• Video, photos: Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament raises $45,000

    by John Moore | Jul 02, 2015


    The DCPA's 12th annual fundraising golf tournament, held June 29 at the Lakewood Country Club, was renamed this year in honor of the late DCPA President Randy Weeks.

    The 2015 Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament raised $45,000 for the Bobby G Awards, an annual celebration of achievement in Colorado high-school theatre founded by Weeks in 2013.

    Over 12 years, the annual tournament, previously called the Swing Time Tournament, has raised $1 million for DCPA programming.

    Students from Westminster High School sing from 'Rent' before the Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament. Photo by John Moore. The year-long Bobby G Awards program includes personal workshops at all 30 participating schools hosted by DCPA Education Teaching Artists. A field of several dozen professional adjudicators then fan out across the state and attend those schools'  musicals, then provide constructive feedback.

    Their scores serve as the basis for a Tony Awards-style celebration at the end of each schoolyear held at the Buell Theatre. The two students named Outstanding Actor and Actress advance to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City.

    In the video above, DCPA Broadway executive Director John Ekeberg welcomes the field of 68 participating golfers and explains the value of the Bobby G Awards.

    Just before the shotgun start, students from Westminster High School's Rent (pictured above) serenaded the golfers with that show's signature song, "Seasons of Love." Rent was one of five nominated outstanding musicals at the most recent Bobby G Awards ceremony held May 28 at the Buell Theatre. They are introduced by Andre' Rodriguez, who won the Bobby G Award for Outstanding Direction.

    "Regardless of whether or not they pursue theatre as a career," Rodriguez said, "they are getting skills that are truly preparing them for the 21st century."

    Finally, new DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller thanked the golfers for supporting both Weeks' dream, and the DCPA's mission.

    "Randy really wanted to celebrate the craft of theatre for high-school students, and to celebrate the arts and culture in schools in the same way that sports are celebrated," Shiller said.

    Weeks was a lifelong fan of golf and theatre. Twelve years ago, he and former Development Director Dorothy Denny started the DCA's annual golf tournament at Lakewood Country Club, where Weeks was a member.

    The golfers were afforded several fun opportunities to win show-related prizes. One hole dedicated to the Theatre Company's upcoming production of As You Like It had golfers aim their tee shots at a life-sized fairway cutout of William Shakespeare. A closest-to-the-pin par-3 hole was designated the Sweeney Todd "Closest Shave" hole.

    At another tee stop, golfers posed for photographs as their favorite Wizard of Oz characters. And in honor of DCPA Broadway's upcoming launch of the If/Then national tour, golfers on one hole had to designate one player to pull a random fortune card from a dealer. It either contained good news (such as, "Subtract one shot from your score") or bad news (such as, "Proceed to the nearest bunker.")

    Most golfers played in a best-ball team competition, while the elite players in the field played a straight, stroke-play format.
     
    Photos and video by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    For more information on the Bobby G Awards, click here.

    A panorama showing golfers participating in the pre-golf putting contest.  Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament. Photo by John Moore.
    A panorama showing golfers participating in the pre-golf putting contest at the Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament. Photo by John Moore.

    Our photo gallery from the 2015 Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament:


    All photos by John Moore. Click on "Go to original image" and download any image for free.

    2015 Tournament Sponsors:
    Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management
    Comcast Spotlight
    Fineline Graphics
    Sprint Press
    CBS4
    Wilks Broadcasting
    MKK Consulting Engineers, Inc.
    Centerre Construction
    Shawn and Elisa Fowler
    Max and Kea Bull

    Golfers pose as their favorite 'Wizard of Oz' characters. The beloved musical returns to Denver next year. Photo by Chelley Canales.
    Golfers pose as their favorite "Wizard of Oz" characters. The beloved musical returns to Denver next year. Photo by Chelley Canales.

    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Break a Leg video: Cheering on Bobby G Awards winners in New York
    Bobby G Awards winners' daily video blogs
    Video: Outstanding Musical nominees perform
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards

    2015 Tournament field:

    John

    Reid

    Zach

    Wolfel

    Nick

    Gardner

    Michael

    Hupf

    Wanda

    Colburn

    Dick

    Havey

    Bob

    Loeb

    Kent

    Nossaman

    Paul

    Stastny

    Kyle

    Quincey

    Drew

    Shore

    Andrew

    Caldwell

    Aaron

    Inman

    Debbee

    CdeBaca

    Brad

    Axberg


    Terry

    Koch

    Dave

    Hirtz

    Steve

    Hirtz

    Art

    Cudworth

    Mark

    Etchason

    Kurt

    Kennedy

    Katie

    Monahan

    Carolyn

    Petersen

    Jon

    Bitrolff

    Murphy

    Huston

    Rob

    Mengelson

    Matthew

    Walton

    Calrissa

    Gliksman

    Stevie

    Johnson

    Scott

    Shreeve

    Ken

    Von Wold

    Kevin

    Baldwin

    Betty

    Lewis

    John

    Roble

    Eric

    Rosales

    John

    Ekeberg

    Mike

    Mills

    Julie

    Mills

    Brian

    Sells

    Sean

    Sjodin

    John

    St. Martin

    Craig

    Watts

    Matthew

    Campbell

    Shawn

    Fowler

    Gus

    Gardner

    Travis

    Mulvihill

    Margo

    Black

    Rich

    Ehrman

    Tamera

    Ehrman

    Craig

    Reinwald

    Kent

    Zwingelberg

    Andrew

    Brodie

    Bruce

    Montgomery

    Bryan

    Smith

    Carlos

    Vannoni

    Brook

    Nichols

    Joe

    Ghiglia

    John

    Marshall

    Jim

    Steinberg

    Andrew

    Bell

    Rich

    Kline

    Josh

    Lembrich

    Mary Ann

    Neidert

    Ken

    Blasi

    Brenda

    Egger

    Cindi

    Routh

    Nicole

    Williams

  • Break a Leg video: Cheering on Bobby G Awards winners tonight

    by John Moore | Jun 29, 2015



    Evatt Salinger and Emma Buchanan of Durango High School, who last month were named Outstanding Actor and Actress at the 2015 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Dinger and Brady O'Neill of the Colorado Rockies. åTheatre, have represented Colorado this past weekend at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, which culminate tonight (June 29) with the announcement of national winners - and a performance by all participants on a Broadway stage in New York City.

    The DCPA NewsCenter collected video well-wishes from friends and family in Durango, as well as previous Bobby G Awards representatives, staff from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and even Colorado Rockies mascot Dinger.

    Watch as Salinger and Buchanan (we call them E&E for short) receive encouragement from grandparents, teachers and even DCPA CEO Scott Shiller. 

    Please check back at the DCPA NewsCenter tonight for competition results, which are colloquially known as The Jimmy Awards..

    Peter Salinger wishes his sin well at tonight's Jimmy Awards in New York City. To watch, play the video at the top of this page.

    Peter Salinger wishes his son well at tonight's Jimmy Awards in New York City. To watch, play the video at the top of this page.



    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Bobby G Awards winners' daily video blog
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards


    For more information on the Bobby G Awards, which honor excellence in Colorado high-school theatre, click here.
  • Video: 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Performances

    by John Moore | Jun 23, 2015



    The fourth in our series of five videos covering the 2015 Bobby G Awards on May 28 at the Buell Theatre is a brief montage showing highlights from the live medley performed by all Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees.

    Opening the number are 2014 winners Abby Noble and Conner Kingsley. The nominees are:

    • Emma Buchanan, Eponine in Durango High School's Les Misérables
    • Raegan DeBord, Amneris in Mountain View High School's Aida
    • Ty Eatherton, Puck in Chaparral High School's Puck's Potion
    • Sam Hulsizer, Nathan Detroit in Rock Canyon High School's Guys and Dolls
    • Charlie Kolbrener, Moonface Martin in Fairview High School's Anything Goes
    • Taylor Lang, Aida in Mountain View High School's Aida
    • Dylan Ruder, Beast in Valor Christian High School's Beauty and the Beast
    • Alei Russo, Reno Sweeney in Fairview High School's Anything Goes
    • Evatt Salinger, Jean Valjean in Durango High School's Les Misérables
    • Lea Schoengarth, Mimi Marquez in Westminster High School's Rent
    TO WATCH THE FULL, UNEDITED MEDLEY, CLICK HERE

    Medley produced by Claudia Carson and Ryan Durfee for the the DCPA.

    The video culminates with the announcement of the winners.

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore.

    2015 Bobby G Awards: Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees. Photo by John Moore

    2015 Bobby G Awards: Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees. Photo by John Moore


    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:

    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards
  • Thompson: Theatre Company turned questions into exclamation points

    by John Moore | Jun 13, 2015

    Selected images from the 2014-15 DCPA Theatre Company season. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen


    An expanded New Play Summit, robust attendance and a slate of challenging new work all helped Kent Thompson overcome big challenges entering his 10th season.

    Kent Thompson went into his 10th season as Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company with some feelings of uncertainty. He came out of it feeling like things could not have gone much better – on stage or off.

    “The beginning of the season was a time of both strategy and sacrifice at the same time,” Thompson said.

    Kent Thompson2014-15 would be the first season in the company’s 36-year history without a company of resident actors audiences could expect to appear throughout the year. That choice was made in part because the company also made the strategic decision to offer eight shows in 2014-15, down from 10 the year before. The goal, Thompson said, was to focus more attention, time and resources on each individual offering. That would make for higher quality on both sides of the footlights - but it would also mean fewer jobs to go around for both actors and crew.

    There was also much at creative stake with a high-risk season that started and ended with two big musicals (The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The 12), both of which brought big-name creative teams into the Denver Center’s artistic womb to work alongside the company’s pool of in-house designers and crew. The slate would include four world-premiere productions - fully half of the season - and seven titles that had never before been staged anywhere in Colorado.

    “There was a lot there that could go wrong,” Thompson said. 

    And almost nothing did.

    Molly Brown and The 12 were both positively received. Molly Brown was the culmination of a nearly decade-long quest to reimagine and refresh the classic 1960 Broadway musical about one of Colorado’s most beloved citizens. Directed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall and shepherded in every other way by book writer and lyricist Dick Scanlan, the Denver Center introduced a more fully fleshed Molly Brown and a far more complex love story with husband Leadville Johnny Brown. Castle Rock native Beth Malone was widely praised for her performance as Molly Brown, then went to Broadway, where she was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical for her work in the most celebrated new musical of the year, Fun Home.

    The 12 brought composer Neil Berg and Pulitzer-Prize winning writer Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle) to Denver to explore what might have happened in the three days after the disciples went into hiding following Jesus’ crucifixion. The result was a simultaneously thoughtful and rocking new musical that asked serious questions about faith and personal responsibility in the wake of their leader’s death. The staging earned a four-star rating from Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post, who called it “visceral and vivid.”

     
    “What might have happened” was also the question playwright Kemp Powers took on when he wrote One Night in Miami, another clear triumph of the 2014-15 season. Performed against the backdrop of Ferguson and roiling racial tensions across America, One Night in Miami imagined what might have happened in a Miami hotel room between Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown immediately after Clay shocked Sonny Liston to win boxing’s heavyweight championship in 1964.

    The season also included a terrifying staging of Lord of the Flies in the slot Thompson reserves to appeal to middle-school students; the 22nd Denver Center staging of the holiday tradition A Christmas Carol; and a winning production of the most popular play in America this year: Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

    Benediction. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. The other two world premieres were Kent Haruf’s Benediction, which completed the first trilogy in DCPA Theatre Company history, and James Still’s Appoggiatura – the story of three people sharing their grief for the same man while traveling in Venice.

    (Photo at right from "Benediction," by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

    Perhaps most significantly, Thompson successfully expanded his signature Colorado New Play Summit to two weeks.

    “To me, that’s been 10 years coming, but it was the perfect time to expand the Summit,” Thompson said. “There was a demand for it, and it seems to be drawing newer audiences to us both locally and nationally.”

    Kent Thompson QuoteThe Theatre Company hit its projected attendance goals for all eight shows, which is believed to be a first in company history. The overall season attendance of 125,544 represents an 11 percent drop from 2013-14, but considering the number of shows was reduced by 20 percent, 2014-15 actually marked a significant spike in per-show attendance. That was reflected in the size of nightly audiences in the Theatre Company’s three theatres. On average, each performance was filled to 75 percent of capacity – up from 65 the year before.

    “People tend to have a better time when there are more people in the room because theatre is by its very nature communal,” Thompson said. “Think about those moments when it is packed, and there is such a buzz in the house. That's a better experience not only for audiences, but also for the actors.”

    There was some concern that the 2014-15 season would not include a Shakespeare title. Thompson promised the Bard’s sabbatical would be short, and indeed, the Theatre Company’s first-ever staging of As You Like It will help launch the 2015-16 season when it opens Sept. 25.

    Here are excerpts from our annual end-of-the season talk with Kent Thompson:

    John Moore: The season began at a time of great change. How did you approach things?

    Kent Thompson: Producing eight shows instead of 10 or 11 was an opportunity for us to focus on how to improve everything we do, from how we produce each play to how we sell them to how we inform people about them. It was very risky, and some of it was heartbreaking. But if it worked, it would be very exciting. We would drive up the total number of people seeing the shows. We would have a healthier balance of ticket sales and contributions. But for me, the chance to focus more time and resources on eight shows instead of 11 was really the secret to success. It was hard because I had to make a lot of really difficult choices that affected both staff and resources. But we did it. And at the same time, we decided to expand the Colorado New Play Summit to two weeks. And we did two musicals in a single season - not in any way that I planned that. So it was mixed.

    John Moore: As you said, fewer shows meant fewer hours for your people in the shops and on your stages. But the shows were well-received across the board, and your attendance was up.

    Kent Thompson: Yes. And that's the thinking of the entire team here at the Denver Center, whether it is production or marketing or development or elsewhere. Part of the idea was this: How do we deliver something that is unforgettable and intimately shared - and how do we up our game at the same time? It was based on a real commitment by everyone to create ways that we can serve more people and take our mission further.

    John Moore: Let’s review some of the major points of the season, starting with The Unsinkable Molly Brown. You opened with a musical, led by a national creative team, and in collaboration with an outside producer (NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt). That's a pretty good indication of how things are changing around here. That is a high-stakes undertaking. How do you think you came out?

    Kent Thompson: I think it was a great experience. There were some major changes that really worked - such as really activating the Molly Brown character, and not allowing her to disappear in the second act like she does in the original just because you don't want to talk about her activism. I thought the idea of a strong woman who has strong convictions and she acts on them - to her own success or pain - was really great. That was the biggest change. I thought there were some incredible moments. I think the toughest challenge for the creative team was this: How do you even do a musical on The Stage Theatre? It's a thrust stage (meaning the playing area reaches out into the auditorium so that the actors are by audience on three sides). That was the challenge for Sense & Sensibility, too. Most theatres in New York are proscenium stages (where the actors perform entirely behind the stage arch). Whether Molly Brown will go big, I don't know. But it was a huge event for us. And by us, I mean Denver and Colorado. I always wanted to do it because would I knew it have a first-class creative team and first-class producer enhancing the production. And it was about something that is really important in Colorado history. I thought there was some great talent in it, too.

    John Moore: You have always measured the success of your new plays by their continued life. So do you feel like this has one?

    Kent Thompson: I feel like it has a continued life, but I don't know what it is, or when it will happen. And that’s not from a lack of interest. That's from the fact that you've got a first-class creative team and a first-class producer who also happens to run NBC Entertainment. Their schedules book up way in advance. But, yes, I think it's on the way to something. 

    John Moore: Since you mentioned it: What about Sense & Sensibility?

    Kent Thompson: The issue there is a little more complex because they are considering going in many possible directions – like maybe trying the Asian market first, which is huge for English-spoken musical theatre. I mean, it's becoming ginormous over there. They are also considering going to England. One of the barriers for them is probably that Jane Austen is adapted a lot. I've seen workshops since our show here in Denver, and they have advanced how the story is structured. I think it has become more interesting. I think they've got some incredible music and storytelling. I think they have something really valuable. And I think it will have a future.



    John Moore: A personal favorite of mine was Lord of the Flies, and I understand that every available seat to every student matinee performance was filled – and with some wildly enthusiastic audiences.

    Kent Thompson: Yes, they were.

    John Moore: Was it received with the same fervor by adult audiences in the evening performances?

    Kent Thompson: It did pretty decently. I did foresee that men and boys would find it much more fascinating than women and girls, because it's about a male rite of passage. What I didn't foresee - which I should have - is that young adults and children do not walk into a show like this with the same dread that parents and older audiences do. One funny story I have is that a woman told me she was so happy we didn't include the cannibalism scene. ... There is no cannibalism scene in the book. But that lets you know the kind of state that people were walking into our show with. What was fascinating to me is that some people loved it. And some people absolutely hated it. And a lot of people were just kind of speechless after it. What I really noticed was that people were endlessly talking about it, even a few days after seeing it.

    John Moore: And when people say they hated it, it's likely that means they hated where the play took them.

    Kent Thompson: Exactly. They hated where the play took them because it took them to a dark place. And we have a lot of dark places around the world today that are tough to deal with, so I think it created a visceral reaction. That's where that experience takes you.

    John Moore: Well you certainly offered a counter in your first Christopher Durang play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

    Kent Thompson: I think that is his most approachable play.

    John Moore: Tell me about choosing to stage the final chapter of the Kent Haruf trilogy in the smaller Space Theatre after offering the previous two in the Stage Theatre.

    Kent Thompson: That decision really strongly came down to this: Which two theatres do I think Appoggiatura and Benediction belong in most? I thought the nature of the storytelling in Benediction was not about the expansive community that the first two stories were about. So I thought it would benefit from the intimacy of the smaller theatre.

    John Moore: And of course you expanded the Colorado New Play Summit to two weeks.

    Kent Thompson: I think attendance at the Summit proved there is a lot of pent-up demand for new work, particularly locally and regionally, and expanding allowed us to accommodate more visitors both from here and from out of town. The other thing it did, to varying degrees of success, was embolden the playwrights much more to actually revise while they were here.

    John Moore: Did you see significant changes in the plays from the first week to the second?

    Kent Thompson: Depending on the play, yes. I saw improvement in some plays, and, in others, not so much. But it was interesting because it gave the playwrights the opportunity to have a couple of looks at it. I think our challenge is to figure out how the playwrights and our staff can best use those two weeks.

    John Moore: You had more industry people here than ever before. What kind of feedback did you get?

    Kent Thompson: They liked that we gave them many additional opportunities to engage - whether it was the workshops with Matthew Lopez or Paula Vogel, or the Local Playwrights Slam, or our high-school playwriting competition. What we got back from the field is that this feels like a genuine home for new plays, and that we are putting our money where our mouth is. They also feel like it's well-run. There's a kind of high they perceive both from the staff at the Denver Center and all the people who come to it. They feel like it's not stuck in the same place. And I think a lot of festivals where you do a few readings and a couple of world-premieres can get stuck in place. But I get a lot of expressions about how well we run the Colorado New Play Summit. Around the country, what playwrights are hearing is, “Well, we want a new play - but we need one that’s either going to be a Broadway musical, or we need one that is no more than four characters and has only one set." That's not what we are looking for here. It's more diverse. What we are doing here is really trying to create a better process to make a new play.

    John Moore: And that leads us to One Night in Miami. That play created a different kind of buzz than I've ever felt at the Denver Center before. In One Night in Miami, I saw changes within the actors themselves over the time they spent here in Denver. In some cases, I think it changed the direction their lives are going to take moving forward. And it changed how they look at themselves as black men in America today.

    Kent Thompson: For me, that was a magical moment in the theatre where everybody we cast, and everybody we had working on the show, both internally and externally, were singing in harmony from the beginning. Everything came together in a kind of perfect moment, and that says a lot about (Director) Carl Cofield's leadership. I think it is an incredibly well-written play. Even though it's short, it goes into depth with all six characters. I'm sad that Ferguson happened. But I think because of some of those incidents, the play became more resonant in terms of how you define yourself as an African-American man, or as just a man a friend, a leader - any of those things. There was something about it that was kind of magical, and it’s what you hope for when you pick it. And also, we had so many people who helped us, whether it was Tina Walls (sister of one of the Little Rock Nine), whether it was bringing the Denver African-American Philanthropists to us, or some of the other outreach. But this was a play that drew everyone in. It didn't matter your color.  So many people were talking about it. I would say that people are still talking about that play. There was this desire to make this play blossom – and you could feel that as soon as you walked into the theatre.

    John Moore: And you don't get many plays that are set 50 years ago that tell you more about what's going on with race relations in America today.

    Kent Thompson: It really came down to the fact that these were six people who were really trying to figure out what it meant to be African-American in the 1960s. Just like we've got so many people trying to figure out what it means to be African-American in the United States today.


    John Moore: And we finish with The 12, which really spoke to people of faith. When you are continually trying to tell the stories of underserved communities in Denver, does it occur to you that people of faith might be one of those communities?

    Kent Thompson: I was drawn to the story and the music and the writing first. But I knew it would attract a different audience in terms of the faith-based. I also knew there might be another part of the audience that I would offend. So I thought, "Let's just put it out there. Let's find out." Look, I'm the son of a Southern Baptist preacher, so I knew everything about this story that there is to know, both written in Christian history and theology, and in the Bible - and I thought the idea was incredible. I thought the combination with rock ‘n roll was really fascinating. I had no doubt that it would draw from a Christian community, but I was hoping that it would draw from a lot of different faiths. A lot of people who don’t have a faith but have gone through the loss of a seminal figure related to it. Because whether you are talking about Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy, we all face those moments when we lose somebody we think of as our leader. Now what do we do? So for me, it was a really interesting experience to watch a group of people trapped in a room work their way back to the core of what they felt they learned.

    John Moore: Robert Schenkkan and I talked about how people of faith don’t always expect their faith to be taken seriously or respected in the theatre.

    Kent Thompson: That’s true. I think the plays in the American theatre tend to be more on the liberal spectrum. We’re artists. We tend to be the guys who are outside the church performing on the steps, and then get arrested.

    John Moore: But one of the questions I got from people of faith is that the Bible tells us Jesus did show up in that room. So why not give him a place in his own story?

    Kent Thompson: Actually, if you go by the Bible, he didn't show up in the room. If you go by Christian history, he did. But also, Mary Magdalene is not a prostitute in the Bible. Church leaders made her into a prostitute 200 to 300 years later. For me, the real issue is how do they struggle with their faith and re-center and go on in the face of most likely being killed? We know how their lives ended. That's all in Christian history. I see both sides. I had one patron come up to me and say, "I was upset that Christ was not in it. And that’s the only thing I didn’t like about it.” And the very next day, a patron came up to me and said, "I am so glad that Christ was not in it, because that made the story so much more dramatic.”

    John Moore: So how would you summarize the overall reaction from your audience? Judging by social media, it was clear some people were coming five and six times. That happens with Broadway touring shows like Wicked, but you don’t see that very often with Theatre Company shows.

    Kent Thompson: No, and it also rarely happens for something that’s new. But I think it was an extraordinary response. What do we take from that? That there's a thirst for genuine explorations of faith. But is it simply Christian faith? I mean, we've done two now recently, including Shadowlands. I have produced it and directed it before, and both places were very different climates. But they both drew huge audiences - and not because of Narnia. Because there is a grappling at the core of it. “Is my way the right way?”

    John Moore: When you look at The 12, Shadowlands, A Christmas Carol and even to an extent the new The Unsinkable Molly Brown, do you think you have stumbled onto an underserved audience in the faith-based?

    Kent Thompson: I think we have stumbled upon an audience that normally doesn't come to the theatre. You can say they are underserved in the sense that we haven't normally done plays like those. However, as an artistic director right now, I am thinking about looking at expressions of other faiths, because I don't want to just simply do Christian-based things.

    John Moore: What’s next for The 12?

    Kent Thompson: I don’t think Robert Schenkkan necessarily anticipates that it will ever go to New York. But he does think it will have a life all over America - and I agree.

    John Moore: So how do you summarize the season as a whole?

    Kent Thompson: If I had to say what the theme of the season was, I’d say it was a series of comic, romantic, tragic and dramatic stories of people figuring out a way to move forward in spite of being stuck … or grieving … or in trouble. It was really about how we deal with that and re-create our lives. I think you can see that radiating throughout the season. You can see that in Molly Brown and in what she wants to do with her life. You can see that in The 12. You can see that in One Night in Miami. You can see it in Benediction. And even in Lord of the Flies: Those kids are changed forever by that experience - and a lot of them not for the better. But at the end of the play, this is a story that says the Piggys of the world are important.


    A look ahead to 2015-16 season:
    Sept. 11-Oct 11: Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Lookingglass Alice, Stage Theatre
    Sept. 25-Nov 1: As You Like It, Space Theatre
    Oct. 9-Nov. 15: Tribes, Ricketson Theatre
    Nov. 27-Dec 27: A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016: The Nest, Space Theatre
    Jan. 29-Feb 28, 2016: All The Way, Stage Theatre
    Feb. 5-March 13, 206: FADE, Ricketson Theatre
    April 8-May 15, 2016: Sweeney Todd, with DeVotchKa orchestrations, Stage Theatre
    To read more about the season, click here
    Theatre Company introduces bold new artwork for 2015-16 season
    For subscription information, click here

    READ JOHN MOORE'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NICK URATA OF DEVOTCHKA

    Some of our favorite stories this season from the DCPA NewsCenter:
    Visiting Leadville with DCPA's new Molly Brown, Beth Malone
    Cold coffee, hot popcorn make for a good Vanya stew
    Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
    Video: A behind-the-scenes look at Lord of the Flies
    The #CarolCallout is spreading across the country
    'Benediction' opens as a celebration of ‘The Precious Ordinary’
    Appoggiatura's James Still is running to catch up to himself
    For two inaugural DCPA actors, you can come home again
    Fourth-graders have tough questions for One Night in Miami cast
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
  • Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game

    by John Moore | Jun 12, 2015
    Video by John Moore, Emily Lozow and the Colorado Rockies.

    Evatt Salinger and Emma Buchanan of Durango High School, who last month were named Outstanding Actor and Actress at the 2015 Bobby G Awards at the Denver Center, sang the National Anthem before a crowd of 30,698 at the Colorado Rockies' game against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 10 at Coors Field. It was the first time either of the students had set foot in a major sports stadium. In three weeks, Salinger and Buchanan will represent Colorado at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, which culminate in a performance on a Broadway stage in New York City.

    Of the past 30 days, Salinger says, "It's blasting us off a little bit into a world of the unknown. Which is where we wanted to go, but we just didn't think it would happen this quickly."

    After singing the anthem, he added, "That made us feel like we are on helium."

    Over the next few weeks, Salinger and Buchanan will be video-blogging their road to the national awards for BroadwayWorld.Com

    For more information on the Bobby G Awards, which honor excellence in Colorado high-school theatre, click here.

    Our photo gallery from Coors Field:

    Photos by John Moore.


    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards

    Evatt Salinger and Emma Buchanan sing the National Anthem at the Colorado Rockies game. Photo by John Moore.

    Evatt Salinger and Emma Buchanan sing the National Anthem at the Colorado Rockies game on June 10. Photo by John Moore.


  • DCPA will adapt Haruf's final novel for the stage

    by John Moore | Jun 11, 2015
    Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from 'Our Souls at Night' at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore.

    Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from 'Our Souls at Night' at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore.


    The DCPA Theatre Company will adapt the late Colorado author Kent Haruf's final book, Our Souls at Night, for the theatrical stage, it was announced tonight at an event related to the release of the book at the Colfax Tattered Cover Book Store.

    Cathy Haruf. Associate Artistic Director Bruce K. Sevy delivered the news at a public taping of Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters. Sevy told an overflow crowd that, for the fourth time, playwright Eric Schmiedl will be commissioned to adapt a Haruf novel for the DCPA, following Plainsong, Eventide and Benediction.

    A commission is not a guarantee that the play will receive a full production on the Theatre Company's season. But, Sevy said, that would be the eventual goal. "We always approach them as if they will be produced," he said.

    (Photographed: Above right: Cathy Haruf. Below left: Bruce K. Sevy makes the announcement at the Tattered Cover. Photos by John Moore.)

    Bruce K. Sevy makes the announcement at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore. The time between a commission and a fully staged production is typically a minimum of three years. Any future staging would again be directed by DCPA Artistic Director Kent Thompson.

    The DCPA Theatre Company adapted and staged Haruf's Plainsong Trilogy as three live theatrical world premieres over the past decade, culminating with Benediction in February. Our Souls at Night, the story of a man and  woman grappling with their advanced age, is not a part of the Plainsong series, although it is set in the same fictional town of Holt, Colorado.

    At tonight's Tattered Cover event, DCPA actors Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from Our Souls at Night. Colorado Public Radio's Ryan Warner then led a discussion with Haruf's wife, Cathy, and editor, Gary Fisketjon.

    Fisketjon referenced a chapter in the book where the primary couple, Addie Moore and Louis Waters, are lying in bed and talking about their fellow Holt neighbor - Kent Haruf. And how his Benediction was about to be staged at the Denver Center. It is a meta moment in which Haruf for the first time essentially establishes himself as a longtime neighbor to his fictional characters living the town he made up.

    Sevy already was imagining how that exchange might play out if Our Souls at Night is eventually staged at the Denver Center.

    "I love it," Sevy said. "That moment is going to play like gangbusters. Can you imagine sitting in the theatre and watching these characters talk about seeing Benediction?"

    Cathy Haruf said she imagines her husband would be nothing short of delighted to know that his final novel might join his previous works as DCPA Theatre productions.

    "He didn't write any of them to be plays," she said, "but he was always really pleased with the other productions that they have done. He wanted so badly to make it long enough to see Benediction." 

    Haruf finished Our Souls at Night just days before he passed away in November 2014. Cathy Haruf told the Tattered Cover audience of about 100 that "Kent lost his fear of dying" in writing his final book after he had received a terminal diagnosis for lung disease. "What greater gift could anybody ask for?"

    Schmiedl is one of 38 playwrights who have been commissioned by Thompson to write new plays since 2006. A commission essentially gives the DCPA the right of first refusal when it comes to possibly staging the work.

    The DCPA NewsCenter interviewed Kent Haruf just five days before he died. You can read the transcript here.

    About Our Souls at Night
    (Description provided by publisher Alfred Knopf)
    To buy the book, click here

    A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

    In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

    Their brave adventures — their pleasures and their difficulties — are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

    Selected previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage of Kent Haruf:
    DCPA actors to read from Kent Haruf's final book
    Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
    Video, photos: DCPA celebrates life of Colorado novelist Kent Haruf
    Benediction opens as a celebration of the 'Precious Ordinary'
    DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7
    Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
    Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71

  • Video: Exclusive interview with 'Wicked' composer Stephen Schwartz

    by John Moore | Jun 11, 2015


    In this exclusive interview with Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz for the DCPA's NewsCenter, the theatre legend talks with Senior Arts Journalist John Moore about the ongoing need to empower girls and women.

    Stephen Schwartz"Turn on the TV or go online, and there is story after story of the difficulties women and girls face just trying to be on an equal level in our world," says Schwartz. "Worldwide, this is a major issue." 

    Schwartz says he relates most to the character of Elphaba in Wicked, and embraces the idea that we all have the green girl inside of us. He also tells how Wicked never happens - or at least not Schwartz's involvement in it - without a nudge from the folk singer Holly Near.

    Schwartz also addresses Denver's place in Wicked lore as the production's most visited city in the world. 

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore. 

    Wicked: Show information
    June 3-July 5
    Buell Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100, 800-641-1222 or  BUY ONLINE
    Accessibility performance: 2 p.m., June 27

    Our recent NewsCenter coverage of Wicked:
    Wicked witches stirring up an evening of cabaret on June 15
    Daily Wicked lottery makes $25 tickets available to lucky winners
    Video, photos: Wicked arrives in Denver: Load-In Day
    Interview with the two stars on the show's 'Popular' appeal
    Wicked a show for the green girl in all of us
    Wicked has bonded mothers and daughters for a decade in Denver
       
    Stephen Schwartz
  • Video: 2015 Bobby G Awards: The Acceptance Speeches

    by John Moore | Jun 09, 2015


    Here is a brief video montage showing highlights from all of the acceptance speeches at the 2015 Bobby G Awards on May 28 at the Buell Theatre.

    When Cherry Creek High Luccio Dellepiane, who played Herald in Cherry Creek High School's 'Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella,' won the Rising Star award honoring underclassmen. Photo by John Moore. School's Jimmy Miller accepted his share of the Outstanding Costumes award, he said of late DCPA President and Bobby G Awards Founder Randy Weeks: "Cherry Creek was honored with one of these last year, and I had the honor of receiving it from Mr. Randy Weeks. I know that he would say to all of you, 'Congratulations to all of the designers, technicians and artists in Colorado high-school theatre.' "

    The presenters include Charles MacLeod, Candy Brown, Allison Watrous and John Ekeberg. Video by David Lenk and John Moore.

    (Photo: Luccio Dellepiane, who played Herald in Cherry Creek High School's 'Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella,' won the Rising Star award honoring underclassmen. Photo by John Moore.)


    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards

  • Audio: Exclusive chat with Annaleigh Ashford on her Tony Awards win

    by John Moore | Jun 08, 2015
  • DCPA announces promotions for Zupancic, McCracken

    by John Moore | Jun 08, 2015

    David Zupancik, right, with 2015 Saturday Night Alive headliners Jarrod Spector and Jessie Muller. The event raised $914,000 for DCPA Education programs. Photo by John Moore. David Zupancic, right, with 2015 Saturday Night Alive headliners Jarrod Spector and Jessie Mueller. The event raised $914,000 for DCPA Education programs. Photo by John Moore.


    The DCPA has announced that David Zupancic has been named Director of Development, and Timothy McCracken will be the new Head of Acting for Education.

    Zupancic, a native of Pueblo, has been serving as interim Director of Development since the retirement of Dorothy Denny last year. McCracken will replace Larry Hecht, who has been teaching with the DCPA for 18 years, including having a major role on the faculty of the now-closed National Theatre Conservatory masters program.

    Larry Hecht and Timothy McCracken"David has served with distinction as Associate Director of Development since joining the DCPA in 2000 and has worked tirelessly the last year as the interim Director," said DCPA CEO Scott Shiller. "In his time as Interim Director, David has hired extraordinary staff, led Saturday Night Alive to record-breaking revenue and has inspired other departments to help fund-raise. He is collaborative and committed."

    (Photos above: Larry Hecht, left, and Timothy McCracken.)


    Hecht and wife Ashlee Temple (a DCPA Teaching Artist and local director) are retiring at the end of the DCPA's summer education session and moving to California. He has appeared as an actor in many DCPA Theatre Company productions, including A Skull in Connemara, The Pillowman, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Midsummer Night's Dream and many more. In the meantime, Hecht will be starring as Doctor Faustus in Wittenberg. for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder.

    McCracken is a professional actor, playwright, acting teacher and director who has worked in theatre, television and film for more than 20 yeaTim McCracken may look sweet, but he played a seriously bad dad in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Giver' in 2012. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.rs. He has performed with the DCPA Theatre Company, Curious Theatre Company, the Arvada Center and Colorado Shakespeare Festival. His DCPA Theatre credits include Benediction, Jackie and Me, The Giver, When We Are Married, Reckless, A Christmas Carol and A Midsummer Night's Dream. New York credits include Troilus and Cressida for the New York Shakespeare Festival and My Neoptolamus for the New York Theatre Workshop.

    (Photo above and right: Tim McCracken may look sweet, but he played a seriously bad dad in the DCPA Theatre Company's "The Giver" in 2012. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

    McCracken, a native of Napa, Calif., earned his MFA in Theatre from the DCPA's National Theatre Conservatory and a BA in Theatre from Whitman College. He has taught at Webster University, Washington University and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He is married to Denver actor Tara Falk. They are the parents of son Con.

    "His organizational skills and classroom talents are legendary. His enthusiasm is unmatched," Hecht said in naming his own replacement. "This is a thrilling step for DCPA Education."

    McCracken is also known around town for his work managing restaurants such as Root Down and, more recently, the new Ophelia's at 20th Street between Larimer and Lawrence streets.

    As Head of Acting for the Academy, Hecht coordinates the curriculum for the adult education programs. He serves, in essence, as a bridge for serious acting students who want to make the leap from the classroom onto legit area stages. His major initiative is his popular Master Class Project. Recently, Hecht led 15 students into the intimidating world of Stephen Sondheim, which he followed up with a student version of Macbeth.

    More about David Zupancic:
    In the past, Zupancic has been responsible for three membership groups: Best of Broadway Society, Directors Society, and Marquee Club. In addition to serving as major gifts officer for gifts from individuals, including a significant gift to renovate the Directors Room, he has secured recent corporate sponsorships from Anadarko Petroleum, Microsoft, Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management, Wells Fargo Advisors, KeyBank, Larimer Square, BKD CPAs & Advisors, and Fairfield and Woods. Atlantic Trust’s sponsorship renewal for the 2015-16 Season marks the company's 12th consecutive year of participation. Zupancic also successfully solicited foundation grants from Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, Oscar G. Mayer & Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation, Walter S. Rosenberry III Charitable Trust, and Mabel Y. Hughes Charitable Trust.

    More about Larry Hecht:
    Art and Artist: The Golden Age of Larry Hecht

    Larry Hecht, center, with wife Ashlee Temple and DCPA Education master-class student Daniel Traylor at the 2015 Saturday Night Alive. Photo by John Moore.
    Larry Hecht, center, with wife Ashlee Temple and DCPA Education master-class student Daniel Traylor at the 2015 Saturday Night Alive. Photo by John Moore.



    Video: Tim McCracken and son's Ice Bucket Challenge
    "


  • Annaleigh Ashford brings a Tony Award home to Colorado

    by John Moore | Jun 07, 2015
    Annaleigh Ashford holding her Tony Award in the press room
    Annaleigh Ashford holds her Tony Award in the press room.


    Eight years after making her Broadway debut in Legally Blonde The Musical, Wheat Ridge native Annaleigh Ashford is now a Tony Award winner.

    Ashford, 29, was honored with theatre's highest prize tonight for her widely praised role as the eccentric ballet dancer Essie opposite James Earl Jones in the Broadway revival of the classic American comedy You Can't Take It With You.

    Annaleigh prepares before the ceremony. Photos courtesty Holli Swanson. "I can't believe I am standing here on the Radio City Music Hall stage for the worst dancing that ever happened on Broadway," Ashford said to great laughter.

    She thanked her two families, both of the real and You Can't Take It With You varieties. Of her husband, Joe Tapper, and her biological family - including mother Holli Swanson sitting in the very back row of Radio City with Ashford's sister and father, she said, "Thank for being weird and silly and loving me unconditionally."

    She avoided the the trap of possibly leaving anyone out of her thanks by saying: "Thank you to every friend I’ve ever had, every teacher I have ever had, and everybody I have ever met.”

    Reached after the ceremony, Ashford's mother told the DCPA NewsCenter: "We are in heaven. This is a dream come true. We screamed. And we may have peed our pants a little bit."

    (Photo: Annaleigh Ashford prepares for the Tony Awards ceremony. Photo courtesy Holli Swanson.)

    The other actresses nominated in Ashford's category were Patricia Clarkson (The Elephant Man), Lydia Leonard (Wolf Hall Parts One & Two), Sarah Stiles (Hand to God) and Julie White (Airline Highway).

    Colorado's other native nominee, Beth Malone, was up for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Fun Home, the groundbreaking story of a woman dealing with the aftermath of her father's suicide. The award went to the long-suffering Kelli O'Hara​, who played Anna in a revival of The King & I.

    O'Hara, who has been nominated for six Tony Awards but had not won before tonight, kept up an unusual Broadway winning streak: No actress who has ever headlined a Broadway production of The King & I has ever not won a Tony Award.

    Malone, a graduate of Douglas County High School in Castle Rock and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, starred last year in the DCPA Theatre Company's newly reimagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She was considered a Tony Award longshot in part because the musical is a true ensemble piece, and her role of Alison is shared among three actors of different ages. However, she also had some momentum as the only nominee playing an original character.

    Beth Malone's name is called by Neil Patrick Harris. Her disappointment was no doubt tempered by Fun Home's win as Best Musical. Fun Home is the first musical in Broadway history to feature a lesbian protagonist. Based on Alison Bechdel's best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home is a refreshingly honest coming-of-age story about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. It was adapted for the stage by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, who together won Tony Awards for best book and score of a musical - an accomplishment that even Ashford noted in her post-awards press conference.

    "Two years ago, Cyndi Lauper became the first woman ever to win for Best Score," said Ashford, who co-starred in that winning production of Kinky Boots. "I remember that being such a milestone, and it's great to see women continuing the trend."

    (Photo: Beth Malone's name is called by Tony Award presenter Neil Patrick Harris.) 

    Another Colorado native, Denver East High School graduate Rebecca Eichenberger, plays several roles in An American in Paris, which won four awards. Spencer Ross of Denver is one of the show's producers.

    Listen to our five-minute conversation with Annaleigh Ashford the day after the Tony Awards.


    British writer Mark Haddon's heartbreaking and technically ingenious The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won for best play. Like Fun Home, it features a most uncommon protagonist: A 15-year-old with an unstated condition similar to Asperger syndrome. The tormented math savant is accused of killing the neighbor's dog, which sets him off on a harrowing journey to the big city. The play's title quotes the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 short story Silver Blaze.

    The Tony Awards were remarkably spread out this year, with Fun Home and Curious Incident leading the way with five awards each, and An American in Paris and The King & I earning four.

    The Tony Awards are often seen as a primary means for Broadway to introduce big new national touring productions to the American heartland audience. Fun Home marks the second straight year when Tony voters honored arguably the most daring and least commercial of all the nominees. The DCPA jumped on the 2014 Tony Award-winning best musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (Feb. 16-28). Fun Home has announced a national tour to begin next year, but no cities have yet been announced. 

    Broadway producer (and prominent theatre blogger) Ken Davenport called Fun Home's surprise win over An American in Paris no less than David besting Goliath.

    "This is a shocking upset," Davenport wrote. "Let this forever prove that there is no block of touring presenters who vote for the shows they think will play in their theatres around the country to greater success. Got it?  There is no road vote.  Avenue Q beat WickedGentlemen’s Guide beat Aladdin.  And Fun Home beat Paris, just to name a few. 

    "Never before have I been more proud of our industry than last night, when it rewarded this achingly beautiful new musical that challenges today’s audiences. More people will see Fun Home because of that Tony.  And the world will be just a little bit of a better place because of it.  And that’s the power of theater."

    Ashford made her stage debut in Denver at age 9 in Theatre Group's Ruthless the Musical. She played an aspiring child actress who hangs a rival girl from a catwalk with a jump rope so she can star in the school play, Pippi in Tahiti, The Musical.

    Ashford, who came home to the Denver Center in April to perform her acclaimed cabaret show, Lost in the Stars, has been on an astonishing professional roll. She has appeared in five big Broadway productions. She was called “a sly comic genius” by The New York Times. She provided a voice in the biggest animated movie on the planet – Frozen. And she has returned to her delicious role as prostitute Betty DiMello on Showtime's Masters of Sex.

    Her first Tony Award nomination came in 2013 for playing Lauren in Kinky Boots. This fall, she returns to Broadway as a dog who threatens to break up a marriage in A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia. After the Tony Awards ceremony, Ashford said she will be enrolling in obedience classes with her dog in Los Angeles starting next week.

    "Hopefully at the end of this I will be better trained - and so will my dog," she quipped.

    CLICK HERE FOR A FUN INFOGRAPHIC SHOWING COLORADO'S TIES TO THE TONYS

    Ashford graduated from Wheat Ridge High School at age 16 and from Marymount Manhattan College at 19. She was asked in the press room whether she would have any advice now for her younger self.

    "I would have told myself to slow down," she said. "I was really racing the clock back then, and there are times when I wish I had taken it a little easier on myself, because that time is a special time."

    While other young women her age were just starting college at 19, Ashford found herself living at The Y in New York in a room so small, she could touch the two walls across at once.

    "So that was a depressing year," she said.

    No comparison to 2015, to be sure.
     
    "I was just thinking about how different my life is from from five years ago," she said. "I was working as an actor, but not always consistently, and I so was reminded how lucky we are to just have a job as an actor. And so the slower times and the quieter times just make me that much more grateful for the faster times - and moments like this."


    Annaleigh prepares before the ceremony. Photos courtesty Holli Swanson.
    Annaleigh Ashford prepares before the ceremony with her family, including husband Joe Tapper. Photos courtesy Holli Swanson.


    ​2015 TONY AWARDS

    BEST PLAY
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    BEST MUSICAL
    Fun Home

    BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
    Skylight

    BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
    The King and I

    BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
    Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
    Sam Gold, Fun Home

    BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Helen Mirren, The Audience

    BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Kelli O’Hara, The King and I

    BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Michael Cerveris, Fun Home

    BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You

    BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I

    BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Richard McCabe,The Audience

    BEST FEATURED ACTOR  IN A MUSICAL
    Christian Borle, Something Rotten!

    BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
    Fun Home, by Lisa Kron

    BEST SCORE
    Fun Home, Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: Lisa Kron

    BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
    Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
    Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris

    BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
    Paule Constable, for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
    Natasha Katz, for An American in Paris

    BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
    Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

    BEST ORCHESTRATIONS
    Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris

    BEST COSTUNE DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
    Catherine Zuber, The King and I

    BEST COSTUNE DESIGN OF A PLAY
    Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall: Parts 1 and 2

    SPECIAL TONY AWARDS
    Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Tommy Tune
    John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Stephen Schwartz
    Regional Theatre Tony Award: Cleveland Play House, Cleveland, Ohio

    Tweets about Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone:
    Tweets


    Our recent interview with Beth Malone:




    Our 2015 New York report (to date)
    :
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards
    Ashford: From Ruthless to the Good Girl of Tony Town
    Our exclusive interview with Annaleigh Ashford
    Video: Coloradans in New York: Beth Malone
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Aisha Jackson
    Video: Coloradans in New York: Playwright Max Posner
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Actor Rebecca Eichenberger
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance
    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver
    Photos: Annaleigh Ashford's return to Denver for Lost in the Stars
    Video: Watch Annaleigh perform at Miscast in New York

    Annaleigh
  • Coloradans on Broadway: Tony-nominated Beth Malone

    by John Moore | Jun 05, 2015



    All this week leading up to the Tony Awards, we are rolling out a daily video featuring a Colorado actor working on Broadway. No. 5: Castle Rock native Beth Malone, who Beth Malone in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. starred in the DCPA Theatre Company's new The Unsinkable Molly Brown last year and is now nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Fun Home, the stage adaptation of Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir that chronicles her coming out as a lesbian at the same time her closeted father committed suicide.

    Malone graduated from Douglas County High School and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She talks with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore about how her life has changed in the past year - and since she was nominated for theatre's highest prize. The surrealness crescendoed when she found herself eating lobster for breakfast with Sting. She also talks about the ways in which Fun Home is a groundbreaking Broadway musical, including being the first in history to feature a lesbian protagonist.

    The 2015 Tony Awards will be presented at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, on CBS-4 in Denver.

    Video by John Moore. Photo at right: Beth Malone in the DCPA Theatre Company's The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    2015 Tony Awards
    Sunday, June 1
    7 p.m., CBS-4 in Denver 


    Our Beth Malone photo gallery:
    Our photos of Beth Malone when she as in Denver to perform in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Photos by John Moore.


    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Aisha Jackson
    Video: Coloradans in New York: Playwright Max Posner
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Actor Rebecca Eichenberger
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance
    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver


    Beth Malone hopped over a fence in Times Square to help us get this shot where she plays off the Coors Light ad slogan: 'Born in the Rockies. Lives in NYC.' Photo by John Moore.

    Beth Malone hopped over a fence in Times Square to help us get this shot where she plays off the Coors Light ad slogan: "Born in the Rockies. Lives in NYC." Photo by John Moore.


    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Beth Malone

    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Denver's Beth Malone returning to Broadway in Fun Home
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Opening Night photos
    Meet the Cast video series: Beth Malone
    Your first look at The Unsinkable Molly Brown rehearsal
    Video: Visiting with Denver Center's new Molly Brown in Leadville, Colorado
    Video: Beth Malone's big day singing at the Denver Broncos game
    Molly Brown will reunite local favorites Beth Malone, Patty Goble
    Denver's Molly Brown is Denver's Beth Malone

  • Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Aisha Jackson

    by John Moore | Jun 04, 2015


    All this week leading up to the Tony Awards, we are rolling out a daily video featuring a Colorado actor working on Broadway. No. 4: University of Northern Colorado alumna Aisha Jackson, who starred in the Arvada Center's Memphis last year and followed that up by making her Broadway debut on Jan. 23 in the ensemble of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical - at the tender age of 23.

    Jackson talks about why Greeley was the perfect fit for her when she left her hometown of Atlanta for college, and shouts out several of the UNC faculty, including Ken Womble, Tom McNally, David Grapes and Shelly Gaza.

    Beautiful visits the Buell Theatre in Denver as a national touring production from July 19-31, 2016. The show won two Tony Awards in 2014. The 2015 Tony Awards will be presented at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, on CBS-4 in Denver.

    Video and photos by John Moore.

    2015 Tony Awards
    Sunday, June 1
    7 p.m., CBS-4 in Denver 

    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Video: Coloradans in New York: Actor Andy Kelso

    Video: Coloradans in New York: Playwright Max Posner
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Actor Rebecca Eichenberger
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance
    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver

    Aisha Jackson from the set of 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,' from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway. Photo by John Moore. Aisha Jackson on the set of "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway. Photo by John Moore.
  • Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Andy Kelso

    by John Moore | Jun 03, 2015


    This week leading up to the Tony Awards, we are rolling out a daily video featuring a Aurora native Andy Kelso in his 'Kinky Boots' dressing room. Photo by John Moore. Colorado actor working on Broadway. No. 3: Eaglecrest High School graduate Andy Kelso, who is starring as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots.

    "It's always fun to be a jerk when you are an actor, because it's not fun to be a jerk in real life, I don't think," says Kelso, who also gives us a sense of how he might sound as a singer of Italian arias.

    Believe it or not, Kelso is coming up on the 10-year anniversary of his Broadway debut in Mamma Mia back on Oct. 19, 2005.

    Video and photos by John Moore.

    2015 Tony Awards
    Sunday, June 1
    7 p.m., CBS-4 in Denver 

    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Video: Coloradans in New York: Playwright Max Posner
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Actor Rebecca Eichenberger
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance
    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver
  • Photos, Video: Student playwriting culminates with an 'Almighty Sword'

    by John Moore | Jun 02, 2015


    Before entering the DCPA's statewide student playwriting competition last fall, Arapahoe High School student Jack Hansen says, "I didn't really know what was going on.

    "Now I have a good idea what I want to do with my life, really. I would do this for the rest of my life if I could."

    The DCPA's second year-long Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition will culminate on Friday, June 26, with two fully staged performances of Hansen's The Tale of the Almighty Sword in the Denver Center's Conservatory Theatre.

    Student playwriting finalists Catherine Novotny, Kaytlin Camp and Jack Hansen. Photo by John Moore. Last fall, DCPA Education staff conducted classroom workshops for nearly 3,000 students. That resulted in 158 one-act play submissions from young writers all over the state - up more than double from the year before. A team of adjudicators named 10 semifinalists. Of those, three were selected to have their plays workshopped by the DCPA Education staff and read by professional actors at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit in February:

    • Kaytlin Camp of Gunnison High School (Lark's Mechanics, third from right in photo)
    • Jack Hansen of Arapahoe High School (The Tale of the Almighty Sword, center in photo)
    • Catherine Novotny of Grandview High School (Election, left in photo)
    Submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and educational professionals. The three finalists each receive a cash scholarship of $250. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists receives a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms.

    Hansen's play was then selected for full production by the DCPA Education department. The staging will be directed by acclaimed playwright Steven Cole Hughes and has been cast with teen actors from the DCPA's summer education classes.

    "Frankly this year, all three plays would have been an amazing, perfect fit (for the full production)," said DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous.

    Hughes served as a personal writing mentor to each of the three finalists, and he says the upcoming full production of The Tale of the Almighty Sword will serve to help Hansen develop, expand and hone his manuscript even more.  

    Each finalist was further mentored during the Colorado New Play Summit in February by a commissioned playwright with the Denver Center Theatre Company: José Cruz González (September Shoes), Eric Schmiedl (Benediction) and rising playwright Mat Smart, who was assigned to Hansen.

    Finalist Kaytlin Camp, who was assigned to González, said, "He just really helped my talk through the bigger picture of the play. He told me how to set it up better at the beginning and how to better develop the characters." 

    By earning the additional full production, Watrous said, "Jack Hansen will have the opportunity to continue to work with Steven Cole Hughes when they go into rehearsal. Like with any other new play, the playwright and the director are both right there in the room. Jack may say, 'I just made a discovery. Let's add a scene,' or, 'I think I can make the story stronger.'

    "Hopefully what we are doing is helping them to find their authentic voice." 

    Participating in the playwriting program can help students in a variety of other ways.  Being validated in the writing of her steam-punk play Larks Mechanics, Camp said, has changed her thinking about her future.

    "I have confidence issues," she offered, "so just knowing that some people enjoy my play. ...  It's really nice, and it just makes me want to write more. "

    Watrous said that's exactly why playwriting is a huge priority for DCPA Education.

    "The more that we can encourage young playwrights - that's great for theatre as a whole," Watrous said, "because young people are the next generation of writers of the plays that we are going to see next.

    "Maybe Jack Hansen won't become a playwright. But going through the exercise of completing a play makes these students stronger readers, stronger writers and stronger communicators. And those are amazing, portable skills that can be applied to any career path."



    Photos by John Moore

    The Tale of the Almighty Sword: Performance information
    1:30 and 7 p.m., Friday, June 26
    Conservatory Theatre in the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education 1101 13th St.
    This performance is free, but an RSVP is requested by clicking here

    Cast list:
    Written by Jack Hansen
    Avery Dell: The Old Knight
    Nik Velimirovic: Sir Nicholas
    Zoe Fonck: Rubert
    Michelle Piccone: Kaj/Merchant's Wife
    Nicholas Chavez: Christopher/Jaquis
    Matthew Parone: Merchant
    Maddie Beatty: Thief
    Rachel Sanderson: Narrator
    Sean Coughlin: The Almighty Voice
    Steven Cole Hughes: Director

    Some previous NewsCenter coverage of the Playwriting Competition:
    Three student plays chosen for Colorado New Play Summit readings
    Denver Center launches statewide high-school playwriting initiative

    Meet our 10 Talented Semifinalists:
  • Divide by Kiana Trippler, ThunderRidge High School
  • Election by Catherine Novotny, Grandview High School
  • Lark’s Mechanics by Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High School
  • Life According to Mauve by Keely Kritz, Denver School of the Arts
  • Open Mic by Joshua Contreras, Gunnison High School
  • Paper Clips by Christina Arias, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
  • The Suburbs by Kendra Knapp, Valor Christian High School
  • The Tale of the Almighty Sword by Jack Hansen, Arapahoe High School
  • The Window on the Fourth Wall by Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School
  • Unspoken by Nathan Mast, Thomas B. Doherty High School

The DCPA's Regional High School Playwriting Competition is sponsored by the Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from FirstBank, MarkWest Energy Partners, The Ross Foundation, Stonebridge Companies and June Travis.

Jack Hansen. Photo by John Moore. Jack Hansen. Photo by John Moore.
  • Coloradans in New York: Max Posner

    by John Moore | Jun 02, 2015


    All this week leading up to Sunday's Tony Awards, we are rolling out a daily video featuring a Colorado theatre artist working in New York. Second up: Denver School of Max Posnerthe Arts grad Max Posner, who is a commissioned playwright for Playwrights Horizons in Manhattan and in 2012 was the Playwriting Fellow for Page 73 Productions.

    Posner, who also trained as a teen through the Curious Theatre's Curious New Voices Project, was named one of The Denver Post's "Can't Miss Kids" in 2006 along with Noah Wilson, Akil LuQman, Melissa Benoist and Courtney Lorenz.

    Posner's plays include The Thing About Air Travel, The FamishedThe War on Safety, You Me + The Spiders, and SNORE and other sorts of breathing. His plays have been staged and developed at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Colt Coeur, The Hangar Theatre, Curious Theatre Company, The Blank Theatre, Young Playwrights Inc, and Production Workshop. He graduated from Brown University in 2011. He is the recipient of the Weston Award in Playwriting and the 2011 Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville.

    Look for an announcement in the next few weeks about a full production coming next season.

    Video by John Moore.


    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Rebecca Eichenberger
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance

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

    was named one of The Denver Post's 'Can't Miss Kids' in 2006. along with Akil LuQman, Melissa Benoist, Courtney Lorenz and Noah Wilson. Photo by Lyn Alweis.
    Max Posner, top left, was named one of The Denver Post's "Can't Miss Kids" in 2006 along with Akil LuQman, Melissa Benoist, Courtney Lorenz and Noah Wilson. File photo by Lyn Alweis, The Denver Post.

  • Theatre Company introduces bold new artwork for 2015-16 season

    by John Moore | Jun 01, 2015
    Kyle Malone season art 2015-16.

    Kyle Malone's artwork for the upcoming 2015-16 DCPA Theatre Company season. "A Christmas Carol" is still to come. Photo below by John Moore.


    Kyle Malone. Photo by John Moore.


    Art Director Kyle Malone, a 15-year employee of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, isn’t an actor. Nonetheless, he has had a profound influence on how audiences have experienced every DCPA Theatre Company production since 2013.

    That’s when Theatre Company Director of Marketing Brianna Firestone awarded Malone the prestigious - and high-stakes - assignment of creating the art campaign that serves as theatregoers’ first exposure to the look, feel and content of the Theatre Company’s entire season.

    Malone’s award-winning design work was singled out by The New York Times in December, but the DCPA has recently undergone a massive rebranding that has created a whole new look and feel for the organization. And the Theatre Company’s 2015-16 season art would have to reflect that.

    After an extensive exploration of design direction and discussions with local artists, Firestone and new DCPA Creative Director Rob Silk decided Malone was still the best artist for the job.

    But Malone would be challenged to create a campaign unlike anything he has ever done before. He was asked to capture the raw emotion that will embody the upcoming season of Lookingglass Alice, As You Like It, Tribes, A Christmas Carol, All The Way, world-premiere new plays The Nest and FADE, finishing with the musical Sweeney Todd, featuring new orchestrations by the Denver band DeVotchKa.

    “We have a new brand, and so we very intentionally wanted a departure,” said Malone, a native of Arvada. He and Silk considered several new mediums including photography, “light-painting” and even layered light boxes.

    The guiding principle?

    “Rob really wanted to see the artists’ hand in this,” Malone said, “not something that looked like it was created on a computer.”

    They ultimately chose a layered illustration style that would include what Malone calls “a toolbox of different elements.” That starts with the lettering, or what is known in the trade as a “title treatment.”

    'All the Way' title treatments.Malone’s illustration for All the Way, a Tony-winning about President Lyndon Baines Johnson, features red, white and blue coloring, and a lettering style that evokes a political campaign. (The illustration to the right shows several possible iterations created by Malone. The bottom choice ended up being the winner.)

    The contemporary play Tribes, which focuses on hard-of-hearing characters, has a modern lettering style, accented by multi-colored hands that jut out of the letters to cleverly spell the name of the play in American Sign Language. The Sweeney Todd lettering, meanwhile, looks more appropriately classic – complemented by a subtle slash through the letters. 

    The second key element of each illustration is a pencil-and-ink drawing of a character who is central to each title. For Sweeney Todd, of course, that meant a slightly crazed, razor-wielding Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Malone calls this the “Hero Element.”

    “The look is scribbled, emotional, raw, high contrast and character based,” Malone said. Each drawing is done by hand, in black and white. And a signature element, Malone said, “is that they all splatter.”

    The Tribes hero element is particularly compelling as the hero is shown with hands covering his mouth, suggesting silence.

    The third element consists of colorful, computer-generated background images that introduce layering to the series. For example, a pronounced blood splatter covers our maniacal Sweeney Todd. But if you look closer, you will see musical instruments forming out of the blood drops. There is a dangling guitar, a trumpet and sousaphone – a sly nod to some DeVotchKa’s signature musical instruments.

    “The splatter helps keep it more raw,” Malone said. “If we polish up them too much, they might seem uptight. They also give each drawing some energy and flow.”

    Finally, each illustration includes a tagline that both brings continuity to the series and gives the reader a tantalizing idea of what kind of experience they are in for at the theatre. These are subject to change, but for Tribes, you might see the tagline, “TRUE FAMILY SPEAKS YOUR LANGUAGE." Or, for All the Way: “IT’S NOT PERSONAL. IT’S JUST POLITICS.”

    “These taglines tell the story in a quick and clever way,” Malone said. “Each one stands on its own, but with enough consistency in tone to be a unifier.”

    Sweeney 800Malone’s series (which remains subject to further alterations), might be seen by potential audiences in a variety of mediums, including: The Denver Center web site, on mobile devices, in TV and print advertising, on signage and banners throughout the city, on individual show programs and all over social media platforms.

    No pressure.

    For his campaign to be considered ultimately successful, Malone said, it will have to be seen as a unified series the audience will immediately identify as promoting plays and musicals by the DCPA Theatre Company. It will have to draw the reader in and help quickly forge an emotional connection to each show. And that it comes across as accessible across all potential audiences and not turn anyone off.

    “There is always that stereotype some people hold that says theatre is only for the sophisticated,” Malone said. “But we think theatre should be fun. So these illustrations should convey the flavor of each show so that comedies appear fun, and so that even while dramas celebrate drama, they do it in an appealing way.”


    How Kyle Malone's season art has eveolved over the past three seasons.

    How Kyle Malone's season art has evolved over the past three seasons.

  • Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards

    by John Moore | Jun 01, 2015
    Photo Gallery 1: The Awards Ceremony


    All our photos are directly downloadable for free at a variety of sizes. Just click on "View original Flickr image."

    Durango High School celebrates winning Outstandiing Musical at the 2015 Bobby G Awards. Photo by Emily Lozow. Here are our best photos from before and after the 2015 Bobby G Awards ceremony held on May 26 at the Buell Theatre. It includes pre-show red-carpet photos, a private ceremony for donors to the Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards, and backstage with the trophy-winners.

    Private and public high-school musical-theatre programs in Colorado are invited to compete in The Bobby G Awards, a regional high school musical-theatre awards program conducted by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts feeding into the National High School Musical Theater Awards ("The Jimmys"). The Bobby G Awards exists to encourage and reward outstanding achievements in the production of high-school musical theatre. Photos by Emily Lozow and John Moore.


    Photo Gallery No. 2: Before and after the ceremony: 


    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards
  • Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Rebecca Eichenberger

    by John Moore | May 31, 2015


    All this week leading up to Sunday's Tony Awards, we will be rolling out a daily video featuring a Colorado actor working on Broadway. First up: Denver East High School grad Rebecca Eichenberger, who is playing several roles in An American in Paris, which is up for 12 awards. This is the seventh Broadway show for Eichenberger, who in 1988 performed for her hometown Denver Center Theatre Company in the musical Carousel.  She also performed at StageWest (now known as the Garner-Galleria Theatre) in the musical comedy Six Women With Brain Death. "You know what? I am so proud to be from Denver," Eichenberger says. "So many people I know in the (Broadway) theatre came from Denver. It's such a fantastic thing that we all seem to hang on to what we had in high school." Video by John Moore.

    2015 Tony Awards
    Sunday, June 1
    7 p.m., CBS-4 in Denver 

    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance

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

    REBECCA 800Rebecca Eichenberger grew up in Denver and performed in "Carousel" for the Denver Center Theatre Company in 1988. Photo by John Moore.
  • Interview: 'Wicked' stars on the show's 'Popular' appeal

    by John Moore | May 28, 2015
    Carrie St. Louis and Alyssa Fox in 'Wicked.' Photo by Joan Marcus

    Carrie St. Louis and Alyssa Fox play unlikely friends on stage in 'Wicked,' and have developed a close bond off-stage as well. Photo by Joan Marcus.


    When the national touring production of Wicked returns next week, Denver will become the first city in the nation to have hosted the international stage phenomenon for a fifth time. The prequel to The Wizard of Oz has been playing continuously on Broadway for 11 years, and there have been multiple touring companies since 2005.

    And if you ask Alyssa Fox, who plays Elphaba in the production opening in Denver on June 3, this might be just the beginning. Because there are no signs of Wicked ever slowing down.

    “Not at this point,” said Fox. “I can see Wicked running for another 20 years, honestly.”

    The story about what it really means to be popular is, itself, very, very popular. A recent survey of Denver Center audiences found some who have come to see the show as many as 17 times during Denver stops alone. Several mothers and daughters reported having seen the show together at every previous Denver engagement, and that seeing the show regularly has become a defining bond in their relationships.

    That, Fox said, is likely because of the strong female presence in the show.

    “It's not often you see two female characters on the stage having a positive relationship, and this is definitely one of them,” Fox said. “I think a lot of mothers and daughters can relate to the friendship Glinda and Elphaba have because all mothers and daughters fight, and they all have differences. But there is always this underlying sense of love that you have for each other, and I think our show expresses that beautifully.”

    The reasons for Wicked’s enduring appeal have been well documented. It starts with its roots in one of the most beloved films of all time.

    “There's just something about Wicked,” said St. Louis. “It's just such a great story. The music is so great. People really fall in love with the characters. It's got just such a great message. There’s the spectacle, too: The costumes and the set.”

    But the biggest reason for its longevity might be that it’s not just a story for mothers and daughters.

    “It speaks to all ranges of people,” Fox said.

    Added St. Louis: “We see men; we see entire families; we see grandparents; we see young teenage boys.”

    And with Father’s Day coming up while Wicked is in Denver (June 21), the co-stars were asked what dads who bring their daughters to the show tell them.

    “I think a lot of fathers really want a positive message to send to their daughters about being a strong woman growing up in the world,” Fox said. “That's a wonderful lesson that a father can give to his daughter. Everyone can relate to something in the show.” 

    Wicked Quote Carrie St. LouisWicked tells the untold story of what happened long before Dorothy dropped into the land of Oz. It follows the rocky road to friendship between two iconic young women: One who is smart, fiery, misunderstood – and born with emerald-green skin. And the other who is beautiful, ambitious and, yes, popular. Wicked challenges your assumptions about who these women are – and how they came to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

    “Because of The Wizard of Oz, you think Glinda is the good witch and Elphaba is the bad witch, and that's just the way it is,” St. Louis said. “But through the course of the show, you find out that being pretty or popular does not necessarily make you a good person or a bad person. It questions those stereotypes and questions a lot of the issues that girls deal with growing up. So I think it does send a very powerful message.”  

    More from our interview

    When speaking to Fox and St. Louis at the same time, one must be prepared: “There will be a lot of giggling,” warned St. Louis.

    And there was a lot of giggling. Here are more excerpts from our conversation about Wicked:

    John Moore: It seems to me that anyone who, like me, strives to better understand women, can benefit from seeing Wicked.

    Alyssa Fox (laughing): Yes, it is definitely a glimpse into the complicated lives of women.

    Carrie St. Louis: Next we will be doing Side Show! (That’s a Broadway musical about conjoined twins.)

    John Moore: It's obvious from the laughter that you guys already have established a special bond. Does the show naturally lend itself to that kind of a friendship off the stage?

    Alyssa Fox: We took to each other pretty quickly.

    Carrie St. Louis: We are so much like our characters. We are pretty much Glinda and Elphaba in real life, which is very funny when we are just doing normal things like going to the grocery store. When you spend that much time with someone on stage, and especially on the road, you form a special relationship. So I am very lucky to have her with me on the stage.

    John Moore: How long have you been performing these roles together now?

    Alyssa Fox: We have been doing it full-time together since the end of January.

    John Moore: Do you still get excited to do the show every night?

    Carrie St. Louis: I still get goosebumps whenever Elphaba flies through the air, and I have the best seats in the house to watch her do it.

    Alyssa Fox: Awwww...

    John Moore: I know you both have played your roles opposite other actors. Is it hard when you hit the sweet spot with one actor to start over with someone else who might have their own ideas about the characters?


    Alyssa Fox: I think you get a different story when there is someone else there, because that person puts their own personality into it. And that does change it a little bit.

    Carrie St. Louis: But that's also what keeps it interesting.

    Alyssa Fox quote Alyssa Fox: Yes. When you see an understudy, it is going to be really amazing in a different way.

    Carrie: I couldn't even name how many Glindas there have been. But the thing I learned is that you just have to play yourself, in a way, and bring elements of yourself to the character.

    Alyssa Fox: Exactly.

    Carrie St. Louis: But it definitely has been great that we're contracted together, because we really get to explore things on more than just a surface level. It becomes a little bit deeper over time. There are a lot of moments we have found and invested in that I really only share with Alyssa on stage. So, yes, it becomes more special the more you do it with the other person.

    Alyssa Fox: And I think we grow more and more all the time traveling through each of these cities. We grow together as performers and as friends.

    John Moore: What are your thoughts on coming to Denver?

    Carrie St. Louis: This is actually my first time coming to Denver. But I am very excited because I have a lot of friends visiting. All my friends wanted to come when we are in Denver.

    Alyssa Fox: I have a lot of friends visiting as well. I think Denver must be a popular city for friends to meet up in. 

    John Moore: What do you attribute the staying power of the show to?

    Carrie St. Louis: I think a lot of it, honestly, is that Wicked is never frozen, which I don't think a lot of people know. The creative team is constantly making changes and adding things. We just recently added flying, for example, to a scene that didn't have flying before. We changed the choreography in "One Short Day" a little bit. So they are always tweaking and working on it. The creatives come out on the road with us every month or two to work with us and fine-tune the show.

    Alyssa Fox: They make sure everything is in tip-top shape. The lighting is right; the costumes are right.

    Carrie St. Louis: Everyone is 100 percent committed to keeping Wicked as great as it can be, and as great as it should be. That has contributed a lot to the success of the show. You are never going to get a B-show. The creatives are always going to make sure of that.

    Alyssa: Right.

    John Moore: There really are no signs of this ever slowing down, are there?

    Carrie St. Louis: Not at all. I always joke that next time I come back, I am going to play Madame Morrible.

    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.

    About Alyssa Fox:
    Alyssa is a Dallas native who sang her first solo in church at age 4. She began her Wicked journey in San Francisco as the Elphaba understudy and continued on tour as the Elphaba standby. Favorite shows include: Who's Your Baghdaddy?, Rocky Horror, Little Women and numerous concert performances. Twitter: @alyssafox. Instagram:  @allyfox
     
    About Carrie St. Louis:
    Carrie was in the original Las Vegas company of Rock of Ages as Sherrie, and later appeared on Broadway in the same role. Regional: Justin Love (Amanda Bell - world premiere), The Fix (Deborah) Carrie is a graduate of USC's Thornton School of Music. Instagram and Twitter: @carriestlouis

    Announcing the daily Wicked lottery:
    A day-of-performance lottery will be held for a limited number of orchestra seats throughout the Denver run of Wicked. Two and one-half hours prior to each performance, people who present themselves at the Buell Theatre box office will have their names placed in a lottery drum; 30 minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only.  This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person.  Lottery participants must have a valid photo ID when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.

    Wicked
    June 3-July 5
    Buell Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100, 800-641-1222 or  BUY ONLINE
    Accessibility performance: 2 p.m., June 27

    Our recent NewsCenter coverage of Wicked:
    Wicked a show for the green girl in all of us
    Wicked has bonded mothers and daughters for a decade in Denver


    Photos by Joan Marcus.
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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.

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