• Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words

    by John Moore | May 27, 2015

    Bobby G Awards nominees. Photo by John Moore. Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees. Photo by John Moore.


    When The Bobby G Awards take place on Thursday (May 28), 10 Colorado students from as far away as Durango will be saluted as nominees for Outstanding Actor and Actress. All 10 will perform together in a medley at Thursday's awards ceremony at  the Buell Theatre. The chosen two will advance next month to the National High School Music Awards in New York, where they will undergo a week-long training intensive that culminates in a performance on a Broadway stage.

    Get to know your 10 nominees in their own words in the capsules below. We asked the nominees about their shows, about how musical theatre has bettered their lives, and what they would say to anyone who thinks theatre isn't cool. 

    As one student puts it: "Musical theatre made me who I am, and I like being me."



    Nominee-Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role- Durango

    IMG_1729Emma Buchanan
    Durango High School
    Senior
    Eponine in Les Miserables
    ​Teacher: Kristin Winchester
    College plans: Pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater at Wright State University

    Favorite Les Miserables memory:
    Our opening night. There was such an exciting buzz from the audience, and the cast was honestly living in every moment. Simply put: It was magical.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    It has taught me to collaborate with a variety of people to be able to bring everyone/everything together. 

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    I have never met people more passionate about expressing, creating and learning about humanity, and what it's like to work as a team. People who work in the theater work 24/7 to give other people an escape for a few hours. But what I would probably end up saying is: Your face isn't cool!


    Nominee-Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role- Mountain View

    IMG_1717Raegan DeBord

    Mountain View High School
    Junior
    Amneris in Aida the Musical
    Teachers: Phil Forman and Karla Quniones
    College plans: University of Northern Colorado to double-major in education (mathematics) and musical theatre

    Favorite Aida memory:
    Getting to share the experience with three of my little sisters - two from my family and our family’s foreign-exchange student for the year. I loved sharing that experience with them.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    It has taught me how to work with people I don’t always like. It has taught me to appreciate the little things in life. It has prepared me for future job interviews. And it has helped me with my confidence.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    If someone were to tell me that, I would be really confused, because theatre is beautiful. It’s telling a story to an audience every time you hit that stage which. Who doesn’t love a good story, cool costumes - and guys who sing?!


    Nominee- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role- Chaparral

    IMG_1736Ty Eatherton

    Chaparral High School
    Senior
    Puck in Puck’s Potion
    Teacher: David Peterson
    College plans: The University of Northern Colorado to study Theatre Education

    Favorite
    Puck’s Potion memory:
    Flying. Hands down. Being above the world gives a different perspective, and I'm so blessed to have had that opportunity.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?

    I am a more an extrovert because of musical theatre. It allows me to express my individuality and teamwork skills all in one.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?

    Never judge something until you try it. Who doesn't love an adoring audience standing and cheering for you? 


    Nominee- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role- Rock Canyon

    IMG_1771Sam Hulsizer

    Rock Canyon High School
    Junior
    Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls
    Teacher: Cindy Baker
    College plans: Somewhere in California for film acting

    Favorite Guys & Dolls memory:
    Interacting with my counterpart Meredith Ham, who played Adelaide.  We had amazing acting chemistry together, and she would always push me to work harder. I think she helped me grow as an actor almost as much as playing the actual part. 

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    Because of my musical theater background, I have pretty darn good people skills. I'm able to confront a large group of people and propose ideas as well as interact individually with others to share concerns. I also think it has allowed me to think quickly and to become better at improvising. It also has helped me develop accents - which isn't really useful, but it's still fun.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    If people don't think theater is cool, well it doesn't really matter what they think. Contrary to what most people believe, performers don't act or dance or sing for others; they do it because it's something they love and enjoy. So if people don't think that musical theater is cool, I say, "Who cares?" because I think it's cool, and it's helped me through a lot in my short time on Earth.


    Nominee- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role- Fairview

    IMG_1765Charlie Kolbrener

    Fairview High School
    Senior
    Moonface Martin in Anything Goes
    Teacher: Janice Vlachos
    College plans: Pitzer College in Los Angeles

    Favorite Anything Goes memory:
    There's a scene in the show where I am locked in prison with the two Chinese converts. This is an old show, so the portrayal of the two converts may have been a little bit racist. Anyway, during our time in prison, Billy sings a love song to Hope through the prison bars. The two converts and I decided it would be funny if we hid a pot of tea in the cell and then took it out to drink when they sang their song. So every night, we would pull a pot of tea and three cups out from under a crate and drink tea while Billy sang a love song.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    This is actually what I wrote my common app essay about. I think performing has given me a new understanding of people's experiences and emotions. My time on stage has allowed me to understand more about how other people feel and act. So essentially, performing and acting has taught me more about people in general and how we interact.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    I say, "You're not cool!" But seriously, it is lame for people to think theater isn't cool. You get to perform for adoring fans and escape from the monotony of life through your character. Theater is one of the coolest things around.


    Nominee-Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role- Mountain View .

    IMG_1723Taylor (Loren) Lang

    Mountain View High School
    Senior
    Aida in Aida the Musical
    Teachers: Phil Forman and Karla Quniones
    College plans: I plan to go to CSU this fall for education … or maybe music ... or maybe music education. I have some time to decide (I hope!)

    Favorite Aida memory:
    One will stick with me the most: It was our final performance, and though we were all sickly, sweaty and tired due to the fact that it was our second performance that day, we came together for one of the most moving songs in the show, “The Gods Love Nubia.” We were all crying our eyes out. We made it to the end, and barely having gotten our last notes out, I fell into my dear friend Owen’s arms once the blackout hit. We all stood there hugging and crying for several seconds before we had to vacate to the backstage hallway for intermission. Once we were there, the tears didn't stop. In that moment we said our goodbyes to each other and shared our thankfulness for this wonderful show.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    Musical theatre not only helps you to better express yourself, it gives you a sense of organization and release. It allows you to show a side of yourself people may not usually get to experience. It keeps you organized because you have to tell a story. You have to discipline yourself like you would have to do with a job in the real world. Musical theatre also gives you an outlet to release energy and emotions you may not otherwise have. But above all, musical theatre gives you a way to build a family of people who are just like you; who all may be going through the same things you are. You form relationships with people all around you.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    Anyone who says theatre isn't cool has clearly never experienced watching a giant chandelier fall from the ceiling above you, or felt the passion that emanates from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as they battle for their souls. Secondly, theatre does not have to be “cool.” You just have to love it like an athlete would love football, or running or swinging a bat. As long as there is love in what you are doing, then it should never matter what someone says. Sticks and stones. So, what would I say is this: “Why is your definition of cool any more significant than mine?”


     
    Nominee- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role- Valor Christian

    IMG_1732Dylan Ruder

    Valor Christian High School
    Senior
    Beast in Beauty and the Beast
    Teacher: Kurt Muenstermann
    College plans: Azusa Pacific University (California) to pursue a BFA in Acting for the Stage and Screen 

    Favorite Bobby G Awards memory:
    I think my favorite part of the process over the past two years has simply been the interactions with the other nominees. They're all such interesting, talented people, and getting to know them has been a blast.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    Well, my freshman year I had a teacher tell me that I couldn't sing. I don't think he meant it in a condescending or negative way, but it was still a blow to my confidence. While I know that I'm definitely not the prettiest singer, musical theater has taught me to sing and has rebuilt that confidence. Rest assured, my teacher and I have long since reconciled, and he is the one who even helped me prepare for my Bobby G Awards audition. I am very honored and thankful to call him a mentor and friend.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    Typically, I don't have people tell me theatre isn't cool, but that is because I have already established a relationship with most people at my school. Those kinds of people respect me for who I am, rather than what I do. I think that is really important, and I try to do the same for them. But on the off-chance someone does say that, I usually just shrug and choose to have a good day anyway. If you choose to let every little negative thing impact you personally, you would never have a good day.


    Nominee-Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role- Fairview

    IMG_1766Alei Russo

    Fairview High School
    Senior
    Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes
    Teachers: Janice Vlachos and Michael Bizzaro
    College plans: Pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Rider University in Lawrence Township, N.J.
     
    Favorite Anything Goes memory:
    I'm lucky because I loved the feeling every night after finishing the first act. I was out of breath, but big tap numbers are always my favorite. I loved the feeling I had standing on the front of the stage with the rest of the cast backing me up because we were this one unit that always gave our all in this one number. I think the joy we had in it really showed based on the audience's response.  
     
    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    Musical theatre has given me confidence and purpose. I've always been a shy child but after performing for so many years, I have really learned how to present myself in a new way. Musical theatre made me who I am, and I like being me.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    I tell them it doesn't have to be. My opinion is that it is cool, but everyone is allowed their own opinion. The world would be very boring if everyone had the same opinions, so, fine, judge me for doing theatre - but I'm a thespian, and I'm not afraid to admit it.


    Nominee- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role- Durango


    IMG_1775Evatt Salinger

    Durango High School
    Senior
    Jean Valjean in Les Miserables
    Teachers: Kristin Winchester and Walker White
    College plans: Pepperdine University to pursue a BFA in Theatre and Music with a minor in Applied Mathematics

    Favorite
    Les Miserables memory:
    When we brought Les Miserables to perform at the Bellco for the Colorado State Thespian Conference, the sound guy carrying our equipment rolled his car during the seven-hour drive from Durango to Denver, rendering many of our mics useless. The few mics that still worked didn’t arrive until late that day, less than an hour before curtain. So we rented hanging and hand mics to supplement our short supply. Many of the actors spent much of the show slyly passing of hand mics to each other while blowing the roof of the Bellco. At the very end of the show, I was put onto my third mic pack and sent onstage with a hand mic hidden in my pocket. As I began the epilogue version of “Bring Him Home”, the orchestra quieted. “God on high …” Nothing. My mic wasn’t working. I felt the audience momentarily panic. Without skipping a beat, I pulled out the hand mic from my pocket. There was a sudden laughter of relief from the audience. I sang the rest of the epilogue with the hand mic, trying to keep a straight face, while feeling the corners of my mouth tug upward in response to the laughter. Performing Les Miserables at the Bellco was incredible for many reasons, but all the extraordinary experiences are overshadowed by one thing: Les Miserables was the last opportunity I would have to share the stage with my brother. As a freshman, Curtis stunned us all with his rich voice and impassioned acting, and standing off stage listening sing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is something I’ll never forget. I am so proud of him.

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    Oddly enough, musical theatre has inspired me to forgot about thinking about myself and be more mindful of others. It’s impossible to act honestly onstage while caught up in yourself - that’s not how we go about communicating in the real world.  Each moment should be abandonment, uncertain of what or how you partner onstage will say next. It’s always a new adventure, and parallels the way I choose to live my life.

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    You know, more than 10 percent of the students who attend my school were involved in Les Mis. The strength and passion in our productions have attracted many kids to try theatre, and now we’re very respected in the school. People get very psyched about our shows. I’m thankful for the support from our school, and the fact that I’ve almost never been ridiculed for the art I love to create. I hope that for all theatre kids.


    Nominee-Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role- Westminster

    IMG_1768Lea Schoengarth

    Westminster High School
    Senior
    Mimi Marquez in Rent
    Teacher: Andrè Rodriguez

    Favorite Rent memory:
    My friends and I were always starving at rehearsal so we started bringing snacks and having mini potlucks. After a while more people started bringing food, and we had a feast before rehearsal every day. 

    How has musical theatre helped prepare you for other aspects of your life?
    Being in musical theatre has taught me to take risks and to not always stay in your comfort zone. 

    What do you say to anyone who says theatre isn’t cool?
    I would just explain that we had so many different groups of people in our productions: Cheerleaders, football players, baseball players and wrestlers. You don't need to be a certain kind of person to appreciate art.



    2015 Bobby G Awards: Ticket information
    Thursday, May 28
    7 p.m.
    Buell Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100, 800-641-1222 or  BUY ONLINE
    Complete list of nominees

    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:

    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards nominations spotlight Colorado high-school musical theatre
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards
  • Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'

    by John Moore | May 26, 2015



    We asked Coloradans working on Broadway (or on the way to Broadway) to send their encouragement and advice to the Colorado high-school students attending the third annual Bobby G Awards coming up on Thursday (May 28) at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Some samples:

    Bobby G Awards logo"Be yourself," says Castle Rock native Beth Malone of Fun Home: "Be relentlessly yourself."

    Adds Rebecca Eichenberger of An American in Paris: "Live your life. Don't make theatre everything. Because then you will be an interesting person - and you will be more interesting onstage." 

    Also featured in this video are actors Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take It With You), Aisha Jackson (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Andy Kelso (Kinky Boots), Denny Paschall (Chicago), Gareth Saxe (The Lion King) and Aléna Watters (the pre-Broadway Ever After); and Page 73 commissioned playwright Max Posner. They represent Douglas County High School, Denver East High School, Wheat Ridge High School, the University of Northern Colorado, Eaglecreat High School, Pomona High School and Mesa Ridge High School.

    Ashford and Malone are nominated for Tony Awards this coming June 7.

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Run time: 5 minutes.

    Colorado's Beth Malone is nominated for a Tony Award for 'Fun Home.'. Photo by John Moore.

    Colorado's Beth Malone is nominated for a Tony Award for 'Fun Home.' Photo by John Moore.


    2015 Bobby G Awards
    Thursday, May 28
    7 p.m.
    Buell Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100, 800-641-1222 or  BUY ONLINE
    Complete list of nominees

    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance

    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver

    SOME COLORADANS ON (OR NEAR) BROADWAY:

    Annaleigh Ashford, Wheat Ridge High School: Just completed her Tony-nominated run as Essie in “You Can’t Take It With You”

    Jacqueline Antaramian: The longtime Denver Center Theatre Company actor played Anna Gromeko in the just-closed “Doctor Zhivago.”

    Sierra Boggess, George Washington High School, class of 2000: Starring as Rebecca Steinberg in “It Shoulda Been You.”

     
    Kevin Copenhaver,
    DCPA Costume Crafts Director: Built about 18 of the hats in “Doctor Zhivago”

    Colin Cunliffe, Littleton High School: Ensemble in the new Broadway musical “Finding Neverland”

    Rebecca Eichenberger, George Washington High School,” is playing Olga in “An American in Paris”

    Donna English, who appeared in DCPA Theatre Company productions in the 1980s and again in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” last fall, is part of the developing Broadway-bound restaging of “Saturday Night Fever.”

    Allison Horsley, longtime dramaturg for the DCPA Theatre Company: Dramaturg for “Doctor Zhivago”

     
    Aisha Jackson,
    University of Northern Colorado: Starred in the Arvada Center’s “Memphis” as Felicia last year. Now she’s a swing in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” on Broadway

    Andy Kelso, Eaglecrest High School, class of 1998; University of Northern Colorado, class of 2002: He starring as Charlie in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway

    Beth Malone, Castle Rock native, who opened the DCPA Theatre Company season starring in a refreshed version of the classic Broadway musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” is nominated for best leading actress in a musical as Allison in “Fun Home.” Malone is a graduate of Douglas County High School and the University of Northern Colorado.

     Linda Mugleston, longtime DCPA Theatre Company actor (“Quilters,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”), is playing Doctor Johnson in “On the Twentieth Century”

    Denny Paschall, Pomona High School class of 1996, is playing Aaron in “Chicago”

    Gareth Saxe, graduate of Denver East High School and Colorado College, is playing Scar in “The Lion King”

    Jason Watson, University of Northern Colorado, joined the ensemble in the Broadway cast “Mamma Mia” on April 6th.

    Aléna Watters, Colorado Springs Widefield and Mesa Ridge high schools, University of Northern Colorado: Has been cast in the presumably Broadway-bound new musical "Ever After." The production is being directed by Broadway veteran Kathleen Marshall and will play at The Papermill Playhouse through June 21.

    Elizabeth Welch, Rangeview High School, University of Colorado: Ensemble; Christine understudy in Broadway's "The Phantom of the Opera."

     


  • Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance

    by John Moore | May 20, 2015
    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 4


    NEW YORK - Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer and star of the big-buzz, Broadway-bound hip-hop musical bio Hamilton, had a message for attendees of the Broadway League conference last week:

    When life tells you it's time to go... it's time to go.

    Keynote speaker Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Broadway League's 2015 Spring Road Conference. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.The Caribbean-born Alexander Hamilton had his epiphany working for a rum- and slave-trading company in New Jersey. Luis Miranda, father of the Tony-winning rapper, lyricist, and actor of In The Heights fame, had his moment watching West Side Story at a cinema in a small Puerto Rican town in 1961.

    Read more: Why Lin-Manuel Miranda's father is obsessed with 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown'


    Hamilton, of course, went on to become chief aide to George Washington and took up residence on the $10 bill. Luis Miranda left Puerto Rico for New York and rose to prominence as a New York political consultant who has served in three New York City mayoral administrations. And he's a self-professed musical theatre geek.

    In a powerful keynote speech before the nation's leading theatre presenters, producers and theatre owners on May 12 at the Hudson Theatre, Miranda spoke of the two epiphanies that everyone who finds a life in the theatre has: Transcendence and action.

    Photo above: Keynote speaker Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Broadway League's 2015 Spring Road Conference. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

    Photo below: Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as Alexander Hamilton, which opens for Broadway previews on July 13. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    ______________________________________

    Here is an excerpt from Lin-Manuel Miranda's keynote address:


    There are two moments that happen to everyone who has a life in this business: The moment where the theatre first transported us. And as Moss Hart says to George Abbott in Act One, we have the moment where we say, 'I mean to have a life in this business.'

    I want to talk about those two moments for me. I want to talk about transcendence and action.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as Alexander Hamilton, which opens for Broadway previews on July 13. Photo by Joan Marcus. My father was born in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, and his moment of transcendence happened in a family way. His uncle, Ernesto Concepcion, was the founder of the Actors Guild of Puerto Rico. His first memories were of his uncle playing John Merrick in The Elephant Man. One minute he is kissing his uncle hello backstage. The next he is seeing his uncle as John Merrick in a room full of crying people. And John Merrick isn't Puerto Rican. He is transformed. The man in front of him is both his uncle and not his uncle. And nothing is ever really the same for him again.

    My father was born in 1954; West Side Story came out in 1957. West Side Story did not send an Equity tour to Puerto Rico. My father had to see it at the movies. And back in 1961, there was just one movie theatre in Vega Alta, which was a town of 30,000 then, and it played just one movie every day at 8 o'clock.

    There is that moment where Maria is standing over Tony, and Schrank and Krupke are going to pick up the body. She screams, "Don't you touch him!" ... and the audience laughs. But my father is in tears. He is 7 years old, and he is balling.

    And why is my father the only one crying while everyone else is making fun of gang members dancing, and making fun of Natalie Wood's accent that sounds suspiciously like Marni Nixon when she sings?

    Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis. My father didn't see any of that, and it's because he had that early exposure to John Merrick. He had that thing that movies don't really have that can only happen in live theatre. When we're all in the same room together, and we all decide to believe the same moment. We see a man who is not disfigured. But he says he is disfigured, and so we believe him. And so when everyone else who is watching the movie laughs at this outburst of emotion, my father is a wreck. And it's because he grew up watching his uncle's shows in a live theatre. 

    This was my father's moment of action. He looked around at everyone laughing at the grieving Puerto Rican widow Maria and he said, 'I've got the get the (bleep) out of this town.' And he left the Caribbean. He met my mom, he moved to New York and he never went back. And I grew up here with my sister.

    Photo: Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis. Photo courtesy Luis Miranda.

    My first moment of transcendence and action was seeing The Phantom of the Opera. It was my first Broadway musical. I was 12 years old, and I’ll never forget: There’s Raul banging on the door, and Christine could go over and open the door for him. But instead, she goes into the basement with The Phantom, who is playing really cool music. And I realized - on the cusp of puberty - that I am never going to be the good-looking guy at the door. I am going to be the guy in the basement playing the cool music. I identified so deeply with that guy.

    My moment of action came a few years later when, for my 17th birthday, my girlfriend took me to see Rent on Broadway in its first year. 

    Again, I grew up loving musicals. My dad was a lifelong collector of cast albums. But I didn't think I had a way in. I had parts in the school musicals, but I knew was never really going to get to play the Modern Major General in The Pirates of Penzance - they are going to go for the standard white guy for that part. And then I saw Rent, which took place in my city, downtown. The notion that a musical could take place today was groundbreaking to me. And that these characters were struggling with the urgencies of life and death today, and with the conflict of, "Do I pursue what I love and make a life in this business - or do I make money?" I have friends who make money, and they are really happy. But I am choosing a much harder path.

    I started writing musicals after seeing Rent. There was a moment of transcendence, and there was a moment of action.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 1


    But this goes beyond transcendence and action: It’s empathy. When you create that moment between the audience and the people onstage, you’re asking the audience to live outside of themselves. You’re asking the audience to identify with people they might not normally ordinarily identify with.

    I went on vacation in 2008, and I grabbed a book at random from a bookstore – back when bookstores still existed. It was Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. I grabbed it because I love reading biographies, and all I knew about Hamilton was that he died in a duel. So I thought, "This will have a good ending at least." 

    So I started to read the book, and I didn’t know that Alexander Hamilton was born in the Caribbean. He was born in Nevis (in the British West Indies) and later moved to St. Croix. By the end of the second chapter, this young man has seen every manner of hardship: His father leaves. His mother dies in bed with him when he is 12 years old. He moves in with a cousin who commits suicide. He works at a trading company - they're trading rum, spices and slaves.

    And Hamilton looks around and he says, “I gotta get the (bleep) out of this town."

    He writes a poem about a hurricane that had destroyed the island of St. Croix, and that poem was used in relief efforts. People took up a collection to send him off the island to get his education. And I thought, “I know this guy.” Ron Chernow's writing had eliminated the distance between me and the dead white guy on the $10 bill.

    And as I read the book, I kept finding moments of immediacy. Parallels between his life and my father's; and the life of any immigrant who comes to this country and creates themselves from whole cloth, and kills themselves to contribute so that their kids can have a better life. It was all of the stories of In the Heights, but even less diluted and even more concentrated into the first immigrant story.

    It's also the story of the founding of our nation. Alexander Hamilton saw one Unites States instead of 13 colonies because he didn’t have a colony to claim. He didn’t have anywhere to claim except for this place that he had adopted. And that’s what Hamilton is about.

    We create our own reality so much these days. You curate your Twitter feed. You unfriend your friend who has the racist or unpopular opinion off your Facebook page. We see the reality that we choose to see, and we have more power to do that than ever before. Theatre is one of the last things that eliminates that. Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton will go see the same show with 299 other people, and they are going to have the same experience. And they are going to have to reckon with that experience.

    My goal, and the goal of our creative team, was to eliminate any distance between the Founding Fathers and the fights we are still having and the struggles that are still happening as Americans. And when you go and sit in The House of Hamilton, it’s an incredibly powerful thing. It has been amazing to see that journey happen. 

    I will close with one more story, and it brings us back to West Side Story, because it all comes back around.

    So I had the good fortune to work with Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim on the last revival of West Side Story. The glorious thing about that was I got to work with the surviving creators of the show on Spanish lyrics for the Sharks. Again: Eliminating distance. And my father, who cried so hard when Maria pushed the police away, saying, "Don’t you touch him!” was the Anita to my Maria while we were writing Spanish lyrics for “A Boy Like That.” He was my thesaurus, because he came to New York at the age of 18 - the same age as the characters who were the Sharks. We got to write that together, and it was a real full-circle moment for him. The success of that tour has been a joy because, again, it creates more identification with even more people who maybe didn’t necessarily see themselves in the show.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 2

    I conclude with this: The first Equity tour to go to Puerto Rico was In the Heights. We went back to my dad’s hometown. Now, Puerto Rico is very economically depressed. We sold one performance at a time to make sure that we could sustain playing a full week there. But it all worked out.

    I will never forget the review that most moved me was in the main newspaper of Puerto Rico ... and I can’t not cry every time I think of it. It said: “The show is a letter from the people who left. And it is telling us that they struggled, but they did all right."

    That full-circle moment for my father and me is one of the greatest moments I have had in the theatre. That Puerto Ricans on the island saw this show about their cousins and their brothers and sisters and their sons and daughters and were able to see themselves in it means the world to me. 

    That’s what you do every time you mount a show. And every time you bring a student group to your show, there might be some kids who laugh at an outburst of emotion. But I promise you there is a kid balling his eyes out. He is not only being transported ... but he’s saying to himself, “I need to make a life in this business.”

    Read more: Why Lin-Manuel Miranda's father is obsessed with 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown'


    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 3


    Our New York report (to date)
    :

    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver

    More in the coming days:
    Our New York report continues with videos featuring Colorado actors on Broadway.

  • The British Aren't Coming. (They're Already Here!)

    by John Moore | May 19, 2015

    he Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" concerns a mystery surrounding the death of a neighbour's dog that is investigated by young Christopher Boone, who has Asperger's-like issues, and his relationships with his parents and school mentor.


    NEW YORK - Dating back to George M. Cohan, America’s unique and singular contribution to the pop-culture landscape has been the Broadway musical. But in this era of all things globalization, there seem to be more stars yet fewer stripes on the Great White Way than ever before.

    A quick survey of current Broadway offerings shows that 23 plays and musicals are set on foreign soil, while just 12 stories take place in America.

    Forget about the British Invasion. Broadway is undergoing a British occupation. The question is, is this a particularly new phenomenon? Or has it always been that way?

    America may have invented the musical as we know it, but the European influence on the American musical theatre is longstanding and irrefutable. (Look no further than The Phantom of the Opera: 11,319 performances and still going strong).

    When it comes to plays, the parade of British winners often makes the Tony Awards telecast sound as though it’s being simulcast from London, not New York. This year will be no exception as seven of the 10 nominated leading actors and actresses are Brits. (Make no mistake: These are very grateful Brits who always manage to sound far more eloquent than the Americans in their acceptance speeches).

    You can’t wander through Times Square right now without bumping into big-buzz British balderdash: A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Finding Neverland, Kinky Boots, Matilda The Musical, Skylight, Something Rotten!, The Audience, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Wolf Hall … Parts 1 and 2!

    A Broadway quoteWhile the British presence seems pronounced, DCPA Broadway Executive Director (and Tony Awards voter) John Ekeberg isn’t so sure this is a new trend. After all, musical theatre exists to transport audiences to a new world. And most American musical theatre audiences want to get as far away from their own backyards as they can get.

    "A great play will show you a slice of life, and often that slice reflects a very real human experience that helps them better understand the world they live in," Ekeberg said. "Traditionally, we think of that as the job of American play. But more often, people look to musicals to help them escape from their own lives for a few hours and take them someplace that's new to them."

    The groundbreaking musical Fun Home is the rare musical that manages to accomplish the goals of a great play and musical at once, Ekeberg said. Fun Home poignantly recalls cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s home life in Pennsylvania, where she discovered she was a lesbian at about the same time she learned her father had been living a closeted gay life since before his parents were even married.

     “For me, that is a world I am not at all familiar with, Ekeberg said. “So in its way, it accomplished for me what people most want from a musical.”

    And yet for other audiences, Fun Home also accomplishes the primary purpose of a play as well. For audiences who grew up in families like the Bechdels' and faced the same issues, Fun Home can be a place of understanding, healing and catharsis - like any great play. 

    Ekeberg cites the Denver-bound If/Then as a similar example. It features a Sliding Doors-like plot that shows the two different futures our protagonist (played by Idina Menzel) might live out based on the consequences of one choice.

    "In that way, If/Then takes the audience to two completely different worlds in the same musical,” Ekeberg said.

    The 2015 Tony Awards should be a travelphile’s dream as it celebrates stories that take audiences all over the world. The four works nominated for best play are written by a Brooklyn bartender (Robert Askins, Hand to God); a Dame (literally) in Dame Hilary Mary Mantel (Wolf Hall); a young historian from Manchester (Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time); and a Pakistani American (Ayad Ahktar, Disgraced).

    Of the four nominated best new musicals, only Fun Home is set in the U.S. The others are An American in Paris, Something Rotten! (South London in 1595) and  The Visit (a small European town).

    Broadway in America
    Airline Highway: The Hummingbird Motel in New Orleans
    An Act of God: Set in Heaven (but written by an American)
    Beautiful, The Carole King Musical: New York and California
    Chicago: CHICAGO!
    Fish in the Dark: Written by Larry David; starring Jason Alexander (Seinfeld)
    Fun Home: Cartoonist Alison Bechdel's hometown of Lock Haven, Pa.
    Jersey Boys: JERSEY!!
    Hand to God: Somewhere in Texas
    It Shoulda Been You: An American wedding
    It's Only a Play: An American townhouse
    On the Town: World War II New York City
    On the Twentieth Century: Chicago and New York in the early 1930s

    Broadway around the world
    A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder: A musical that’s bathing in British (blood)
    Aladdin: Middle-Eastern city of Agrabah
    An American in Paris: An American in Paris
    The Audience: Queen Elizabeth II
    The Book of Mormon: Uganda!
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Set in Wiltshire and London
    Doctor Zhivago: Set in Russia (closed)
    Finding Neverland: British, set in Neverland
    Gigi: Set in Paris (mostly) at the turn of the century
    Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Out Protagonist was born in East Berlin
    The King and I: The Royal Palace in Bangkok, 1860s
    Kinky Boots: Shoe factory in Northern England
    Les Misérables: French Revolution
    The Lion King: The lion kingdom of Africa
    Mamma Mia!: Big Swedish pop songs on a tiny Greek island
    Matilda The Musical: A wormy little village in England
    The Phantom of the Opera: Paris Opéra House. 1881-1911
    Skylight: A flat in Northwest London
    Something Rotten!: South London, 1595
    The Visit: Small European town based on novel’s fictional German town of Güllen
    Wicked: You know … Oz. (And not the HBO prison!)
    Wolf Hall Part One: The court of Henry VIII, 1527
    Wolf Hall Part Two: More, ore, more!  

    Tony Awards telecast
    Sunday, June 7
    CBS-4
    7-10 p.m. MDT

    Our New York report (to date):
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver

    More in the coming days:
    Our New York report continues with articles on Lin-Manuel Miranda (author and star of Hamilton), and videos featuring Colorado actors on Broadway

  • 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' brings Bard to life at Weld Central High

    by John Moore | May 18, 2015

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


    The teaching artists from the Denver Center’s Education Department had some tough questions for the Weld Central High School students. Tough, ethically ambiguous questions that revolved around teenagers, their parents and issues of privacy and personal responsibility.

    At first, the students might not have known the whole point was to help them better understand the issues at the heart of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

    “It is true that your parent or caregiver has the right to know your whereabouts at all times?” asked DCPA teaching artist Erin Willis. The students were told to register their opinions by getting up and walking to one side of the classroom or the other. About half gathered together on the yes side, the other on the no side.

    “Sometimes it’s better for the parents not to know,” one student said bluntly - and honestly. 

    The questions then got grayer, and the conversations got deeper. Minds were made up, changed and then changed back again as they debated questions such as:

    • “Love at first sight is a myth.”
    • “Going behind someone’s back can be necessary.”
    • “Holding a grudge is a sign of strength.”
    • “The only appropriate punishment for murder is death.”
    • “Parents should be held responsible for their child’s actions.”

    And then this: “Does your parent have the right to install a tracker on your cell phone?” Nearly every student banded together on the side that said “no.”

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot 300 1But what if your parent came to you asking for help with your troubled sibling? He’s been distant, angry and and even violent. You’ve discovered he’s been spending lots of time on disturbing web sites that show photos of mutilated pets. You’re afraid he might hurt himself, or others. And much of the time, you have no idea where he is.

    Now would you help your parent install a tracker on your brother’s phone? Some of the "no's" now said "yes."

    This was no ordinary school day in sleepy Weld County, located 40 miles northeast and a world away from Denver. It’s a rural town in Keenesberg where, sophomore Julissa Garcia said, a fun Friday night for the cool kids means “bonfires, beer and a field.” The nearest movie theatre is a half-hour away in Brighton. 

    And this was no quick, in-an-out visit from the big-city theatre teachers from Denver. This was a team of actors, teachers and staff spending two full days fully interacting with dozens of mighty Rebels from Weld Central High.


    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. All our photos are downloadable for free in a variety of sizes from our Flickr account here. All rights reserved.


    The first, sweaty day was a real endurance test. The cast of six young professional  actors performed an abridged, hour-long performance of Romeo and Juliet for about three dozens students in the school parking lot. Then, after only a five-minute break, they did the whole play again for a new batch of Rebels. They performed it four times  in all that day on hot asphalt made hotter by an 80-degree May day.

    This was the launch of a new DCPA Education pilot program called “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.” The production was spare, performed by just six actors entirely on and around a white pickup truck that actor John Hauser likened to “a theatrical jungle gym.” But the play – directed by DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous and performed by Hauser, Jessica Austgen, Jacques Morrow, Jenna Moll Reyes, Justin Walvoord and Erin Willis, made its impact. Junior Jessica McClure managed to sneak out for three of the four performances, which included live, original musical accompaniment by Denver School of the Arts grad Noah Wilson.

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot quote 1"The actors are stellar on the stage and stellar in the classroom - and that is a hard, beautiful combination to find," Watrous said. 

    Watrous picked Romeo and Juliet in part because the play is included in the State Board of Education’s Common Core State Standards. “So we can venture to guess that the majority of the students in Colorado have read it by the ninth grade,” Watrous said.

    Reading the play is one thing, “but we know that Shakespeare really comes alive when it is spoken,” Watrous added. “It is meant to be performed.” Or, as Weld Central High School English teacher Iris Mesbergen put it: “Yes, our ninth-graders read it. But without being able to see it live ... how can they see how the story breathes?”

    Senior Bella Schroeder really can’t see how Romeo and Juliet could have fallen THAT much in love in just three days. But of one thing she is sure. “I understand the play a lot better now that I have seen it,” she said. “It just made a lot more sense.” 

    And when you understand the play – any play – then you can dig deeper into it.

    The next day, the DCPA team was back leading probing (indoor!) classroom activities that began with the students exploring universal frustrations with their own parents. 

    “Once the play comes off the page and they really get to see it in front of them, it’s so much more relatable to their real lives,” said Hauser, who played Romeo.

    As the classroom conversations continued, it became evident that similarly ineffectual communication in the houses of Capulet and Montague directly led to the bloody deaths of all sorts of people in Shakespeare’s most romantic tragedy. 

    “By the end of the story, we are left with a whole pile of dead bodies because these two teenagers weren’t really parented correctly,” said actor and DCPA teaching artist Jessica Austgen. “The Montagues let Romeo run all over town doing whatever he wanted, and the Capulets kept Juliet under lock and key. These are the two extremes of the spectrum. How could that have been prevented?”

    Senior Bella Schroeder had a suggestion that tied both days together nicely. 

    “If we could have put a tracker on Romeo back in the day, then we could have saved a lot of people from dying,” she said.  

    It was a source of great pride among the Weld Central students that their school was chosen to be the first to host “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.”

    “This is a poor little school no one knows about,” Schroeder said. “Today it feels just a little bigger. It’s like people care about us.”

    Teacher Iris Mesbergen said even though Denver’s many cultural attractions are less than an hour away, “many of the students just don’t have the economic means to go there.” That’s why, added actor Jenna Moll Reyes, “it’s so important that we come into these schools and show them that we want everyone to be exposed to art.”

    And Weld Central students weren’t the only ones who benefited from the DCPA’s visit. Kim Shaffer is a math teacher at the school, and she was never exposed to arts education as a child. “And we never studied Shakespeare in high school, so I’ve never really understood it,” she said. “But seeing these performers tell the story today, I feel like I understand what was happening for the first time.”

    Mesbergen’s classroom is a shrine to Shakespeare. She makes sure to take her students to Denver at least three times a year to soak up as much live theatre as they  can. When the second day of the DCPA's visit was over, she was so elated, she could have been easily mistaken for a fairy from A Midsummer Nights Dream.

    “I feel like I have been dancing all week, Mesbergen said, “but my feet have not touched the ground.”

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot 800 3

    About “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot”

    The “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” pilot program was funded by the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, which has significant oil and gas interests in northeast Colorado, and thus a vested interest in the young citizenry of Weld County. DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous hopes more companies will join in with their support so that the program can travel to more schools next school year.  The eventual goal is to have a DCPA-branded “Theatre Truck” that takes programs like “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” and other theatrical endeavors to schools all around the state.

    More recent coverage of DCPA in the schools
    :
    2015 Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Will Power
    DPS Shakespeare Festival returns with DCPA as new partner
    Grant immerses Denver third-graders in the many worlds of Cinderella
    Video: Lynn Andrews comes home and sings like an (East) Angel
    Matthew Lopez to students: Be citizens. Be informed. Have opinions.
    Denver Center brings Korean teen's take on The Little Mermaid to life
    DaVita Creative Classroom Collaborative: ‘Now I know I am an artist’

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot 800 2

    GO TO OUR FULL 'SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT' PHOTO GALLERY HERE
  • Photos, video: 'Women with Hattitude' event turns 10 with record-breaker

    by John Moore | May 18, 2015
    Video by David Lenk and John Moore.


    The DCPA's "Women with Hattitude" luncheon and fashion show celebrated its 10th anniversary on May 7 at the Seawell Ballroom.

    'Women With Hattitude' host Gloria Neal. Photo by John Moore. A record-breaking $60,000 was raised for the Women’s Voices Fund, which enables the DCPA Theater Company to commission, workshop and produce new plays by women. It is now a national model for female-centric theatre fundraising, as well as one of the largest of its kind at more than $1 million.

    The Women's Voices Fund, which is made up of 130 individual donors, is important because women have been under-represented as leading artists in the American theatre, said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson, even though women comprise more than half of all theatre audiences.

    The host for the afternoon was CBS-4's Gloria Neal, pictured above right. Performers included Lynn Andrews (Miss Hanningan) and Issie Swickle (Annie) from the cast of the national touring production of Annie The Musical. Also attending were the girls who play the orphans in the show. Leading the annual fashion show was 2013-14 Bobby G Awards winner Abby Noble of the University of Northern Colorado, who sang "Popular" from Wicked.

    Our interviews include:
    • DCPA Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson
    • Playwrights Theresa Rebeck and Tanya Saracho
    • 2013-14 Bobby G Awards winner Abby Noble
    • Steering Committee member Cynthia Treadwell
    • Mother-daughter attendees Lorraine and Stephinity Salazar
    "I just love supporting other women finding their power," said Stephinity Salazar.

    Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow. All our photos from Hattitude are available on our Flickr account for free, easy and direct downloading onto your computer at a variety of file sizes.


    MAIN PHOTO GALLERY: Action shots, performances and fashion show: 



    MORE PHOTOS: From the step-and-repeat:


    The 2015 Hattitude Steering Committee as made up of Murri Bishop, Janet Buckner, Trisha Hood, Cynthia Treadwell, Wendy Weil and Deborah Woodward. The Platinum Sponsors were Macy's, Hilja Herfurth, and the Denver Center Alliance.
  • New York's Broadway League dedicates 2015 conference to Randy Weeks

    by John Moore | May 12, 2015
    Randy Quote2

    Randy Weeks.


    The Broadway League’s 26th annual spring road conference opened on Tuesday in New York with a special dedication to late DCPA President Randy Weeks, who died last Oct. 9 at age 59. The conference has gathered nearly 1,000 producers, presenters and staff from Broadway touring markets around the country.

    Here was the opening statement from Al Nocciolino, President of NAC Entertainment:

    "Today I have the privilege of dedicating this conference to Randy Weeks. Randy was president of the Denver Center, and he was responsible for its Broadway series for many, many years. He was an active, engaged member of the Broadway League. He served on the Board of Governors, our executive committee, and also as one of our conference co-chairs. He was a very, very important part of our industry. But more important, Randy turned Denver into one of the most important theatre cities in America. Numerous tours chose Denver to open because of what Randy and his staff were able to do. It is one of the great, great theatre towns in America. We will always remember Randy, but if he could get a message to me right now, he would say, ‘Al: Tell them they are looking good, congratulations … and get on with it.’ So we are going to get on with it. But please remember our friend, Randy Weeks, and we dedicate this conference to him.”

     




      

    Our previous coverage of the death of Randy Weeks:
    Video: Highlights, interviews from Randy Weeks celebration
    Celebration draws 1,500 to recall a singular friend in story and song
    DCPA president Randy Weeks dies at London conference
    Video: Randy Weeks honored with dimmed lights, moments of silence
    Randy Weeks photo gallery
    DCPA to celebrate Randy Weeks' life on Nov. 3
    A look back at Randy Weeks' 'It Gets Better' video
    'Pippin' dedicates entire tour to Randy Weeks
  • Breaking: Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver

    by John Moore | May 07, 2015

     
    Tony Award-winner and Broadway superstar Idina Menzel will launch the national touring production of If/Then in Denver, it was announced today. In all, Menzel will reprise her critically acclaimed, Tony-nominated performance in seven select cities.

    Menzel is best known for her Broadway 
    performances in Wicked and Rent; voicing Elsa in the global hit animated film Frozen; and her recurring role on the FOX TV series Glee.
     
    If/Then is an original Broadway musical that reunites composer Tom Kitt, book writer/lyricist Brian Yorkey, and director Michael Greif, the creative team behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical Next to Normal.

    The national touring production launches at 
     the Buell Theatre from Oct. 13-25. Menzel  will then appear in the following cities only: 
    • Seattle, Paramount Theatre, Nov. 3-8
    • San Francisco, SHN Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 10-Dec. 6
    • Los Angeles, Hollywood Pantages Theatre, Dec. 8-Jan. 3
    • San Diego Civic Theatre, Jan. 5-10
    • Tempe, Ariz., ASU Gammage, Jan. 12-17
    • Costa Mesa, Calif., Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Jan. 19-24

    Tickets for all of these  engagements are only available at present to season subscribers. If/Then is a part of the DCPA's 2015-16 Broadway Season. Subscriptions are available by calling 303-893-4100 or visiting denvercenter.org. A single ticket on-sale will be announced at a later date.

    Idina Menzel Quote If/Then is especially meaningful for me because I had the opportunity to develop it for several years with the creative team, whom I have come to consider family,” said Menzel.  “I’m so thrilled to launch the show’s national tour and to send it off across the country and around the world. I am very much looking forward to sharing this original musical with Broadway fans who weren’t able to travel to New York and see it there.”  

    The Hollywood Reporter called Menzel "a blazing supernova" in If/Then. The Associated Press said Menzel "tears the rafters off the theatre." The Toronto Star called If/Then "the bravest new musical in a long time." 

    The Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones called If/Then "a thoroughly fascinating, intellectually and musically rich new musical."

    It is not an adaptation of anything, but a very compelling and involving idea," Jones wrote. "Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s beautiful score hits an especially sweet spot, keeping the audience in its pocket. It is a zesty, savvy and ambitious original.”

    Additional casting for the national tour of If/Then will be announced at a later date.

    “I am thrilled that Idina will be playing these select cities in the time-honored touring tradition established by Broadway’s leading stars like Angela Lansbury, Yul Brynner, and Ethel Merman,” said producer David Stone.  ““I look forward to having audiences discover and embrace IF/THEN and to give Broadway fans across the country the unique opportunity to see a genuine superstar at the height of her powers, in a role that was literally tailored for her.”

    If/Then is a contemporary new musical that follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

    If/Then features choreography by Larry Keigwin, set design by Tony Award-Nominee Mark Wendland, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Tony Award-Winner Kenneth Posner and sound design by Tony Award-Winner Brian Ronan.

    The original Broadway Cast Recording of If/Thenis produced by Sony Masterworks and is available on iTunes.

    If/Then played its final Broadway performance on March 22, having played 29 previews and 401 performances.

    For more information about If/Then, please visit IfThenTheMusical.com.

    Menzel's Colorado fans also will get a chance to see her this summer when she performs live at the Red Rocks amphitheater on Aug. 11


    DCPA Broadway 2015-16 subscription information:
    The DCPA's 2015-16 Broadway subscription packages start at eight payments of $26.13. Restrictions apply. To purchase a subscription, please call Denver Center Ticket Services: 303-893-4100 or toll-free at 800-641-1222. Or visit the ticket office located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at Speer Boulevard and Arapaho Street. Subscription packages also may be purchased online at denvercenter.org/bwaysubs. For groups of 10 or more, please call 303-446-4829.

    Please be advised that the DCPA's web site at denvercenter.org is the ONLY authorized online ticket provider for these productions in Denver.

    Related NewsCenter coverage:
    DCPA's If/Then show page
    A Gentleman's Guide to the 2015-16 Broadway season in Denver
    John Moore's 2011 interview with Idina Menzel in The Denver Post 
    John Moore's review of the Red Rocks concert with Idina Menzel and Marvin Hamlisch

     If/Then

    Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp in 'If/Then.' Photo by Joan Marcus.Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp in the original Broadway cast of 'If/Then.' Photo by Joan Marcus. Menzell will perform the show in Denver in October. Further casting will be announced at a later date. 

  • Photos: Family Night at 'Annie' in Denver

    by John Moore | May 06, 2015

    All our photos are free and easily downloadable from our Flickr site by clicking here.



    A young audience member gets her hair glittered during family activities before 'Annie.' Photo by John Moore. Wednesday was Family Night at the national touring production of Annie, playing through May 10 in Denver. Youngsters got to meet the cast and participate in theatrical activities in the Buell Theatre lobby before the performance, which was followed by a talkback. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Annie
    Through May 10
    Buell Theatre
    ASL interpreted, Audio described & Open Captioned performance: May 10, 2pm
    Tickets: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    800-641-1222 | Groups (10+): 303-446-4829

    A young audience member, left, meets the actor who plays Annie after the show. Photo by John Moore.
    A young audience member, left, meets the actor who plays Annie after the show. Photo by John Moore.


    'Annie' cast members sign autographs before Wednesday's performance. Photo by John Moore.
    'Annie' cast members sign autographs before Wednesday's performance. Photo by John Moore.

  • Largest metro arts organizations offer major concession for good of SCFD

    by John Moore | Apr 23, 2015

    Daniel Ritchie presents proposed changes reducing the percentage of Tier I revenues. Photo by John Moore.
    Daniel L. Ritchie presents proposed changes to the way SCFD funding would be allocated at a meeting on Thursday. Photo by John Moore. 


    A wide-ranging task force has recommended major changes to the way metro-area arts organizations are funded through the 27-year-old Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, which goes before voters for reauthorization in 2016. 

    The SCFD is a penny-per-$10 sales tax that is expected to generate $56 million for 278 metro arts organizations this year alone. The unique, voter-approved taxing district is structured into three tiers, with the metro area’s five largest institutions constituting Tier I: The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Art Museum, Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Denver Zoo. There are 27 arts groups in in Tier II, and 246 in Tier III.

    If the task force’s recommendations are approved by the full board, the region’s largest cultural institutions would voluntarily give up about 5.78 percent of their share of the annual pie. That would make an additional estimated $2.2 million a year available to be shared by the area’s smaller metro arts organizations.

    The new funding formula would most benefit those organizations after the first $38 million in revenues is collected. At that threshold, Tier I's share would drop from 64 percent to 57, Tier II‘s would grow from 22 to 26 and Tier III’s would grow from 14 to 17.

    SCFD Chart 1

    Task force member Jim Harrington, citing unity and community, said all five of the Tier I organizations have agreed to the proposed changes. “I think it’s fair and I think it’s responsible - and I think it allows the district to be accountable and transparent to the taxpayers,” said Harrington who added that the process leading up to these recommendations has been four years in the making. 

    “It’s the right thing to do,” added DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie, who recently resigned his title as the DCPA’s chief executive officer to dedicate himself full-time to a successful SCFD reauthorization. He said anything less than a favorable vote in November 2016 would be “a catastrophe for Colorado.”

    It is estimated that the SCFD has been responsible for $1.85 billion in economic activity. And the NEA recently reported Colorado has the highest rate of citizen participation among all states in cultural activities. 

    “Our organizations are grateful for the region’s citizens for these dollars as they enable us to serve the public with world-class programming and provide access to our institutions and collections,” Ritchie said. 

    By law, the SCFD taxing district that began in 1988 expires if it is not brought before the voters for reauthorization every 12 years. Voters have twice renewed the tax by wide margins, but the metro arts landscape changes greatly in a dozen years. That requires a reconsideration of the complicated formula that dictates how funds are distributed. SCFD member organizations have grown from 171 to 278 since 1990. Tier II has grown by 271 percent by number of organizations, and Tier III’s are up 83 percent. Ritchie said it is only fair, then, that more funds be made available to those groups, citing the “greater good.” 

    “Honestly we all could use more money, but this is the right plan for SCFD’s future,” Ritchie added. "I am proud of the plan we put forth to the board.”

    The SCFD board will issue a ruling on Thursday’s recommendations in May or June, Harrington said. If adopted, the DCPA would accept an 8.43 percent drop in its potential SCFD revenues, or about $570,000 in the first year. But because growth projections predict that the SCFD should be generating $57.8 million a year by 2017, the loss to Tier I organizations would come from future growth – not actual current dollars.

    In fact, the SCFD task force forecasts that, if implemented, the Tier I’s would still see an increase of about $618,000 a year in 2017, while Tier II’s would see a $1.5 million increase and the Tier III pie would grow by $1 million. 

    “So everybody wins,” Harrington said.

    The task force’s recommendations were presented at a public gathering at Hudson Gardens in Littleton. It was attended by representative from dozens of metro arts groups. Most took the opportunity to publicly praise the thoroughness of the task force’s work.

    “The SCFD is a miracle of our state that no one else has,” said Brian Vogt of the Denver Botanic Gardens. He called the task force’s approach “reasonable, rational and fair.”

    Deborah Malden, Chair of the Boulder County Cultural Council, thanked the task force for acknowledging that the statute needed refreshing, and thanked the Tier I’s for their concessions.

    There was some dissent. Jane Potts, Program Administrator for SCFD’s Tier III’s, advocated for an even greater redistribution for the smallest arts organizations. Tier III’s represent 83 percent of SCFD membership and Potts said they account for 30 percent of all attendance. “The SCFD is the best thing that has ever happened to Denver,” she said, “but if they have a third of the audience, I think they deserve more than 17 percent of the pie.” 

    Tony Garcia, founder of the Denver’s 43-year-old Su Teatro, was a member of the task force and has long been the loudest critic of the current funding formula. But he did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

    Erin Rollman and Brian Colonna, members of Denver’s Tier III Buntport Theater, were pleasantly surprised by the scope of the recommendations.

    “Would we like to see Tier III’s get a bigger piece of the pie? Sure,” said Rollman. “But could we reasonably have expected any more concessions from the Tier I’s than this? Probably not.”

    She also acknowledged that it is largely the reputation and resources of the Tier I organizations that account for the tax’s existence and continued life. “They do all the heavy lifting on reauthorization,” she said. “Do people go into the ballot box and vote to give money to Buntport Theater? Of course not. They vote yes because they like free days at the museum or the Denver Zoo. And we all benefit from that.”

    Deborah Jordy, Executive Director the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts pointed out that the SCFD’s $56 million in revenues are the equivalent to about a third of the NEA’s entire budget. “And that goes to just 278 organizations right here in Colorado,” she said.

    More than 330 individuals participated over the course of the task force’s four years, accounting for more than 3,200 volunteered hours of study. All tiers and all counties were represented.

    Daniel Ritchie presents proposed changes reducing the percentage of Tier I revenues. Photo by John Moore.

    Some of the other proposed changes:

    The task force also recommended that the Tier I organizations change how their pie is distributed among themselves. If approved, the big winner would be the Denver Botanic Gardens, which would see its share rise from 11.75 percent to 13.25 percent. The DCPA’s share would drop from 18.18 percent to 17.68.

    *The SCFD would add some flexibility to considering literary arts – specifically spoken word - for funding eligibility.

    *New Tier III organizations would have to show an annual operating income of at least $25,000 or have been in existence for 10 years for eligibility.

    *Organizations would be allowed to add free attendance for consideration in their applications (in addition to current paid attendance and revenue). 

    MORE INFO: GO TO THE SCFD'S REAUTHORIZATION WEB SITE

    SCFD Chart 1


    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.
  • Video: Watch the cast of 'The 12' rock Elitch Gardens

    by John Moore | Apr 22, 2015
    Video by David Lenk, interviews by John Moore. Go-Pro video courtesy Elitch Gardens.

    The 12 plays through April 26 at The Stage Theatre. World-famous Elitch Gardens does not open for its 125th season until May 2. Something had to give.

    Elitch's, now in its 21st year downtown since relocating from northwest Denver, remains  one of Colorado's the most popular entertainment destinations. It now features a vast array of modern roller-coasters, and because many of The 12 cast members are thrill-ride aficionados, the staff at Elitch's invited cast members Tuesday to ride the famous Carousel, which dates back to 1927 - and two coaster rides: The Brain Drain and the Boomerang.

    The Brain Drain, which opened in 2014, is a seven-story steel looping ride that sends riders head-over-heels in a 360° revolution. And then back again.

    The Boomerang is a steel coaster that takes riders forward and backward through vertical loops, twists and turns at speeds of more than 50 mph. The ride reaches 125 in the air, making it the tallest roller coaster at Elitch Gardens.

    Luckily for us - and you - the Elitch staff turned a Go-Pro camera on the riders, and you can see the hilarious results in the video above.

    The 12 imagines what happened when the disciples went into hiding for the three days following Jesus' crucifixion. It plays through Sunday (April 26) in The Stage Theatre.

    Photos: The 12's day at Elitch Gardens

    All photos for John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Video bonus: Watch Colin Hanlon's full ride on The Boomerang:
    (Warning: Watching may force uncontrollable fits of laughter)



    The 12:
    Ticket information

    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Photos: Opening night of The 12
    Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12

    Meet the cast videos: 
    Colin Hanlon as Peter
    Tony Vincent as Tom

    Christina Sajous as Mary Magdalene
    Gregory Treco as Simon


    Colin Hanlon loves rollercoasters. Watch our video at the top of this page and see how much Colin Hanlon loves roller coasters. Photo by John Moore.

    Colin Hanlon loves roller coasters. Watch our video at the top of this page and see how much Colin Hanlon loves roller coasters. Photo by John Moore.
  • Meet the cast video series: Colin Hanlon

    by John Moore | Apr 21, 2015


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way.

    Colin Hanlon as Peter in 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Episode 96: Meet Colin Hanlon, a theatre veteran who has a recurring role as Steven on ABC's "Modern Family" and is making his DCPA debut playing the denying Peter in the Theatre Company's world premiere production of the new rock musical The 12.

    Hanlon has performed in many major New York productions, including Rent. He's also producing and starring in his own YouTube web series called Submissions Only, a comic look at the casting side of the entertainment industry. Hanlon has been impressed with Denver theatre audiences - and Denver happy hours. He believes the world would be a much better place if people could just laugh at themselves and not take themselves so seriously.

    The 12 imagines what happened when the disciples went into hiding for the three days following Jesus' crucifixion. It plays through April 26, 2015, in The Stage Theatre.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

    Picture above right: Colin Hanlon as Peter in The 12. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    Video An introduction to Submissions Only:




    The 12:
    Ticket information

    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    More The 12 Meet the cast videos (to date): 

    Tony Vincent as Tom
    Christina Sajous as Mary Magdalene
    Gregory Treco as Simon

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Video: Colin Hanlon and Gregory Treco talk The 12 at the Tattered Cover
    Photos: Opening night of The 12
    Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12


    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction
    Amelia Marie Corrada, Benediction
    Jason Delane, One Night in Miami
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Meet Adrian Egolf, Benediction
    Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
    Lenne Klingaman, Appoggiatura
    Darrie Lawrence
    , Appoggiatura
    Colby Lewis, One Night in Miami
    Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Nick Mills Appoggiatura
    Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Rob Nagle, Appoggiatura
    James Newcomb, Benediction
    Leslie O'Carroll, A Christmas Carol, Benediction
    Morocco Omari, One Night in Miami
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    Socorro Santiago, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies
    Nik Walker, One Night in Miami
    York Walker, One Night in Miami
    Nance Williamson, Benediction

  • DPS Shakespeare Festival returns with DCPA as new partner

    by John Moore | Apr 20, 2015
    John Moore's photos of the 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival returns for a 31st year this Friday (April 24) under a new partnership with the DPS Foundation that now includes the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

    This is the oldest and largest student Shakespeare Festival in the country. About 5,000 DPS students from kindergarten through high school will perform on 14 stages in and around the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Students from 70 schools will tackle 630 short scenes, dances, soliloquies and sonnets. That’s a 15 percent increase in participation over last year.

    "There is nothing else even remotely on this scale anywhere else," said Michael LoMonico of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

    DPS QuoteThe daylong party opens with welcoming ceremonies at Skyline Park and continues with an Elizabethan parade down Curtis Street. A sea of kings, soldiers, maidens, jesters and ghosts donning everything from Elizabethan to African tribal garb will then spread throughout the grounds for their performances.

    The city-owned arts complex has long hosted this annual Shakesplosion, but this is the DCPA’s first year as a full partner. DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie says his non-profit champions the student fest for two simple reasons: It’s important … and it’s fun.

    “We have a common history over 30-plus years in the community,” said Ritchie. “Our focus on great theatre classics provides a shared vision. And our commitment to engage youth through theatre education motivates us with a unified purpose. Together, we will combine history’s greatest plays with passionate teachers and inspired young actors to expose thousands of students and spectators to the joy of live theatre.”

    Kristin Heath Colon, President and CEO of the Denver Public Schools Foundation, calls the new partnership with the DCPA “a prime example of what it takes to help every child in the Denver Public Schools succeed. We can’t do this alone.”

    Since 2006, the DPS Foundation has awarded 946 classroom grants totaling $1.26 million that subsidize enrichment programs and activities that go beyond individual schools’ limited budgets. Among these “A to Z” grants are stipends that help the poorest schools make costumes or help pay for other festival costs.


    Students from Lowry Elementary School perform Sonnet 74 for the Denver Sonnets Project as part of last year's DPS Shakespeare Festival.

    The free festival, started in 1985 by teacher Joe Craft, has now given about 100,000 students the chance to jump on a stage and screw their courage to the sticking post. One of them was Marty Schettler, a 1999 graduate of Manual High School. He’s now a 34-year-old mathematician, software developer and father of two boys.

    “I was in the festival a couple times; most memorably in 10th grade,” said Schettler. “We did a scene with the two sets of lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I just remember it being so much easier to connect with the text after rehearsing and performing it. It was a really great way to get a taste of performing without having to commit to a whole play - especially a Shakespeare play.” 

    That’s because Shakespeare can be nothing if not intimidating at first. But, four centuries later, the Bard continues to be regarded as the most important playwright in the English language. And the DPS Shakespeare Festival allows students to get used to his language early in life. That gives them a competitive academic advantage because studies have shown that when students don’t encounter Shakespeare for the first time until they are in a high-school class, they have more difficulty understanding Shakespeare and engaging with the words.

    Dana Bergren Dana Bergren, a senior at George Washington High School (pictured right) has been performing in the Shakespeare Festival almost every year since the fourth grade. She says that annual exercise helped her overcome the intimidation factor long ago. 

    “Since I've done it for so long, I have a better understanding of it,” said Bergren, who will be portraying the brooding prince Hamlet in a gender-swapped scene on Friday. “I also feel like it helps take the stigma and intimidation of it away. When you realize that it's just words like any other play, that makes more fun and less scary.”

    Colon said the DPS Shakespeare Festival not only gives students the chance to perform and develop their public speaking and critical thinking skills, it gives them an important opportunity to express themselves and interact with peers.

    That is particularly important in the Denver Public Schools district, which in 2011 reported that 70 percent of its students live below the poverty level, 12 percent have identified education disabilities and 46 percent speak languages other than English in their homes.

    “In my classroom, 100 percent of my students speak English as a second language,” said Rachael Nyberg-Hampton, a teacher at Munroe Elementary. “So one of the things we struggle with is expression when speaking.” Shakespeare, she adds, provides students with new strategies for improving their reading levels.

    Colon says that’s all part of the school district’s commitment to the development of the whole child. “And the Shakespeare Festival is a critical component of that,” she said.


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

    The 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival parade. Photo by John Moore.

    The 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival parade. Photo by John Moore. 


    2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival Schedule: 

    10 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies in Skyline Park (15th and Arapahoe)
    10:15 a.m.: Elizabethan Parade from Skyline Park to the Denver Performing Arts Complex
    10:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m.: Student performances on 14  stages throughout the DPAC
    Noon-2:45 p.m.: The Shakespeare Challenge Bowl at The Joe Craft Theatre (inside the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex).

    Schools and stages:
    (Name of stage, followed by participating schools. Note: Schools that are in The Challenge Bowl might be on two stages.)

    The theme of the 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival is 'The Tempest.' BLACKFRIARS STAGE: Gateway, Southmoor, Kennedy, Montclair, Colfax, Greenwood, Traylor, Carson and Edison.

    BOAR’S HEAD:  DSST at Green Valley Ranch, Hill, Brown, Newlon and Bill Roberts.

    CURTAIN:  Grant Ranch, Dennison, Doull, Skinner, Goldrick and DaVinci Academy.

    FORTUNE:  Denver School of the Arts

    HOPE: McAuliffe, Lowry, Marrama, Thomas Jefferson, Columbian, Lincoln, Golden and Palmer.

    INNS OF COURT:  University Park, Park Hill, MSLA, Ashley, Cheltenham, Corey, Aurora Academy, Sandoval, Henry, Kaiser and Hamilton.

    JOE CRAFT:  Munroe, Holm, DCIS at Fairmont and Archuleta.  This is also The Challenge Bowl Stage.

    RED LION:  Steele, Morey and Grant Beacon.

    ROSE:  Polaris at Ebert, GALS, Denver Green School, George Washington and Bromwell.

    SWAN:  Highline Academy, Merrill, George Washington, Force, Thomas Jefferson, Slavens and DSST at Cole.

    THEATRE:  Swigert, Highline Academy and Steele.

    WHITEFRIARS:  Steck, Gust, McKinley Thatcher, Sabin, Kunsmiller, Denver Montessori, DSST at Stapleton and Lowry.

    WHITEHALL :  Bradley, Kennedy, Teller, Hamilton and Smith

    OLDE GLOBE:  Hill, Montclair, Newlon, Polaris at Ebert, GALS, Morey, University Park, Sabin, Merrill, Smith, Skinner, Barrett, DSST at Stapleton, Palmer, North, Slavens and Bromwell

    For stage locations and other information, click here

  • Meet the cast video series: Gregory Treco

    by John Moore | Apr 19, 2015


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 95: Meet Gregory Treco, a graduate of Eaglecrest High School in Aurora who is making his DCPA debut playing the revolutionary disciple Simon in the Theatre Company's world premiere production of the new rock musical The 12.

    Treco is part of the long line of accomplished performers who sang at Elitch Gardens as teenagers, a list that includes Nick Sugar, Andy Kelso, Jim Miller and many more.

    Now one of Treco's overriding social concerns is bettering our understanding of mental illness among young black men. "I am a light-skinned African-American man, so I have an interesting perspective on race relations," he says. "That crazy black man over there isn't necessarily crazy; he's just somebody who needs help."

    The 12 imagines what happened when the disciples went into hiding for the three days following Jesus' crucifixion. It plays through April 26, 2015, in The Stage Theatre.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

    The 12: Ticket information
    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    More The 12 Meet the cast videos (to date): 

    Tony Vincent as Tom
    Christina Sajous as Mary Magdalene

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Video: Colin Hanlon and Gregory Treco talk The 12 at the Tattered Cover
    Photos: Opening night of The 12
    Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12

    Eaglecrest High School graduate Gregory Treco performs as Simon in 'The 12' for the DCPA Theatre Company. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
    Eaglecrest High School graduate Gregory Treco performs as Simon in 'The 12' for the DCPA Theatre Company. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.



    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction
    Amelia Marie Corrada, Benediction
    Jason Delane, One Night in Miami
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Meet Adrian Egolf, Benediction
    Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
    Lenne Klingaman, Appoggiatura
    Darrie Lawrence
    , Appoggiatura
    Colby Lewis, One Night in Miami
    Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Nick Mills Appoggiatura
    Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Rob Nagle, Appoggiatura
    James Newcomb, Benediction
    Leslie O'Carroll, A Christmas Carol, Benediction
    Morocco Omari, One Night in Miami
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    Socorro Santiago, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies
    Nik Walker, One Night in Miami
    York Walker, One Night in Miami
    Nance Williamson, Benediction

  • Testimonials as 'One Night in Miami' closes today

    by John Moore | Apr 19, 2015

    'One Night in Miami' cast on opening night. Photo by John Moore.
    'One Night in Miami' cast on opening night. Photo by John Moore.


    As Kemp Powers' One Night in Miami closes its remarkable run with today's matinee performance by the DCPA Theatre Company, we thought we would compile and share some of the thoughts of cast, creatives and audience members have sent us or posted on social media. The play imagines what happened the night Cassius Clay won the heavyweight boxing championship in 1964 and immediately withdrew to a hotel room with Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X:

    Actor Jason Delane (Malcolm X), center, meets with students from Denver's  Contemporary Learning Academy after a recent performance of 'One Night in Miami.' Ty Jones (Classical Theatre of Harlem): Why I love theatre. No. 1: People like Jason Delane, currently starring as Malcolm X in Kemp Powers' One Night in Miami, taking the time to speak to these young men (pictured at right) who attend an alternative school in Denver for at-risk youth (Contemporary Learning Academy). These young men had never been to theatre before. No. 2: The Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Hope Grandon and Kent Thompson's team made this happen. Keep up the good work. You may have just changed the trajectory of the lives of these young men. To the cast, Director Carl Cofield, and the team at Denver Center, thank you.

    (Photo: Actor Jason Delane (Malcolm X), center, meets with students from Denver's  Contemporary Learning Academy after a recent performance of 'One Night in Miami.' )

    Miami QuoteTerri Valliere (Contemporary Learning Academy): I can’t thank everyone enough for making this happen for these kids. This is the first time any of them had ever been to a play, and they were completely mesmerized by the play, the people, and the experience. They were still talking about it today at school because the meaning behind the play touched them. Thanks for supporting the activity for kids who would have never been able to go if not for your generosity. Finally, thanks to actor Jason Delane for taking the time to talk to the children after to show them that there is so much more outside of the world they live in when they fight for change.

    Kemp Powers (playwright): Sending good wishes to the One Night in Miami... crew on their final performance at the DCPA today. Congrats to Carl Cofield, Jason Delane Lee, Nik Walker, Colby Lewis, Rocc Omari, York Walker and William Oliver Watkins for your wonderful work. And thank you to Kent Thompson for bringing the show to Denver!




    Colby Lewis QuoteColby Lewis (Cassius Clay): Feeling like Ali in this speech (above) on this truly bittersweet morning. I close one of the best shows I've ever been a part of. When Kemp Powers wrote a play about his heroes, I'm sure he didn't think about writing a masterpiece. When Carl Cofield gave me a chance to step into the role of Cassius Marcellus Clay, I don't know if he realized he'd just given me one of the biggest gifts of my life. When I met York Walker, Nik Walker, William Oliver Watkins, Jason Delane Lee, Rocc Omari, I'm sure they didn't think they were about to change life as I viewed it. I could go on forever about the things they called Cassius Clay (soon to be Muhammad Ali). But through this amazing journey at DCPA, I found out what's most important. And that is what you call YOURSELF. This process has changed me not only as an artist, but more as a man. Everyone has doubts, fears, and insecurities. But what makes you WHO you are, are your convictions, the ideals you stand behind, the words you speak, and the courage to defend those beliefs. I am not perfect; no one is but God. But I've learned from Cassius and the others I've worked with in Denver that I can and will be great, not just as an artist but as a human being. To truly be a STUDENT AND A SERVANT of the world. Maybe even the "Greatest of All Time." I love you all, fellas BOMAYE!!!!!

    Actors conduct a student talkback after a recent matinee performance of 'One Night in Miami.' Photo courtesy Kristen Adele. Jason Delane (Malcolm X) (excerpt): This has been a very special experience. Thank you, Kemp Powers, for crafting such a powerful piece of theatre and for providing six black male actors with these awesome characters to inhabit. There are way too many people to thank here on Facebook. I've already typed and deleted one post I was about to put up because I tagged over 100 people. I am humbled by the amazing men and women of the theatre that I have met through my participation in this play both here in Denver and in Los Angeles back in 2013. I thank all friends and family members who traveled near and very far to come here to Denver to see and support our work. Carl Cofield: Thanks for entrusting Brother Malcolm to me. Role of a lifetime. Kent Thompson: Thank you for bringing us to Denver. Your theatre is a gem. Kemp: THANK YOU. Rocc Omari, Nik Walker, Colby Lewis, William Oliver Watkins, York Walker: Y'all Family. Lets kill it one more time this afternoon and then go home.

    Nik Walker (Sam Cooke): Theaters like this. Casts like this. Roles like this. Directors like this. Scripts like this. Crews like this. This is why I became an artist, in the hope that I would one day have an experience...like this. Happy closing, #‎DCPAMiami‬. Now let's blow this thing and go home.

    York Walker (Jamaal): Today we close One Night In Miami. This is a hard one to say goodbye to. Thank you to everyone at the DCPA for making this one of the best experiences I've ever had in the theatre. Kemp Powers has written an incredible play and it has been a blessing to be a part of it.

    One Night in Miami
    montage of scenes:



    Video: One Night in Miami
    production photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen:


    Our previous NewsCenter coverage of One Night in Miami:
    Video: Jasone Deland and Colby Lewis talk Miami at the Tattered Cover
    To Miami creator, 'It feels a lot like 1964 right now'
    How Miami playwright accidentally discovered The Black Justice League
    Video: Bringing four icons to the stage in Miami
    Watch a video montage of scenes from the play
    Fourth-graders have tough questions for One Night in Miami cast
    Photos: One Night in Miami is getting ready to rumble
    Video: An inside look at the making of One Night in Miami
    Video: DCPA cast gives shout-out to Baltimore Center Stage
    Full casting announced
    Video: Interview with One Night in Miami Director Carl Cofield
    New Denver Center season includes One Night in Miami
    Go to the official show page

    One Night in Miami 'meet the cast' videos:
    Meet Colby Lewis
    Meet Morocco Omari
    Meet Nik Walker
    Meet Jason Delane
    Meet York Walker
    Meet William Oliver Watkins


    Photos: Them making of One Night in Miami ... in Denver:

  • Actor Jonathan Crombie of 'Benediction' has died at 48

    by John Moore | Apr 18, 2015

    Jonathan Crombie. Photo by John Moore.
    Jonathan Crombie in 'Benediction.' Photo by John Moore.

    Actor Jonathan Crombie, who played two roles in the DCPA Theatre Company’s recent world premiere of Benediction, has died, Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson announced today.

    jonathan-crombieCrombie, who was best known for his work in the Anne of Green Gables movies, the Canadian TV series Slings & Arrows and starring on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone, suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage on Wednesday in New York City, and physicians could not revive him. He was 48.

    Thompson said it is both deeply painful and ironic that Crombie’s last job in the theatre was in Benediction, “a play about death, loss and pain, and how do we deal with it and go on?” he said.  

    Benediction was performed in January and February at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Thompson already is grieving Crombie’s smile, sensitivity and good spirit. “He was imaginative and clever and funny," Thompson said, "and I know everyone in the Benediction company is devastated by this news."

    Crombie came to Denver as a heartthrob turned major TV and film star. Thompson, who already had been a fan of Crombie's work, remembers doing a double-take when Crombie's name came up for possible casting. Thompson was impressed by Crombie's continued reinvention throughout his career, including his work with his stand-up comedy troupe, Skippy's Rangers.

    Benediction cast members knew Crombie as a fun and friendly colleague they finally convinced to come along with them to “Motown nights” at the nearby Beauty Bar in Denver.

    "The company liked him so much, and we were always very happy to have him around," said castmate Benjamin Bonenfant. "He almost even seemed embarrassed by the attention. He was kind, amiable and engaged. He was always game to talk about movies or politics or the craft. He was very generous, on and off stage."

    Added castmate Amelia Corrada, a student at Denver School of the Arts: "I remember on my first day of rehearsals, he was the first one to come up to me," she said. "Nervous as I was, he was the one who encouraged me. Such a fantastic man. Another quiet genius lost."

    Benediction was the final chapter in the late author Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy, which brought the Colorado plains and its rural residents to vivid life. The final chapter focused on a dying hardware store owner who is estranged from his adult son (Crombie).

    Richard and Frank presented two small but challenging roles for Crombie. The former was an unsuitable suitor to the dying man’s grown daughter; the latter, Frank, was presented onstage as a manifestation of the son the old man drove away as a teen when he discovered the boy was gay.

    Frank was a particularly challenging character, Thompson said, “because we never know for sure if he’s ghost, or real, or something in-between.

    “I was impressed because even though the roles were small on the page, Jonathan just kept working with his fellow actors, going over his scenes over and over to see what else he could discover. I am sure that kind of work ethic was the secret of his success throughout his career."

    Said audience member Marilyn Welsh: "He was absolutely riveting in those two small roles in Benediction. His performance exemplified the saying that it isn't the role, but the actor."

    Jonathan Crombie was born on Oct. 12, 1966, in Toronto. He was the son of David Crombie, who was mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978 and served as a federal Progressive Conservative cabinet minister in the 1980s.

    Crombie played Gilbert Blythe in the CBC movie series Anne of Green Gables between 1984 and 2000. He and his character became so popular in Canada, he happily took to answering to Gil as his new nickname. 

    “I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe,” his sister, Carrie Crombie, told the CBC. “He really enjoyed that series and was happy; very proud of it. I think his proudest part was when he played the lead in Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway. That was just an amazing thing for him to be able to do.”

    Slings & Arrows was a popular Canadian TV series set at a fictional Shakespearean festival similar to the real-world Stratford Festival (which Crombie performed at). In the second season, Crombie played a comically inept playwright named Lionel Train.

    Backstage at Benediction, the most drama you would get out of Crombie were epic cribbage matches with castmate Adrian Egolf.

    Carrie Crombie said she didn't think her brother had any major health issues, and was committed to staying healthy. She said his organs have been donated, "which is something he would have been proud of."

    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.

    Click here to read the CBC’s full tribute to Jonathan Crombie

    Statement from 'Benediction playwright Eric Schmiedl:

    “I’m trying understand what’s happening.”  Jonathan Crombie softly said this several times as we worked and reworked and re-reworked the meeting between Dad Lewis and his estranged son, Frank, in our stage adaptation of Kent Haruf’s novel Benediction for the DCPA Theatre Company.  Jonathan played the role of Frank.  While brief, this confrontation was critical to our understanding of Dad and his attempt to reconcile the events of his life, and it proved to be a tricky scene to get right.  I would bring in a new draft, and we would read through it.  Afterward, Jonathan would nod his head quickly several times keeping his eyes down on the script.  He would pause, cock his head to the right, smile and earnestly say, “I’m sorry, but …”  And this phrase would lead us into a lengthy discussion about Frank and his motivation for a particular statement as well as his overall reason for being in the play.  These conversations were intense.  They were sometimes awkward and often clumsy, and I cherished them because they forced me to drop my guard and look deeper at the character and the scene and the play.  In his firm but gentle manner Jonathan demanded it.  Now, I must say that in many ways Jonathan reflected in microcosm the talent, kindness, humor, and passion of the entire cast and company of Benediction at the Denver Center.  This was a truly remarkable collection of artists who not only challenged one another with the level of their artistry - they wholeheartedly celebrated each other’s achievements.  We were fierce about the story.  We were fierce about the play.  We were fierce about each other.  We were a unit – a family – which makes it all the more heartbreaking to have lost such a unique and essential part of our family.  Sometimes it feels like a curse, the ephemeral nature of theatre, but I think it may also be a blessing because it provides a heightened shimmer to these pivotal moments which can help us better “understand what’s happening” and to celebrate the wonderful opportunity they have provided for us.  Thank you Jonathan for helping us recognize this gift.  None of us, none of us will ever forget it."


    Jonathan Crombie with the cast of 'Benediction' on opening night. Photo by John Moore.
    Jonathan Crombie with the cast of the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Benediction' on opening night. Photo by John Moore.


    Jonathan Crombie: Theatrical bio

    U.S. theater includes: Freud's Last Session (Pittsburgh Public, Hartford Theaterworks); Clybourne Park, Beneatha's Place (Baltimore CenterStage); Drowsy Chaperone [as Man In Chair] (Broadway, National Tour).

    Canadian credits include: Oxford Roof-Climbers Rebellion, Dishwashers (Tarragon); Arcadia, What The Butler Saw (CanStage); Romeo & Juliet, Oedipus Rex, Comedy of Errors, Hamlet (Stratford); Godspell (New Vic); Dig? (Flatzbo); Film/TV includes: Haven, Good Wife, Cottage Country, Slings & Arrows, Power Play, Mount Royal, Bullies and Anne Of Green Gables. He's a member of the sketch troupe Skippy's Rangers and co-director of the documentary Waiting For Ishtar.

    Our previous coverage of Benediction:
    Opening night photos
    Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
    For two inaugural DCPA company actors, you can come home again
    Video, photos: DCPA celebrates life of Colorado novelist Kent Haruf
    'Benediction' opens as a celebration of ‘The Precious Ordinary’
    Video: Your first look at Benediction
    Doris Duke Foundation awards $125,000 for Benediction
    Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
    Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71
    Kent Thompson on the 2014-15 season, play by play
    2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete 'Plainsong' trilogy
    Video: 'Benediction' reading at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit

    Jonathan Crombie with castmaet Nance Williamson on opening night of 'Benediction.'. Photo by John Moore.

    Jonathan Crombie with castmate Nance Williamson on opening night of 'Benediction.' Photo by John Moore.
     
  • Meet the cast video series: Tony Vincent

    by John Moore | Apr 17, 2015


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 93: Meet Tony Vincent, who is making his DCPA debut playing the doubting Tom in the Theatre Company's world premiere production of the new rock musical The 12.

    Vincent grew up in nearby Albuquerque and signed a major record deal while just a sophomore in college. His theatre resume includes American Idiot, Rent, We Will Rock You and Jesus Christ Superstar, but the world (or 17 million of them anyway) saw Vincent compete every week on the second season of TV's The Voice in 2012.

    The 12 imagines what happened when the disciples went into hiding for the three days following Jesus' crucifixion. It plays through April 26, 2015, in The Stage Theatre.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes, 50 seconds.

    The 12: Ticket information
    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Video: Colin Hanlon and Gregory Treco talk The 12 at the Tattered Cover
    Photos: Opening night of The 12
    Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12


    Tony Vincent as Tom in 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    Tony Vincent as the doubting Tom in 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction
    Amelia Marie Corrada, Benediction
    Jason Delane, One Night in Miami
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Meet Adrian Egolf, Benediction
    Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
    Lenne Klingaman, Appoggiatura
    Darrie Lawrence
    , Appoggiatura
    Colby Lewis, One Night in Miami
    Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Nick Mills Appoggiatura
    Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Rob Nagle, Appoggiatura
    James Newcomb, Benediction
    Leslie O'Carroll, A Christmas Carol, Benediction
    Morocco Omari, One Night in Miami
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    Socorro Santiago, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies
    Nik Walker, One Night in Miami
    York Walker, One Night in Miami
    Nance Williamson, Benediction

  • Art and artist: Kevin Copenhaver tips his hats to Broadway's 'Doctor Zhivago'

    by John Moore | Apr 16, 2015

    Kevin Copenhaver. Photo by John Moore.
    Kevin Copenhaver. Photo by John Moore.


    There is not a more easily identifiable employee of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts than Kevin Copenhaver with his full silvery beard, layered mustache, tattoos and barbell-pierced ears.

    Copenhaver has a style all his own. On his face. On his skin. And in his work as both Costume Crafts Director and a resident Costume Designer for the DCPA Theatre Company.

    Ironically enough, Copenhaver owes much to the bullies back home in Ohio for both his personal style, and the man he has become.

    “Growing up, I was a really fat kid,” said Copenhaver, who was relentlessly teased in school. “My senior year, I just decided: ‘If you are going to make comments about the way I look … I'll give you something to look at.’ ”

    Copenhaver worked hard and lost weight. He colored his hair. Got his first ink. Pierced his ears.

    “I wanted to have some control over what was happening,” he said. “So that was my way of saying, ‘You can make fun of my purple hair, because I made the choice to color my hair. But don't make fun of me for being fat, because I didn’t make the choice to be a fat kid.' ”

    The skinny exhibitionist who has emerged is now completing his 24th season with the DCPA Theatre Company, and it is culminating with a major career milestone: Copenhaver was hired to build 16 hats for the Broadway production of Doctor Zhivago. It’s an adaptation of the epic 1957 novel by Boris Pasternak that follows a turn-of-the-century Russian poet who falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences severe wartime hardships.

    Sophia Gennusa, left, wears a hat by Kevin Copenhaver in Broadway's 'Doctor Zhivago.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.Sophia Gennusa, left, wears a hat by Kevin Copenhaver in Broadway's "Doctor Zhivago." Photo by Matthew Murphy.


    Copenhaver has worked on many national tours including the Denver-born Book of Mormon and The Lion King. But when Doctor Zhivago officially opens on Tuesday, it will be the first time Copenhaver’s work will have been seen on Broadway.

    And he has the DCPA’s launching of the new The Unsinkable Molly Brown last fall to thank for it. Paul Tazewell, the show’s New York-based Costume Designer, called on Copenhaver to help pull off that high-stakes world premiere here in Denver. And Tazewell called on him again, out of the blue, in February, to help him out with Zhivago.

    “We were running into a great challenge in Manhattan because the shops were so overbooked with upcoming Broadway openings and national tours, and no one could take on as much work as we needed,” said Tazewell, who has five Tony Award nominations. So he called Copenhaver.

    Paul Tazewell Quote.“Kevin is a wonderful artist, and I trusted that he could work long distance with me because that’s exactly what he did for me on Molly Brown," Tazewell said.

    The task: Build 16 hats from two different Russian periods: 1903 and the 1930s. The style, Tazewell said, is similar in period to Molly Brown.

    “When you see hats from 1903, you often just see lots of flowers. But 1903 hats were more than that,” Tazewell said. “There were flowers and ribbons and all kinds of bows. Kevin’s work is beautiful and beautifully finished. He gave me exactly what I was looking for and more.”

    Copenhaver said it was a creatively liberating project because Tazewell doesn’t design down to the tiniest little detail and then ask you to simply mimic what he has drawn. He sent Copenhaver research photos of the period and sketches of what he had in mind, and then gave Copenhaver freedom to create.

    “And then one day, boxes started arriving with fabric and feathers and trims with a note that said, ‘Here’s what you need for this actor - make me a hat,’ ” Copenhaver said.  

    He then built a “mock-up” of each hat. (Think of it as rough draft.)  He sent those back to New York, where they were fitted for each actor. Tazewell then asked for small revisions, such as, “Can we make this a half an inch higher?” or, “Can we switch this brim?" From that direction, Copenhaver built the actual hats.

    “Kevin was really a life-saver,” Tazewell said. “I am grateful for his work, and I am honored that I can help showcase his work in this show.”

    Copenhaver describes the unexpected assignment as “sort of surprising,” but it didn’t occur to him that making his Broadway debut is sort of a big deal until he started telling friends about it. “The people I told that I got this gig seemed more excited than I was at first because, you know, it's really just building some hats,” he said. “But the more I think about it ... yeah, it's pretty cool.”

    He now thinks of the assignment as not only an affirmation of his body of work, but of the DCPA itself. And he hopes this is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship with Tazewell.

    “I absolutely plan to stay here at he DCPA - this is my home,” he said. “But if Paul wants to throw some stuff my way every now and then, that would be great.”

    Copenhaver’s work will be seen locally next at the Town Hall Arts Center, where he is designing costumes for Young Frankenstein, directed by Nick Sugar and featuring Annie Dwyer. It opens May 15 (303-794-2787 or click here).

    Kevin Copenhaver's hats for 'Doctor Zhivago' in process. Photos courtesy Kevin Copenhaver.

    Kevin Copenhaver's hats for "Doctor Zhivago" in process. Photos courtesy Kevin Copenhaver. 



    We took the opportunity to reflect further on Copenhaver’s 24 years at the DCPA. Here are excerpts of our conversation:

    John Moore: When did you move to Colorado?

    Kevin Copenhaver: I moved here in September of 1990 for the job here at the DCPA. I was hired by Jan MacLeod to run the costume crafts shop for the 1990-91 season.

    John Moore: What’s the difference between a Costume Designer and a Costume Crafts Designer?

    Kevin Copenhaver: The crafts shop builds “things,” like hats, mask, armor and that kind of stuff. Not the dresses. Jan is the Costume Shop Director.

    John Moore: But you design costumes here as well.

    Kevin Copenhaver: Yes, I think I’ve designed 29 shows here, including A Christmas Carol five times. Once I designed five shows in one season.

    John Moore: So how does a crafts artist end up designing costumes?

    Kevin Copenhaver: The first show I designed here was A Servant of Two Masters. (Then Artistic Director) Donovan Marley put that in the season specifically because I had gone to Italy and studied the commedia dell'arte. Initially the thought was, “Kevin will do the masks for this show." And then they decided, "No, you should just design the show.” So that was the start of that. A year or two later, (Resident Costume Designer) Andrew Yelusich and I co-designed Pierre. Then the former Production Manager started slotting me in to design shows as a regular costume designer.

    John Moore: Can you name a show that has been a personal favorite?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Oedipus Rex. I really love Greek tragedy, so it was exciting to get the chance to work on an authentic production with all the masks. Also, Andrew was clinging to life at that time, and we became really good friends. It was just a very emotional time for me to be doing this huge Greek production while I was losing the person I most considered to be my mentor. I was very proud of how that show turned out.

    John Moore: What will your 25th season at the DCPA mean to you?

    Kevin Copenhaver: It’s kind of astonishing to me that it has been that long already. When I initially got the job, I was in the gypsy mode, as a lot of us are when you first start out. So it just didn’t occur to me that this would become home. It’s kind of unheard of in this industry. So I am an anomaly.

    John Moore: When did you know this place was home?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Probably after my third or fourth season. We were doing some really interesting stuff. This was a very supportive place. And I wanted to keep working with Andrew.

    John Moore: So what's your next tattoo?

    Kevin Copenhaver: My mom died two summers ago. I would like to tattoo something that is symbolic of her - but I also want to weave something of myself into it as well.

    John Moore: Is your father still alive?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Yes. He is a retired preacher, and he certainly did not approve of a lot of things I did in terms of my appearance. He used to harass me because I had really long hair. But when I was visiting him one day in Ohio after my mom passed away, we were just hanging out and he told me that he was jealous of my beard.

    John Moore: Really?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Oh, yeah. He said, "I always wanted whiskers … but I could never grow any." I thought that was sweet.

    John Moore: I don’t think I have ever seen you clean-shaven.

    Kevin Copenhaver: I have had some form of facial hair since college.

    John Moore: How come?

    Kevin Copenhaver: I just feel like I look better with facial hair. 

    Kevin Copenhaver quote, John Moore: And how do you describe your personal style?

    Kevin Copenhaver: I was a freshman in high school when I discovered alternative music. I was at a party and somebody put on the B-52s’ “Rock Lobster,” and it changed my life. I am not kidding you. At the time, that was considered alternative. That is when I started visually exploring. I grew my hair long. I was wearing mascara and guyliner to school, and I pierced my nose. When I was in college, I worked really hard at not looking like everybody else. I used to spend a lot of time putting my outfits together. Now I just need to be comfortable. But honestly, if I knew I wouldn't look ridiculous - I would probably still have purple hair.

    John Moore: You have had pretty much all colors, haven’t you?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Yes. When we were doing Tantalus, the work on that show was crazy. Someone would be in the shop by 6 in the morning, and we would all be here until 1 or 2 in the morning. There were a couple nights where we would just get slap-happy. I had bleach-blonde hair then, and I started adding color in. I wound up with red and orange hair, and I used to joke that my head was on fire from trying to get through Tantalus.

    John Moore: How many ear piercings do you have?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Right now I have four on one side and two on the other. I used to have them going all the way up. I had seven or eight at one time in one ear. 

    John Moore: So if you were to run into your bullied, pudgy, 16-year-old self now, what would you tell him to encourage him through those tough times?

    Kevin Copenhaver: Probably, "Don't be afraid." I used to really care about what people thought of me. I used to think, “Well, if they are saying it, that must be the truth.” I don't feel like that now.

    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.


    Previous DCPA 'Art and Artist' profiles:
    Stage manager Jennifer Schmitz
    Costume Designer Megan Anderson Doyle
    Graphic Designer Kyle Malone
    Stage Manager Kurt Van Raden
    Teaching Artist Jessica Austgen
    Head of Acting Lawrence Hecht
    Lighting Designer Charles MacLeod
    Director of I.T. Bruce Montgomery
    Stage Manager Lyle Raper

    Video: Kevin Copenhaver and the art of Costume Quackery
    :


    Check out our video from 2014 following Kevin Copenhaver and the creation of three separate costumes for "Animal Crackers."


    Kevin Copenhaver. Photo by John Moore.
  • Page to Stage: Jason Delane and Colby Lewis of 'One Night in Miami'

    by John Moore | Apr 14, 2015


    Brief video highlights from this month’s Page to Stage noontime conversation at the Tattered Cover Book Store with One Night in Miami cast members Jason Delane (Malcolm X) and Colby Lewis (Cassius Clay).

    Jason Delane and Colby Lewis at Page to Stage. Photo by Joohn Moore. The pair fielded a variety of questions from host John Moore, including the value of a predominantly white audience base seeing this play right here and right now.

    "If I do my job well," Lewis responded, "all of you can have a conversation about what's going on in the play that translates into the news that you watch the next morning."

    One Night in Miami
    plays only through April 19 at The Space Theatre.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen and John Moore.


    One Night in Miami production photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen:



    One Night in Miami: Ticket information
    Performances through April 19
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Our previous coverage of One Night in Miami:
    To Miami creator, 'It feels a lot like 1964 right now'
    How Miami playwright accidentally discovered The Black Justice League
    Video: Bringing four icons to the stage in Miami
    Watch a video montage of scenes from the play
    Fourth-graders have tough questions for One Night in Miami cast
    Photos: One Night in Miami is getting ready to rumble
    Video: An inside look at the making of One Night in Miami
    Video: DCPA cast gives shout-out to Baltimore Center Stage
    Full casting announced
    Video: Interview with One Night in Miami Director Carl Cofield
    New Denver Center season includes One Night in Miami
    Go to the official show page

    One Night in Miami 'meet the cast' videos:
    Meet Colby Lewis
    Meet Morocco Omari
    Meet Nik Walker
    Meet Jason Delane
    Meet York Walker
    Meet William Oliver Watkins
  • Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund

    by John Moore | Apr 13, 2015
    Annaleigh Ashford meets high-school thespians from Denver School of the Arts at her Saturday cabaret performance. Photo by John Moore.
    Annaleigh Ashford meets high-school thespians from Denver School of the Arts at her Saturday cabaret performance. Photo by John Moore.


    Tony-nominated Broadway star Annaleigh Ashford raised $735 over the weekend for the new Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards, which supports the advancement of musical theatre for Colorado high school students.

    Ashford, a graduate of Wheat Ridge High School, signed 60 posters that were then put up for sale during her two special cabaret performances at the Garner Galleria Theatre this past weekend.

    Annaleigh Ashford. Photo by John Moore. The posters went for $10 each, and they all sold. And because some patrons contributed more than $10, the total exceeded the $600 goal.

    Weeks, who spearheaded the creation of The Bobby G Awards in 2013, worked at the DCPA from 1978 until his sudden death in 2014. The DCPA President and Broadway Executive Director was instrumental in opening the Garner Galleria Theatre in 1992, as well as creation of the Women’s Voices Fund

    The Bobby G Awards, named for Broadway touring pioneer Robert Garner, is both a local high school musical theatre celebration and a participant in the National High School Musical Theater Awards every spring in New York City.

    Randy Weeks, PresidentThe Bobby G Awards are now in their third year. Thirty high schools throughout Colorado have had their musicals adjudicated by professional theatre experts this school year. Participating schools receive detailed feedback on their musical production and may be nominated for May 28 annual awards show, modeled after the Tony Awards and held in The Buell Theatre.

    The awards ceremony includes performances from all shows nominated for Outstanding Overall Production and a medley featuring all nominees for Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Leading Role. Students and educators also are honored in the areas of performance, design, direction, choreography, technical production and overall production excellence.

    And the male and female winners for Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Leading Role will travel to New York to represent Colorado at the National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmys).

    Contributions to the Randy Weeks Memorial Fund are tax deductible. You can make a gift online, or by check, payable to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

    Mail to DCPA Development Office
    1101 13th St, Denver, CO 80204.
    Call 303-572-4593 with any question


    Annaleigh Ashford signs posters to benefit the Bobby G Awards' Randy Weeks Memorial Fund. Photo by John Moore.
    Annaleigh Ashford signs posters to benefit the Bobby G Awards' Randy Weeks Memorial Fund. Photo by John Moore.


    Our previous NewsCenter coverage of Annaleigh Ashford:

    Photos: Annaleigh Ashford's smashing return to Denver
    Video: Annaleigh Ashford's Day in Denver
    Our exclusive interview with Annaleigh Ashford
    Our backstage interview backstage at Kinky Boots including Andy Kelso
    Video: Watch Annaleigh perform at last week's Miscast in New York


    Our photo gallery covering Annaleigh Ashford's return to Denver. All photos are available for free downloading, in a variety of sizes.
    Just click here.
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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.