• From Mayor to Mother: Insight into new DCPA boss Janice Sinden

    by John Moore | Aug 23, 2016
    DCPA CEO Janice Sinden

    Photos from Janice Sinden's introduction as the DCPA's new President and CEO. Here she is flanked by DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie, left, and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock at Tuesday's press conference. To see more images, click the 'forward' arrow on the image above.' Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    Janice Sinden announced her candidacy for the presidency way back in the fifth grade, her mother revealed on Tuesday. Sinden officially attained that goal when she was named the new President and CEO of the Denver Center.

    “But she was talking about THE presidency,” Arlene Brown clarified. You know … of the United States?

    First things first.

    Janice Sinden quoteSinden, 44, was introduced as the DCPA’s new leader at a morning press conference attended by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie, Denver Police Chief Ronald White, Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman and dozens of city and DCPA staffers.

    Sinden has served as Hancock’s Chief of Staff since 2011. And the mayor teased Ritchie and his DCPA colleagues for luring Sinden away.

    "I once counted you all as good friends," Hancock joked. "Once. But you have selected the very best person for this job.”

    Read more: Sinden a historic choice for DCPA's new CEO

    Hancock barely knew Sinden when he became mayor five years ago, but he now counts Sinden as both a friend and a partner he could go into the foxhole with. “Who would have thought this young lady from rural Colorado - a Republican - would join this moderate Democrat from the state's capital and form a team that would not only bind us through the challenges and opportunities of this great city, but also would form a friendship where we would laugh till we busted a gut together?”

    Hancock offered the staff of the DCPA a personal sense of what they are getting in Sinden, calling her a hard worker and loyal team player.

    “She is going to be the most nurturing, maternal leader you have ever had,” Hancock said, with a warning: “She never sleeps – So don't expect that you will either. She is everywhere, so try to keep up. She has an insatiable appetite for the details. So come prepared.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    For her part, Sinden told the gathered crowd: "We are going to take arts and culture to the next level. We are going to get it into every kiddo's head that they can be whatever they want to be. Innovation and creativity are what drive our children to be successful, amazing adults."

    Janice Sinden enjoys her big moment on Tuesday, when her appointment as new DCPA CEO was announced. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Here are more comments from Tuesday’s announcement:

    Denver Police Chief Robert C. White cited Sinden’s "phenomenal management skills" and listening ear. “I absolutely love Janice Sinden. She has been a godsend to the city, and she has been a great supporter of the police department. And my wife, Valerie, loves the theatre, so I expect I will be spending a lot more time here at the DCPA.”

    DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie: “Frankly, we were blown away by the number of immensely qualified leaders who wanted this job. But after careful consideration, we couldn't find anybody better suited than Janice Sinden.”

    Ginger White-Brunetti, Deputy Director of Denver’s department of Arts and Venues, is heavily involved with The Next Stage, the city’s plan for transforming the Denver Performing Arts Complex into an entertainment destination complete with new performance venues, residential towers, hotels, restaurants and retail. “We are really excited to have a like-minded leader who sees the value in the Next Stage Project and can create a dialogue with both the community and the DCPA’s patrons and board to ensure this project reaches its full potential.”

    Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock: “This city, and this man, are better because I have worked with one of the greatest in Janice Sinden.”

    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.

    Janice Sinden listens to comments from Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Photo by John Moore.
    Janice Sinden listens to comments from her former boss, Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

  • Janice Sinden: Historic choice for DCPA's new CEO

    by John Moore | Aug 23, 2016
    Janice Sinden Quote

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts searched the globe for its third Chief Executive Officer, and it found her less than a mile away.
    Janice Sinden, a fourth-generation Coloradan from Fort Collins, has been named President and only the third CEO in the nearly 40-year history of the largest non-profit theatre organization in the country. And first woman. DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie made the historic announcement this morning.
    “This hiring means there are no walls, and I’m sure Janice will demonstrate that in everything she does," said Ritchie. "She's just an extraordinary human being, and I have no doubt she will succeed as a person and a leader.”

    Sinden, 44, has served as Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock for the past five years, where she oversaw 26 city departments with more than 11,000 employees and a budget of more than $1.5 billion. Before that, she ran Colorado Concern, an alliance of more than 100 of Colorado top business executives.
    “We wanted someone well-connected in the community, and she is about as well-connected as anyone could possibly be,” said DCPA chairman Daniel Ritchie.
    It says something of Sinden’s character that when Hancock chose the most vital connector of his administration, the Democrat mayor turned to a Republican who had previously served under Sen. Wayne Allard. Five years later, perhaps the greatest measure of Sinden’s success is evidenced by how hard it is for Hancock to let her walk away. Sinden has helped spearhead numerous mayoral initiatives that have strengthened city finances, reformed city operations, improved the lives of underserved communities and supported Denver’s children, Hancock said.
    “So much of what we’ve been able to accomplish is because she was in the lead making sure we could get across the finish line,” said Hancock. "Her professionalism is unparalleled. The people of Denver are better off and on a better course because she answered the call to serve.”
    Michael Hancock quoteAnd  when Sinden was offered the opportunity to become the first female to lead the DCPA, Hancock gave his reluctant blessing.
    “Mayor Hancock has often told me: ‘Janice, when the time is right, don’t run away from something. Run toward it,’ ” Sinden said. “I’m ready to grab the baton and join this incredible team as we run toward a common goal.”
    Since 1979, the DCPA has presented Broadway tours and produced homegrown theatre, cabaret, musicals and innovative, multimedia plays. As the primary tenant of downtown’s Arts Complex, the DCPA entertained nearly 1.2 million last year through 40 productions, 888 performances and 205 events. The Education program serves 92,000 students each year. It has been estimated the DCPA has registered a $600 million economic impact over the past five years. It has an annual budget of more than $50 million and employs 1,000 full- and part-time staff.
    Sinden, who assumes her duties at the DCPA on Sept. 12, said her top goal will be to help the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District win reauthorization from voters on Nov. 8. That penny-per-$10 sales tax generates more than $50 million annually for more than 300 arts organizations in the metro area.
    “That’s No. 1. We need to get that done,” said Sinden. “I have traveled to 20 countries with the mayor over the past five years, and the first thing everyone asks about is the SCFD. It's a model that no one else has anywhere in the world.”
    She also cited as a top priority The Next Stage – the city’s grand vision for transforming the Denver Performing Arts Complex into an entertainment destination complete with a new amphitheater and music hall, residential towers, hotels, restaurants and retail. As Denver’s former Chief of Staff, Sinden should bring key insight to the project as discussions turn next to governance and funding.

    Institutionally, Sinden said, her initial focus will be on inclusion, diversity, fundraising and expanding audiences.
    Daniel Ritchie quoteThe Hancock administration’s support for arts and culture has been well-documented. Hancock created Imagine 2020, the city’s first strategic plan for arts and culture in 20 years. His wife, singer and actress Mary Louise Lee, has also created a city program called Bringing Back the Arts.
    “Arts and culture are the fabric of our city. They are woven through everything we do,” said Sinden, who imagines a 2020 when Denver arts will be “better, deeper, richer – and with lot more diversity in our participation.”
    Sinden replaces Scott Shiller, who resigned in May. Ritchie said he has no doubt Sinden was the right person for the job.
    “We wanted someone who had demonstrated leadership with a large complex organization; someone who has a passion for theatre and the arts; and someone who shares our values of integrity, diversity, innovation and putting the customer first in everything we do,” Ritchie said. “Janice fits every bill.”
    Sinden said she was not deterred that Shiller resigned after only a year on the job.

    "Jim Crowe, the founder of Level 3 Communications, told me recently that 40 percent of all CEOs don't work out, and it's not because they're not qualified," Sinden said. "It's because it just didn't work, for a variety of reasons. I don't think it's a reflection on Scott or on the organization. Chemistry is everything."

    Sinden is a quintessential Coloradan who hikes, skis and recently took in the  Michael Franti concert at Red Rocks. She lives in Evergreen and often can be found hiking Bergen Peak. She recently scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, an experience she said was “one of the most important things I have ever done for myself.”

    She was born in Steamboat Springs, where her father, Roger Sinden, ran the town’s first Grade-A dairy farm. When the family moved to Wellington, her father then went to work for a Northern Colorado water conservancy district. Her mother’s family owns many dryland farms in northeastern Colorado that are “spread out from Brighton to Yuma and everywhere in between,” she said.
    Sinden grew up playing the piano and attending the theatre with her mother, Arlene Brown, as often as possible. She remembers seeing a production of Annie Get Your Gun at Fort Collins’ Lincoln Center that turned her into a theatre-lover for life.
    “We didn’t have a lot of money,” she said, "but my mother was always exposing us to theatre, and that was a wonderful part of growing up. My mother made sure I could play the piano and swim - and I am grateful for both.”
    She loves live theatre, she said, because "it presents us with an opportunity to tackle a whole lot of issues and experiences we are facing as a community in a way you can't get from television or film."

    Sinden graduated from Rocky Mountain High School and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley before completing the Executives in State and Local Government program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
    She attends theatre and other arts performances as often as time allows. Most recently, she frequented the DCPA Theatre Company’s DeVotchKa-infused production of Sweeney Todd, and her response offers some insight into what kind of programming might most appeal to her at the DCPA.
    “I loved Sweeney Todd because was risky,” she said. “And that’s exciting, because theatre should be risky. If we weren't willing to take risks, we'd just show Cats over and over again. This organization is clearly progressive.”
    While the DCPA fielded inquiries for the CEO position from around the globe, Ritchie said Sinden’s intimate knowledge of Colorado and its most powerful business leaders will uniquely situate her to succeed.

    “Denver is not like New York or Boston or L.A.,” Ritchie said. “Janice doesn’t need to learn the culture here – she is already part of it.”

    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.

    Janice Sinden's community work:
    Janice Sinden served on and/or led the boards of some of the area’s leading non-profit organizations:

    • American Transplant Association
    • Colorado Civil Justice League
    • Colorado Council on the Arts
    • Colorado’s Future
    • Colorado Preservation Inc.
    • Colorado Reform Roundtable
    • Colorado Workers Compensation Coalition
    • Denver Good Government Committee
    • Denver Preschool Program
    • Downtown Parks & Public Spaces Master Planning Committee
    • Executives Partnering to Invest in Children
    • Mental Health Colorado
    • ONE Colorado
    • Visit Denver

    Janice Sinden’s city initiatives
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock credits new DCPA CEO Janice Sinden for the following city initiatives since 2011:

    • Recruiting a new Police Chief and Sheriff to implement major reforms in those two public safety agencies;
    • Creating the new Rose Andom Center, Colorado’s first family justice center to serve domestic violence victims by bringing multiple agencies and services together in one location;
    • Securing voter approval for Measure 2A in 2012, which eliminated the city’s recession-induced budget deficit and restored essential city services;
    • Re-authorizing and expanding the nationally recognized Denver Preschool Program allowing the program to reach more preschool students and reduce costs for families;
    • Creating the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies and Office of Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere, both of which will bring a new force and focus addressing vulnerable and underserved populations;
    • Establishing the Mayor’s Good Government Committee, which has led to many reforms that today make city government more modern, effective, efficient and fiscally responsible;
    • Negotiating seven successful collective bargaining agreements with the city’s fire, police and sheriff associations; and
    • Supporting other Mayoral initiatives, including international economic development and cultural missions to promote Denver nationally and internationally, the memorial events for the 10th and 15th anniversaries of 9/11, and Denver's bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
  • DCPA Theatre Company announces 2016-17 directors

    by John Moore | Aug 18, 2016
    Christy Montour-Larson
    Christy Montour-Larson, left, shown at the 2016 Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards, will return to the DCPA to direct the world premiere of 'Two Degrees.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Jenn ThompsonThe DCPA Theatre Company's 2016-17 season will include a mix of five returning and three first-time company directors. Of note, half of the director slate is female. Part of the mission of the DCPA's Women's Voices Fund is to create both playwriting and directing opportunities for women, who are vastly under-represented on the national stage, according to several studies. (Pictured right: Jenn Thompson.)

    The directors are:

    The Glass Menagerie
    will be directed by Ina Marlowe (Producing Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre and Organic Theatre Company). DCPA directorial debut.
    Frankenstein will be directed by Sam Buntrock (2008 Broadway Revival of Sunday in the Park with George, DCPA’s Ed Downloaded).
    MelissaRianAndersonA Christmas Carol will be directed by Melissa Rain Anderson (Utah Shakespeare Festival, Geva Theatre Center). DCPA directorial debut. (Pictured left.)
    'One Night in Miami' Director Carl Cofield at the first rehearsal at the DCPA. Photo by John Moore. The world premiere of The Book of Will will be directed by Davis McCallum (Off-Broadway’s The Harvest, London Wall). He also directed the Off-Broadway poduction of the DCPA world premiere, The Whale. DCPA directorial debut.
    The Christians will be directed by Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson.

    The world premiere of Two Degrees will be directed by Christy Montour-Larson (DCPA's Shadowlands, The Giver).
    Disgraced will be directed by Carl Cofield (DCPA’s One Night in Miami, pictured above right).
    The Secret Garden
    will be directed by Jenn Thompson (DCPA’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike).

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.

    The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
    • Sept. 9-Oct. 16
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 15
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Frankenstein: Ticket information
    • Sept. 30-Oct. 30
    • Stage Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 23
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage:

    Casting set for Frankenstein and The Glass Menagerie
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie

  • Casting set for 'Frankenstein' and 'The Glass Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Aug 17, 2016

    Frankenstein Sullivan Jones
    Sullivan Jones, left, was the original Cassius Clay in Center Stage's production of  'One Night in Miami…' opposite Esau Pritchett. Jones will alternate with Mark Junek in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature in the DCPA's 'Frankenstein.' Photo by Richard Anderson.

    FrankensteinThe DCPA Theatre Company today announced full casting for its first two productions of the 2016-17 season, The Glass Menagerie and Frankenstein. The lineup includes returning artists from previous seasons, new collaborators and familiar faces from the Colorado theatre community.

    The U.S. premiere of Nick Dear’s adaptation Frankenstein will be directed by Sam Buntrock, who is returning to the DCPA after having directed the 2013 world premiere of Ed, Downloaded. Buntrock’s directing credits include Sunday in the Park with George (Broadway, West End, Menier and 5th Avenue Seattle). The production won five Olivier Awards including Outstanding Musical Production and was nominated for nine Tony Awards including Best Director.

    The company of Frankenstein will be led by Sullivan Jones (the original Cassius Clay in Rogue Machine Theatre’s production of One Night in Miami…) and Mark Junek (Broadway’s The Performers) alternating performances in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature.

    Frankenstein will also feature ...

    • Molly Carden (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Agatha/Ensemble
    • Thaddeus Fitzpatrick (2016 Colorado New Play Summit's The Book of Will) as Rab/Ensemble
    • Meridith C. Grundei (Off-Center’s Sweet & Lucky) as Servant/Ensemble and understudy to Gretel
    • Charlie Korman (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd, Lord of the Flies) as William/Ensemble
    • Jenny Leona (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Elizabeth/Ensemble
    • Rodney Lizcano (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Gustav/Constable/Ensemble
    • Conan McCarty as Klaus/Servant/Ensemble
    • Kevin McGuire (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd) as De Lancy/M. Frankenstein/Ensemble
    • Douglas Rees (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Ewan/Ensemble
    • Jessica Robblee (DCPA’s All The Way) as Clarice/Gretel/Ensemble
    • Nellessa Walthour (National tour of The Lion King, DCPA Theater Company debut) as Female Creature/Ensemble
    • Erin Willis (DCPA’s All The Way, A Christmas Carol) as Servant/Ensemble, and understudy to Agatha/Clarice
    • Max Woertendyke (Broadway’s A View From the Bridge, DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Felix and understudy to Victor/The Creature.

    • Additional understudies:

    • John Hauser (Off-Center’s Sweet & Lucky) will understudy Felix and Rab
    • Avi Levin (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) will understudy William
    • Leigh Nichols Miller (Off-Center’s Sweet & Lucky, DCPA’s Jackie and Me) will understudy Victor/The Creature/Gustav/Constable
    • Brian Shea (DCPA’s Death of a Salesman) will understudy Klaus/De Lancy/M. Frankenstein
    • Brynn Tucker (DCPA Theatre Company Debut) will understudy the Female Creature

    The creative team includes Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer), Kevin Copenhaver (Costume Designer), Brian Tovar (Lighting Designer), Curtis Craig (Sound Designer), Charlie I. Miller (Projection Designer), and Douglas Langworthy (Dramaturg).

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    From left: Amelia Pedlow, Aubrey Deeker, Kathleen McCall and John Skelley. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The Glass Menagerie:

    The Glass MenagerieAs previously reported in the DCPA NewsCenter, Ina Marlowe will make her DCPA Theatre Company directorial debut with The Glass Menagerie. Regionally, Marlowe has directed for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Germinal Stage-Denver and served as the Producing Artistic Director for three companies in Chicago (Touchstone Theatre, Organic Theatre Company, The Library Theatre).

    This production, the Theatre Company's first to tackle Tennessee Williams' first play, reunites three cast members from the Theatre Company’s 2014 production of Hamlet.

    The Glass Menagerie will feature ...

    • Aubrey Deeker (Hamlet in DCPA’s Hamlet) as Tom
    • Kathleen McCall (DCPA’s Benediction, Gertrude in Hamlet) as Amanda
    • Amelia Pedlow (Ophelia in DCPA’s Hamlet) as Laura
    • John Skelley (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as The Gentleman Caller

    The creative team includes Joseph P. Tilford (Scenic Designer), Meghan Anderson Doyle (Costume Designer), Charles R. MacLeod (Lighting Designer), Tyler Nelson (Sound Designer), and Stephanie Prugh (Dramaturg).

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.

    The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
    • Sept. 9-Oct. 16
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 15
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Frankenstein: Ticket information
    • Sept. 30-Oct. 30
    • Stage Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 23
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Additional The Glass Menagerie photos:

    'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver

    To see more photos, click on the forward arrow on the image above.

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage:

    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
  • Sweeney Todd will return to Denver with 'Fun Home' tour

    by John Moore | Aug 16, 2016
    Robert Petkoff Sweeney Todd

    Robert Petkoff, who recently headlined the DCPA Theatre Company's critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd, will return to Denver in January with the first national touring production of the groundbreaking 2015 Tony-winning Best Musical, Fun Home.

    The tour will stop at Denver's Ellie Caulkins Opera House from Jan 10-22, 2017.

    Petkoff, also celebrated for his performances in Broadway’s Ragtime, All The Way and Anything Goes, will play the troubled patriarch, Bruce.

    Fun HomePetkoff, who was nominated for a Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for his performance in Sweeney Todd, also played Colonel Brandon in the DCPA's 2013 world premiere of Sense & Sensibility. Before that, he played the knife-wielding Achilles in the DCPA's Tantalus back in 2000. 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.

    "I was aware of the possibility of doing Fun Home when I was finishing the run of Sweeney Todd at the Denver Center and was quite pleased with the prospect of returning to Denver," Petkoff said from Paris in an exclusive interview with the DCPA NewsCenter. "I really love the city and have had such great theatrical experiences there at the DCPA. I can't wait to be back in Denver with Fun Home. It's such a wonderful and moving show."

    Susan Moniz (Broadway’s Grease) will play Helen in Fun Home, and Kate Shindle (Broadway’s Legally Blonde, Cabaret and Miss America 1998) will play Alison. Joining them will be Abby Corrigan As medium Alison, Alessandra Baldacchino (Broadway’s Fun Home) as Small Alison, Karen Eilbacher as Joan, Robert Hager as Roy (and others), Lennon Nate Hammond as John and Pierson Salavdor as Christian. At certain performances, Carly Gold will play Small Alison. Additional cast members will include Anthony Fortino, Amanda Naughton, Sofia Trimarchi and Michael Winther.

    More Robert Petkoff recalls his time on 'Tantalus'

    Fun Home won raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It made history when it became the first show written exclusively by women to win theater’s highest achievement, the Best Musical Tony Award. 

    Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces audiences to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood that connect with her in surprising new ways. Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

    Robert Petkoff TantalusFun Home features music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and direction by Sam Gold, who won Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Book and Best Direction. Kron and Tesori also made history by becoming the first female writing team to be awarded the Best Score Tony Award.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Broadway production of Fun Home opened on Broadway on April 19, 2015, and is currently playing at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre through September 10.

    Tickets for the Denver engagement start at $30 and are on sale now. Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of Fun Home.

    Pictured above: Robert Petkoff in the DCPA's 'Tantalus.'

    Fun Home
    : Ticket information

    • Jan. 10-22, 2017
    •  The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    For more information on the production, please visit FunHomeBroadway.com.

    Fun Home Broadway. Joan Marcus
    The original Broadway cast of 'Fun Home' included Sydney Lucas, Colorado native (and Tony-nominated) Beth Malone and Emily Skeggs. Photo Credit Joan Marcus.
  • DCPA announces casting for 'An Act of God'

    by John Moore | Aug 15, 2016

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced that Broadway's Wesley Taylor, star and fan favorite in the NBC TV show Smash, will play God in the new comedy An Act of God making its Denver debut at the Garner Galleria Theatre starting Oct. 15.

    The King of the Universe is tackling His greatest challenge yet: the Mile High City. God takes the form of Wesley Taylor in An Act of God, a 90-minute comedy where the Almighty and His devoted Angels answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight … and He’s not holding back!

    Act of God 600Directed by Geoffrey Kent, An Act of God also includes Steven Cole Hughes as Michael and Erik Sandvold as Gabriel with Steven J. Burge (understudy God/Michael). The entire cast and director make their DCPA Broadway/Cabaret debut with An Act of God.

    An Act of God creative team features DCPA Broadway/Cabaret veterans, Lisa M. Orzolek (scenic design), Meghan Anderson Doyle (costume design) and Charles R. MacLeod (lighting design). Making his DCPA Broadway/Cabaret sound design debut is Anson Nicholson.

    An Act of God is based on the critically acclaimed book written by God and transcribed by David Javerbaum. Javerbaum is a 13-time Emmy Award® winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

    The play premiered on Broadway on May 7, 2015 and ran in an acclaimed, limited run through Aug. 2, 2015, starring God in the body of Jim Parsons. It was the first Broadway production of the 2015-16 season to recoup its initial investment. The play is currently playing a return engagement on Broadway starring Sean Hayes. This production in Denver is one of the first regional productions of the hit comedy.

    Tickets start at $35 and are on sale now at denvercenter.org. Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – and denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of An Act of God.

    An Act of God
    : Ticket information

    • Oct. 15 through March 12, 2017
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: TBA
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829


    WESLEY TAYLOR (God) most recently starred as 'the Emcee' in Signature Theatre's acclaimed production of Cabaret. On Broadway, he created the roles of "Lucas Beineke" in the original cast of The Addams Family and "Franz" in the original company of Rock of Ages, which garnered him a Theatre World Award (Outstanding Broadway Debut) and an Outer Critics Circle Nomination (Best Featured Actor). He has performed internationally and all over the United States, with extensive credits in Off-Broadway and Regional theatre. On Television, he's been seen on "The Good Wife" (CBS), "Looking" (HBO), "The Tomorrow People" (CW), "One Life to Live" (ABC), "The Tony Awards" (CBS) and 26 episodes as 'Bobby' on "Smash" (NBC). 

    As a writer, Taylor has created countless sketch comedy for the web (including the YouTube series, "Billy Green") and is the Co-creator/Writer/Star of "It Could Be Worse," which was sold to Participant Media and acquired by Hulu (and is now available on Vimeo on Demand). After his play "Cuckold" became runner-up in Manhattan Repertory Theatre's one act competition, The Actor's Fund produced a sold-out evening of six of his short plays last October, featuring Stockard Channing, Nathan Lane, and Debra Messing. In November of 2016, they will produce seven new shorts by Taylor. Anonymous Content is developing his series "Basics" for digital platforms. Twitter: @WesTayTay IG: @sirwestaytay

    GEOFFREY KENT (Director) is an actor, director and fight director based out of Denver Colorado. Recent directing work includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and The Comedy of Errors for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, 39 Steps, Grapes of Wrath, The Lying Kind and You Can’t Take it With You for Theatreworks, Metamorphoses and She Kills Monsters for the Aurora Fox. Geoffrey has worked as the resident fight director for CSF and the DCPA for 15 years and stages action across the U.S., including the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. As an actor Geoffrey has appeared with the DCPA Theatre Company (Hamlet, Richard III, Othello, Eventide, Superior Donuts), CSF (Mercutio, Iago, Benedick, Achilles) and numerous professional Colorado theatres. He teaches for the University of Denver and is a former instructor for the National Theatre Conservatory. 

    GOD (Playwright) is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere. His previous novels, The Old Testament, The New Testament, and The Koran, have sold an impressive five billion copies, with the first two in particular coming to be collectively regarded as something of a bible of their field. An Act Of God will be his first work written directly for the stage, although his 1827 comic romp The Book of Mormon was recently adapted into a successful Broadway musical. God lives in heaven with his wife, Ruth, and their children, Zach, Jesus, and Kathy.

    DAVID JAVERBAUM (Playwright) is a 13-time Emmy-winning former head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” He is the co-author of that show’s bestsellers America: The Book and Earth: The Book, and the sole author of An Act of God: A Memoir and What to Expect When You’re Expected: A Fetus’s Guide to the First Three Trimesters. His recently retired Twitter account @TheTweetOfGod has more than 2.3 million followers. He is also a Tony-nominated lyricist whose collaborations with songwriter Adam Schlesinger include the Broadway musical Cry-Baby, the Grammy-winning songs for Stephen Colbert’s Christmas special The Greatest Gift of All and Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number for the 2011 Tony Awards, “Broadway Is Not Just for Gays Anymore.” He created the talk show “No, You Shut Up!” with Henson Studios for Fusion. He served as a writer-producer for “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” writing the opening to this year’s Tony’s. He is the co-creator with Chuck Lorre of “Disjointed,” an upcoming pot-themed television show for Netflix.

    STEVEN COLE HUGHES (Michael/understudy Gabriel) has spent eleven seasons as an actor with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, appearing in Just Like Us, Pride and Prejudice, All My Sons, Blue/Orange, The Lonesome West, The Three Sisters, The Misanthrope, Scapin, Measure for Measure, Love’s Labor’s Lost, Hamlet and Tantalus. He has spent six seasons with Creede Repertory Theatre and three seasons with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Other theatres include Curious Theatre Company, Arvada Center, Theatreworks, Theatre Aspen, Gulfshore Playhouse, Baltimore Centerstage, Portland Center Stage and Ensemble Studio Theatre. He has appeared on television in “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”  He has an MFA in Acting from the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory. 

    ERIK SANDVOLD (Gabriel) is an honors graduate of Northwestern University, Erik Sandvold has frequently performed major roles with the leading theatre companies in Colorado, including the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, the Arvada Center, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Curious Theatre Company, where he’s an Artistic Council Member.  Notable roles include:  the title roles in Nicholas Nickleby and the world-premiere musical Ichabod!; Lloyd Crowder in the world-premiere of Plainsong; and Mason Marzac in Take Me Out, for which he was named Top Actor by the Rocky Mountain News and awarded The Denver Post’s Ovation Award for Best Comic Performance.  He also won Ovation Awards for Best Solo Performance for playing all 36 characters in I Am My Own Wife and for the world premiere of Bubs: A One Man Musical, which he also performed at Fringe NYC in 2009. Erik has narrated more than 1000 books for the Library of Congress, including the Harry Potter series. 

    STEVEN J. BURGE (understudy God/Michael), a multi-award winning character actor, landed in Denver following national tours of …And Then They Came for Me and A Christmas Carol. Since making his Colorado debut in 2003 as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Steven has appeared on stages throughout the Denver-Metro area including the Denver Center, Curious Theatre, the Arvada Center, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, and many others. He was the recipient of The Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Solo Performance in Fully Committed (Aurora Fox), a one-man show in which Steven portrayed more than 30, different characters. The piece also earned him a Henry Award nomination, Westword’s Best of Denver Award and an Out Front Colorado Marlow Award. Steven has also been recognized for his work in Contrived Ending (Buntport Theatre) and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Avenue Theatre).

  • Reinvented 'Cabaret' returns as a seismic warning

    by John Moore | Aug 15, 2016

    Cabaret 800

    Randy Harrison as the Emcee and the 2016 national touring cast of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 'Cabaret.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

    By Sheryl Flatow
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The audible gasp followed by the deafening silence that often greets the final shattering moment of the national tour of Cabaret is a testament to the force of the invigorating Roundabout Theatre Company’s new touring production.

    Written by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics), and Joe Masteroff (book), Cabaret has long been recognized as one of the best and most important musicals of the 20th  century. But if the original production was groundbreaking, Roundabout’s version, directed by Sam Mendes and choreographed and co-directed by Rob Marshall, is seismic.   

    Regardless of how well you think you know Cabaret, nothing quite prepares you for this decadent, riveting, devastating production, which Todd Haimes, Roundabout’s artistic director, calls a “reinvention” of the classic musical.       

    First presented by Roundabout in 1998, the Mendes-Marshall staging won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, ran for 2,377 performances and made a star of its Emcee, Alan Cumming, much as the original Hal Prince production made a star of Joel Grey. And the show’s directors caught the attention of Hollywood. Mendes would go on to win  the 2000 Oscar for Best Director for his first film, the Academy Award-winning American Beauty, and Marshall was nominated as Best Director in 2003 for his first film, the Academy Award-winning Chicago.

    In 2014, a decade after Cabaret’s final à bientôt,” Roundabout brought the production back to Broadway and then sent it on the road as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration. “This production changed musical theater,” says Haimes.It gave us actors doubling as the orchestra and an environmental musical. I brought the show back because I thought a new generation should see the work that Sam and Rob did, which is truly seminal.”

    Willkommen to Berlin, 1929, and to the  Kit Kat Klub, a cabaret that serves as a reflection of the Weimar Republic as it plunges toward Nazism. The downward spiral is mirrored in the show’s two doomed love stories. The first is between Sally Bowles, a British singer with limited talent who performs at the club, and Clifford Bradshaw, a bisexual American writer. The other romance is between Fräulein Schneider, who runs a boardinghouse, and Herr Schultz, a German-Jewish shopkeeper.

    "I first knew Cabaret from the movie, and I was astonished to discover the stage  show is quite different,” says Mendes. “It was a much more complex piece of work than the movie, and it had many more songs. In fact, it has one of the greatest scores in the history of musical theater, with songs such as ‘Cabaret,’ ‘If You Could See Her Through My Eyes,’ and ‘Willkommen.’ However, a score with nothing to say is only half a musical. What Hal Prince did was to create a great piece about the rise of Nazism and the rise of any kind of repressive regime. Cabaret is a great piece of theater because it says something about racism, about the intersection of politics and private life – how it’s impossible for Sally Bowles to live the way she attempts to live in that political environment. It refutes the people who think like she does, who say about politics, ‘What does that have to do with us?’ The truth is, it has everything to do with us.”

    Mendes initially directed the show in 1993 at the 250-seat Donmar Warehouse in London, which he turned into a nightclub. He chose to have the ensemble double as musicians, unsure at the outset how that concept would work.

    “Making the ensemble the musicians helped the notion that it was the nightclub putting on the show,” he says. “Everything is done contained within the framework of the Kit Kat Klub. It’s not just that the actors sing and dance and act and play instruments.  They also move the furniture and watch the show. It’s suffused with a kind of home-made energy that comes directly from a multi-talented cast, which you can only get in the theater. It’s not spectacle in the traditional sense, but I think it proves how little spectacle you need to put on a great show.”   

    Like the characters in the show, the audience has so much fun for most of the first act that their eyes are closed to the tawdriness and unseemliness in front of them. That is due to the aforementioned great score – which includes three songs that were written for the film: “Mein Herr,” “Maybe This Time” and “Money” – the inspired staging, and the Emcee, who, Mendes says, “governs the entire show and dictates the rhythm of the evening.” The character has been completely revamped, vamp being the operative word. He invites members of the audience to come onstage and dance with him. He’s a pansexual seducer; insidiously charming, sexy, raunchy, impudent, flirty, mischievous and unsettling. He’s onstage for most of the show; when he’s not in a scene, he’s often lurking in the shadows.  

    And the shadows truly begin to descend at the end of the first act, with the disturbing “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” The numbers in the second act acknowledge the bigotry, the demagoguery, and the ignorance that are permeating Germany. “If You Could See Her” is sung by the Emcee to a performer wearing a gorilla suit, and contains the chilling last line, “If you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn’t look Jewish at all.” There is also the haunting “I Don’t Care Much,” which was unused in the original production but added to a 1987 Broadway revival and sung by the Emcee. It’s the only number that gives the audience a glimpse of the person behind the façade, who is aware that the roof is caving in. And when that collapse occurs, it stuns the audience.

    Roundabout Theatre Company's Cabaret
    Photos from the new national touring production of 'Cabaret.' To see more, click on the image above. Photos by Joan Marcus.

    “Even this time around, when many people in the audience were already familiar with the production, it was like they were in shock after the final moment,” says Haimes. 

    Cabaret is based on Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories and the play it inspired, I Am a Camera by John Van Druten. Prince wrote in a memoir that what attracted him and his colleagues to the material was “the parallel between the spiritual bankruptcy of Germany in the 1920s and our country in the 1960s.”  On the first day of rehearsals, Prince showed the cast a photo of a group of angry, young, Aryan-looking men, “snarling at the camera like a pack of hounds.” He asked the actors where and when the photo was taken. Although the image appeared to be a snapshot in time from 1928 Germany, it was, in fact, a picture of students in Chicago protesting school integration that appeared in Life magazine in 1966.

    The theme of the show is as timely and urgent now as it was 50 years ago, and probably will be 50 years from now. “The world today is such a mess,” says Masteroff. “And when you understand what one man did to a sophisticated, intelligent country like Germany, then you wonder what could happen anywhere. It’s really kind of a warning.”

    Cabaret: Ticket information

    CabaretCome hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including "Cabaret," "Willkommen" and "Maybe This Time." Leave your troubles outside — life is beautiful at Cabaret.
    • Sept. 27-Oct. 9
    • Buell Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

  • First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy 'Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Aug 13, 2016
    'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver
    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    Five things we learned at first rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company’s The Glass Menagerie, playing Sept. 9-Oct. 16 at the Ricketson Theatre:

    1 PerspectivesFirst-time DCPA Director Ina Marlowe moved to Conifer in 2010, partly to be nearer to her grandchildren, and partly to serve as the first Associate Director in the (then) 37-year history of local legend Ed Baierlein’s Germinal Stage-Denver. Marlowe is a graduate of the Goodman School of Drama and founder of Chicago’s like-minded Touchstone Theatre. Marlowe had acted in Germinal’s production of Ionesco’s Macbett back in 1978, and in 2010 directed The Little Foxes there. In announcing Marlowe’s appointment, Baierlein said lovingly of her then, “She’s a real live wire.”

    Said Marlowe: "What we tried to do when we approached this play was to re-envision it, and try to get closer to the heart of what Tennessee Williams was trying to create. In this play, he asks us to explore the nature of memory and escape. This is a family tangled together with love and unable to communicate."

    "We come to each other, gradually but with love. It is the short reach of my arms that hinders, not the length and multiplicity of theirs. With love and with honesty, the embrace is inevitable." - Tennessee Williams.

    2 PerspectivesThe set will float. Or, to be more specific, the playing area that represents the Wingfield living room will float. The Glass Menagerie is Tennessee Williams' famous "memory play," and we're told in the opening remarks that memory is murky and unreliable. So here the playing area designed by Joe Tilford really does float, just a bit out of the audience’s tactile reach. How? By removing the Ricketson Theatre stage floor, which is built about 3 feet above the theatre's true foundational floor. The playing area representing the Wingfield living room will be essentially a square floor that lights up from below and appears to be attached to nothing, floating in space. “So what that has done is created black void,” said DCPA Director of Design Lisa Orzolek.

    3 PerspectivesNo “wimpy” menagerie: Laura’s haunting glass figurines, says Scenic Designer Joe Tilford, are a metaphor not only for Laura hiding from reality but Amanda and even Tom as well. “The menagerie represents that place in our minds where we go to escape our circumstances.” Often when you see The Glass Menagerie staged, Laura produces her figurines on a little tabletop that can be hidden away on a shelf. “But that’s knick-knacks,” said Tilford. “Seems a bit too wimpy for a central image and metaphor." His solution: “First, making the menagerie of figurines something that Laura can escape into. Can she have an inner life inside a cloud of glass figurines? And when she is not within the menagerie, can it float in mid-air as in a memory, disconnected from the grounding reality of a table or a shelf?”

    4 PerspectivesDCPA Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson decided to stage Williams’ first play now, he said, because it is one of the few American classics the DCPA Theatre Company has not taken on in its nearly 40-year history.

    “It's a play about a family and the way we sometimes break apart and come together,” he said. “But I also think it's about expectations and the American Dream. You have four characters in this play who all have different expectations about where their lives should be going, and the way the world should have treated them, and what they should be doing with their lives. And they can't seem to move to a place they can all agree upon. It's set in the late 1930s - a time of great poverty. A lot of people were struggling with what they perceived to be the American Dream. Life shouldn’t be this hard. I think it's perfect to have an American classic like The Glass Menagerie on one stage, alongside the classic Frankenstein on the other.

    The Glass Menagerie's 'Hamlet reunion, from left: Amelia Pedlow, Aubrey Deeker and Kathleen McCall. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    5 PerspectivesIt's a Hamlet reunion: Three of the four Glass Menagerie cast members were prominently featured in the DCPA Theatre Company's 2014 Shakespeare production of Hamlet. Aubrey Deeker, who played the titular role opposite Amelia Pedlow as the drowning Ophelia, is back to play the narrator, Jim. Deeker and Pedlow have gone from playing lovers then to siblings now. Pedlow plays Laura Wingfield, the "is-she-or-has-she-ever-been?" disfigured sister. And Kathleen McCall, who played Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, is now the delusional Wingfield matriarch Amanda. The newcomer to the group is John Skelley, who is making his DCPA debut as the kindly but tantalizingly unavailable Gentleman Caller.

    The Glass Menagerie
    : Ticket information

    • Sept. 9-Oct. 16
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: TBA
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829


    Glass Menagerie. Photo by John Moore
  • 'Phantom' return marks Buell’s 25th anniversary

    by John Moore | Aug 11, 2016

    The Buell Theatre was built, in large part, to host the national touring production of The Phantom of the Opera in 1991. And after that grand party, cynics and critics alike predicted it would surely stand empty. Instead, a quarter-century later, it ranks as the nation’s highest-grossing theatre under 3,000 seats.

    Plans already were underway to convert the dilapidated old basketball arena into “The Buell” in 1990 when the late, legendary Denver theatre producer Robert Garner got the call from British producers Alan Wasser and Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

    Buell Theatre “They said we could have the first national touring production of The Phantom of the Opera — if Denver had a theater that could hold it,” Garner said in a 2011 interview.

    That would mean massive upgrades to the Buell’s planned backstage area, in effect forcing the city to commit to building a major, state-of-the-art Broadway roadhouse. At a cost of $40 million.

    “And right up to the end, we were not sure it was going to be ready to open on time,” Garner said. “But contracts were signed, and we were on the hook no matter what.”

    The 10-week Phantom run christened the 2,830-seat Buell and drew 224,393, generating $11 million in ticket sales and making an estimated $44 million economic impact. It was later determined that 21 percent of the audience came to Colorado to see the show from 43 states. In a letter to the Rocky Mountain News, Denver resident Dick Moore claimed to have seen the show 25 times during the run. The top ticket price was $60.

    Phantom of the Opera. Storm Lineberger as Raoul. Photo by Matthew MurphyIt was, Denver Post critic Jeff Bradley wrote at the time, “the most successful theatrical event in Denver history.”

    Since then the Buell, named after Denver architect and philanthropist Temple Hoyne Buell, has served more than 13 million patrons. It launched notable touring productions of Sunset Boulevard, The Lion King and The Book of Mormon. It has hosted comedians like Jerry Seinfeld; speakers such as Madeleine Albright, Laura Bush and Queen Noor of Jordan; and hip musicians including Nick Cave and Ray LaMontagne. The Buell has hosted innumerable graduations, funerals — and even a recent original stage comedy written by Tyler Perry.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    But the Buell is primarily home to Broadway musicals such as Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, which returns this summer in an updated production with new scenery, lighting, staging and choreography. This engagement will be the show’s seventh visit to the Buell. (Pictured right: Storm Lineberger as Raoul in the new 'Phantom of the Opera' visiting Denver. Photo by Matthew Murphy.)

    Over  25 years, dozens of future Broadway stars from Annaleigh Ashford to Andy Kelso to Sierra Boggess (who has played Christine Daaé in both The Phantom of the Opera and Webber’s 2010 sequel, Love Never Dies) decided they wanted to be actors while absorbing musicals on the Buell stage.

    Photos: 25 years of The Buell Theatre ... and before:

    Buell Theatre history

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    Few would know now that the Buell spent much of its previous life as the rowdy, rickety and raucous Denver Municipal Auditorium Arena, the city’s home for concerts, basketball, tennis, volleyball and professional wrestling. Garner used the arena to promote concerts by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Joni Mitchell, David Cassidy and Neil Diamond. “But professional wrestling was king,” he said. “There were matches there every two weeks.”

    The Auditorium Theatre, with its deco-inspired rounded corner at 13th and Champa streets, was originally built to host the 1908 Democratic National Convention. The space was divided in 1953. The 6,841-seat basketball arena made up the southwestern half of the building, while the other half housed the more culturally sophisticated Auditorium Theatre — now the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

    Long before the Phantom brings down the chandelier in the Buell, spirits roamed the air above the Auditorium Arena. In 1975, the official mascot of the Indiana Pacers basketball team put a hex on the Denver Nuggets before their championship series. Team management countered by hiring a witch to remove the spell in a grand ceremony before the deciding game. (Nevertheless, sadly, the Nuggets lost.)

    On Dec. 26, 1968, Led Zeppelin played its first U.S. concert at the Auditorium Arena. That same year, Eric Clapton played there with his band Cream. The opening act? A hypnotist!

    But the Auditorium Arena was largely idle after the basketball team bolted for the fancy new McNichols Sports Arena in 1975. Fifteen years later, the fortuitous call came from Mackintosh that both accelerated and expanded the plan to turn the Buell into what remains one of the most successful Broadway touring facilities in the country.

    But by 2008, the Buell had grown pale in the shadow of the sparkling new Ellie Caulkins Opera House next door. So, in preparation for another Democratic National Convention, the Buell underwent a $1.2 million upgrade that included new cherry-stained wooden seats with stadium-style cupholders and deep-red plush upholstery.

    One rarely seen signature of the Buell is the backstage “Actors’ Alley,” which connects the theater to dressing rooms and other facilities in the complex. Since 1991, a door-sized painting of each touring show’s poster or playbill has lined backstage hallways, signed by performers including Julie Andrews, David Copperfield, Tommy Tune, Chita Rivera, Julie Taymor, Savion Glover and even former President Bill Clinton.

    John Moore is the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. He compiled some of this report for a story he originally wrote for The Denver Post in 2011.

    The Buell Theatre: A timeline

    1991: The city transforms the Auditorium Arena into a 2,830-seat, state-of-the-art Broadway roadhouse.

    1995: Opera Colorado’s season-opening Tosca draws sellout crowds and rave reviews.

    2001: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld plays two sold-out nights on his first tour since ending his popular TV show.

    2002: Disney Theatricals chooses Denver to launch the national tour of The Lion King. More than 1,800 fans stand in line for tickets, and in all, 220,000 attend the 10-week run that infuses an estimated $58 million into Denver’s economy.

    2004: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular tour draws 159,041 for 64 performances in 39 days.

    2004: North High School becomes the first (and only) high school to stage a production at the Buell, The Zoot Suit Riots, drawing 2,100.

    2007: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a collaboration by the DCPA’s Theatre Company and Broadway divisions, draws 107,567.

    2008: The Buell undergoes a $1.2 million upgrade in preparation for the Democratic National Convention.

    2015: If/Then launches its tour in Denver and reunites the four original principals — Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, LaChanze and James Snyder.

    The Phantom of the Opera: Ticket information

    Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it.  He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
    • Aug. 25-Sept. 11
    • Buell Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: 2 p.m. Sept. 11
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Photo gallery: The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera

    'The Phantom of the Opera' photos by Matthew Murphy and Alastair Muir. To see more, click the forward arrow above.

    Phantom of the Opera

    The 'Phantom' company performs "Masquerade." Original tour cast photo by Alastair Muir.

  • Video: Caveman Cody explains it all for you

    by John Moore | Aug 10, 2016

    Durango native Cody Lyman has been entertaining audiences in the one-man comedy Defending the Caveman for 13 years, and he has returned to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Garner-Galleria Theatre for another run through Aug. 28. Without taking sides, Lyman discusses the ongoing battle for understanding between the sexes and the ways men and women relate to each other.

    "The only prerequisite you need to enjoy this show," he tells the DCPA NewsCenter in the video above, "is to have loved someone enough to have been completely frustrated by them at some point."

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter

    Defending the Caveman: Ticket information
    When: Through Aug. 28
    Where: At the Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets,
    Written by: Rob Becker
    Performed by: Cody Lyman
    Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    To learn more, go to the show's official web page

    Previous NewsCenter coverage:

    From 2015: Caveman Cody on smelting ... a baby named Chewbaca   
    And here's our 2013 interview with Cody Lyman

    Defending the Caveman Cody Lyman. Photo by Michael Brosilow
    Cody Lyman. Photo by Michael Brosilow.
  • Single tickets to 2016-17 DCPA shows go onsale Aug. 15

    by John Moore | Aug 09, 2016

    Laura Michelle Kelly. Finding Neverland. Photo by Carol Rosegg
    Laura Michelle Kelly from the Original Broadway cast of 'Finding Neverland,' which comes to Denver this December. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

    Tickets for the DCPA's 2016-17 Broadway, Theatre Company, Cabaret and Off-Center shows will become available to the general public at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 15.

    The full listing of the more than 30 productions available for purchase on Aug. 15 are listed below. Tickets can be purchased on-site at the Denver Center Ticket Office (inside the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex 14th and Curtis streets), online at denvercenter.org, or by phone at 303-893-4100.

    Frankenstein. Artwork by Kyle Malone. In addition, enrollment will open at the same time for all Fall and Winter Education classes.

    How to subscribe to the Broadway or Theatre Company seasons

    Please note that the on-sale date for the pre-Broadway debut of Frozen will be announced at a later time. Hamilton is on the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ 2017-18 Broadway subscription series and thus, tickets for that engagement are not yet available. Information about how to purchase groups and single tickets will be announced at a later time.

    As part of the single-ticket on-sale event, the DCPA will be luring all seven Pokestops inside the Complex from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pokemon trainers will have the chance to catch ‘em all while in line to buy tickets for their favorite show.

    2016-17 Shows

    Defending the Caveman

    Garner Galleria

    Aug. 3-28, 2016

    The Phantom of the Opera


    Aug. 25-Sept. 11, 2016

    The Glass Menagerie


    Sept. 9-Oct. 16, 2016

    Roundabout Theatre Company’s Cabaret


    Sept. 27-Oct. 9, 2016



    Sept. 30-Oct. 30, 2016

    Cult Following: Debates


    Oct. 7-8, 2015

    An Act of God

    Garner Galleria

    Oct. 15, 2016-March 12, 2017

    David Sedaris

    Seawell Ballroom

    Nov. 2-3, 2016

    A Christmas Carol


    Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2016

    The SantaLand Diaries


    Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2016

    Jersey Boys


    Nov. 9-13, 2016

    The Hip Hop Nutcracker


    Nov. 20, 2016

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch


    Dec. 6-11, 2016

    Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical


    Dec. 16-18, 2016

    Finding Neverland


    Dec. 20, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017

    Fun Home


    Jan. 10-22, 2017

    The Book of Will


    Jan. 13-Feb 26, 2017

    The Christians


    Jan. 27-Feb. 26, 2017

    Two Degrees


    Feb. 3-March 12, 2017

    Motown The Musical


    Feb. 15-19, 2017

    Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus


    Feb. 21-26, 2017

    Rain – A Tribute to The Beatles

    The Ellie

    March 2-3, 2017

    An American in Paris


    March 8-19, 2017

    Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: After the Curtain

    The Ellie

    March 18-19, 2017

    Kinky Boots


    March 21-26, 2017



    March 31-May 7, 2017

    Hal Holbrook: Mark Twain Tonight!


    April 1, 2017

    MAMMA MIA! Farewell Tour


    April 11-16, 2017

    The Secret Garden


    April 21-May 28, 2017

    Cult Following & SCRIPTprov TM


    April 28 and May 12, 2017

    Cult Following: Rated G


    April 29 and May 13, 2017

    The Illusionists – Live From Broadway

    The Ellie

    May 19-21, 2017

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    The Ellie

    May 30-June 18, 2017


    Garner Galleria

    June 1-25, 2017

    Tickets and Subscriptions

    Tickets are available now to subscribers online at denvercenter.org/subscribe. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to Broadway and student shows, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices.

    Patrons between the ages of 18-30 are invited to join the Radvantage membership program, which grants access to specially-priced tickets to participating Broadway, Theatre Company, Cabaret and Off-Center shows. Ticket prices start at $12. For more information, please visit denvercenter.org/Radvantage.


    DCPA Education Master Class. Photo by John Moore.
    Student actor Curtiss Johns culminated a recent DCPA Education Master Class with a performance of 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.

    The DCPA offers a wide variety of classes for the budding theatre artist at every age and any skill level. For more information and a complete class schedule, visit denvercenter.org/education.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Phantom of the Opera tickets go on-sale
    Broadway’s Hamilton is heading to Denver in 2017-18
    2016-17 Broadway season: Frozen, Fun Home, Finding Neverland and more
    2016-17 Theatre Company season: Two world premieres, return to classics 

    Video: 2016-17 Broadway Season Announcement:

    Video: 2016-17 Theatre Company Season Announcement:
  • First Folio: World's second-most important book heading to Boulder

    by John Moore | Aug 05, 2016

    First Folio Shakespeare Boulder

    Theatregoers who are intrigued by the upcoming world premiere of the DCPA Theatre Company’s The Book of Will should be interested in a new public exhibition on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library coming to Boulder.

    First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare will be displayed from Aug. 9-31 at the University of Colorado Art Museum in Boulder. CU has been honoring the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death throughout the year with more than 40 events and exhibitions.

    Arguably the most influential book in history after the Bible, the First Folio includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never before been printed. Without the First Folio, all of those plays – including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It and more – might have been lost forever. Compiled by two of his friends and fellow theater colleagues, the First Folio was published in 1623 – seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

    And wouldn’t you know, that story happens to be the focus of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, opening in January at the DCPA’s Ricketson Theatre. Gunderson recounts the trials and tribulations in getting Shakespeare’s plays published against all odds.

    Register for a First Folio viewing time in Boulder

    Actors John Heminges and Henry Condell, the two remaining founding members of Shakespeare’s original theatre company, realized after the Bard’s death that many of the texts were on the verge of being lost forever. In the play these two men, along with their wives and Heminges’ daughter Alice, decide to gather all of his plays and have them printed in a single volume. Sounds easy enough, but in those days contemporary plays were not yet considered literature. And, as a result, Shakespeare had not carefully preserved his manuscripts, many of which had already been lost or misplaced.

    “It’s a play about friendship, about brotherhood and sisterhood, and love and loss,” Gunderson says, “so it felt like a great story for theatre and of theatre.”

    Book of Will Lauren GundersonOn Aug. 9, the First Folio will be opened in Boulder to the most-quoted line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To be or not to be.” The exhibit will explore Shakespeare’s impact, then and now, accompanied by digital content and interactive activities for all ages that will explore topics such as comic books, Elizabethan food, and the music, art and science of Shakespeare’s time.

    (Pictured: 'The Book of Will' was featured at the DCPA's 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. It was then chosen for a full production on the mainstage season next January. Photo by John More for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    “This touring exhibit is an opportunity to bring the campus’s expertise together with community talents and the creative energies of students to explore the world of Shakespeare,” said Deborah Hollis, an associate professor from University Libraries at CU-Boulder. “The citizens of Colorado will be in for a treat with musical, artistic and literary performances and public lectures.” 

    The exhibit will be of great interest to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which is this week wrapping up its 69th season.

    “The majority of the work produced by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is from the First Folio, and we are thrilled at the prospect of having it on campus,” said Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr.  “To be able to see the original source of our work, and learn more about it from our partnering campus colleagues, will be really exciting.”

    Thanks to the First Folio, generations have experienced Shakespeare’s lasting influence on language, culture, theater, music, education and more. There are 233 known copies in the world today, with 82 copies held by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

    A First Folio sold for $6.2 million in 2001 at Christie’s and another for $5.2 million in 2006 in London. It originally sold for 1 British pound (20 shillings) — about $200 today.

    “At the Folger Shakespeare Library, we’re looking forward to taking the books out of our vaults in 2016 and on the road,” said library Director Michael Witmore. “We’re excited to see the many different ways that communities across the country will be celebrating Shakespeare — in performances, poetry slams, lectures and more.”

    CU-Boulder collaborators who worked to bring the First Folio to campus include the Center for British and Irish Studies, the College of Music, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, CU Art Museum, University Libraries and the departments of English, History and Theatre and Dance.

    Register for a First Folio viewing time in Boulder

    The First Folio book tour has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and by support from Google.org and Vinton and Sigrid Cerf.

    Other highlights of “Shakespeare at CU”:

    • Mysterium Tremendum: Collecting Curiosity (Aug. 9-Dec. 17, CU Art Museum) is an installation by Matt Barton in collaboration with Scott Johnson inspired by the arrival of Shakespeare’s First Folio at CU-Boulder. The installation celebrates the important roles curiosity and wonder play in the pursuit of knowledge from the Renaissance to today and includes a “cabinet of curiosities” featuring materials from University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives, CU-Boulder departments and research centers.
    • Speak the Speech: Colorado’s All-Stars Perform Shakespeare’s All-Star Speeches (Aug. 25, 5 p.m., CU Art Museum).
    • Shakespeare and the Stars (Aug. 26, 7 p.m., Fiske Planetarium) combines passages from Shakespeare’s texts referring to the heavens, “the great globe itself,” with scientific explanations of the celestial phenomena against the backdrop of the spectacular Fiske Planetarium.
    • “Staging Shakespeare in a War Zone: Values and Consequences” (Aug. 29, 5-7 p.m., University Theatre) is a lecture by Qais Akbar Omar, author of A Night in the Emperor’s Garden.

    Our video interview with 'The Book of Will' playwright Lauren Gunderson.

    5_book_of_will_030716The Book of Will

    By Lauren Gunderson (DCPA Theatre Company Commission)
    Jan. 13-Feb. 26, 2017
    Ricketson Theatre
    Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. But without Henry Condell and John Heminges, we would have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays forever. After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the first folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They’ll just have to borrow, beg and band together to get it done. Shakespeare-lover Lauren Gunderson weaves a comic and heartfelt story of the characters behind the collected stories we know so well.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Book of Will
    Shakespeare in a season without Shakespeare
    Read our interview with playwright Lauren Gunderson

    Tickets to The Book of Will

    New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Tickets are available to subscribers online at denvercenter.org by calling 303-893-6030 or 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to Broadway and student shows, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. A single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time.

  • Video: DCPA's high-school playwriting winner is staged

    by John Moore | Aug 03, 2016

    The DCPA's third annual year-long Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition culminated June 17 with two public performances of Kendra Knapp’s Sonder. The playwright is a recent graduate of Valor Christian High School.

    Sonder. Photo by John Moore. Last fall, DCPA Education staff members conducted 145 classroom workshops for 3,100 Colorado students. That resulted in 212 one-act play submissions from young writers all over the state. A team of professional adjudicators determined 10 semifinalists. Of those, three were selected to have their plays workshopped by the DCPA Education staff and read by professional actors at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit in February.

    Video: Finalist readings at the New Play Summit

    From there, Sonder was selected for a fully staged  production. The video above takes you there. Interviewees include Knapp, Sonder Director Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous, and actors Avery Dell and Desmond Jackson (pictured above).

    Sonder follows a community of young people who are seeking real connection, but from the safety and distance of the internet.

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

    Our complete 2015-16 Student Playwriting photo gallery:

    2016 Student Playwriting Competition
    Photos from rehearsal through performances of the three finalist readings at the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. To see more, click the 'forward' arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of the Student Playwriting Competition:
    Video, pic, story: Stirring the passions of student writers ... and future engineers
    2016 finalists named for Regional High School Playwriting Competition
    2016 Summit: An infusion of invisible color and hidden voices
    Denver Center launches statewide high-school playwriting initiative
    Direct link to our Flickr photo gallery

    Our complete countdown of 2016 semifinalists:
    No. 1: Jafei Pollitt, Denver School of the Arts
    No. 2: Jessica Wood, Denver Christian High School
    No. 3: Kristine Guo, Peak to Peak Charter School
    No. 4: Gabrielle Moore, D'Evelyn High School
    No. 5: Ashley Wright and Amelia Middlebrooks, Valor Christian High School
    No. 6: Kalina Gallardo, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    No. 7: Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe, Denver School of the Arts
    No. 8: Stephanie Kiel and Mady McGraw, Chatfield Senior High School
    No. 9: Kendra R. Knapp, Valor Christian High School
    No. 10: Jacob Kendrick, Peak to Peak Charter School

    Sonder playwright Kendra Knapp. Photo by John Moore.

    "Sonder" playwright Kendra Knapp. Photo by John Moore.
  • August: Colorado theatre openings

    by John Moore | Jul 28, 2016

    Photo above: The Phantom of the Opera Original Touring Company performs "Masquerade." Photo by Alastair Muir. The new musical opens in Denver Aug. 25.

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

    Just because August is the lightest month of the year for Colorado theatre openings doesn't mean it is the quietest. In fact, even with only 19 new openings, audiences will have a boggling 75 theatregoing choices all over the state this August.

    While all of the many summer repertory company companies wind up their seasons, plenty of new shows will bow in August, and the emerging theme is ghoulish fun: Phantoms, Murder ballads, Toxic Avengers and more... and it's not even October yet.

    The DCPA will be busy with three offerings: The highly anticipated new national touring production of The Phantom of the Opera; the return of the popular one-man comedy Defending the Caveman to the Garner Galleria Theatre, and the final (really!) days of the long extended immersive experiment Sweet & Lucky at a RiNo warehouse through Aug. 7.

    The Barth Hotel returns with its annual summer theatre offering in its lobby, this time the gentle comedy The Last Romance starring big-shots Billie McBride, Jim Hunt and Anne Oberbroeckling. All proceeds benefit Senior Housing Options, a local non-profit organization that provides quality affordable housing and services for 500 adults in Colorado.

    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' annual summer Shakespeare offering is Antony and Cleopatra, performed under a tent on the picturesque Rock Ledge Ranch at the base of the Garden of the Gods.

    And at the end of the month, weird and unconventional and fun stuff will be popping up all over Boulder at the 9th Annual Boulder International Fringe Festival. For example, The Band of Toughs (still the best-named theatre company in Colorado) promise "intrigue and exile, s’mores, tasty beer and live music" when it offers its take on Shakespeare's As You Like It.

    Here are all your options in one handy list:  


    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    July 28-Aug. 20: Senior Housing Options’ The Last Romance
    At The Barth Hotel, 1514 17th St., seniorhousingoptions.org

    July 28-Aug. 20: TheatreWorks' Antony and Cleopatra
    At the Rock Ledge Ranch Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org DIRECTIONS

    The Addams Family, Little Theatre of the Rockies. July 28-31: Little Theatre of the Rockies' The Addams Family (pictured right)
    At the Langworthy Theatre on the University of Northern Colorado campus, Greeley. 970-351-4849 or ticket information

    July 28-Aug. 7: CenterStage's First Date
    Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    July 29-Oct. 2: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Oklahoma
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    July 29-Sept. 4: Vintage Theatre ‘s Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    July 29-Aug. 24: Breckenridge Backstage's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    121 S. Ridge St., Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Aug 26-Sept. 4: Breckenridge Backstage's Hairspray
    At the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Aug. 3-28: DCPA Cabaret's Defending the Caveman
    At The Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Aug. 4-20: 5th Wall Productions' The Greater Good
    At the Three Leaches Theater (Spark Theater) 985 Sante Fe Drive, ticket information

    Aug. 6-14: Visionbox's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

    At Skylite Station, 910 Santa Fe Drive, ticket information

    Aug. 12-Sept. 3: Equinox Theatre Company's The Toxic Avenger: The Musical
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com

    Aug. 12-Sept. 4: Germinal Stage-Denvers The Road to Mecca
    At the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    Aug. 12-27: The Millibo Art Theatre’s Circus of the Night
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, themat.org

    Aug. 19-Sept. 17: Creede Repertory Theatre's Private Lives
    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Aug. 19-28: Longmont Theatre Company's I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change 513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page

    Aug. 25-Sep 11: DCPA Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera
    At the Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Aug. 26-Sept. 25: The Edge Theatre Company's Murder Ballad
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Aug. 26-Sept. 18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's First Date
    At the Outlets at Silverthorne, 246-X Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

     Aug. 27-Sept. 24: Spotlight Theatre's Suddenly Last Summer
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    The Addams Family, Little Theatre of the Rockies.

    The Boulder International Fringe Festival is back for its ninth year. Pictured above: Gemma Wilcox in her one-woman show, 'The Wallaby Way.' Photo by Alive Studios. INFO


    Through July 31: DCPA Broadway's Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Buell Theatre  
    At the Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through July 31: Evergreen Players’ The Addams Family
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    Through July 31: StageDoor Theatre''s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
    25797 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-838-0809 or  StageDoorTheatre.org  

    Through July 31: Edge Theatre's I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Through July 31: Longmont Theatre Company's All’s Well That Ends Well
    At various locations, 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page

    Through July 31: Millibo Art Theatre's Ice Cream Theatre
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, themat.org

    Through July 31: Inspire Creative's Grease
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

    Through Aug. 6: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Equivocation
    On the University of Colorado's mainstage theatre, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or colorado shakes’ home page

    Through Aug. 6: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Troilus and Cressida
    At the Mary Rippon Amphitheatre on the  CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or colorado shakes’ home page

    Through Aug. 7: Off-Center's Sweet & Lucky
    4120 Brighton Boulevard, 303-893-4100 or sweetandluckydenver.com READ OUR STORY

    Through Aug. 7: Wild Blindness and Bas Bleu Theatre's Waiting for Obama (open rehearsals)
    At Buntport Theater, 721 Lipan St., 720-231-7547 (July 28-31, Aug. 4-7) INFO
    At Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 720-231-7547 (Aug. 1) INFO

    Through Aug. 7: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's The Comedy of Errors
    At the Mary Rippon Amphitheatre on the CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or colorado shakes’ home page

    Through Aug. 7: Central City Opera's Tosca
    124 Eureka St., Central City, centralcityopera.org or 303-292-6700

    Through July 29: StageDoor Theatre's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoor’s home page

    Through July 31: Millibo Art Theatre's Ice Cream Theatre
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, themat.org

    Through Aug. 6: Central City Opera's The Ballad of Baby Doe
    124 Eureka St., Central City, centralcityopera.org or 303-292-6700

    Through Aug. 7: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Cymbeline (indoors)
    On the University of Colorado's mainstage theatre, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or colorado shakes’ home page

    Through Aug. 7: Phamaly Theatre Company's Evita
    At the University of Denver's Newman Center,  2344 E. Iliff Ave., 303-871-7720 or
    phamaly's home page

    Through Aug. 7: Springs Ensemble Theatre's Titus Andronicus
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Through Aug. 13: Spotlight Theatre's Night Watch
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Aug. 13: Creede Repertory Theatre's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Through Aug. 13: Spotlight Theatre's No Sex Please, We're British!
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com
    (Performed in repertory with Night Watch)

    The Big Bang. Spotlight Theatre. Photo Credit: Christine Fisk and DenverMind MediaThrough Aug. 14: Vintage Theatre and Spotlight Theatre's The Big Bang
    At Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com
    (Pictured right: Joe von Bokern and Ben Hilzer. Photo by Christine Fisk and DenverMind Media.)

    Through Aug. 14: Creede Repertory Theatre's The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence 
    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Through Aug. 14: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Cabaret
    At the Outlets at Silverthorne, 246-X Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Through Aug. 15: Theatre Aspen's Dear Edwina
    In the Hurst Theatre, 470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

    Through Aug. 18: Creede Repertory Theatre's Kind of Red
    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Through Aug. 19: Theatre Aspen's Buyer and Cellar
    In the Hurst Theatre, 470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

    Through Aug. 20: Theatre Aspen's Mamma Mia!
    In the Hurst Theatre  470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

    Miners Alley Playhouse's 'Little Shop of Horrors.' Photo by Cody SchuylerThrough Aug. 21: Miners Alley Playhouse's Little Shop of Horrors
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or map’s home page
    (Pictured right: Carer Edward Smith. Photo by Cody Schuyler.)

    Through Aug. 25: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Cabaret
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Aug. 25: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre’s Rock of Ages
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Through Aug. 26: Thingamajig Theatre Company's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
    Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Aug. 26: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre’s The Little Mermaid
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Through Aug 26: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Death by Design
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Aug. 27: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre’s Titanic the Musical
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Through Aug. 27: Thin Air Theatre Company's Pippin
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Aug. 27: Thin Air Theatre Company's Darling of the Donkey Derby
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Aug. 28: Thingamajig Theatre Company's The Little Mermaid
    Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Aug. 28: Midtown Arts Center's Mary Poppins
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through Aug. 28: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Always ... Patsy Cline
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Sept. 2: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Almost Maine
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Sept 3: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Little Women
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Sept. 3: BDT Stage's Footloose
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Through Sept. 4: Creede Repertory Theatre's The History Room
    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Through Sept 11: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Wizard Of Oz
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com 
    Curious New Voices Playwrights


    Ongoing productions
    2406 Federal Blvd., Denver, 303-455-1848 or adamsmysteryplayhouse.co

    Band of Toughs' 'As You Like It." Boulder FringeBOULDER INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL
    Aug. 18-27: Various locations around Boulder. INFO
    (Pictured right: Band of Toughs' outdoor summer Shakespeare event at the Fringe is As You Like It. Photo by Jeff Goldberg.)


    July 29: Untitled at the Denver Art Museum
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    July 28: The Impresario (Nomad Playhouse (Boulder)
    July 28: Musto’s Later the Same Evening (Pikes Peak Arts Center, Colorado Springs)
    July 30: Musto’s Later the Same Evening (at the Denver Art Museum)
    Aug. 3: The Impresario (Central City)
    Aug. 5: Musto’s Later the Same Evening (Central City)
    Information: centralcityopera.org or 303-292-6700

    Aug. 21: 9th Annual Front Range Playwrights' Showcase
    At Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    July 31 only: Henry VI, Part 2
    An "Original Practices" presentation on the University of Colorado's mainstage theatre, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or colorado shakes’ home page

    July 29-30: Curious New Voices: Young Playwrights' readings
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curious’ home page


    Aug. 22: Screening of The Wizard of Oz
    Pre-screening entertainment by cast of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Wizard of Oz
    Hosted by Seth Caikowski
    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 7301 S Santa Fe Drive, Littleton. TICKETS

    Aug. 28-29: Epic Improv Comedy
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreen players’ home page

    Aug. 23: Quarterly Theatrical Playground
    At the Walnut Room, 3131 Walnut St. INFO


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

    Youth theatre schedule:
    Aug. 5, 7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (performers are ages 13-18)
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

  • Ann Guilbert: Denver's next-door neighbor passes away

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016
    Remembering Ann Guilbert

    A photo retrospective of Ann Guilbert's stage work at the Denver Center. To see more, press the forward arrow on the image above.

    Ann Guilbert was best known in the 1960s as America’s next-door neighbor on The Dick Van Dyke Show. But over 11 years, she was Denver’s next-door neighbor, performing in 14 plays on multiple Denver Center stages.

    “Annie was absolutely typecast as the friendly neighbor,” said longtime DCPA Theatre Company stage manager Chris Ewing. “She would literally go around backstage asking people, ‘Do you need a cup of sugar?’ ”

    ann-guilbert-waiting-for-godot-160Guilbert, who played perky Millie Helper on the classic TV sit-com from 1961-66, died of cancer on June 14 in Los Angeles. She was 87.

    “She was a great lady,” said Jacqueline Antaramian, Guilbert's frequent acting partner in Denver. “Always with a kind heart, good humor, a gracious presence and a beautiful soul.“

    Guilbert (pronounced “Gilbert”) acknowledged and appreciated America’s recognition of her as Millie, Ewing said. “But she was so much more than that as a theatre person.” 

    Guilbert performed in several seminal DCPA productions between 1984-94. She played Dolly Levi in Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker play (a precursor to the musical Hello, Dolly!), Estragon opposite Kathleen M. Brady in a gender-bending Waiting for Godot, and Miss Helen in Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca. She also helped launch the Denver world premieres of two plays from Mark Harelik’s The Immigrant series, which the DCPA later developed into a musical.

    “She was the ultimate pro,” Ewing said. “She would come in with her lines memorized before the first rehearsal. As you might expect, she was also a natural comic, and she could break the tension in a room with a one-liner.”

    She was also, added former DCPA crew member Michelle Olguin, everyone’s favorite smoke buddy.

    Ann Guilbert Waiting for GodotKathleen M. Brady and Ann Guilbert in 'Waiting for Godot' at the DCPA in 1988.

    Guilbert’s final performance at the Denver Center was a personal and innovative retrospective of her life and career called Life Lines, directed and developed by Randal Myler. It was an evening of favorite poems that, when strung together, reflected a chronological tapestry of Guilbert’s life covering romances to childbirth to her life on the stage. It was an expansion of a Guilbert’s own teaching technique - she would often give her acting students poems and ask them to act them out.

    “I've been extremely lucky over the years to work with some fine, fine actresses, but none finer than Annie Guilbert,” Myler said. “On and off stage, Annie was truly remarkable. So full of life. We all loved her so much.”

    A year after Life Lines, Guilbert returned to Broadway in the comedy A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, starring Jill Clayburgh and Richard Thomas. It was her first Broadway appearance since making her debut in The Billy Barnes Revue 46 years earlier. TV Producer Carl Reiner saw Guilbert’s performance in that show and remembered her when he was casting The Dick Van Dyke Show.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Guilbert’s road to Denver, like so many others', went through Santa Maria, Calif., where she met and worked with future longtime DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Donovan Marley at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. While still a busy TV actor, Guilbert sought out stage work to feed her creative soul, and she later joined Marley’s artistic pilgrimage to Denver.

    “She was like a diamond falling in Donovan’s lap,” Ewing said.  

    Antaramian quote 3Antaramian first worked with Guilbert at the PCPA on Marley’s production of Blood Wedding. It was directed by Laird Williamson and designed by Andrew Yelusich – two others who would become key figures in DCPA Theatre Company history. “I will never forget that experience for a myriad of reasons,” said Antarmian, who played The Wife opposite Harelik in that play. “It blew everyone's mind who saw it. It was truly one for the American Theatre history books.” 

    Seven years later in Denver, Guilbert and Antaramian starred in the DCPA’s The Road to Mecca, the apartheid-era story of an elderly South African named Miss Helen fighting for the freedom to live on her own and express herself artistically.

    “I was maybe 27 at the time; still growing into who I was going to be as an actress and human being,” said Antaramian, whose character championed Miss Helen’s cause. “Playing that role was very challenging, and Annie was my exceptional partner and mentor.

    "She was a true example of what it was to have grace, intelligence, humor and heart as you navigate through a beautiful, difficult journey of storytelling," added Antaramian, who is currently playing Volumnia in Coriolanus at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

    Guilbert also performed frequently at the Denver Center with her second husband, the vaudevillian comic Guy Raymond, who died in 1997. He won rave reviews for his performance opposite his wife in The Immigrant plays, which later toured the country.

    "When we get on stage, there's a chemistry involved that wouldn't be there between two people who weren't married," Raymond told The Los Angeles Times in 1996. "An arch of an eyebrow has meaning to us. It's very easy - and it's fun."

    Guilbert was born Oct. 16, 1928, in Minneapolis. She graduated from Stanford University’s Department of Speech and Drama, where she met the producer and actor George Eckstein. They married and had two daughters who survive her: Actor Hallie Todd and Nora Eckstein, a writer, actor and acting teacher. The couple divorced in 1966.

    In the 1990s, Guilbert was a regular on the CBS sitcom The Nanny playing Fran Drescher’s feisty grandmother, Yetta. She was in Nicole Holofcener’s 2010 movie Please Give, a Sundance Film Festival selection, and on the HBO series Getting On. Most recently, she appeared on the CBS comedy Life in Pieces.

    “The world is a bit dimmer without Annie in it,” said Antaramian. “But her light graces all of us who knew her and had the great fortune to work with her, laugh with her and be around her.”   

    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.

    News reports contributed to this report.

    Ann Guilbert at the Denver Center:
    Play, role, season
    Female Entertainer, The Old Woman, 1984-85
    The Immigrant, Ima Perry, 1984-85
    Woman Without a Name, Woman, 1985
    The Immigrant, Ima Perry, 1985-86
    Koozy's Piece, Grammie 1987-88
    A Lie of the Mind, Lorraine, 1987-88
    Holiday Memories, Ms. Prothro and Woman, 1987-88
    Waiting for Godot, Estragon, 1988-89
    Matchmaker, Dolly Levi, 1988-89
    The Road to Mecca, Miss Helen, 1989-90
    Three Men on a Horse, Mabel, 1989-90
    Arsenic & Old Lace, Abby Brewster, 1991-92
    To Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Maudie Atkinson, 1991-92
    Lifelines, as herself, 1993-94

    Click here to see Ann Guilbert's full TV and movie resume on IMDB.com
  • 'Beautiful' stars tell students: 'Don't give up'

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016

    Two stars of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical talked with a DCPA Education class on Thursday, July 21, 2016, about auditions, creating roles and more in the Jones Theatre. Ben Fankhauser and Becky Gulsvig play Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in the national touring production that visits Denver through July 31. The session was moderated by DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg. Our video includes comments from the students. 

    For more information on DCPA Education classes, click here. Registration for fall classes begins Aug. 10.

    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Interviews conducted by Greg Moody of CBS-4 Denver.

    'Beautiful' cast members Ben Fankhauser and Becky Gulsvig (center) with DCPA Education students and staff. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    Beautiful in Denver: Our photo gallery:

    'Beautiful' in Denver

    Photos include opening night and a talkback with DCPA Edcation students. To see more, click the arrow on the image above.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

    Video, photos, story: A Beautiful Opening Night in Denver
    Mann and Weil: How Beautiful bloomed 'On Broadway'
    Video montage: The show at a glance

    Beautiful – The Carole King Musical: Ticket information
    • Through July 31
    • Buell Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: 2 p.m. July 31
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Beautiful cast members Ben Fankhauser and Becky Gulsvig. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.  'Beautiful' cast member Ben Fankhauser. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 
  • Former hostage Thomas Sutherland is freed a second time

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016
    a-tom-sutherland-1 Jean and Tom Sutherland at the Bas Bleu Theatre's 'Burn the Mortgage' party. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Former Colorado State University professor, arts benefactor and occasional actor Thomas Sutherland was held hostage in Beirut for more than six years - or 2,353 agonizing days. The genial Scotsman said he contemplated suicide several times during his ordeal, but he was repeatedly brought back from the edge of despair by the lyrical poetry of Scotsman Robert Burns.

    If there is another world, he lives in bliss.
    If there is none, he made the best of this.

    In 2003, at the age of 72, the indefatigable Sutherland made his first foray into acting, starring in in Athol Fugard's play A Lesson From Aloes at the Bas Bleu Theatre in his adopted home of Fort Collins. The apartheid play explores how the relationships between an elderly white couple and their black friend are strained by South African repression. Sutherland said performing in the play was a way to repay Burns and other artists whose work helped him through the ordeal.

    Sutherland died Friday (July 22), in Fort Collins. He was 85.

    Seeing Sutherland in his final days, friend Wendy Ishii was reminded of Sutherland's time as a hostage, wanting nothing more than freedom.

    "He asked to have the window open and I thought, 'He just wants to fly out of here,'" said Ishii, co-founder of the Bas Bleu Theatre. "Now he has."

    Sutherland was Dean of Agriculture at the American University in Beirut when he was kidnapped near his home on June 9, 1985, by Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah terrorists wanting U.S. military forces out of the bloody Lebanese civil war. He was released on Nov. 18, 1991.

    In the introduction to the book At Your Own Risk, President George Bush said of Sutherland, "Tom is a true American hero. He was a hostage, yes, but he never felt sorry for himself, nor did he complain of his situation. He inspired us all with his grit and his unfailing faith in God and his country."

    a-tom-sutherland-400Thomas Sutherland was born May 3, 1931, in Falkirk, Scotland. He earned degree in Agriculture from Glasgow University, and a master's degree and PhD in animal breeding from Iowa State University. He then taught animal science at Colorado State University for 26 years.

    He moved to Beirut in 1983 for a three-year term at the American University in Beirut. He stayed despite the assassination of University President Malcolm H. Kerr and the kidnapping of Professor Frank Reiger in 1984. Sutherland later said his kidnappers mistook him for University President Calvin Plimpton.

    (Pictured above right: Former Denver Broncos player Earlie Thomas, Thomas Sutherland and Wendi Ishii in Bas Bleu Theatre's 'A Lesson from Aloes.')

    In June 2001, the Sutherland family won a $323 million verdict in a lawsuit against the frozen assets of the government of Iran, because of evidence that Iran had directed terrorists to kidnap Americans in Lebanon. Sutherland and his family received $35 million from frozen Iranian assets. Sutherland liked to joke that he was on "an extended vacation paid for by the Shah of Iran.”

    Sutherland used his settlement for a variety of public uses. He underwrote the initial $1.1 million purchase of the historic Giddings Building in Fort Collins, which provided a new home for the Bas Bleu Theatre Company. Sutherland pledged $500,000 of that himself.

    On Nov. 19, 2011, the Bas Bleu Theatre christened its playing space as the Tom Sutherland Stage. Ishii said the Sutherland name will be used "to help carry forward his legacy of love and fostering of this energetic and optimistic place, Fort Collins, with Tom's name gracing our voices."

    Bas Bleu board member Peter Springberg once asked Sutherland how his life had changed since his release from captivity, and the subsequent award of so much cash.

    "He thought a moment, then said, 'We still live in the same house. Once in a while I buy a better bottle of bourbon. But mostly, I get to give away more money to deserving nonprofits." 

    Sutherland is survived by his wife, Jean; with whom he co-authored memories of his hostage experience in the book At Your Own Risk. The book tells each of their stories in alternating chapters. Jean Sutherland,  who taught English at the American University while her husband was held captive, said their goal in writing in writing the book was to show that "the situation was an enormity between hostages, hostage-takers, governments and families of hostages.”

    There were times during his captivity when Sutherland thought of Jean and said, "Am I really married to that woman? God, how could I have been so lucky? It took me a long time to convince myself that I really was married to Jean.”

    They have three daughters Kit (Scott Kintz); Joan Sutherland Sears (Mike Sears); Ann Sutherland (Ray Keller). On Valentine's Day, 1988, as he lay shackled to a wall in a windowless cell, Sutherland read in a Beirut newspaper that grandchild had been born to his daughter, Ann. After his release, he met his son-in-law, Keller, for the first time. His first meal as a free man was mince and patties, a Scottish specialty of ground beef over mashed potatoes.

    Sutherland told the New York Times that fellow hostage Terry Waite was "a great, great guy - even though his snoring was unbearable." And he said Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press at the time of his capture, taught him how to play bridge and chess. In return, Sutherland taught Anderson how to speak French, and a bit about agriculture.

    “I spent six years out of the seven years I was in captivity with Tommy,” Anderson told The Associated Press on Saturday. “We were kept in the same cells and sometimes on the same chain. Whenever they moved us, generally Tommy would show up with me. He was a kind and gentle man.” 

    Anderson said Sutherland “was a guy who remembered everyone he ever met. He never forgot anyone. I don’t know how he did it. He was such a people person that he remembered everybody. When we were in prison, we would sit and talk about things we had done and places he had gone. He always talked about the people he met there, and he remembered them. He was a very, very good man.”

    Colorado State University President Tony Frank, called Sutherand's homecoming in 1991 "One of the greatest moments in the history of Colorado State University. His spirit and optimism inspired the world, and the deep devotion of his family during the bleak years he was a hostage taught us a profound lesson of courage, faith, and hope."

    Jacques Rieux of Fort Collins, who edited At Your Own Risk, said Sutherland was not just another hostage. "He was one of us," Rieux said. "He suffered horribly as a hostage, but he had few choices to make during his ordeal. Jean was the one who had choices to make. The public image she presented showed dignity and courage. She refused to play the victim card. She showed no self-pity and expressed no bitterness. I was amazed at how she could maintain such composure. Ultimately, they won because they did not let the events in Beirut warp them. That would have been an irreparable loss.

    "Tom and Jean are wonderful people who appreciate the simple things in life: A beautiful sunset, a glass of wine, time with friends. They are a blessing to the town.”

    A public celebration of Sutherland's life will be held in mid-August.

    The following is an interview with Thomas Sutherland and Terry Anderson by Theatre Critic John Moore originally published in The Denver Post in 2008:

    Tom Sutherland: Humanity held hostage
    By John Moore

    As fellow Beirut hostages Tom Sutherland and Terry Anderson sat bound to a wall in near- total darkness year after endless year, they told stories to keep each other alive. Their captors could chain their bodies, but they could not chain their minds.

    Anderson, the Associated Press war correspondent, helped Sutherland picture how a differential transmission worked, without benefit of pencil or paper. Sutherland, the Colorado State University prof, in turn taught Anderson agricultural science and French.

    “We spent hours practicing irregular verbs — to the utter dismay and horror of those we were pent up with,” Anderson says with a grim laugh.

    For six years. A combined 4,808 days.

    “If it hadn’t been for Terry, I probably would have committed suicide,” said Sutherland, who was a dean at the American University in Beirut when he was kidnapped by Iranian- backed Shiite Hezbollah terrorists wanting U.S. military forces out of the bloody Lebanese civil war.

    “Every time I got discouraged and put my head down on the pillow and said, ‘I’m done with all this,’ Terry encouraged me, and that’s the reason I am alive today.”

    They read “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad” and “Darkness at Midnight.”

    “Can you imagine reading a book about a man stuck in a basement prison in Siberia, while you are sitting in a basement prison in the Bekaa Valley?” Anderson said.

    But of all the lifesaving literature these bound brothers scavenged like bread, one line echoes most resoundingly in Anderson’s mind, 17 years after their 1991 release. And it’s a line Vietnam-era “Pogo” cartoonist Walt Kelly put into the mouth of a possum:

    “We have met the enemy — and he is us.”

    Anderson, the longest-held of 54 civilian Beirut captives from 12 nations, is angered and bewildered that it’s now the United States that’s detaining and, he says, torturing suspects as a matter of approved policy.

    “It is wrong. It is evil, there is no question about it,” Anderson said. “To have a government that not only condones (torture), but excuses it and practices it, is shameful. I am very proud of my country, but I am ashamed of this government. We are not supposed to be the ones who are doing this sort of crap.”

    Anderson, speaking from his home in Ohio, joined Sutherland on a conference call to talk about their captivity, the bond that still tethers them in ways far mightier than any chain, and their common disgust with the Iraq war.

    They also talked about fellow hostage Brian Keenan, whose story was turned into the drama “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me,” opening Saturday at Bas Bleu Theatre in Sutherland’s hometown of Fort Collins. It’s about the friendship that Keenan, an Irishman, developed with Englishman John McCarthy while in captivity. An American character is said to be somewhat based on Anderson.

    Anderson, a theater major at NYU and a Marine in Vietnam, first saw the play in New York in 1992. Last summer he watched the film adaptation, “Blind Flight,” at Keenan’s home in Ireland. Sutherland served as consultant on productions of the play by the Denver Center Theatre Company and University of Northern Colorado.

    The message of the play is now the mantra of these men: When one man unjustly imprisons any other, he holds not only the human hostage, but humanity itself.

    “It’s about what a trauma it is to be kidnapped, but how it’s possible to survive with humor and argumentation and by supporting each other,” Sutherland said.

    In the play, Keenan has an epiphany of understanding when his character says, “Just as I was chained in darkness for almost five years, my captors were chained to their guns in a profound darkness I could see into. Tell me now — who is the prisoner here?”

    Anderson, now 60, and Sutherland, 76, have a much less sympathetic opinion of their captors. Sutherland believes they were cowards, and that if not for the guns, “every last one of them would have skedaddled out of there.”

    Anderson remembers when one of his captors once said to him, “We’re prisoners, too.”

    “And I said, ‘Well, that’s just fine. Give me the gun, and you take the chain,’ ” he said. “Of course, they are prisoners of their violence and their own mental blindness. But the guy with the chains and the blindfold? He’s the prisoner. The guy with the gun? He’s not.”

    After his release, Sutherland returned to Fort Collins and served as professor emeritus at CSU for a period of life the genial Scotsman jovially refers to as his “extended vacation paid for by the Shah of Iran” — after being awarded $35 million in frozen Iranian assets. Anderson also won a multimillion-dollar judgment, which he used in part to build schools in Vietnam.

    He’s also co-chair, along with former CBS-TV news anchor Walter Cronkite, of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Since March 2003, 125 journalists and 49 media workers have been killed in Iraq — most of them Arabs, Iraqis and Syrians working for Western news agencies.

    “This is the most dangerous war that journalists have ever covered, by far,” Anderson said. “Eighty percent of the murders of journalists around the world are never investigated. No one is ever arrested. No one is ever convicted. Journalists are fair game in many places around the world, because … dictators and oppressors always go for the press first. Always.”

    Civilians are still being kidnapped, tortured and killed. Anderson and Sutherland empathize with anyone of any nationality thrust into the struggle to maintain one’s humanity in an inhumane situation.

    “You do it through force of will,” Anderson said. “You use everything you have ever learned and truly believe in — and you refuse to budge from that. As we used to say, ‘They cannot take your dignity, no matter what they do. You can only give it to them.’ ”

    But the U.S. now finds itself in a confusing imbroglio that looks far too much to Anderson like 1985 Lebanon.

    “We are involved in what is essentially a civil war in Iraq,” he said. “We don’t have any idea who our friends or who our enemies are. Does this sound familiar to anyone? We don’t apparently learn our lessons very well in American foreign policy.”

    He’s referring to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ refusal to rule out waterboarding and other techniques deemed torture by the Geneva Convention.

    “Not only is it morally insupportable and inexcusable — it doesn’t work,” he said. “Where we got into this evil charade, I don’t know, but we are now a country that as a matter of policy not only tortures its prisoners, but we conspire to ship them out of any jurisdiction where the law might interfere.”

    Why the citizenry does not stand up against such practices may be tied to the fact that primetime TV shows like “24” offer increasingly absurd examples of prisoner torture for our amusement.

    “When torture becomes entertainment, we’re sick,” said Anderson.

    “I think the U.S. has become less than it was in many ways, and that’s a shame.”

  • All our photos from the 2016 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016
    2016 Henry Awards
    Photos from the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2016 Henry Awards ceremony held July 18 at the PACE Center in Parker. To see more photos, click the arrow on the image above. All photos may be downloaded and shared for free, with proper credit. Click on any photo to download.

    Photos by John Moore and Brian Landis Folkins for the DCPA NewsCenter. To read our full report from the Henry Awards, click here.

    Watch our 2016 Memoriam video

    Recent NewsCenter coverage of the Henry Awards:
    2016 Henry Awards a triumph for Theatre Aspen, Rabbit Hole
    Our video coverage of the Henry Awards (more to come)
    Preview: Henry Awards welcome Theatre Aspen to the party
    DCPA leads hugely expanded pool of 2016 Henry Award nominees
    Paige Price: From Broadway to Sex With Strangers

    A Henry Awards co-host Steven J. Burge. Phto by Brian Landis Folkins, BLF Photography.
    Henry Awards co-host Steven J. Burge. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins, BLF Photography.
  • Video, photos: A 'Beautiful' Opening Night in Denver

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016

    Denver welcomed the national touring production of Beautiful — The Carole King Musical on June 19, and we spoke with stars Abby Mueller (Carole King), Becky Gulsvig (Cynthia Weil), along with DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg after the opening-night performance about what makes the Tony Award-winning musical so much more than a revue of pop hits from the 1960s and 1970s.

    Beautiful is the empowering, true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, but at a great personal cost to her family. Along the way, King wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Watch the video above, and read more from our conversation below:

    A BeautifulOpening QAuoteAbby Mueller: Beautiful is such a fun journey through the pop era of the 1950s and ‘60s. Carole and her first writing partner (and later husband) Gerry Goffin started writing songs when she was a teenager. And then they met Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and you get some of their songs as well. So this is a really is a deep, deep catalog of music that everyone knows - but perhaps they don’t know that Carole wrote this song, or Cynthia wrote that song. It’s a fun journey the audience goes on. We hear these gasps of recognition when they hear songs they know, but have never attributed to these writers.

    John Moore: Becky, tell us more about Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.

    Becky Gulsvig: Becky and Cynthia are amazing. They wrote so many songs that everyone knows and loves. Songs like, You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling, which is still the most-played song on the radio - ever. They wrote On Broadway and Rockin’ in the Rain and We Gotta Get Out of This Place and Uptown and so many more. You don’t necessarily know Cynthia and Barry as well as you know Carole King, but you really know a lot of their music. And they provide a balance to the love story because as Carole and Gerry fall apart, they come together. You also get to hear some of the back stories that tell you what was going on in their lives as some these songs were created.

    John Moore: John, what do you think makes Beautiful a different kind of musical?

    John Ekeberg: Our Denver audiences don’t always have the opportunity to go to New York to see Broadway shows, but the production I saw tonight was Broadway quality. It was just top-notch across the board. And to hear the audience’s reaction, I think, was really powerful.

    Read the Denver Post review of Beautiful

    John Moore: Abby, people might presume all they are going to get are these hit songs, but there is a pretty compelling story being told here as well.

    Abby Mueller: It is such a challenging and rewarding journey. People come to this show knowing they love these songs, but maybe they didn’t totally anticipate the emotional journey that everyone goes on. There is a lot of humor; there is some drama, some pathos and ultimately triumph. I think it’s a really satisfying night at the theatre.

    John Moore: You both play real people. Talk about the additional responsibility of portraying characters who are still very much among the living.

    Beautiful Opening Becky Gulsvig Abby MuellerBecky Gulsvig: I think there is definitely a different level of obligation when the person you are playing might come to see your show and either love you or hate you. That is daunting. They have casting approval, so we know they wanted us in the show, which is always nice. But you want to be respectful of their story and be truthful to what they did in real life. It’s an honor, to be honest, because all of these people are musical icons, and they did such amazing work. It’s great get to stand on their shoulders and share their stories with even more people. So many people grew up with this music, but it’s still reaching more new people every day.

    Abby Mueller: It is an honor to play Carole - and there is a responsibility that comes with that. That helps me focus on the fact that this is not about me. My responsibility is to Carole and to bring the most truth to her story that I can. It’s been a gift. People come and they just love Carole and Cynthia and Barry and Gerry so much, and we can feel that coming from the audiences. We get to borrow that for a little while. I feel like I am stealing love. It’s really special.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    John Moore: I was surprised by how much of an empowerment story Beautiful turns out to be for women of all ages.

    Abby Mueller: I really find Carole inspiring on so many levels. At a time when women were not doing what she was doing, she was writing songs and raising a family and having a career on her own terms, which is really admirable and enviable. That’s something I really look up to.

    John Moore: You both have connections to our favorite daughter of Denver, Annaleigh Ashford (pictured right).

    ASHFORD_ AnnaleighBoth: We love Annaleigh!

    Becky Gulsvig: Yes, I was in the original Broadway cast of Legally Blonde, The Musical, and I adore every inch of that magical unicorn. I love her.

    Abby Mueller: Yes, and I was a replacement swing in Kinky Boots, and she made me feel so welcome. She is a marvelous human being, and I love her. 

    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. 

    Beautiful – The Carole King Musical: Ticket information
    • Through July 31
    • Buell Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: 2 p.m. July 31
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Photo gallery: Beautiful in Denver

    'Beautiful' in Denver

    Our photos from opening night of 'Beautiful - The Carole king Musical' in Denver. To see more, click the arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Video at top of page by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

  • Cancer 'the only thing' that could have beat Amy Malmgren

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016

    Amy Malmgren at the very first Denver Actors Fund seed-gathering fundraiser on June 1, 2013. Photo by John Moore.

    Amy Malmgren of Highlands Ranch beat Stage 4 cancer in 2014. So when doctors delivered a new and unrelated Stage 4 diagnosis less than a year later, she took on the challenge with her typical quiet and confident determination.

    “I beat the highest stage of cancer in just four months,” she said at the time, “and I will beat it again.”

    This would just be the newest Herculean obstacle in Malmgren’s path, and the most recent she would take on with good cheer and a ferocious faith.

    “God and I are tight,” she wrote on her Facebook profile to summarize her religious views.

    amy-malmgren-quoteMalmgren, one of three inaugural board members of the Denver Actors Fund, died Wednesday night. She was also founder and CEO of Loops Media and a cheerful performer in the massive annual Magic Moments music revues in Denver.  She was 41.

    “Words don't do justice to the level of human being she was,” friend Jamie Spicer Anderson wrote on her Facebook page.

    Malmgren, a 1993 graduate of Arvada High School and in 2007 from Metro State University, was a single mother of three – from a wheelchair. She was paralyzed in a near-death car accident 24 years ago.

    Since then, Malmgren has battled infection, illness and worked tirelessly to help overcome the public stigma of living with a disability. All while raising three young men, including two now 17-year-old twins, Dev and Dominic Elliott. Her eldest son is 25-year-old Joseph Lewton.

    “Cancer is the only thing to ever beat Amy,” said Malmgren’s sister-in-law, Heather Gregg Spillman. “She was the strongest person I've ever known.”

    In July 2014, Malmgren was diagnosed with bladder cancer. After a strict regimen of chemotherapy and radical surgery, doctors miraculously declared her cancer-free by October. But cancer returned eight months later, again as Stage 4. It metastasized from her lymph nodes and spread into her small intestines and bones.

    “Life is crazy sometimes,” she said at the time. “We don’t get to choose all our paths, or I certainly wouldn’t have chosen cancer. But here I am again.”

    amy-malmgren-denver-actors-fund-familyMagic Moments is an annual revue of Broadway and pop songs that provides up to 150 physically or mentally challenged actors the opportunity to perform alongside able-bodied castmates. It is performed each year in the spirit of inclusion and equality.

    “My son Dom was doing Magic Moments, and he talked me into getting in,” Malmgren said. “That’s what really brought me back into the theatre. I loved it. Magic Moments is a fabulous community to stumble across.”

    (Pictured right: Amy Malmgren with her sons Joseph Lewton, Dev Elliott and Dominic Elliott.)

    Magic Moments Director KQ Quintana said he had been planning to design the 2017  revue around Malmgren until her cancer returned.

    "She was a delight to work with because she was always prepared, and she made rehearsals go better with her positive attitude," Quintana said. "And she was good. She could sing and act."

    Malmgren, born Feb. 8, 1975, sat on several boards, preferring to concentrate on issues that impact the health, independence and quality of life of individuals living with spinal-cord injury or disease. It was a passion for advocacy that took her from Washington D.C. to Italy.

    When she attended the Denver Actors Fund’s inaugural karaoke fundraiser three years ago, she rolled right up to founder John Moore and offered her financial and accounting services. Malmgren was named Treasurer of the Board of Directors. In the three years since, the non-profit organization has raised $117,000 to help members of the local theatre community in situational medical need. In April, Denver Actors Fund President Brenda Billings died of a sudden brain aneurysm.

    “You just can’t measure the toll of losing two incredible life forces like Amy and Brenda back-to-back,” said Moore. “At a time when this little non-profit was nothing more than an idea, this very small group of people stepped up to the plate and willed it into being.”

    Although in Malmgren’s case, it was more like she rolled up to the plate.

    “She came straight up to me and said, ‘I want in,'" Moore said. "Without that kind of can-do spirit, we never would have gotten off the ground.”

    amy-malmgren-denver-actors-fund-8002Family, Spillman said, meant the world to Malmgren.

    “I'll miss performing with her and cheering our kids on together,” she wrote this morning. “I'll miss our annual giggle-fest on Christmas night. I'll miss going dancing with her. That was our favorite thing to do. I'll miss our two-hour phone conversations where we'd cover everything from our kids to a TV show we both liked to politics. I'll miss going shopping with her. I'll miss traveling to Cabo with her. I'll miss celebrating our birthdays together. I'll miss preparing a family meal together. I'll miss her being late to everything. I'll miss putting her wheelchair in the back of my car. I'll miss her shining example of how to be the best kind of person. I'll miss Amy.”

    (Pictured above right: Amy Malmgren, front left, appeared on 'In Focus with Eden Lane' (back right) on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund at the Town Hall Arts Center in 2014.)

    Spillman said Malmgren was a natural at disarming some people’s discomfort with disability. “I'll miss watching the ease she had with kids when they were curious about her chair,” she said.

    Malmgren is also survived by her brothers, Jason and Mike Spillman; parents Scott Malmgren and Janet Benson; stepfather Mike Benson; stepmother Stacy Malmgren; and many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

    "This world has lost a shining light today," Jason Spillman wrote on his Facebook page today. "My heart is heavy but I am glad that my beloved sister Amy is out of pain. She told me a few days ago, 'I will save you a good seat.' "

    A celebration of Malmgren's life will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd, Cherry Hills Village, CO, 80113. Attendees are asked to wear purple. MAP IT

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

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