• 2017 True West Award: Claudia Carson

    by John Moore | Dec 06, 2017
    True West Awards. Claudia Carson. Photo courtesy Jimmy Awards

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 6: Claudia Carson


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Claudia Carson loves her job to her core. That job is to help high-students love theatre to their cores. And she’s pretty good at her job.

    There’s far more to it than that. Carson is also a stage manager, choreographer, director and teaching artist. But what really fuels her fire is coordinating two profoundly meaningful student programs for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts: The annual Bobby G Awards, which celebrate achievements in high-school musical theatre, and a year-round, statewide teen playwriting competition.

    “Claudia is just so joyful, so inspirational and so hungry to make an impact with students,” said DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous. “She makes those programs possible with her year-round passion and commitment.”

    Claudia Carson True West BGA 2017The Bobby G Awards, which served 42 high schools and nearly 7,000 students last school year, are Carson’s true labor of love. She manages all operational elements of the wide-ranging, 5-year-old  program, including coordinating in-school workshops, professional adjudications of every production and a big, culminating Tony Awards-style party attended by nearly 2,000 each May at the Buell Theatre.

    Participating high schools have the opportunity to be mentored by DCPA Teaching Artists, and last year 24 schools signed on for 70 workshop classes. Once their school musicals go up, they are judged by a field of professional artists and educators who not only score each show for awards consideration, they provide detailed, constructive feedback that teachers can use to make their programs better.

    The awards ceremony itself is a remarkable celebration of the high-school theatre community. Carson not only directs the slick show, she choreographs sophisticated, original medleys that are performed by all of the male and female leading actor nominees. The two students ultimately named Outstanding Actor and Actress move on to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City, also known as The Jimmys. And Carson chaperones them every step of the way.

    “I think the magic of Claudia coordinating the Bobby G Awards program is that she cares so much about theatre in Colorado, and she cares so much about teachers,” Watrous said. “Claudia is a full-on champion of high-school theatre in Colorado.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    This past year, the DCPA’s fourth High School Playwriting Competition drew 132 one-act submissions from budding writers in 14 Colorado counties. That after Carson sent DCPA Teaching Artists to 46 high schools, where they conducted 138 workshops for more than 2,800 students. Four of the resulting scripts were chosen to be read by professional actors at the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit in February, and two were ultimately given fully staged productions through DCPA Education’s summer academy.

    Claudia Carson True West BGA 2016If that weren’t “job enough,” Carson also returned to her roots as a Stage Manager this year for the recent return engagement of Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women. And as a summer Teaching Artist for DCPA Education, she and a group of ambitious teens created an entire original musical from scratch — in just two weeks.

    If that sounds like a lot, you should know this about Carson: It's in her DNA. Her mother, Bev Newcomb-Madden, is a pioneer of  children's theatre in Denver and has directed more plays than any other woman in Colorado theatre history. Her sister, Glenna Kelly, is an accomplished actor who for a long time ran Kaiser-Permanente’s acclaimed Educational Theatre Programs for Colorado. And her daughter, Claire Carson, studied at Denver School of the Arts and SMU, and is now an actor in Dallas. That’s three generations of accomplished Newcomb women — and counting. And brother Jamie Newcomb performed in the DCPA Theatre Company's recent productions of Benediction and All the Way

    Pictured above and right: Claudia Carson with 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actors Curtis Salinger and Charlotte Movizzo, and DCPA  Senior Manager of Press and Promotions Heidi Bosk).

    “Claudia is a sensitive, caring and compassionate person, and she really has an innate ability to connect with teenagers,” said DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg. “But at the same time, she is also a quintessential stage manager and mother, which is probably why she is so good at both jobs. Part of being a good mom is being a good stage manager.”

    Carson graduated from Denver East High School and studied journalism at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She came to the Denver Center as a stage manager for all Galleria Theatre shows for a five-year stretch starting in 2003 with the longest-running musical in Colorado theatre history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. She later took charge of the global expansion of the runaway hit Girls Only and then served as Executive Assistant to DCPA President Randy Weeks, who died in 2014. She has also worked as a stage manager at Curious Theatre and the Arvada Center.

    But she seems to have found her sweetest spot working with students.

    “She’s doing what she loves with the people she loves the most,” Ekeberg said. “For someone who has done so many things, that’s a pretty cool culmination of a pretty cool career.”

    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.


    True West Claudia Carson 2017

    The four finalists from the DCPA's fourth statewide High School Playwriting Competition had their plays presented as readings at the 12th annual 2017 Colorado New Play Summit, including 'Dear Boy on the Tree,' above, written by Jasmin Hernandez Lozano of Vista Peak Preparatory Academy in Aurora. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS: '30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS'
    The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)


    Video bonus 1: The 2017 Bobby G Awards




    Video bonus 2 Student playwriting:

  • Video: Tournament raises $110,000 for DCPA Education programs

    by John Moore | Jun 23, 2017

    The Denver Center’s annual Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament, held June 16 at Legacy Ridge Golf Course in Westminster, raised a record $110,954 to support the DCPA’s arts in education programs.

    More than 106,000 students of all ages participated in DCPA Education programs around the state last year. Proceeds from the golf tournament help underwrite these important efforts, including:

    • Nearly 22,000 youth benefited from free and reduced-price tickets, matinees for their schools, and special Student Nights.
    • Shakespeare in the Parking Lot toured to 60 schools in 10 different counties, providing more than 9,000 unique interactions with students.
    • DCPA Teaching Artists offered workshops for all 189 schools participating in the annual DPS Shakespeare Festival, which attracted nearly 5,000 to the Denver Performing Arts Complex last month.
    • The Bobby G Awards celebrates achievements in Colorado high-school musical theatre. Trained judges adjudicate more than 40 local high-school musicals, culminating in a Tony Awards-style celebration that advances two local students to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Jimmys) in New York City.
    • DCPA Education administers a year-round one-act playwriting competition to nurture high-school writers. This year, four finalists had their plays presented at the DCPA’s annual Colorado New Play Summit. And earlier this month, two plays were selected for fully staged performances in the Conservatory Theatre.
    • DCPA Education also contributes to workforce development through multiple industry courses, a Career Readiness program and Job Shadow Days.

    Randy Weeks worked from the ground up to become President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He started in the box office as a college student and was named Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway division in 1991. He was promoted to president in 2004. As President, welcomed more than 11.6 million guests to the Denver Center until his death in 2014.

    Guests on the video above include DCPA CEO Janice Sinden, President John Ekeberg, Bobby G Awards winner Austin Hand, and golf-tournament event co-chairs Shawn Fowler and Maxwell Bull. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and intern Avery Anderson.


    Photo gallery: 2017 Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament:

    Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament

    DCPA CEO Janice Sinden gets a lift at the 2017 Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament. To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Amanda Tipton. Photos may be downloaded and shared with proper photo credit. 


    Our 2017 Bobby G Awards Video Playlist (so far):
    Road to the Jimmy Awards: Austin Hand performs at the DCPA golf tournament
    Road to the Jimmy Awards: Bobby G Awards winners perform for DCPA Board
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards: The full video recap
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards: Nominated actors medley
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards: Performance Highlights
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards welcome to all participating schools

    More of our 2017 Bobby G Awards coverage:
    Our complete photo gallery
    Our full Bobby G Awards report: Persistence pays off at Valor Christian
    Video, photos and top quotes from the 2017 Bobby G Awards
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress finalists
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video, photos and quotes from 2017 Bobby G Awards

    by John Moore | Jun 02, 2017
    A VIDEO LOOK BACK:


    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.


    The Bobby G Awards celebrate achievement in high-school musical theatre. Our look back in video, photos and words. 

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Denver Center's fifth annual Bobby G Awards celebrated achievement in Colorado high-school theatre on May 25 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. (Click here for complete night-of coverage of the awards, including a list of winners and nominees.)

    Bobby G Awards. Boulder High RentThe video above provides a recap of the evening and includes interviews with students, teachers and DCPA staff. Our photo gallery below includes the red-carpet walk, the awards, student performances, backstage trophy presentations and a look back at rehearsals leading up to the big night.

    The Bobby G Awards are a culmination of a year-long program administered by the Denver Center that emphasizes camaraderie and shared experiences - but there is also much at stake. The students named Outstanding Actor and Actress go on to represent Colorado at the The Jimmy® Awards/National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. This year’s honorees are Elleon Dobias of Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch and Austin Hand of Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins.

    (Pictured above: Boulder High School's performance of 'Rent.')

    Our full report from the 2017 Bobby G Awards

    Bobby G Awards. Valor Christian.  PippinFor Dobias, was her record fourth straight nomination and first win. “Yes, I was nominated for Bobby G Awards my freshman, sophomore and junior year, and lost, lost, lost. But you lose some - you lose some,” she said with a giggle. “I was super excited to be nominated again this year just to have the chance to maybe go out on a win. I can't believe it. My mind is short-circuiting right now because I am just so happy.”

    Dovias played Catherine in Valor Christian's production of Pippin, which was named Outstanding Musical (pictured right). Valor Christian is a private Christian school in Highlands Ranch. "My freshman year when I auditioned for the school play, there were 10 people auditioning," she said. For Pippin, we had more than 60 people audition. I think recognition from a program like the Bobby G Awards has helped that growth."

    (Story continues below the photo gallery)

     

    COMPLETE PHOTO GALLERY:

    2017 Bobby G Awards

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter. All photos may be downloaded and redistributed with permission from the DCPA with proper photo credit.

    Award presenters included Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee and Colorado native Gene Gillette, who is a member of the national touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, currently performing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House through  June 25.

    Bobby G Awards. Valor Christian.  Pippin“High school was pretty rough for me,” Gillette told the DCPA NewsCenter. “I really look up to and envy these kids and the discipline they have to have gotten this far at this young of an age. I've been lucky to have theatre in my life." Asked his advice to the teens, Gillette wisdom of his own theatre professor from the University of Colorado. “He told me, "There are two wolves inside of you. There is the wolf that wants to do good, and the wolf that wants to do bad. And whichever wolf you feed, that's what you become. So feed your good wolf.”

    (Pictured right: Reaction to naming of Valor Christian's 'Pippin' as Outstanding Musical.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    While the Bobby G Awards culminate each year with the awards ceremony, which is modeled after the Tony Awards, the year-long focus of the program is to both celebrate and educate. The participating schools receive detailed feedback on their musical productions from the adjudicators. Joe Robinson, who played Dewhurst in Chaparral High School’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, was named the 2017 Rising Star. That’s an award reserved for a promising underclassman. 

    “I would like to thank my Bobby G adjudicators for all of the valuable feedback you gave me,” Robinson said in his acceptance speech. “It really helped me in the right direction last year, moving into this year, and now going into next year.”

    (Story continues below the photo)

    Bobby G Awards

    Timothy McCracken, Head of Acting for DCPA Education, said the Denver Center is proud to offer the Bobby G Awards in Colorado because it aligns so well with its overall educational mission. “We are always looking for ways to continue to offer opportunities for younger artists to see what art and theatre can bring to a community, and to themselves as individuals. And this is one of those programs that highlights that."

    Coming next week: A separate video offering performance highlights.

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

    MORE QUOTES OF NOTE:

    • Shelly Cox-Robie, Director, Boulder High School (and 25-year actor at the nearby BDT Stage): The theatre kids feel like this is their equivalent of the football team going to state. As both a parent and as a teacher, it means so much for these kids to have the support and the camaraderie and the family that they have with (school theatre).
    • Bobby G Awards. North High School and Strive Prep's 'In the Heights'Maya Stone, North/Strive Prep High School's In the Heights: Doing In the Heights made a really big impact at our school because the story of In the Heights isn't just a story to our community. It's our story. We have such a feeling of pride. So many people put in so much work to make this happen. And it means so much to come together for one final performance her at the Bobby G Awards. I was telling (a castmate) on closing night, 'I just want to go on stage as Nina one more time. You always want that when a show closes - and it is amazing that we get that opportunity to do that here tonight.
    • Davie Gonzalez, North/Strive Prep High School's In the Heights: It feels great to be invited to the party. It makes us feel like we did something really special. Something this big makes us feel really happy about ourselves, and makes us feel like we really do matter to this community.
    • Dayna Marshal, North/Strive Prep High School's In the Heights: Being nominated for Outstanding Musical was a very big deal to us. It meant coming out of the shadows. It meant proving everyone wrong about a minority community at a small school. It means everything to us. And as for performing tonight at the Ellie: It feels like butterflies are exploding in my stomach.
    • Trey Kochevar, Outstanding Actor finalist, Lakewood High School: At school, it's become a lot more that arts can be a cool thing thanks to the Bobby G Awards, rather than it just being about sports. You get a lot more respect when you are able to showcase your craft like all of the other extra-curricular activities can.  
    • Grace Nolte, Outstanding Actress finalist, Chaparral High School: I came into this experience so scared that it was going to be such a catty environment. That changed the first minute we were all together. I have never been in such a collaborative environment with such contagious energy.
    • Asha Romeo Outstanding Actress finalist, Boulder High School: I think this program raises up the schools that have put  a lot of work and dedication into their productions, and pushes other schools to better their own programs.
    • Jesse Shafroth, Outstanding Actor finalist, Boulder High School: The Bobby G Awards has given us all good insight into what  show business is actually like. Because these rehearsals have been really fast-paced, and we have been learning a lot of stuff very quickly. I want to give a shout-out to our (Bobby G Awards) director, Claudia Carson. She's the best.
    • Chantal King, Outstanding Actress finalist, Niwot High School: Everyone has been so nice. Meeting everybody here was such a humbling and great experience.
    • Gable Kinsman, Outstanding Actor finalist, Valor Christian High School: “I think theatre doesn't usually get the credit that it deserves at our schools, but I think the Bobby G Awards program definitely helps.
    • Austin Hand, Outstanding Actor, Fossil Ridge High School: This was the first year Fossil put itself up for nominationf, so just everyone was so excited when we found out that we were even nominated for two awards. I feel like athletics in schools get most of the recognition because of the competitive nature of sports. Theatre doesn't have that, so its fun to have that extra push that Bobby G Awards provides to strive for greatness.
    • Timothy McCracken, Head of Acting for DCPA Education: I have an 8-year-old son and I cannot wait till he has an opportunity to be in this environment, I think it is so inspiring. There are so many people here. The excitement is just amazing. You can just feel everyone bubbling over.
    Bobby G Awards. Outstanding Actor and Actress medley.
    The Bobby G Awards' Outstanding Actor and Actress finalists performed a medley tailored to each other, and their school musicals.

    Previous 2017 Bobby G Awards coverage

    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress finalists
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced
    Video: The 2017 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
  • 2017 Bobby G Awards: Persistence pays off at Valor Christian

    by John Moore | May 25, 2017

    A Bobby G AwardsThe cast of Valor Christian's production of 'Pippin,' which was named Outstanding Musical tonight. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Fourth time is the charm for Outstanding Actress
    Elleon Dobias, who will represent Colorado in New York.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The fifth annual Bobby G Awards, which celebrate achievement in Colorado high-school theatre, were proof positive that persistence pays off. Valor Christian High School Senior Elleon Dobias (pictured at right), who was nominated all three of her underclassman years but had never before won a Bobby G Award, was named Outstanding Actress. And her school won Outstanding Musical for the first time for its production of Pippin.

    Bobby G Awards. Elleon DobiasLakewood High School led all schools by earning four of the evening’s 19 awards for its epic production of Sweeney Todd. In all, a record 12 schools won at least one award, spreading the love wide among the 42 participating high schools. Valor Christian's Pippin earned three. Bobby G Awards will soon be taking up new residence at schools throughout the state, including at Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Niwot high schools.

    The Bobby G Awards are a culmination of a year-long program administered by the Denver Center that emphasizes camaraderie and shared experiences - but there is also much at stake. The students named Outstanding Actor and Actress go on to represent Colorado at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City.

    Bobby G Awards (Pictured at right: The cast of North High School/Strive Prep's production of 'In the Heights', which was nominated for best musical. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Austin Hand of Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins was named Outstanding Actor for his performance as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family. Dobias had been nominated as a freshman and sophomore in the "Rising Star" category, for promising underclassmen. Last year she was nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress, and this year, playing the widow Catherine in Pippin, she won for Outstanding Actress.

    "For this to be my fourth year to be nominated at the Bobby G Awards and to go out on such a high has been a delight, to say the least," said Dobias, who also graduated from high school earlier in the day.

    Moments after the ceremony ended, the newly named Outstanding Actors already were exchanging phone numbers with previous recipients. "This is a family you've entered into," said last year's Outstanding Actor, Curtis Salinger. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Bobby G Awards. Austin Hand.As Colorado’s winners, Dobias and Hand (pictured right) will be joined next month by other regional honorees for "The Jimmys," as they are known in New York City. That’s 10 days of intensive training with some of Broadway's leading actors, choreographers and directors, all leading up to a fully staged, one-night performance at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre.

    Nominees for the Bobby G Awards are determined by scoring from a team of professional adjudicators. Unlike other awards categories, the Outstanding Actor and Actress winners are determined by two equally scored criteria: First, the students are judged for their actual performances in their respective school musicals. The five students with the highest scores then go before a professional panel for a private, scored audition.

    This year, a record 42 schools participated in the statewide Bobby G Awards program, up from 30 two years ago. Valor Christian, a private school with an enrollment of 879, is located on a 35-acre campus in Highlands Ranch. When she was a freshman, Dobias said, only 10 kids tried out for the school play at Valor Christian More than 60 auditioned for Pippin, she said.

    Bobby G AwardsColorado native Gene Gillette, who is a member of the national touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, opening Tuesday at the very same Ellie Caulkins Opera House, presented two awards.

    (Pictured at right: Gene Gillette with former Outstanding Actor Curtis Salinger and Outstanding Actresses Abby Noble and Charlotte Movizzo.)

    Gillette encouraged the high-school kids in their pursuits, saying professional success takes discipline, a strong belief in yourself and a strong sense of wonder.

    Denver First Lady and prominent area singer and actor Mary Louise Lee, who runs a nonprofit called Bringing Back the Arts, presented two awards. Lee, who made her professional debut at the Denver Center when she was 18, riffed from the signature song from The Wiz, "Believe in Yourself." The students were also greeted by DCPA CEO Janice Sinden and Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg.

    Among the heartfelt and comic acceptance speeches was Will Warner, who was named Outstanding Supporting Actor for his work as Beadle Bamford in Lakewood High School's Sweeney Todd. "I would like to thank the women in my life," Warner said ... "Because they told me I had to."

    (Story continues after the video.)

    Video: 2017 Bobby G Awards in 60 Seconds


    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. More video and photos to come.


    Of note to the local theatre community was longtime BDT Stage performer Shelly Cox-Robie's nomination as a fifth-year director at Boulder High School. She directed Rent, with her son playing Angel. Two of her actors were nominated as Outstanding Actor (Jesse Shafroth) and Actress (Asha Romeo). Boulder won for both Outstanding Chorus and Orchestra.

    Students and educators were honored in the areas of performance, design, direction, choreography, technical production and overall production excellence. All participating schools received one personal master class session with a DCPA Education theatre teacher. Winners of the Outstanding Supporting Actor, Actress and Rising Star (Outstanding Underclassman) awards also earn a full year of free classes at the Denver Center. "Theatre is alive in Colorado," said Education Director Allison Watrous. “The DCPA is proud to be a part of your journey.”

    A Bobby G AwardsWhile the Bobby G Awards culminate each year with Thursday's awards ceremony, which is modeled after the Tony Awards, the year-long focus of the program is to both celebrate and educate. The participating schools receive detailed feedback on their musical productions from the adjudicators. The 10 nominated Outstanding Actors and Actresses are invited to the Denver Center two weeks before the awards to prepare a medley together in community and friendship, which they then perform at the ceremony on the Ellie Caulkins stage.

    Each of the five nominated Outstanding Productions performed a musical number during the ceremony, each drawing thunderous appreciation from an enthusiastic Ellie Caulkins  crowd estimated at 1,800.

    The Bobby G Awards were founded in 2013 by the late DCPA President Randy Weeks. They are named after late producer Robert Garner, who established Denver as a top destination for touring Broadway shows.

    The Master of ceremonies was again Greg Moody, longtime known as Colorado's Critic-At-Large for CBS-4.

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

    THE 2016-17 BOBBY G AWARDS

    Hair and Makeup

    Outstanding Achievement in Hair and Make-up Design

    Cierra Denning and Izze Sajdak
    The Scarlet Pimpernel
    , Chaparral High School

    Other nominees:

    • Devan Green, Fiddler on the Roof, Brighton High School
    • Katie Kostenik, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
    • Lydia Cole, Averi Davis, Emma Smith and Hannah Tester, Children of Eden, Mountain View High School
    • Maya Julien, Christina Larez and Simone Rodriguez, In the Heights, North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School


    Costumes

    Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design

    Camille Gionet, Kaila Govan and Alyssa Mader
    Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School

    Other nominees:
    • Joe Kennedy and Anne Murphy, Aida, Fairview High School
    • Mollie Beck and Rebecca Spafford,The Addams Family, Fossil Ridge High School
    • Jen Bleem, Lauryn Starke, Cynthia Vega and Ramses Vega, Children of Eden, Mountain View High School
    • Mona Lucero, Simone Rodriguez and Sarah Davies-Schley, In the Heights, North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School


    Lighting


    Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

    Ethan Thomas and T.J. Thomas
    The Little Mermaid,
    Ralston Valley High School

    Other nominees:
    • Demian Detweiler and Scott Nelson, Pippin, Aspen High School
    • Brian Morgans, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
    • Jude Franco, Dennis Gilsdorf and Nich Gilsdorf, Children of Eden, Mountain View High School
    • Karley Durate, Anthony Heredia, Joylene Quintana and Travis Roth, Tarzan, Westminster High School


    Scenic

    Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
    Hannah Freeman and Tom Ward
    Pippin,
    Aspen High School

    Other nominees:

    • Katya Hirsch and Chris Sweeney, Rent, Boulder High School
    • Clare Buntrock, Rachel Barckholtz, Taylor Dykstra and Jace Smykil, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
    • Josh Belk and Starr Samkus, Starlight Express, Palmer Ridge High School
    • Tori Byam and Liam Southwick, Beauty and the Beast, Durango High School


    Choreography

    Outstanding Achievement in Choreography
    Angie Dryer
    Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School

    Other nominees:

    • Lindsey Solano, Fiddler on the Roof, Brighton High School
    • Caitlin Parets, Guys and Dolls, Loveland High School
    • Evan DeBord, Tammy Johnson, Cydney Kutcipal and Rachel Miller, Children of Eden, Mountain View High School
    • John DeYoung and Jamie Geary, Pippin, Valor Christian High School


    Musical Direction

    Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction
    Marty Magehee, Rick Paswaters and Jenny Timmons
    Pippin, Valor Christian High School

    Other nominees:

    • Duncan Cooper, Cabaret, Bear Creek High School
    • Mary Bateman, Rent, Boulder High School
    • Steve Hinman and Luke Tredinnick, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
    • Bryce Melaragno and Debbie Miller, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School


    Chorus

    Outstanding Performance by a Chorus
    Rent

    Boulder High School

    Other nominees:

    • Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
    • Children of Eden, Mountain View High School
    • Pippin, Valor Christian High School
    • The Pirates of Penzance, Wheat Ridge High School


    Orchestra

    Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra

    Rent

    Boulder High School

    Other nominees:

    • Cabaret, Bear Creek High School
    • Fiddler on the Roof, Brighton High School
    • The Producers, Denver School of the Arts
    • Aida, Fairview High School


    Supporting Actress

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
    McKinley Mueller
    Grandma Addams, The Addams Family
    Glenwood Springs High School

    Other nominees:

    • Stella Martin as Andrea, Once on This Island, Conifer High School
    • Anna Rosenthal as Grandma Addams, The Addams Family, Heritage High School
    • Alexa Hand as Sydney, It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman, Resurrection Christian School
    • Libby Lukens as Jan, Grease, Steamboat Springs High School


    Supporting Actor

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
    Will Warner
    Beadle Bamford
    Sweeney Todd

    Lakewood High School

    Other nominees:

    • Will Coleman as Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast, Arvada West High School
    • Brandon Michael as Herr Schultz, Cabaret, Bear Creek High School
    • Adrian Clark as Farleigh, The Scarlett Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
    • Luccio Dellepiane, Harold Bride, Titanic, Cherry Creek High School


    Rising Star

    Rising Star

    Joe Robinson
    Dewhurst
    The Scarlet Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Other nominees:

    • Ana Lemus as Serena, Legally Blonde, D’Evelyn High School
    • Luke McKenzie as Theo, Pippin, George Washington High School
    • Sam Feng as Oz Guard, The Wizard of Oz, Lutheran High School
    • Ellie Hill as La Fou, Beauty and the Beast, Regis Jesuit High School

    Leading Actress

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Elleon Dobias
    Catherine
    Pippin

    Valor Christian High School

    • Asha Romeo as Joanne Jefferson, Rent, Boulder High School
    • Grace Nolte as Marguerite St. Just, The Scarlett Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
    • Cameron Marter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
    • Chantal King as Witch, Into the Woods, Niwot High School


    Leading Actor

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
    Austin Hand
    Gomez Addams
    The Addams Family

    Fossil Ridge High School

    Other nominees:

    • Jesse Shafroth as Mark Cohen, Rent, Boulder High School
    • Chandler Carter as Chauvelin, The Scarlett Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
    • Trey Kochevar as Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
    • Gable Kinsman as Pippin, Pippin,Valor Christian High School


    Direction

    Outstanding Achievement in Direction
    Tami LoSasso and Yovana Milosevic
    Sweeney Todd

    Lakewood High School

    Other nominees:

    • Shelly Cox-Robie, Rent, Boulder High School
    • Kate McRaith, The Addams Family, Glenwood Springs High School
    • Katie Marshall, Children of Eden, Mountain View High School
    • Lindsey Hutcheon and Kurt Muenstermann, Pippin,Valor Christian High School


    Overall Production

    Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
    Pippin

    Valor Christian High Schoo
    l

    Other nominees:

    • Rent, Boulder High School
    • The Scarlet Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
    • Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
    • In the Heights, North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School

    Valor


    Valor Christian High School's production of 'Pippin.'



    Video: A look back at the 2016 Bobby G Awards



    More video and photos from Thursday's awards ceremony will be posted next week.

    2017 SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT WINNERS:

    • Achievement in Orchestra: Tim Costello, Cabaret, Bear Creek High School
    • Achievement in Scenic Design: Danielle Waldman, The Producers, Denver School of the Arts
    • Achievement in Technical Direction: Chris Brown, Into the Woods, Niwot High School
    • Special Achievement for a Premiere Production in Colorado: cast and crew of Starlight Express, Palmer Ridge High School
    Previous 2017 Bobby G Awards coverage
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress finalists
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced

    Video: Montage welcoming all 42 participating schools:

    Watch our welcoming video introducing all 42 schools participating in the 2016-17 Bobby G Awards. Video shot by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

  • Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists

    by John Moore | May 25, 2017

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The fifth annual awards and performance take place Thursday, May 25, at the Buell Theatre. (RESERVE YOUR SEAT HERE.)

    Today we introduce you to the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City.

    Actor 1 Carter

    CHANDLER CARTER

    Chauvelin in The Scarlet Pimpernel
    Chaparral High School
    Class of 2017

    • First role: I played Baby Elephant in a kids version of The Jungle Book in fourth or fifth grade. But the first role I feel like I really played was Frank Senior last year in Catch Me If You Can.
    • Why do you perform? Because I love to sing, and I've always loved making jokes as other "characters" in daily conversation. Theatre gives me a place to do that where it doesn't feel odd or out of place.
    • Ideal scene partner: I'd love to be in a scene with Kyle Gill from ThunderRidge High School. He’s one of my very best friends and I don't get to be around him nearly enough.
    • Favorite moment from your show: The first night that Jack, who played Percy, decided he was going make a joke about Chauvelin's name being "like a shovel!" on-stage, in front of an entire audience. I was so close to breaking, and it's a moment I'll never forget.
    • Fun with a moment where something went wrong: There was one night where my cape decided that it wasn't going to come off right before a fight scene, after which the sword I was trying to grab fell to the floor. I just kept going, because at that point there's nothing else you can do.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It's amazing, and something I wasn't expecting. It's really cool to get to work with the other nominees.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? I already valued arts education and extracurricular activities so much. But I'm so glad that this program exists. It makes me happy to see high-school theatre being recognized for the work we all put into it.

    Actor 2 Hand


    AUSTIN HAND

    Gomez Addams in The Addams Family
    Fossil Ridge High School
    Class of 2019

    • First role: I played the frog in Thwacked, a rendition of The Princess and the Frog, in fifth grade.
    • Why do you perform? To find out more about myself through the complexity of a character.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to act in a scene with Jack Nicholson because the energy he brings to each and every character is so unique and real to the point that it is almost terrifying.
    • Fun moment where something went wrong: During a dress rehearsal, we reached the end of the show when I was supposed to kiss Caroline Frevert, who played Morticia. That night was the first time that makeup had experimented with drawing my mustache on, and after the kiss I remember looking up and hearing all of the directors and crew laughing in the audience. I was confused until I looked back at Caroline and noticed that most of my mustache had rubbed off onto her lip, making it appear as though we had matching facial hair.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I don't think that it has quite sunk in yet. It's a very surreal and humbling opportunity that I am so thankful to have been given. Working with some of the most talented (and kind) high-school thespians in the state has been one of the most fun experiences of my life, and has only solidified my passion for theatre and acting.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? A truly magnificent thing occurs when people of all different backgrounds come together to develop a shared passion, whether it is theatre, sports, academics or anything else. School is a place where people of varying perspectives and beliefs are sort of forced together in a building, and these activities provide a medium to unite each individual in creating something brand new and entirely unique.

    Actor 3 Kinsman

    GABLE KINSMAN

    Pippin in Pippin
    Valor Christian High School
    Class of 2018

    • First role: I played a sailor in Christian Youth Theatre's production of The Little Mermaid in 2008. I vividly remember my one line at the end of Act 1 when I yelled 'C’mon mateys, let’s get out of here!' and shortly after, I was followed offstage by the rest of the pirate crew. I felt like the coolest 8-year-old in town.
    • Why do you perform? To communicate with people through the telling of
      stories. It is a special thing to me that I get to communicate with people I have never met before through a story that comes to life on stage. I personally have been very impacted by stories through performance, and that inspires me to do the same unto others.
    • Ideal scene partner: If I were to take the stage with Derek Klena and Robin Williams, I think I would pee my pants. They both have been huge inspirations to me, Robin through his impeccable film and standup work, and Derek through his incredible performances in his multiple musicals as a lead. I have grown up watching and listening to both of them, and just being in the same room as them would be an honor.
    • Favorite moment from Pippin: At our very last dress rehearsal before opening night, our Theo, who was played by a 12-year-old, wasn’t able to make the rehearsal. But without a hesitation, our fearless stage manager (Neil Trotter) stepped in to play Catherine’s (Elleon Dobias) strapping young son. He waddled on, playing the best little boy he could play, which actually turned out to be pretty good. Now this was my first time seeing Neil onstage performing instead of hiding backstage in the dark, but was so dedicated to giving the most realistic performance possible, with his high-pitched voice and enthusiastic youthfulness. Let me tell you, it was an inspiration to experience that first-hand onstage. Elleon and I finished the scene, fighting through the tears of laughter, as our directors in the audience laughed hysterically at the fact that Catherine’s son was taller than both her and Pippin. I still think he could get a job as either a stage manager or playing a young boy. Or both.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is surreal. I can’t describe how incredible it feels. It has been such a joy to work with the rest of the nominees and get to know them. They are so much fun to be around. Working with (Bobby G Awards Director) Claudia Carson and (Musical Director) Robyn Yamada has been such a blast. They are like my two new moms. I feel honored and humbled to be nominated, and I’m so glad that I get to go through this whole process with one of my best friends, Elleon Dobias, who is such a deserving nominee as Outstanding Actress for her work as Catherine.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? This process has shown me
      the importance of education through creativity. People are able to hone
      different skills when they learn creatively, and this is very important for everyone to experience. Theatre alone provides so many opportunities to excel through creative art, which is a very special thing. Also, this process has reminded me how much I love this community. The other nominees have become some of my best friends in just the first two days that I have been rehearsing with them. That doesn’t happen anywhere else.


    Actor 4 Kochevar

    TREY KOCHEVAR

    Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School
    Class of 2017

    • College plans: University of Northern Colorado’s acting program
    • First role: I was in the ensemble of Lakewood High School’s Young Frankenstein in my freshman year. I was 14 years old and I played a mad scientist and an angry villager.
    • Why do you perform? Because people can learn a lot about themselves and society from art. It allows us to become self-aware and question ourselves. I have always been so intrigued by all the tiny details I have seen in acting performances both onstage and in film, and I love being a part of telling stories that make people re-think aspects of their lives.
    • Ideal scene partner: Philip Seymour Hoffman, because he knew how to get to the core of a scene. He had a very human, instinctual sense of grit when attacking any piece of dialogue. He’s one of those actors who makes every performance a believable one. To have shared the stage or screen with someone who had such a tremendous presence would have been an absolute honor.
    • Favorite moment from your show: When I finally felt confident with my character. This is an iconic role that has so much expectation attached to it. So for the first month or so it was a struggle to figure out my own take on the role. I did my character research, analyzed the script and even read excerpts from the original penny dreadful. It finally started feeling more organic, and I was gaining more confidence in my performance as the show approached. I knew I had found a character of my own on the night of the first performance, when I was greeted by both laughs and gasps.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? This has been a truly humbling experience, and the talent I’ve seen in my fellow nominees has just blown me away. This year’s nominees are a true display of the positive effects of the arts in education, and I am honored to have the opportunity to perform with them.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? I’ve learned that both extracurricular activities as well as arts education in schools allow students a therapeutic outlet that can be difficult to find elsewhere at this age. I’ve seen students who would rather stay at school working on building a set than go home and face whatever challenges they are dealing with. That’s OK, because that’s what helps them. It teaches them to refocus their energy and contribute to something bigger. But at the same time, when something tragic does occur, those within their extracurricular activities are often their most powerful source of support. On top of that, the arts teach life skills that can be difficult if not impossible to find in a math or English class.

    Actor 5 Shafroth

    JESSE SHAFROTH

    Mark Cohen in Rent
    Boulder High School
    Class of 2019

    • First role: I played Yao, the fat, bad-tempered soldier in Mulan Jr. in the seventh grade at Casey Middle School. I wasn’t going to audition, but my friend dragged me into it, and I’m glad he did.
    • Why do you perform? I love making people feel. Whether it’s laughter, crying or shock, seeing people care about a character I’m portraying feels awesome. Plus, it’s fun.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Robert Downey Jr. He is just so hilarious and random and all over the place, it would be fun to see what we could create. Also, just ’cause he’s Robert Downey Jr.
    • Favorite moment from your show: After an eight-hour rehearsal, we were running the final scene for the second time. By then, we were all really tired and, honestly, feeling quite weird. So when our lead guitarist began shredding on his electric guitar, we all just let loose and started dancing and singing like there was no tomorrow. Our directors were fine with it. In fact, they started filming us and posted it to Facebook. It was quite a way to end a long and stressful day.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I am so, so honored. Even though it’s been stressful at some points, it has really been a great experience, and it is helping me to understand what show business is like.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? The arts foster a very inclusive social circle. People from all walks of life can be a part of this incredible community without being judged. A lot of extracurricular activities promote inclusiveness, but I think the arts are almost completely nondiscriminatory because art is fluid. To be on a sports team, you have to be good at that sport. To be on a trivia team, you have to be smart. But art is everywhere. Art can be anything.

    Reserve your seat for the May 25 Bobby G Awards celebration here!

    Previous coverage of the 2017 Bobby G Awards:
    Meet your 2017 Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced
    Video: Montage welcoming all 42 participating schools

    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists

POPULAR POSTS
 
ABOUT THE EDITOR
John Moore
John Moore
Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

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