• Mountain View scales Bobby G Awards' peak

    by John Moore | May 26, 2016

    Overall Production 2016 Bobby G Awards Mountain View Anything Goes


    The Buell Theatre was a Land of Love throughout Thursday’s fourth annual Bobby G Awards, which celebrate achievement in Colorado high-school theatre. Not only was Mountain View High School of Loveland winner of the prestigious Outstanding Musical Award, but brotherly love was on full display when 2015 Outstanding Actor Evatt Salinger handed the 2016 award to his younger brother, Curtis Salinger.

    Mountain View led all schools by earning four of the evening’s 18 awards for its tap-dancing extravaganza, Anything Goes. In all, 11 schools won at least one award, making 2015-16 a second straight year of evenly distributed awards. Fairview High School in Boulder was next with three, with other awards heading out to Durango, Niwot and beyond.

    The Bobby G Awards are a culmination of a year-long program administered by the Denver Center that emphasizes camaraderie and shared experiences - but there is also much at stake. The students named Outstanding Actor and Actress go on to represent Colorado at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. Colorado’s winners are joined by other regional honorees for "The Jimmys," as they are known in New York City. That’s 10 days of intensive training with some of Broadway's leading actors, choreographers and directors, all leading up to a fully staged, one-night performance at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre.

    Now only in their fourth year, the Bobby G Awards have established a literal bloodline to Durango, located nearly 400 miles southwest of Denver. Evatt Salinger was named Outstanding Actor last year for his work in Les Misérables. Curtis Salinger was just a freshman when he played Marius to his brother’s Valjean in that production, which was named Outstanding Musical of 2014-15.

    Curtis Salinger literally followed in his brother’s footsteps Thursday when he was honored for his work as Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde at Durango High School. He will now be joined in New York by new Ponderosa High School graduate Charlotte Movizzo, who was named Outstanding Actress for her starring role inSweet Charity.

    Nominees for the Bobby G Awards are determined by scoring from a team of professional adjudicators. Unlike other awards categories, the Outstanding Actor and Actress winners are determined by two equally scored criteria: First, the students are judged for their actual performances in their respective school musicals. The five students with the highest scores then go before a professional panel for a private, scored audition.

    This year, a record 40 schools participated in the statewide Bobby G Awards program, up from 30 the year before. Mountain View, a school with an enrollment of 1,200, is located 45 miles due north of Denver on I-25. It was considered a favorite going into Thursday’s ceremony on the basis of its 10 nominations. It also won for Outstanding Costume Design, Choreography and Chorus.

    The ceremony was filled with emotional moments, none more so than when DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg announced Curtis Salinger’s name. As last year’s winners, Evatt Salinger and former classmate Emma Buchanan were tasked with presenting trophies to each of Thursday’s honorees. The Buell crowd erupted when it became evident that the Salingers are brothers.

    “I watched my brother win last year, and it was everything that I could ever dream of,” said Curtis.

    Watch our fun time-lapse video covering Wednesday's day-log Bobby G Awards​ rehearsal, including performances by Fairview, Arvada West, Denver School of the Arts, Mountain View and Cherry Creek. Video shot by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    Of note to the local theater community was Brandon Warren’s win as Outstanding Supporting Actor for his performance as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Fairview High School’s Guys & Dolls. Brandon is the son of acclaimed local actor and theatre educator Tracy Warren, who recently starred in Mary Poppins for BDT Stage in Boulder, and is currently performing in Into the Woods with Debby Boone at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown.

    Westminster High School's Andre' Rodriguez, who was named Outstanding Director in 2015, was part of the team that won the Bobby G Award for Outstanding Scenic Design, for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Rodriguez has now been nominated in all four years of the Bobby G Awards.

    Students and educators were honored in the areas of performance, design, direction, choreography, technical production and overall production excellence. All participating schools received one personal master class session with a DCPA Education theatre teacher. Winners of the Outstanding Supporting Actor, Actress and Rising Star (Outstanding Underclassman) awards also earn a full year of free classes at the Denver Center. “The DCPA is proud to be a part of your journey,” said Education Director Allison Watrous.

    While the Bobby G Awards culminate each year with Thursday's awards ceremony, which is modeled after the Tony Awards, the year-long focus of the program is to both celebrate and educate. The participating schools receive detailed feedback on their musical productions from the adjudicators. The 10 nominated Outstanding Actors and Actresses are invited to the Denver Center two weeks before the awards to prepare a medley together in community and friendship, which they then perform at the ceremony on the Buell Theatre stage.

    Each of the five nominated Outstanding Productions performed a musical number during the ceremony, each drawing thunderous appreciation from an enthusiastic Buell Theatre crowd estimated at 1,700.

    The Bobby G Awards were founded in 2013 by the late DCPA President Randy Weeks. They are named after late producer Robert Garner, who established Denver as a top destination for touring Broadway shows.

    Veteran Broadway actor Candy Brown, who was in the original Broadway casts of Pippin and A Chorus Line, presented four awards. She is now a teaching artist at Denver School of the Arts, which earned seven nominations for its production of Spring Awakening, which is one of two finalists for Outstanding Musical at the national thespian convention next month in Lincoln, Neb.

    If Brown’s era was the Golden Age of Broadway, she told the current high-school performers in the crowd that they will represent the Platinum Age – one in which “race, creed or color will not matter if you do your job,” she said.

    The Master of ceremonies was again Greg Moody, longtime known as Colorado's Critic-At-Large for CBS-4.

    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 2015-16 BOBBY G AWARDS


    Bobby G Awards Anything Goes Mountain West
    Mountain View High School's Outstanding Musical "Anything Goes" at Wednesday's Bobby G Awards rehearsal. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
    Anything Goes, Mountain View High School

    Other nominees:
    • Les Misérables, Arvada West High School
    • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Cherry Creek High School
    • Spring Awakening, Denver School of the Arts
    • Guys and Dolls, Fairview High School


    Direction

    Outstanding Achievement in Direction
    Lanny Boyer and Janice Vlachos, Fairview High School, Guys & Dolls   

    Other nominees
    :
    • Lindsey Welsh, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables
    • Jimmy Miller, Cherry Creek High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • Shawn Hann, Denver School of the Arts, Spring Awakening
    • Brian Cook, Annie Dwyer and Tom Mullin, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


    Lead Actress


    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Charlotte Movizzo, Ponderosa High School, Sweet Charity, Charity Hope Valentine

    Other nominees:
    • Sienna Sewell, Fairview High School, Guys & Dolls, Sarah Brown
    • Abbie Cheney, Glenwood Springs High School, Anything Goes, Reno Sweeney
    • Savannah Wood, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes, Reno Sweeney
    • Keala Fraioli, Steamboat Springs High School, Legally Blonde, Elle Woods


    Lead Actor Bobby G Awards
    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

    Curtis Salinger, Durango High School, Legally Blonde, Emmett Forrest

    Other nominees:
    • Danny Miller, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables, Jean Valjean
    • Garrett Charles, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables, Javert
    • Michael Kosko, Denver School of the Arts, Spring Awakening, Moritz
    • Jacob Pearce, Fairview High School , Guys & Dolls, Nathan Detroit


    Rising Star Bobby G Awards
    Rising Star (honoring underclassmen):

    Abby Lehrer, Valor Christian High School, Mary Poppins, Bird Woman

    Other nominees:
    • Matti Guillette, Durango High School, Legally Blonde, Margot
    • Jenna Szczech, Durango High School, Legally Blonde, Pilar
    • Audrey Smith, Fort Collins High School, Company, Sarah
    • John Kibozi, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Levi


    Supporting Actress Bobby G Awards
    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

    Senora Robinson, Durango High School, Legally Blonde, Serena

    Other nominees:
    • Lauren Rocha, Brighton High School, Tarzan, Kala
    • Tilly Leeder, Durango High School, Legally Blonde, Vivienne Kensington
    • Hannah Jones, Legend High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Gabrielle
    • Elleon Dobias, Valor Christian High School, Mary Poppins, Miss Andrew


    Supporting Actor Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role   Other nominees
    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

    Brandon Warren, Fairview High School, Guys & Dolls, Nicely-Nicely Johnson

    Other nominees:
    • Marcos Ospina, Boulder High School, Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere
    • Jimmy Bruenger, Denver School of the Arts, Spring Awakening, Hanschen
    • Jacob Sadow, Fairview High School, Guys & Dolls, Harry the Horse
    • Michael Mathey, Legend High School, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Jean-Michel


    Musical Direction
    Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction

    Michael Bizzaro and Travis Keller, Fairview High School, Guys & Dolls   

    Other nominees:
    • Chris Maunu and Craig Melhorn, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables
    • Kaitlin Miles, Fort Collins High School, Company
    • Phil Forman, Bryan Kettlewell and Peter Toews, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes
    • Brian Cook, Charles Craig and Vicki Duckworth, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


    OrchestraOutstanding Performance by an Orchestra

    Arvada West High School, Les Misérables       

    Other nominees:
    • Boulder High School, Beauty and the Beast
    • Denver School of the Arts, Spring Awakening
    • Fairview High School, Guys and Dolls
    • Mountain View High School, Anything Goes


    Chorus
    Outstanding Performance by a Chorus
    Mountain View High School, Anything Goes

    Other nominees
    :
    • Arvada West High School, Les Misérables
    • Brighton High School, Tarzan
    • Cherry Creek High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • Fairview High School, Guys and Dolls


    Choreography
    Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

    Bailey Friar and Tammy Johnson, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes

    Other nominees:
    • Angie Dryer, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables
    • Leigh Miller and Lindsey Solano, Brighton High School, Tarzan
    • Ronni Gallup, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Cherry Creek High School
    • Karen Cassel and Emma Sappey, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


    Scenic Design
    Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design

    Corey Baca, Brandon PT Davis and Andre Rodriguez, Westminster High School, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee           

    Other nominees:
    • Jane Archuleta, Nick Dibbern, Phil Lollar and Sammy Perez, Brighton High School, Tarzan
    • Jack Hagen, Yuuki Hashimoto and Caleb Nghe, Cherry Creek High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • Shailyn Clay, Tyler King, Rebecca Reynolds and Lucas Sanchez, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes
    • Mallory Hart, Riley Hoffman and Rhys Holton, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


    Lighting Design
    Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
    Whitney Larson and Kayli Porterfield, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables


    Other nominees:

    • Yasmin Farsad, Cherry Creek High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • Lenora Grant and Caleb Werkmeister, Fairview High School, Guys & Dolls
    • Jude Franco and Tanner Friar, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes
    • Mallory Hart and Katherine Yates, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat



    Costume Design
    Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
    Jen Bleem, Cindy Sipes and Lauryn Starke, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes

    Other nominees:

    • Harrison Haggas, Chaney McCulloch, Shelly Cox-Robie and Chris Sweeney, Boulder High School, Beauty and the Beast
    • Jimmy Miller and Katya Zabelski, Cherry Creek High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • MaryV Benoit and Lara Kirksey, Denver School of the Arts, Spring Awakening
    • Molly Merewether, Teri Nydegger, Amy Sares and Denise Wood, Wheat Ridge High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat



    Hair and Makeup
    Outstanding Achievement in Hair and Make-up Design
    Austin Sabala, Boulder High School, Beauty and the Beast

    Other nominees:

    • Kendall Mesch, Arvada West High School, Les Misérables
    • Marrisa Hadden, Cherry Creek High School, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • Skylar Arterburn and Owen Nuss, Denver School of the Arts, Spring Awakening Averi Davis and Emma Smith, Mountain View High School, Anything Goes




    Photo gallery: Day 1 of the 2016 Bobby G Awards

    2016 Bobby G Awards
    Photos from Thursday's awards ceremony will be posted on Friday.

    SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT WINNERS:

    • Achievement in Costuming: Annie Trumble, D’Evelyn High School, Young Frankenstein
    • Achievement in Student Direction: Shu Lee and Aurora Vadas-Arendt, Niwot High School, The Sound of Music
    • Achievement in Orchestra: Tristana Whetten, Vista PEAK Preparatory, Beauty and the Beast
    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    Photo from Day One of the 2016 Bobby G Awards
    Meet your 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete listBobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
  • Photo gallery: Day 1 of the 2016 Bobby G Awards

    by John Moore | May 26, 2016
    2016 Bobby G Awards

    Bobby G Awards Evatt SalingerHere are our best photos from the full day of rehearsal for the 2016 The Bobby G Awards, held Wednesday, May 25 at the Buell Theatre. The awards, which the public is encouraged to attend, take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. To see more, click the forward arrow on the photo above. To download any photo for free, click on it and follow instructions. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter. Visit  www.MyDenverCenter.Org

    (Pictured right: Evatt Salinger, winner of the 2015 Bobby G Award for Outstanding Actor, rehearses for a medley he will perform as part of the 2016 awards ceremony.)



    This is fun! Watch our time-lapse video covering the day-long Bobby G Awards rehearsal, including performances by Fairview, Arvada West, Denver School of the Arts, Mountain View and Cherry Creek. Video shot by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk on May 25 in advance of the 2016 awards show on May 26 at the Buell Theatre.

    Bobby G Awards: Ticket information
  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    Meet your 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete listBobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
  • Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists

    by John Moore | May 25, 2016

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The fourth annual awards and performance take place Thursday, May 26, at the Buell Theatre. Today we introduce you to the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City.

    Arvada West Garrett Charles 

    GARRETT CHARLES

    Javert, Les Misérables
    Arvada West High School
    Class of 2017

    • College plans: BYU
    • Your Director: Lindsey Welsh
    • First role: This is it. It was such an honor to be cast in such a large role as a rookie.
    • Garrett CharlesWhy do you perform? Because I love to see the emotions I can evoke from an audience.  It's the greatest feeling to know someone appreciated your work enough to let affect them emotionally.  It's the greatest compliment to hear, "Garrett, you made me cry with that song."  It means I've made someone's life a little better by sharing my hard work and talent. That is what I live for.
    • Ideal scene partner: Honestly, it was so much fun to do “The Confrontation" with my classmate, Danny Miller. But I would love to sing it with Alfie Boe.  I am such a fan of that man's voice and his work in the 25th Anniversary recording of Les Misérables was phenomenal. It would be such an experience to perform with him.
    • Favorite moment from your show: If I was forced to pick from the among the millions I'd probably say performing “The Epilogue on closing night. I remember entering from underneath the bridge I had thrown myself off of just scenes before, my head whirling with emotions. During that song, I reflected on the entire process and realized how much change I had gone through personally as a result of joining the family that is the Arvada West Theatre Company.  I remember glancing to either side of me and seeing tears streaming down all of my friends' faces.  The emotion and power of that performance topped anything I'd ever experienced.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: My police-officer uniform had a flap on the front, which was sewn on one side and had Velcro on the other.  After the prologue, I had to do a quick costume change to go back out and play a street urchin, and with the urgency of my costume change on my mind, I ran to the dressing room and promptly tore the flap clean off of the front of my police uniform.  I now had an official-looking trapezoid of cloth in my hand and a very plain-looking blue tailcoat on my body.  I knew I had to be onstage quickly, so I completed my costume change and pounded on the girls’ dressing room door like there was a fire.  They told me I was safe, so I opened the door, mumbled, "ItoremyflapoffcansomeonegosewitbackonIgottabeonstagethanks!" and closed the door.  Thankfully they were able to decode my panicked slur - and the audience never found out about it.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? Javert has been my dream role ever since I found out about Les Mis my freshman year. To be cast in such an important role almost blindly was such an honor, and I was determined not to let anyone in the production down.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I was extremely surprised when Ms. Welsh read my name. I did not expect to be nominated alongside someone with so much talent as our Jean Valjean, who was also nominated.  I definitely owe thanks to my directors for having the faith to cast me despite never really having seen me act before.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing arts are the quickest way to get a gigantic circle of friends.  Also, if you don't want the pressure of being onstage or in the pit, there's always a need for crewmembers to run the show behind the scenes, and you will still have the same bonding experiences with your friends that all those onstage do.  I absolutely love it, and I think you will, too.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? Arts education and extra-curricular activities save lives.  I've learned that being a part of something larger than yourself helps you mature, and gives you productive outlets for you pain and sorrow.  That's definitely what theatre and choir are for me.
    • Last word: Thank you so much for the nomination. I'm so honored to be considered for this prestigious award.


     Denver School of the Arts Michael Kosko Bobby G Awards

    MICHAEL KOSKO

    Moritz Stiefel, Spring Awakening
    Denver School of the Arts
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
    • Your Director: Shawn Hann
    • First role: I was the Mayor of MunchkinLand in The Wizard of Oz in the 6th Grade at Campus Middle School.
    • Actor Quote 2 Michael Kosko Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? I had an obsession with The Wizard of Oz my entire childhood. My older brother loved Pokémon and G.I. Joes, and I just loved Oz. I would parade around saying I’d be the Scarecrow when I grew up. So of course, when the middle school announced the spring musical of The Wizard of Oz, my mother made me audition. The rest is history. Theatre has become my form of expression. It’s the human connection through this work. We all have rich pain and emotion - and in this art form, we’re able to understand others.
    • Ideal scene partner: The first of many to come to mind is Jessica Lange. I have so much respect for the woman. She’s one of the bravest and most powerful artists I can think of, so to do a scene with her would be unreal. More specifically, to play her son, Edmund, in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, would be the dream.
    • Favorite moment from your show: Absolutely, it was saying the line, “I’m ready now: I’ll be an angel.” During that line, I’m on my knees collecting the lilies that llse dropped, and by the end come to the realization that I really am ready. And then I’d take a big breath of the flowers, carefully set them down and then pull out the gun. It was raw and terrifying and beautiful.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: We had this wonderful moment during an evening performance where my good friend Jimmy Bruenger, who was playing Hanschen, forgot the gun to hand me at the end of the song And Then There Were None. It’s essential to that moment for the gun to appear, and the second the lights shifted into the final chords: he bolted off stage-right and vanished. As each of the other boys made their exits, Jimmy, from the corner of my eye, came charging through the stage door and then stopped dead right at the last foot of wall protecting him from view of the audience. Then, as confident as ever, he strolled on and threw the gun in my hand. It was thrilling.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? This became my dream role in the fall of my freshman year. I wanted nothing more than to play Moritz, and the last thing I could have ever imagined was playing him for my senior musical. It was the biggest deal for me, and it felt so right. I never doubted what he was to me, and where he lived in me. My little Moritz is a huge part of me.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is unreal to me, and such an incredible, incredible honor. In the 10th grade, I was in Cherry Creek High School’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and performing at the Bobby G Awards that year as a finalist for Outstanding Musical was the biggest nomination I thought I’d ever come across. I could have never anticipated being nominated myself two years later.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? I’d say this is the single most important thing in the world. It teaches you what it means to be human. There’s something seriously missing from the boy or girl who is not in the arts. It allows you to feel. There are so many moments in this life when we have to step into the fear, and the moment you’re slightly uncomfortable is the moment you’re living. You must be brave. If you’re even the tiniest bit interested in something: Pull the thread. Investigate it. You owe it to yourself to be open to everything.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? It taught me how important it is to push the bill. Our wonderful principal doesn’t believe in the censorship of art, and we were so fortunate to have his blessing to perform full version of Spring Awakening. Arts education frees you completely. It gives you the ability to process heavy depression or intense delight and really feel those things, but be OK. This show was my biggest challenge yet, but it helped me to understand my emotions and how to deal with them. It taught me that through the darkness, there is always light.



    Arvada West Danny Miller Bobby G Awards

    DANNY MILLER

    Jean Valjean, Les Misérables
    Arvada West High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: Majoring in classical voice at the University of Northern Colorado
    • Your Director: Lindsey Welsh
    • First role: It was back in 2014, when I was cast to play The Phantom in Arvada West's production of Phantom of the Opera
    • Actor Quote 3 Danny Miller Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? For the joy of meeting new friends I can call my family. And to share music with the world.
    • Ideal scene partner: Ramine Karimloo is my idol. I love his work, and it would be a dream to work with him. He's my inspiration.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong, and how you bounced back: I forget words and flip lyrics around, and once I forgot the words to "Alive," a song in Jekyll and Hyde - and I did not bounce back at all. I literally sang the rest of the song in something like growls and grunts.
    • Favorite moment from your show: The slight moments of silence after singing the last glimmering note of your song.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? This was a euphoric dream. It was unreal. I couldn't have been more excited to be playing the same role as my idols.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? Being nominated again is truly a humbling and scary opportunity. I'm so excited!
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Fake it till you make it, be confident in your ability to succeed.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? It's enlightening, and I think everyone should have a chance to do live theatre. It really expands your mind to its limits.

     


     Fairview Jacob Pearce Bobby G Awards

    JACOB PEARCE

    Nathan Detroit, Guys & Dolls
    Fairview High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: Studying International Affairs and Theatre at George Washington University 
    • Your Directors: Janice Vlachos and Lanny Boyer
    • First role: I played Bully the bullfrog in Bully the Bullfrog, The Musical. I was 6, and in the 1st grade.
    • Actor Quote 4 Jacob Pearce Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? To help people to escape from daily lives, and provide that same kind of escape for myself. 
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Emma Watson, because she seems like such a fun person to work with. Plus just meeting her would be awesome. 
    • Favorite moment from your show: Every day, I got to ad-lib a little bit while Adelaide (Carrie Douglass) had a quick-change. Getting to improvise every performance was such a blast. 
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It meant I could fully immerse myself in my character’s life and for a few hours each day get to live life from his perspective. 
    • How does it feel to be nominated? Appreciated and honored. 
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? You will be challenged so much in so many ways, but all of these challenges will shape your life in such a positive way. Do not pass up the opportunity to live the life of another and to carry people away from the turmoil of their everyday lives. 



    Durango Curtis Sallinger Bobby G Awards


    CURTIS SALLINGER

    Emmett Forrest, Legally Blonde, The Musical
    Durango High School
    Class of 2018

    • College plans: I’m a sophomore
    • Your Director: Ben Mattson
    • First role: I was a flyboy in the musical Neville at the Durango Arts Center when I was 5 years old.
    • Actor Quote 5 Curtis Sallinger Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? Because I love how much you can discover about yourself and your life by portraying someone else. I love sharing the wonderful art of performance, and I love the home, the family, and the trust a theatre creates.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Brian D’arcy James because he is a phenomenal actor and so versatile and seems like such a fun genuine guy.
    • Favorite moment from your show: I very much enjoyed Elle’s proposal at the end. (Spoiler!)
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: I ran on-stage after a very hectic off-stage incident getting my mic checked and - fully committed and 100 percent serious - I called to Elle, but Elle didn’t come out of my mouth. Instead, I said, “SAM!!!!” I said, “Man I’m stressed out, Elle, what are you doing here?” and continued on. It was real smooth.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It’s such an amazing experience to work with a cast and put on a show. I just don’t know how to describe it. It’s an amazing feeling.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? Unreal. I came to the Bobby G Awards last year and watched my brother (Evatt Salinger) win for Outstanding Actor. I watched the guys, dreaming I could be one of them someday. That dream is coming true, and it's exhilarating.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? It is so much fun. You get so much support. You develop a place in your school where you can go for help with anything. The only negative aspect is it's really time-consuming. But putting in long hours doing something you love, in my opinion, is worth it.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? The diverse group of friends you make from all grade levels is something that makes life in school so much easier. The performing arts at our school is so important to so many people and it develops a family that you’d never expect from a school environment. Arts education is essential, and should never be taken for granted.
    • Last word: Guys, it’s hard to do theatre. I get that. But it's also extremely fun. Don’t let negativity and scorn discourage you from pursuing something you’re passionate about. It’s also extremely important that you’re not afraid to cry or show emotions. Never lose touch of your feelings, or yourself.

    Brothers Bobby G Awards Sallingers
    ​Curtis Sallinger celebrated his brother Evatt's victory as Outstanding Actor at last year's Bobby G Awards with a body lift. This year, Curtis is nominated as a sophomore. Photo by Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School



    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete listBobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
  • Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists

    by John Moore | May 24, 2016

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The fourth annual awards and performance take place Thursday, May 26, at the Buell Theatre. Today we introduce you to the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actress.  The winner will advance to represent Colorado at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City.  

    Glenwood Springs

    ABBIE CHENEY

    Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes
    Glenwood Springs High School
    Class of 2017 

    • College plans: Pursuing a performing-arts degree
    • Your Director: Kate McRaith 
    • First role: Oh, man. The first role I played was a cabbage in my elementary school play. I stuffed some green burlap with newspaper and sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” by Aretha Franklin and did the can-can. I was pretty proud about that one! 
    • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? I feel at home and powerful on stage. I am my best self, love the people I have met and love the audience-performer relationship. There is so much love put into a show and a character - that is what I find so amazing. 
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to perform with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is playing Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton on Broadway. I think any part of that would be amazing. It is such an original piece of work that has changed the way I see rap music and American history. 
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: When I was in 7th grade, I played Ms. Hannigan in Annie. Ms. Hannigan is a little raunchy, so I was wearing these tall heels. Of course, I fell. It was very embarrassing. But the character is supposed to be a little tipsy through the entire show, so I played it off in that way.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role?  So much. When I started to educate myself on the show and its characters, I connected with Reno immediately. She not only is sexy, beautiful and has amazing songs, she has a dynamic about her that makes her such a deep character.  
    • Favorite moment from your show: Anything involving the full cast. I always feel so loved and appreciated by them, and a rehearsal can change any of my bad days. It was times like the after-show dinners at Village Inn, and the full-cast rehearsals that I remember most. I love my theater family. 
    • How does it feel to be nominated? So humbling. I am thankful for all the adults and students who help and encourage me. I am stunned at the support of my community and friends. I feel so loved.  
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing arts have truly changed my life. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of doing. As far as nerves, I always say that when you are on stage, it is your job to have a great time and do your best. I always have to tell myself that I am in control of where I spend my energy, so if you put all that energy toward knocking the audience out of their seats, then you are golden.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? I always found that it was so important to have extracurricular opportunities. But after this, I value it even more. It is essential that not only programs are present, but students have opportunities to shine within them. 
    • Last word: Thank you to Mom, Dad, Papa, and all the friends back home who have supported me whole heartedly. You know who you are, and I hope you know I am so thankful for you. 
     



    Steamboat Springs

    KEALA FRAIOLI

    Elle Woods, Legally Blonde, The Musical
    Steamboat Springs High School
    Class of 2017

    • Postgraduate plans: Performing at Disney World
    • Your Director: Jamie Oberhansly
    • First role: I was cast in first grade as Ngana in South Pacific!
    • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? It’s what I love, and I always feel at home when I am onstage.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to act with Lily James because I love Cinderella, and the remake she was in was amazing.
    • Favorite moment from your show: This show was definitely packed full of some great memories but for sure closing night was the best with everyone just leaving everything out on the stage and the energy was so high. My vocal chords were so shot, so I would be backstage pantomiming everything. It got to the point where people just stopped asking me questions so they didn't have a butchered, full body-sign language response!
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: I broke a snap on my dress that I change into on stage during dress rehearsal. And then, come opening night, we forgot to fix it. I just crossed the fabric over itself hoping nobody would see the pink dress underneath before I changed.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It was such a humbling experience. I couldn't have asked for a better cast and crew to help me with my first leading role.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? This is the most amazing feeling in the world. I couldn't be more on cloud nine!
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Go for it, and if it doesn't work out, then  find something new. And if it does work out, get ready for the most incredible experience ever!
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? We are so fortunate to have such an amazing director. Even though we may not get funding from the school, we always find a way to keep the arts alive in our community.
    • Last word: A big thanks to anyone who has helped put on the Bobby G Awards. This truly is a great opportunity for everyone who is fortunate enough to participate in it.


    Ponderosa

    CHARLOTTE MOVIZZO

    Charity Hope Valentine, Sweet Charity
    Ponderosa High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: University of Northern Colorado
    • Your Director: Kelly Cole 
    • First role: I was The Aristocats for a Christian Youth Theatre summer-camp production in 5th grade. I played the role of Abigail the Goose.
    • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? Because it is my passion. I enjoy the process of becoming another character, and escaping my own life for a little while. 
    • Ideal scene partner: It would probably be Eddie Redmayne. I think he is an amazing performer, and he puts so much passion into all of his work. I would learn a lot from him. 
    • Favorite moment from your show: When I was in the elevator with Oscar. It was a hilarious scene, and it took everything I had not to break character.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: I had several quick-changes throughout this show. One of the most difficult was one where I had to get out of a dress and character shoes, and into a blouse, skirt and go-go boots - in about 30 seconds. One night, for some reason, my dress zipper got stuck, and I couldn't get out of it. We struggled with the zipper for all of 30 seconds until we had to literally rip the dress to get it off. When I went to put the skirt on, that zipper wouldn't work, either. At that point, my scene partner had been improvising for a good minute. I decided I needed to enter, so I walked on holding my blouse closed with one hand, and holding my skirt up with the other! 
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It was very exciting to get to play a role that not only fit my vocal range, but had the stage time of an ingénue, and the personality of a character. Charity is quirky and sweet - and was a blast to play. 
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I am so honored to have the opportunity to represent my school at this event. 
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing-arts community is an extremely accepting and supportive group of people. There are so many different roles, both backstage and onstage that you are sure to find something you enjoy. 
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? Much of the education that occurs in high school happens in extracurricular activities. Within the arts, there are opportunities for leadership, cooperation and problem-solving that provide great learning experiences.

     


    Fairview

    SIENNA SEWELL

    Sarah Brown, Guys & Dolls

    Fairview High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: Studying Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis
    • Your Directors: Janice Vlachos and Lanny Boyer
    • First role: Baby Judy Garland at age 4 at Riverside Theatre Works in Boston
    • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? It allows me to create other characters and step into their shoes for a moment.
    • Ideal scene partner: Johnny Depp. He always stretches the boundaries of his abilities and the characters he plays.  I swear, he can play anything. He is just an amazing actor.
    • Favorite moment from your show: The Havana Scene. The fight has such high energy because there are so many moments happening all over the stage. I get a bit tipsy in the scene and start climbing the tables and fighting off other people.  
    • When life throws you lemons: We moved when I was entering 5th grade. I had a theatre home and was just feeling really good about myself and my friends when my parents told me we were moving to Colorado.  y mom assured me she would find another theatre group for me to be involved in. She kept to her word, but it was still difficult to make the move.  We moved to Boulder, where there were lots of opportunities to be involved in the arts, and Fairview was probably strongest in its music and theatre programs. Academically, too, which was important to me.  I found my way again, and it has been the better than I could have ever dreamed.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I'm in shock, and thrilled, and incredibly humbled by the recognition. I'm equally excited that our show was nominated for Outstanding Musical. We had such a united energy as a cast, and I'm glad it was recognized.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Just try it. The arts will change your life. And remember, no one starts out knowing how to be spectacular on stage.  It is a learning process, and you are supposed to be unsure at first. For then, there is only room for improvement.
    • Last word: I am eternally grateful to my teachers at Fairview for their guidance and support.  They have pushed me to be my very best, and have held my hand the whole way. I am also blessed with a family who love the performing arts as much as I do, and have always been my greatest fans.  I’m off to college next year to pursue my love of science, but I know I will be somehow be involved in the performing arts as well. I understand that for me to be a whole person, I need to nourish both sides of my brain and soul.  It will be an incredible journey - even though I'm a bit nervous.

     


    Mountain View

    SAVANNAH WOOD

    Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes
    Mountain View High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: Attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York
    • Your Director: Katie Marshall
    • First role: I was five years old and in kindergarten. It was just a small play written by my teacher, but I loved it nonetheless. The next was in my sophomore year of high school, when I was 15 and I was cast in the ensemble of Shrek the Musical.
    • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? Because it is what I love to do, and it allows me to be myself. I am allowed to be unique, and I am accepted for being different. When I become another character, I become a better version of myself, and it inspires me every time I am on stage or reading a script. Performing is my home.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to be in a scene with Sutton Foster because she inspires me, and her work is so diverse. She engulfs herself in so many different roles that I think acting with her would not only be an amazing time but also a great experience.
    • Favorite moment from your show: I had actually been nervous about Opening Night from the very first rehearsal. But when the time came, the nerves were gone. Instead, I remember being backstage waiting for places to be called, and I could hardly contain my excitement. I was standing behind the curtain waiting for the music to begin and the energy I felt was exponential. Then the lights came up, the curtains opened and I heard the roaring thunder of a sold-out auditorium. Even now I can’t explain the feeling it gave me. I couldn’t stop thinking about how excited I was for people to see the hard work we all had put into this. I wasn’t just excited for myself, but for my castmates as well. They had all worked so hard and it was finally everyone’s time to shine. The energy and the applause, the smiles and the laughter really fed the show that night. It was such an unexplainably impacting show. I never wanted it to end.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: Once during “Friendship,” Moonface and I got carried away in the improv dialogue in the song and we missed a vocal cue from the pit. But we just hopped right back on time with each other and finished out the song like it had never happened. The crowd didn’t notice, but we did.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? I was speechless. I had dreamed of playing Reno, but I never believed it would come true. I was so humbled to play her, and I worked so hard to carry out the role.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I was sitting around with my fellow castmates that day, waiting for the results to be posted. When I heard the news I lost all control of my sanity. I screamed; I jumped; I ran to hug my directors. That turned into joyous laughter and eventually tears began to form in my eyes because I was just so excited to be presented this incredible opportunity.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? I was honestly terrified to join the performing arts, but I decided to just go for it, and I have never once regretted it. My biggest advice is that it’s OK to be yourself and, in fact, participating in the performing arts is actually a great way to get over any fears you might have. The performing arts are a great place to find yourself, be goofy, be silly, love loud and live passionately. I promise you will never regret it as long as you try. Our biggest regrets are not the things we did do, but the things we didn’t do.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? This experience has taught me how important the performing arts are to the students in schools and carrying out the arts in our communities. Through our musical, we were able to meet many new members of the community through small performances we would do in senior centers and middle schools. Our show gave us something to strive for. For many of us, it turned out to be our saving grace. It is the one thing I look forward to doing every day.
    • Last word: I just want to say how grateful I am that I get to experience the Bobby G Awards and that I am part of this incredible community.

     



    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School



    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete listBobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
  • Photos: Opening night of 'Sweet & Lucky'

    by John Moore | May 24, 2016
    Making of 'Sweet & Lucky'

    Our complete photo gallery of the making of 'Sweet & Lucky' in Denver. To see more, just hit the forward arrow on the image above. Then click on any photo and follow instructions to download it for free. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Sweet And Lucky Opening. The photos above are from the May 20 opening celebration of Sweet & Lucky, a collaboration between the DCPA's Off-Center with New York's Third Rail Projects. Sweet & Lucky is the largest physical undertaking in the Denver Center’s nearly 40-year history. This immersive exploration of the vagaries of memory is playing out in a 16,000-square-foot converted warehouse at 4120 E. Brighton Boulevard. Westword calls Sweet & Lucky "a brave, lovely, original adventure." It plays through June 25.

    (Pictured above: At the end of the experience, audiences are treated to a cocktail from nationally recognized Williams & Graham mixologist Sean Kenyon. Photo by John Moore.)


    Sweet & Lucky: Ticket information:

    Sweet & Lucky plays through June 25 at 4120 E. Brighton Boulevard, with newly added performances. Only 72 audience members per performance. Wear comfortable shoes. Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Sweet & Lucky has its own web site. You should check it out here. 


    Sweet And Lucky Opening.

    'Sweet & Lucky' cast photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweet & Lucky:
    5 things we learned about Sweet & Lucky
    Zach Morris is home to seize the cultural moment
    Casting announced; tickets onsale
    DCPA to create new immersive theatre piece with Third Rail Projects
    Kickstarter campaign allows audience to dive deeper

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter
  • Countdown to the Bobby G Awards: Arvada West High School

    by John Moore | May 23, 2016
    Arvada West High School. Bobby G AwardsArvada West is the fifth of five schools nominated for Outstanding Musical we have been featuring here in the DCPA NewsCenter leading up to the May 26 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Theatre. 'Les Misérables' is nominated for 10 awards.

    ARVADA WEST HIGH SCHOOL

    Les Misérables
    11595 Allendale Drive, Arvada CO 80004 MAP IT
    WEB SITE 

    Arvada West High School. Bobby G AwardsThe Arvada West Theatre Company almost had a much more interesting name. "We wanted to go by The Negative Wing Space Theatre Company given our very limited wing space in our theater," joked teacher Lindsey Welsh. "We nixed that idea, but ultimately we are very blessed with our space." Welsh, a graduate of Colorado State University, never took a course in theatre and didn't direct her first show until she got to Arvada West. "My first show was The Curious Savage because that was the last straight play I had acted in," she said. "We had a very small cast and crew, but it was a roaring success. After that, our theatre company has grown exponentially. More students join the company with each production." Welsh is now in her fourth year at the school. "I love to challenge my students," she said. "We have taken on shows such as Noises Off!, The Phantom of the Opera, The Laramie Project, Jekyll and Hyde, and finally Les Mis. It has been quite the adventure."

    Reserve your seat for the May 26 Bobby G Awards

    • Tell us a little about your school’s theatre tradition and history: "Before I came to Arvada West, the theatre department was small and not yet established. The program had gone through six directors in five years. When I walked in, I had no idea what to expect. My two performing-arts colleagues, Chris Maunu and Craig Melhorn, showed me the ropes. It was through them I discovered that the performing arts are incredibly high-achieving departments, and I wanted my theatre department to rise to its former glory. I grew up in Arvada and remembered going to Arvada West musicals as a child and loving them. I remember being captivated by those seemingly professionally executed shows. I wanted to instill that feeling in our theatre company again. I believe we are definitely on the road to that, but there are a few individual students who have really helped shape the program into what it is today. On the technical side, Stage Manager Mikayla Assmus has been a blessing for our department. She has completely transformed the work ethic and expectation of what stage crew means. And on the acting side over the past four years, Jordan Crout, Bradley Becker, Emily Holtz, Stephanie Bess, Danny Miller, Rowan Anderson, and Joe Lopez (just to name a few) have truly set the bar for students to come.
    • Arvada West High School. Bobby G AwardsYour program goals: Without a doubt, my goal is always to put on a Broadway-worthy production every time. I want their performances to be clean, crisp and genuine to the human experience. I want them to elicit some emotion from every individual in the audience. But at the end of the day, I also want them to have fun and to love what they do. (Pictured above: Garrett Charles, left, and repeat nominee Danny Miller, right, are both nominated for Outstanding Actor for their work in 'Les Misérables.')
    • What kind of general support do you get? Our school is incredibly supportive of the arts, as they are with all extra-curricular activities. However, the performing-arts department is consistently pushing the envelope, and I am so blessed to have a school and district that allows for that kind of artistic freedom and exploration. We are urged to challenge our students and go above and beyond every time. From our department to our administration, we have a shared vision.
    • What would you say to a younger student at your school who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? It's like a family, so come on in. We might get cranky or overly boisterous but in the end, every one in  our department loves each other and would do anything for one another. I would also say that everyone, no matter what their talents are, can find success and a home in the performing arts. They just have to keep an open mind.
    • What does it mean to your school for your show to be nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Bobby G Awards? We are incredibly humbled and honored. This show has been a dream of ours for the past two years, and this nomination means our blood, sweat and tears have paid off.
    • What does this whole experience tell you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? We have loved participating in the Bobby G Awards because it does very much validate the how much arts education means for our school.
    • Last word: I can't wait to see where the next four years take the Arvada West Theatre Company.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Arvada West High School. Bobby G Awards Arvada West's orchestra is among the school's 10 nominees for Bobby G Awards on Thursday.


    Arvada West's 2016 Bobby G Award nominations

    • Overall Production of a Musical (Les Misérables)
    • Outstanding Direction: Lindsey Welsh
    • Outstanding Musical Direction: Chris Maunu and Craig Melhorn
    • Actor in a Leading Role: Danny Miller, Jean Valjean
    • Actor in a Leading Role: Garrett Charles, Javert
    • Choreography: Angie Dryer
    • Hair and Makeup Design: Kendall Mesch
    • Lighting: Whitney Larson and Kayli Porterfield
    • Chorus
    • Orchestra

    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School



    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 

  • Countdown to the Bobby G Awards: Denver School of the Arts

    by John Moore | May 21, 2016
    Denver School of the Arts. Spring Awakening. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Denver School of the Arts is the fourth of five schools nominated for Outstanding Musical we will be featuring here in the DCPA NewsCenter in the days leading up to the May 26 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Theatre. Denver School of the Arts. Spring Awakening is nominated for seven awards. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    DENVER SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

    Spring Awakening
    7111 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO 80220 MAP IT
    WEB SITE 

    Denver School of the Arts is a comprehensive secondary arts magnet school for grages 6 through 12. It is part of the Denver Public Schools District. In addition to a rigorous academic program, students engage in intensive studies in Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Stagecraft and Design, Theatre, Video Cinema Arts and Visual Arts. DSA is committed to fostering a lifelong love of the arts in a culturally diverse, academically challenging environment. The theatre program itself is made up of about 160 theatre students who auditioned to gain admittance. Its leader is Shawn Hann, who has been at the school for 15 years.

    Reserve your seat for the May 26 Bobby G Awards

    • Tell us a little about your school’s theatre tradition and history: DSA, as it is known for short, started as part of Cole Middle School. Arts classes were held in the Byers building fro the late 1990s until the school was opened in its present location 13 years ago. Our most notable graduate and Colorado thespian is probably Gabriel Ebert (pictured at right), who won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Mr. Wormwood in Matilda. Most recently he appeared in the movie Ricky and the Flash with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Gabe still comes back as an occasional guest artist, and he  meets up with DSA students in New York every year to talk about acting. Another notable grad is Justine Lupe (Schomp), who was on Harry's Law, Shameless (with William H. Macy), Younger (with Sutton Foster), and in the film Frances Ha. DSA Gabriel Ebertgrad Jesse JP Johnson is currently in SpongeBob the Musical on Broadway. Jesse has done seven national tours, as well as three years in the ensemble of Wicked on Broadway. New York playwright Max Posner (Judy) is also a DSA theater major, as well as his sister Jessica Odede Posner, who founded  Shining Hope for Communities in Kenya, Africa. Also five members of the class of 2010 created the Black Actors Guild in Denver, who take Shakespeare into elementary schools and create original work. 
    • Your program goals: Our school is slightly different than a traditional high school in that we are a DPS magnet school. Students audition for one of 11 arts majors and get the opportunity to be a part of that art every single day for 90 minutes. Many of our students travel between 25 minutes to an hour to get to our campus and are very dedicated to studying theatre. Our goal in our performances is to give as many kids mainstage opportunities as possible in any given year, to challenge them with difficult material, and to work together with dancers, musicians, vocalists, and stagecraft majors. Spring Awakening, however, is cast with only acting majors as it is a theatre major performance not an all-school musical.
    • What kind of general support do you get? We are a "do it yourself" organization.  The tickets for each show pay for each show. Most of the time we barely break even on any show that we put on our mainstage. Support live theatre! 👍.
    • What would you say to a younger student at your school who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Our department motto is this: Step into the fear and be brave. We talk a lot with our students about how taking risks and putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, is the only way that you will get rewards back from this art form. I would say have fun and go for it.
    • What does it mean to your school for your show to be nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Bobby G Awards? We are beyond thrilled to be nominated for Outstanding Musical. The students have worked so hard on this production and believe so strongly in the message this musical carries. When we performed the show at our own school, many audience members were so moved and touched by the story that they opened up to cast members and school counselors about problems they had been dealing with at our school. The whole point of Spring Awakening is to encourage that kind of communication.
    • What does this whole experience tell you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? Theatre changes students' lives. It gives them skills that will transfer into any occupation after high school. From self-esteem to coping skills to organizational skills to working as a team and/or leading a group, stidents walk away with a massive skill set.  

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Denver School of the Arts. Spring Awakening. Jimmy Bruenger. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Denver School of the Arts' is nominated as Oustanding Supporting Actor for 'Spring Awakening.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    Denver School of the Arts' 2016 Bobby G Award nominations

    • Overall Production of a Musical (Spring Awakening)
    • Outstanding Direction: Shawn Hann
    • Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Kosko, Moritz
    • Actor in a Supporting Role: Jimmy Bruenger, Hanschen
    • Hair and Makeup Design: Skylar Arterburn and Owen Nuss
    • Costume Design: Mary V Benoit and Lara Kirksey
    • Orchestra

    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School

    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 

  • Countdown to the Bobby G Awards: Mountain View High School

    by John Moore | May 20, 2016
    Mountain View Bobby G Awards
    Mountain High School is the third of five schools nominated for Outstanding Musical we will be featuring here in the DCPA NewsCenter in the days leading up to the May 26 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Theatre.


    MOUNTAIN VIEW HIGH SCHOOL

    Anything Goes
    3500 Mountain Lion Drive, Loveland, 80537 MAP IT
    WEB SITE 

    Mountain View Phil Forman The Mountain View High School Drama program is cleverly called C.I.A. - Caught In the Act Productions. It has been run for the past 10 years by Phil Forman (pictured right), also the Music Director for the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's current production of Into the Woods, starring Debby Boone. (She calls him "most wonderful.") "We started with only 30 total kids auditioning and now have close to 100," Forman said. "We average around 75 to 100 kids involved in our spring musical each year. This includes cast, tech, and pit orchestra."

    Reserve your seat for the May 26 Bobby G Awards

    • Tell us a little about your school’s theatre tradition and history: Mountain View High School opened in 2000 and began producing several shows a year. In 2008, our production of Seussical was awarded an Honorable Mention for Best Musical in Colorado in USAWeekend. In certain years we produce a straight play in the fall, a spring musical and an additional show in the late spring that has included student-directed and student-written works, small-scale musicals and variety shows.  For the past four years, we have hosted Day of the Arts. Students from area middle schools come over and view the production in the morning, eat lunch with our company and then take master classes in various art forms in the afternoon. Our students and creative team help run the workshops, which have included: LearniMountain View Bobby G Awardsng a vocal piece from our current show and performing it alongside actual cast members; makeup; dance and visual arts (drawing, photography, jewelry). Band kids learn what it is like to play in the orchestra pit by learning a number from the show and playing it along with one of our leads actors. Our mission is to expose students to world of the arts and allow them to explore their specific passions. We also have been lucky to host several guest artists to allow kids the opportunity to experience professionals in musical theatre. 
    • Your program goals: We have a saying: "Broadway at Mountain View." While we stop at nothing to create a Broadway experiences for kids, our essential mission is to create well-rounded critical thinkers, problem solvers, and passionate, dedicated, hard-working individuals. We also place an emphasis on teamwork and how each individual has to commit to excellence for the betterment of the entire company.
    • What kind of general support do you get? We are self-funded through ticket sales, donations and some district money on occasion. There is quite a bit of collaboration with adults and the community to help make sure our students are successful. Our administration is incredibly supportive and is always willing to help support endeavors such as the Bobby G Awards program.
    • What would you say to a younger student at your school who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? You never know if you'll like it if you don't try. Our philosophy is to cast each grade level in every production. For 90 percent of the shows, we do not cast based on seniority. However, we cast who is best for each role. Don't be shy and get to know your cast, crew, pit and creative team. We are here for everyone to succeed and to help you grow in our program and in your artistic endeavors. There is a difference between positive and negative nerves. Positive nerves that are created from feeling well-prepared as opposed to negative nerves, which are created from a lack of preparation.
    • What does it mean to your school for your show to be nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Bobby G Awards? We are humbled by the recognition of the hard work by our students and staff in these productions. It is an incredible opportunity for our students to perform on The Buell Theatre stage. That experience alone is well worth the months of hard work that goes into producing each production at Mountain View.
    • What does this whole experience tell you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? Mountain View is home to the Loveland Integrated School of the Arts with an emphasis on arts-integrated core classes. Students have multiple opportunities for arts education in both performing and visual arts throughout their time in high school. The students' recognition through the Bobby G Awards has helped to raise the awareness of the great opportunities available for our students. We are grateful for such an incredible awards program that recognizes the art form of musical theatre at the high-school level. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Mountain View Bobby G Awards Anything GoesMountain View High School's Bailey Friar and Tammy Johnson are nominated for Outstanding Choreography.

    Mountain View High School's 2016 Bobby G Award nominations

    • Overall Production of a Musical (Anything Goes)
    • Actress in a Leading Role: Savannah Wood, Reno Sweeney
    • Musical Direction: Phil Forman, Bryan Kettlewell and Peter Toews
    • Hair and Makeup Design: Averi Davis and Emma Smith
    • Costume Design: Jen Bleem, Cindy Sipes and Lauryn Starke
    • Scenic Design: Shailyn Clay, Tyler King, Rebecca Reynolds and Lucas Sanchez
    • Choreography: Bailey Friar and Tammy Johnson
    • Lighting Design: Jude Franco and Tanner Friar
    • Chorus
    • Orchestra

    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School


    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 

  • Photos: Cult Following's 'Decide Your Destiny'

    by John Moore | May 19, 2016
    Cult Following 2016Photos from Off-Center's most recent performance of 'Cult Following: Decide Your Destiny' on April 29. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. 


    Off-Center is the DCPA Theatre Company's theatrical testing ground. Cult Following, Off-Center’s signature nights of unrehearsed, unscripted theatre, features the fast-talking and quick-thinking talents of some of Denver’s best improv performers. 

    For Karaoke Broadway Musical, returning Frifday, June 3, Off-Center goes Off-Broadway to create an improvide musical highlighting sing-along starlets and crooners from the crowd. The audience chooses the songs, and the performers weave them into the story.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    For Decide Your Destiny, returning Saturday, June 4, the audience holds the future of the storytelling in its hands as they vote on what happens next.

    The performers are Jessica Austgen, Chris Woolf, Nanna Sachiko Thompson and Sarah Kirwin, with Bruce Montgomery as the guest emcee. he show is is created by Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin, along with the ensemble.

    Cult Following, Jessica Austgen, Chris Woolf
    Jessica Austgen and Chris Woolf in Cult Following's 'Decide Your Destiny' on April 29. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Cult Following: Ticket information

    Friday, June 3: Decide Your Destiny
    Saturday, June 4: Karaoke Broadway Musical
    Ticket Price: $15, includes one free beer sponsored by Great Divide
    Bar opens 7:30 p.m. | Show starts 8 p.m. | Run time approximately 90 minutes
    Age Recommendation: 18+
    Advisory: Unpredictable adult themes and language
    Tickets: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Countdown to the Bobby G Awards: Fairview High School

    by John Moore | May 19, 2016
    Fairview High School Bobby G Awards
    Fairview High School is the second of five schools nominated for Outstanding Musical we will be featuring here in the DCPA NewsCenter in the days leading up to the May 26 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Theatre.


    FAIRVIEW HIGH SCHOOL

    Guys & Dolls
    1515 Greenbriar Blvd, Boulder Co 80305 MAP IT
    WEB SITE 

    The Fairview High School Drama program is run by Lanny Boyer and Janice Vlachos and includes music and film. "Because we integrate and work across contents so well, our numbers are extraordinary," said Fairview's Kely Fano. "It isn't uncommon for more than 300 students to be involved in our productions from start to finish. Boyer has been at Fairview for four years. He was previously an actor and a musician in the Denver metro area before returning to school for his teaching degree. Vlachos is a Fairview High School graduate, and has been working there for 11 years.

    Reserve your seat for the May 26 Bobby G Awards

    • Tell us a little about your school’s theatre tradition and history: As with any public schools, our program ebbs and flows over time. However, the one aspect that has remained consistent is the quality of our shows. Fairview has produced award-winning shows for more than 40 years. Graduates we are proud to call our own include Joan Van Ark, Jill Goodacre, Sheryl Lee and Sheree J. Wilson.
    • Joan Van Ark Fairview High School Bobby G AwardsYour program goals: While the quality of the finished product is always on our mind, we concentrate on creating a worthwhile and fun experience from start to finish. We are extremely committed to student-run productions. For example, this month we produced our POPS concert (a talent show of sorts) and the set, lighting and sound were fully designed and run by students.
    • What kind of general support do you get? Our administration and our school community is wildly supportive of our productions - at least in spirit. We come close to selling out most of our shows. Our teachers, students and parents are enthusiastic and complimentary. For that, we are grateful. Unfortunately, we receive very little funding from our school district. Less than 5 percent of our fine-arts program's budget needs are met by the district. Although we have become very good at fundraising, we would prefer to spend our time and efforts on learning, rehearsing and performing.
    • What would you say to a younger student at your school who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? We are constantly drawing new students to our program. We have an excellent buddy Fairview High School Bobby G Awardssystem in which we pair older students with freshmen. We encourage participation in many avenues, be it stage crew, set construction, lighting design, performing, choreography, filming and more. Students at all four grade levels are encouraged to participate and are often cast in our productions.
    • What does it mean to your school for your show to be nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Bobby G Awards? In a world where the arts are constantly struggling to survive, it is wonderful to be recognized for our hard work. The Bobby G Awards nominations give us the validation we need to show the world  what we are doing is good and valuable. This is as exciting for us as a state championship would be for one of our athletic teams.
    • What does this whole experience tell you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? We feel very fortunate to have such a thriving fine arts program based on both tradition and innovation. Because of our district's open-enrollment process, we attract aspiring musicians and actors from throughout the area. Our program is, no doubt, valued in the community. Now, if we could just get the equivalent financial support from our district, just imagine what we could do!

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Fairview High School Bobby G AwardsFairview High School's Brandon Warren, left, and Jacob Sadow are both nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor.

    Fairview High School's 2016 Bobby G Award nominations

    • Overall Production of a Musical
    • Direction: Lanny Boyer and Janice Vlachos
    • Actress in a Leading Role: Sienna Sewell, Sarah Brown
    • Actor in a Leading Role: Jacob Pearce, Nathan Detroit
    • Actor in a Supporting Role: Jacob Sadow, Harry the Horse
    • Actor in a Supporting Role: Brandon Warren, Nicely-Nicely Johnson
    • Musical Direction: Michael Bizzaro and Travis Keller
    • Lighting Design: Lenora Gant and Caleb Werkmeister
    • Chorus
    • Orchestra

    2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:

    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School
    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School

    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 

  • Debby Boone takes a wicked turn 'Into the Woods'

    by John Moore | May 18, 2016
    Debby Boone Candlelight Dinner Playhouse Into the Woods

    Iconic 1970s pop singer Debby Boone plays The Witch in Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's 'Into the Woods' through June 5.


    Debby Boone, the singer who lit up the 1970s with the biggest-selling hit of the decade, has spent much of her adult life playing against type. She toyed with her wholesome image by playing the promiscuous Rizzo in a Broadway revival of Grease. At the height of her pop popularity, she switched over to country music. And now she's in Johnstown to play the misunderstood Witch in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

    Debby Boone? A witch?

    “Yeah, I think this is the furthest from type I have gone so far,” Boone said with a laugh while preparing for tonight’s opening in Johnstown, located 40 miles north of Denver. “Playing Rizzo was a blast for me. And it was scary as all get-out to go out and do that on a Broadway stage. But this is so much more challenging.”

    Debby Boone Quote Into the woods CandlelightAnd she’s the first to admit: When she got the call asking her to join the company in Colorado, “My jaw hit the floor like everybody else,” she said.

    But this isn’t your typical stunt casting. While Boone is not a formally trained classical singer, she’s got training in her DNA. Her maternal grandfather is country music star Red Foley. And her father, Pat Boone, was second only to Elvis Presley in record sales in the late 1950s. Debby Boone began touring in gospel shows with her parents at age 14 along with her three sisters. The deeply religious Boones were essentially America's Von Trapps.

    Debby made her Broadway debut in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in 1982 and has performed around the world in productions of The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Meet Me in St. Louis, Camelot and even Human Comedy by Galt MacDermot, the man behind Hair. At a proud 59, the pop star has more than credibly crossed over into musical theatre.

    But, c’mon. This is Sondheim.

    “Yes, and this is so much harder than anything I ever imagined,” said Boone, who deep down wanted nothing more than to bite into the juicy role of the infamous witch who is not good, not nice but rather – “I’m just right.” Still, the singer who sold 4 million singles in 1977 alone had a crisis of confidence when she was asked to take on the role The Witch.

    “Hey I know that, on many levels, it's a stretch,” she admitted. “I asked myself, ‘Can I do this?’ Because honestly - it's really scary.”

    Boone found the strength to say yes from two past experiences: One was when her famous father was turning 60 (as she will this coming September), and he starred in a production of The Will Rogers Follies, without any previous musical theatre experience. “He had to learn how to do all of those complicated rope tricks and other things that were so completely foreign to him,” Boone said. “All my life, I have watched him just fearlessly move into things he doesn't necessarily have the background for, but he just goes for the challenge.”

    The other was her own decision to play Rizzo in a 1996 Broadway revival of Grease. This wasn’t Boone’s first time on Broadway stage. After having toured Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for a year in preparation for Broadway, the show was savaged by the New York Times and closed after two weeks. Why would she open herself up to that kind of pain again?

    “Because the only reason not to do it would have been fear,” she said. “And I just don't want to live that way.”

    She ultimately said yes to Candlelight, she said, “because I really wanted to take this on as a challenge and as a growing experience. “

    Boone wasn’t nervous last month when she joined the 20-plus actors who had already been working on Into the Woods for a week before her arrival. She was terrified. Asked whether the locals geeked out just a little bit when Debby Boone first walked into the room, she said, “I think it was the other way around. I was shaking in my boots with intimidation.

    “Listen, I have had many opportunities to do musicals, but I always come in feeling like I am the odd man out, because it's true,” she said. “I don't have training. I never went to a college that has a music program. I've hardly studied voice. I'm a pop singer. 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.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    She thanks the cast for welcoming her, and especially the “most wonderful” Musical Director, Phil Forman. “This is a very tiring role vocally, and he really worked with me,” said Boone. “He showed me how not to waste my voice when I don't need to -  and when I really have to bring it.”

    She’ll be bringing it, all right, starting tonight and for the next three weeks, through June 5. After that, Into the Woods continues through July 10, with Beth Beyer playing The Witch – an actor Boone says flatly is better in the role than she is.

    Boone, whose husband, Gabriel Ferrer, is an Episcopal priest and the son of legendary crooner Rosemary Clooney, is the mother of four and also a first-time grandmother. She had plenty more to say about Beyer; the song that put Boone the musical map; the single she’d rather you listened to; who the ‘You’ is in You Light Up My Life; and a juicy little story about the songwriter who induced an honest-to-goodness profanity out of that squeaky-clean mouth. Read on.




    John Moore: Take us back to 1977. It’s the height of disco. You’re 21 years old. You have never sung solo - and the songwriter Joseph Brooks asks you to record the title track to his film, You Light Up My Life.

    Debby Boone: It’s funny because the way things are now, with shows like American Idol and The Voice, 21 is like an old hag. And I felt so young. I was still living at home. Going into that studio in New York to record You Light Up My Life, for me, was the exciting beginning of what I call the long, hard climb. I had no anticipation that the song would ever be heard by anyone other than the people who were there in the studio. I did not see it as a hit record. And so no one was more shocked and surprised by what happened than I was.

    Debby Boone Quote Into the woods CandlelightJohn Moore: Did that song ever come to feel like a burden or a curse?

    Debby Boone: Oh yeah. Especially early on. When you are young and you have a big start like that, you are kind of naive. I had been part of The Boone Family Show. I had never been out there on a stage by myself. So I felt very unprepared for what was coming my way. It was really kind of scary. And after that song came out, it was the only song anyone wanted to hear. Everywhere I went, that song had to be done. Of course, you get sort of sick of singing the same thing over and over and over - and you want people to know there is more to you. But I got over that really quickly as I became a little more seasoned. I realized there was no reason to be anything but grateful for people wanting to hear you sing. The kind of emotion that song brings up for people, and the stories they have told me over the years of what that song has meant in their lives personally, has made me realize what a gift and a blessing it is. When I begin to sing that song, it's palpable in the room, and that is a tremendous feeling to experience.

    John Moore: So Joseph Brooks wrote the song. But to you, who is 'You' in You Light Up My Life?

    Debby Boone: When I first decided how that lyric struck me, I never thought anybody was ever going to ask me that question. It really took me off-guard the first time. I couldn't do anything but tell the truth, even though sometimes in print it looks like I had an agenda, which I certainly did not. But, for me, those words really lent themselves to becoming a prayer. I always think of my relationship with God in terms of love and light - of being alone, and God filling that place. Now, the guy who wrote the song was not a very nice man. Somebody asked him in an interview about how Debby Boone said she sang his song to God, and his eloquent response was, 'Bull(bleep!).'

    John Moore: Now I wish this were a podcast so people could have heard you say that word. So tell me this then: For those people who have never heard you sing another song, what’s another single I can point them to that you consider a favorite?

    Debby Boone: When I sang I'm So Lonesome by Hank Williams, I discovered a place in me I had never known was there. It brought together all of the musical influences of my life. My grandfather, Red Foley, was a big Country and Western gospel singer from the Grand Ole Opry and a contemporary of Hank Williams. It was on an album dedicated to Rosemary Clooney, who had also recorded that song. When we were putting the song together, I felt this country depth, as well as a kind of jazz fusion happen in the moment. It was magical. So that was a favorite for a really long time.     

    John Moore: Who do you love among today's country stars?

    Debby Boone: I am a huge fan of Alison Krauss.

    John Moore: You went from pop music to Broadway in 1982. Today, it has become common for performers from shows like American Idol to be cast in shows like Chicago and Rock of Ages. Is that good for Broadway?

    Debby Boone: I really feel for the people who have worked so hard to have a well-formed craft - like the very people I am working with at Candlelight right now. When they see somebody come in who has none of that kind of training or experience, they might see it as taking jobs from them – and I completely empathize with that. I really do. But I also think there are no jobs for those people if theatre continues to dwindle. So there is something to be gained when you have someone in your show who people will come to see – and wouldn't necessarily come if one of their favorite performers were not in it. And if they come, then you have introduced new people to musical theatre. And they may come back because you exposed them to something they didn't ever really notice before. And then there are shows like Hamilton that are not star-driven but they are so original that they draw new people in, too. So I say: Whatever works.

    John Moore: How's your dad?

    Debby Boone: He's great. He is inspirational in that he is 82 years old. He stays busy, and he's always wanting to learn and be involved and vibrant - and he can't stand the thought that he's 82. He still loves to get up on a stage and perform and meet people. There's a chance he may come out to Colorado to see this, but he just signed on to do another movie, so it's not looking like he might be able to get here. But he would love this.

    debby boone into the woodsJohn Moore: So, you … in Johnstown … performing Into the Woods: How did this happen

    Debby Boone: I was brought in about five years ago when they started to do personal-appearance concerts at Candlelight. I did a Christmas show. I was so impressed with the theatre and the quality of the sound. The whole environment was just lovely. It was my ex-manager who suggested to them that maybe they should ask known recording artists to come in and do some of the actual theatrical performances.

    (The photo at right comes from Debby Boone's Instagram account with the caption: "Got to wear my prosthetics for 'Into The Woods' today. We are making some color corrections, but the transformation begins!)

    John Moore: So tell us about The Witch.

    Debby Boone: I find her to be very identifiable. She's acting out of woundedness and insecurities, She has this daughter she loves and wants to protect. But she is in dreaded fear of losing her, and so she acts badly. I have four kids, and I know some of the worst mistakes I have ever made have been out of love and fear of them making their own mistakes.

    John Moore: Essentially she’s just a woman who has had a curse put on her, and she wants it to be lifted. And as we have seen from Beauty and the Beast to Wicked, there really is a human underneath the curse.

    Debby Boone: Yes, and when people hurt people, the circles keep growing and manifesting. Out of her own hurt she creates the same kind of imprisonment on her daughter that was also placed on her. That’s life. That is so much life.

    John Moore: When Meryl Streep played the role in the movie, she said Into the Woods is just a metaphor for how can we all just get along. 

    Debby Boone: I think so, too. And even broader than that, for everybody in this story, it's moving from fear to love.

    John Moore: So tell people why they should come see Into the Woods.

    Debby Boone: It is a magical night of theatre with the most talented cast that I could ever hope to be among. And I think it will be such a surprise to people who aren't familiar with this show. This is a beautiful piece. We are going to take audiences on a ride, and they are going to feel something.

    John Moore: You are performing through June 5, but the show goes on after that. Why should people still come even after you have left the building?

    Debby Boone: The woman who will also play this role is named Beth Beyer, and she is just fantastic. I certainly hope that no one who can't make it in the first three weeks might think they are going to see something ‘less than’ - because it really is quite the opposite.   

    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.

    Into the Woods: Ticket information

    • Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    • 4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, CO 80534 MAP IT

      (I-25 at Exit 254, just south of Historic Johnson's Corner)

    • Performances through July 10 (Debby Boone appears through June 5)
    • Showtimes:

      Thursday through Saturdays: Dinner at 6 p.m., Show at 7:30 p.m.

      Saturday Matinees: Dinner noon, show at 1:30 p.m.

      Sunday Matinees: Dinner 12:30 p.m., show at 2 p.m.

    • Call 970-744-3747 or go to at www.ColoradoCandlelight.com

     




  • Countdown to the Bobby G Awards: Cherry Creek High School

    by John Moore | May 18, 2016
    Cherry Creek High School Bobby G Awards 2016

    Cherry Creek High School is the first of five schools nominated for Outstanding Musical we will be featuring here in the DCPA NewsCenter in the days leading up to the May 26 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Theatre.


    CHERRY CREEK HIGH SCHOOL

    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    9300 E. Union Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 MAP IT
    WEB SITE 

    The Cherry Creek High School Drama Club is called the Union Street Players, Troupe 1730. We received our Charter from the International Thespian Society in 1957.The program is run by local actor and costumer Jimmy Miller, who is in his 18th overall year teaching and his third year teaching at Cherry Creek. He recently earned his masters degree in Theatre Education at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. Miller is a graduate of CCherry Creek and a member of Troupe 1730 since 1981. "It is a wonderful experience to lead about 200 exceptional students in Creek’s theatre program," he says.

    Reserve your seat for the May 26 Bobby G Awards

    • Tell us a little about your school’s theatre tradition and history: Our program was started in 1973 by Bob Wells (currently resident director at the Town Hall Arts Center). When I took this job three years ago, I wanted to return the program to how it was when Michelle Busti taught here. I have worked with Creek’s thespian board and all my theatre students to build positivity and inclusivity in our program.
    • Cherry Creek Bobby G AwardsYour program goals: My goal is to run our theatre program like a professional theatre and to give my students as much of a professional experience as possible. My objective at the beginnings of shows is to help students create memorable, authentic character choices to bring our productions life and energy. I also strive to have as many original elements designed by students as possible. We have meetings for set and lighting design, costume design, and overall production. We have structured rehearsal times and organized tech weeks to help create the best shows possible.
    • What kind of general support do you get? The administration, faculty, and community at Creek have been incredibly supportive of our theatre program. While we do not have the same recognition as the football team, we have earned a reputation for putting on professional-quality shows and for raising the bar in production qualities and acting values.
    • What would you say to a younger student at your school who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Our thespian board has made it a goal to make strong connections with younger thespians and with students outside of our theatre community. Theatre teaches so many aspects about dealing with the challenges of life, and we work to be welcoming of all students who want to participate, be it on the stage or behind the curtain.
    • What does it mean to your school for your show to be nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Bobby G Awards? Considering the excellent productions also named, we are deeply honored to be nominated this year for our work on How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The Bobby G Awards are the gold standard of excellence in Colorado high-school theatre, and we are humbled to receive this recognition.
    • What does this whole experience tell you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? We have worked incredibly hard this school year on all our productions, and I know our school and community highly value arts education and extracurricular activities here at Creek. A perennial goal of our program is to maintain a professional atmosphere that encourages further support and respect from our school and community.
    • Last words: We are honored to be a part of the Bobby G Awards this year, and we cannot wait to see all of the amazing work put on by our fellow thespians.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Cherry Creek Bobby G Awards CostumesCherry Creek High School is nominated for Outstanding Costumes.

    Cherry Creek High School's 2016 Bobby G Award nominations

    • Overall Production of a Musical
    • Direction: Jimmy Miller
    • Hair and Make-up Design: Marrisa Hadden
    • Costume Design: Jimmy Miller and Katya Zabelski
    • Lighting Design: Yasmin Farsad
    • Scenic Design: Jack Hagen, Yuuki Hashimoto and Caleb Nghe
    • Choreography: Ronni Gallup
    • Chorus

    2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School
    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School


    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 

    Cherry Creek Bobby G AwardsJimmy Miller, right, won a 2014 Bobby G Award. The production was 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Twice is nice for a Denver return of 'once'

    by NewsCenter Staff | May 17, 2016



    In 2007, the seductive, off-beat Irish film once opened to glowing reviews and quickly developed a fervent following. This lyrical musical tells the story of two down-on-their-luck musicians: an angst-ridden Dublin street singer/songwriter who works as a vacuum cleaner repairman, and a Czech immigrant who sells flowers to support herself and her family.

    A Once quoteGirl (as she is known) initiates a friendship with Guy (as he is known), and in the course of a week they make music together, fall in love and part, but not before changing each other’s lives.

    Once is both graceful and gritty. It has a naturalism and intimacy that are generally best achieved in film, which explains why the Irish playwright Enda Walsh was less than enthusiastic when he was asked if he would write the book for a Broadway-style musical based on the movie.

    “I guffawed when my agent called and asked me to speak to the producers,” says Walsh. “I said, ‘What a stupid idea.’ It’s a two-hander with very little plot. It’s delicate. I called the producers and told them it wasn’t for me. There’s no tradition of musical theatre in Ireland. Then they told me John Tiffany was attached to it as director.”

    Walsh and Tiffany are longtime friends, and although Tiffany also had doubts at first as to the viability of the material as a musical, he convinced Walsh not to reject the idea outright.

    Says Walsh, “John said, ‘Let’s just take two days, and we can read the screenplay and listen to the songs and talk about it.’ I said, ‘Okay, we’ll do two days — and that’s all we’ll do.’ ”

    Well, not quite.

    “Those two days convinced us that we wanted to do this show,” says Tiffany.

    The musical became such a critical and commercial success that it spawned a London production, a Broadway show and a U.S. national tour — a journey that saw this modest undertaking win no fewer than eight 2012 Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Walsh), and Best Direction of a Musical (Tiffany).

     “I never think about adapting films for the stage. That’s not the way I work,” insists Tiffany. “When I was approached about once, I hadn’t even seen the film. But one of my best friends said, ‘You will love the music.’ So I downloaded the soundtrack — and I absolutely loved it. I’d never heard music like that. [It’s] the reason I wanted to do the show. Not just the music itself, but the fact that it’s a story about creating music, the healing power of music.”  

    Once 600In reading through John Carney’s screenplay, Walsh discovered there was much he could relate to. “I’m a big fan of the movie Brief Encounter, and I saw similarities,” he says. “There’s a bittersweet pang that really hurts. Very quickly I thought I was a good match for the material. I tend to write characters that are inarticulate and lonesome, and something comes into their life that changes them. From listening to the songs, I thought it might be good for me to do something about Ireland, which was so hurt in the recession. A little love letter to Dublin. 

    (Pictured right: Sam Cieri and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy from the 'once' tour company. Photo by Joan Marcus.) 

    “That was my way in. You start by bringing two people together and getting them to talk to one another. The tone shows itself quickly, so you step out of the way and allow it to write itself.

    “I knew all along that there were markers. I just had to unlock a stage language that was right. As soon as the Girl started talking, I thought, ‘That’s the swagger of it.’ She became the style of it and the force of the piece — and the central storyteller.”  

    The 12 adult members of the cast play at least one instrument and are onstage virtually throughout the show. “I didn’t want anyone on stage we didn’t get to know intimately,” says Tiffany. By individualizing each character, adds Walsh, “we built a community, and that became the heart of the piece.”

    As the show unfolds, the focus, of course, is on the relationship between Guy and Girl, but the audience also catches glimpses of the lives of the other characters.

    “We needed to be sure that there are all these other love stories in the air. Each person is riffing off a love that’s been lost, that got away. That was the key: for the audience to feel part of the experience, and look at the people on the stage and go, ‘They’re us.’ ”

    In the end, the material proved to be as powerful on stage as it is on film.

    “What’s very moving about the piece is how sometimes we meet people who we don’t necessarily stay with forever, but they give us the resources to move on to the next part of our life,” says Tiffany. “There’s something very truthful in that. People have said to me, ‘When I was sitting in the theatre watching once, I felt like I was watching it with everyone I’ve ever loved, whether or not they’re still in my life.’ ”  

    Portions of this text were provided by the show’s production company

     

    Once national tour photo gallery:

    once

     Photos from the 'once' tour company by Joan Marcus. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the 'forward' arrow. 

    ONCE: Ticket information 
    May 24-29
    At The Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 (Groups: 303-446-4829 or BUY ONLINE
    ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: 2 p.m. May 28

  • DCPA CEO Scott Shiller: Whose stories belong on our stages?

    by Scott Shiller | May 16, 2016

    Scott Shiller National Western. Photo by Olivia Jansen.
    The parade that opened the annual National Western Stock Show in January. Photo by Olivia Jansen for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    I recently heard someone refer to Denver as a “cow town.” As a somewhat recent transplant (one of the more than 100,000 who have moved here over the past five years), I was confused.

    Scott Shiller QuoteGranted, I’ve seen the livestock parade that opens the Western Stock Show. And I know ranching is an essential part of Colorado. But I look around and I don’t see a cow town. I see a vibrant American city, growing by leaps and bounds, with one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country. I see the country’s most-attended arts and culture scene. To borrow a term from our successful start-up scene, I see Denver 2.0.

    None of this suggests our past needs to be left in the past. In fact, it’s more important than ever that we honor our heritage and keep our stories alive in the present. It’s just that our story gets richer and more expansive as we grow. America is a land of reinvention. Right now, Denver is living that promise out in a very real and exciting way.

    So if our past is (debatably) bovine, what is our present? Or more to the point, who is our present? We transplants consider Colorado home now, along with all of you who have been here for years, decades or even generations before us. Thank you for welcoming us. We may be strangers but we love living here just as much as you do. We love the stories we hear about Denver’s past. And we appreciate the opportunity to add our tales to the mix.

    I believe live theatre is a crucial piece of our shared storytelling experience. It’s always been a place to see both time-tested stories and fresh new perspectives. Seems like now is the time to ask ourselves whose stories belong on our stages. So what do you think, natives and newcomers? Whose stories do you want to see? Which voices from our past still resonate and which new voices deserve to be heard? How can our theatres amplify the voices that honor the cow and the now?

    Let us know your thoughts by commenting at the bottom of this story.



    About our Guest Columnist:
    Scott Shiller, a nationally recognized Producer, Presenter and Entertainment Executive, was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in February, 2015. As President & CEO, Shiller has overall responsibility for the DCPA’s programmatic, operating, revenue, marketing, development and administrative functions. He comes to the DCPA from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, where he served as Executive Vice President from 2007 to 2015. With direct oversight of programming and marketing initiatives, Shiller’s first season at the Center resulted in a $3.3 million turnaround, more than 100 sold-out performances, and a 76 percent increase in attendance. Shiller began his career working with Tony Award-winning producer Jon B. Platt on productions including Wicked (Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Joel Grey), Man of La Mancha (Brian Stokes Mitchell), Sly Fox (Richard Dreyfuss), The Graduate (Kathleen Turner, Alicia Silverstone, Jason Biggs), Blue Man Group: Tubes, Cabaret (Teri Hatcher, Norbert Leo Butz), Master Class (Faye Dunaway), Wait Until Dark (Quentin Tarantino, Marisa Tomei), Taller than a Dwarf (Matthew Broderick, Parker Posey), Macbeth (Kelsey Grammer), The Diary of Anne Frank (Natalie Portman), and The Vagina Monologues (Eve Ensler).



    Previous conversations with Scott Shiller:
    Previously, Scott Shiller posed these questions for NewsCenter readers:

    *We are going to shake things up: What do you think the future of live theatre should be? Should we tear up the rulebook and see what happens? To read his essay - and reader responses, visit our NewsCenter here

    *Where the wild thoughts are: What’s important to you and your family in a cultural facility? To read his essay - and reader responses, visit our NewsCenter here

    *Making Cents of Arts Funding:
     "Should the federal government allocate more funding to the National Endowment for the Arts?" To read his essay - and reader responses, please visit our NewsCenter here

    *Declining arts coverage:
    How to respond to declining arts coverage? To read his essay - and reader responses, please visit our NewsCenter here

    *Social media in the theatre:
    How will we, as theatre professionals and audiences, find common ground for mobile devices in theatres? To read his essay - and reader responses, please visit our NewsCenter here

  • Photos, Video: Denver Actors Fund 'Be Brave' concert

    by John Moore | May 14, 2016
    Denver Actors Fund 'Be Brave' concert Our photo gallery from the Hard Rock Cafe's "Be Brave" concert on May 10. To see more photos, hover your cursor over the photo above and click the "forward" arrow. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA's NewsCenter.


    The Hard Rock Cafe Denver hosted a concert to honor late Denver Actors Fund President Brenda Billings on May 10. Local actors re-gathered to perform songs from musicals directed by Billings for the Evergreen Players and Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden.

    Family members also participated, including in the video below, daughters Jamie, Jacquie Jo, Jessica and son Brady.




    The event raised $3,814 for the Denver Actors Fund, which provides financial and other services to members of the local theatre community in situational medical need.

    New Denver Actors Fund Board Member Will Barnette (Billings' son-in-law) announced a $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor in honor Billings, who died April 13 at age 57. The $10,000 donation puts the Denver Actors Fund over the $100,000 mark in total funds raised in less than three years of existence. It will be applied toward the Denver Actors Fund's first-ever matching campaign, the Brenda Billings Memorial Match.

    The $10,000 donor's hope was that friends of Brenda Billings will match the donation in her honor. Here's how to help: www.coloradogives.org/BrendaBillingsMemorialMatch.

    In addition, the concert raised $2,414 for Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, where Billings was Artistic Director. The emcee was Paul Dwyer. The Musical Director was Mitch Samu. In all, there were 30 performers, including surprise guests Tucker Worley (Billings' nephew) and Jordan Geiger, both New York-based actors.

    In the video above, Will Barnette announces the $10,000 Brenda Billings Memorial Match.

    Previous NewsCenter Coverage of Brenda Billings
    Donor launches $10,000 Brenda Billings Match Campaign
    Evening of songs to honor Brenda Billings at Hard Rock Cafe
    Photos: Brenda Billings' Life Celebration brings Ashford home
    Colorado theatre loses Brenda Billings: 'A warrior of acceptance'
    Brenda Billings named Denver Actors Fund President
    ​Miners Alley Playhouse makes way for new artistic leadership

    Brenda Billings Be Brave

    Be Brave performer list:
    Megan Augustin
    Jacquie Jo Billings
    Jamie Billings
    Ashley Brown
    Chris Burroughs
    Timothy Campbell
    Lisa DeCaro
    Paul Dwyer
    Kerri Emswiller
    McKenzie Evans
    Jordan Geiger
    Drew Horwitz
    Matt Kok
    Shelley Krane
    Margie Lamb
    Kate Lubotsky
    Daniel Langhoff
    Chas Lederer
    Mark Lively
    Patrick May
    Gail Montgomery           
    Gabriel Morales
    Andy Nikhomvan-Nuanhngam
    McKenna O'Meara
    Anna Paul
    Ken Paul
    Rory Pierce
    Tyrell D. Rae
    Leslie Randle
    Josh Rigo
    Kristen Samu
    Cody Schuyler
    Sonsharae Tull
    Brad Wagner
    Bailey Walton
    Tucker Worley

    The band: Mitch Samu, Mitch Jervis, Steve Klein, Tag Worley.

  • Photos: 'Sweeney Todd' through Robert Petkoff's bloody lens

    by John Moore | May 13, 2016
    Through The Eyes of Sweeney- Robert Petkoff's Photo Story

    Robert Petkoff Sweeney Todd Michael Brian Dunn Sweeney Todd has been an extraordinary creative and personal experience for all those involved with the DCPA Theatre Company's acclaimed production, which closes Sunday (May 15).

    And, clearly, a lot of fun.

    Robert Petkoff, who plays the titular role, has been chronicling his experience in Denver from the first rehearsal, and today he shares his backstage photos with DCPA NewsCenter readers and Theatre Company audiences. All photos by Robert Petkoff.

    To see the complete gallery, hover your cursor over the photo at the top of the page. Click the forward arrow to be taken to the next photo.

    (Pictured at right: Robert Petkoff has a little bit of fun with castmate Michael Brian Dunn [the barber Adolfo Pirelli] during a rehearsal break. Photo by Robert Petkoff.) 


    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Robert Petkoff Sweeney Todd Kathleen McCall and Christine Rowan. Photo Credit: Robert Petkoff.

    Robert Petkoff caught this lovable lick between the Beggar Woman (Kathleen McCall) and ensemble member Christine Rowan. Photo Credit: Robert Petkoff.

    Sweeney Todd
    : Information

  • 270x270-sweeney-toddMusic and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by High Wheeler (adapted by Christopher Bond); musical adaptation by DeVotchKa
  • Through May 15
  • Stage Theatre
  • Grammy-nominated Denver band DeVotchKa takes on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a reinvention of Sondheim’s musical thriller. Hell-bent on revenge, Sweeney Todd takes up with his enterprising neighbor in a devilish plot to slice their way through London’s upper crust. Justice will be served — along with audacious humor and bloody good thrills.
  • Tickets:  SOLD OUT

  • Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweeney Todd:
    Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    DeVotchKa frontman promises a Sweeney Todd that's 'loud and proud'
    DCPA announces DeVotchka-infused Sweeney Todd casting
    ​Where the band meets the blade: Rehearsals open
    Co-stars on bringing DeVotchKa’s fresh blood to Sondheim
    Video sneak peek with DeVotchKa
    Five things we learned at Perspectives: Use a dull blade!
    Interview, video: Sweeney Todd actors sing for Denver Actors Fund
    Opening Night photo gallery and story
    Sweeney Todd star recalls agony, ecstasy of Tantalus

    Previous Sweeney Todd cast profiles:
    Meet Danny Rothman
    Meet Jean McCormick
    ​Meet Daniel Berryman 
    Meet Michael Brian Dunn
  • Macbeth. Happy Friday the 13th. Macbeth Macbeth Macbeth.

    by John Moore | May 12, 2016




    Is there a ghost in the Buell Theatre? DCPA Video Producer David Lenk set up his camera to make a time-lapse video that would Superstition Ghost Lightcapture the load-in of the 'If/Then' national touring production's set in Denver's Buell Theatre back in October 2015. His camera took a photo every 30 seconds for three days and nights. The evident light at the bottom of the screen is a so-called "ghost light" - a theatre tradition in which one standing light is left on throughout the night to ward off ghosts. It may or may not have worked in this case. Upon reviewing the footage, Lenk discovered an unmistakable - and unexplainable blip in the upper-left region of the screen. It was captured in the dead of night, when the building was otherwise empty. "It is either reflecting light from something, or it is generating its own light," said Lenk, "because there is no other light source. It's completely dark." Lenk believes the blip could not be an anomaly or camera glitch, or the mistake would have repeated itself. The video above was slowed down by 180 percent to make the aberration easier to see. 


    By John Moore
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist

    Theatre superstitions are real. Whether there are real consequences for flaunting those unfounded fears is in the belief of the beholder.

    In honor of today being the only Friday the 13th of 2016, we decided to focus not on merely repeating all those well-worn superstitions. Instead, we asked theatre artists to tell us specific stories of what happened when those superstitions were violated. And there were many.

    Theatre SuperstitionsWhen Austin Terrell was playing Macbeth in high school, the actor made a pact with his castmates not to say the name of the play in the theatre.

    This is a superstition dating back to the 17th century that warns against saying "Macbeth" in a theatre. And while no one knows for sure how it began, there are countless legends of mishaps and even deaths during performances of the play. Maybe it’s all that “Double, double toil and trouble…” sorcery in the play. Regardless, if someone slips up and says the name of the play inside a theatre (outside of the actual performance), that person must exit the theater, spin three times, spit and then utter some vulgarity to neutralize the curse.

    “I was one of the chief enforcers of that rule – and for good reason, being the titular character,” Terrell said. “On the final night of rehearsal before our first performance, I called out the cursed name in a moment of anger, which was answered by gasps and giggles alike. Move ahead 20 minutes to our big fight scenes. One missed step of fight choreography meant a rusty, chipped sword blade across the knuckles of my left hand. Fourteen stitches and a tetanus shot later, I still refuse to say that name in house.”

    Taunting always seems to be a guaranteed way of getting a ghost’s dander up. When actor Erica Lee was in high school, some of her Our Town castmates decided to poke fun at their teacher’s deep respect for theatre superstitions. So they, of course, repeatedly yelled “Macbeth” inside the theatre. “It was minutes before the start of the closing performance of the show,” she said. “During the opening monologue, the trellis fell, seemingly unprovoked, causing a loud boom and an audience gasp. Later, one of the ladders followed suit, nearly injuring the actor playing Emily Webb during the adorable puppy-love scene.

    “After we closed the show, we thought the bad luck was over - until one cast member found a bee in her hair as we walked to the cast party. Then another. Then another. Suddenly, the whole cast and crew were shrieking as we were being chased by an angry swarm of bees inside the house.”

    The Our Towners later received a stern lecture from their director about the dangers of disrespecting theatrical superstitions ... as they passed around the calamine lotion.

    Theatre Superstitions

    Fanci Berndt said “the word” in a theatre her junior year in college, when she was playing a maid in Scapino. And she she stubbornly refused to submit to the cleansing tradition.

    “That afternoon, I got knocked in the head by a flying broom,” she said. “Later, as I was ducking under the stairs backstage, I hit my head and was temporarily knocked out.” Later in life, working as a substitute teacher, Berndt’s class decided to write a play about Shakespeare's ghost. “My daughter and son both contracted chicken pox,” she said.

    Of course, not everyone buys into theatre superstitions. DCPA Fight Director Geoff Kent, also the director of the Galleria Theatre’s upcoming An Act of God, calls them utter (bleep). “I was in a production of Twelfth Night where a light instrument shattered above the audience, dropping hot glass and injuring the audience. An actor later in the run became sick to the point of vomiting blood. Another actor suddenly left the production in the middle of the night to be replaced with no prep. And no one calls it "The Illyrian play" with hushed overtones.

    But Kent was quick to add: "I respect those who hold those rules sacred, if only not to mess with their focus. I find most of the superstitions silly. But there is no need to poke those fears with a stick."

    Too late.

    Your stories:

    Technician Mike Haas: As a talisman to protect the set and keep the technology of a production working, I've hidden a Yoda action figure into the set of every production I've been tech director on. That's more than 100 shows here in Denver protected by Yoda everywhere from the Aurora Fox to Town Hall Arts Center to The Avenue.

    Actor Emma Messenger: On the way to the theater, I have to spot a dog on a leash. The more dogs, the better the show will be. The safer the show will be. It's protection against something going wrong. If I don't see any dogs, I make my husband drive around the neighborhood until we find one. It also works for shows I'm going to see, even if I'm not in them. It's terrible if it's a snowy or rainy day because no one is out walking their dog. In that case, I have to spot a billboard with a dog or some sign of a dog, such as a veterinary clinic. It started several years ago when I was in a production of Sylvia. It's such a well-written, heartfelt play. Making the connection was irresistible. It became a crutch. When I see that dog, it's such a relief.

    Actor Charles Redding: I had just finished building a full-sized deer-carcass prop. It was not for a show. It was the final project for my props-making class (at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs). I was also currently involved in a production of The Spanish Tragedy, where I would be playing The Hangman. I was chatting about the deer carcass with another actor just inside the doors of the Osborne Studio Theatre when the actor said of my prop, “That's fantastic. You could add that into so many different shows. You could use it in Macbeth!" Suddenly the director shouts from behind the set: "Hey! I'm working with NOOSES OVER HERE!" So then came the whole turning ritual, which I was not aware of. I was kind of blown away. For the record, no one died, the hanging effect was fantastic, and the deer recently performed in a Christmas sketch show as Rondo, everyone's favorite expanded-universe reindeer.

    Technician Mitch Chew: Before every rehearsal of Black Elk Speaks at the Denver Center, the cast did a smudge ceremony to ward off any unwanted evil spirits, and to keep actors and technicians safe. It was taken very seriously. I still have the talisman they gave to each of the technicians.

    Costumer Sharon McClaury: During my last year of college, Mary Jo Catlett was a guest artist playing Momma Rose in Gypsy for the Little Theater of the Rockies in Greeley. I was her dresser and personal assistant. Well, she had a pretty good fit when they wanted to use peacock feathers as set dressing in one scene. She insisted she would not share the stage with the "Evil Eye." Onstage, peacock feathers are apparently the "Evil Eye.” She could not believe none of us had ever heard of this "theater no-no." I had designed Bus Stop that same season - and used peacock feathers on one of those costumes. So you can bet I kept my mouth shut!


    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.

  • 'Sweeney Todd' star recalls agony, ecstasy of 'Tantalus'

    by John Moore | May 12, 2016
    Robert Petkoff Tantalus

    Robert Petkoff appeared as Achilles in the DCPA's co-production of 'Tantalus' with the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

     Robert Petkoff Sweeney ToddSweeney Todd isn’t the first time actor Robert Petkoff has been seen slinging blades with abandon across a Denver Center stage.

    Petkoff, currently slicing away eight times a week as theatre’s most famous cutter, played the knife-wielding Achilles in Tantalus back in 2000 in the same Stage Theatre. That was a massive, 10-play co-production between the DCPA Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company that is billed to this day as the largest undertaking in theatre history.

    “At the time, of course, I didn’t think of it that way,” said Petkoff, who has received overwhelming audience and critical acclaim for his present performance in Sweeney Todd. “I was just happy to have a chance to work with (Royal Shakespeare Company founder) Peter Hall and (writer) John Barton, both of whom were giants in theatre.”

    DCPA founder Donald R. Seawell brought the Trojan War cycle to Denver at a cost of $8 million. It was created by a hybrid crew of American and international actors and designers.

    "Nothing has come along like it, and it probably won't ever happen again,” said Seawell, who died last year at 103. "It brought more attention to the Denver Center than anything else we have ever done. It brought critics from all over the world. It brought people from more than 40 countries."

    Robert Petkoff quote

    Tantalus was an epic spectacle, on-stage and off. The PBS documentary Tantalus: Behind the Mask chronicled the six-month rehearsal process through the Denver debut and subsequent British tour. The film captured the artistic squabbles, clashing egos, mounting tension, hurdles of time and money – and spectacular artistic achievement.  

    The creative process destroyed the friendship between Barton and Hall after Hall’s requests for rewrites. Instead Barton returned to London, where he sat as the Denver marathon was being rapturously received. Meanwhile, as opening approached, frustrated co-director Mick Gordon disappeared without a trace. The cast and crew told the documentary team that Gordon’s flight was no less than a ruthless, demoralizing act of abandonment.

    “I think working on Tantalus helped me understand the opening line in A Tale of Two Cities: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ ” Petkoff said this week. “There were moments that felt like agony and betrayal, and more moments that were sheer ecstasy and filled with the joy of storytelling in an exciting and original way.”

    Robert Petkoff Sense and Sensibility

    Here’s more of our conversation with Petkoff, who returned to the DCPA in 2013 to appear in the world premiere of Sense & Sensibility, The Musical. He continues to play Sweeney Todd through May 15, though all performances are sold out:

    Robert Petkoff TantalusJohn Moore: What was your role in the story?

    Robert Petkoff: I played Achilles, his son Neoptolemus, Orestes and Aegisthus.  One of the great things about being in masks  - which I really resisted in the beginning - was the ability to truly transform in the audience’s eyes. My wife told me of witnessing two men arguing between plays about whether the role of Achilles and Neoptolemus were played by two different actors. The voice and physicality of the characters were very different: one a brutal warrior, the other a very young, effeminate boy. That’s, of course, very flattering to an actor. But it was the masks that really made that happen. The audience can project onto the mask a face they want or expect to see. That enables an actor to seem like two different people.

    John Moore: What was opening night like when you had audience members from 40 states and seven foreign countries?

    Robert Petkoff: I wondered what the hell people would make of this show.  We were all so close to the material and had lived with it for so long I don’t think any of us could tell whether or not it would succeed.  

    John Moore: In the end, was it good art?

    Robert Petkoff TantalusRobert Petkoff: I can’t really say whether it was successful art or not. There were so many people who told me they thought it was extraordinary. But the nature of art is that for every person who is moved by something there is someone who sniffs at it and feels it was a trifle and not worth their time.  I will say this though: There were those who came to the marathon performances and saw one-third of the play, then had lunch together, saw another third, then had dinner together, and finally came back for the last third of the 10 1/2 hour event. At the end of those marathon days the energy that came from the audience to the actors when we finally removed our masks and took our final bows is something I will never forget and probably will never experience in my lifetime again as an actor. For both the audience and the actors it was truly extraordinary and unique and powerful.  That’s what I will always carry with me.

    John Moore: What’s your craziest story of an onstage happening during the run?

    Robert Petkoff: The event I remember the most happened during the tour in the United Kingdom. At the end of one of the plays, I was in a “wedding dress” that I thought looked a bit like a red Tilt-a-Whirl.  It was a very dramatic costume.  At the blackout, someone was supposed to guide me with a flashlight off the stage into the wings, but at this particular venue - no one did. I saw a light and walked toward it and fell 5 feet off the front of the stage and landed on my back. Fortunately the enormous amount of fabric and the structure of the costume helped break my fall. The light I had walked toward was an exit sign. I got up as quickly as I could and walked toward that exit. Still in blackout. When I opened the door, it flooded the auditorium with light so the entire audience could see me trying to escape. In my panic, I tried to go straight out the door, but the costume was so wide, I kept hitting the doorframe and couldn’t get out.  With the house lights coming up, I finally turned sideways and shimmied out the door.

    John Moore: What was it like being back on that same stage to star in Sweeney Todd?

    Robert Petkoff: Stepping into the theatre again to do Sweeney Todd, I had a moment that I told my wife about later that night. I said to her that everything I went through backstage and in rehearsals in the nine months that we worked on and performed Tantalus in Denver all seemed so dramatic and important at the time. Now that I was back so many years later, what seemed important was that we created this unique work. Everything else seemed so inconsequential and trivial.

    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.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter



    Sweeney Todd
    : Information

  • 270x270-sweeney-toddMusic and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by High Wheeler (adapted by Christopher Bond); musical adaptation by DeVotchKa
  • Through May 15
  • Stage Theatre
  • Grammy-nominated Denver band DeVotchKa takes on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a reinvention of Sondheim’s musical thriller. Hell-bent on revenge, Sweeney Todd takes up with his enterprising neighbor in a devilish plot to slice their way through London’s upper crust. Justice will be served — along with audacious humor and bloody good thrills.
  • Tickets:  SOLD OUT

  • Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweeney Todd:
    Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    DeVotchKa frontman promises a Sweeney Todd that's 'loud and proud'
    DCPA announces DeVotchka-infused Sweeney Todd casting
    ​Where the band meets the blade: Rehearsals open
    Co-stars on bringing DeVotchKa’s fresh blood to Sondheim
    Video sneak peek with DeVotchKa
    Five things we learned at Perspectives: Use a dull blade!
    Interview, video: Sweeney Todd actors sing for Denver Actors Fund
    Opening Night photo gallery and story

    Previous Sweeney Todd cast profiles:

    Meet Danny Rothman
    Meet Jean McCormick
    ​Meet Daniel Berryman 
    Meet Michael Brian Dunn
  • Judi Wolf: A woman for all costumes

    by NewsCenter Staff | May 11, 2016
    Judi Wolf Donald Seawell Hattitude 2015 DCPA Founder Don Seawell is pictured above with flamboyant DCPA Trustee Judi Wolf at the 2015 Hattitude luncheon. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.


    DCPA Trustee Judi Wolf has been playing in costumes since she was 6.

    “I started in my mother’s ballgowns,” she said. “I would put them on and get completely lost in them.”

    Judi Wolf QuoteRed is both Wolf’s color and her moniker. From her flaming red hair to her flair for the dramatic, she exudes red.

    Wolf has been a staunch supporter of the DCPA since the first opening night in 1979, and openings continue to be a very big deal to her. She wore a toga to the opening of the 10-hour epic Greek cycle Tantalus in 2000. She arrived at The Little Mermaid in 2007 dressed as Ariel’s mother where she held fish-shaped balloons while her household manager blew bubbles in her wake.

    There are method actors, and there are method dressers. Imagine what the audience thought when Wolf arrived at The Man Who Came to Dinner in 1990 wearing a cocktail dress and riding in a wheelchair. The play’s cranky protagonist Sheridan Whiteside, of course, spends the play in a wheelchair. Now that is commitment to craft.

    But in this case, says Wolf, she needed it. “I had tripped walking out of the beauty shop,” she said, “so I rode to the opening in ambulance with ice on my knee and ankle. It was opening night. I wasn’t going to miss it.”  Wolf is a Denver native with a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Denver. She taught Spanish at Graland Country Day School and was named as the Fine Arts Foundation Citizen of the Arts in 2012.

    She has sponsored the Costume Corner column in the DCPA's Applause magazine for the past five years because she believes the costume arts must be championed.

    “What is theatre without costumes?” she said. “It’s radio!”

    Denver Stories Curious Judi Wolf Jim Hunt

    Judi Wolf at home on the "red" carpet with "Denver Stories" Director Jim Hunt at Curious Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Haley Johnson: From extra to a screening at Cannes

    by John Moore | May 10, 2016
    Haley Johnson Genesis



    Denver actor Haley Johnson went from answering a local call for extras to playing the lead female role in a film that will be screened Friday at the Cannes Film Festival.

    How does that feel?

    “Surreal. Unbelievable. A once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will, unfortunately, miss attending,” she said.

    Alas, Johnson will miss the screening of Genesis in Cannes because she is currently appearing in Casa Valentina through May 22 at The Edge Theatre. She plays the rather … disapproving daughter of a retired 1960s Army veteran who happens to enjoy wearing women’s clothes.

    But wait … how did this happen?

    Haley Johnson Casa ValentinaGenesis is a locally produced zombie film written and directed by Loveland native Michael McCarthy and his production company, Killgore Films, which put out a call for extras that Johnson answered way back in 2012.

    “I showed up on location and there were at least 20 or 30 other people there,” she said. "I said I’d be happy to be covered in blood and dirt and went so far as to roll around on the ground to get my clothes filthy.” Apparently, McCarthy noticed.

    “When we had to re-write and re-cast, it was clear that Haley had amazing talent, so we wrote a large part for her,” McCarthy said of Johnson, whose recent stage work includes playing the mother of a boy killed in traffic (Rabbit Hole) and a daughter whose mother who announces her intention to commit suicide (the Henry Award-winning Night, Mother).

    Genesis is an apocalyptic thriller in which U.S. Marshals are sent to a remote farmhouse in Colorado to retrieve a scientist in the Witness Protection Program who may hold the key to solving the unfolding pandemic. Johnson plays a mystery woman named Ilsa. “As the story unfolds, you learn small details about who she is, what she wants and how she fits into the puzzle,” she said.

    Johnson moved to Littleton from Pensacola, Fla., in 1995 and graduated from Arapahoe High School. She attended Florida State University for two years before graduating from the University of Colorado Denver and has been working in the Denver metro theatre community as an actor, director and playwright for the past 12 years.

    To be precise, Genesis is not in consideration for the Palme d'Or (the highest prize awarded at the Palm). It won entry into the Marche de Film, which is a market festival at the Cannes. But, still ...

    GenesisCover
    Courtesy Killgore Films.


    Here’s more about Haley Johnson's long, strange trip not to France:

    John Moore: Where was Genesis shot?

    Haley Johnson: It was shot all over Northern Colorado but my scenes were specifically shot on location at a turn-of-the century farmhouse in Greeley. The first few times I was called as an extra were for night shoots. When I was given the role of Ilsa, I shot my scenes on  location, all over one weekend.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    John Moore: So how hard is it not to be in France this weekend?

    Haley Johnson: It would have been a pricey trip, and it’s next to impossible to book a hotel anywhere near Cannes. But, I’m currently performing in Casa Valentina at The Edge Theatre, and I’ve never missed a performance of a show I’ve been a part of. Ever. I will miss the screening, but I was more bummed at the possibility that I may be missing the opportunity of bumping into Tom Hardy at a French café.

    John Moore: How can we see Genesis in Colorado?

    Haley Johnson: Genesis will have a screening for cast and crew in Loveland this June, and it will be available on Blu-Ray and iTunes later this summer.

    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.

    Go to the official Genesis web site

    Courtesy Killgore Films.
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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.