dec. 24: DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    At the Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through Dec. 24: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Off-Center's The SantaLand Diaries
    At the Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through Dec. 24: Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE





    Through Dec. 24: The Avenue Theater's Santa’s Big Red Sack
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page READ MORE

    Through Dec. 30: Town Hall Arts Center's A Christmas Story, The Musical
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Through Dec. 30: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's She Loves Me
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Through Dec. 30: Arvada Center's Junie B. Jones, The Musical  (for children)
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    A December Openings Wonderful LifeThrough Dec. 31: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s A Wonderful Life
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Dec. 31: Thin Air Theatre Company's A Cripple Creek Christmas Carol
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Dec. 31: Midtown Arts Center's A Christmas Story, The Musical
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through Jan. 1: Aurora Fox's The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    Through Jan. 8: Vintage Theatre Productions' Beauty and the Beast
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com READ MORE

    Through Feb. 25, 2017: BDT Stage's Thoroughly Modern Millie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
    Ongoing productions
    2406 Federal Blvd., Denver, 303-455-1848 or adamsmysteryplayhouse.com

    BUNTPORT THEATRE
    Dec. 10: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month, through May 13)
    Dec. 20: The Great Debate
    Dec. 21: The Narrators (a live storytelling show and podcast)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
    Dec 14: Jay & Silent Bob Get Old (7 p.m.)
    Dec 14: An Evening with Kevin Smith (9:30 p.m.)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS ...

    (Monthly film series in partnership with local theatre companies)
    Nov. 15: It's a Wonderful Life
    Pre-screening entertainment by cast of Spotlight Theatre's current production of It's a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play
    At the Alamo Drafthouse, Aspen Grove, 7301 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, 720-588-4107 or BUY TICKETS

    December Openings Amahl Evergreen ChoraleEVERGREEN CHORALE

    Amahl and the Night Visitors and Holiday Classics (with Jefferson Symphony Orchestra)
    Dec. 9 at Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St., Denver
    Dec. 11 at Rockland Community Church, 17 S. Mount Vernon Country Club Road, Golden
    303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org 

     

    LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY
    Dec. 31: A New York New Year's Eve' with Chris and Priscilla Flowers
    The Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or Clocktowercabaret.com

    LONE TREE ARTS CENTER
    Dec. 20, 2016: Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A Christmas Carol
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, lonetreeartscenter.org

    PACE CENTER

    Dec. 10: The Ultimate Christmas Show
    20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, parkerarts.org
    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

    Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

    STORIES ON STAGE
    Dec. 10-11: Making Merry
    "One Christmas,” by Truman Capote
    "The Demon Foiled,” by Anne Roiphe
    "The Christmas Bogey” by Pat Frank
    Plus: Holiday songs performed by GerRee Hinshaw, Josh Robinson, Erin Rollman and Gary Grundei

    2 p.m. Dec. 10 at Chautauqua Community House, 301 Morning Glory Drive, Boulder
    303-440-7666 or chautauqua.com

    1:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at The King Center on the Auraria Campus
    303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

  • 2016 True West Award: After Orlando

    by John Moore | Dec 03, 2016
    True West Awards After Orlando


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 3:
    After Orlando, Benchmark Theatre

        Presented by Colorado Theatre Guild Life Achievement winner Billie McBride

     

    The worst gun massacre in U.S. history left the gay community feeling not just vulnerable.


    Hunted.

    The terrorist may have thought leaving 102 dead or injured, most gay and/or Latino, on the floor of the Pulse nightclub would send "others" of all kinds back into hiding. He knows not artists, who realize full well that it is never more urgent than in the wake of tragedy for the raging and waging of peace in the world through art. As the Russian actor Vsevolod Meyerhold once said: "I want to burn with the spirit of the times."

    The international theatre community continues to mark the Florida massacre with "After Orlando," an ongoing series of gatherings in cities around the world to remember the victims; to start a dialogue on how mass gun violence has become so commonplace America; and to prove yet again the enormous role that live theatre can play in communal grief and transformation. 

    More than 50 "After Orlando" events around the U.S. began on Sept. 12 and will continue through Jan. 31. Each consists of a series of short readings of plays from among more than 70 contributed by celebrated playwrights for the project. In most cities, one local theatre company has hosted an "After Orlando" event on behalf of that city's entire theatre community.

    Our NewsCenter report on Denver's 'After Orlando' event

    The Denver gathering on Nov. 14-15 was different. The new Benchmark Theatre Company, which doesn't even debut until next year, presented Denver's "After Orlando" event as an opportunity to collaborate with local companies from Boulder to Colorado Springs. Participating companies included the Athena Project, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Buntport Theater, Curious Theatre, Edge Theatre, Local Theatre Company, Phamaly Theatre Company, Funky Little Theatre Company (Colorado Springs) and Vintage, with a special appearance by The Denver Gay Men's Chorus. Dozens of local actors donated their time to participate in the readings.

    Benchmark not only gathered the community for a common cause on two sold-out nights at the Vintage Theatre, it raised $2,000 for the Human Rights Campaign. Benchmark is co-founded by Rachel Bouchard and Haley Johnson, and its "After Orlando" event was primarily organized by Denver School of the Arts Youth Facilitator Kate Folkins and playwright Jeffrey Neuman (Edge Theatre's Exit Strategies).
     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    "We are humbled not only at the turnout of audiences who came to support this cause, but also the turnout of artists who volunteered their time and talents," said Johnson. "Because of them, we've contributed to an organization that fights for equality and human rights. That is what art is all about - coming together as one to raise each other up."

    The national curators of "After Orlando" are New York's Missing Bolts Productions artistic directors Blair Baker and Zac Kline; and NoPassport Theatre Alliance founder Caridad Svich, whose English translation of The House of the Spirits was premiered by the DCPA Theatre Company in 2010. The point of "After Orlando," Svich said, is "to make some healing art, some fiery art, and some work that just says we can rise up from and through collective mourning.”

    After Orlando Benchmark Theatre True West Awards

     

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando

    After Orlando in Denver: Our photo gallery:

    After Orlando: Denver
    To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Photos in the award certificate at the top of this page by Susannah McLeod for McLeod9 Creative.

  • Steven J. Burge following in God's footsteps

    by John Moore | Dec 02, 2016

    Steven J. Burge. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins
    Steven J. Burge is shown co-hosting the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards in July. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced today that award-winning Denver actor Steven J. Burge will assume the role of God in the comedy An Act of God when Broadway star Wesley Taylor's contract ends on Jan. 22. Burge will assume the supreme role in the Garner Galleria Theatre starting Jan. 24.

    God takes human form in An Act of God, the "sinfully funny" and critically acclaimed new play direct from Broadway. It opens with the King of the Universe tackling His greatest challenge yet: The Mile High City. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight about the commandments and other quotes that have been attributed to Him over time ... and He’s not holding back. The script is based on the critically acclaimed book written by God (otherwise known as "The Bible") and transcribed by David Javerbaum, a 13-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

    Since making his Colorado debut in 2003 as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Burge has appeared on stages throughout the Denver metro area including the Denver Center, Curious Theatre, Arvada Center, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and many others. He is also the co-host of the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards.

    Wesley Taylor Taylor, a Broadway star and fan favorite in the NBC-TV show “Smash,” will play God as scheduled through Jan. 24. Westword's Juliet Wittman said of Taylor's performance: "He is so charming, sometimes puckish, sometimes tough ... and has such magnificent abs." Taylor has been seen on Broadway in Rock of Ages and The Addams Family. On  Nov. 14, he presented a star-studded evening of own short plays in New York City, raising thousands of dollars for charity. 

    Burge has been serving in the understudy roles of God and Michael. Local auditions to understudy for these roles will take place from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21. For more information visit Denvercenter.org/about-us/careers.

    The cast of An Act of God also includes Steven Cole Hughes as the angel Michael and Erik Sandvold as the angel Gabriel. The director is Geoffrey Kent. The creative team includes the DCPA's Lisa M. Orzolek (scenic design), Meghan Anderson Doyle (costume design) and Charles R. MacLeod (lighting design). Making his DCPA Broadway/Cabaret sound design debut is Anson Nicholson.

    The play premiered on Broadway on May 7, 2015, and ran for a limited run with God occupying the body of Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"). The play returned to Broadway June 6, 2016, for another limited engagement starring Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace"). This production in Denver is one of the first regional productions of the hit comedy.

    MEET STEVEN J. BURGE
    God starting Jan. 24, understudy God/Michael through Jan. 22

    Steven J. Burge. The award winning character actor landed in Denver following national tours of … And Then They Came for Me and A Christmas Carol. He was the recipient of The Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Solo Performance in Fully Committed (Aurora Fox), a one-man show in which Steven portrayed more than 30 different characters. The piece also earned him a Henry Award nomination, Westword’s Best of Denver Award and an Out Front Colorado Marlowe Award. Steven has also been recognized for his work in Contrived Ending (Buntport Theater) and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Avenue Theater).

    • Hometown: Martelle, Iowa. It's a cute little farm town with fewer than 300 people in it.
    • Training: I have a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa
    • How do we follow you on social media? I don’t do the Twitter or the Instagram. I’m firmly and archaically planted in the land of the Facebook. Friend me here! <3
    • What was the role that changed your life? In 2003, a tour I was doing ended and I came to Denver to take a three-month contract playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. The plan was for me to do the show and hit the road again. Colorado was so beautiful, however, and the people were so great, that I just kept postponing my departure date. I kept forgetting to leave. Now, 13 years later, I consider myself a proud Denverite. I guess that role didn’t just change my life … it sort of created it.
    • A Steven J. Burge quoteWhy are you an actor? Because I would do it even if I weren’t getting paid to do it. Sometimes I feel like I’m pulling a fast one on the universe when I cash a paycheck from a theatre company. I love being in a room with other creative, passionate, interesting people. I look forward to rehearsals. I look forward to performances. And I’m bummed out on days off and closing nights. I don’t know how many people out there are working jobs they don’t want to take a vacation from  — my guess is, not many. But that’s how I feel about my job. And I never take that feeling for granted.
    • What would you be doing if you weren't an actor: I’d like to find a job where I got paid to sit down and listen to people tell me their stories. I think people are fascinating and I would love to learn about as many of them as possible. Is that a job? If it is, and you’re reading this and you’re the boss of that job … invite me in for an interview.
    • elvira4Ideal scene partner: Denver is known for its sports teams and outdoorsy activities. That’s for certain. But we are also home to a thriving artistic community. I have met and worked with some of the best, most inspiring, most creative actors anywhere, right here in Denver. It might sound like a cop-out, but honestly? I’d love to roll up my sleeves and work with any one of Denver’s own resident performers, any day. (But if that answer isn’t good enough, then I'll say Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She cracks me up.
    • Why does An Act of God matter? Everybody believes in something, right? You either believe there is something bigger than us out there somewhere, or you believe there is not something bigger than us out there somewhere. I think An Act of God does a great job of creating a space for everyone  — regardless of spirituality or religion or lack thereof  — to explore those beliefs in a safe and often hilarious place.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of seeing it? I hope it provides a few good belly laughs, as well as a few quiet moments to contemplate. And if there is a lively discussion or spirited debate on the car ride, home, all the better. That is when theatre is doing what theatre is meant to do.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "... All I want is a room somewhere,
      Far away from the cold night air.
      With one enormous chair,
      Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?"


      That's from My Fair Lady. Yes, I am a #MusicalTheatreGeek

    An Act of God
    : Ticket information

    An Act of God• The story: God takes human form in this critically acclaimed new comedy direct from Broadway. He's finally arrived to set the record straight.
    • Through March 12, 2017
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    (Please be advised that the DenverCenter.org is the ONLY authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of An Act of God.)

    Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Meet Wesley Taylor, An Act of God
    Meet Steven Cole Hughes, An Act of God
    Meet Erik Sandvold, An Act of God
    Casting announced for An Act of God
    A day in the busy life of Director Geoffrey Kent
    Interview: Geoffrey Kent on a laugh-a-minute God
    Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2016 True West Award: Robert Michael Sanders

    by John Moore | Dec 02, 2016
    True West Awards. Robert Michael Sanders


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 2:
    Robert Michael Sanders

    Robert Michael Sanders has been one one of the busiest members of the Colorado theatre community for years, and not even a botched shoulder surgery that left his hands partially paralyzed in 2014 has even slightly slowed him down. In 2016, his haberdashery included acting, direction, properties and public relations. He is also an accomplished singer who just completed his second solo album under the name Robert Michael for release on iTunes later this month. (His 2007 cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" has more than a million plays on Spotify, and he released three previous albums with his band Silence.)

    True West Awards. Robert Michael SandersSanders is nothing if not versatile - and adaptable. Here's a quick rundown of his theatre year:

    • Directed Tell Me on a Sunday for The Avenue Theater; The Last Romance for Cherry Creek Theatre; Guys on Ice for Town Hall Arts Center; and the children's shows Jumping Jiving Juliette and Seussical Jr. for Town Hall
    • Performed in the Edge Theatre's Getting Out and Murder Ballad 
    • Assisted the properties master on The Avenue Theater's Wait Until Dark
    • Directed publicity efforts for Aurora Fox's Little Women, Black Elk Speaks and Catch Me If You Can, as well as The Avenue's Bakersfield Mist

    Onstage, good-guy Sanders is often called upon to play the bad guy - his "resume of racists" is longer than other actors' entire CV's. He has had particularly hiss-worthy turns over the years in the Arvada Center's Ragtime, Memphis and A Man of No Importance, and he owned that persona again this year in the Edge Theatre's Getting Out, playing a former prison guard who takes a shine to a woman just out of prison - with lecherous strings attached. "Sanders'  dual personality turns on Arlene in the worst possible way," wrote reviewer Bill Wheeler. "Sanders delivers his schizophrenic character beautifully, going from the nicest guy on stage to the nastiest in the blink of an eye."

    But what made 2016 a singular year for Sanders was the range he showed in The Edge's Murder Ballad, one of those unctuous contemporary rock musicals that dares you not to like it. But Sanders managed to emerge from a veritable menagerie of pool-hall damage by showing a full and effective range of emotion from gentle to, well, murderous, thanks to a score uniquely suited to his rock background.

    But for all the good Sanders does on and around the stage, perhaps his most impressive trait is his ongoing commitment to the fellow artists in the Colorado theatre community. Sanders organizes and directs Miscast as an annual fundraiser for the Denver Actors Fund - a silly night of games and songs where actors get to play roles they would never get cast to perform in otherwise. It is a logistical nightmare and a dream-come-true for the fund that makes money and personal services available to artists in situational medical need. Sanders' three Miscast-directed events have now raised more than $13,000 for the Denver Actors Fund - a record $7,067 in 2016 alone.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Sanders was chosen to be the recipient of today's True West Award by former Phamaly Theatre Company Artistic Director Bryce Alexander, who relied on Sanders as both an actor and general liaison during his tenure running the acclaimed local theatre company that creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.

    "I am constantly amazed at Robert's overall commitment to every single level of Colorado theatre," said Alexander. "Robert is always there to support you. This amazing artist and person (and his wife) should be celebrated."

    That amazing wife would be Megan Van De Hey. Yes, Sanders capped his exceptional year with a personal coup by marrying one of the most consistently honored actors in the Colorado theatre community. Not bad for a nice guy.

     

    Robert Michael Sanders/At a glance:

    • High School: Broomfield
    • Denver Center tie: He was in the cast of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at the Garner Galleria Theatre
    • Album: “Feel It Coming,” under the name of Robert Michael
    • Next project: Directing Almost Maine for the Avenue Theater, Jan. 13-Feb. 12


    Robert Michael Sanders. Miscast. Photo by John Moore. Robert Michael Sanders addresses the crowd at 'Miscast 2016,' which he directed on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org


    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS (to date)
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
  • Video, photos: Your first look at 'A Christmas Carol' 2016

    by John Moore | Dec 01, 2016


    The DCPA Theatre Company's 2016 staging of A Christmas Carol has been reimagined with a new director (Melissa Rain Anderson) and star (Sam Gregory). Here is your first look. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    A Christmas Carol production photos: Our first-look photo gallery

    A Christmas Carol 2016

    To see more photos, click on the "forward" arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams VisCom for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    A Christmas Carol:
    Ticket information

    A Christmas CarolAt a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

    Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    By Charles Dickens
    Adapted for the stage by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    Through Dec. 24
    Stage Theatre
    ASL Interpreted and Audio-Described Performance: 1:30 p.m. Dec 11
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of A Christmas Carol
    Behind the Scenes video, Part 1: Making the hats
    Costume Corner: What's new with A Christmas Carol?
    A Christmas Carol
    undergoes its own rebirth with new director, star
    Cast lists: A Christmas Carol, The SantaLand Diaries begin anew
    Video: Leslie O'Carroll performs A Christmas Carol in five minutes
    Photos, video: Philip Pleasants takes final bow as Scrooge

    Sam Gregory in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Adams VisComSam Gregory in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Adams VisCom
  • The Christians: 'The play is a pathway to empathy'

    by John Moore | Dec 01, 2016

    In this video interview courtesy of and conducted by Playwrights Horizons, Lucas Hnath talks about his new play The Christians, which will be staged by the DCPA Theatre Company from Jan. 27 through Feb. 26, 2017.


    According to the Pew Research Institute, 70 percent of Americans identify themselves as persons of faith. Yet they remain a largely underserved audience group in the American theatre. And when companies do take on stories about religion, Alissa Wilkinson wrote last year for Christianity Today, “The New York theatre scene is not noted for its religious acumen or open-mindedness.”

    The DCPA Theatre Company has bucked that trend by regularly and responsibly addressing complex questions of faith in a variety of recent plays spanning Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner, Shadowlands, Benediction, The 12 and now, Lucas Hnath’s The Christians.

    The Christians Quote Kent ThompsonProducing Artistic Director Kent Thompson doesn’t think of the local trend as overtly serving the faith-based. That’s because any compelling drama must, in some way, question an audience’s core beliefs, he says — whether the subject of the story is religion or not. That’s the cornerstone of good storytelling.

    “What is intentional for me is that I am always interested in looking at moments in our lives where events happen, and your beliefs are profoundly shaken — and you have to figure out how to move on,” Thompson said. “Maybe that means within your faith. But you don’t only find faith in religion. Faith can be in all kinds of movements, whether you're talking about civil rights or the environment or otherwise.”

    Hnath, like Thompson, is a Preacher’s Kid (or “P.K.”). Thompson’s father was a well-known Southern Baptist preacher and, his son says, a mesmerizing storyteller. Hnath’s mother is an evangelical minister and he thought he might follow in her footsteps until playwriting lured him away. Although The Christians didn’t pull him too far from the world he knew.

    “I was having a very difficult time thinking of other contemporary plays that took on the subject of religion, and specifically Christianity, that did so without satirizing it or prompting us to roll our eyes at ‘those Christians,’” Hnath told The New York Times. “It seemed to me that there was a lack of effort to try to understand what’s at stake in those beliefs.”

    The Christians takes place in an evangelical megachurch that serves a flock of nearly 20,000 followers. Thompson likens the leaders of these institutions to mayors of small cities. The founder of this church is Pastor Paul, who creates a deep schism among his flock when he announces a ground-shaking epiphany that has changed his personal opinion about a fundamental belief regarding eternal salvation. The theological fallout within his congregation will be enormous.

    “The thing I love about this piece is that we are all human beings, and it's all so very complex,” Thompson said. “All theatre is about conflict — but then you have to figure out the path forward, either as a group or independently. How do you deal with events that challenge your core beliefs?  It’s the hero’s journey, and that has really become my obsession.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Thompson said audiences who do not attend megachurches might be unfamiliar with their institutional structure. These churches are essentially independent businesses and are often not affiliated with traditional denominations.

    “There might be a series of beliefs that these churches share,” Thompson said, “but each church hires its own pastor. It's not like the Catholic or Episcopal church where you are appointed by an established religious hierarchy.”  

    In Pastor Paul’s case, his changing beliefs are his own. “But this is how he now perceives God's word to be,” Thompson said, “and he believes profoundly that this is where he must take this community for the next step in its spiritual development.”

    In doing so, Thompson insists Hnath is not making a playwriting statement about anyone’s religious beliefs. “That isn't about pointing the figure at these Christians and judging them in any way,” Thompson said. “It's about watching these dynamics play out that are intensely personal and very human.”

    Lucas Hnath. The ChristiansThe bones of the play, Hnath says, are secretly those of Antigone, Sophocles' play about the daughter of Oedipus who defies her uncle's law to bury her brother. In the end, Hnath says, The Christians is "a pathway to empathy."

    He describes the play itself as “a kind of sermon.” Sometimes it’s a literal sermon, he teases, “and sometimes it’s made up of scenes that use the formal elements of a sermon.” In addition to Pastor Paul, the audience will be introduced to his wife, an associate pastor, a church elder and a younger congregant.  Every performance includes an on-stage praise band made up of eight singers and three musicians.

    Hnath admits his play is made up of intentional ambiguities and contradictory opinions. No single argument “wins.” There’s no resolution.

    “A church is a place where people go to see something that is very difficult to see,” he said in an interview with Playwrights Horizons. “A church is a place where the invisible is — at least for a moment — made visible. The theatre can be that too.”

    Thompson had an opportunity to speak with Hnath about the commonalities in their upbringings, and what the playwright thought was most important that Thompson get right.

    “First, that we present every person on stage as a fully developed and complex human being,” Thompson said. “And to really ensure this is dramatic and emotionally engaging and moving, and not only for what we would call a Christian community, but for any community. Whether that’s theatre-lovers who don't go to church or those who do, or the public at large. Because the journey here is core to the human endeavor. That makes The Christians a story for everyone.”

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


    The Christians:
    Ticket information

    The ChristiansAt a glance: Pastor Paul inspires faith in the members of his growing congregation through his preaching. But when he brings up unexpected questions during a sermon, his changing perspective may ask too much of his followers. Featuring live music at every performance.

    Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    Written by Lucas Hnath
    Directed by Kent Thompson
    Jan. 27-Feb. 26, 2017   
    Stage Theatre
    ASL Interpreted and Audio-Described Performance: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 12
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Making of The Christians: Photo gallery

    Making of 'The Christians' Photos from the making of 'The Christians at the DCPA. To see more, click the forward arrown on the image above. More will be added as the process continues. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

  • In the Spotlife: Austin Terrell of 'A Krumpus Story'

    by John Moore | Dec 01, 2016
    Austin Terrell, left, with the cast of 'A Krumpus Story.
    Austin Terrell, left, with the cast of 'A Krumpus Story': Michael Morgan, Rachel Whyte, Jim Hitzke and Iona Leighton.


    (The DCPA NewsCenter regularly profiles actors performing in theatre productions throughout the state of Colorado.)

    MEET AUSTIN TERRELL

    Nick in Boys Hair Club's 'A Krumpus Story,' a new holiday comedy through Dec. 18 at Buntport Theater.

    • Austin Terrell. A Krumpus StoryHometown: Lubbock, Texas
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Lubbock
    • College: Baylor University (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance)
    • What have you done for us lately? Ajax, Troilus and Cressida for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    • What's next? I will be playing Peter in Silent Sky for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • What is A Krumpus Story all about? It's an original, off-color holiday romp that asks questions about knowing yourself, recognizing your own path and living the life you were born to live. We call it an dark holiday comedy for anyone who wants a little more spice in their holiday fare. In our story, Santa is the naughty one and hard justice compliments the figgy pudding. The show is full of surprises, from Elves to Mio, from Lebron James to peppermint balls, from absurd to touching. This show is hilarious, irreverent, and surprisingly moving.
    • What is your role in all of this? Nick is a complex fellow. There is a constant balancing act going on in his head – he’s a master tactician in a very uncertain and wary world. The biggest challenge for me as an actor is not depending on a comedic “bag of tricks” – but instead letting the language and situations inform this dark little comedy.
    • What do you love most about the challenge? When BHC approached me with the opportunity to read for their new holiday show, I was elated. Since the first reading, I’ve felt a connection to this piece, and it’s been a great joy to see it come to fruition. Denver is filled with creative forces like Leigh Miller, Andy Waldschmidt and Sam Provenzano. Getting to dig in with new and collaborative works makes everyone better, more well-rounded and more adventurous in their play.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? It is not completely unknown, but I am an exceptional chef. I’ve never worked as one professionally – but if I can’t be on stage, I’d rather be in the kitchen. 
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I sincerely believe Denver is in the beginning rumblings of a theatre explosion. I am very, very excited about this community's potential, and I want to be a part of it in every way I can to make it a common ground for new works, activist theatre and heightened performance.

    Troilus and Cressida. Austin Terrell. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    Austin Terrell in Colorado Shalespeare Festival's Troilus and Cressida in the summer of 2016. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    A Krumpus Story: Ticket information
    • Written by Leigh Miller, Andy Waldschmidt and Sam Provenzan
    • Through Dec. 18 at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St. 
    • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays; also 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12
    • Tickets $14
    • Info: Call 303-321-5925 or go to the show's ticketing page

    Cast list:

    • Austin Terrell
    • Michael Morgan
    • Rachel Whyte
    • Iona Leighton
    • Jim Hitzke

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre'sThe Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Jane Shirley of Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2016 True West Award: Jada Suzanne Dixon

    by John Moore | Dec 01, 2016
    Jada Suzanne Dixon True West Award


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 1:
    Jada Suzanne Dixon

    2016 may have the most been the most volatile year in a tense and divided America since 1968. More than 1,000 people have been killed by police, and more than 130 police have been killed in the line of duty. During a hotly contested presidential election, Donald Trump brazenly called Hillary Clinton a bigot. Clinton brazenly retorted that Trump was normalizing white nationalism. "Black Lives Matter" became not only a movement - but a flash point. People aren't just talking about race and politics. They're shouting about race and politics.

    Live theatre can be a refuge from the din because, for 90 minutes at least, audiences have no choice but to listen, if not hear. But theatre is also, by the necessities of long-term scheduling, often a year or two behind the national conversation.
    Jada Suzanne Dixon True West Award
    Not in 2016.

    As protests spilled onto America's streets over race and politics, plays about race and politics spilled onto many of our local stages. And smack in the middle of two was Jada Suzanne Dixon, who took on incendiary roles in two incendiary plays that spoke with uncommon urgency to our volatile national problem that permeated the entire election season.

    Dixon (formerly Roberts) played the only black character in Curious Theatre's White Guy on the Bus. Bruce Graham's literary Molotov cocktail essentially ridicules white people for the ultra-P.C. ways in which they talk about race. Until the main character's wife, an educator, is brutally murdered. He then sweetly preys on Dixon's character, Shatique, a struggling stand-up single mother, for her help in exacting his revenge.

    Dixon was a revelation. Westword's Juliet Wittman wrote: "Jada Dixon, sitting in shadow during the evening’s final moments, commands your attention. You see it all on her face – Shatique’s weariness, rage and pain; her intense and terrible loneliness – and can only wonder at the courage it takes to reveal such emotional depths."

    Dixon then dove head-first into the other end of the American cesspool in Local Theater Company's world-premiere of Meridith Friedman's The Firestorm. Here she played a  highly successful lawyer and wife of a white man on the verge of becoming governor. But when a scandal hits, the power couple begins to fracture. It's very Clintonesque, only with additional and uncomfortable racial undertones that call into question the interracial couple's motivations for marrying in the first place.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Dixon, Denver-raised and NYU-trained, has been a powerful if sadly intermittent  presence on Denver stages for 20 years. In 2016, she morphed before our eyes from a poor and powerless woman facing an impossible dilemma into a poised and privileged political partner. (And opposite two of Denver's most formidable leading men in Sam Gregory and Tim McCracken.)

    At a time when our country is facing such divisiveness in regard to race, power, politics and unseemly human behavior, there was no better time for a strong woman of color not only to emerge on the stage, but to allow audiences to discover - and consider - two strong and very different women of color.

     

    Jada Suzanne Dixon/At a glance:

    • High School: Bishop Machebeuf Catholic High School
    • College: New York University, Tisch
    • Additional training: Harvard - American Repertory Theatre
    • Artistic Company Member, Curious Theatre Company
    • Denver Center tie: She was in the cast of the DCPA Theatre Company's black odyssey


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org


    THE 2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS IN REVIEW
    Day 1: Rachel D. Graham
    Day 2: BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Day 4: Laurence Curry
    Day 5: Bernie Cardell
    Day 6: Susan Lyles
    Day 7: John Jurcheck
    Day 8: Christopher L. Sheley
    Day 9: DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot'
    Day 10: Man and Monster: Todd Debreceni and TJ Hogle
    Day 11: Shauna Johnson
    Day 12: Geoffrey Kent and Benjamin Bonenfant
    Day 13: Sesugh Solomon Tor-Agbidye
    Day 14: Keith Ewer
    Day 15: Allison Watrous
    Day 16: Jonathan Farwell
    Day 17: Bob, Wendy and Missy Moore
    Day 18: Emma Messenger
    Day 19: Shannon McKinney
    Day 20: Mary Louise Lee and Yasmine Hunter
    Day 21: Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin
    Day 22: Scott Beyette
    Day 23: Augustus Truhn
    Day 24: Jimmy Bruenger
    Day 25: The Masters of Props: Rob Costigan, Peki Pineda and Becky Toma
    Day 26: Jalyn Courtenay Webb
    Day 27: Andre Rodriguez
    Day 28: Rebecca Remaly
    Day 29: Mark Collins
    Day 30: Phamaly Theatre Company's Cabaret
    Bonus: Donald R. Seawell
  • Video, photos: Terry Dodd life celebration

    by John Moore | Nov 30, 2016

     


    Terry Dodd. Hitchcock Dreaming. Photo by John Moore. Click the video above to watch highlights from the Terry Dodd life celebration held Monday, Nov. 28, at the Arvada Center. Dodd, a longtime Denver playwright and director, died of a heart attack on Oct. 12. About 400 gathered to honor Dodd with stories, remembrances and readings from some of his notable plays. The host was John Ashton. Click here for information on the new Terry Dodd Memorial Writer's Scholarship established by the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Photo above and right: Amy Elizabeth Gray and Seth Palmer Harris performing a scene from Dodd's final play, Hitchcock Dreaming.

    Read more: Terry Dodd: A playwright, director who bled empathy

    Listen in: Terry Dodd's 2006 podcast interview with John Moore


    Photo gallery: Terry Dodd life celebration

    Terry Dodd Life Celebration

    A photo retrospective on the works of playwright and director Terry Dodd, left. To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Video: Behind the Scenes at 'A Christmas Carol': Making the hats

    by John Moore | Nov 30, 2016

    In this first video in our series taking you backstage to the making of the DCPA Theatre Company's 2016 staging of A Christmas Carol, DCPA Costume Crafts Director Kevin Copenhaver explains some of his secrets in creating the show's signature hats. Video by David Lenk.


    The making of A Christmas Carol: Our photo gallery

    A Christmas Carol 2016

    To see more photos, click on the "forward" arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    A Christmas Carol:
    Ticket information

    A Christmas CarolAt a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

    Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    By Charles Dickens
    Adapted for the stage by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    Through Dec. 24
    Stage Theatre
    ASL Interpreted and Audio-Described Performance: 1:30 p.m. Dec 11
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of A Christmas Carol
    Costume Corner: What's new with A Christmas Carol?
    A Christmas Carol
    undergoes its own rebirth with new director, star
    Cast lists: A Christmas Carol, The SantaLand Diaries begin anew
    Video: Leslie O'Carroll performs A Christmas Carol in five minutes
    Photos, video: Philip Pleasants takes final bow as Scrooge

    Kevin Copenhaver. A Christmas Carol
  • In the Spotlife: Jane Shirley of 'Santa's Big Red Sack'

    by John Moore | Nov 29, 2016
    Jane Shirley
    Michael O'Shea, Derek Hartman, Jeff Kosloski and Jane Shirley in the Avenue Theater's 'Santa's Big Red Sack.' Photo by Steve Hirsch.

    (The DCPA NewsCenter regularly profiles actors performing in theatre productions throughout the state of Colorado.)

    MEET JANE SHIRLEY

    She plays multiple characters in the Avenue Theater's 'Santa's Big Red Sack,' a holiday tradition that began when Shirley and her husband, Dave, opened the Rattlebrain Comedy Theater (now Lannie's) in 2002. 'Santa's Big Red Sack' runs through Dec. 24.

    • Jane Shirley Quote Hometown: Norman, Okla.
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Norman
    • College: BFA from Oklahoma State University and masters degree from the University of Northern Colorado
    • What have you done for us lately? I played multiple characters in the Avenue Theater's Motherhood Out Loud.
    • What's next? I will be playing Lonely 2 in Oddville – opening at the Avenue Theater next spring.
    • What is Santa's Big Red Sack all about? The absurdities that are all around us during the holiday season and the love and joy that abounds when you just give in to the silliness of it all.     .
    • Tell us about the challenge of jumping into Santa's Big Red Sack: The actors handle all props and set changes in this show. I play 11 different characters, so I have to be very organized about costume changes and props placement. I am not an organized person. So that’s a challenge.
    • What do you love most about the challenge? I love getting to do original work, and I love creating with an ensemble. We first opened Santa in 2002, and every year we create new things. I also love it when people who come to the show let me know that they saw us do improv at Governor’s Park or first saw us when we opened the Clocktower. It makes me feel old, but I still love it.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I was a high-school principal for 10 years and had the opportunity to create my dream school - the kind of school I wish I could have attended. It’s still going strong and remains one of the coolest schools on the planet. 
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? If we really want improve our communities and solve the world’s most complex challenges, then we need to change our thinking about the purpose of education. Currently, we have a school system designed to sort kids and one which disenfranchises some of our most talented and creative youth. We have a definition of success that stems from a narrow set of metrics that no one even cares about in the real world. Let’s instead demand schools that nurture curiosity and insist that kids create things, replacing standardized tests with original work. If we can turn our schools into creative communities, then we’ll be graduating students who are truly prepared to lead us into a better future.

     Jane Shirley. Photo by Steve Hirsch

    The cast of 'Santa's Big Red Sack. Photo by Steve Hirsch.



    Santa's Big Red Sack: Ticket information
    • Written by ensemble
    • Through Dec. 24
    • Presented by the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave.
    • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, and 4 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24
    • Tickets $27.50
    • Info: Call 303-321-5925 or go to the avenue’s home page

    Cast list:

    • Jane Shirley
    • Michael O'Shea
    • Jeff Kosloski
    • Derek Hartman

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre'sThe Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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