• Video: Talking turkey with the cast of 'The 12'

    by John Moore | Apr 25, 2015


    Cast members from the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere musical The 12 field several questions about what their new show is, and who it is for. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore's guests include Christina Sajous, Tony Vincent, Colin Hanlon and Gregory Treco. 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. Run time: 3 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

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Watch the cast of the 12 rock Elitch Gardens' roller coasters

    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

    The cast of 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. The cast of 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
  • Video: Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo on coming home to Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 24, 2015

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk.


    Ace Young and Diana Degarmo, who star in the national touring production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Photo by John Moore. Married stars Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo talk about ending their 15-month national touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Denver, not far from Young's hometown of Boulder. "This is a dream come true,” Young says. "The first musical I ever saw was here. For me, it feels like I am going into a state championship baseball game. Fortunately, I have done that seven times. I have never done this. So I feel like a kid in the candy store." Joseph plays only through Sunday (April 26). Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org.

    Photo: Ace Young, Diana DeGarmo and their little Denver Broncos fan-dog, Rosie. Photo by John Moore.

    More coverage of Joseph on the DCPA NewsCenter:

    Interview: 'Joseph' brings Boulder native Ace Young home
    Go to the show page


    Video: Ace Young proposes to Diana DeGarmo live on "American Idol'':

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
    Ticket information

    April 22-26
    Buell Theatre
    Call 303-893-4100 or buy online
    Note: ASL interpreted, Audio described and Open Captioned performance: 2 p.m. April 25

    Ace Young as Joseph and his wife, Diana Degarmo, as the narrator in the national touring production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Photo by Daniel A. Swalec

    Ace Young as Joseph and his wife, Diana Degarmo, as the narrator in the national touring production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Photo by Daniel A. Swalec

  • 2015 Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Will Power

    by John Moore | Apr 24, 2015
    VIDEO: Video by David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    PHOTOS:
    Photos from the 2015 Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. All photos are available for free downloading at a variety of file sizes. Just click here


    By John Moore
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist

    Jessica Quiñónez locked hands in a circle with her 15 students from Newlon Elementary School and told them not to be nervous when their time came to perform at today’s 31st annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival.

    But … her line of little Shakespeareans did look a teensy-bit nervous, from her dapper young Petruchio with the swashbuckling musketeer hat down to her lovely little Bianca.

    “But there is no reason to be scared, because you have practiced for this for so long,” she reassured them.

    Oh, and one more thing, she told them: “Be loud!”

    They listened.

    Newlon Elementary teacher Jessica Quiñónez. Photo by John Moore. For Quiñónez’s students, six months of hard work culminated with only about 5 glorious minutes of performance time under a tent on the grounds of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. 

    And it was worth every millisecond of it, said Quiñónez (pictured at right).

    “They got so amped up to do this, and they learned so much,” said Quiñónez, whose third- through fifth-graders performed two short scenes and a dance from The Taming of the Shrew

    “They learned how to act and how to become their characters. But more important, they learned how to be on a team together, and they learned how to embrace each other’s different cultures,” she said. “Everybody is different but we all came together for one goal, and that was to perform at the festival and, of all things, on the Olde Globe stage.”

    The 31st DPS Shakespeare Festival drew more than 5,000 students from 70 schools in grades kindergarten through high school who performed more than 640 short scenes, dances, soliloquies and sonnets. They all had to audition to get in, and those deemed most promising by the judges were invited to perform today on the Olde Globe Stage. This was the first time students from Newlon, located in Denver’s Barnum West neighborhood, have been invited to perform alongside the best of the best.

    “That was a huge accomplishment for our school,” said Quiñónez.

    Newlon Elementary teacher Jessica Quiñónez with her students and Devin Seligsohn. Photo by John Moore.

    Newlon Elementary teacher Jessica Quiñónez (above and right) with her students and director, Devin Seligsohn. Photo by John Moore.


    She had some help from an office worker named Devin Seligsohn, who directed the project starting in November. The costumes mostly came from the DPS’ district warehouse, but like many teachers, Quiñónez and Seligsohn threw in about $250 of their own money to cover other expenses.

    And like about half of the DPS enrollment, many of Quiñónez’s students are learning English as a second language. She said learning Shakespeare “absolutely” has helped her students improve their English. One of her little thespians speaks fluent Spanish, but practicing to play Biondello for the festival gave her the confidence not only to say her words in the Bard’s English – she threw in a little accent as well. Her character assists Lucentio in his scheme to win the love of Bianca.

    “She really embraced this whole experience, and it has helped her with her English,” said Quiñónez. “I think it’s the fun of it that makes learning more interesting. It really makes her want to learn the words.

    “It’s just amazing for them to be able to do all of this this at a DPS school.”

    While the DPS Shakespeare festival has long played out in and around the DCPA’s grounds, this was the DCPA’s first year as a full partner of the event. DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous said it’s a partnership that makes perfect sense. 

    “We are the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, in the center of downtown - and this is our school district,” she said. “The DPS is one of our greatest partnerships already, so if we can be a champion for them, that’s what we want to do. Especially for those schools that do not have arts programming due to budget cuts or time constraints, it’s great that we can support this program.”

    DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous was the Grand Marshall of this year's parade. Photo by John Moore.
    DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous was the Grand Marshall of this year's parade. Photo by John Moore. 


    Watrous served as the Grand Marshall for the short parade that preceded the astonishing array of performances that played out every few minutes on 14 stages spreading from Sculpture Park to - no kidding - the upper decks of the nearby city parking lot.

    She said the Newlon students’ experience is a perfect example of the festival’s goal to emphasize process over performance. 

    “As actors and theatre artists, we know that process is the most important part,” she said. “It’s the preparation that gives us the chance to figure out what these words mean, how to say them and how to best put them out into the world.

    “We know that theatre gives students portable skills. Will they end up in theatre? Maybe not, but the skills they learn here are skills they can use in their careers.” 

    In her introductory remarks to the crowd that gathered this morning at Skyline Park, Watrous called this festival a treasured community event that continues to enrich the lives of students.

    “Shakespeare and the theatre shows us the power of language and gives us the ability to see the world in metaphor, and to paint with images. These rich gifts lead up to empathy and critical thinking," she said.

    “The DCPA is dedicated to arts in education, and believes that every student deserves opportunities like this.” 

    CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FULL GALLERY OF FESTIVAL PHOTOS

    Every year, exceptional students are chosen to portray Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth at the opening ceremonies. This year’s honorees were seniors from Denver School of the Arts: Noah Anderson, who has been active with DCPA Education programs for several years and last year was an understudy in the Theatre Company’s production of black odyssey; and fellow senior Stacey Tilton. And, as always, Denver City Auditor Dennis J. Gallagher serenaded the crowd with an always letter-perfect, memorized sonnet.

    Injured Denver police officer released from hospital

    Many at the front of the crowd for the morning parade saw a disturbing sight when the horse that was to lead the festival dignitaries in a carriage suddenly bucked and kicked a Denver police officer square in the face. The officer suffered a facial laceration and was bleeding profusely. A Denver police spokesman said the officer never lost consciousness and was treated and released after being transported to Denver Health.

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

    More NewsCenter coverage of the DPS Shakespeare Festival:

    DPS Shakespeare Festival returns with DCPA as new partner
    Photos: 2014 Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival


    A Shakespeare 800 3
    Queen Elizabeth, as played by Stacey Tilton, is second from left. Noah Anderson, as Shakespeare, is far right. Photo by John Moore.

    Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore.
  • Video: Denver First Lady hosts students, 'Motown' cast members

    by John Moore | Apr 24, 2015

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk.




    Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee with 'Motown' actors Reed L. Shannon and Leon Outlaw Jr. at Cableland. Photo by Emily Lozow. Motown at CablelandDenver First Lady Mary Louise Lee hosted students from Denver's Hamilton and Florida Pitt Waller middle schools for an afternoon of pizza, performances and inspiring conversations from Motown the Musical national touring production cast members.  And when the students were asked to return the favor, they sang a few songs for the pros as well.

    The participating Motown cast members included   Clifton Oliver, Leon Outlaw Jr., Reed L. Shannon, Patrice Covington, Ashley Tamar Davis and Martina Sykes.

    "I want everyone to know that this could be you too," said Lee, also the founder of  a nonprofit called the Bringing Back The Arts Foundation. "You can be anything you set your mind to. You can be an astronaut.  You can can be an architect. You an be the mayor of Denver. It doesn't matter what color you are, or where you come from."



    Pictured above: Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee with Motown actors Reed L. Shannon and Leon Outlaw Jr. at Cableland. Photo by Emily Lozow.

    Our photo gallery from the day at Cableland:


    Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • 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 four-year task force today 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,” he said. 

    “It’s the right thing to do,” added DCPA Chairman Daniel L. Ritchie, who has been a member of the task force since it began in 2011. He 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.
  • 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

  • Meet the cast video series: Christina Sajous

    by John Moore | Apr 18, 2015
    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 94: Meet Christina Sajous, who is making her DCPA debut playing Mary Magdalene in the Theatre Company's world premiere production of the new rock musical The 12.

    Sajous grew up in New York City but is familiar with the Denver area because she has a brother who lives in Windsor. She has been especially impressed with the Denver Performing Arts Complex. "It feels like New York City to me, especially this area where the Denver Center is," she says. "It's kind of like a mini-Lincoln Center, which I love. There is a lot of activity. A lot of appreciation for the theatre. It is so exciting."

    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

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

    Tony Vincent as Tom

    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



    Christina Sajous performs as Mary Magdalene in 'The 12' for the DCPA Theatre Company. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
    Christina Sajous performs as Mary Magdalene 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

  • 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

  • Page to Stage: Colin Hanlon and Gregory Treco of 'The 12'

    by John Moore | Apr 16, 2015


    Colin Hanlon and Gregory Treco Brief video highlights from this month’s Page to Stage noontime conversation at the Tattered Cover Book Store with The 12 cast members Colin Hanlon (Peter) and Gregory Treco (Simon).

    The pair fielded a variety of questions from host John Moore, including potential audience preconceptions and the show's ultimate message. "I think the creators' hope is that you will walk out having an experience that everyone can relate to of losing somebody really important," says Hanlon. "I think people walk out hopefully saying, 'What a  beautiful message that is, love.' "

    The 12 plays through April 26 at The Stage Theatre. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.


    The 12 production photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen:



    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
  • 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
  • 'Motown' moments: Smooth moves earn retired Colonel trip to Boston

    by John Moore | Apr 13, 2015



    Shel and Karen Oli with 'Motown' star Allison Semmes. Photo by John Moore. Retired Air Force Colonel Shel Omi of Wheat Ridge won CBS-4's Motown superfan contest by submitting video of his father-daughter wedding dance to the Motown "My Girl," with his daughter, Paige.

    Omi won a trip to see 'Motown the Musical' in Boston, where he met cast members and took a private a backstage tour. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore and Video Producer David Lenk talked with Col. Omi at Opening Night of the national touring production's current stop in Denver, which runs through April 19.

    Footage from Boston courtesy CBS-4 Critic-at-Large Greg Moody. Pictured above: Shel and Karen Omi with Motown the Musical star Allison Semmes. Photo by John Moore.

    Watch the video of the full father-daughter dance by clicking here

    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    9News' TaRhonda Thomas is a Supreme for a Day
    Video: A 'Motown' national anthem at Denver Nuggets game
    Mayor declares 'Motown the Musical Day' in Denver
    Video: Our Little Michael Jacksons in Denver
    Video: Allison Semmes on channeling Diana Ross
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes

    Shel Omi with his family at the opening of 'Motown the Musical' in Denver. Photo by John Moore. Shel Omi with his family at the opening of 'Motown the Musical' in Denver. Photo by John Moore.
  • Photos: Annaleigh Ashford's smashing return to Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 12, 2015

    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.


    Tony Award-nominated Broadway star Annaleigh Ashford returned home Saturday for the first of two special cabaret performances at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    Annaleigh Ashford and Molly Nash. Ashford once perfdormed a benefit concert to defray Nash's medical expenses. Photo by John Moore. Lost in the Stars was an evening of songs and stories that she will perform again at 5 p.m. tonight (Sunday, April 12). Ashford revisited the disco of Donna Summer, Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall, and even emceed an Alanis Morissette singalong. She also performed a medley from her Broadway and off-Broadway shows. It was all woven together by Ashford's heartfelt stories, many of which covered the Wheat Ridge High School alum's days growing up in Denver.

    Saturday's performance brought dozens of friends and influences from Ashford's days growing up in Denver. There was a meet-and-greet after the show, and we were there for pictures. (There is not a similar reception after tonight's show because Ashford has a plane to catch.) Photos by John Moore.

    Pictured above right: Annaleigh Ashford and Molly Nash. Ashford once performed a benefit concert to help defray Nash's medical expenses.


    READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ANNALEIGH ASHFORD HERE


    Steven Tangedal played Annaleigh Ashford's grandmother in 'Ruthless the Musical' when Ashford was 10 years old. Photo by John Moore.

    Steven Tangedal played Annaleigh Ashford's grandmother in "Ruthless the Musical" when Ashford was 10 years old. Photo by John Moore.


    Annaleigh Ashford's family after the Saturday night performance. Photo by John Moore.
    Annaleigh Ashford's family after the Saturday night performance. Photo by John Moore.


    Annaleigh Ashford
    – Lost in the Stars: Ticket information

    • 5 p.m. Sunday, April 12
    • Single tickets start at $50
    • To charge by phone, call 303-893-4100
    • buy online
    Please be advised that The Denver Center for the Performing Arts – including  DenverCenter.Org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of “Annaleigh Ashford – Lost in the Stars”




    Our previous NewsCenter coverage of Annaleigh Ashford:


    Video: Follow Annaleigh Ashford's day in Denver promoting "Lost in the Stars," including co-hosting "Colorado's Everyday Show" with Kathie J, and a stop at the DCPA's Page to Stage monthly conversation at the Tattered Cover Book Store. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

    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


  • 9News' TaRhonda Thomas is a Supreme for a Day

    by John Moore | Apr 10, 2015


    TaRhonda Thomas of 9News got to be a Supreme for a Day. She got to wear the hot pink, she got dance and vocal lessons, and yes, she got to stop in the name of love during the Friday morning newscast, with some help from the national touring production of "Motown the Musical" cast and crew. We followed the making of the fun 9News segment. Helping out were Musical Director/Conductor Darryl Archibald, Dance Captain Rod Harrelson,  Wardrobe Supervisor Heather Yerrick and, as The Supremes, Jennie Harney and Krisha Marcano.

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

    Click here to watch TaRhonda Thomas' report for 9News

    And here are our photos from TaRhonda's Day as a Supreme:




    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    Video: A 'Motown' national anthem at Denver Nuggets game
    Mayor declares 'Motown the Musical Day' in Denver
    Video: Our Little Michael Jacksons in Denver
    Video: Allison Semmes on channeling Diana Ross
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes




    TaRhonda Thomas of 9News plays Diana Ross with Jennie Harney and Krisha Marcano of 'Motown the Musical' as her Supremes. Photo by John Moore.
    TaRhonda Thomas of 9News plays Diana Ross with Jennie Harney and Krisha Marcano of 'Motown the Musical' as her Supremes. Photo by John Moore.
  • Video: A 'Motown' national anthem at Denver Nuggets game

    by John Moore | Apr 09, 2015

    Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., who plays Jermaine Jackson and a Temptation in the national touring production of Motown the Musical that plays in Denver through April 19, sings the national anthem before the Denver Nuggets' impressive victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on April 8, 2015.

    Video by Emily Lozow, Alicia Giersch, Heidi Bosk and John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. Photo by Heidi Bosk.
    Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. at the Pepsi Center before singing the national anthem at the Denver Nuggets' game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Heidi Bosk.


    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    Mayor declares 'Motown the Musical Day' in Denver
    Video: Our Little Michael Jacksons in Denver
    Video: Allison Semmes on channeling Diana Ross
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes

    Photos of Motown the Musical's stay in Denver:


    Here are  photos from the national touring production of 'Motown The Musical' in Denver. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow.



  • Video: Mayor declares 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 06, 2015


    Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and his wife, Mary Louise Lee. Photo by John Moore. On Friday, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock declared April 3 to be Motown The Musical Day in Denver. He was accompanied by his wife, performer Mary Louise Lee.

    Hancock and Lee celebrated their 20th anniversary by flying to New York and seeing Motown The Musical on Broadway. The Hancocks already have attended the show three times in Denver. Hear what they have to say about the importance of Motown music not only for them, but for all music lovers.

    Lee made her professional debut at age 18 performing in the Motown inspired musical Beehive at what is now the Garner Galleria Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

    The national touring production of Motown The Musical will be visiting Denver through April 19.

    Read the entire proclamation at the bottom of this page.

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

    Mayor Michael B. Hancock and wife Mary Louise Lee declare April 3 to be 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver. Phot by John Moore.
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock and wife Mary Louise Lee declare April 3 to be 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver. Photo by John Moore.



    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    Video: Our Little Michael Jacksons in Denver
    Video: Allison Semmes on channeling Diana Ross
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes

    Photos of Motown the Musical's stay in Denver:


    Here are  photos from the national touring production of 'Motown The Musical' in Denver. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow.



    The proclamation:
    April 3 is 'Motown the Musical' Day in Denver.
  • How 'Miami' playwright accidentally discovered The Black Justice League

    by John Moore | Apr 05, 2015


    In the video above, the actors from 'One Night in Miami' talk about portraying four of the greatest entertainment and cultural icons of the 20th century at varying stages of their fame.


    The DCPA’s new rock musical The 12 and the searing drama One Night in Miami have at least one surprising commonality: Both are fictional explorations of very real historical events and personalities.

    While The 12 imagines what might have happened between the disciples in the three days after Jesus’ crucifixion, One Night in Miami imagines the conversation between Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke in the hours immediately after Clay shocked Sonny Liston — and the world — to win the world heavyweight boxing championship. The next morning, Clay announced his allegiance to the Nation of Islam and the changing of his name to Muhammad Ali.

    Director Carl Cofield with 'One Night in Miami' playwright Kemp Powers on opening night in Denver. Photo by John Moore. For longtime journalist and first-time playwright Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami was a liberating creative writing opportunity. But it took him some time to resolve the journalist’s need for absolute accuracy with the playwright’s charge to invent a compelling theatrical drama.

    “If you had asked me who my four favorite people in the world were, I would have said those four,” Powers said. “So when I read in Mike Marqusee’s book Redemption Song that they were friends, I thought, ‘OK, I just accidentally discovered The Black Justice League.’ 

    “The first draft was really rough because I had to get away from being such a huge fan of all four of them. I needed to bring these guys down to a human level.”

    The play started to work, Powers said, only when he relieved himself of the responsibility of having to exactly and completely represent these four cultural giants.

    “What I quickly learned is that we are now living in an age where, if a person wants to know anything about a famous person, all they have to do is Google them,” Powers said, “and that’s when I was able to let go of the educational and historical obligations I was feeling and focus completely on the story.”

    That story is a small slice-of-life — just one with enormous historical implications. 

    “I approached this meeting as a simple gathering of four good friends who respect each other but have some significant differences of opinion,” Powers said. “Four good friends who maybe didn’t expect to be in this room or to have anything to celebrate on this night. But the outcome of the fight changed everything.”

    Kemp Powers QuoteStill, these are, irretrievably, real men. And audiences will come to the DCPA with preconceived notions of who they are, how they should look and how they should speak. One Night in Miami Director Carl Cofield considers Jim Brown “The black James Bond.” Cofield named his own son Cassius. As in Cassius Marcellus Clay, the 19th-Century abolitionist. The same man after whom Muhammad Ali’s father was named.

    “That the young Cassius Clay (the boxer) was so rooted in his conviction was important to me,” Cofield said, “and the man he would go on to be. Even though he was young, he was wise, and he chose a path he believed in his heart was the path for him.”

    Despite audience expectations, Powers said the play works best when the actors playing these four cultural icons don’t try to do mere imitations of them.

    “You want people who can get to the truth of these men, as they are written in this script,” he said. “There are certain things that each actor will say that may make them very recognizable to the audience as these four specific men. But this isn’t a variety show with impersonations.”

    In that case, then, how much does truth matter? It’s everything, Powers said.

    “Even though this is a fictional conversation, all of the stories they talk about are real things that have happened to them,” he said. “The audience is going to come in knowing that Cassius Clay is going to become Muhammad Ali. They are coming in knowing that Sam Cooke wrote 'A Change is Gonna Come.'

    “But then again, if people come in feeling, ‘Well, I already know all there is to know about these guys,’ then my challenge becomes: What can I do to make it completely surprising despite all of that?”

    Powers points to the character of Malcolm X, who is presented in the play in a way he doesn’t think anyone has ever seen before, he said.

    “This isn’t The Autobiography of Malcolm X," he said. "I try to paint a more nuanced version of him that comes from more modern readings on Malcolm X, including Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.”

    Audiences also will come in knowing full well what happens after the play ends.

    “We know that a year after this fight, things are never the same,” Cofield said. “We know that two of these four men are dead. Malcolm X is assassinated, and Sam Cooke is killed in mysterious circumstances outside a Los Angeles hotel in a convertible Ferrari with a bottle of whiskey and a Final Call newspaper, which is very, very telling, because that is the official newspaper of the Nation of Islam.”

    But for all that is definitively known, what happened in that Miami hotel room in 1964 remains largely unknowable. “All that we know for certain is that the only food they had available to eat was vanilla ice cream,” Cofield said.

    And so writing One Night in Miami as a play allowed Powers to write a story he never could have authoritatively pulled off as a journalist. And he’s glad for it.

    “Having this be a fiction that is based on facts takes all of those journalistic constraints off of me and opens up an entirely new world,” Powers said. 

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




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

    Our previous coverage of One Night in Miami:
    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
  • Video: 'Motown' moments: Allison Semmes on Opening Night in Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 02, 2015


    Allison Semmes in Denver. Photo by John Moore. Allison Semmes, who is playing Diana Ross in the national touring production of Motown the Musical that just opened in Denver, talks with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore just after the opening performance at the Buell Theatre. Motown the Musical plays through April 19.

    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | buy online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site


    Previous coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    Video: Scott Shiller's first day as DCPA CEO is Motown's opening night
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Photos: Motown in Denver
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes


    Here are  photos from the national touring production of Motown The Musical's opening night in Denver on Tuesday, March 31. Photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow.

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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.