• Frankenstein: It is a matter of black and white

    by John Moore | Sep 23, 2016
    DCPA Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
    DCPA Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Much has been made of the mirrored relationship between Man and Maker in Mary Shelley’s enduring Gothic classic, Frankenstein. Creator and Cadaver. Father and Son. God and Man.

    The DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming new staging of Frankenstein explores a whole new and incendiary duality: Black and white.

    Frankenstein is, of course, the familiar story of the young science student who assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. In 2011, London’s National Theatre did some Frankenstein-like reanimating of its own when it breathed astonishing new life into Shelley’s nearly 200-year-old horror story. Noted film director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and playwright Nick Dear had their two leading actors alternate nightly playing the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation. Returning audiences not only got to consider how differently the two actors approached the same roles, they got to witness Son become Father. Man become God.

    The National Theatre staging was a sensation. Now, five years later, the DCPA becomes the first theatre company in North America to revivify the London creation. DCPA Director Sam Buntrock and Artistic Director Kent Thompson will also have their actors trade roles. But there’s more. At a time when racial tensions in America are at their highest levels in 40 years, acclaimed actors Sullivan Jones and Mark Junek have been cast to play Frankenstein and The Creature.

    Jones is black. Junek is white. And Thompson knows that may take on added visual significance with today’s audiences, because one more vital relationship between the story’s two archetypal characters is dominance and submission. Master and Slave.

    Thompson is often known to cast actors of color to play characters traditionally played by white actors. So that’s nothing new. But in a year of ever-escalating racial tension in America that flared anew this week in Charlotte and Tulsa, yes, Thompson says, he is trying to make a statement. A bold one about “the complex ways people from different cultures and classes relate to one another,” Thompson said. “And I’m highlighting that by having actors of two different races switching in these two roles.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A notable departure from Shelley’s source novel is the newly adapted play’s primary focus on The Creature - grotesque as he is, and yet childlike in his innocence. The real horror of Shelley’s story is not those silly (and jettisoned) neck bolts made famous by Boris Karloff. It is the doctor’s blithe rejection of his bewildered creature, and casting him out into a hostile world. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, The Creature grows increasingly vengeful. And that all will inevitably look different to a contemporary audience on the nights when Jones is the actor playing the unfairly beaten creature. And that’s OK, says Thompson.

    “I don't know that we’ll ever be a post-racial society,” he said. “But I hope one day we will be post-racist.”

    Buntrock, who is British, said the instinct to cast one Frankenstein Quote. Sam Buntrock white and one African-American actor in the rotating roles was not so much to make some great social statement, but rather stems from a responsibility he feels, and Thompson shares, to increase diversity in the theatre.

    "The impulse came from the notion that the boundaries of casting must be brought down," Buntrock  said. "It's irresponsible in this day and age to be locked into one sense of how a character should look."

    That said, he has talked at length with his actors about the impact this particular casting may have on audiences. "Yes, I am interested in what that provokes in the viewer," he said. "And this is going to bring the audience face-to-face with their attitudes."

    The supreme challenge of two actors having to bring two entire characters to life on alternating nights is affords a rich and rare creative opportunity for potential audiences.

    “In the original London production the reviewers and the audiences were fascinated at how differently they approached each character,” Thompson said. “They were not the exact same performance, and the dynamic between them changed.”


    Frankenstein actors

    DCPA actors Sullivan Jones and Mark Junek will rotate and alternate in portraying Frankenstein and his Creature.


    The New York Times critic Ben Brantley found it thrilling to attend Frankenstein on successive nights in London. “Watching each of these actors find their feet and test their body parts is such a dizzy high point that it can’t be topped,” he wrote. And their approaches are just different enough to make you want to see both.”

    Those who do will see that Frankenstein continues to strike disturbingly urgent chords that go far beyond race, and encompassing “otherness” of all kinds.

    “There are many other things that make The Creature scary,” said Thompson. “There’s his deformity. That he can’t talk. That he seems to be brutish.”

    “Otherness” tends to evoke ignorance, cruelty and fear, said Thompson, who is fascinated by what makes “otherness” frightening to other people in the first place, be it disability, skin color … or even a person’s presidential preference.

    Frankenstein Quote. Kent Thompson“All of that fear multiplies once you start to consider race and culture and age and political opinions,” said Thompson. “It’s easy to demonize the person on the other side of an issue. That is going on all over America today. The challenge we are left is: “How do we stop demonizing each other?’”

    Thompson pointed out that the man in power in this scenario – the omnipotent doctor – would likely fall somewhere squarely on what we would call “the autism spectrum” today.

    "He’s a genius, but his ability to emotionally respond and psychologically understand the consequences of his actions has been thwarted,” Thompson said. Yet, he holds the power to create life in his hands as surely as a gun would hold the power to end it.”

    But while the landmark London staging offered audiences a whole new way of looking at the Frankenstein myth - as will the DCPA’s team of designers and actors – “None of that profoundly changes the major theme of the piece,” Thompson said. Which is, essentially: “Is it even ethically appropriate for man to create life? I mean, once you start down that road, how do you stop?”


    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.


    Photo gallery: More on the making of Frankenstein in Denver

    'Frankenstein' in Denver
    Photos from the making of 'Frankenstein' in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow in the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Frankenstein: Ticket information
    Frankenstein• 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 


    Previous NewsCenter coverage:

    Breathing life into the Frankenstein set: 'It's alive!'
    A Frankenstein 'that will make The Bible look subtle'
    How Danny Boyle infused new life into Frankenstein
    Casting set for Frankenstein and The Glass Menagerie
    Introducing DCPA Theatre Company's 2016-17 season artwork
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season announcement

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

  • The Year of Gunderson has begun in Colorado

    by John Moore | Sep 22, 2016


    The Catamounts are presenting Lauren Gunderson's political comedy ' The Taming,' featuring Laura Lounge, in Boulder through Oct. 8. Photo by Michael Ensminger.


    The Year of Gunderson has begunderson in Colorado theatre.

    Three Colorado theatre companies, including the DCPA, are presenting three different plays by 34-year-old wunderkind Lauren Gunderson. Sure, that’s impressive and all, but let's consider this playwriting phenomenon from a slightly larger context:

    Gunderson is officially the most-produced living playwright in the country right now, according to American Theatre Magazine. And she's No. 2 overall, behind only the august August Wilson. Yes, ahead of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. (But not ahead of William Shakespeare or Stephen Sondheim, who, for whatever reasons, do not count in the magazine's annual survey. Still … )

    Lauren Gunderson quote “This is a pretty amazing moment in my career,” Gunderson said from her home in San Francisco. “I have always dreamed of having a place in a smart, adventurous theatre community like the Denver/Boulder area. I am really honored and excited to have my work be in that soup. Colorado gets me.”

    Oh, Colorado gets lots of Gunderson between now and May 2017 – and probably lots thereafter. Boulder’s The Catamounts just opened their sixth season with The Taming, a wild political farce being offered up just in time for this hilarious election season. In February, The DCPA Theatre Company will launch the world premiere of The Book of Will, which tells how Shakespeare’s greatest plays were snatched from the dustbin of history after his death. And in April, Boulder’s Ensemble Theatre Company will present Silent Sky, about pioneering Harvard astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt.

    “That really makes me happy because those three plays represent three phases of my life and three very different styles of my writing,” Gunderson said. “They are kind of a microcosm of my dream career.”

    What’s most remarkable, American Theatre wrote in announcing its survey results, is that Gunderson has become America’s most produced living playwright largely without the New York stamp of approval. Of the 16 professional productions of Gunderson’s plays in the 2016-17 season, only one was set to be staged in the Big Apple.

    Gunderson, also the mother of two, attributes her place on the list to her personal propensity for working on three plays at a time - an instinct that was catalyzed in her when she began writing plays as a 15-year-old in Atlanta.

    “Writers write,” Gunderson said. “You just have to write, and write a lot.”

    She started writing – a lot – when she realized most plays don’t have parts for a teenage girl or her friends, so Gunderson started to write her own. “It really was kind of selfish,” she said with a laugh. “I was trying to write as a way to explore the extent of one's emotional capacity.” She began by emulating her heroes: Samuel Beckett, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams and Paula Vogel among them. But eventually, she said, “I got the confidence to write about who I am right now.”

    Here is a brief look at the three Gunderson plays that will be presented to Colorado audiences this season:

    The Taming
    Presented by The Catamounts
     
    Now through Oct. 8
    Carsen Theatre at the Dairy Arts Center, Boulder
    303-444-7328 or ONLINE TICKETING

    The premise of The Taming sounds like the start of a bad joke: You take a Republican, a Democrat and a libertarian, and lock them in a hotel room. ... Only it’s actually a really good joke.

    “Oh, it’s a laugh riot, which is the only way I could get away with writing such a political play,” Gunderson said. “Basically everyone gets skewered, so you will be able to laugh at whichever side you don't like.”

    The Catamounts' 'The Taming. Laura Lounge, McPherson Horle. Photo by Michael EnsmingerThe Taming focuses on three women, led by a Miss America contestant who has political aspirations to match her pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the U.S. government is the help of a conservative senator's aide and a bleeding-heart liberal blogger.

    “It is definitely based on The Taming of the Shrew," said Gunderson. The Miss America contestant is named Katherine (naturally), “but it is not an adaptation or a re-telling of Shakespeare. It was really all of the misogyny in his play that inspired me to write mine. I am going to go out on a limb here and say I don't ever need to see The Taming of the Shrew ever again. It's just useless right now, and maybe even a little dangerous. And it's not even very funny. I walk away from that play thinking, ‘So the abuser definitely won, and nobody seems to have a problem with that. Fabulous.’ ”

    The frustration Gunderson felt watching The Taming of the Shrew is the same she feels looking at Congress. “So I wanted take the misogyny out of Shakespeare’s play and put congressional partisan politics in its place.

    “But it's really all about, 'How do we work together to save the country?' We can't even have a conversation anymore. We're not even the same species. And that means nothing is getting done. Our country has stalled, and you can see that now more than ever with this election cycle. That’s why I think theatre companies are doing this play all over the country this year.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    So if not the shrew, then … who is being tamed here, exactly?

    “America,” Gunderson said with a laugh.

    The Taming is the first production since The Catamounts' public pledge to produce at least one play per season by a female, LGBTQ or non-white playwright. To which Gunderson says: Right on.

    “I am deeply excited by who The Catamounts are, and that they are doing this play,” she said. TICKETS

    (Pictured above right: McPherson Horle and Laura Lounge in The Catamounts' 'The Taming.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)




    Our video interview with DCPA commissioned playwright  Lauren Gunderson, author of 'The Book of Will.'

    The Book of Will
    Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company

    Jan. 13-Feb. 26, 2017
    Ricketson Theatre
    303-893-4100 or ONLINE TICKETING

    A Book of Will Lauren Gunderson 600 2The Book of Will, an original DCPA Theatre Company commission, is based on the true adventure of Shakespeare's great friends and fellow actors, John Henry Condell and John Heminges. “They were responsible for editing, curating and publishing Shakespeare's First Folio, without which we certainly would have lost half of Shakespeare's plays, including some of the absolute timeless greats,” Gunderson said. “We know how valuable Shakespeare is to the world at large, but they didn't know it at the time. They had no idea how impactful this project would be to everyone.”

    But her play, she said, is ultimately about friendship and mortality. “It asks: What do we leave behind? What's worth saving? Why is it valuable? What does theatre do for society and culture and civilization?” she said. “The play really starts to hone in on those things. But it does so, ideally, with a real, grounded heart.”

    (Pictured above right: 'The Book of Will' was a featured reading at the DCPA's 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)



    Silent Sky
    /Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    April 6-30, 2017
    Grace Gamm Theater at The Dairy Arts Center, Boulder MORE INFO

    Gunderson was going through New York’s famed Strand Book Store when she came across a pamphlet on Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a little-known astronomer whose research led to the theory of the expanding universe.

    Silent Sky. Monette Magrath. South Coast Rep 2011“I was shocked to find a female scientist I had not yet heard of, because I gravitate toward those stories,” said Gunderson. Leavitt was tasked by the Harvard College Observatory to measure and catalog the brightness of stars in 1893. But as a woman, she wasn’t even allowed to use a telescope. “They were just looking at numbers and at glass photographic plates of the sky - not even the real sky,” Gunderson said.

    So while the play is about astronomy and math, it’s really about the subjugated women forced to conduct their work in an enclosed office. Nevertheless, Leavitt found a pattern in a certain kind of blinking star that led to the modern cosmology we have today, including the works of Edwin Hubble (ironically, of the telescope fame).

    Leavitt’s discovery felt immediately theatrical, visual and musical to Gunderson. “I thought those things sounded like they belong on stage,” she said.

    There are at least two commonalities at the heart of Gunderson’s works. One, she said, is “getting the story back into women's bodies and women's brains and women's mouths.”

    And the other is legacy. “My work usually ends up coming to grips with facing the future without us, and what we leave behind,” she said.

    “For The Taming, it's all about how do we change this country? Katherine’s big goal is literally to rewrite the Constitution. Silent Sky is about contributing to science, even if you don't get to see where the end of that exploration goes. And of course, The Book of Will is about launching one of the most important books in the Western canon.

    “To me, the big question usually comes down to: 'What we can do to change the world around us for the better?' ”

    (Pictured above right: Monette Magrath in 'Silent Sky' at South Coast Rep in 2011.)


    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.

  • Fall Classes: Meet Three DCPA Teaching Artists

    by John Moore | Sep 21, 2016
    Curtiss Johns.  DCPA Education's 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.
    Curtiss Johns participated in a DCPA Education acting master class that culminated with a full staging of 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

     

    DCPA Education offers year-round classes for 85,000 students of all ages, from a diverse lineup of experienced educators and professional teaching artists.

    This fall, DCPA Education is offering more than 40 adult classes and workshops ranging from stage accents to acting on camera to low-flying trapeze. There are business workshops available as well, including public speech (pictured below right). Classes are geared toward newcomers all the way through an acclaimed master class project for budding professionals that culminates each year in a fully produced play.

    “We are so fortunate to have the faculty we have,” said DCPA Head of Acting Instruction Tim McCracken. “They are terrific individuals from this market, who are highly skilled and able to offer so much to students of all levels.”

    Today, the DCPA NewsCenter is spotlighting three of those faculty members and the various classes they will be leading this fall. One is the acclaimed Christy Montour-Larson, who directed the DCPA Theatre Company’s Shadowlands, and will helm the world-premiere production of Two Degrees, opening Feb. 3.

    “Our teachers have the professional experience in the industry to get you where you want to go,” said McCracken.

    Registration deadlines vary by each individual class’ starting date, but most begin the week of Oct. 3. Full class descriptions and a downloadable brochure are available online here. For more information, call 303-446-4892.

    MEET BOB DAVIDSON

    “I began teaching Sunday school at age 13, and was our church choral director at 15. I toured Central and South America with our college a cappella choir, followed by a summer studying music and dance in rural Uganda and Uzbekistan. I established my own aerial dance company in 1988 and joined the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory faculty as Head of Movement in 1997. I was certified in teaching the Skinner Releasing Technique in Istanbul, Turkey — and was there for the attempted coup!”

    • Hometown: I grew up in rural southern Minnesota
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Mabel (Minn.) High School
    • College: Hamline (Minn.) with a BA in Music Performance and Composition, minoring in English Lit
    • Advanced education: University of Washington in Ethnomusicology 
    • Who was your favorite teacher? I am neither scientifically nor mathematically oriented, but Dean Wendlandt taught me high-school geometry, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry and physics in such a clear and comprehensible way. His classes may have planted the seeds that helped me sort through the potential chaos that often is “the arts.”
    • What makes you a good teacher? Possibly because my education was so multi-disciplinary. Possibly because I’ve been doing it for almost 60 years!
    • About DCPA Education: We’re always striving to focus and refine our course offerings to be relevant to actors at all levels of training.

      YOUR COURSE: MIND AND MOVEMENT INTENSIVE FOR ACTORS
      (with Laurence Curry)

    • Course description: I will first introduce the basics of the Skinner Releasing Technique, a form of kinesthetic training that is essentially non-intellectual, yet image-oriented. When SRT precedes monologue work, the monologues generally improve greatly. It seems less strain, fear, and ego are involved in the presentation — and more clarity, dynamics and confidence are the result.
    • Dates: Oct. 29 through Nov. 19 in the Newman Building
    • When: 1-4 p.m. Saturdays (First two Saturdays taught by Laurence Curry; second two Saturdays by Bob Davidson)
    • Your ideal student? An experienced actor who wants to improve his or her technique and process — although beginners are welcome. Each student must bring in a fully memorized monologue to present at the beginning of the Nov. 12 session, preferably classical.
    • What do you hope your students get out of it? I hope they begin to acquire a deeper sense of technical competence in their approach to acting, and that they learn there’s more than one way to say a line, and that the way we think influences what we say and do.
    • Fun fact: This is essentially process-oriented training — as opposed to product-oriented; so it is virtually impossible to fail. The by-products of this form of experimental training may be plentiful and pleasurable to behold.
    •  

    MEET TIA MARLIER

    Tia Marlier 3"Over the past 40 years, I have worked as a vocalist singing jazz, pop, rock and a cappella; as a stage actor at Arvada Center and BDT Stage; as an on-camera actor; singing coach; as a church worship leader; as a news announcer, and as a presentation-skills coach. I'm now a voiceover talent agent."

    • Hometown: I grew up in Cleveland and Detroit
    • Home now: Littleton
    • High school: I attended the all-girls Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Mich.
    • College: B.A. in Telecommunications from Michigan State University
    • Web site: tiamarlier.com
    • Who was your favorite teacher? Louise Scudlo, who taught a J.D. Salinger class in high school, recognized and encouraged my writing ability, and she was wildly interesting and mysterious — the epitome of eccentricity!
    • What makes you a good teacher? I am a great encourager, and I love to bring out the potential in people.
    • About DCPA Education: The DCPA provides a fun, safe environment where adults of all ages can explore their creative sides. You will learn new skills and gain insight into the performing arts, while getting to explore and grow.

      YOUR COURSE: COMMERCIAL VOICEOVER 1 

    • Course description: Is your voice your favorite asset? Step up to the mic and learn the basics of the radio and television voiceover industry. Analyze and activate commercial copy, learn to take direction and increase your versatility. Learn about demos, agents, auditions and the voiceover market to get going with your career. You’ll even get to work in a professional recording studio during your final class.
    • Dates: Oct. 8-Nov. 12
    • When: First five Saturdays from 1-3:30 p.m. in the Newman Building. The final class will be held at a professional recording studio where students will experience a real voiceover recording session.
    • Your ideal student? ... is interested in using their voice, and has either some acting background, or a willingness to explore acting - which is an important voiceover skill.
    • What do you hope your students get out of it? I hope my students enjoy learning how to make words on a page come alive through their voices.
    • Fun fact: It's harder than you think to do voice over. And yet when you do it right, it's effortless!

       

    MEET CHRISTY MONTOUR-LARSON

    Christy Montour-Larson is a multiple award-winning director, recently named Top Director by Westword Magazine, 5280 Magazine and CBS4 Denver. Christy is looking forward to directing Two Degrees for the DCPA Theatre Company and Constellations at Curious Theatre, both in early 2017. She studied Meisner Technique from Bill Esper and Maggie Flanagin and has taught Acting and Directing at Metropolitan State University of Denver for more than 15 years. 

    • Hometown: Minneapolis
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minn.
    • College: BFA in Theatre from the University of Minnesota-Duluth
    • Advanced education: MFA in Directing from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey
    • Who was your favorite teacher? I have been blessed to have had several inspiring teachers in my life. The great ones include my high-school drama teacher Gretchen Heath, who taught me to believe in myself; and Maggie Flanagin and Amy Saltz from Rutgers, who taught me to reach for the highest artistic standards
    • What makes you a good teacher? I pride myself on creating a space where students feel safe and have permission to take risks. I strive to be demanding without being unkind. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. 
    • About DCPA Education: The DCPA makes the whole classroom experience unforgettable and inspiring. The DCPA gives you a spark of life and equipment for living. For when you study theatre, you are crafting deeper skills in how to live more authentically — not only on stage, but off-stage as well.

      YOUR COURSE: MEISNER TECHNIQUE

    • Course description: Through the Meisner acting technique, students will discover they are never done learning the craft. Rooted in the work of master acting teacher Sanford Meisner, this class uses a series of exercises that build upon each other to create a useful set of new skills to master truthful human behavior.
    • Dates: Oct. 5-Nov. 9
    • When: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Newman Building
    • Your ideal student? Maybe someone who is beginning his or her studies as an actor.  You are passionate and hungry to find a way to use all of yourself to express those deep feelings. Maybe someone who has studied acting and has noticed there are moments when something has “clicked,” but it seems to be hit-or-miss. You wish you had something solid that you could build on and grow with. Maybe someone who has acted some but so often you feel you have lost touch with your own creative center.
    • What do you hope your students get out of it? To experience themselves as much greater and more powerful than they were previously aware. That they can be totally available and receptive to their acting partners. That they are courageous and ready to take risks.
    • Fun fact: When I first read Meisner on Acting, it changed the course of my professional life.
    DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous leads a class for local business professionals. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • 'The Glass Menagerie': Opening Night photos

    by John Moore | Sep 20, 2016
    'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver

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

    The DCPA NewsCenter takes you backstage before all Theatre Company opening nights, offering a glimpse of the actors in preparation, and following through to the post-show celebration.

    The Glass Menagerie opened on Sept. 16, featuring Kathleen McCall, Aubrey Deeker, Amelia Pedlow and John Skelley in Tennessee Williams' American classic. The director is Ina Marlowe. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    A Glass Menagerie Opening 800The 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

    (Photo above right: Actor Amelia Pedlow, who plays Laura, takes a moment on the stage to warm up before the audience is let into the Ricketon Theatre.)

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of The Glass Menagerie:

    Video: Inside look at the making of The Glass Menagerie
    Video: Your first look at The Glass Menagerie
    The Glass Menagerie: A modern visual twist on an American classic
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
    Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics
     
    'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Tom Wingfield: Aubrey Deeker
    Laura Wingfield: Amelia Pedlow
    The Gentleman Caller: John Skelley

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    'The Glass Menagerie' Opening Night: Aubrey Deeker (Tom Wingfield) in his dressing room before the show. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • My interview with Edward Albee: 'I want people to imagine the unimaginable'

    by John Moore | Sep 19, 2016




    Note: John Moore conducted the following interview just before the first local production of Edward Albee’s 'The Goat, or Who is Sylvia' was presented by Denver’s Curious Theatre in January 2005. 'The Goat' is the shocking tale of a family whose lives crumble when the patriarch, Martin, falls in love with a goat, severely testing the limits of this ostensibly liberal society. Albee died Friday at age 88.


    John Moore: Does it ever stop being amusing to you to observe how people respond to your plays? My specific reference in asking this question comes from looking back at the harsh batch of initial reviews for The Goat, which, shall we say, did not seem to indicate that the play would go on to win the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play.

    Edward Albee: What was interesting about that is when we changed casts in the middle of the run and put Sally Field and Bill Irwin in, some of the critics came back - and they changed their minds. The lady from Newsday issued a total mea culpa, as a matter of fact. She said she had completely misunderstood the play and now believed it was a wonderful play.

    John Moore: That’s not the first time that has happened to you,

    Edward Albee: No, but it usually doesn’t happen during the initial production. It usually happens when the play comes back 10 or 15 years later. Then everybody says, ‘Well, we don’t know what everybody was so unhappy about. This is first-rate.’ It’s always amusing and interesting, yes. You know that it’s all going to change, so why pay attention to it?

    edward albee quote 8John Moore: It must be odd for you though, because these are the same people who constantly refer to you, almost adjectivally, as “America’s greatest living playwright.” And yet at the same time they compare and contrast everything you write today to whatever it is you were writing 40 years ago.

    Edward Albee: I know. You change, and your work changes. I know that my plays are changing. They are becoming different from the ones I wrote 40 years ago. I think maybe my craft is a little more in hand. I know what I am doing a little more precisely, and I think maybe I am asking more interesting questions. I certainly don’t have any more answers.

    John Moore: So what kinds of questions you are asking now?

    Edward Albee: The Goat asks so many questions about the limits of our tolerance. Can we imagine this happening to us? How would we respond if this happened in our own families? That’s what I want people to do with this play, of course. Not just sit there on a throne and pass judgment on other people.

    John Moore: I read in your introduction to your Collected Plays that it’s no fun for you to talk about what your plays are about. That it’s fun for you to hear what other people think your plays are about.

    edward albee GoatEdward Albee: I don’t want to talk about what my plays are about. I want to talk about other things. The Goat is about 90 minutes. That’s what it’s about. Any play that’s worthwhile can’t be defined in a couple of sentences because it’s about every single thing from the beginning to the end. Also it happens to be about everything that happens before the play begins. And if all the characters haven’t been killed off, the play is also about what happens to the characters after the plays are over. So it’s fruitless to even try to talk about that.

    (Pictured above right: Curious Theatre's 2005 production of 'The Goat' with Mare Trevathan and Robert Reid.)

    John Moore: May I ask you about my own response to the play?

    Edward Albee: Sure, of course.

    John Moore: Upon my first reading, I assumed this was a play about Martin’s wife, Stevie. She was being put in the petri dish as an experiment to explore the gradations of infidelity, and specifically a woman’s reaction to being cheated upon.

    Edward Albee: You must understand that her reaction would be quite different if it were another woman, rather than a female goat.

    edward albee quoteJohn Moore: Absolutely. Which is why I want to ask how you came to decide not to make this a story about another woman, but instead push the limits and see how people respond to a husband falling in love with a goat?

    Edward Albee: I want people to imagine the unimaginable. I want them to consider what they don’t think they should be able to consider. I want people to break down the barriers of convenience that they have built up for themselves.

    John Moore: I saw in the goat a metaphor for everything we as a society find unacceptable in the behavior of others.

    Edward Albee: Yeah, but never forget – it’s also a real goat. It’s not a metaphorical goat.

    John Moore: But I am assuming you want us to consider our attitudes about forbidden loves of all kinds.

    Edward Albee: Of course.

    edward albee quote 1John Moore:  That was driven home for me this weekend when I went to see two movies: Closer and Kinsey. I thought they both spoke to some of the same issues you raise in The Goat.

    Edward Albee: I didn’t see Closer because I didn’t like the play when I saw it in London. But I saw Kinsey, and I thought it was a pretty good movie.

    John Moore: Did you see in that movie some parallels to The Goat?

    Edward Albee: Now that you mention it, I guess so, sure. The other interesting thing is that every once in a while people would get up and walk out during The Goat. I didn’t have an intermission, so that made it harder for people to sneak out. That’s not why I didn’t have an intermission. I just felt the intensity of the play would be broken if we had one. But here’s the thing: More people would walk out when Billy kissed his father.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    John Moore: More so than the revelation that Martin was sleeping with a goat?

    Edward Albee: Yes. Even more so than when we talked about the sexual implications of the crucifixion. More people walked out after the kiss.

    John Moore: What do you think that says about us?

    Edward Albee: That it’s a knee-jerk reaction.  That’s something we can react to with social approval.  

    John Moore: When you think about the list of all lingering societal taboos, do you find that homosexuality is still the biggest?

    edward albee Tree Tall WomenEdward Albee: That’s the one society is taking a stand on, and I think that is the result of this recent (2004 presidential) election. That kind of reaction is socially acceptable, in the same way that lynching black people used to be.

    (Pictured right: The DCPA Theatre Company's production of 'Three Tall Women' in 1997.)

    John Moore: When you say that … when you acknowledge that … what does it do to your spirit? You have been addressing these taboos in very provocative ways for 40 years, and yet it’s 2004…

    Edward Albee: Well the good thing about it is it keeps giving me stuff to write about. (laughs). You know, we all hope that people will start behaving the way we want them to, and some problems will go away. But people don’t pay any attention to it … so I keep writing plays.

    edward albee quoteJohn Moore: Your play has a title – The Goat – and a subtitle – Who Is Sylvia? – and a sub-subtitle – Notes Toward a Definition of Tragedy. The Greek origin of the word ‘tragedy’ is ‘goat-song’ – and you have a character named Billy, which is similar to ‘Billy goat.’ Did all of that have anything to do with your choice of a goat, as opposed to any other animal? Or was it just a coincidence?

    Edward Albee: That was just a wonderful accident. I named the son Billy before I consciously realized that I could use ‘Billy goat’ as a joke. I probably made an unconscious decision.

    John Moore: Well it’s a wonderful accident.

    Edward Albee: Except that it’s not an accident. It’s a conscious accident. I don’t think there are any accidents.

    John Moore: You must be tired of talking about The Goat. And yet it must be fascinating for you to watch as your work rolls out into the heartland, where it is new to everyone.

    edward albee quoteEdward Albee: Yeah, but Denver is not a terrible city for theatre.

    John Moore: I wanted to ask you about your continuing and very active interest in the companies that produce your work all over the country. You are one of the only playwrights of your stature who still insists on casting approval for all your plays. Why it still so important for you to be concerned with what companies around the country do with your material?

    Edward Albee: Because it’s my play, and I am leasing it to them to produce it. I am anxious to get the best actors and the most accurate production I can get. That’s why I am interested in who the actors are, and who the director is.

    John Moore: Has that always been the case with you?

    Edward Albee: Oh, yeah. My first producer, Richard Barr, encouraged me to take a very active hand in everything, including set design. He kept reminding me: “It’s your play. That’s the reason everybody is in the room.”

    John Moore: Was there some early disaster that prompted all of this?

    Edward Albee: Well there was one experiment where I let the producers and the director, everybody, have a free hand – and it was an absolute disaster. So I learned pretty quickly that I can’t do that.

    John Moore: You never contemplate retirement, do you?

    Edward Albee: What is retirement? I do what I like, pretty much. I am happy writing plays. I am happy getting involved in their productions, and directing, and helping younger playwrights. I suppose I would retire if my mind collapsed. I’ll be 77 in a month and a half, and I keep wondering when middle age is going to end.

    John Moore: Final question: What do you think is the state of the new American theatre right now?

    Edward Albee: Here’s a very simple rule: One out of every 100 plays that is written should be written. The other 99 should not. Maybe one out of every 10 plays that gets produced is worth producing. There is some good stuff, but there is a lot of dross. There are an awful lot of eager and ambitious and sometimes enormously talented people out there. The problem is not with the quality of the work that can be done. The problem is with the quality of the work that is being done to appease an audience that doesn’t want to have its mind strengthened. It’s not the availability of good stuff, but the choice that theatres make and what they do to sell tickets, rather than to educate an audience. That’s a big problem.

    (Pictured above right: Two local productions of 'Seascape': Billie McBride and John Ashton for Modern Muse in 2007, above; Jennifer Condreay and Jim Hunt for Lake Dillon Theatre Company in 2011, below.)

    John Moore: Would you say that ratio is about the same as it was when you started 40 years ago? Or has the advent of computers made it worse?

    Edward Albee: I think probably economics has made it worse. When we did Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway in 1962, it cost $48,000 to produce it. Now this new production that we are about to open in Boston is going to cost $1.5 million. We did The Zoo Story together with Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape off-Broadway in 1960 for $2,000. Now it would cost half a million. And so economics have made cowards of knaves.

    John Moore: I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    Edward Albee: No, apparently everybody likes to pay too much for tickets and especially they like to pay too much if they are not seeing anything.

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

    The Plays of Edward Albee:
    The Zoo Story (1958)
    The Death of Bessie Smith (1959)
    The Sandbox (1959)
    Fam and Yam (1959)
    The American Dream (1960)
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961–1962)
    The Ballad of the Sad Café (1963)
    Tiny Alice (1964)
    Malcolm (1965)
    A Delicate Balance (1966)
    Breakfast at Tiffany's (1966)
    Everything in the Garden (1967)
    Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (1968)
    All Over (1971)
    Seascape (1974)
    Listening (1975)
    Counting the Ways (1976)
    The Lady from Dubuque (1977–1979)
    Lolita (1981)
    The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981)
    Finding the Sun (1983)
    Marriage Play (1986–1987)
    Three Tall Women (1990–1991)
    The Lorca Play (1992)
    Fragments (1993)
    The Play About the Baby (1996)
    Occupant (2001)
    The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002)
    Knock! Knock! Who's There!? (2003)
    Peter & Jerry, retitled in 2009 to At Home at the Zoo (2004)
    Me Myself and I (2007)


     

     

  • In the Spotlife: Anne Oberbroeckling of 'Ripcord'

    by John Moore | Sep 17, 2016
    Anne Oberbroeckling and Billie McBride star in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Ripcord,' by David Lindsay-Abaire. Photo by Michael Ensminger.


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

    MEET ANNE OBERBROECKLING

    Marilyn Dunne in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord

    • Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
    • Home now: Denver
    • College: Degree in theatre and English from Clark College in Dubuque, Iowa
    • What have you done for us lately? Amanda in the Cherry Creek Theatre Company's The Glass Menagerie
    • What is Ripcord all about? Well, it is written by David Lindsay-Abaire, so while it can be about one thing, on the surface, it is really about so very much more. But the
      essence is the story of two old gals in an assisted living facility in New Jersey who are polar opposites. They make a bet where one of them wins the room for herself. One is trying to make one angry and the other is trying scare the first one. The bets
      become more complicated and intricate and crazy.
    • Most challenging aspect for you as an actor: Marilyn is a mother, grandmother and widow. She is one of the most positive and energetic women I may have ever played. That is a challenge right there. The bets are going to require some technological challenges (so I guess that is the crew, not me, whew.) l have also been basing her on an old friend who passed away from ALS last year. She is my spirit animal on this one.
    • What do you love most about this play? I love David Lindsay-Abaire's outlook on life. It is sweet and funny and slightly off-kilter.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I want to write, and I continue to make attempts at it Just wait.
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I wish to heck there were much more gender-blind, age-blind and color-blind casting. We are all so darn afraid to take chances with things like that in the U.S. There is so much more of that done in other countries. I remember this quote from an actor who said: "I  want to play the parts that weren't written for me." Isn't that great?

      Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord: Ticket information
      • Directed by Rebecca Remaly (read her interview with the Daily Camera)
      • Through Oct. 9
      • At the new Grace Gamm Theater in the renovated Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
      • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays, plus 7:30 p.m. Thursdays Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. Also: "Tech Tuesday," 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27. (Includes pre-show happy hour and post-show conversation for $40).
      • Tickets $20-$35
      • 303-440-7826 or BUY ONLINE


    Cast list:

    Abby Binder: Billie McBride
    Marilyn Dunne: Anne Oberbroeckling
    Scotty: Michael Bouchard
    Benjamin/Lewis: Josh Hartwell
    Colleen: Lindsey Pierce
    Derek: Kevin Lowry

    Please Note: Ripcord contains some profane language and adult situations, so may not be suitable for patrons under high-school age. Parental discretion advised.

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage

  • Video: Inside look at the making of 'The Glass Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Sep 16, 2016


    To mark every DCPA Theatre Company opening, we take you backstage for an inside look at the making of the show.

    Here, DCPA technical and creative staff offer insight about the scenic design, lighting, properties and costume challenges in staging Tennessee Williams' classic, The Glass Menagerie. Technical Director Eric Rouse is joined by Charles MacLeod, Robin Payne and Meghan Anderson Doyle for our tour.

    Learn just how many cubes of light make up the floor of the Wingfield family living room; how the team uses projections to make sure the absent patriarch stays ever-present throughout the play; why the costumes are more suggestive of a memory than a factual representation of St. Louis in 1937, and much more.

    Watch next for our video on the making of Frankenstein, with a first performance on Sept. 30. Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Production photo gallery:
     
    The Glass Menagerie- 2016-17 Theatre Company Season First look at production photos for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Glass Menagerie.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams Visual Communications.

    To see our gallery of rehearsal and backstage photos, CLICK HERE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    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

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of The Glass Menagerie:

    Video: Your first look at The Glass Menagerie
    The Glass Menagerie: A modern visual twist on an American classic
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
    Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics
     
    'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Tom Wingfield: Aubrey Deeker
    Laura Wingfield: Amelia Pedlow
    The Gentleman Caller: John Skelley

  • Mary Louise Lee returning to Denver Center roots in 'Lady Day'

    by John Moore | Sep 16, 2016

    Mary Louise Lee and Yasmine Hunter


    Mary Louise LeeMary Louise Lee will return to her professional roots next month when she appears in a special workshop production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill from Oct. 28-30 in the Jones Theatre.

    Lee's performing career began at the Denver Center when she appeared in Beehive at what is now the Garner-Galleria Theatre while only 18 and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. She has said she considers playing Billie Holiday in a standout 2002 production of Lady Day for Shadow Theatre Company to be her most meaningful performance.

    Lady Day is a haunting portrayal of a woman with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit. During the performance, Lee tells the jazz legend's troubled life story through the songs that made her famous, including "God Bless the Child," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Strange Fruit" and "Taint Nobody's Biz-ness." Set in Philadelphia in 1959, Holiday’s performance at Emerson’s Bar & Grill was one of her last. Lady Day is not just a memorable tribute to the singer, but also a moving portrait of her struggles with addiction, racism, and loss.

    Lee was named Best Actress in a Musical by Westword for her Lady Day performance in 2003. The review said: “A stunning evening of theatre. Lee's singing is absolutely radiant. Her voice is smooth as glass. At times she sounds uncannily like Holiday, at others entirely like her full-throated self.”

    Lee, who has sung the national anthem before 78,000 Denver Broncos fans and appeared on the nationally televised America’s Got Talent, returned to the DCPA in 2014 to sing with the cast of the national touring production of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet onstage at the Buell Theatre. (See photo by John Moore, above right, and video, below.) And last December, Lee won a 2015 True West Award for her performance in the new musical, Uncle Jed's Barbershop.

    Read John Moore's Denver Post profile of Mary Louise Lee

    Some of Lee's other notable local theatre performances have included Vogue Theatre’s A Brief History of White Music, the Arvada Center’s The 1940s Radio Hour, Country Dinner Playhouse’s Ain’t Misbehavin', Denver Civic’s Menopause the Musical and Afterthought Theatre Company's The Wiz, as Glinda the Good Witch. She took on that role just after husband Michael B. Hancock was elected Mayor of Denver in 2011.

    She is choir Director at the New Hope Baptist Church, and founder of “Bringin’ Back the Arts," a foundation that encourages arts education in the public schools.

    A Lady Day Westword

    Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
    Lady DayBy Lanie Robertson
    Featuring Mary Louise Lee
    Directed by Hugo Sayles
    Music Direction and Piano by Michael Williams
    Oct 28-30, 2016
    The Jones Theatre
    Tickets start at $25
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Approximately 90 minutes without intermission
    Adult language and content
    Age Recommendation: 17+

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Video: Mary Louise Lee sings with Million Dollar Quartet:

    Video: Watch Mary Louise Lee sing 'Fools Fall in Love' with the cast of 'Million Dollar Quartet' at the Buell Theatre in 2014.

     

  • Meet the cast: Aubrey Deeker of 'The Glass Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Sep 15, 2016
    Aubrey Deeker. The Glass Menagerie. Adams Visual Communications
    Aubrey Deeker in DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Glass Menagerie,' opening Sept. 16. Photo by Adams Visual Communications.


    MEET AUBREY DEEKER
    Tom in The Glass Menagerie


    At the Theatre Company: Title role in Hamlet (2014, pictured right). International: Love’s Labor’s Lost at The Royal Shakespeare Company, U.K. Regional: Thirteen productions as affiliated artist at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., as well as productions at Geffen Playhouse, The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Wilma Theater, Studio Theatre, Folger Theatre, Round House and Lincoln Center, among others. TV/Film: “The Man in the High Castle,” “True Blood,” “The Wire,” “The Mentalist,” “Backstrom,” “Crisis,” “NCIS,” “NCIS New Orleans,” “Castle,” "Peter’s Plan," "Distance," "Leave No Marine Behind," "The Seer." Awards: Multiple Helen Hayes and Barrymore Award nominations.

    • Aubrey Deeker Quote 3Hometown: Marthasville, Mo. (population 1,136)
    • Training:  The School of Drama at The North Carolina School of the Arts
    • What was the role that changed your life? I remember seeing school plays at a very young age and being pulled toward that, and wanting to do that - so I jumped in as soon as I could. I think I played Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in my Sassafras and Scissors preschool Christmas pageant, which might have been my first one.
    • Why are you an actor? Performing is just an urge that has always been there. I've been interested in it since I was a kid, and I had great teachers and a supportive family. 
    • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? I'd probably be doing something with my hands. Sometimes I fantasize about apprenticing with a butcher or a woodsmith. I like tactile things. Or maybe I'd be in the mountains managing a cool bed and breakfast or an inn somewhere beautiful, writing in my free time. That would be lovely. I also teach.
    • Ideal scene partner: Chris Farley or Harpo Marx.
    • Why does this production of The Glass Menagerie matter? Because it deals with the most fundamental relationships a person has: Family. It's about three ordinary people who love each other deeply but don't always succeed at communicating their feelings to one another. It's about the great need to leave home to discover yourself, the painful process of leaving home, and, as our playwright puts it, "the fragile, delicate ties that must be broken, that you inevitably break, when you try to fulfill yourself."
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "... a cabin in the mountains someday with a fireplace, a garden, a wood-shed, a well-stocked kitchen, a front porch, a comfortable reading chair and a good dog.  Selfish, I know.  But I really do think that would be heaven."  
    Follow Aubrey Deeker on Twitter @AubreyDeeker

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    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

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of 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
    Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
    The Glass Menagerie: A modern visual twist on an American classic

    More 'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Laura Wingfield: Amelia Pedlow
    The Gentleman Caller: John Skelley

    Throwback Thursday: Aubrey Deeker's 2014 Hamlet profile video:




    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.
  • In the Spotlife: Emily Paton Davies of 'God of Carnage'

    by John Moore | Sep 14, 2016
    Lisa DeCaro, Emily Paton Davies and Len Matheo in Miners Alley Playhouse's 'God of Carnage.' Sarah Roshan PhotographyLisa DeCaro, left, Emily Paton Davies and Augustus Truhn in Miners Alley Playhouse's 'God of Carnage.' Sarah Roshan Photography.


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

    MEET EMILY PATON DAVIES

    Annette Raleigh in Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage

    • Emily Paton Davies QuotHometown: Mineola, N.Y.
    • Home now: Denver
    • College: Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.,  where I earned a bachelor’s in English Lit; and CU-Boulder, where I earned a masters degree in journalism.
    • What have you done for us lately? I played Rosemary Muldoon in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Outside Mullingar.
    • What is God of Carnage all about? It’s about two couples gathering to settle a conflict having to do with their sons. The children have behaved badly — and the adults soon follow suit.
    • Most challenging aspect for you as an actor: Aside from a certain technical effect associated with Annette’s character, I think her journey from start to finish is incredibly interesting and rewarding — but challenging in its incremental shifts.
    • What do you love most about this play? I love its dark humor and the way playwright Yasmina Reza captures adults behaving badly. I also love experiencing the audiences’ reactions, particularly when they hear us expressing thoughts and outlooks few people ever utter aloud — at least in polite circles. It’s liberating and incredibly cathartic.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I dunno … I’m pretty unsurprising. Well, actually, that’s a total lie. I’m full of surprises. We’ll leave it at that.
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? Passions — I’ve got a few. But one that gets me into trouble every summer is my passion for yelling at idiots who leave their dogs in hot cars with the windows up while they run errands — or worse, when they eat at restaurants. I’ve gotten into many a yelling match because of this. But thus far, it’s always resulted in the idiot liberating his or her dog from the sauna that is the automobile. So, the confrontations are worth it. Although I’m pretty relieved when the cool weather hits. Leave your dogs at home, people!

      Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage: Ticket information
      • Directed by Len Matheo
      • Through Oct. 16
      • 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
      • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays (2 p.m. on Oct. 16)
      • Tickets $16-$27
      • 303-935-3044 or BUY ONLINE

    Note: Adult content, strong language.

    Cast list:

    Alan: Augustus Truhn
    Veronica: Lisa DeCaro
    Annette: Emily Paton Davies
    Mark Collins: Michael

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act

  • Video, photos: First look at 'The Glass Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Sep 14, 2016


    Tennessee Williams' American masterpiece The Glass Menagerie launches the DCPA Theatre Company's 38th season on Sept. 16.

    B Glass 800The Wingfield family is trapped in their nostalgia, dreaming of lives they wished they had. But when a long-awaited caller joins them for dinner, fantasy and reality collide as expectations shatter like glass.

    This production is directed by Ina Marlowe and stars Kathleen McCall, Amelia Pedlow, Aubrey Deeker and John Skelley. Here is your first look in video (above) and photos (below).

    Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Photo above right of Amelia Pedlow by Adams Visual Communications.


    The Glass Menagerie- 2016-17 Theatre Company Season First look at production photos for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Glass Menagerie.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams Visual Communications.

    The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
    • Through 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

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of The Glass Menagerie:

    Menagerie director promises a mid-September night's dream
    Wait, Williams' mother entertained how many Gentleman Callers?
    The Glass Menagerie: A modern visual twist on an American classic
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
    Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

    Meet the cast (more to come):
    Laura Wingfield: Amelia Pedlow
    The Gentleman Caller: John Skelley

  • 'Menagerie' director promises a mid-September night's dream

    by John Moore | Sep 14, 2016
    The Glass Menagerie- 2016-17 Theatre Company Season First look at production photos for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Glass Menagerie.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams Visual Communications.


    By Sylvie Drake
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Glass Menagerie is not Tennessee Williams’ first play. Nor his second. Not even his third. But it is an early play and the first one to provoke the kind of stir that awakens the public to the sense that they might be witnessing the birth of an important new playwright.

    Life does not often allow us to be so suddenly and miraculously aware of something big occurring. Because it is derived from his short story Portrait of a Girl in Glass, The Glass Menagerie is achingly autobiographical and remains Williams’ most confessional and poetic play.

    Structurally, it depicts the uneasy three-way tension among Tom (the Tennessee Williams stand-in), his mother Amanda Wingfield (based on Williams’ mother, Edwina — a flailing, aging Southern belle abandoned by her husband to rear their two children alone), and Tom’s gentle but damaged sister Laura (based on Williams’ sister, Rose).

    Tom adores Laura but is helpless to rehabilitate her — just as Williams was tormented by guilt over a disastrous lobotomy that doctors performed on Rose when she was barely in her 20s. Tom is the observer — and the play’s narrator — who views this family triangle as the stone that keeps him tethered under water and unable to breathe.

    (Pictured above right: Amelia Pedlow and John Skelley. Photo by Adams Visual Communications.)

    Amanda, a materfamilias in spite of herself, refuses to acknowledge her social and financial destitution or Laura’s physical deficiencies (a bad limp). She fantasizes about finding her a proper husband and counts on Tom to help her find one. Tom, meanwhile, is choking on the task — torn between his familial love for these women, while yearning to break loose.

    The 1944 original production, staged by Eddie Dowling and Margo Jones and featuring Laurette Taylor in a legendary turn as Amanda, caused a small earthquake during its Chicago debut. The wide-ranging enthusiasm surrounding it encouraged a March 1945 transfer to Broadway, where two words attributed to The New York Times’ Brooks Atkinson remain key to describing the play: “lovely and merciful.”

    Written in a fresh and freer lyrical style, Menagerie’s wistful tone and filmy quality inspired designer Jo Mielziner to also break out of the confines of theatrical realism for both the set and lighting of the Broadway version. Menagerie became an immediate hit and won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Best Play award of 1945.

    No one was more surprised than Williams, who retained a tenuous (and diffident) relationship with success throughout his life.

    Glass Menagerie Quote Ina MarloweIna Marlowe, the Menagerie’s director at The Denver Center, has her own memorable connection to the play. Two years out of grad school, she staged a sign-language version of it in a tiny theatre outside Chicago.

    “I love plays of language and character,” she said from her home in Conifer. “I’ve taught Williams, read him, staged him, seen the films. When I researched Menagerie, I read both published versions — the New Directions and the Dramatists Play Service.” 

    In order to deliver the dreaminess that Williams had in mind, Marlowe eliminated the script’s cluttering screens and scrims in favor of an up-to-date stagecraft that didn’t even exist in the 1940s.

    “Tom will not be in a Merchant Marine uniform,” she said. “There will be the clicking of a typewriter in the background to remind us he’s a writer telling the story of a family full of love, frustration and dreams — too much love in a sense — and all of them trying to escape their reality.” 

    Williams, who had a compulsion to do both, needed to write the way other people need to drink. “He had to write,” Marlowe insisted, speaking of the blurred lines between Williams’ reality and the play. “He has to relive the experiences so as to be able to leave [his mother and sister] knowing the meanness and pettiness will disappear and only beauty and truth will remain. He must see them as iconic so he can leave them behind....”

    What about the pain this causes?

    “I’m not saying there’s no pain, Tom’s guilt at leaving Laura, his frustration at the difficulty of communicating with his mother. There’s heartbreak everywhere. Even the Gentleman Caller causes pain. But because Tom is a writer, he gets to the point where he must be able to leave if he’s to survive.”

    To achieve her goals in practical terms, Marlowe wanted things “the color of memory” — faded by time. The floor is lit from below, suggesting a vestigial reality. “Williams talks about the lighting as an El Greco lighting, almost an interior light, a spiritual illumination.”

    Laura’s glass animals are suspended in space. “She is, in effect, enveloped by them whenever she enters [the menagerie] to pick one up. They’re her escape — they and her father’s phonograph. Tom has his writing, Amanda has her memories of those 17 Gentleman Callers.”

    Dissatisfied with the way the presence of the missing Dad too often is handled, Marlowe made sure his portrait would be prominent. “The place is haunted by the people who have left,” she said. “Loneliness inhabits the space between the characters.

    “I want to create memory with clean, simple images. This play is so strong that no matter what twist or concept you place on it, it teaches you something about all relationships. I feel fortunate to be involved with a piece of literature that brings up such a well of emotions — so delicate, so human, so deep, so universal.”


    Sylvie Drake was Director of Media Relations and Publications for The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1994-2014. She is a former theatre critic and columnist for the Los Angeles Times and a regular contributor to culturalweekly.com. 

    The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
    • Through 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

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of The Glass Menagerie:

    Wait, Williams' mother entertained how many Gentleman Callers?
    The Glass Menagerie: A modern visual twist on an American classic
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
    Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

    Meet the cast (more to come):
    Laura Wingfield: Amelia Pedlow
    The Gentleman Caller: John Skelley

    Photo gallery: The making of The Glass Menagerie:

    'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver

    Photos from the making of 'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.
  • In the Spotlife: Megan Van De Hey of 'Sister Act'

    by John Moore | Sep 13, 2016
    Brit West, left, and Megan Van De Hey in the Arvada Center's 'Sister Act,' playing through Oct. 2. P. Switzer Photography.

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


    MEET MEGAN VAN DE HEY

    Mother Superior in the Arvada Center's Sister Act.

    • Hometown: Detroit
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Greeley Central
    • College: University of Northern Colorado
    • What have you done lately? Mama Rose in Gypsy for the Little Theatre of the Rockies in Greeley
    • Sister Act sounds a bit like the sequel to Gypsy. No, it's the stage adaptation of the 1992 movie with Whoopi GoldbergA Megan Van De Hey Quote 3. It's about a sassy, loud-mouthed lounge singer named Deloris who is forced to hide out from her murdering boyfriend in a local convent until she can testify against him. While at the convent, she is enlisted to help with the tone-deaf choir and reinvents their sound. But when the choir starts getting the media attention she has always craved, it endangers the very people who have protected her.
    • Tell us about your character: Mother Superior is rooted in the traditions of the church and threatened by a new, modern approach to the choir and the changes it is stirring in her fellow sisters. She feels she has lost control of all that she’s held dear for years.
    • Most challenging aspect for you as an actor: Mother Superior has been a challenge for me physically because of her slow and steady nature. I tend to have a fast, frenetic energy, so slowing my natural pace and movement takes constant concentration. Mother Superior is very serious and dry, but she never plays for the humor. She is the strait woman among quite a few more colorful characters. There is something very lonely about this track because she is the last to succumb to the fun Deloris represents.
    • What do you love most about this show? This is a high-energy, family friendly, sweet show filled with fantastic music that truly brings an audience to their feet. The characters are colorful and everyone will find someone to identify with. I have not found a single audience that can’t be won over by the end. The audience response at the end is as close to a rock-star feeling as most of us will ever have.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I am a huge fan of any and all sports underdog movies. I own most and can hum the theme songs. I even named my dog after one of my favorites, Rocky Balboa!  
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? The ensemble actors are the unsung heroes of every show. I love to sit offstage and watch and listen to the talent and dedication of so many. They are given little character background information, or character arc. And most of them have to create not just one but typically two or three characters within any given show. They work their butts off and are given few kudos thanking them for their endless hard work.
    • What's next? I'll be playing Louise Bright in the regional premiere of I’ll Be Home For Christmas, written by David Nehls and Ken McLaughlin, opening Nov. 18 at the Arvada Center

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Arvada Center's Sister Act: Ticket information
    • Directed by Rod A. Lansberry
    • Through Oct. 2
    • 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
    • Tickets start at $53
    • 719-255-3232 or BUY ONLINE

    Cast list:
    Brit West: Deloris Van Cartier
    Keith L. Hatten: Curtis Jackson
    Aaron Fried: Joey
    Anthony Alfaro: Pablo
    Napoleon M. Douglas: TJ
    David Kaverman: Eddie Souther
    Megan Van De Hey: Mother Superior
    Stephen Day: Monsignor O’Hara
    Emma Martin: Mary Robert
    Sharon Kay White: Mary Patrick
    Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck: Mary Lazarus

    Piper Lindsay Arpan: Ensemble/Waitress
    Rob Costigan: Ensemble/Ernie
    Reace Daniel: Ensemble, Cab Driver, Drag Queen
    Maggie Davenport: Ensemble/Nun
    Brian Jackson: Ensemble/Swing, Altar Boy 2
    Chanel Karimkhani: Ensemble/Nun
    Heather Lacy: Ensemble, Mary Theresa
    Norrell Moore: Ensemble, Michelle
    Sarah Rex: Ensemble/ Mary Martin
    Benjamin Roeling: Ensemble, Altar Boy 1
    Mark Rubald: Ensemble/Cop
    Maggie Tisdale: Ensemble/Nun
    Krisangela Washington: Ensemble, Tina

    Related video:

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
  • Five things we learned about 'The Glass Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Sep 12, 2016


    From left: 'The Glass Menagerie' Dramaturg Stephanie Prugh, Scenic Designer Joe Tilford, Director Ina Marlowe, Costume Designer Meghan Anderson Doyle and "Perspectives" host Douglas Langworthy. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 


    "Perspectives" is a series of free conversations hosted by DCPA Theatre Company Literary Director Douglas Langworthy with cast and crew on the evening of each first preview performance. On Sept. 9, Langworthy was joined by Director Ina Marlowe, Scenic Designer Joe Tilford, Dramaturg Stephanie Prugh and Costume Designer Meghan Anderson Doyle to discuss The Glass Menagerie. Here’s some of what we learned:

    1 PerspectivesWhat’s in a name? Tennessee Williams first conceived his story as a film originally to be called The Gentleman Caller. Williams had been hired as a writer for MGM in 1940, making a then-princely sum of $200 a week. But when he presented his treatment to his own studio, his bosses turned it down. The script then morphed into an autobiographical play that Williams labored over for the next three years.

    2 PerspectivesPerspectives Quote The Glass MenagerieShe had how many Gentlemen Callers? In the play, matriarch Amanda Wingfield recalls the days of her youth when she lived in the fictional town of Blue Mountain and had 17 Gentlemen Callers on a single Sunday afternoon. Amanda is based on Tennessee Williams' mother, Edwina, and Amanda is modest by comparison. "Edwina Williams once entertained 30 suitors in one day," said Dramaturg Stephanie Prugh. "She was very popular during her time. It was only when the family moved to St. Louis in 1918 that she started retreating more and more into her past.” Because of the play, we think of Amanda as one of the most imposing characters in stage history. But did you know? In real life, Edwina Williams was only 4 feet, 11 inches tall.

    3 PerspectivesThe wilting Rose. You likely know that Laura Wingfield is based on Tennessee Williams' actual sister, Rose, who descended into schizophrenia and in 1937 had one of the first pre-fontal lobotomies ever performed in the United States. In real life, Tennessee, too, was asked by his mother to bring home a Gentleman Caller. He brought home a boy from school, but Rose already was showing signs of mental illness. "One of the beautiful parallels is his sister's mental illness in real life becomes Laura's physical disability in the play," said Prugh. But Amanda Wingfield should not be played as if she is out of her mind. “In many productions, they have Amanda in la-la land," Marlowe said. "I just don't feel that's true. Her motivation for everything she does was strongly rooted in her love for her children. Not that it was effective - it very rarely was. But I want this play to have love at its center.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    4 Perspectives"It's a perfect play." While The Glass Menagerie is universally regarded as an American classic, Marlowe takes it one step further. "Very infrequently do you find a play that is this perfectly written," she said. "Even among Tennessee Williams' plays, it is just a jewel. Even though A Streetcar Named Desire is wonderful and expansive, it's not as perfectly constructed as The Glass Menagerie, in my opinion. Williams gives us all of the information that we actually need to know about the play in the first paragraph":

    "The Wingfield apartment is in the rear of the building, one of those vast hive-like conglomerations of cellular living-units that flower as warty growths in overcrowded urban centres of lower-middle-class population and are symptomatic of the impulse of this largest and fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation and to exist and function as one interfused mass of automatism."

    5 PerspectivesThat's no ordinary photo. The Wingfield patriarch abandoned the family 16 years before, "so there is a tremendous hole in the family where he used to be," Marlowe says. Not only are these characters haunted by his absence, added Scenic Designer Joe Tilford, "this place is haunted by his absence, too." So how do you portray the magnitude of that absence onstage when a framed 8x10 just won't do? "Whenever I have seen a production of The Glass Menagerie, I have been frustrated by the lack of the photograph's ability to haunt us," said Marlowe. "Tennessee Williams calls him the fifth character in this story, but he never appears except in this photograph. So we have this giant projection of him. Sometimes he dims, and sometimes he lights up a little but more. But he's always there. He is very, very present in the story."

    Read more about it: As a memory play, much of what audiences will see in the play is not represented as historical or literal, but rather with an unreliable, dreamlike quality.  What does memory look like? And how do you make memory real on a stage? Read more about Director Ina Marlowe and Scenic Designer Joe Gilford's design concept.

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

    The next Perspectives will cover Frankenstein at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, in the Jones Theatre. It’s free.

    The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
    • Through 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

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of 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
    Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
    The Glass Menagerie: A modern visual twist on an American classic
    Meet the cast: Amelia Pedlow

    Meet the cast: John Skelley

    Photo gallery: The making of The Glass Menagerie:

    'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver

    Photos from the making of 'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.
  • Emily Tarquin accepts position with Actors Theatre of Louisville

    by John Moore | Sep 12, 2016

    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Artistic Producer Emily Tarquin will be leaving the Denver Center for the Performing Arts after seven years to take the same position with Actors Theatre of Louisville, which is home to the acclaimed Humana Festival of New Plays.

    Emily TarquinTarquin and Charlie Miller created and developed Off-Center, the DCPA Theatre Company's testing ground, building it from a small, experimental program through last season’s Sweet & Lucky. That was the company's head-long dive into the emerging world of immersive theatre that became the largest physical undertaking in the nearly 40-year history of the Denver Center. Almost every available audience slot was filled throughout the extended run of the play, held in a 16,000-square-foot warehouse north of downtown. It was also Tarquin's idea to pair the Theatre Company's critically hailed production of Sweeney Todd with Denver's beloved underground band DeVotchKa reimagining Stephen Sondheim's classic score.

    "Emily has been an incredibly productive, talented and collaborative coordinator, curator and then leader within the Theatre Company, as well as the entire Denver Center," said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. "It’s no surprise she would be sought out by another major theatre in the U.S. She will be sorely missed."

    Kent Thompson Emily TarquinTarquin started at the Denver Center in 2009 as a seasonal coordinator of the Colorado New Play Summit, casting assistant and assistant company manager - but quickly earned more and more responsibility.

    For Off-Center, Tarquin devised the original concept for the long-form improv show Cult Following, which starts its sixth year Oct. 7-8 at the Jones Theatre. She wrote the Lord of the Flies parody Lord of the Butterflies and co-created Drag Machine with Stuart Sanks. For their work programming the Off-Center series, Tarquin and Miller were honored with a 2015 True West Award.

    "I went to a school where almost all theater was non-traditional," said Tarquin, who grew up in upstate New York and graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Media and Performing Arts. "I got to experiment a lot. It was amazing to find a regional theater that was welcoming of that kind of experimental work. If I had graduated 10 years earlier, that wouldn’t have even been an option."

    For the Theatre Company, Tarquin was the Assistant Director for Sweeney Todd, The Most Deserving and the world premiere of Sense & Sensibility The Musical. She eventually became the Theatre Company's in-house casting director, which led to dozens of local actors getting their first opportunities to perform for the Denver Center - 16 through Sweet & Lucky alone. "It's been a passion of mine to connect with the local artistic community, whether that is working with local actors or bringing in non-traditional artists," she said.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    For 13 years, Tarquin has been producer of the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs, where many national theatre companies including the DCPA come each summer to workshop emerging works. She also was director of the theatre program there the past two summers.

    "I’ve been most inspired by new work and new plays and seeing the creative team in the room," Tarquin said. "Getting to see the creative process happening in front of you is part of what I get the most excited about. That can be in any form."

    Outside of the Denver Center, Tarquin last year directed Fuddy Meers for the Phamaly Theatre Company, which creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.


    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.


    Emily Tarquin: DCPA photo gallery

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


    Read more about Emily Tarquin in the NewsCenter:
    Tarquin directs Phamaly Theatre's comedy, Fuddy Meers
    2015 True West Awards: Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin
    Off-Center's exploration of online dating debuts at Avenue Theater
    10 Ways Georgia McBride is Going to Blow Your Theatregoing Mind
  • How Danny Boyle infused new life into 'Frankenstein'

    by John Moore | Sep 11, 2016

    Left, film and TV stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller originated the alternating stage roles of the Creator and Creature in the National Theatre of London's 'Frankenstein.' Now taking on the challenge for the DCPA Theatre Company are Sullivan Jones and Mark Junek.


    In 2011, actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller infused new life into the iconic story of the mad doctor who, ironically, also infused new life into
    a cadaver.

    Frankenstein had been done to death. There have been more than 100 films, ranging from Boris Karloff’s definitive 1931 portrayal to Mel Brooks’ silly movie and musical parodies. Hard as it might be to believe, Mary Shelley’s classic story turns 200 years old this year. No longer the Modern Prometheus it was originally billed to be.

    But the National Theatre’s 2011 stage adaptation was different. The two film stars not only took to the London stage to play the Scientist and the Creature. They traded roles in alternating performances. And the twist was not merely a clever way of intriguing audiences into wanting to see the play twice (though thousands did). It returned the story’s focus to Shelley’s central literary premise, that the Scientist and the Creature were both bonded, distorted and, most importantly, mirror images of each other. They were equals.

    Denver Director Sam Buntrock: 'It's life and death. It's big and bold.'

    Nick Dear’s script, which will be staged for the first time outside of London with a new cast and creative team by the DCPA Theatre Company starting Sept. 30, is perhaps the only Frankenstein to tell the story of the narcissistic Scientist who builds a man in his own image from the Creature’s voice and point of view.
     
    London audiences were overwhelmed. One of Britain’s leading critics called it “a memorable production that will doubtless be spoken of for years to come.” Since then, the performance has been repeatedly broadcast at cinemas throughout America. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The idea to have both actors play both roles — a device that will be continued in Denver — was National Theatre Director Danny Boyle’s. It came to him when he recalled seeing a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard II as a lad that had the actors playing Richard and Bolingbroke trading parts on alternating nights. The trick can only work when the story is right, and Boyle believes that for Frankenstein, it works.
     
    “It’s set in a time where science gives man the right to confront his creator,” Boyle said. “Before then, man has been naturally taken for granted. Now, he can create life himself. It no longer has to be darkness. Now he can create his own light, and therefore he can become the equal of his creator. So to bond the two actors together equally in all ways creates a wonderful dynamic on the stage.”

    The U.S. premiere of Nick Dear’s adaptation of 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 Broadway credits include Sunday in the Park with George. The Denver company 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. COMPLETE DENVER CASTING

    Pictured above: Sheila Morris of the DCPA Costume Department shows two versions of the same Frankenstein costume under construction for each of the Theatre Company's two actors who will alternate in the role. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The Danny Boyle quote above comes from an interview by Christopher Frayling at the National Theatre. WATCH THE VIDEO


    Photo gallery: The making of Frankenstein in Denver

    'Frankenstein' in Denver
    Photos from the making of 'Frankenstein' in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow in the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Frankenstein trivia: The actors who played the two main characters in London (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller), both play Sherlock Holmes in different TV series: Sherlock and Elementary, respectively.

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

     

    Frankenstein: Ticket information
    Frankenstein• 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 


    Previous NewsCenter coverage:

    A Frankenstein 'that will make The Bible look subtle'
    Casting set for Frankenstein and The Glass Menagerie
    Introducing DCPA Theatre Company's 2016-17 season artwork
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season announcement

  • In the Spotlife: Carley Cornelius of 'Constellations'

    by John Moore | Sep 10, 2016

    Carley Cornelius and Patrick Toon in Nick Payne's Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' 'Constellations.' Photo by Isaiah J. Downing.

    MEET CARLEY CORNELIUS

    Marianne in Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations

    • Hometown: Indianapolis
    • Home now: Chicago
    • Training: BA from Ball State University; BFA from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    • What have you done lately? Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday at Colorado Springs TheatreWorks in December 2015. 
    • So what is your play about? Constellations shows the idea of multiple universes through the prism of a love story. It is boy meets girl, then boy meets girl again, and then boy meets girl again.
    • Most challenging aspect for you as an actor: That would be the format in which the play is structured. We see the life of this relationship from beginning to end, but we see three to four different scenarios of each step in their relationship. On top of that, the play jumps back and forth in time.  Working on Constellations was a test in memorization and muscle memory. Luckily, I was paired with a great scene partner, Patrick Toon. 
    • What do you love most about performing with TheatreWorks? I love coming to Colorado Springs. It’s become my second artistic home. Artistic Director Murray Ross took a chance on me two years ago when he cast me, an actress he had never worked with, in another two-hander, Venus in Fur. Ever since that production, this company has given me some great opportunities to work on superb plays with beautifully creative people in a breathtaking environment. I will be forever grateful for the love and support I have received from the artistic staff, board members and the enthusiastic audience members at TheatreWorks.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? This past year, I inherited an adorable teacup Yorkshire terrier, and now I finally understand “dog people.”  Her name is Denise, and she has taken over my Instagram account
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? So, Constellations explores the idea of “What if?” ... “What if I had said this?” ... “If only I had done that!” That kind of thing. Which is something we all do - and that’s why this play is so intriguing. I often get caught in the deadly trap of playing out all of the possible scenarios before making a decision, which sometimes leads me to make no decision at all because the moment has passed. This play has been a great reminder to trust my gut instincts and live fully in the present moment. Constellations has also taught me to let go of the fear of making a wrong decision because, who knows, maybe in a parallel universe Shakespeare listened to those Wells Fargo ads and stopped writing plays and became a biologist.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    (Note: Constellations will also be staged at Denver's Curious Theatre next March 11-April 15)

    TheatreWorks' Constellations: Ticket information
    An amiable beekeeper falls for a theoretical physicist, and the cosmos spins in nearly every direction. The regional premiere of this new play by Nick Payne lets love stumble and flourish in many different universes, all at the same time. Quantum mechanics meets St. Valentine. Directed by Joye Cook Levy.
    • Through Sept. 25
    • Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs campus
    • Tickets: 719-255-3232 or BUY ONLINE

  • Learn more about Thursday's canceled 'Phantom' performance

    by John Moore | Sep 09, 2016

    Chris Mann as The Phantom in 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.

    We regret that due to technical difficulties involving the automation of the main set structure, the Thursday, September 8, performance of The Phantom of the Opera at the Buell Theatre was canceled. The performance is not able to be rescheduled because of the national tour's travel schedule.

    Ticket-holders for the affected performance who purchased through denvercenter.org may call the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Box Office at 303-893-4100 for a refund or additional ticket options. Otherwise, they may contact their point of purchase for a refund or additional ticket options.


    Photo gallery: The Phantom of the Opera in Denver

    The Phantom of the Opera in Denver

    A look in photos at 'The Phantom of the Opera' in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Phantom of the Opera
    Phantom Opening Night in Denver: Chris Mann video, photo gallery and fun facts
    Phantom
    return marks Buell Theatre’s 25th anniversary
    Download our Phantom of the Opera Crossword Puzzle
    Video montage: The show at a glance 
    A Phantom Anthem: The 'Wild Woman' singe before Denver Broncos game

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Director Geoffrey Kent on a 'laugh-a-minute' God

    by John Moore | Sep 08, 2016
    Geoffrey Kent quote. An Act of GodAn Act of God is a new comedy that imagines The Almighty is coming down to Earth to adapt the dusty 10 Commandments for these modern times. But because the very majesty of God might simply be too much for we mere mortals to handle, He takes on the far more approachable human form of a fabulously fun actor with just enough snark and charm. Imagine Jim Parsons or Sean Hayes — two popular TV sit-com actors who have played the role on Broadway.

    In Denver, no need to imagine Wesley Taylor. The Broadway and TV star (Smash) has been cast as the omnipotent one here.

    “Think of God as the perfect host of the perfect cocktail party … and he has the mic,” said Geoffrey Kent, a longtime actor and stage-combat expert who will be making his DCPA directorial debut when An Act of God premieres regionally at the Garner Galleria Theatre on Oct. 15. Kent calls the show part stand-up comedy… and part “Oprah.”

    In An Act of God, Kent said, “We get to watch God appear before us as a reflection of who we are now.”

    And who are we now?

    “Oh, we can be kind of terrible sometimes, and we can also be wonderful,” Kent said with a laugh. “And the same thing can be said of God.”

    An Act of God, written by 13-time Emmy winner David Javerbaum of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, is “laugh-a-minute funny,” Kent said – but in an occasionally thoughtful kind of way.

    “I think it pokes fun at the theist and the atheist equally,” Kent said. “But a comedy can ask meaningful questions just as well as a drama can. What’s joyful to me is that through the course of the play, we get to watch God learn something about himself — and that humanizes him.”

    The cast also includes Steven Cole Hughes as the angel Michael, Erik Sandvold as Gabriel and Steven J. Burge as understudy to God.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Kent is a Colorado native who attended Centaurus High School in Lafayette and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. He started teaching classes with DCPA Education back in 1996 and debuted as an actor with the DCPA Theatre Company in Anthony Powell’s Hamlet in 2002. He is the in-house Fight Director for all Theatre Company plays, and is a member of the Arvada Center's new resident acting company.

    “I never thought I would ever have an opportunity to direct a show at the Galleria Theatre,” Kent said, “and it’s thrilling.”

    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

    Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Casting announced for An Act of God
    Geoffrey Kent's As You Like It cast profile
    Geoffrey Kent's NewsCenter podcast on the Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award
  • Photos: Space Theatre renovation continues on schedule

    by John Moore | Sep 08, 2016
    This video captures the construction of the new Space Theatre lobby from May 2 through Aug. 22, 2016. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    The ongoing renovation of the Denver Center's Space Theatre, home to the DCPA Theatre Company, continues. And truth be told, "renovation" is far too inadequate a term for the project. The Space has been completely gutted, and a new theatre is being built from scratch.

    The project, which began in March, is running on schedule. The Space Theatre, located within the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex will re-open, again as five-sided and "in-the-round," in September 2017.

    Demolition has been completed, concrete has been poured for the first balcony in the theatre and restroom renovations are well underway.

    One fun fact from the project — Turner Construction estimates it has hauled away more than 200 tons of concrete, which is equal to 400 grand pianos, 30 elephants or nearly 3,000 people.

    As part of the project, restroom capacity for both the Space and the nearby Stage Theatre is being doubled. The expanded facilities for Stage Theatre patrons will be available when Frankenstein opens for previews on Sept. 30.

    (Pictured above right: How the Space Theatre looks at present. It reopens in September 2017. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    The 550-seat Space Theatre opened in 1979. While the theatre has enjoyed some cosmetic updates over the years, the current project is the first overhaul of both audience amenities as well as the backstage support. The former Space Theatre had four levels of seating. Once completed, there will be just two levels, greatly improving sightlines for audience members. And while the number of seats will be increased on the main floor, the overall seating capacity will be reduced to 416 seats, preserving the intimacy of the live theatre experience.

    The project was made possible in part by a $10 million grant from the Better Denver Bond Program. Once completed, the theatre will feature a flexible performance space allowing for innovative design and adaptable staging, full ADA compliance and improvements that are intended to enhance the audience's enjoyment of each production -- state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound; improved sightlines, and more main-level seating.

    The original design of the Bonfils Complex features one main lobby with multiple entrances into both the Space and Stage theatres. Once renovated, The Space Theatre will have its own enlarged lobby with one central doorway into the theatre, eliminating stairs to a lower-level entrance and making the entry fully accessible.

    The renovation is being supervised by the DCPA's Clay Courter (Vice President, Facilities and Event Services) and Alyssa Stock (Assistant Project Manager).

    Our gallery of Space Theatre renovation photos:

    Space Theatre Renovation

    This photo gallery will be added to throughout the year. To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
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ABOUT THE EDITOR
John Moore
John Moore
Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

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