• Photos: 'One Night in Miami' is getting ready to rumble

    by John Moore | Feb 27, 2015
    Images from the making of 'One Night in Miami' in Denver, to date. Photos by John Moore.


    One Night in Miami has had two stagings to date – one at the Rogue Machine in Los Angeles, and the other at Baltimore CenterStage. Both enjoyed extended hit runs. The L.A. production earned four NAACP Awards, while the separate Baltimore production broke CenterStage's 52-year box-office record.

    After that first production in L.A., “I called every artistic director, producing artistic director and literary manager that I had in my Rolodex,” said Carl Cofield, the play’s L.A. director.

    Two people responded: The Artistic Directors at Baltimore CenterStage and the DCPA Theatre Company.

    “One of the greatest things that Kent Thompson said to me was, ‘I will see the play with one stipulation -- that I pay for my own ticket,’ “ Cofield said. “He put his money where his mouth is.”

    Thompson did more than that – he put One Night in Miami on the Theatre Company’s 2014-15 season. “As soon as I saw it, I immediately wanted to do it,” Thompson said. And he wanted Cofield to direct it.

    Playwright Kemp Powers’ script imagines what occurred the night boxer Cassius Clay spent with activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football player Jim Brown after Clay's historic win over heavyweight champ Sonny Liston in 1964.

    “I'm not a competitive person,” Cofield said with a grin while relaying this story to cast, crew, and supporters gathered at the public first rehearsal in Denver last week. “But with this group of extraordinary actors, and with a design team that is out of this world … I want to see if we can push some records here in Denver.”

    What fascinated Thompson when he read the script were its subject, events and themes. “It brought back a lot of memories for me, having grown up in the South,” Thompson said. “I can remember that night, and I think what Kemp has done with the play is really fascinating. I was also taken Carl's direction of the play in Los Angeles, and I know the kind of persuasive, articulate, passionate artist he's always been, so I'm delighted he's at the helm." 

    Thompson hired Cofield as an actor at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival more than a decade ago.

    “I stand here in a tremendous debt of gratitude to Kent Thompson,” Cofield said. “The big word I kept thinking about on the plane ride here to Denver was serendipity. … Serendipity in that nothing happens by accident.

    “I am a seventh-generation Floridian. I was reared in Miami. My son's name is Cassius. So if I couldn't direct this play … I couldn't direct traffic.

    Cofield added that “as a kid and as a younger artist, the DCPA was one of the places I put up on my wish board. If I could ever work at any theater, this would be it. Why? Because people in Denver have a sense of agency about their theatre. Everybody I have met feels like this is their theater as a Coloradan. That sense of agency is palpable.”

    Cast list (in order of appearance):
    Sam Cooke: Nik Walker
    Jamal: York Walker
    Kareem: William Oliver Watkins
    Malcolm X: Jason Delane
    Cassius Clay: Colby Lewis
    Jim Brown: Morocco Omari
     
    'One Night in Miami': Ticket information
    Performances run March 20 through April 19.
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily except Mondays
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site here

    Our previous coverage of One Night in Miami:
    Video: DCPA's 'One Night in Miami' 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' Director Carl Cofield at the first rehearsal at the DCPA. Photo by John Moore.
    'One Night in Miami' Director Carl Cofield at the first rehearsal at the DCPA. Photo by John Moore.
  • Meet the cast video series: Billie McBride

    by John Moore | Feb 26, 2015



    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 87: Meet Billie McBride, recent recipient of the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award. ("The first thought was: 'Oh my God, they think I am that old?' ") After several understudy gigs, Billie is making her DCPA Theatre Company debut playing straight-talking Willa in the world-premiere staging of "Benediction." Billie talks about her illicit Broadway past with Harvey Fierstein, Angela Lansbury, and why it is she still calls Denver home ("The people").

    The Theatre Company's world premiere of Benediction is a powerful drama made up of three interwoven family stories set on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

    Benediction: Ticket information
    Performances run through March 1
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    More Benediction videos:
    Meet Joyce Cohen
    Meet Mike Hartman
    Meet Nance Williamson
    Meet Leslie O'Carroll
    Meet Adrian Egolf
    Meet James Newcomb
    Meet Amelia Marie Corrada

    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    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
    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
    Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
    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

      Billie McBride. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
      Nance Williamson, Billie McBride and Zoe Delaney Stahlhut in 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
    • Meet the cast video series: Amelia Marie Corrada

      by John Moore | Feb 26, 2015

      In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 86: Meet Amelia Marie Corrada, a sophomore at Denver School of the Arts who is making her DCPA Theatre Company debut as bad girl Genevieve Larson, a bored Goth-like teen from fictional Holt who takes a passing liking to the preacher's kid, in Benediction.

      Amelia talks about her affinities for, among other things, ice cream, Shakespeare and playwright Matthew Lopez. Denver in fact, "may have the best ice cream in the world," she boldly asserts.

      The Theatre Company's world premiere of Benediction is a powerful drama made up of three interwoven family stories set on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado. Video by John Moore. Run time: 2 minutes, 10 seconds.

      Benediction: Ticket information
      Performances run through March 1
      Space Theatre
      Performances daily except Mondays
      Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

      More Benediction videos:
      Meet Joyce Cohen
      Meet Mike Hartman
      Meet Nance Williamson
      Meet Leslie O'Carroll
      Meet Adrian Egolf
      Meet James Newcomb

      Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

      Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
      Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
      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
      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
      Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
      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

        Amelia Marie Corrado. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
        Amelia Marie Corrado as bad girl Genevieve Larson in 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
      • Scott Shiller becomes third CEO in DCPA's history: 'Theatre is in my bones'

        by John Moore | Feb 26, 2015
        Scott Shiller Quote

        Scott ShillerScott Shiller fell in love with theatre from the very back row. Not the cheap seats … the free seats.

        The Shiller family turned day trips from their small farming community in rural Missouri into theatre outings at St. Louis’ massive, 4,500-seat Fox Theatre, where the seats in the very back row are always free.

        “Both of my parents were college professors, on college professors’ salaries,” said Shiller. “But they wanted me and my brother to grow up with arts and culture as part of our lives. So mom and dad would pack the family in the car with a picnic lunch and we would drive to downtown St. Louis. We would sit on the sidewalk and wait for the box office to open to get access to the free tickets.”

        Young Scott Shiller saw incredible stories unfold through high-powered opera glasses. Stories like Big River, about the adventures Huckleberry Finn. “To see these stories that I grew up imagining in my mind’s eye unfold onstage changed my life,” Shiller said. “I was hooked. I was reeled-in. Theatre was in my bones. Theatre has the power to transform lives. It did for me.”

        Shiller will soon be moving his theatre bones to Colorado as President and only the third CEO in the 43-year history of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Shiller has served as Executive Vice President of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami since 2007. Daniel Ritchie, who has served as both CEO and Chairman of the Board of Trustees since 2007, will continue as Chairman. Shiller starts May 1.

        Scott Shiller QuoteShiller is a proud, admitted theatre geek. Anyone who works at a place like the Denver Center, he said, should be. He talks with childlike wonder of the time he got to sit in the orchestra pit during a touring performance of Evita, feeling the music as the horns blared in his ears and the drums rumbled right through his core. “I looked up and just behind the conductor, you could see just the noses and eyes of the people in the front row, and the glow of the stage lights off of their faces,” he said. “That was a phenomenal, transformative moment for me.” 

        The DCPA is the largest not-for profit theatre organization in the country, one that produces and presents Broadway, cabaret and homegrown theatre while supporting an Education Division that engages more than 68,000 students of all ages every year. And leading that organization into the next generation will be one of the nation’s youngest CEOs. At only age 39, Shiller is less than half the age of the man he is replacing.

        Shiller, who was named to the prestigious "40 Under 40" by the South Florida Business Journal, never wants to forget the magic that happens to a child who sees Big River for the first time. Or a slightly more adolescent Shiller seeing The Blue Man Group for the first time - a performance that reached its crescendo with the entire theatre covered in toilet paper. 

        “I had never seen anything so immediate and so loud and so interesting,” he said. “By the end of this whirlwind grand finale, I found myself standing on my seat yelling at the top of my lungs. That was the visceral, immediate reaction I had to the art that was on the stage. I thought that was great, and I want everyone to be able experience that feeling.”

        And he can’t wait to do it in Denver.

        “What makes theatre incredibly powerful, and what makes me thrilled to be a part of creating and contributing to the national landscape of theatre, is the magic that happens when an audience comes into a space together to have a shared experience,” Shiller said. “The electricity that happens at a good night of theatre where the artists on stage are having a real communication with the audience is like lightning in a bottle. And the Denver Center gets it right more than almost anywhere else in the country.”

        In his first year at the Arsht Center, Shiller led a $3.3 million turnaround with a growth in average ticket sales from 43 to 70 percent, and recorded a 76 percent increase in attendance.

        How did he do it?

        “It was really about tapping into the community,” he said. “It was about doing all the things that the Denver Center already does day in and day out. All the things that are baked into their DNA here.”

        To turn things around in Miami, Shiller focused on tearing down any perceived barriers to entry. “For example, if language is a barrier to entry, we need to find ways to create great theatre where language is not a barrier,” he said. “If price is a barrier to entry, we need to find ways to be open to the community and to provide free and reduced-price admissions like I had available to me as a child.”

        Ritchie, 83, said Shiller “joins us at a pivotal time in the DCPA’s history. “Following an extensive analysis of our priorities, our emphasis will be on deepening and enriching relationships with our entire community. And Scott’s leadership will enable me to focus on board matters and reauthorization of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District in 2016.” 

        A2 Scott Shiller QuoteShiller thinks the SCFD – a voter-approved, penny per $10 tax that funds arts organization throughout the metro area with about $50 million a year – is "forward-thinking, unprecedented and essential."

        He also said of Ritchie: “He has an incredible reputation across the country. And I have a tremendous respect for the work he has done in driving the organization forward.”

        Under Shiller, the Arsht Center’s programming continued to experience broad growth and now includes more than 500 public performances, nearly 900 ancillary events and more than 500,000 guests each year. In 2007, he bucked the national trend by launching the equivalent of the DCPA Theatre Company for the presentation and performance of homegrown theatre. He has presented 12 world premiere plays and musicals at the Arsht Center in the past eight years.

        “That was both an incredible joy and a labor of love,” he said, “to be working with incredible local playwrights, national playwrights and amazing artists with the goal of creating work that is really tied to the community.”

        Shiller is somewhat in awe to be taking the reins of the Denver Center, which is not only the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation by size, it’s No. 1 in audience engagement: Last season, the Denver Center, which does $52 million in annual business, entertained nearly 800,000 visitors through 43 productions, 816 performances and 138 events.

        “I am amazed at how the Denver Center stacks up against the leading organizations in this category,” Shiller said. “Think of that number: 800,000 visitors is more than the total number people who are living in Denver.” (And by more than 150,000.)

        “When I look at places like Center Theatre Group (in Los Angeles), which did 19 productions last year, or the Kennedy Center (in Washington D.C.), which did 18 theatre productions - and then you see that the Denver Center did 43? That’s pretty impressive. There are very few no-for-profit arts organizations that present both Broadway and produce original theatre. I think it's sometimes easy to forget what an incredible gem you have in your community.”

        Scott Shiller QuoteAs a whole, the cultural industry had a $520.8 million economic impact on Colorado in 2013. Last month, the National Endowment for the Arts released a study that put Colorado No. 1 in per-capita trips to theaters, concert halls and museums. Nearly 52 percent of all Colorado adults reported attendance at one or more live performing-arts events in 2012, far above the national average of 37.4 percent. Attendance at nonmusical plays in Colorado is roughly twice the rate of the country as a whole. 

        “I think that shows the audiences in Denver are incredibly sophisticated,” Shiller added. “You have an incredibly diverse audience that has clearly demonstrated with these attendance figures that they are willing to go along for the ride.” 

        Prior to the Arsht Center, Shiller presented and produced shows in major cities across the U.S., serving as Vice President of Programming at The Chicago Theatre and L.A.’s Kodak Theatre; Director of Programming and Engagement Manager at Boston’s On the Line Company; and as Theatre and Marketing Manager for Broadway in Boston. His Broadway credits include working on Wicked, The Graduate, Cabaret and The Diary of Anne Frank (Natalie Portman), and The Vagina Monologues (Eve Ensler). Click here to read his complete bio.

        Under Shiller, the multidisciplinary Arsht Center designed programs to welcome new patrons of all ages and backgrounds — family performances, gospel Sundays and extensive partnerships through the Miami-Dade County Public School District.

        Shiller is particularly proud of his Learning Through the Arts program, which has made performances of the Rock Odyssey available free to middle-school students. That is an innovative, rock opera approach to Homer’s The Odyssey that was written developed at the Walden Family Playhouse in Lakewood.

        Scott Shiller Quote“Through Rock Odyssey, we have introduced 300,000 students to the magic of live theatre,” said Shiller, who received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emerson College in 1997 and has served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University in Chicago.

        “There are so many studies that have proven that students who are introduced to the arts at a young age become lifelong learners in the arts.”

        Shiller believes his lifetime of producing shows on Broadway, of bringing national tours to the cities where he has worked, and launching his new regional theatre company in Miami have all prepared him to lead the Denver Center. Shiller says his top priorities will include education, access and diversity. But he says it is too soon for him to know yet how he can best impact the organization right away.

        “I am coming into an extremely healthy organization that is at the top of its game,” said Shiller, who is married to wife, Kerry. “The staff and the team members there have accomplished so much. And I think the community is really behind continuing the trend of the Denver Center becoming great. My goal will be to listen, learn, collaborate and challenge both (DCPA Broadway Director John Ekeberg and DCPA Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson) to create work that is at the top of their game.”

        Asked what he hopes will be said of him a year from today, Shiller said: “That we were able to really muster our resources, and boy are we moving in the right direction with a full tank of gas and a lot of excitement."




        Scott Shiller is featured in this short documentary on the making of "Rock Odyssey" at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.The children's musical, first developed at the Walden Family Playhouse in Lakewood, introduced 300,000 students to the magic of live theatre in Miami.


        Previous coverage
        :
        Ritchie shifting focus to SCFD 'because we can't afford to fail'


        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.
      • Mike Hartman brings the 'Plainsong' Trilogy full circle

        by John Moore | Feb 25, 2015

         

        Mike Hartman: Benediction has made history for the DCPA as the Theatre Company completes the first trilogy in its 36 years. And veteran actor Mike Hartman has been front and center as all three plays have brought the Colorado plains and its rural residents to vivid life over the past seven years.

        In Eric Schmiedl’s Plainsong and Eventide, based on the novels of the late Kent Haruf, Hartman played lovable old Raymond McPheron, the rancher who experiences first love in his 70s. In Benediction, Hartman plays Dad Lewis, a dying hardware store owner who is estranged from his adult son.

        What appeals most to the actor about these two disparate men Haruf has created, he said, is that they are, in his words, "earth-bound."

        “Their feet are just so well-planted,” Hartman said. “They are so dependable and so unyielding in their principles. If you are honest to what Kent has written, you really can't make too many mistakes.”

        Hartman comes from a rural farming background in Ohio, where both sets of grandparents were small-town farmers. “So I feel I know these people,” he said of the residents of fictional Holt, “and their simplicity toward life.”

        Hartman came to the DCPA in 1992 and has since created some of the most indelible characters to ever walk its stages: A pistol-packing political cowboy. A surly old bigot. An aging hippie draft-dodger. He is married to actor Lauren Klein, his co-star in both the Theatre Company’s Eventide and last year’s Death of a Salesman.

        Mike Hartman QuoteWhile Plainsong celebrated the resilience of the mutating American family and Eventide is a sweet celebration of late-in-life love, Benediction, closing March 1, brings greater stakes to the stage. And they don’t get any bigger than a man facing his last chance to make things right with his family and friends.

        John Moore: What does it mean to you to be able to finish what you started with the Plainsong Trilogy?

        Mike Hartman: These three projects have been terrific vehicles, I’ve been so excited just to be a part of it. I think so much of Kent Haruf and Eric Schmiedl and Kent Thompson for making these plays happen. 

        John Moore: Is it exciting for you as an actor that this new character, Dad Lewis, seems to have at least one more evident character flaw for you to play off than perhaps Raymond had?

        Mike Hartman: You are right, but I also think it's come at a point in Dad’s life where he has many regrets for some of his actions. He wants to try to make some changes. In a conversation with his own daughter, he says, "I didn't make time." And the real regret he has with his son and his views on the kid being a homosexual, well, he can't do anything about that, because he doesn't have the opportunity.

        John Moore: Why do you think this trilogy, a throwback to old-fashioned storytelling, has been so popular with this Theatre Company's audiences at a time when theatres are trying so hard to engage a younger demographic?

        Mike Hartman: I think the first reason is that it's homegrown. It's a Colorado story about Colorado people. I think as much as Denver wants to shake that cowtown image that people want to project of it, they still have those cattle come down 17th Avenue every January to promote the National Western Stock Show. I think Kent Haruf was so much in touch with Colorado's roots. And the second reason is that all three of these plays are such simple, marvelous, touching stories. Even when I read Eric Schmiedl's sixth draft of Benediction, I caught myself near tears five or six times just reading it.

        John Moore: What does that tell us about this endless pursuit of new kinds of stimulation in live theatre? Are we trying too hard?

        Mike Hartman: I only know that good storytelling works. I think when theatre tries to compete too much with film and television, it doesn't always work for me. It's like going to a ballgame. I'm a big baseball fan. When I go, I sit there and I watch the game. I keep score. It’s a slow game. I get annoyed when “The Wave” happens, or when the scoreboard urges me to cheer, or when they have constant noise happening. But that’s what young people expect. Maybe the theatre requires more of your attention. But people don't feel comfortable just sitting and listening and watching anymore.

        John Moore: So how is the end of this trilogy affecting you?

        Mike Hartman: It’s hitting me at a point in my life where there is an awareness that I am probably in my last 25 years of my existence, if I am lucky, and that can be a frightening thing. I just hope when my time comes that I go through it with as much grace as Dad Lewis does. That I think not only of myself but about how to make things easier for the people I care about. When was the last time the house was painted? To me, that's what this story is all about.

        Benediction: Ticket information
        Performances run through March 1
        Space Theatre
        Performances daily
        Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org


        Joyce Cohen and Mike Hartman in 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

        Mike Hartman, Cathy Haruf and Lauren Klein at the Kent Haruf celebration on Feb. 7. Photo by John Moore.

        Mike Hartman with Joyce Cohen in 'Benediction,' above. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Hartman with Cathy Haruf and Hartman's wife, Lauren Klein, at the Kent Haruf celebration on Feb. 7. Photo by John Moore.


        Our previous coverage of Benediction:

        Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
        For two inaugural DCPA company actors, you can come home again
        Photos from Opening Night
        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

        Meet the cast videos:
        Meet Joyce Cohen
        Meet James Newcomb
        Meet Mike Hartman
        Meet Nance Williamson
        Meet Leslie O'Carroll
        Meet Adrian Egolf

      • American Theatre magazine: The Colorado New Play Summit Is a Developing Story

        by John Moore | Feb 24, 2015
        Photos from Week 1, above.


        Editor's note: American Theatre, the leading industry magazine in the country, asked DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore to contribute a feature report covering this year's Colorado New Play Summit: Here is an excerpt:

        Visitors to the 10th Colorado New Play Summit in Denver are calling the addition of a second week this year a real game-changer in the evolution of new-play development for the American theatre. "I think adding a second week is sort of electrifying and extremely original,” said Theresa Rebeck, whose The Nest was one of four featured readings in the Summit.

        CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY

        Photos from Week 2, above.

        OUR SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES:
        Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
        Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
        Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
        Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho

        MORE COVERAGE FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:

        Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
        Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
        Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

        Click here to go to our NewsCenter.

        Colordao New Play Summit, The There There. Photo by John Moore. "The There There," with Melissa Recalde and Nick Mills. Photo by John Moore.
      • Photos: Week 2 of the Colorado New Play Summit

        by John Moore | Feb 22, 2015


        Our comprehensive photo gallery from the second weekend of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit spans a special performance of Off-Center's Cult Following; professional readings of three plays written by selected local teen playwrights; two playwriting workshops hosted by acclaimed writer and teacher Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive), and the Saturday night wrap party. All photos by John Moore and Suzanne Yoe.

        To see our photos from the first week of the  2015 Colorado New Play Summit, click here.

        For all of our Summit coverage, click here to go to our NewsCenter.

        THE SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES:
        Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
        Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
        Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
        Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho

        MORE COVERAGE FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:


        Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
        Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
        Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced


        Emily Tarquin and Steven Cole Hughes. Photo by John Moore.
         The DCPA's Emily Tarquin and Steven Cole Hughes at the Saturday night wrap party for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit in the Seawell Balroom. Photo by John Moore.

      • 2015 Summit Spotlight video: Tanya Saracho's ‘Fade'

        by John Moore | Feb 21, 2015


        Fade, by Tanya Saracho, is about Mexican-born Lucia, who is hired as a novice to write for a Latina character on an L.A.-based TV series. The play is based on Saracho's own experiences writing for the TV shows Devious Maids, Girls and Looking. "Listen: I got into television because I was a diversity hire,' she says bluntly. "I don't care why I got in there. I just needed an in, because we need to be in there."

        In Fade, the  character of Lucia soon discovers that the film studio's Chicano studio custodian has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows and she begins incorporating his insights into her scripts, Lucia’s professional stardom starts to rise, but her personal life only becomes more and more compromised. The cast includes Alejandra Escalante, Eddie Martinez and Amy Luna. The director is Jerry Ruiz.

        Of working at the DCPA on this featured Colorado New Play Summit reading, Saracho adds: "The support of everyone is really amazing because they are just trying to get your play born. So it's like everyone is a midwife." 

        Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        For all of our Summit coverage, click here to go to our NewsCenter.

        THE SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES: (to date):
        Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
        Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
        Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
        Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho (today)

        MORE COVERAGE FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:

        Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
        Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
        Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

        Alejandra Escalante and Eddie Martinez in 'Fade.' Photo by John Moore. Alejandra Escalante and Eddie Martinez in 'Fade' rehearsal. Photo by John Moore.

      • 2015 Summit Spotlight video: Catherine Trieschmann's 'Holy Laughter'

        by John Moore | Feb 21, 2015


        In Catherine Trieschmann's Holy Laughter, an Episcopal priest finds the reality of leading a church in the Eastern Plains of Colorado to be radically and comically different from what she learned in seminary. As she wrestles with church finances, eccentric parishioners, changing sexual mores and her own doubting heart, Abigail struggles to make peace with the realities of contemporary church life.

        Trieschmann also wrote last season's hit comedy, The Most Deserving. While Holy Laughter is set in the church, 'The play really has its fingers in some universal questions," Treischmann says.

        The cast includes Sadieh Rifai, Kelley Rae O’Donnell, Michael Santo, Kim Staunton, Chris Murray, Mehry Eslaminia and Chelsea Frye. The director is Shelley Butler. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        Of working at the DCPA, Trieschmann says:  "My relationship with the Denver Center has changed my life — and my ability to afford child care, honestly while I write. Knowing I can write a complicated, female protagonist, and that this theatre is going to embrace that? These things have been incredibly encouraging to me."

        For all of our Summit coverage, click here to go to our NewsCenter.

        THE SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES:
        Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
        Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
        Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
        Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho

        MORE COVERAGE FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:

        Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
        Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
        Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

        'Holy Laughter.' Photo by Kyle Malone. Kelley Rae O'Donnell and Chris Murray have a laugh during 'Holy Laughter' rehearsal. Photo by Kyle Malone.
      • 2015 Summit Spotlight video: Jason Gray Platt's 'The There There'

        by John Moore | Feb 21, 2015


        Jason Gray Platt's new play The There There looks at one couple's relationship over 60 years, with two sets of actors playing the lovers as young and old. The twist of staging it as a featured reading at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit is that the play features two overlapping casts. On the first weekend of the Summit, the couple was played as two men (Nick Mills, Vin Kridakorn, Nasser Faris and Lenny Von Dohlen). The second weekend of the Summit, the couple was played as a man and a woman (Mills, Von Dohlen, Melissa Recalde and Lise Bruneau). So audiences who saw both readings saw one set of male actors play the same script opposite men, and then women.

        But at its essence, Platt says, gender is irrelevant to telling a story that strives to be about "how technology informs the loss of loved ones, and how our increasing connection with one another is complicating our ability to grieve fully for people." The reading's director was Courtney Sale, and the reader was Heather Hughes.

        Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        For all of our Summit coverage, click here to go to our NewsCenter.

        THE SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES: (to date):
        Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
        Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
        Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
        Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho (coming next)

        MORE COVERAGE FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:

        Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
        Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
        Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

        'The There There.' Photos by John Moore. One iteration of the 'young couple': Nick Mills and Melissa Recalde, left) and one iteration of the 'older couple': Nasser Faris and Lenny Von Dohlen. Photos by John Moore.
      • 2015 Summit Spotlight video: Theresa Rebeck's 'The Nest'

        by John Moore | Feb 20, 2015



        Theresa Rebeck’s The Nest is about a bar that is on its last legs, “but it’s got very beautiful bones inside it,” she says. Here’s our inside look at the making of this ripping comedy that is a featured reading at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit.

        For the small-town regulars at The Nest, life is an endless series of jokes and over-the-top conversations that liven up the neighborhood watering hole … until a well-heeled woman walks in and tries to buy the beautiful antique bar. The cast includes Carly Street, John Procaccino, Brian D. Coats, Laurence Lau, Carine Montbertrand, Victoria Mack, Kevin Berntson, Jessica Love and Royce Roeswood.

        Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

        For all of our Summit coverage, click here to go to our NewsCenter.

        THE SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES: (to date):
        Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
        Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
        Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
        Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho (coming next)

        OUR COVERAGE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:
        Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
        Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
        Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
        Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
        Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

        rian D. Coats, John Procaccino, Carine Montbertrand, Laurence Lau and Victoria Mack from 'The Nest.' Photo by Kyle Malone. Brian D. Coats, John Procaccino, Carine Montbertrand, Laurence Lau and Victoria Mack from 'The Nest.' Photo by Kyle Malone.
      • Video: 'Page to Stage' highlights with 'Benediction' cast

        by John Moore | Feb 19, 2015


        Video highlights from this month’s Page to Stage noontime conversation at the Tattered Cover Book Store with Benediction cast members James Newcomb, Leslie O'Carroll and Benjamin Bonenfant. Newcomb was a member of the inaugural DCPA Theatre Company and spent much of his childhood performing at the Tattered Cover when it was the Bonfils Theatre.

        "Kent Haruf is a singular voice in lterature for what it means to live on the plains," Newcomb says of the Benediction novelist.

        Benediction, a powerful drama made up of three interwoven family stories set on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado, completes the DCPA's staging of Kent Haruf's Plainsong Trilogy as original world premieres. Benediction runs through March 1 at The Space Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or click here to go to the show's online page. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

        Join us for our next free Page to Stage event at noon on Tuesday, March 24, at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2625 E. Colfax Ave. We will be talking about the newly announced Broadway touring season with DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg.

        Benediction
        : Ticket information

        Performances run Jan. 30 through March 1
        Space Theatre
        Performances daily except Mondays
        Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

        Our previous coverage of Benediction:

        Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
        Photos: Benediction Opening Night festivities
        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

        Meet the cast video series (to date):

        Meet Joyce Cohen

        'Benediction' cast with members of Kent Haruf's family at Page to Stage.

        Among the attendees were late novelist Kent Haruf’s brother, Mark, and Mark’s wife, Kathy. From left: Moderator John Moore; Benediction actors Benjamin Bonenfant and James Newcomb; Cathy and Mark Haruf, and 'Benediction’s' Leslie O’Carroll


      • Meet the cast video series: Joyce Cohen

        by John Moore | Feb 18, 2015


        In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 83: Meet Joyce Cohen, who was working as a nurse when she scored a day job as an extra on The Exorcist. Cohen plays Mary, the wife whose husband has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, in the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere of Benediction, a powerful drama made up of three interwoven family stories set on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado. Benediction runs through March 1 in the Space Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center's web page. Video by John Moore. Run time: 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

        Benediction: Ticket information
        Performances run through March 1
        Space Theatre
        Performances daily except Mondays
        Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org


        Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

        Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
        Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
        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
        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
        Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
        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

          Joyce Cohen and Mike Hartman in 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

          Joyce Cohen and Mike Hartman in the DCPA's world-premiere staging of 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
        • Podcast: Running Lines with ... Margie Lamb of 'Next to Normal'

          by John Moore | Feb 16, 2015



          Episode 172: Award-winning actor Margie Lamb is diving back into the dark waters of the Broadway musical Next to Normal for a third time, again playing Diana in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that examines one suburban family's decades-long struggle with mental illness. She is joined on our Running Lines podcast by Jill Oliver, a licensed clinical social worker who worked for 20 years at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan. The two talk frankly about the inherent problems in attempting to cure an incurable epidemic in America, including shame, funding and rampant over-medication. Lamb, the mother of two sons, also talks about the impact that playing Diana three times has had on her acting career, and her family.

          Daniel Langhoff and Margie Lamb in 'Next to Normal.' Next to Normal, directed by Nick Sugar, runs through March 15 at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St. The cast also features Daniel Langhoff as Dan (DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol), Jacquie Jo Billings as Natalie, Josh Bess as Gabriel, Ethan Knowles as Henry and Jared Ming as the doctors. For tickets, call 303-794-2787 or click here to go to Town Hall's home page

          For information on mental health services that are available to anyone, call the Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

          In the podcast, Oliver says the scope of the problem of untreated mental illness is as evident as the headlines: "I think we can look around and see how big of a problem it is," she says, "especially here in our state, with some of the catastrophes that have happened over the past 15 years - starting with Columbine. I think it’s big, and it impacts our lives on a daily basis."

          Oliver's perspective is clear: Mental illness ranges from road rage to suicide and horrific violence - and everyone has some degree of it. "We all have mental health and mental illness," she said, "and it is our personal responsibility to keep as healthy as we can. We have to pay attention to our mental health on a regular basis."

          Oliver has seen Next to Normal twice, and praises the musical for its accuracy and for the opportunity it creates for people to talk about a subject that is still taboo subject in many American families.

          "The musical represents mental illness in a way that helps people understand what it is all about, because it helps people understand how close we are all," she says. "We’re just one little step away sometimes."

          Suicides in Colorado reached a record high in 2012, The Denver Post reported through the state health department. About 1,053 people in the state committed suicide, the highest number since at least 1940. No one knows exactly why the rate is so much higher in Colorado than in other parts of the country, but Oliver offers up some probable factors: 

          • Much of the state is rural and geographically isolated.
          • Colorado has a large military population with a high rate of trauma and post-traumatic stress.
          • Much of Colorado is ideologically and religiously conservative, which can add to the stigmatization of mental illness, depression and suicide.
          • The prevailing gun culture makes weapons more readily available here than in other parts of the country.
          • Colorado ranks 33rd among states in funding for mental illness, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute.
          In the podcast, Lamb says she digs emotionally deeper into the story of the damaged suburban more than ever before.

          Reviewing a previous staging of Next to Normal starring Lamb, DCPA Arts Journalist John Moore wrote of her for performance for The Denver Post:

          "Hers is a relentlessly human portrayal of a mother named Diana who is torn between a man and a memory. She's caught in a madness that's rooted in the greatest love of all. And we're with her all the way as doctors try to drug it, shock it and burn it out of existence. Even those who saw the gutsy, Tony-winning Alice Ripley perform the role might like Lamb better. ... She is very much the relatable embodiment of the suburban American mom."

           

           

        • Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit

          by John Moore | Feb 15, 2015




          Our comprehensive photo gallery spans the first-day meet-and-greet, rehearsals for all four shows, the first-ever Local Playwrights Slam, and both acting and playwriting workshops conducted by DCPA Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez.

          Check back next week for more photos and video from each of the readings, and a full recap of Summit activities. All photos by John Moore and Kyle Malone.

          Local Playwrights Slam at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore.

          Nina Miller, Leslie C. Lewis and Jeffrey Neuman, curators of the first Local Playwrights Slam at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore.



          Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit:
          Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced
          Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
          Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
          Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
          2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam


        • Part 5: Matthew Lopez on the evolving role of marketing in making art

          by John Moore | Feb 15, 2015

          Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez at the DCPA. Photo by John Moore.

          NOTE: This is Part 5 of an ongoing series of conversations with 2014-15 DCPA Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez, above. Photo by John Moore.




          One of the reasons Matthew Lopez accepted an offer to become the DCPA Theatre Company’s first-ever Playwriting Fellow this season was because the experience promised to pull back the veil on parts of the theatre-making process writers are rarely privy to.

          “The fellowship came at a time when I found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the opacity of the way theatres around the country make decisions,” said Lopez.

          Lopez’s six-month fellowship promised a front-row seat to everything from season-selection meetings to budget sessions. He is serving as the DCPA’s host for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. He is teaching playwriting and acting workshops. He has visited Denver-area schools. He is essentially a full member of the artistic staff.

          “When does a playwright ever get to do all that?” Lopez said. “It’s like being offered a backstage tour of the inner workings of a company.”

          He got the backstage tour, too.

          One of the most illuminating parts of Lopez’s tour has been developing a greater understanding of the role marketing plays in everything from the way a playwright’s work is introduced to the public, to the playwright’s financial bottom line. Simply put: The better the marketing, the more seats are sold - and the more the playwright gets paid, Lopez said. 

          The bottom line for anyone with a hand in creating a play, Lopez says, is this: “No one wants to put all of this work into it, and then not have anyone show up.”

          Here is more from our conversation:

          John Moore: What has surprised you the most about delving into the world of marketing here?

          Matthew Lopez: The science of it; the professionalism of it; the industry of it. That was pretty eye-opening. But what was even more enlightening and refreshing to me is how it always seems to come back to the creative process, and to the art. When everything is done well, it really is the perfect meeting of art and commerce - at least that is how I have experienced it here at the DCPA.

          John Moore: What is it like for a playwright to talk with staff about your play in terms of ticket sales and revenue goals and percentages of capacity?

          Matthew Lopez: There are hard numbers being discussed in those meetings. There are literally percentage points being bandied about. But then there is also a keen eye toward "the why.” Why is a play selling or not selling? With A Christmas Carol, you know it’s selling because of the name recognition. Because of the tradition. Because people have seen this production before, and they know it will be of high quality. But people are also asking, “Why was Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike‎ such a big hit for the company?" And even though Lord of the Flies maybe didn’t sell quite as many tickets, why is that the play that everyone was talking about for weeks afterward? It's fascinating.

          John Moore: Especially given that Lord of the Flies performed so many student matinees - and every ticket was sold. And those students treated the cast like they were boy-band rock stars. But for whatever reason, it didn't appeal to an adult audience in the same way at night.

          Matthew Lopez: And why is that? What amazes me is that marketing departments now have ways of finding out. I had no idea the business end of it has become so sophisticated and scientific. It's pretty impressive. But again - the road always led back to the art and to the creation, and that was pretty exciting to me.

          Matthew Lopez


          John Moore: How do you compare the particular challenge of marketing live theatre to, say, films?

          Matthew Lopez: The difference between selling live theatre and film is that the owners of the movie theatres could care less about the number of butts in their seats, because they get to keep such a tiny fraction of the box office. They get practically nothing from ticket sales. All of the action that they make at a movie theatre is off of concessions. So there is zero connection between the number of tickets sold, and the audience’s intellectual and emotional interaction with the film. Seriously: They could not care less what you thought of The Imitation Game or Unbroken or The Hobbit. They just don't care. They want you to buy popcorn. But here at the Denver Center, there is a direct correlation between butts in the seats and the audience’s engagement with the theatre that is being created. Everything depends on it. This might be a crass way of looking at it, but for a playwright, the more attention the marketing department can generate for your play, the more tickets are sold, which means the playwright makes more money. I can't speak for the actors, because they don't get paid based on how many tickets are sold. I get paid based on how many tickets are sold.

          John Moore: I thought licensing fees were based on the seating capacity of the theatre, not on how many people actually show up.

          Matthew Lopez. There is a formula that determines what you get paid in advance. But later on, you also get a pre-negotiated percentage of the box office. So the size of the house, and the number of tickets sold, does factor into it. If you are the playwright, you are going to make more money in a 1,200-seat theatre than you will in a 150-seat theatre. You are going to make more money if they charge $100 for the ticket as opposed to $27 for the ticket. The actors are paid a fixed rate based on the size of the house, and they get paid the same whether the house is full or empty. And so for me, the work that the marketing department does directly impacts my bottom line.

          John Moore: The way I see it, really every part of the process can, in some way, be considered marketing. Advertising is marketing, obviously. But really anything that convinces a potential audience member to come and see a show is marketing. That might be a story in the Sunday newspaper. A banner they see driving down the street. An email with a discount offer. An audience testimonial on social media. Even the script – and the performances. Because if an audience thinks The Legend of Georgia McBride is the best new play they have seen in a long time – and they tell people about it, that's organic marketing. Or if they see Mark Rylance perform in Jerusalem, and they tell their friends they have to see it – that's all part of the wide swath that is marketing now.

          Matthew Lopez: Absolutely.

          John Moore: What do you think of the emerging role of curation in enhancing and extending the audience’s theatergoing experience? For Georgia McBride, there was a cooperative effort between the marketing and artistic teams so that the audience experience began from the moment they walked through the front door and continued long after the show with a local drag performance. 

          Matthew Lopez: That was fun, wasn’t it? What I took from that is the idea that marketing doesn't have to be unimaginative. Marketing can actually be a part of the creative experience. I think the more imaginative the marketing department is, the more engrained they are in the production itself. Georgia McBride was a perfect example of that. The less marketing looks like marketing, the better. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," right? You are not supposed to notice.

          John Moore: So this is new to everyone, right? But I can only assume that deep down, the playwright wishes the play could speak for itself.

          Matthew Lopez: At first, that was probably my attitude. I kind of felt like, “I got this, guys. This is what I do. Why don't we just let them see the show?” But I think that was a little bit of contempt prior to investigation. Once I saw what they were thinking about for Georgia McBride, and once I actually saw what kind of resources they were able to put into it, and the imagination they put behind the idea, I think we all kind of dug it. Not too soon after we started performances, most nights you would see half the cast watching the drag show in the lobby after the show.

          Note: Matthew Lopez is conducting a playwriting workshop and discussion as part of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit at 5 p.m. today, Feb. 15, at the Jones Theatre, Speer and Arapahoe.



          Check out our photo gallery covering parts of Matthew Lopez's Playwriting Fellowship in Denver, above.

          MATTHEW LOPEZ IN DENVER: THE  SERIES TO DATE:
          Part 1: Why take the Playwriting Fellowship? The hunger for new work
          Part 2: Lopez to students: Be citizens. Be informed. Have opinions.
          Part 3: Is sweetness a risk in the American Theatre?
          Part 4: Peter Pan Live made Matthew Lopez cry - and fly
          Part 5: Matthew Lopez on the changing role of marketing in making art (today)
          Part 6: Matthew Lopez leads acting, playwriting workshops at  2015 Summit (coming next)

          AMERICAN THEATRE WRITES ABOUT THE MATTHEW LOPEZ FELLOWSHIP:
          Paying Playwrights More Than Play Money

          SELECTED PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF MATTHEW LOPEZ AT THE DCPA:
          Matthew Lopez named DCPA Playwriting Fellow for 2014-15
          Georgia McBride will be staged in New York
          Matthew Lopez's trip down the straight and fabulous
          2015 Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends
          Georgia McBride team: 'Subtlety is our enemy'

          PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:
        • Photos: Opening night 'Benediction' festivities

          by John Moore | Feb 14, 2015


          Check out our photos from opening night of the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere staging of Benediction on Feb. 6, 2015. Benediction completes the DCPA's theatrical adaptation of late novelist Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy. Photos by John Moore.

          Benediction is a powerful drama about three souls searching for meaningful connections despite separation, loneliness and the race against time on the high plains of Colorado. 

          Benediction: Cast list
          Playwright: Eric Schmiedl
          Director: Kent Thompson
          Dad Lewis: Mike Hartman
          Mary Lewis: Joyce Cohen
          Reverend Robert Lyle: Ed Martin
          Beverly Lyle: Nancy Lemenager
          John Wesley Lyle: Nick Lamedica
          Alene Johnson: Nance Williamson
          Willa Johnson: Billie McBride
          Lorraine Lewis: Kathleen McCall
          Berta May: Leslie O'Carroll
          Alice: Zoe Delaney Stahlhut
          Genevieve Larson/Waitress/Young Woman: Amelia Marie Corrada
          Rudy/Ensemble: James Newcomb
          Bob/Policeman/Ed: Lawrence Hecht
          Laurie Wheeler/Marlene/Young Woman: Adrian Egolf
          Ronald Dean Walker: Benjamin Bonenfant
          Richard/Frank/Ensemble: Jonathan Crombie
          Luann/Marlene/Janine: Tracy Shaffer

          Benediction: Ticket information
          Performances run Jan. 30 through March 1
          Space Theatre
          Performances daily except Mondays
          Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

          Our previous coverage of Benediction:

          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

          Benediction Opening Night. Photo by John Moore.

          From left: Joyce Cohen, Ed Martin, Nance Williamson, Billie McBride and a photo-bombing Amelia Marie Corrada. Photo by John Moore.

        • Video: Last call for 'Forbidden Broadway' in Denver

          by John Moore | Feb 13, 2015
          Video by John Moore and David Lenk.



          William Selby. Photo by John Moore. In the video above, William Selby, director of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!, talks about how the popular franchise, now in its 32nd year, is all-new for Denver.

          This comic roast of Broadway has just two weeks left in its return run to Denver with a fresh view of the highs and lows of recent Broadway shows. It features outrageous costumes, comic rewrites of classic showtunes old and new, and dead-on impressions by a stellar, all-Colorado cast of Lauren Shealy, Sarah Rex, Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan. "You talk about Colorado Pride: I am super-proud of this group. One of the best I have ever worked with," said Selby, who has directed 18 iterations of Forbidden Broadway. The Musical Director is Denver's Martha Yordy.

          There show plays only through March 1 at the Garner Galleria Theatre. Appropriate for children 8+. 303-893-4100 or go to the DCPA's web page.

          Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!: Ticket information
          Performances run through March 1
          Garner Galleria Theatre
          Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
          Performances daily except for Monday
          Tickets: Start at $25
          Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

          Our previous coverage of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
          Go to the show page
          Video: Jordan Leigh's fresh take on Adam Sandler's 'Hanukkah Song'
          Opening Night performance coverage
          Jennifer Schmitz is an unsung hero of Forbidden Broadway
          Download the program
          Meet the homegrown cast of Forbidden Broadway

          Photos by Terry Shapiro for the DCPA.
        • Photos: Theatre community rallies in support of Eden Lane's local arts coverage

          by John Moore | Feb 12, 2015

          All photos by John Moore.



          Friends of Denver arts journalist Eden Lane presented an evening of cabaret titled All We Need is Love to raise funds in support of InFocus with Eden Lane, which airs at 7 p.m. Fridays on Colorado Public Television.

          Eden Lane. Photo by John Moore. The lineup at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret included organizers Eugene Ebner and Paul Page, along with Leonard Barrett Jr., Joanie Brosseau-Beyette, Abby Apple Boes, Jennifer DeDominici, Shane Delavan, Michael J. Duran, Anna Marie High, Jessie Page and Parker Redford. The accompanist on piano was Dan Dobbins. The emcee was Chris Parente, host of Colorado's Everyday show on Fox TV.  

          Ebner reports the evening raised $1,100 in net proceeds. Lane's weekly look at the arts in Colorado is entirely self-produced at a cost of about $1,000 an episode, all of which Lane incurs - or raises - herself.

          And in something of a fundraiser within a fundraiser, Lane put a collection shoe out in the lobby as part of the Denver Actor's Fund's Tap Shoe Initiative. She collected $208 for donation to the organization, which provides modest relief when members of the theatre community face medical difficulties. Lane's shoe was an homage to the song, "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis," which she has previously performed.

          For a look back at Lane's story, you can read my Denver Post feature: Denver TV host Eden Lane opens up about her life and challenges

          To support Eden Lane and help keep her program on the air, click here
        • Meet the cast video: Mehry Iris Eslaminia

          by John Moore | Feb 12, 2015


          In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 82: Meet Mehry Iris Eslaminia, who graduated from Regis Jesuit High School and is now making her DCPA Theatre Company debut playing Kate - and a mandolin-playing street musician - in the world premiere of Appoggiatura. Mehry, who performed locally in Cabaret for Ignite Theatre and Motherhood Out Loud for The Avenue, talks about her lineage as the daughter of an Iranian father and El Salvadoran mother; being part of the first girls' class at Regis High; and her affinity for both music and Emma Stone. Appoggiatura plays through Feb. 22 in the Ricketson Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore. Run time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds.

          Appoggiatura: Ticket information
          Performances run through Feb. 22
          Ricketson Theatre
          Performances daily except Mondays
          Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

          Our Appoggiatura "Meet the cast" video series (to date):
          Meet Darrie Lawrence
          Meet Rob Nagle
          Meet Lenne Klingaman
          Meet Nick Mills


          Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

          Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
          Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
          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
          Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
          Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
          Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
          Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
          Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
          Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
          Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
          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

            mehry 800
            Mehry Eslaminia, Paul Bentzen and Julian Remulla in the DCPA's staging of "Appoggiatura." Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
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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 a not-for-profit 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.