• Aaron Posner on revisiting ‘The Merchant of Venice’: To be or not to be?

    by John Moore | May 17, 2018

    Cast of The Merchant of Venice Sarah Roshan The cast of Miners Alley Playhouse's 'District Merchants,' which reimagines 'The Merchant of Venice' in 1870s America. Photo by Sarah Roshan.

    Rather than foreclose on The Bard's problem play, playwright gives it a new lease on American life in District Merchants

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Merchant of Venice, with its legendarily merciless Jewish money-lender who demands his pound of flesh and receives not one ounce of mercy in return, has not stood well the test of time. In these contemporary times, Shakespeare’s blatantly anti-Semitic leanings have even led some to suggest the play should no longer be performed at all.

    Aaron Posner, one of the leading imaginers and re-imaginers in the American theatre today, is not one of them. Which is not to say he likes the Bard’s problematic play.

    Aaron Posner Quote“I had known The Merchant of Venice for a long time, but I never wanted to direct it because I couldn't find a way to make the play, as it existed, interesting to me,” said Posner, who sustains multiple careers as playwright, adaptor, educator, company leader and acclaimed director in Washington D.C. “But I knew that if I was going to push it around too much, it ceases to be ‘the play’ for me. So I began to think: ‘Maybe I should use it as a launch-pad for a brand-new play.’ And that's what I did.” That brand-new play is District Merchants, which opens in its regional premiere tonight (May 18) at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden.

    District Merchants uses The Merchant of Venice as a jumping-off point to explore the complex relationship between blacks and Jews in America after the Civil War — without cleansing the troubling ethnic undertones of the original story.  

    “For all of his genius, Shakespeare was still a product of his time,” said Posner. “And while he was forward-thinking in a number of ways, he was still limited by those times. Thank goodness, civilization has progressed over the past 400 years.”  

    For centuries, many regarded The Merchant of Venice to be a harmless romantic comedy with a happy ending for all — save for that unforgiving and unforgiven Jew. “I actually think a lot of that play really is interesting and engaging and true and human,” said Posner. “But it has its darker side, too.

    “What's tricky is that I don’t have a problem with the darker sides of the play. I just think they are not explored fully enough in the play to make it clear to us what Shakespeare was really up to — or to make it resonant for us. You have to keep in mind that, for all his genius, Shakespeare was writing 300 years before Freud. He was not asking deep questions about relationships between his characters that we do today, because he didn't have that vocabulary. He doesn't care why this person falls in love with that person. He's not asking about what psychological wounds might be driving this person, or what kind of emotional healing needs to happen between those people. He was talking about incredibly interesting universal truths. But I wanted to engage with the issues of that play in a way where I could make it speak to people today.”  

    Posner easily could have taken inspiration from today’s headlines and set his modern variation in the offices of, let’s say, any the five largest banks in the United States, whose assets equal 60 percent of the U.S. economy. He wanted to create some distance instead. “Because the moment you see a guy named Shylock walking around the streets of D.C., and it’s today, and he's on his cellphone, you are in danger of becoming really kitschy really quickly,” he said.  

    Instead, Posner found “really fertile ground” exploring relations between blacks and Jews during the Reconstruction. He cites lines in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice that bluntly equate slavery to personal property. “That hit a chord with me,” said Posner. “And that led me to the Civil War, which circuitously led me to the setting of my play. And then the play quickly became about the relationships between blacks and Jews, which was very interesting and historically fraught.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    In District Merchants, set in the 1870s, Shylock is an immigrant who has fled ethnic cleansing in the Ukraine. Antonio — the unfortunate merchant of Shakespeare’s title — here becomes Antoine DuPre, a freeborn black man who unwisely borrows money from Shylock to help pal Benjamin Bassanio win Portia's heart and fortune. The play also has its modern, 21st-century meta-theater moments as well, simultaneously making the setting Shakespearean, post-Civil War and present-day — all at the same time. Think of it as two pasts make a present.

    “There has been an uneasy and complicated relationship between blacks and Jews in this country for years,” said Posner, who took inspiration from a book called Blacks and Jews by Nathan Lerner and Cornel West. “Of course, they have been allies at times. But there also have been times when they should have, and could have, been stronger allies. Instead, there is still some essential distrust between those communities to this day. It really piqued my interest to think about these historical relationships between oppressed peoples in this country where there should be natural affinity, and often instead, there is actually animosity, for a variety of interesting and compelling reasons. All of that is in the play to some extent.

    “But really, for all of the political and social aspects of the play, I'm always most interested in individual human beings and the complicated relationships they make. To me, District Merchants ends up being more a story of people coming together across difference, trying to build bridges, trying to reach out to each other, and looking at the things that divide us.”

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    District Merchants Miners Alley Playhouse Photo by Sarah Roshan
    Chris Kendall and Cris Davenport in Miners Alley Playhouse's 'District Merchants,' opening Friday. Photo by Sarah Roshan.


    And what has all of that to say about the rampant corruption in today’s banking industry, the lives left ruined in its wake, and the ongoing ideological polarization that seems to have America in a vice?

    “I guess the play is asking, as you look at such a divided society: Is it possible to come together across distrust, suspicion and genuine difference? Particularly after genuine, deep and abiding harm has been done? You can't pretend damage hasn’t been done. But how do you move forward anyhow?”

    But, just to clarify: Posner swears District Merchants is also a very funny play. Really.

    “If you come to it with an open mind, I think there's a lot there,” he said. “I don't think it takes sides in any one direction. It's just trying to engage people with questions about power and privilege. And if people are open to that story, I think that is a worthwhile story to tell.”

    The year of Aaron Posner in Colorado theatre

    Posner is on the verge of becoming much more known to Colorado theatre audiences, starting with Friday’s opening of District Merchants at Miners Alley Playhouse. Cherry Creek Theatre will stage Posner’s My Name is Asher Lev in October, and the Aurora Fox will stage Life Sucks, his hilariously titled variation on Chekhov Uncle Vanya, in February. 

     Jacqueline Garcia, Curtiss Johns, Albert Banker in My Name is Asher Lev. Photo by Sarah Roshan My Name is Asher Lev, an adaptation of the popular novel by Chaim Potok, follows the journey of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hassidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his artistic promise. When his evident artistic genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, young Asher realizes he must make a difficult choice between art and faith.

    (Pictured: Jacqueline Garcia, Curtiss Johns and Albert Banker in Miners Alley Playhouse's 2015 staging of 'My Name is Asher Lev.' Photo by Sarah Roshan Photography.)

    “It’s just a great story,” Posner said. “I already had adapted Chaim's novel The Chosen, (directed by new DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman in 2010 at Portland Center Stage), and I began meeting people who told me that Asher Lev had really changed their lives. It’s the story of growing up in a family that doesn't seem to be yours, or being pulled between your community and something else that is deeply important to you.”

    And while District Merchants and Life Sucks are very much Posner’s singular versions of their source stories, “Asher Lev is not my story,” he said. “This is Chaim Potok’s story. I'm very much the midwife trying to tell his story as best I can. I do think it is a deeply universal, very relatable story regardless of whether you've ever met a Jew.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    In Life Sucks, a group of old friends, ex-lovers, estranged in-laws and lifelong enemies grapple with life’s thorniest philosophical questions and stumble their way toward the inevitable conclusion that, yeah, life pretty much sucks. “It's one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, and maybe one of the closest to me,” Posner said. "Because while Stupid F***ing Bird (a meta takeoff on Chekhov’s The Seagull) is a young person's play in its core sensibilities, Life Sucks is more of a middle-aged play, which is where I sit in my life right now.”

    While The Merchant of Venice is steeped with villains, Posner said, there are no evil-doers here. “I'm much more interested in good people doing their best and still messing things up,” he said. “That's what Chekov tends to do, and that's what I apparently am building of off in Life Sucks. It’s people struggling to do their best and (bleeping) it up on a regular basis."

    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.

    District Merchants Miners Alley Playhouse Sarah Roshan Photography

    Candace Joice as Portia and Sinjin Jones as Benjamin Bassanio in 'District Merchants' at Miners Alley Playhouse. Sarah Roshan Photography.


    Aaron Posner at a glance

    Aaron Posner, born in Eugene, Ore., has built a thriving career as a theater administrator, playwright, and a freelance director of award-winning productions in the Washington, D.C. area and throughout the country with an emphasis on Shakespeare and literary classics. A graduate of Northwestern University with a B.S. in Performance Studies, Posner is an Eisenhower Fellow whose plays and productions have been seen at more than one-third of all LORT theatres in the country. He was a founding Artistic Director of Arden Theatre in Philadelphia, directing more than 35 productions there and Aaron is an Associate Artist at the Folger Theatre and Milwaukee Rep.  Posner has won four Helen Hayes Awards for Best Director for work at the Folger, including: Measure For Measure, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Cyrano, He also won the 2014 HHA -The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play along with two Barrymore Awards (A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Best Director), and The Chosen (playwright), both at the Arden.

    District Merchants: Ticket information

    • Presented by Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Performances May 18-June 24
    • Written by Aaron Posner
    • Directed by Len Matheo
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays
    • Tickets: $15-$38
    • At 1224 Washington Ave., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com.
    • The play runs 2 hours and 30 minutes

    District Merchants Miners Alley PLayhouse, Sarah Roshan PhotographyCast

    • Cris Davenport as Antoine Dupree
    • Chris Kendall as Shylock
    • Amy Elizabeth Gray as Jessica
    • Sinjin Jones as Benjamin Bassanio
    • Sean Michael Cummings as Finn Randall
    • Candace Joice as Portia
    • Kristina Lorice Fountaine as Nessa
    • Isaiah Kelley as Lancelot
    Aaron Posner's work in Colorado:
  • Photos, audio: Broadway's Alex Brightman sings praises of 'Tommy'

    by John Moore | Apr 29, 2018

    Here is a short audio excerpt from singing the beloved "My Fair Lady" ballad "On the Street Where You Live" — as a serial killer. Audio by John Moore.

    At the Aurora Fox, Tony-nominated star of School of Rock, says it all began at 8 watching Michael Cerveris as Tommy

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Safe to say, if Alex Brightman doesn't see the Broadway production of The Who's Tommy when he was 8 years old, he does not go on to become a Broadway star, and he does not headline the Aurora Fox's annual gala last week.

    "That is literally my favorite show of all time," Brightman told the DCPA NewsCenter last Saturday before delivering a 50-minute musical set for an audience celebrating the announcement of the Aurora Fox's upcoming 34th season. And, appropriately enough, the event raised about $34,000 for the cause.

    Alex Brightman Aurora Fox. Photo by John Moore. Down the road, the DCPA Theatre Company was just beginning preview performances for a now-open staging of The Who's Tommy, and it was killing Brightman that he would not have the chance to see it.

    Brightman, 31, loved The Who growing up in California. "But then I saw Michael Cerveris blow the roof down on Broadway in 1995, and that is legitimately what started me in musical theatre," he said. "I was saying to myself, 'Wait a minute. That can be a thing? That's what I want to do.'”

    Brightman was well-aware of the new Denver Center production directed by Sam Buntrock, designed by Jason Sherwood and starring Andy Mientus. "It looks amazing,” he said. “I saw one screenshot of that set and I said, 'This is glorious.' Plus, I love Andy.”

     

    Aurora Fox ushers in new era with Caroline, Or Change

    Brightman, who was nominated for a Tony Award for originating the role of Dewey Finn in the Broadway adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock and will return to Broadway this fall starring in an as-yet unannounced new musical, knows how lucky he is. He tells a great story about how he got his first agent off a recommendation from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who dropped a dime after randomly seeing Brightman perform in a show. He is featured on two songs of a massive new, four-CD collection of Lloyd Webber songs along with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Lana Del Rey and Madonna.

    “And now I'm friends with Michael Cerveris,” he said. “We just sang together at a concert. I told him, ‘I was at the stage door for Tommy when I was 8 years old, and you shook my hand and said, “Thanks for coming to my show.” And now here we are onstage together.’ And he told me, ‘I'm not kidding you: ‘I want to be Alex Brightman when I grow up.' And I choked up. I couldn't believe it.”

    Graduating from School of Rock

    Brightman, whose Broadway credits also include Wicked, Matilda the Musical and Big Fish, has crossed paths with all sorts of Colorado-connected Broadway actors. In School of Rock, he starred opposite Sierra Boggess, who graduated from George Washington High School before the Denver-born The Little Mermaid launched her to international stardom (Love Never Dies, The Phantom of the Opera.) “I love Sierra,” Brightman said. “She is one of the coolest people of all time. And she is coming to my wedding next month.”

    The first national touring production of School of Rock visits the Buell Theatre from May 29-June 10, with Rob Colletti starring in the role Brightman originated on Broadway. “I know the dude, and he's fabulous,” Brightman said. “He’s a great amalgam of a lot of the guys who came before him.”

    (Story continues below the photo gallery.)

    Photo gallery: Aurora Fox gallery and Alex Brightman headlining concert:

    Aurora Fox Gala with Alex Brightman

    Photos from the Aurora Fox's 2018 season-announcement gala on April 21, and Alex Brightman's headlining concert. To see more, click on the photo above to be taken to our full, downloadable Flickr gallery. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Based on the hit Jack Black film, School of Rock follows a wannabe rock star who turns a class of straight-A students into grade-A rockers. The show features all new songs from Lloyd Webber, and is the first on Broadway to ever feature a live kids rock band.

    School of Rock is a pure family show,” Brightman said. “That doesn't mean it’s all smiles and rainbows. But everyone who is age 8 to 80 can find something in it — and thankfully, we have good source material that everybody loves.” 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Brightman still calls Lloyd Webber “The Boss,” and he still laughs about the coincidence of his having the same last name as British songbird Sarah Brightman, who was Lloyd Webber's wife from 1984 to 1990. "We were in a Page 6 article!" Brightman said of the New York Post’s gossip page. "People were sniffing around thinking I might be the hidden love child of Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I do fit the timeline. I totally could be. Maybe I am!

    He's not. Not even close. Alex Brightman (no relation, repeat: no relation) was born in 1987 to an American mother also named Brightman in Saratoga, Calif., who worked at a dialysis clinic. Still, Brightman and “The Boss” have enjoyed toying with the press' fascination with the name.

    "When Andrew officially announced me for Broadway, it was a full press event the Grammercy Theatre. He said: ‘Not only am I thrilled to say that Alex Brightman will be leading our show on Broadway, I am doubly exited to say that I have no intention whatsoever of marrying him!’ I was backstage freaking out because the whole thing was just so insane." 

    From Sweeney Todd to 'Sweet Baby James'

    Brightman was asked to headline the Aurora Fox gala by new Executive Producer Helen R. Murray, who previously directed him in a one-man play called How I Paid for College at The Hub Theatre in Virginia. “Helen is a great hire for this theatre,” he said. “There is just something about her being in the room that makes everybody else want to step up and make things happen.”

    Passing Strange. Aurora Fox. Photo by John Moore. Brightman began his set by urging everyone in attendance to come back for the theatre’s current production of Passing Strange, running through May 13. He had seen the show the night before.

    “I loved the show on Broadway and was so thrilled to watch it re-created here in such a way that was different and interesting,” he said. “If you haven't seen it, you need to re-prioritize your entire schedule just to see it."

    (Pictured, from left: 'Passing Strange' Director Nick Sugar with actors Joseph Lamar, Shane Franklin, Katherine Paynter, Randy Chalmers and Sheryl McCallum. Not pictured: Trent Armand Kendall and Faith  Angelise Goins-Simmons. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Aurora Fox leaders Beau Bisson and Helen R. MurrayHe then launched into an eclectic set of mostly contemporary musical-theatre songs and pop standards that all had one thing in common. “These are songs that I like singing in the shower,” he said. “Tonight, I'm just clothed.”

    Familiar tunes included Billy Joel's “I Love You Just the Way You Are” and James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” along with Broadway standards “Johanna” from Sweeney Todd and “I Don't Care Much" from Cabaret. But mostly Brightman introduced the audience to up-and-coming young off-Broadway songwriters he likes.
    (Pictured: Aurora Fox leaders Beau Bisson and Helen R. Murray.)

    The arguable highlight of the night was Brightman singing the beloved My Fair Lady ballad "On the Street Where You Live" — as a serial killer. He credited the idea to one of his vocal students. “When you think about it, you don't even have to change any of the lyrics,” he said. (Click here to hear a short audio excerpt.)

    John Moore's original report on closing of Glory Days

    Brightman spoke of his humbling, sorta Broadway debut in the ill-fated Glory Days, which in 2008 became the first Broadway musical in decades to open and close on the same day. The cast included Denver's Jesse JP Johnson, who did make his Broadway debut by virtue of 17 previews and an opening (and closing) performance. Brightman was the swing, so he never actually got to step on the stage. But things turned out OK for both of them — they both landed in Wicked, and away they went.

    Brightman ended the evening by thanking the audience for indulging him in what he calls his compulsion to perform.

    “This is all I have ever wanted do since as I was 8 years old, so thank you,” he said.

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


    Set list: Alex Brightman performs at the Aurora Fox

    • "Scratch-Off" (about a guy who bought a lottery ticket)
    • "Johanna," from Sweeney Todd
    • "Hey Man, This Place is Beautiful"* (about a friend who moves to Alaska)
    • "Nothing New to Do in Brooklyn Anymore"*
    • "Just the Way You Are," by Billy Joel
    • "Perfect, finite," by Chris Miller, from the 2005 song cycle Songs from an Unmade Bed
    • "After All" from the Broadway musical Glory Day
    • "Lost Horizon" from the Michael Friedman musical Gone Missing
    • "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady
    • "C Major " by Adam Gwon
    • "I Don't Care Much," from Cabaret
    • "A Little Bit" from Crazy, Just Like Me, by Drew Gasparini
    • "Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor

    *Unconfirmed titles

    Aurora Fox 2018-19 mainstage season at a glance

    • Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2018: Songs for a New World
    • Oct. 31, 2018: Killer Wigs from Outer Space
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 23, 2018: Twist Your Dickens
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 10, 2019: Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies
    • Feb. 22-March 17, 2019: Life Sucks
    • March 8 - March 24, 2019: The Happiest Place on Earth
    • April 5-May 12, 2019: Caroline or Change
    Aurora Fox. Photo by John Moore.

    The Aurora Fox. Photo by John Moore.

    Recent NewsCenter coverage of the Aurora Fox:
    Aurora Fox ushers in daring new era with Caroline, Or Change
    Passing Strange: Sheryl McCallum on the search for something more real than real
    April theatre openings: Don't pass on Passing Strange
    Colorado Fall Theatre Preview. Aurora Fox presents Hi-Hat Hattie
    Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Aurora Fox presents Company
    Aurora Fox amping up musicals, diversity in 2017-18
    Charles Packard leaving Aurora Fox after 19 years


  • Aurora Fox ushers in daring new era with 'Caroline, Or Change'

    by John Moore | Apr 21, 2018

    AuroraFoxHelenMurray. Photo by John Moore Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    First season under Helen Murray confirms theatre's commitment to bold and culturally relevant new works

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    A new era at the Aurora Fox Arts Center was officially ushered in tonight when the company announced its 34th season — and first under new Executive Producer Helen R. Murray.

    The intriguing lineup offers an emphatic indication that Murray intends for the Fox, which is owned and operated by the city of Aurora, to be a haven for new and provocative works. The season opens with the only title that has ever been previously staged in Colorado — the contemporary Jason Robert Brown musical Songs for a New World. It will close with the epic 2004 Tony Kushner musical Caroline, Or Change.

    Caroline, Or Change is the best-known name on the season, with a virtuosic score that blends blues, gospel, Motown and traditional Jewish folk music. Set in 1963, it tells the story of an African-American maid drifting through life as a single mother of four in Louisiana. Her life changes when a friendship develops between Caroline and her white employers’ son while some of the greatest social advancements in the country’s history are being set in motion. It looks at a time when change was knocking on America’s door — as it is in Aurora right now.

    Read more: Packard leaving Aurora Fox after 19 years

    “I wanted to honor the history of beautiful work that has been on display here for so long, but to also use that foundation to celebrate pieces that may not have made it to this area as of yet,” said Murray. “My hope is that Aurora Fox audiences will find shows this season that speak to what they best loved about us, as well as enjoy the next chapter in our progression.”

    The lineup includes Second City’s Twist Your Dickens, Aaron Posner’s Life Sucks, the one-man The Happiest Place on Earth and, perhaps most provocatively: Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies. The only title that is not a regional or world premiere is Songs for a New World, which was staged by Golden’s Miners Alley Playhouse in 2014.

    Murray, whose first full official day on the job is July 9, is the artistic director and co-founder of The Hub Theatre in Fairfax, Va.  She replaces Charles Packard, who resigned last May after eight seasons as Executive Producer.

    AuroraFoxPassing StrangeThe daring lineup represents a definitive step away from safe and known titles and embraces socially and culturally relevant works. But while that may sound like a departure, it’s more of a continuation of a long and unlikely trend at The Fox. With recent stagings of Black Elk Speaks, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Porgy & Bess, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Real Women Have Curves and, perhaps most emphatically, the current regional premiere of Passing Strange, The Fox has fully transformed its identity from a somewhat bound government-run facility into a true leader in introducing cutting-edge works that speak to a wide swath of under-represented audiences — and performers.

    (Pictured: Members of the 'Passing Strange' cast with Director Nick Sugar. Photo by John Moore.)

    “If you have been to the Fox regularly, we will keep you coming back. If you haven’t been in a while, or have yet to take the trip, then this is definitely the season you should join us,” said Murray.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Murray said the Fox will continue the groundbreaking Cabaret series it launched this season, featuring intimate monthly performances by local and national artists in the Fox’s studio theatre. In addition, the Fox will host a series of staged readings to support the development of new work throughout the year, as well as panel discussions and talkbacks related to each mainstage production.

    Murray also announced a special one-night-only event: A workshop reading of David Nehls’ and Zac Miller’s campy fun original musical Killer Wigs from Outer Space, followed by a Halloween party. All proceeds from the event will go to The Denver Actors Fund, which in four years has distributed more than $225,000 to Colorado theatre artists in medical need. “The Fox is excited to be giving back to the theatrical community this season,” Murray said.

    Alex Brightman at the Aurora Fox. Photo by John MooreThe season announcement was made at the Aurora Fox’s annual gala, which included a headlining performance by Broadway star Alex Brightman, who was nominated for a Tony Award for originating the role of Dewey Finn in School of Rock, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of the hit Jack Black film. (The first national touring production of School of Rock visits the Buell Theatre from May 29-June 10). Brightman is set to star in an as-yet unannounced new Broadway musical this fall.

    Brightman's wide-ranging set included songs he said he loves to sing in the shower. "I'm just clothed tonight," he said. The arguable highlight of the night: Brightman singing the beloved My Fair Lady ballad "On the Street Where You Live" — as a serial killer. The set included Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are"; "I Don't Care Much" from Cabaret; a song from the Broadway musical Glory Days, which famously opened and closed on the same day (the cast included Denver's Jesse J.P. Johnson); and ended with James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James."

    (Pictured: Alex Brightman at the Aurora Fox on Saturday night. Photo by John Moore.)

    Brightman, known for his self-deprecation and comic energy, also appeared in Wicked, Big Fish and Matilda.  He currently can be seen in the pilot episode of Showtime’s acclaimed series “SMILF,” written and directed by Frankie Shaw.


    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.

    Aurora Fox 2018-19 mainstage season at a glance

    • Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2018: Songs for a New World
    • Oct. 31, 2018: Killer Wigs from Outer Space
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 23, 2018: Twist Your Dickens
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 10, 2019: Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies
    • Feb. 22-March 17, 2019: Life Sucks
    • March 8 - March 24, 2019: The Happiest Place on Earth
    • April 5-May 12, 2019: Caroline or Change

    Alex Brightman with fans at Aurora Fox. Photo by John Moore.
    Broadway star Alex Brightman, who headlined the Aurora Fox gala, poses with two young fans at  the party. Photo by John Moore.

    The season in greater detail:
    (Show descriptions provided by the Aurora Fox)

    Songs for a New World

    • Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2018
    • Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown
    • Directed by Helen R. Murray

    Songs for a New World is the first produced musical by Jason Robert Brown, who has since become best known for The Last Five Years and The Bridges of Madison County. Brown and director Daisy Prince put together songs he had written for other venues and events, resulting in what he calls "neither musical play nor revue, it is closer to a theatrical song cycle — a very theatrical song cycle.” The musical centers on the idea of life-changing decisions that land us in a place we never expected: A metaphorical and sometimes literal “new world.”

     

    Killer Wigs from Outer Space

    • Oct. 31, 2018
    • Written by prominent area Music Director David Nehls and Zac Miller
    • This is the story of Orville, a carnival handyman attacked by a galactic, brain eating parasite. This alien from another planet transforms Orville into a rock and roll prophet for peace with out of this world hair. Battling forces of evil with several colorful characters, we follow him on an epic operatic journey to save our world. This special event, is being planned as a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund.

    Twist Your Dickens
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 23, 2018
    • Written by Second City alums and veteran Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort
    • Directed by Matthew R. Wilson
    • After successful runs in Los Angeles, D.C., Portland and Chicago, the Aurora Fox brings Second City’s irreverent and interactive, madcap (and adult) send-up of the holiday classic A Christmas Carol. Twist Your Dickens finds Scrooge, Tiny Tim and those know-it-all ghosts hopelessly mixed up in zany holiday sketches. Deemed by the Chicago Sun-Times as a "fresh and bountiful feast of funny."


    Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies

    • Jan. 18-Feb. 10, 2019
    • By Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm
    • Directed by Betty Hart
    • The new year will bring us Chisholm’s explosive, funny and searing look at being a young black teenager in America today. This new comedy was called “breathtakingly on-point” by The Washington Post and spurred rigorous discussion about the life-and-death issues dealt with in this insightful piece.

     

    Life Sucks

    • Feb. 22-March 17, 2019
    • By Aaron Posner
    • This enlightening reworking of Uncle Vanya finds a group of old friends, ex-lovers, estranged in-laws and lifelong enemies as they gather to grapple with life’s thorniest questions—and each other. Called “sassy yet heartfelt” by The Washington Post and “altogether wise, profoundly humane, and hilarious” by The Chicago Sun Times, this is not any Chekov you know.

     

    The Happiest Place on Earth

    • March 8-24, 2019
    • By Philip Dawkins
    • Directed by Matt Bassett
    • One actor plays all the roles in this heartwarming play that takes us to the magical kingdom and one family’s reckoning with life after the death of their beloved father and husband. Now, more than 50 years after their journey, Philip as the central character in his own true-life story retraces and illustrates how the women of his family grew up and moved on while asking if there really is a place where dreams can come true.


    Caroline or Change

    • April 5-May 12, 2019
    • By Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori
    • This thought-provoking musical gives a grounded human context for the historical watershed that was America in 1963. Set in the heat of the civil-rights movement, the Tony-nominated “Caroline, Or Change” follows a black maid working for a middle-class Jewish family in Louisiana. When a small amount of money goes missing, buried tensions threaten to rip two families — and the struggling Caroline — apart. Loosely based on Kushner’s own personal story, Caroline features a score that has been called a magical, show-stopping musical masterpiece.

    Other directors and cast for each production will be announced at a later date.

    Season subscriptions will be available for renewal and purchase after May 1.

     

     

     

  • Sheryl McCallum on the search for something more real than real

    by John Moore | Apr 17, 2018
    Sheryl McCallum. Passing Strange

    Sheryl McCallum passes from The Lion King to The Wild Party to the unusual odyssey of Passing Strange

    MEET SHERYL McCALLUM
    Sheryl McCallum, who played Delores last year in Off-Center's The Wild Party, appeared on Broadway in Disney's The Lion King. Denver credits include Marcus: Or the Secret Of Sweet for Curious Theatre; and Jesus Christ Superstar and I'll Be Home for Christmas at the Arvada Center. She was a featured singer in the first European tour of Blackbirds of Broadway. TV credits include "Law & Order" and "Golden Boy."

    • Sheryl McCallum. Photo by Christine Fisk. Hometown: Denver
    • Home now: Denver (although I lived in New York for 20 years)
    • Training: B.S. in Telecommunications from Texas Southern University
    • Website: None — shame on me!
    • Twitter-sized bio: Denver native, best Auntie, wanna find my beach, ZPhiB💙. Creator and host of The Source Theatre's monthly Monday!Monday!Monday! cabaret at Su Teatro. ❤Spain, 13.1 coming soon.
    • What would you be doing if you were not an actor? I would pursue sports reporting or TV travel hosting. I have always enjoyed sports of all kinds. My take would be more commenting than reporting. You should hear me in my living room! For travel, my focus would be on best lounge chairs and beach or pool bar service.
    • One role you were completely miscast for: Sister Hubert in a particular production of Nunsense 2. Who knew?
    • Bucket-list role: At one time, I wanted to be an opera singer. So I guess my bucket list-role would be to sing "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" at the Metropolitan Opera.
    • What's playing on your Spotify? Kid Astronaut and Bruno Mars. I also recommend Air Dubai. They are a local band and they don’t perform live as often as they used to.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I direct my church choir.
    • viola-davis-fencesOne time you saw greatness play out in front of you: I had a chance to witness Viola Davis (pictured right) perform on Broadway in Fences and King Hedley II. Enough said!
    • One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers? One simple thing would be to expose them to theatre early. Not just expose them to acting or singing, but expose them to set and lighting design, to playwriting, to music composition, to stage management and to front-of-house operations. The elementary-school play or musical goes a long way toward fostering future theatregoers.
    • What is Passing Strange all about? It opens as a concert with a rousing funk band led by a showman named Stew who takes us back to the tumultuous 1970s where we retrace young Stew’s epic journey from the suburban comforts of Los Angeles to Amsterdam and Berlin in search of “something more real than real." It’s a tough and meaningful odyssey about cultural identity and family that culminates as young Stew comes face-to-face with present-day Stew — and to terms with the cost his youthful narcissism has exacted on those he left behind.
    • What does the title mean? The phrase "Passing Strange" was coined by William Shakespeare in Othello when he says, "My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs. She swore in faith 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;     'Twas pitiful." Stew once said in an interview that the quote reminds him of a rock musician who tries to attract a girl with his on-the-road stories. "Passing" also refers to the history of African-Americans passing as white, as well as to the passage of time.
    • Why does Passing Strange matter? It offers another perspective of a black man's journey to find himself. Before I saw this show, I never would have thought of a black man writing a rock musical about moving to Amsterdam and Berlin to find himself. It’s an amazing story that everyone can see a little of themselves in.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing Passing Strange? I hope they  feel challenged to find what is real in your life. I love this line in the show: ”The only truth of youth is grown-up consequences.” Also, to look at those places where you may be “passing."
    • What do you want to get off your chest? Denver, please find your civility again. When I lived in New York, I would brag about how nice the people in Denver were. When I moved back about four years ago, I was shocked at the rudeness. Of course, the natives blame all the other people who moved here. It doesn’t matter. We all live here now. Please be nice.

    John Moore's 2008 review of Broadway's Passing Strange

    Sheryl McCallum. The Wild Party. Photo by Adams ViscomSheryl McCallum in Off-Center's 'The Wild Party' last year at the Stanley Marketplace. Photo by Adams Viscom.


    Passing Strange: Ticket information

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    More 2017-18 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    • Meet Brynn Tucker of This is Modern Art
    • Meet Gustavo Márquez of Native Gardens
    • Meet Gia Valverde: Native Gardens
    • Meet Jake Mendes of This is Modern Art
    • Meet Ilasiea L. Gray of Sleeping Beauty
    • Meet Meet Jordan Baker of Native Gardens
    • Meet Candy Brown of Love Letters
    • Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep's Arsenic and Old Lace
    • Meet Deb Persoff of Vintage Theatre's August: Osage County
    • Meet Monica Joyce Thompson of Inspire Creative’s South Pacific
    • Meet Hugo Jon Sayles of I Don't Speak English Only
    • Meet Marialuisa Burgos of I Don't Speak English Only

  • Gustavo Márquez of 'Native Gardens': From the box office to the big time

    by John Moore | Apr 13, 2018
    Gustavo Marquez Quote

    He's been a janitor and a Denver Center ticket agent. And tonight he takes the stage in his Theatre Company debut.  

    MEET GUSTAVO MÁRQUEZ
    Lisa Portes quote Gustavo Márquez, a member of the Native Gardens ensemble, is making his DCPA Theatre Company debut. He recently played the crazed, bug-eating servant Renfield in Dracula for the Aurora Fox (and Westword's Juliet Wittman called him excellent at it). He played Cassius, Adriano and other roles (both in English and Spanish) in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's educational productions of The Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar. He appeared in Local Lab's controversial reading of The Merchant of Venice, and in the Colorado-born production of I Am Alive that played at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Calif. Other stage credits include The Tempest, Metamorphoses, You Can't Take It With You, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Mozart's The Magic Flute.

    • Hometown: Aurora
    • Home now: Denver
    • High School: Rangeview
    • Training: BFA from Metropolitan State University of Denver
    • What's your handle? @gooosetee on Twitter and @goosetee on Instagram
    • Twitter-sized bio: Shall I compare me to a summer’s day? Yes, yes, I will: I’m like a summer’s day!
    • What would you be doing if you were not an actor? Many things! But a primatologist would be one. I’ve always been fascinated with apes, specifically chimpanzees, and how similar we are to them. And I find them to be adorable.
    • One role you were completely miscast for: I played Monostatos in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Monostatos is a treacherous villain, and he is written as a Moor. Also, I am a tenor, and that character was clearly meant to be a baritone. But I pulled it off. FKA_twigs
    • Bucket-list role: Usnavi from In the Heights
    • What's playing on your Spotify? FKA TWIGS (pictured right) and Princess Nokia do wonders to the soul.
    • What's one thing we don't know about you? I was a 19-year-old janitor in Antarctica.
    • What's one thing we already know about you, but other people probably don't: I have been working in the Denver Center's box office as a ticket agent since 2016. 
    • And what does Native Gardens Director Lisa Portes have to say about that? "I think it's going to be such a treat for those audiences who may have bought their ticket from Gustavo to then see him in the play, because he brings such beautiful life to the stage. And I will tell you a little secret: When we were looking for pre-show music in Spanish having to do with gardens, Gustavo emailed me a list of songs. So those are his." 
    • Phantom 2009 Photo by Christine Cudia MoldovanOne time you saw greatness play out in front of you: I saw The Phantom of the Opera at the Buell Theatre in Denver when I was in high school back in 2009. The Phantom was singing "Music of the Night," and right when he was about to sing his last note of the song, the sound went out. What happened after was nothing short of amazing. The actor, John Cudia, was able to fill the whole theatre with sound using just his unamplified voice. What I realized in that moment was pure, focused talent that I could attain as well, with hard work. (Photo: John Cudia and Trista Moldovan in the 2009 touring production of 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann.)
    • One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers? The next generation of theatregoers will be the most diverse this country has ever seen. It is important that what is presented on stage is just as diverse as they are.
    • What is Native Gardens all about? Karen Zacarías' play is about a young Latino couple who move into a well-established D.C. neighborhood. Though their neighbors have the best intentions, their newly budding friendship is tested when they realize their shared property line isn’t where it’s supposed to be.
    • Why does Native Gardens matter? Because it teaches us that we can improve as a society despite our society's past actions. Even if we, or our past generations have transgressed against each other, we must learn from those past events and experiences and improve. Don’t feel guilty for what your ancestors did or how they behaved, just change the way you are living now.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing Native Gardens? That we must forgive the past by improving the present to make the future better for all.
    • What do you want to get off your chest? I enjoy American Chinese food more than Mexican food. And I feel so blasphemous saying that!

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    the-company-of-native-gardens-photo-by-adamsviscom_41396747291_o

    The company of the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Native Gardens.' Photo by Adams Viscom for the DCPA NewsCenter.) 


    Native Gardens
    : Ticket information

    NativeGardens_show_thumbnail_160x160Dealing with neighbors can be thorny, especially for Pablo and Tania, a young Latino couple who have just moved into a well-established D.C. neighborhood. Though Frank and Virgina have the best intentions for making the new couple feel welcome next door, their newly budding friendship is tested when they realize their shared property line isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Frank is afraid of losing his prized garden, Pablo wants what is legally his, Tania has a pregnancy and a thesis she’d rather be worrying about, and Virginia just wants some peace. But until they address the real roots of their problems, it’s all-out war in this heartfelt play about the lines that divide us and those that connect us.

    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through May 6
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Native Gardens:
    More 2017-18 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    • Meet Jake Mendes of This is Modern Art
    • Meet Ilasiea L. Gray of Sleeping Beauty
    • Meet Candy Brown of Love Letters
    • Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep's Arsenic and Old Lace
    • Meet Deb Persoff of Vintage Theatre's August: Osage County
    • Meet Monica Joyce Thompson of Inspire Creative’s South Pacific
    • Meet Hugo Jon Sayles of I Don't Speak English Only
    • Meet Marialuisa Burgos of I Don't Speak English Only

  • April theatre openings: Don't pass on 'Passing Strange'

    by John Moore | Apr 06, 2018
    Stew, right, the subject and star of the 2008 Broadway musical 'Passing Strange.' Photo by David Lee.

    Stew, right, was the subject and star of the 2008 Broadway musical 'Passing Strange.' Its first local production will open this month at the Aurora Fox. Photo by David Lee.


    Ten intriguing titles for April offer groundbreaking musicals and a wealth of challenging contemporary works 

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Things will be busier than ever at the Denver Center this month, with a wide range of offerings from Disney's Aladdin to The Who's Tommy to Native Gardens to the final weeks of First Date, This is Modern Art and a sold-out Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. Here we take our monthly look at everything else Colorado theatregoers will have available to them this month:  

    NUMBER 1Trent Armand KendallPassing Strange. This groundbreaking musical went head-to-head with In The Heights for the 2008 Best Musical Tony Award. It opens as a concert with a rousing funk band led by a showman named Stew who takes us back to the tumultuous 1970s where we retrace young Stew’s epic journey from the suburban comforts of Los Angeles to Amsterdam and Berlin in search of “something more real than real." But this is no nostalgia trip. It’s a difficult and meaningful odyssey about cultural identity and family that culminates as young Stew comes face-to-face with present-day Stew — and to terms with the unalterable cost his youthful narcissism has exacted on those he left behind. This is catchy and cathartic performance art unlike anything Broadway has seen before. And the Aurora Fox is the first local theatre company to dare to let anyone in Colorado see it. Directed by Nick Sugar, starring Broadway's Trent Armand Kendall (Into the Woods) and featuring Sheryl McCallum (DCPA's The Wild Party). April 13-May 13 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    NUMBER 2Sunday in the Park with George. The Arvada Center presents the regional premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway revival inspired by the painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. This gorgeous musical merges past and present into poignant truths about life, love and the creation of art. George is frustrated as he searches for his artistic path only to find the answer to his future is in the past. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for 10 Tony Awards. The cast is led by Cole Burden and Emily Van Fleet (as both Seurat’s mistress and model) along with an all-star ensemble that includes local favorites Billie McBride, Boni McIntyre, Jeffrey Roark, Heather Lacy, Robert Michael Sanders, Joe Callahan, Abby Apple Boes, Paul Dwyer, Piper Arpan, Jeremy Rill, Michael Bouchard, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Drew Horwitz, Shannan Steele and Susannah McLeod. April 17-May 6 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    NUMBER 3Honorable DisorderHonorable Disorder. The new Emancipation Theater Company's inaugural production tells the story of DeShawn Foster, a native of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and a veteran of  Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following the loss of his commanding officer and father figure, DeShawn struggles to hold on to  his “Soldier’s Creed.” Honorable Disorder addresses the issues of a typical American family in present-day Denver as seen through the eyes of a young black man and his perceived value by those who care most for him. Written and directed by iconic local performance artist Jeff Campbell and featuring Theo Wilson, Erica Brown, Chet Sis, Corey Rhoads and Devon James. Through April 29 at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, EmancipationTheater.com

    NUMBER 4The 2018 Local Lab. Local Theater Company will welcome three playwrights to Boulder for its seventh annual new-play festival: Clockwork by Emily Zemba, a comedy about a congresswoman up for re-election scrambling to fish her campaign out of the toilet; Ladybits by Rehana Lew Mirza, about an aspiring comedian who finds solace within a group of other female comedians feeling marginalized in an industry dominated by men; and Paper Cut by Andrew Rosendorf, a raw exploration of the physical and emotional toll of war on a soldier returning home as an amputee. "We are committed to bringing stories to the stage that challenge the world we live in today," said Artistic Director Pesha Rudnick. "I can’t think of a more exciting time to engage our community in some of our nation’s most pressing issues through the lens of art." April 20-22 at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    NUMBER 5 Fences. The Lone Tree Arts Center is calling its production of perhaps August Wilson's most popular play its greatest assemblage of talent to date, led by Esau Pritchett. The sixth play in Wilson's decade-by decade "Century Cycle" is the story of a family led by a garbage collector whose rise through the Negro baseball leagues hit a racial ceiling. But now, in 1957, his son sees the world through very different eyes. Fences won the Tony Award for Best Play and was recently made into an Oscar-winning film. Through April 21 at 10075 Commons St. in Lone Tree, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

    NUMBER 6Romeo and Juliet. Phamaly Theatre Company, which creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities, brings to life Shakespeare's timeless love story that explores the passion, beauty, poetry, and tragedy of putting aside differences to pursue love above all else. This is a workshop production with minimal staging. Starring Jacob Elledge and Elizabeth Bernhardt, and directed by 2017 True West Awards Theatre Person of the Year Regan Linton. All performances will include open captioning. April 14-22 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-575-0005 or thedairy.org

    NUMBER 7Dirt, A Terra Nova Expedition. This new play by Laura Pritchett opens with a young scientist in an underground bunker who has recently lost her love after he sacrificed himself to preserve remaining resources for the others. As she waits for the roots to regenerate, she keeps her sanity by daydreaming the science, culture, history and myth of soil. During her journey, she discovers that perhaps humanity has found its humility. April 7-May 6 at the Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    NUMBER 8Going to a Place Where You Already Are. Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's new play by Bekah Brunstetter, a staff writer for NBC’s This Is Us, centers around an elderly couple facing a sudden end-of-life crisis. In this nuanced comedy, two generations wrestle with love and a life well lived as they wonder what might come next. Brunstetter says she wrote the play "to really confront what I believe — or rather, what I can't seem to stop believing." Directed by Rebecca Remaly Weitz. April 12 through May 6 at Boulder's Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    Baker: 'It’s hard to listen when the message is a brick'

    NUMBER 9Glengarry Glen Ross. OK, so we've said this before, but this time we mean it: The Edge Theatre Company is going on hiatus after farewell stagings of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, followed next month by Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Glengarry, which won Mamet a Pulitzer in 1984, shows parts of two days in the lives of four desperate and potty-mouthed Chicago real-estate agents who are prepared to engage in any number of unethical, illegal acts to sell undesirable real estate to unwitting buyers. The cast includes Josh Hartwell, Warren Sherrill, Bill Hahn, Kevin Holwerda Hommes, Jihad Milhem, Max Cabot and Tony Ryan. The director is Missy Moore. Fair warning: The Alec Baldwin character in the film does not exist in the play. To see him, you have to come to a special Denver Actors Fund screening of the film (with a live appearance from The Edge cast) on Monday, April 23 at Alamo Drafthouse. The play runs April 13-May 5 at 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    NUMBER 10Bullets Over Broadway. John Ashton directs the regional premiere of this musical stage adaptation of Woody Allen's 1994 screenplay about a  straight-arrow 1920s playwright who finds a producer to mount his show on Broadway. Only ... he's a mobster. The cast includes Mary McGroary, Damon Guerrasio, TJ Hogle, Maggie Tisdale, Michael O’Shea, John Gleason, Colby Dunn, Adrianne Hampton and Bernie Cardell. April 13-May 27 at 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of upcoming theatre openings, spotlighting work being presented on stages statewide. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


    Aladdin Photo by Deen van Meer
    Disney's 'Aladdin' flies into Denver on April 7. Photo by Deen van Meer.


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    April 5-21: Lone Tree Arts Center's August Wilson's Fences
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

    A Picasso. Logan Ernstthal and Susie RoelofszApril 5-29: Cherry Creek Theatre Company's A Picasso
    At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org
    (Pictured at right: Logan Ernstthal and Susie Roelofsz)

    April 5-15: Theatrix USA's Stand Still & Look Stupid
    At the Beacons/Parkside Mansion, 1859 York St., theatrixusa.org

    April 6-29: Emancipation Theatre's Honorable Disorder
    At Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, EmancipationTheater.com

    April 6-May 6: Town Hall Arts Center's Sisters of Swing
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or town hall’s home page

    April 6-28: Equinox Theatre Company’s Reefer Madness: The Musical
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    April 6-21: StageDoor Theatre's Fame
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoortheatre.org
    (No performances April 13-15)

    April 7-28: National touring production of Disney’s Aladdin, Buell Theatre
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    April 7-May 6: Bas Bleu's Dirt! A Terra Nova Expedition
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    April 12-May 6: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Going to a Place Where You Already Are
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    April 12-21: 5th Wall Productions' Venus in Fur
    The Bakery 2132 Market St.,720-771-8826 or ticketleap.com
    No performances April 13-14

    April 13-May 6: DCPA Theatre Company's Native Gardens
    Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    April 13-May 5: The Edge Theatre Company’s Glengarry Glen Ross
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    April 13-May 13: Aurora Fox's Passing Strange
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    April 13-22: Germinal Stage Denver's The Creditors
    At the John Hand Theater Ballroom on the Colorado Free University Campus at Lowry, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    April 13-July 8: Jester’s Dinner Theatre’s Annie
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    April 13-May 27: Vintage Theatre's Bullets Over Broadway
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    April 14-22: Phamaly Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet
    At the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-575-0005 or thedairy.org

    April 17-May 6: Arvada Center's Sunday in the Park with George
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    LaManchaPromoApril 19-May 5: And Toto too Theatre Company’s The Way Station and The South Star
    At The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org

    April 26-May 13, 2018: TheatreWorks' Amadeus
    At the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    April 26-June 17: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Man of La Mancha (pictured right)
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    April 27-May 27: DCPA Theatre Company's The Who's Tommy
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    April 27-May 20: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Fully Committed
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:


    Lawrence Hecht Michael EnsmingerThrough April 14: Curious Theatre's The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org READ MORE

    Through April 15: Off-Center's This Is Modern Art
    Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through April 15: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Kiss Me Kate
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through April 22: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through April 22: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Fun Home
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org READ MORE

    Through April 23: DCPA Cabaret's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Lili Shuger as AnneFrankThrough April 28: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's The Diary of Anne Frank
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com
    (Photo at right of Lili Shuger by Meghan Ralph)

    Through April 28: OpenStage's And Then There Were None
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Through April 28: Miners Alley Children's Theatre’s Little Red Riding Hood
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 Or minersalley.com

    Through April 29: Miners Alley Playhouse's The 39 Steps
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through May 3: Arvada Center's All My Sons
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 4: Arvada Center's The Electric Baby
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 4: Denver Children's Theatre's Sleeping Beauty
    Public performances 1 p.m. Sundays
    Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 www.maccjcc.org

    Through May 6: Arvada Center's Sense and Sensibility
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 13: Vintage Theatre's The Audience
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through May 20: BDT Stage's Always … Patsy Cline
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Through May 25: Arvada Center Children's Theatre's Seussical
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 26: Midtown Arts Center's Ragtime
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through Aug. 11: Iron Springs Chateau’s A Precious Bit of the West, or: She Was Simply a Delight!
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
  • Ongoing productions

  • AVENUE THEATER


  • Weekends: Comedy Sportz

  • BAS BLEU THEATRE
    • Sunday, April 15: The Homeless Choir Speaks, a film by Susan Polis Schutz
    At 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org


    BUG THEATRE
    • Thursday, March 19: The Emerging Filmmakers Project, showcasing Denver's indie film scene on the third Thursday of every month.
    • Monday, April 30: Freak Train: Open-mic variety show hosted by GerRee Hinshaw on the final Monday of every month

    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info


    BOULDER PHILHARMONIC

    • Monday, April 23: Bernstein at 100: Leonard Bernstein Tribute Concert 

    The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra presents Leonard Bernstein's iconic West Side Story, in collaboration with Central City Opera and choirs.
    At Levin Hall at the Boulder JCC, 6007 Oreg Ave., Boulder TICKETS

    • Sunday, April 29: Bernstein at 100: West Side Story in Concert

    The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra presents Leonard Bernstein's iconic West Side Story, in collaboration with Central City Opera and choirs.
    At the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org


    BUNTPORT THEATER

    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com


    Glengarry 2DENVER ACTORS FUND

    • Monday, April 23: Screening of the film Glengarry Glen Ross with live entertainment from The Edge Theatre's upcoming production of the profane David Mamet classic about the cutthroat world of real estate. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7. Choose your preferred seating

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com


    EVERGREEN CHORALE

    • Friday, April 20: Swing Into Spring: Big band sound of William and the Romantics
    At the Evergreen Lake House, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org


    LOCAL THEATER COMPANY

  • April 20-22: Local Theater Company's Local Lab new-play festival.

    At the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or tickets.thedairy.org


  • MILLIBO ART THEATRE
    • April 12-19: Women’s Theatre Festival
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org


    PARKER ARTS
    • April 6-7, 2018: Parker Arts’ Wiley and the Hairy Man
    • April 13, 2018: Parker Arts’ Henry and Mudge
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303.805.6800 or www.ParkerArts.org


    PLATTE VALLEY PLAYERS AND BRIGHTON MUSIC ORCHESTRA
    • Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.: Guys and Dolls in Concert
    At The Armory Performing Arts Center, 300 Strong St., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org
    • Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m.: Guys and Dolls in Concert
    At First Presbyterian Church of Brighton, 510 S. 27th Ave., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org

     


    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY
    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    • April 17-28: 4th EVER WordFest
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org


    STORIES ON STAGE

    • Saturday, April 14: Course Correction. Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month: Cajardo Lindsey,  Emma Messenger and Sam Gregory perform stories about self-help.
    1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive,  303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
  • In the Spotlife: Jake Mendes of 'This is Modern Art'

    by John Moore | Mar 30, 2018

    Jake Mendes. THIS IS MODERN ARTLakewood native Jake Mendes makes his Denver Center debut in This is Modern Art.'

    Jake Mendes glides from Hedwig glam to graffiti bomber in Off-Center's provocative new play This is Modern Art

    MEET JAKE MENDES
    2016 True West Award winner Jake Mendes, who plays Dose in Off-Center's This is Modern Art, is making his Denver Center debut. The University of Northern Colorado grad just blew the roof off the Aurora Fox starring in Hedwig and The Angry Inch. At the Arvada Center, he recently played Rueben in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Paul in A Chorus Line and he originated the role of Simon in the world premiere musical I'll Be Home For Christmas. Off Broadway, he performed in Bunnicula and Pinkalicious: The Musical. Other New York credits include Xanadu, A Man of No Importance, The Little Dog Laughed, The Normal Heart and The Drowsy Chaperone.

    • Hometown: Lakewood
    • Home now: Denver
    • What's your handle? @_jake_mendes_ on Instagram
    • What have you done for us lately? I played Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Aurora Fox
    • Twitter-sized bio: Portuguese. Virgo. Lactose Intolerant.
    • JAKE MENDES HEDWIG AURORA FOXWhat would you be doing if you were not an actor? I would be directing and choreographing. I thrive on the creation of art and collaboration with artistic minds. I feel like I can best contribute to the world around me through theatre and performing arts.
    • One role you were completely miscast for: While it was very fun … I did a spot in a web series where I had to be a hipster bro, introducing my girlfriend to my sex-obsessed, over-sharing parents for the first time.
    • Bucket-list role? I was lucky enough to cross this off of my list earlier this year when I played Hedwig with the incomparable Norrell Moore. So now I’m waiting for someone to cast me as Effie White in Dreamgirls.
    • One seminal experience where you saw greatness play out in front of you: When I saw Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart on Broadway, I had a moment where I truly understood how theatre could immediately affect people in a guttural and primitive way. At the end of the play, people were crying and hugging each other, silent. I realized then that it is truly our responsibility and privilege as performers to send our stories to people’s hearts and souls. We won’t be able to determine how they’ll  be received, but we could be the ones to provide an opportunity for an audience member to be transformed in some way.
    • Betty WhoWhat are you listening to on Spotify right now? I’m always listening to Betty Who, but I’m also really into the playlist compiled from the Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It” right now.
    • What is This is Modern Art all about? It's based on the true story of a Chicago graffiti crew that is are willing to risk everything for their art. But when they pulled off the biggest graffiti bomb the city had ever seen, the consequences got real, and it sparked a public debate that asked where art does — and does not — belong?
    • Why does This is Modern Art Matter? This play highlights the fact that art should never be boxed into something specific. Artistic expression means different things to different people. You may like to experience different forms of art, but one will never be better than the other.
    • Jake Mendes THIS IS MODERN ARTWhat do you hope audiences get out of seeing This is Modern Art? At the very least, I hope their eyes will be more open to the beautiful and illustrious street art culture that is exploding in Denver.
    • One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers? We need to encourage people to listen, and to be open and honest. Whether you’re listening to a performance, listening to your castmates on stage with you, listening to what your director is saying … listening to your own heart and soul. Listening, honesty and openness all help to foster a sense of trust, which cultivates one’s ability to take risks and create dynamic, life-changing experiences.
    • What do you want to get off your chest? Dear Dad, I got my nose pierced… I’ve been keeping it hidden for a few months… sorry.
    • What's one thing we don't know about you? I’m a certified Pre-Natal and Post Partum Personal Trainer.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    This is Modern ArtThis is Modern Art
    : Ticket information

    • Presented by Off-Center
    • Performances through April 15
    • Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Written by Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin
    • Directed by Idris Goodwin
    • Featuring Robert Lee Hardy, John Jurcheck, Brynn Tucker, Jake Mendes, Chloe McLeod and Marco Robinson
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of This is Modern Art:
    This is Modern Art will make you look
    Idris Goodwin is going places: From Curious' Detroit '67 to Denver Center
    Graffiti: Modern art or 'urban terrorism'?
    Vast and visceral: Off-Center season will include This is Modern Art

    More 2017-18 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    • Meet Ilasiea L. Gray of Sleeping Beauty
    • Meet Candy Brown of Love Letters
    • Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep's Arsenic and Old Lace
    • Meet Deb Persoff of Vintage Theatre's August: Osage County
    • Meet Monica Joyce Thompson of Inspire Creative’s South Pacific
    • Meet Hugo Jon Sayles of I Don't Speak English Only
    • Meet Marialuisa Burgos of I Don't Speak English Only

  • January openings: Make way for 'Lady Day,' 'Fun Home' and 'Hedwig'

    by John Moore | Jan 05, 2018
    Lady Day Mary Louise Lee Adams Viscom

    Mary Louise Lee in 'Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill,' opening Jan. 12 at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora before a spring transfer t the DCPA's Galleria Theatre. Photo by Adams Viscom

    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of upcoming theatre openings, spotlighting work being presented on stages statewide. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


    Showcase month in Colorado theatre spotlights Mary Louise Lee, world premieres and Boulder artists

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    January will usher in the new theatrical year with a showcase vehicle for the First Lady of Denver, the state's first two homegrown productions of the groundbreaking 2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home, and what promises to be an electrifying staging of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Aurora Fox. January is also when the DCPA Theatre Company begins its rollout of three consecutive world-premiere plays — Zoey's Perfect Wedding, American Mariachi and The Great Leap. With such an eclectic mix of material, this month we will kick off the winter theatre season with a brief look at 10 intriguing titles to watch, followed by complete list of all your Colorado theatregoing options for January:

    Ten intriguing titles for January:

    NUMBER 1Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. January 12 promises to be an emotional night when Mary Louise Lee revisits her signature role as Billie Holiday in Vintage Theatre's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She will be performing in Vintage's Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium, named after the late founder of the Shadow Theatre Company who directed Lee back in 2002. Lee's haunting portrayal of the jazz legend woman with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit — was the biggest hit in Shadow’s history. This new production, directed by Betty Hart, will play weekends at Vintage through Feb. 18 (except Feb. 3), then move to the DCPA's Galleria Theatre on Monday nights from March 5 through April 23. Lee's performing career began in the Galleria Theatre (then called StageWest) when she appeared in Beehive at only 18 years old and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. In 2011, Lee also became the First Lady of Denver when her husband, Michael B. Hancock, was elected Mayor. 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com READ MORE

    NUMBER 2A JANUARY JAKE MendesHedwig and the Angry Inch. It's impossible to overstate the impact John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's underground rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch has had on generations of misfits over the past 24 years. The show is essentially a rock concert featuring a genderqueer singer who was born a boy in communist East Germany and underwent a botched sex-change operation to marry an American soldier who then abandoned her. It's an incredibly powerful, literate and raunchy beacon of hope for anyone who has felt ever felt divided. And Jake Mendes and Norrell Moore promise to infuse the new Aurora Fox production, the first by a Denver theatre company in eight years, with fresh vitality. Jan. 19-Feb. 10 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    NUMBER 3A Banned Together 800 1Fun Home. In 2015, Fun Home became the first Broadway musical to feature a lesbian protagonist. Now the the rights to perform it at theatres across the country, it speaks well of the Colorado theatre community that different companies in Fort Collins, Golden and Colorado Springs have jumped at the chance to stage it. Based on Alison Bechdel's graphic novel, Fun Home recounts one women's unique childhood as she grows to understanding her own sexuality and looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.The first to open will be Midtown Arts Center (Jan. 18-March 17) at 3750 S. Mason St. in Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com. The Miners Alley Playhouse production runs  Jan. 26-March 4 at 1224 Washington St. in Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com. And the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College follows from March 29 through April 22 at 30 W. Dale St., 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org. (Pictured: Sophie Dotson of the Golden cast performs "Ring of Keys" at an anti-censorship event this past fall. Photo by John Moore.)

    NUMBER 4Detroit 67. Curious Theatre continues its most provocative season in years with playwright Dominque Morisseau's incendiary look back at the sizzling summer of 1967, a moment in history rife with police brutality, immense racial divide, and a violent uprising, all through the eyes of one family. Featuring Jada Suzanne Dixon and Cajardo Lindsey under the direction of hip hop artist, writer and educator Idris Goodwin, whose own play This is Modern Art opens March 22 at the DCPA's Jones Theatre. Jan. 13 through Feb. 24 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org.  

    NUMBER 5Trump Lear. David Carl, known for mixing Shakespeare with timely political satire, returns not to bury the president but to skewer him in this one-man comedy in which he plays an actor who evokes the wrath of thechief executive as he creates a solo version of King Lear – Shakespeare’s tragic play of a ruler whose vanity tears his country apart. At Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    NUMBER 6Disney's The Little Mermaid. The DCPA hosted the Broadway company on its way to the Great White Way in 2006, and now this Inspire Creative effort will be the first homegrown, Denver-area staging of the underwater musical. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved love stories, The Little Mermaid features music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, including familiar songs like "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl" and "Part of Your World." Jan. 19-Feb 11 at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    NUMBER 7Guards at the Taj. This dark comedy, set in India in 1648, introduces audiences to two lifelong friends standing watch on the night before the first unveiling of the Taj Mahal. As the action unfolds, these two must take part in an act of unfathomable cruelty, one that will shatter their lives and their relationship. Written by Rajiv Joseph and staged by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. Jan. 25-Feb. 18 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    NUMBER 8Fermata. Denver's Theatre Esprit Asia partners with Theater Company of Lafayette to present three generations of Chinese westernized women, two of whom two are world-class musicians and one who became a neurosurgeon. In playwright Maria Cheng’s sixth full-length play, she explores the burden of virtuosity, the politics of art making and the purpose of music. Jan. 12-28 at the Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson St., 720-209-2154 or www.tclstage.org

    NUMBER 9Abner GeneceSense and Sensibility. The Arvada Center's uber-hip repertory company returns with an all-new new adaptation of the Jane Austen classic (by Kate Hamill) that follows the Dashwood sisters as they pursue their quest for love and happiness. This cast is loaded with big names like Kate Gleason, Geoffrey Kent, Emma Messenger and Jessica Austgen (for starters), but the whole community should be cheering the return to the stage of Abner Genece as Sir John Middleton) six months after a devastating car accident nearly killed him and his son. Jan. 26-May 6 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    NUMBER 10Theatre Made in Boulder. This new festival running Jan. 18 through Feb. 10 will include a robust selection of staged readings, low-tech productions and free public workshops from a diverse group of local artists. (Full schedule below.) The featured, fully staged presentation will be How To Screw Up Your Life!, written specifically for the festival by reliable Boulder playwright Ami Dayan. Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

    First Date Photo by Emily Lozow


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Jan. 5-21: Performance Now's Into the Woods
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performance now’s home page

    Jan. 5-March 25: Midtown Arts Center's Always ... Patsy Cline
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Jan. 6-Feb. 3: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's Rumors
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Jan. 12-Feb. 18: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com READ MORE

    Jan. 12-Feb. 4, 2018: Town Hall Arts Center's Peter and the Starcatcher
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Jan. 12-28: Theater Company of Lafayette's Fermata (with Theatre Esprit Asia)
    Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

    Jan. 12-27: 5th Wall Productions' Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
    At The Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market St., 5th-wall-productions.com

    Jan. 13-Feb. 24: Curious Theatre's Detroit 67
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org  

    Jan. 18-March 17: Midtown Arts Center's Fun Home
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Jan. 18-20: David Carl's Trump Lear
    Millibo Arts Center, 1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    Jan. 18-Feb. 10: How To Screw Up Your Life!
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

    Jan. 19-Feb. 4: Theatrix USA's Kiss
    At Dobrin Studios, 931 Santa Fe Drive, theatrixdenver.com

    Jan. 29-Feb. 11: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Building the Wall
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne,  970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Jan. 19-Feb. 10: Aurora Fox's Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    Jan. 19-Feb 11: Inspire Creative's The Little Mermaid
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    Jan. 19-Feb. 3: Funky Little Theatre Company's The Bigot
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    Jan. 20-Feb. 17, 2018: OpenStage Theatre Company's The Crucible
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Jan. 25-Feb. 18: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Guards at the Taj
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    Jan. 26-Feb. 25: DCPA Theatre Company’s Zoey’s Perfect Wedding
    Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Jan. 26-March 4: Miners Alley Playhouse's Fun Home
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Jan. 26-May 6: Arvada Center's Sense and Sensibility
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Jan. 26-Feb. 17: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits
    At  121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Jan. 26-Feb. 17: Equinox Theatre Company's Evil Dead: The Musical
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Jan 26-Feb 11: StageDoor Theatre's The 39 Steps
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Feb. 2-25: DCPA Theatre Company’s American Mariachi
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Evil Dead
    From left: Emily Ebertz, Derek Helsing and Chelsea O'Grady from Equinox Theatre's 'Evil Dead The Musical.'

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Jan. 6: Oddville and Stand Up Smart (Dave Shirley and Bob Dubac)
    At  121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Through Jan. 7: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Annie
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Through Jan. 14: National tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King & I
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through Jan. 14: Vintage Theatre Productions' Red
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through Jan. 30: BDT Stage's Motones vs. Jerseys
    (Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays only)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Through Feb. 14: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Beauty and the Beast
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Feb. 24: BDT Stage's Annie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Through April 22: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    BOULDER ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY

    • Jan. 11-21: P3M5: Privacy in the Digital Age, a transatlantic theatre project presented in a series of 5-minute films and live plays. 

    Boedecker Cinema at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or dairyartscenter.org


    BUG THEATRE

    • Jan. 6: Fourth annual 50 First Jokes festival (50 of Denver's best comedians tell their first joke of the new year), benefiting The Gathering Place
    • Jan. 18 The Emerging Filmmakers Project, showcasing Denver's indie film scene on the third Thursday of every month.
    • Jan. 29: Freak Train: Open-mic variety show hosted by GerRee Hinshaw on the final Monday of every month
    • Jan. 30: Open Screen Night: Make a video of at least 2 minutes in length about this month's theme (16-bit) and include the phrase "All your base are belong to us." Info:  openscreennight.com

    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info


    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    • Saturday, Jan. 13: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m.)
    • Saturday, Jan. 13: The Penny Savers, for Stories on Stage, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive (303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
    500DAYSOFSUMMERDENVER ACTORS FUND
    • Monday, Jan. 22: Screening of the film 500 Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel with live pre-screening entertainment from DCPA Cabaret's First Date. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com


    EVERGREEN PLAYERS

    • Jan. 20 and Feb. 9: EPiC Returns (improv comedy featuring Evergreen High School's state-champion improv team
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

     

    MILLIBO ART THEATRE
    • Jan. 6: RiP (improv comedy)
    • Jan 12-13: Vintage Glamour Burlesque
    • Jan 26-27: Cabaret Voltaire (variety performance art) 
    1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org


    THEATRE MADE IN BOULDER FESTIVAL
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 10: Staged readings, low-tech productions and free public workshops from local artists. Featured production: How To Screw Up Your Life!, by Ami Dayan
    • Jan. 21: Afropuff Lederhosen: A Critically Comical Investigation of Race, by Vanessa Roberts
    • Jan. 24: Strange Grace, by Jane Shepard
    • Jan. 28: Mud Season, by Felice Locker
    • Jan. 31: An Evening of Shorts: Terrember (Four Choose Two), by Mike Eisenberg; Kosmic Joke: Killing Time, by Buck Lee; and Bloodlines, by Ashley Rice
    • Feb. 4: Trans/Actions, by K. Woodzick and Ayla Sullivan
    • Feb. 4: What Happens in the Dark, by Kristofer Buxton
    • Feb. 11: Rooted, by Joy Barber
    • Feb. 11: Laura and Ibsen, by Susan Flakes
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY
    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org 


    STORIES ON STAGE
    • Saturday, Jan. 13: The Penny Savers, with members of Buntport Theater, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive

       

    303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

    Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater.

  • 2017 True West Award: Colorado Theatre Person of the Year Regan Linton

    by John Moore | Dec 30, 2017
    2017 True West Award Regan Linton

     

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Regan Linton

    Colorado Theatre Person of the Year


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    We’ll never know whether Phamaly Theatre Company would have survived 2017 had Regan Linton not been here. She was here. And one of the nation's signature theatre companies is still here. And that's why Linton is the True West Awards' 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year.

    For 28 years, one of Denver’s crown jewels has produced professional plays and musicals exclusively for actors with disabilities. But at this time a year ago, it was in catastrophic financial trouble.

    Regan Linton True West Award Quote Photo by John MooreLinton, a former core company member who went on to become a shining national example of what begets opportunity, had just been named Phamaly’s interim Artistic and Executive Director to fill a short-term leadership vacuum.

    Linton’s appointment was a cause for celebration. Not only had the Denver East High School graduate helped elevate Phamaly’s game as an actor with wrenching performances in musicals such as Side Show and Man of La Mancha, she came home with serious cred. In 2012, she became the first paralyzed student ever to be enrolled into one of the nation's top master’s conservatory programs when she was accepted at the University of California San Diego. And in 2015, Linton became the first actor in a wheelchair ever to be hired into the venerable Oregon Shakespeare Festival's year-round repertory company since it was founded in 1935.

    Today, Linton is a highly respected actor, educator and prominent voice for disability inclusion in the national theatre community. And when she accepted the one-year Phamaly assignment last year at age 34, Linton became the first person in a wheelchair ever to lead a major U.S. theatre company as Artistic Director, according to Theatre Communications Group.

    Then came the sticker shock.

    “I immediately became aware that the company was not in as healthy a financial position as I had thought,” Linton said. Phamaly's annual operating budget had more than doubled over the previous seven years, to $850,000. But revenue had not grown proportionally. Just two months into the job, Linton realized Phamaly was facing an immediate $100,000 shortfall.

    (Story continues after the photo gallery below.)

    Photo gallery: A look back at Regan Linton's year (and years) with Phamaly:

    Regan Linton: 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year
    Photos from Regan Linton's first year as interim Artistic and Executive Director of Phamaly Theatre Company, followed by additional photos from years past. To see more images, just click on the image above to be taken to the full gallery. Photos by or compiled by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Linton attacked the problem swiftly, first by shaving the upcoming budget. She scrapped expensive plans to stage Peter Pan with wheelchairs flying over the DCPA’s Stage Theatre. A Shakespeare collaboration with a New York company was put off. And then, on March 28, Linton took a deep breath and released an uncommonly forthright public statement bluntly telling supporters that without an urgent cash infusion, Phamaly would be bankrupt by July 1. And that was just to make it to the summer. “We were really more like $250,000 in the hole,” she said.

    The most important thing to Linton was being open and honest about the situation. “If we were going to go down, then we were going to do it having been completely transparent with every one of our supporters,” she said.

    But, it turns out, It’s a Wonderful Life ain’t just a holiday movie.

    Phamaly’s “Sunny Tomorrow” campaign didn’t just raise $100,000. It raised $108,000, thanks to more than 325 individual donors. And that still takes Linton's breath away. “I feel like that wasn't just people saying, 'We love this theater company.’ It’s deeper than that. I feel like they were saying, ‘People with disabilities are valuable.’ And as a person who lives with a disability, that's really, powerfully meaningful to me.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Just a few weeks after the campaign ended, Phamaly netted an additional, record-obliterating $60,000 from its annual gala — up from $35,000 the year before. And then Annie, which Linton chose to present instead of Peter Pan, drew 6,700 to the Stage Theatre. That’s nearly 20 percent more than the previous Phamaly attendance record.

    Janice Sinden Regan Linton QuoteAll three of those things had to happen, Linton said, for Phamaly to fully climb out of the hole it was in. And all three did.

    But Phamaly didn’t get the backing it needed on sentiment alone. It got it because it was Linton who went out and asked for it, Denver Center President and CEO Janice Sinden said.

    “Regan is a determined, passionate woman who leads with her heart, but always with an outcome in mind,” Sinden said. “She was uniquely situated to lead this campaign because of who she is and what she means to the community. She leveraged smart relationships to drive this turnaround.”

    Boy, did she. The first call Linton made was to Sinden’s predecessor, Daniel L. Ritchie, a longtime Phamaly supporter who cut Linton a $10,000 check just 20 minutes after sitting down with her. The Harvey Family Foundation then agreed to match up to $35,000 in new donations, a goal that was reached in just 17 days.

    But Linton’s greatest fundraising achievement of 2017 came at the end of the year, after Sinden facilitated a visit with William Dean Singleton, retired chairman of The Denver Post and newly named Chairman of the Bonfils Foundation. They hit it off, Sinden said, because the two share a powerful commonality as former able-bodied persons now living with mobility challenges.

    Life changes in the ordinary instant

    Regan Linton HospitalLinton was a 20-year-old undergrad at the University of Southern California when her spine was wrecked in a fraction of an instant on a rainy Santa Monica Freeway. Linton was in the back seat of a car that was stopped for a vehicle that had been abandoned in the fast lane of the highway. The car behind Linton, filled with five sorority sisters, hit her at full speed.

    Linton no longer feels sensation below her chest. And yet, whenever she prepares to go on stage, she playfully says, “I can still feel butterflies.”

    Singleton is a newspaper magnate and cattle rancher who founded MediaNews Group, the fourth-largest newspaper company in the U.S. by circulation, with The Denver Post as its eventual flagship. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 30 years ago, which has slowly robbed him of his mobility, and today he gets around in a motorized chair.

    (Story continues after the video.)

    Video bonus: Regan Linton wins 2017 Spirit of Craig Award:

    The video above was played at the annual PUSH Gala for Craig Hospital in April with the announcement of Phamaly Theatre Company Executive and Artistic Director Regan Linton as its 2017 Dave and Gail Liniger Spirit of Craig Award winner. Video provided by Craig Hospital. To watch Linton’s acceptance speech, click here

    “They hit it off when they met,” Sinden said, "and Dean immediately saw an opportunity to help.”

    On Oct. 11, Singleton presented Linton with the Fourth Annual Dean Singleton Legacy Grant, a $50,000 gift made through the Denver Post Community Foundation. “It was very emotional for both of them,” Sinden said.

    A Regan Linton and Dean Singleton“I couldn’t be more proud of our grant recipient this year, for what Phamaly does to inspire people to re-envision disability through professional theatre,” said Singleton. “Phamaly provides such a benefit to the metro-Denver community.”

    Linton called the grant “an incredible honor for Phamaly.”

    In just six months, Linton implemented a campaign that moved Phamaly from the financial brink to something akin to stability. And that, said former Phamaly assistant stage manager Max Peterson, is an astonishing accomplishment.

    “I had both the pleasure and the anxiety of watching Regan and (Director of Production and Operations) Paul Behrhorst walk through that whole mess,” Peterson said. “It was inspiring to see their determination and persistence to bring that company all the way back. The blood, sweat and tears were real — and the stakes could not have been higher.”

    Meanwhile, back on the stage

    A Regan Linton Theatre Person of the Year Ytue West Awards Photo by John MooreLest we forget: While this was going on, Linton also had a company to run, both as Artistic and Executive Director.

    In February, Phamaly presented George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at the Aurora Fox, followed by the record-breaking run of Annie at the Denver Center and, last month, Phamaly’s annual original sketch comedy called Vox Phamilia at Community College of Aurora.

    (Pictured at right: Regan Linton backstage with the cast of 'Annie' on opening night. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Linton pushed herself to her physical and mental limits in 2017, in part because she also chose to direct Annie on the largest stage in Phamaly history. Linton began to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all as preparations for Annie approached. “The stress of even thinking of Phamaly going away was emotionally taxing for me,” she said. "It all finally caught up to me. I was a mess.”

    One of Linton’s smartest moves of the year was calling on former longtime Phamaly Artistic Director Steve Wilson to co-direct Annie with her. “Wilson knows to his bones what directing disabled actors entails: The difficulties many face, the need to work without sentimentality or condescension, and to treat his actors as the artists they are,” wrote Westword’s Juliet Wittman, who called the resulting production “Ready, willing … and very able.”  

    MacGregor Arney and Regan Linton Curious Incident Mixed Blood Photo by Rich Ryan Linton kept her own acting skills sharp in 2017 by performing in two major productions for the Mixed Blood Theatre Company in Minneapolis. In February, she played the governor of California in a site-specific immigration play called Safe at Home that was set and performed at a local baseball stadium. And just last month, she returned in one of the first regional stagings of the big-buzz play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Star-Tribune theatre critic Chris Hewitt said Linton was excellent as an autistic boy’s calm, compassionate teacher.

    (Pictured at right: MacGregor Arney and Regan Linton in 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' for the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. Photo by Rich Ryan.)

    As Linton reflects back on her year now, she won’t say she saved Phamaly Theatre Company. But Behrhorst will.

    “I say it because it is true,” Behrhorst said. “Of course Regan didn't do it single-handedly. But from the start, she gave the community, the actors, the board and the staff something to believe in. Regan didn't back away from the problem. She gave us new life."

    Sinden sides with Behrhorst.

    John Moore’s 2005 Denver Post feature on Regan Linton

    “Regan came home and she brought both thought leaders and community leaders to the table who invested in the future of this organization," Sinden said. "Regan put Phamaly on a trajectory for long-term success. And only she could have done that.”

    All of which is only part of the reason Linton has been named the 17th annual Colorado Theatre Person of the Year. She not only saved a theatre company. She not only preserved future performance opportunities for persons with disabilities that do not exist elsewhere. She saved something that is part of the city's soul.

    Regan Linton. Craig Hospital PUSH Gala Photo by John Moore“There's a lot of great theater that happens in Denver,” Linton said. “However, one-fifth of the population of the United States identifies as having a disability. So if you don't have that identity prominently represented in your local theater, then you are missing out on a whole subset of what it means to be human. And that's what I think people would have missed out on if Phamaly had gone away. They would've missed out on this unique experience that opens your eyes to something you just don’t see anywhere else.”

    Linton’s 2017 odyssey has changed her career itinerary in ways that are not yet clear, even to her. Her initial one-year appointment is now entering its 15th month. She says she is very close to hiring the company’s next Executive Director. So what does that mean for Linton, who officially lives in Montana now, while maintaining a second artistic home in Minneapolis?

    “It means I will be around for the near future, at least,” she said. “I feel committed to Phamaly, and I want to see Phamaly succeed. To me, that means following through with my commitment to make sure the company is in a good place if and when I move away. And I don't think that work is done yet.”

    Asked to assess where she is at as 2018 begins, compared to the start of the year, Linton laughs. “Well, I'm not nearly as much of a mess as I was,” she said. “But most of all, I will say I am proud to be part of Phamaly living on, and I'm proud to be part of leading Phamaly into its next chapter.”

    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 

    Regan Linton: 2017
    •  Artistic and Executive Director for Phamaly Theatre Company
    •  Winner, 2017 Spirit of Craig Award READ MORE
    •  Played the Governor of California in Mixed Blood Theatre's Safe at Home in Minneapolis
    •  Co-Directed Phamaly's mainstage production of Annie at the DCPA's Stage Theatre
    •  Played Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nght-Time for Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis


    The True West Awards' Theatre Person of the Year / A look back

    • 2016: Billie McBride: Actor and director
    • 2015: Donald R. Seawell: Denver Center for the Performing Arts founder
    • 2014: Steve Wilson: Phamaly Theatre Company and Mizel Center for Arts and Culture
    • 2013: Shelly Bordas: Actor, teacher, director and cancer warrior
    • 2012: Stephen Weitz: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company co-founder
    • 2011: Maurice LaMee: Creede Repertory Theatre artistic director
    • 2010: Anthony Garcia: Su Teatro artistic director
    • 2009: Kathleen M. Brady: DCPA Theatre Company actor
    • 2008: Wendy Ishii: Bas Bleu Theatre co-founder
    • 2007: Ed Baierlein: Germinal Stage-Denver founder
    • 2006: Bonnie Metzgar: Curious Theatre associate artistic director
    • 2005: Chip Walton, Curious Theatre founder
    • 2004: Michael R. Duran: Actor, set designer, director and playwright
    • 2003: Nagle Jackson, DCPA Theatre Company director and playwright
    • 2002: Chris Tabb: Actor and director

    Phamaly Theatre Company: Coming in 2018
    • April 14-22: Romeo & Juliet, at the Dairy Arts Center
    • July 12-Aug. 5: Into the Woods, at the DCPA's Space Theatre
    • Oct. 18-Nov. 11: Harvey, at the The Olin Hotel Apartment, in partnership with Senior Housing Options
    Information: 303-575-0005 or phamaly.org

    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of Phamaly:
    Photos: Phamaly Theatre Company's amazing opening-night tradition
    The triumph of Phamaly's not-so-horrible Hannigan
    Pop-culture Annie, from comics to Broadway to Jay-Z
    Phamaly gala, campaign raise $200K, ‘save the company’
    Phamaly launches emergency $100,000 fundraising campaign
    Regan Linton accepts Spirit of Craig Award
    Regan Linton returns to lead Phamaly in landmark appointment

    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's 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

  • 2017 True West Awards: Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill

    by John Moore | Dec 30, 2017
    2017 True West Awards The Breakouts  Jeremy Rill Steven J. Burge

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 30: The Breakouts

    Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill are very different performers. Think Sean Hayes and Frank Sinatra. Burge will shock you into gut-busting laughter, while Rill will make you swoon. If Burge is the flamboyant life of the party, then Rill is more, say … sunset on the beach.

    “If there is a spectrum,” said director and actor Robert Michael Sanders, "those two are on the opposite ends of it.”

    The comedian and the crooner.

    Steven J Burge and Jeremy Rill But these two emerging actors have far more in common than you might think. Both had big-time breakout years on Denver stages in 2017 — and both were separately described as “the nicest guy in Denver theatre” in interviews for this very story.

    Something's gotta give.

    Steven Cole Hughes, Burge’s castmate in the Denver Center’s extended hit comedy An Act of God, goes so far as to declare with dead-on eye contact that “Steven Burge is the nicest guy working in the American theatre today. Period.”

    Even Hughes’ 2-year-old daughter, Birdie, backed her father up.

    “Hey Birdie, who is this?” Hughes said, pointing to a poster for An Act of God. The child’s face immediately lit up. She pointed to a photo of Burge playing no less than God Himself, and she declared enthusiastically: “Steven!”

    “She’s 2,” Hughes reiterated. “Even the 2-year-olds love Steve Burge.”

    That’s high praise (or short praise, come to think of it) for Burge, who has been working his way up to this moment with one joyful performance after another since moving from Iowa in 2003, most often in extroverted comic roles. Highlights have included playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and conquering the epic challenge of playing 40 roles in the one-man comedy Fully Committed. In 2012, Westword’s Juliet Wittman flatly declared, “Steve Burge is one of the funniest actors anywhere.”

    Says his friend and fellow actor Shannan Steele: “I love watching him delight in making others happy.”

    But Burge’s body of work has revealed far greater range and uncommon emotional honesty in stagings such as Dog Sees God at The Avenue Theater (I called him "triumphant" in The Denver Post) and Curious Theatre’s Speech and Debate. No matter how big the character Burge is called upon to play, “you always know there's a real and very interesting person underneath," Wittman wrote.

    (Story continues after the photo.)

    Steven J. Burge United in Love Photo by John Moore
    Steven J. Burge co-hosted the 'United in Love' benefit concert with Eden Lane that raised $40,000 for The Denver Actors Fund.  Photo by John Moore.


    But Burge’s steady career trajectory took a turn for the skyward late last year when he was hired by Director Geoffrey Kent to be the understudy for An Act of God, a pointed social comedy in which God comes down to Earth in human form to set the record straight about the misguided ways in which we sometimes act in God’s name. When Broadway and TV star Wesley Taylor’s contract expired, the Denver Center did not seek out a similarly big-named national replacement. It already had Burge, who smoothly ascended to Almighty status for what turned into an extended run at the Galleria Theatre. The role called on all of Burge’s comic skills, as well as his uncommon gift to make people listen and laugh, even when they might not like what he is telling them. Burge had An Act of God audiences eating out of his holy goblet.

    To say that Burge made an impression in his Denver Center debut would be an understatement.

    “Steven has spot-on comic timing, a fantastic voice and the best rehearsal attitude and esprit de corps I know of,” said Kent. “He improves the quality of everything he touches.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A few months later, Director Ray Roderick punched Burge's ticket for an immediate return trip to the Galleria Theatre in the musical comedy First Date. Gigs at the Galleria are considered jackpot jobs among local actors because they generally come with a minimum six-month contract.

    Burge plays many characters in First Date, most notably the quintessential gay best friend of a young woman who’s just starting to brave the dating pool. The reason Burge succeeds at taking such a stock character and making him meaningfully connect with an audience, says Steele, is his willingness to bring his authentic self to all his roles.

    “The thing you need to know about Steven is that just beneath his hilarious and charming exterior is a beautifully tender, vulnerable, compassionate and generous person,” she said.

    “Steven is the opposite of an old soul. He is brand new to his world ... and his childlike wonder and joy are palpable.”

    800 Red Hot and Cole Cherry Creek Theatre Jeremy Rill Phot by Olga LopezHe’s now being rewarded for paying his many dues, and everyone agrees — it could not be happening to a nicer guy. For years, Burge has been known for saying yes to anyone who asks for his time and talents. This year, he co-hosted a benefit concert at the Lone Tree Arts Center that netted $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund, and Miscast 2017 at the Town Hall Arts Center, which raised $7,000 more. He also has kept the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards buzzing along since 2012 with his unpredictable comic energy as co-host with GerRee Hinshaw.

    "To me, Burge encapsulates the heart and soul of the Denver theatre community,” Kent said. “He volunteers for almost every arts organization I can list. If Denver were to elect a ‘Theatre Ambassador,’ he would have my vote.”

    Also receiving votes for Nicest Guy in Denver Theatre would be Jeremy Rill, an Arkansas native who already was a big deal in the lofty Chicago theatre scene when he moved to Colorado for love. And it didn’t take long for people to notice.

    “It's that voice,” said his frequent director, Kelly Van Oosbree. “The richness and his absolute control of it is remarkable. The first time I heard Jeremy open his mouth, I said, ‘This guy is going to be big.’ You just can’t deny that voice.”

    Coming Sunday: 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year

    The Performance Now Theatre Company in Lakewood was the first Colorado company to catch wise, casting Rill in the regional premiere of Jane Eyre (Edward Rochester), Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson) and Ragtime (Younger Brother). By then it was becoming pretty obvious to anyone within earshot that Rill was going to be a man in demand this year.

    Jeremy Rill Miscast Photo by John MooreA lot more people know “that voice” after it opened up and sang for the first time on four different metro stages this year. Rill started out playing no less than Cole Porter himself in the Cherry Creek Theatre Company’s Red, Hot and Cole at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, landing quite cozily among a star-filled cast that included Steele alongside local big-shots Seth Dhonau and Lauren Shealy (both now co-starring with Burge in First Date), Damon Guerasio, Stephen Day, Matt LaFontaine, Sharon Kay White and several others.

    Rill then earned karma points for life when he was asked to join the ensemble of the Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar after the actor playing Judas had to leave the show for medical reasons. That set off casting dominoes that ended with Rill stepping onto one of the biggest theatre stages in the state a mere four hours before the first performance in front of an audience.

    There’s a reason Arvada Center director Rod Lansberry turned to Rill, whom he had never before cast, when the chips were down, Van Oosbree said. It’s that Sinatra cool.

    “If someone ever asked me to do something like that, I would have said, ‘No, thanks,’ ” Van Oosbree said. “But Rod knew Jeremy could handle the pressure. And he did.”

    That may be one reason karma has smiled back on Rill, who will return to Performance Now to play Cinderella’s prince in Into the Woods opening Jan. 5 at the Lakewood Cultural Center. He then joins the cast of the Arvada Center’s Sunday in the Park with George — and on the first day of rehearsal this time. Rill will play Louis, fiancé of the model who attracts the eye of an artist based on Georges Seurat.

    Superstar led to the 2017 performance that will put Rill on every director’s radar – and wish list — for years to come. Van Oosbree tapped Rill to head another dauntingly loaded ensemble in Stephen Sondheim’s Company for the Aurora Fox that included Shealy, Heather Lacy, Lindsey Falduto, Carolyn Lohr, Rebekah Ortiz, Heather Doris and many others.

    (Story continues below the video.)


    Video bonus: Jeremy Rill performs 'Everybody's Girl' at Miscast 2017:




    You knew going in that Rill would bring any production of Company to a thunderous finish with his take on the forceful ballad “Being Alive.” But what separates a good Company from a great one is an actor who understands that Bobby’s journey is a serious rumination on the relative pros and cons of choosing a married or solitary life. Rill allowed himself to get fully lost in his journey — which at times meant going inside and checking out from the Aurora Fox audience altogether.

    Turns out, as Van Oosbree plainly puts it: Jeremy Rill is not just another pretty voice.

    “He’s also a really good actor,” she said. “He found the vulnerable in Bobby and the underlying pain that I think sometimes goes missing in other performances. The easy thing would be to make Bobby a fun, jovial bachelor, but that’s just not who this man is. Jeremy was clever and he was sexy and he was charming and he was cynical and he was sad. He was all the things. He just killed it.”

    Wrote Ramsey Scott for the Aurora Sentinel: “Jeremy Rill nails the mix of aloofness and emotional despair that plagues his character throughout the show and matches it with a voice that deserves to be the center of attention.”  Added Wittman for Westword: "Jeremy Rill has a richly melodious and supple voice that’s sheer pleasure to listen to."

    Norell Moore by Jeremy RillAnd Rill’s artistry, by the way, is not limited to the stage. He’s also a disarmingly effective portrait photographer who is known for bringing out an astonishing clarity of character in a single frame. Look no further than his revealing portrait of fellow actor Norrell Moore (right) soon after she started chemotherapy for breast cancer.

    “I mean this as no disrespect to any other photographer,” said Sanders. “But if you put 100 random actor headshots in a pile in front of me, I could easily pick out the ones taken by Jeremy because he has such a distinctive style behind the camera. He just has a way of making actors look their best. Maybe it’s because he’s one of them. But somehow he manages to put a sparkle in the eye of every single person he photographs.”

    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 

    Steven J. Burge: 2017
    • The Almighty in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    • Co-Host, United in Love benefit concert
    • Co-Host, Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards
    • Co-Host, Miscast 2017
    • Multiple roles in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date

    Jeremy Rill: 2017
    • Man 1 (Cole Porter) in Cherry Creek Theatre’s Red, Hot and Cole
    • Ensemble in Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar
    • Aurora Fox’s Company
    • Emile de Becque in Platte Valley Players' South Pacific (concert version)
    • Performed in Miscast 2017 for the Denver Actors Fund

    Steven J Burge GerRee Hinshaw 2017 Henry Awards BLF Photography
    Steven J. Burge and GerRee Hinshaw co-hosting the 2017 Henry Awards. BLF Photography.


    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's 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)

     

  • 2017 True West Award: Lauren Shealy

    by John Moore | Dec 16, 2017
    Lauren Shealy True West Award Photo by Emily Lozow

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 16: Lauren Shealy

    Lone Tree Arts Center
    Aurora Fox
    Denver Center for the Performing Arts

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The thing Lauren Shealy brought to Evita was teeth.

    The thing she brought to Company was … passive-aggressive karate.

    The thing she brought to First Date was … dead Grandma Ida. Oh, and Google Girl.

    The thing Shealy brings to every role she plays is her depth of feeling as both an actor and as a human being on this planet.

    Lauren Shealy Quote True West AwardShealy is an accomplished, homegrown actress and vocalist who is as adept at playing comedy as she is the most ambitious woman in history. (Broadway history at least!) Her résumé is impeccable, with more than 20 years of knockout performances around the country including a national tour of South Pacific, off-Broadway and multiple productions at the Denver Center and throughout the Denver area. Shealy is a Littleton native who can be the picture of 1940s elegance one minute — and rip her shirt open the next.

    Shealy first came to the Denver Center for its 2011 production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and returned for The Doyle and Debbie Show, Forbidden Broadway, A Christmas Carol, Sweeney Todd and now, the new musical comedy First Date.

    But the role that changed her life is the one that also changed her as a performer: Motherhood. Having a child left her raw, she says, and yet more brave. “My heart underwent profound renovations,” she said. “The current model has no walls, many doors – and seriously leaky faucets. Every day I wrestle with a delightful and terrifying mix of fear, love and humility.”

    It’s no coincidence then that the newly leaking, vulnerable, karate-chopping Shealy just knocked three consecutive and very different roles right out of the park. This year she headlined a high-profile production of Evita at the Lone Tree Arts Center alongside a primarily New York ensemble and not only held her own, she had the trailing masses both onstage and in the audience pawing at her fur. It was a gutsy portrayal of a legendary figure whose disputed legacy remains passionately divided 65 years after her death.

    Opening yourself up so fully can both make an actor better, and leave her utterly vulnerable. It’s done both to Shealy.

    “Encountering my best and worst self also has invited me to look at my stage characters differently,” she said. “I have more empathy for them and less judgment. When I look at Eva Peron, for instance, I don’t see a power-hungry manipulator of men. I see a passionate woman who wants to matter; wants to be loved. I see a fighter who uses street sense, wiles and alliances to gain the mobility she needs to realize her dreams.”

    Our full interview with Evita star Lauren Shealy

    Director Gina Rattan believes the real Eva, at her best, was a woman not all that dissimilar to Shealy. “Eva was giving, purposeful and driven,” Rattan said. “She wanted what was best for her fellow man. She stood behind her word and her deeds.”

    Lauren Shealy True West Aeard Lone Tree EvitaThe downfall of many a portrayal of Evita has been presenting the ruthless First Lady with perhaps too much sympathy. Shealy bared both her fangs and her heart, which is what Rattan said made Shealy “a dream” to work with — the very same word First Date Director Ray Roderick separately chose to describe Shealy.

    “Not only is Lauren effortlessly talented and effervescently positive, she has the discipline of a drill sergeant,” Rattan said. “I admire Lauren’s generosity of spirit, shimmering voice and her ability to bring searing truth to even the smallest moments.” 

    (Pictured: The money kept rolling in for Lauren Shealy and Miles Jacoby in Lone Tree Arts Center's 'Evita.' Below: Shealy and Kyle D. Steffen as Sarah and Harry in the Aurora Fox's 'Company.' Photo by Jeremy Rill — who also played Bobby.)

    Shealy followed Evita with an all-star production of Company at the Aurora Fox. That’s Stephen Sondheim’s melancholy musical rumination on the relative merits of solitude versus coupling. Surrounding bachelor Bobby (played by a terrific Jeremy Rill) are five married couples who unknowingly make strong cases for either life direction.

    Lauren Shealy Kyle Steffen Company Aurora Fox Photo by Jeremy Rill Photography Shealy played Sarah, a wife who is deluding herself with food, opposite a husband (Kyle D. Steffen) who is deluding himself about booze. The two walked a very thin tonal line between playful and pathos when they finally broke into a comically antagonistic display of the marital martial arts.

    Then came her current, long-term commitment to First Date, a musical comedy that explores the common pitfalls and pratfalls of contemporary dating, all in one pair’s first blind date. Shealy’s task is to play all the voices inside the dating woman’s head, real or imagined.

    First Date reunites Shealy with Roderick, her director on the daddy of all relationship musical comedies, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Roderick seeks out only the very best actors he can find, but he also proudly espouses choosing actors who show a kind generosity of spirit — actors like Shealy.

    “Lauren is as stunning and engaged in the process as she is onstage,” Roderick said. “She is a true pro with extraordinary range, and a dream to work with." (There’s that word again.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Actor Seth Dhonau has witnessed Shealy’s impressive range first-hand this year as her castmate in both Evita and First Date.

    denver-center_first-date_photo-by-emily-lozow lauren shealy“Working with Lauren, one can't help but strive to match the professionalism and preparation she so effortlessly brings to her roles,” Dhonau said. “Imbuing a performance with Lauren's positivity and energy is no small feat, and we're all so lucky to share the stage with her.”

    Audiences may not recognize the steely Argentinian in the taunting, imaginary ex-girlfriend Shealy portrays in First Date. And there’s no bigger compliment to Shealy, Rattan said.

    “I truly don’t know if there is anything she can’t do,” she said.

    (Pictured above right: Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge and Lauren Shealy in DCPA Cabaret's 'First Date.' Photo by Emily Lozow.)

    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.

    Lauren Shealy 2017: 

    • Evita in Evita, Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Sarah in Company, Aurora Fox
    • Woman I (six roles) in First DateDCPA Cabaret

    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)

  • 2017 True West Award: Maegan Burnell

    by John Moore | Dec 14, 2017
    2017 True West Award Meagan Burnell Arvada Center

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 14: Maegan Burnell

    Arvada Center Stage Manager

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Maegan Burnell moved to Colorado to become a stage manager and fell in love with a stage manager and is soon moving to Chicago so they can both be stage managers together.

    We're talking a two-logistician family.

    “If those two ever have a kid,” Director Robert Michael Sanders said of Burnell and Jonathan D. Allsup, “he’ll be born with head-sets on and holding a spreadsheet.”  

    Today’s True West Award is a parting shot. Because Burnell is moving true east. And the Arvada Center’s Lynne Collins, for one, is “desperately sad we are losing her."

    Stage managers are the chief practitioners of what are often called the invisible arts. They are highly organized, detail-oriented, no-nonsense train conductors who are inordinately calm in the midst of chaos. And if they are doing their jobs well — you in the audience will never know they even exist.  

    “Stage managers are the unsung heroes of what we do,” said Collins, who was hired as the Arvada Center’s Artistic Director of Plays in 2016 to create a company of recurring actors to perform a four-play repertory season. It was Collins’ job to run that operation. It was Burnell’s job to help build that operation from scratch.

    “The logistics of stage-managing a repertory company are enormous,” Collins said. “In our case, it means you are running three productions at the same time. It means managing overlapping actor calendars. It means keeping track of hours and rehearsal spaces."

    A stage manager’s job description can vary from theatre to theatre and show to show. Typically, they provide practical and organizational support to the director, actors, designers, stage crew and technicians throughout the production process. And after the opening performance, when it’s time for the director to move on, the stage manager becomes the law by running the show and standing in for the director in all matters.

    And Burnell, Collins said, “is phenomenal at all of that. She is calm and cool and collected and organized and compassionate and utterly without drama.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Burnell was a grad student when she was hired in 2012 as an assistant stage manager by the acclaimed Creede Repertory Theatre, which presents up to seven productions each summer in the San Juan Mountains about 250 miles southwest of Denver. Her boss was Allsup, who is now the cause of all the distress running throughout the Colorado theatre community because he’s the one she will be starting a life with in Chicago after the Arvada Center’s second rep season ends in May with All My Sons.

    Burnell, originally from Waterford, Mich., graduated from Central Michigan University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City's graduate program before answering the call from Creede. She was lured to Denver in 2014 to become the permanent Stage Manager (losing the “Assistant” from her title forever) of the Arvada Center’s highly accomplished children’s theatre program, starting with Billie McBride’s Lyle the Crocodile.

    In the short three years since, she has helmed mainstage productions at the Aurora Fox, Cherry Creek Theatre Company, The Avenue Theater, Slingshot Theatre and Vintage Theatre, working for an impressive roster of top-notch directors including Sanders, Christy Montour-Larson, Edith Weiss, Bev Newcomb-Madden, Warren Sherrill, Jim Hunt, Piper Lindsay-Arpan, Gavin Mayer, Pat Payne and DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous.

    Notable credits include Porgy & Bess at the Aurora Fox and Tartuffe, which launched the Arvada Center’s rep company in 2016. And it can’t be underestimated, Allsup said, what it took to start that operation from nothing. Her impressive list of 2017 credits has included Bus Stop, The Drowning Girls and The Foreigner. Coming up, before she bolts: Sense and Sensibility and All My Sons.

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    Maegan Burnell Quote Robert Michael Sanders Miscast True West Awards


    But Allsup says what gives Burnell the most joy has been running the Arvada Center’s annual “teen intensive” — that’s a fully staged Broadway production for students, most recently no less than Les Misérables. That and volunteering to run big benefit events such as Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards and the Denver Actors Fund’s annual Miscast cabaret at the Town Hall Arts Center.

    “I love seeing the pure joy that she feels when she is working with students who are eager to learn,” Allsup said. “And I think she especially loves mentoring young theatre technicians at the Arvada Center more than anything.”

    Jonathan Allsup Maegan Burnell True West AwardsAs one of the state’s few gainfully employed, full-time stage managers, Burnell really has no free time for charity. But she makes time, Sanders said, because since the minute she landed in Creede, the Colorado theatre family has become her family. That was obvious enough last week when more than 700 packed the Arvada Center to celebrate the life of actor Daniel Langhoff. “You just don’t always see that in other cities,” Allsup said.  

    Allsup thinks Burnell can do just about anything, but he said the most difficult challenge she has ever taken on will simply be leaving the theatre community that has in short order gone from embracing her to utterly depending on her. “Colorado will always be the state that gave her the start of her career,” said Allsup, who was hired as the new Production Manager at Chicago’s Paramount Theatre seven months ago.

    “Maegan stepped into this community and she made a difference everywhere she went,” added Sanders. “She made a lot of places better while she was here.”

    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.

    Stage Manager Maegan Burnell 2017: 

    • Drowning Girls, Arvada Center
    • Bus Stop, Arvada Center
    • Les Misérables Teen Intensive, Arvada Center
    • The Foreigner, Arvada Center
    • Henry Awards, Colorado Theatre Guild
    • Miscast 2017, Denver Actors Fund

    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

  • 2017 True West Award: Brandon Case

    by John Moore | Dec 09, 2017
    True West Award 2017 Brandon Case

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 9: Brandon Case

    Aurora Fox
    Technical Director
    Scenic Designer

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Brandon Case’s current program bio is far more revealing than most. In it, the Aurora Fox’s Technical Director and resident Scenic Designer describes himself as “skinny as a pencil, smart as a whip and possibly the scariest man currently living.”

    And who’s going to argue with that?

    Wait, what’s that, you say? He’s quoting the Wes Anderson movie Fantastic Mr. Fox? Well that works, too. Because if you ask anyone how the Aurora Fox just pulled through the most challenging year in its 33-year history, they will pretty much say it was The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    Brandon Case Softball True West Awards After longtime Executive Director Charles Packard resigned in May, Case and Production Manager Jen Orf stepped up and led the remaining staff through a transition that is now in its seventh month.

    “Brandon stepped up when they were down with more time, more hours and more leadership,” said director, actor and former Fox employee Robert Michael Sanders. “It would have been really easy for him to roll over and wait to see what the coming changes would bring. But instead he took over. And he refused to let anything take away from the quality of the work that they were doing.”

    Patron Services manager Beau Bisson puts it this way: “If theatre were a dodge-ball game — as it often feels like — Brandon would always be my first pick as a teammate. When he’s around, you get this sense that everything will work out. Because when things hit the fan, you want Brandon Case to be there.”

    A short list of Case’s job duties this year includes overseeing the building facilities and all its sound and light equipment. Because the Fox is owned by the city of Aurora, Case also supervised departmental budgets, schedules and hiring, all while navigating the additional layer of municipal oversight.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Case is the rare Technical Director who also doubles as resident Scenic Designer. And in 2017, he brought five wildly different worlds to vivid life on the Fox’s main stage: Myth, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Stephen Sondheim’s Company, the current Hi-Hat Hattie and Tales of a 4th-Grade Nothing for the Little Foxes children’s troupe.

    And he gets around. This very month, Case has three theatrical designs in theatres across the metro area: The Fox’s Hi-Hat Hattie (through Dec. 23), The Edge Theatre’s Resolutions (through Dec. 31) and he made significant contributions to Lone Tree Arts Center’s Home for the Holidays (through Dec. 17).

    Case is a Littleton native who was home-schooled and just kind of appeared at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center in 2006 offering to help out as a set-builder and sound operator. He was hired full-time by the Aurora Fox in 2011 and has since become known for creating all types of scenery and props using many forms of carpentry, metalwork, mechanics and automation.

    In that aforementioned Aurora Fox program bio, Case also claims to be “married to the prettiest girl in town” — and that’s not a line cribbed from a Wes Anderson movie. That would be Rae Leigh Case, an actor and costume designer currently appearing in the Arvada Center’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (through Dec. 23).

    A Brandon Case Myth True West Awards 400And what she wants you to know is that Case hand-crafts and hand-paints virtually his entire scenic designs, down to the crown molding now framing the Hi-Hat Hattie opera-hall set. The “skull mound” in She Kills Monsters? The cool steam-punk look for Jekyll and Hyde? The wilderness campfire in Myth? “He doesn’t go on eBay or to thrift stores to find that stuff,” she said. “Brandon makes all of that himself, no matter how many hours it takes.”

    (Pictured at right: 'Myth' at the Aurora Fox. Photo by Christine Fisk.)

    This past April, Case took on one of the great scenic challenges of his career: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which is a journey across the Australian outback on an oversized tour bus that, in real life, would never even remotely fit on the Aurora Fox stage. Case went out and found the bus, chopped it down to a manageable size and then added all of the requisite lights, paint and glitter. And he did virtually all of that work by himself (with some help from his brother). Just take a look at the time-lapse video below:

    Time-lapse video of 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' Scenic Designer (and Aurora Fox Technical Director) Brandon Case pulling an all-nighter to assemble the bus. All by himself.

    “Theaters the size of the Aurora Fox often have an entire scenic department," Rae Leigh Case said. “But at the Fox, it’s usually it’s just Brandon and one other dude he hires." 

    Brandon Case Hi Hat Hattie True West AwardsBisson says Case is equal parts artist and craftsman. “It seems cliché to say that he continually surprises me with his work, but truly, he continually surprises me with his work,” he said. “He’s like the John Napier of The Aurora Fox. Or MacGyver. Or both.”

    And aside from being a meticulous artist, Bisson said, Case happens to be not the scariest man currently living. Instead, “he’s funny, a great listener and deeply passionate about The Aurora Fox.” Qualities that came in most handy in 2017. “This year, I would add backstage counselor and peacekeeper," Bisson said.

    He was, for lack of any better way to put it: The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    “I try to make it as known as possible,” his wife says, “that Brandon’s abilities go so beyond far beyond what people know of so far. I think he is going to change the face of set design in this theatre community."

    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.

    Brandon Case: 2017 Scenic Designs

    • Myth, Aurora Fox
    • Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Aurora Fox
    • Company, Aurora Fox
    • Hi-Hat Hattie, Aurora Fox
    • Tales of a 4th-Grade Nothing, Aurora Fox children’s theatre
    • Resolutions, Edge Theatre
    • Home for the Holidays (contributed), Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Also: Technical Director of the Aurora Fox’s Chinglish

    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

  • 2017 True West Award: Kenny Moten

    by John Moore | Dec 07, 2017
    2017 True West Award Kenny Moten. Photo by John Moore

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 7: Kenny Moten

    Motones vs. Jerseys
    Miscast 2017
    Aurora Fox Cabaret Series
    Owner, Narrative Creative Consulting

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    If you think being a performer is hard, try being a performer and the owner of your own entertainment and consulting company. Kenny Moten makes the transition from actor to producer to businessman and back again in same manner that often describes his rich singing voice: Smooth as silk.

    Moten is among the very few performers who also knows how to run a business.

    Kenny Moten“It’s rare because owning an entertainment business is brutal in a way that is very different from the way performing is brutal,” said Moten’s frequent creative partner — and employee — Jalyn Courtenay Webb. “When you’re the boss, you are not only responsible for yourself, but for the people you hire and the team you put together. But Kenny has just the right temperament for it. He does everything with integrity. He’s a solid human being.”  

    Moten is the creator and owner of Narrative Creative Consulting, which presents entertainment events and uses various art forms to help clients ranging from National Jewish Hospital to Snooze Eatery to the Denver Center shape their narratives, customer service, employee training and brand strategies.  

    Moten is also the co-creator, director, writer and a featured performer of a clever new musical form called Motones vs. Jerseys. In July, it was up for three Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, including Outstanding Musical, for its nearly sold-out run at the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins.

    In September, Moten lent his support (and that smooth-as-silk singing voice) to the Denver Actors Fund by appearing in Miscast 2017 as one of the three Fionas singing I Know It’s Today from Shrek the Musical. In October, the Aurora Fox turned to Moten to launch its risky new monthly cabaret series with 12 O’clock Tales: An Evening of Songs and Stories. Both shows sold out, which Webb said is further indication of Moten’s popularity as a performer — and his business acumen. Both come from more than 20 years as a professional performer, Webb says.

    Kenny Moten Miscast 2017“Kenny’s name is synonymous with excellence, and people know that in our community and beyond,” she said. “He was not going to do his show in an empty house — and he certainly did not.”

    Moten caps a remarkable 2017 with a return next week to Motones vs. Jerseys as part of a unique new creative partnership with BDT Stage in Boulder. "MvJ," as the kids call it, is a feel-good, nostalgic evening featuring the music of Motown and The Four Seasons — along with their many ancestors and descendants — in a good-natured competition. After two teams of four performers each rock out a playlist spanning Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Bruno Mars and many more, the audience chooses a winning team using their cell phones to vote.

    (Pictured right: Kenny Moten with his 'Miscast 2017' co-stars, Margie Lamb, left, and Hope Grandon. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter,)

    It’s a concept Moten first developed with Chris Starkey, now of Imprint Group DMC. After several refinements, Moten unveiled a slick new version of the show last year at the Midtown Arts Center, where it received a standing ovation “every single night,” said Webb, who is both the show’s Music Director and nightly emcee. “And let me tell you, I’ve never seen that happen at any dinner theatre before in my life.”

    Motones vs. Jerseys opens on Dec. 10 and will play on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights through Jan. 23, playing in rep the rest of the week with BDT Stage’s holiday staging of Annie.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Moten, who is originally from Hagerstown, Md., graduated from Highlands Ranch High School and the University of Colorado Denver. He transitioned from Barnstormer to leading man with a remarkable 2005 performance in Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the late Country Dinner Playhouse opposite now Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee. Westword’s Juliet Wittman called Moten not only “a wonderful singer with a voice full of poignancy and power,” but also “a charming and seductive performer who brings impressive precision and a smooth, lean elegance to the stage.”

    Other major credits include Swing at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and Altar Boyz at the Clocktower Cabaret, but it wasn’t long before Moten was off to New York. He re-settled in Fort Collins a few years ago and has since been on a roll that has not only furthered his personal and professional interests, but has gainfully employed dozens of local actors and crew members on his many public and corporate projects.

    “The thing I love about Kenny is that he’s so fun, but he’s also completely no-nonsense when it comes to the work,” said Webb. “He expects the highest quality and the highest level of performance possible from his performers, and we respect that. He knows what he wants — and he goes out and gets it."

    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.

    Motones vs. Jerseys: At a glance

    • Dec. 10-Jan. 23
    • BDT Stage, 5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder
    • Performances Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. Dinner seating begins at 6:15, with the show to follow at 7:45
    • Featuring Brian Cronan, Will Hawkins, Brian Jackson and Jacob Villareal as The Jerseys, and Christian Mark Gibbs, Anthony McGlaun, Kenny Moten and Alejandro Roldan as The Motones.
    • Call 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com


    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

    Video bonus: Motones vs. Jerseys at the 2017 Henry Awards

  • Local theatres respond to actor's death with challenges, collections, dedications

    by John Moore | Nov 16, 2017
    Daniel Langhoff Ragtime. Performance Now
    Daniel Langhoff recently starred as Tateh in Performance Now's 'Ragtime,' above. The company has unanimously voted to donate 2 percent of all net profits from every show in the 2017-18 season to the Denver Actors Fund in Langhoff's name.


    Performance Now issues an extraordinary challenge as others announce creative ways to support Langhoff family

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    This week's death of beloved local actor Daniel Langhoff has galvanized the Colorado theatre community and beyond, with targeted donations to Langhoff's wife and two infant daughters through the Denver Actors Fund already reaching $23,578 in four days. READ MORE HERE

    Daniel Langhoff NaomiPerhaps most immediate and most remarkable: Performance Now Theatre Company has not only made a substantial donation of $1,000 to the Langhoff family, the company's Board of Directors on Monday unanimously agreed to donate 2 percent of all net profits from every show in the 2017-18 season to the Denver Actors Fund to be used at its discretion.

    "We challenge all Denver-area theatre companies to do the same," Performance Now Executive Producer Ken Goodwin and Artistic Director Alisa Metcalf said in a joint statement. "Imagine how much more the DAF could help others if the companies themselves got involved and the DAF would not have to rely as heavily on individual donations."

    (Pictured above and right: Daniel Langhoff with second daughter Naomi, who was born Nov. 2, just 10 days before he died from cancer.)

    Performance Now even made the initiative retroactive, sending a separate contribution of $386 for its recent production of The Marvelous Wonderettes. Coming up next: Into the Woods opening Jan. 5 at the Lakewood Cultural Center.

    Langhoff has been a major player with Performance Now, having recently starred in both Ragtime and Man of La Mancha at the Lakewood Cultural Center. The challenge is all the more remarkable given that when Performance Now lost longtime Artistic Director Nancy Goodwin (Ken's wife) to breast cancer in 2007, it established a scholarship fund in her name to aid and reward young college students who are working toward a degree in the performing arts.

    "All performing-arts nonprofits face extraordinary funding challenges as a matter of course," said Denver Actors Fund President Will Barnette. "When nonprofits with already stretched resources still find a way to support other nonprofits, that is kind of remarkable, when you think of it." 

    Donate to the Denver Actors Fund's Langhoff collection

    Daniel


    Barnette added that The Denver Actors Fund does have a modest, ongoing giving campaign in collaboration with area companies called the Tap Shoe Initiative, in which participating companies choose one night per run of a show to collect spare change for the DAF. To date, the initiative has raised about $20,000. Companies interested in participating are encouraged to email Debbie Weinstein Minter at sk8bug77@yahoo.com.

    Elsewhere, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced that it is dedicating the opening performance and the entire run of First Date, opening Friday, as well as the entire run of A Christmas Carol, to Langhoff.

    Langhoff made his Denver Center debut in 2010 in the musical comedy Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre, followed by a stint in a revival of the longest-running musical in Denver history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. He also performed in the DCPA Theatre Company’s seasonal stagings of A Christmas Carol in 2014 and 2015.

    “Daniel was a brilliant actor and comedian who loved to laugh almost as much as he loved to hear others laugh," said First Date director Ray Roderick.

    Through curtain speeches, information in the show programs and DCPA NewsCenter, the DCPA will be directing audiences to make targeted donations to the Langhoff family.

    Immediate efforts to add to the Langhoff fund:

    Many other individuals and theatre companies have responded with creative entrepreneurial efforts to add to the total over the coming days and months. Here is a roundup:

    • A November Denver Dolls 400The Aurora Fox's new monthly cabaret series this weekend (Nov. 17-18) features The Denver Dolls presenting their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls, presented by YearRound Sound, are led by frequent DCPA performer and Langhoff castmate Heather Lacy, who will lead a collection as audiences leave the studio theatre at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora. 303-739-1970 or BUY TICKETS
    • BDT Stage opens its new production of Annie this weekend and will make an audience appeal for donations to the Langhoff fund at performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 17-19). 5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com
    • Local actor, choreographer and certified fitness instructor Adrianne Hampton is holding a benefit "Broadway Boot Camp" at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, with all proceeds and donations going to Langhoff's family. What is a Broadway Boot Camp? Well, it's a workout, with showtunes. "It’s a place where theaA Daniel Langhoff Vintage. Honemoon in Vegas RDG Photographytre people can come to hone their skills and support each other," Hampton said. "Just come, bring your dancing shoes and have fun dancing. If you don't want to be part of the class, you can come and watch or just come and make a donation." $15. Littleton Ballet Academy 1169 W. Littleton Blvd.
    • Vintage Theatre has announced that all proceeds from the industry-night performance of its new musical Honeymoon in Vegas on Monday, Nov. 27, will go to Langhoff's family, including, remarkably, box office. The DAF's Sue Leiser will lead a collection brigade. All tickets are $15 for this performance only. At 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or BUY TICKETS
    • Daniel Langhoff Community BETCThe Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company will also donate 100 percent of the proceeds from its official opening performance of Every Christmas Story Every Told on Dec. 13 to the DAF's Langhoff Fund. Langhoff was a cast member of this very same show at this time last year. "Daniel Langhoff will be deeply missed by all the artists who had the opportunity to work with him...and there were so many," said BETC Managing Director Rebecca Remaly Weitz. "He touched so many of us with his wit, optimism, persistence, kindness and humor. Our hearts go out to his family." Additional donations will be accepted at the door on Dec. 13. At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or BUY TICKETS

    Details on a life celebration for Daniel Langhoff are expected to be announced soon.

    Pictures above, from top: The Denver Dolls; James Thompson and the cast of A Daniel Vintage Theatre's Honeymoon in Vegas (RDG Photograph and Daniel Langhoff in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Every Christmas Story Every Told (Michael Ensminger). 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • November promises to be a 'Disaster' on at least one area stage

    by John Moore | Nov 01, 2017

    From left: Peter Henry Bussian, Adeline Mann and Erik Fellenstein in Local Theater Company's 'The Rape of the Sabine Women,' playing through Nov. 19 in Boulder. Photo by George Lange.

    Curious goes to war over a photograph, monthly cabaret at the Aurora Fox, and The Edge makes a final Resolution

    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of upcoming theatre openings, spotlighting work being presented on stages statewide. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Five intriguing titles for November:

    NUMBER 1November Disaster Disaster! The Musical! This silly new Broadway musical farce has adventurous fun at the expense of disaster films such as Earthquake, Jaws and The Poseidon Adventure. It's 1979, and New York's A-listers are lining up for the opening of a floating casino and discotheque. B-listers include a fading disco star, a nightclub singer with 11-year-old twins, a pair of wild and crazy guys and a nun with a gambling addiction.The score includes familiar pop tunes of the era including "Knock on Wood," "Hooked on a Feeling" and "I Am Woman." Written by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick. The evening grows more giddily ridiculous with every scene. Presented Nov. 10-Dec. 2 by Equinox Theatre Company at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    NUMBER 2Body of an American. Dan O'Brien's provocative new play, presented by Curious Theatre Company, speaks to a moment in recent history when the single, stark photograph of the body of an American being dragged from the wreck of a Blackhawk through the streets of Mogadishu reshaped the course of global events. O’Brien explores the ethical and personal consequences of this lone image and how it shines a light on deeply personal issues that are relevant to our time and culture. Nov. 4-Dec. 9: at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    NUMBER 3Flowers in the Desert. And Toto Too, the only Colorado company dedicated exclusively to presenting new works by female playwrights, next presents Donna Hoke's story of a married couple who call it quits after 14 years. Cheater Joe is surprised when, three years later, Britt asks him to try again. But he goes along — until he realizes his ex-wife has a very specific agenda. Starring Libby Arnold and Michael Kennedy. Produced in partnership with the Denver Center at  The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org.

    NUMBER 4Denver DollsAurora Fox monthly cabaret series. The Aurora Fox's continuing series of monthly cabaret offerings in its smaller studio theatre continues with The Denver Dolls presenting their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls are led by frequent DCPA performer Heather Lacy. Nov. 17-18 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    NUMBER 5Resolutions. It's the end of an era for The Edge Theatre Company, which is going into a period of hibernation after the presentation of this world-premiere holiday play by Denver playwright Josh Hartwell, described as  "unique, hilarious, edgy, and terrifying." For the past eight years, three middle-aged couples have gathered, post-Christmas, at a plush, cozy Vail cabin. They exchange white-elephant gifts, make resolutions for the upcoming year and. of course, down a few cocktails.  But this year, something has changed.  Relationships have evolved, and an unexpected guest is an all-too familiar face. Resolutions plays Dec. 1-31 at 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com. Benchmark Theatre will continue to present programming in The Edge's boutique theatre starting in 2018.

    Breakin Convention

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Cline and WynetteNov. 2-18: And Toto Too 's Flowers in the Desert
    At The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org

    Nov. 3-Dec. 17: Vintage Theatre Productions' Honeymoon In Vegas
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 3-18: Cline and Wynette: One More For the Road featuring Chris Whyde and Darren Bell
    At Gladys: The Nosy Neighbor, 500 Santa Fe Drive, 303-893-6112 (tickets available at the door only)

    Nov 4-5: DCPA Broadway’s Breakin’ Convention 2017
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE



    Nov. 4-Dec. 9: Curious Theatre's Body of an American (see video above)
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org 

    Nov. 9-Dec. 10: Cherry Creek Theatre's Beau Jest
    At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    November DCPA. RentNov. 9-19: Lone Tree Arts Center's Love Letters starring Candy Brown and Mark Rubald
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, lone tree’s home page

    Nov. 9-26: Millibo Art Theatre's The Accidental Death of an Anarchist
    1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org

    Nov. 10-Dec. 2: Equinox Theatre Company's Disaster!
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Nov. 10-19: Longmont Theatre Comany's Becky’s New Car
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Nov. 10-Dec. 30: Town Hall Arts Center's Seussical
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.com

    Nov. 11, 2017-April 22, 2018: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 14-19: National touring production of Rent 20th Anniversary Tour
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 14-19: Fivers Inc.'s Dinner at Five
    PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

    Candlelight Beauty Best Nov. 16-Feb. 14: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Beauty and the Beast
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Nov. 17-Dec. 23: Arvada Center's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Nov. 17-Dec. 31: Midtown Arts Center's A Christmas Story
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Nov. 18-Dec.17: Bas Bleu Theatre's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Nov. 18-Feb. 24: BDT Stage's Annie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and DCPA Off-Center's The SantaLand Diaries
    Jones Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org




    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie (see video above)
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org READ MORE

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The Avenue Theater's Santa’s Big Red Sack
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 17: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Murder for Two
    Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 30: Thin Air Theatre Company's Angel of the Christmas Mine
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's The Story of the Nutcracker (children’s)
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 25, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018: Vintage Theatre Productions' Red
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 2017: Firehouse Theater Company’s The Miracle Worker
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com 

    Nov. 28-Dec. 3: National touring production of Chicago
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 30-Dec. 23: TheatreWorks' The SantaLand Diaries
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Dec. 1-31: Edge Theatre Company's Resolutions
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Dec. 1-9: StageDoor Theatre's Cinderella
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Dec. 1-30: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Scrooge, Bah Humbug!
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Nov. 4: Coal Creek Theatre's Shining City
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Through Nov. 4: Phamaly Theatre Company's Vox Phamilia
    At Community College of Aurora, Fine Arts Building, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, 303-340-7529 or brownpapertickets.com

    Through Nov. 4: Iron Springs Chateau's Rocky Horror Picture Show
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com


    Through Nov. 5: The Edge Theater Company's A Delicate Balance (see video above)
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 5: TheatreWorks' Wild Honey
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through Nov. 5: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Music Man
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Nov. 10: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's The Vagrant 2011 REVIEW
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com




    John Hauser. SpotlightThrough Nov. 11: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages (see video above)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 11: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre and Theatre Or's Buyer & Cellar

    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Nov. 11: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's Medea
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com


     

    Through Nov. 11: Midtown Arts Center's Once
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 12: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Birds of North America
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 12: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Bunnicula  (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Explorers ClubThrough Nov. 12: Evergreen Players' The Explorers Club
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    Through Nov. 18: Arvada Center's The Foreigner (black-box theatre)
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Nov 18: DCPA Educaton and Theatre Company's The Snowy Day (children's) Conservatory Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 18: Buntport Theater's Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Through Nov. 18: Theater Company of Lafayette’s Return to the Twilight Zone, a Parody
    At the Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org




    Through Nov. 19: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 19: DCPA Theatre Company's Smart People
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 25: OpenStage's Monty Python's Spamalot
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Through Nov. 26: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Legally Blonde, The Musical
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Through Dec. 17: Anansi: The Itsy BiTSY Spider Stories
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Through Dec. 29: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad (children’s) 
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Dec. 31: Avenue Theater's Comedy Sportz (late nights through December)
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com READ MORE

    Through May 2018: Buntport Theater's Siren Song (ongoing children's series, second Saturdays of every month)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Edgar Allan Poe. Buntport
    Photo courtesy Buntport Theater.

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    AURORA FOX ARTS CENTER

    • Nov. 17-18: The Denver Dolls’ USO/Andrews Sisters tribute

    Studio Theatre, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    BRECKENRIDGE BACKSTAGE THEATRE

    • Nov. 24 and 25: Wine and Song: A Broadway Cabaret

    Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    BUNTPORT THEATRE
    • Wednesday, Nov. 15: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
    • Tuesday, Nov. 21: The Great Debate (monthly)
    CHERRY CREEK THEATRE
    • Nov 17: O, Beautiful, with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra
    At the Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St., 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER AT COLORADO COLLEGE
    • Nov. 3: An Evening with Tom Papa
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    DENVER ACTORS FUND
      Gone_With_The_Wind_Anniversary-05081
    • Sunday, Nov. 19: Screening of the film Gone With the Wind, with live pre-screening entertainment from Anna Maria High, star of the Aurora Fox's upcoming  upcoming stage production of the stage musical Hi-Hat Hattie. Entertainment 5:30 p.m.; film at 6.
    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake. drafthouse.com

    LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY

    • Nov. 10-11: Cabaret Series: Broadway Now and Then
      Featuring Kelly Renoux, Belen Moyano, Andrew Tebo and Jeffery Hyman. Musical Director: Drew Nichols
    Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org
       
    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY
    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org 

    STORIES ON STAGE
    • Saturday, Nov. 11: On the Couch (1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
    Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month, Betty Hart reads from The Whole Truth, by Stephen McCauley; Jim Hunt reads from Steve Almond's Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched; Emily Paton Davies reads from Amy Bloom's Psychoanalysis.
  • October: Here's what's coming this month in Colorado theatre

    by John Moore | Oct 05, 2017
    A October 610


    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of upcoming theatre openings, spotlighting work being presented on stages statewide. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Five intriguing titles for October:

    NUMBER 1DCPA October. Something RottenEdgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat. The newest creation from the all-original Buntport Theater Company ensemble will open the company's 17th season of toying with theatrical conventions in absurd, playful and often hilarious ways. Despite the title, this new comedy is unlikely to be spooky. A guy lives in his sister's basement, recording podcast episodes dedicated to his hero, the Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe. Much to his sister's dismay, he takes very little interest in anything else. But change is on the way, coming in the unlikely form of a thrift-store suit. Oct. 27-Nov. 18 at 717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    NUMBER 213, The Musical. What do most kids do when they want to raise money for charity? Set up a lemonade stand, or organize a car wash? This group of 13 Denver-based teenagers who have grown up on professional stages throughout the metro area are putting on this musical that Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) wrote specifically for and about teenagers in transition. The cast is fully self-producing the production with help from some of the local theatre community’s biggest names, including Robert Michael Sanders, Piper Arpan and Paul Dwyer.  All proceeds go to The Denver Actors Fund. Two performances only: 2 and 7 p.m. this Sunday (Oct. 8) at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., ticketor.com/13themusicalforthedenveractorsfund

    NUMBER 3La Carpa Aztlán presents: I Don't Speak English Only. Su Teatro brings back its homegrown classic dystopian comedy that rises from the past to imagine a future world where all diversity is prohibited and any expression of 'the other' has been forced underground. The play with music, written by Artistic Director Anthony J. Garcia, is based on the Mexican "tent-show tradition," which emerged during the 1920s in small towns across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Carpas were looked at as lower-class entertainment, but some of Mexico's greatest performers came out of the carpa tradition, including the man Charlie Chaplin called the world's greatest comedian: Mario Moreno, better known as Cantinflas. Oct. 12-28 at 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org.

    NUMBER 4A Kenny MotenAurora Fox Cabaret series. The local theatre scene has long been lacking a late-night, New York-style cabaret component, but not for lack of trying. The Aurora Fox is giving it its best shot by committing to an entire year of cabaret in its smaller studio theatre, with featured local luminaries who will get up close and personal enough to tickle your ivories. Each featured performer will present an evening of songs curated by the artists themselves. Kicking off the new series is Denver and Fort Collins favorite Kenny Moten (Oct. 27-28) with his show 12 O’Clock Tales: An Evening of Songs and Stories. It's comprised of jazz and musical theatre classics, with a sprinkling of poems and personal stories. The Denver Dolls will follow with their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls are led by frequent DCPA performer Heather Lacy, currently starring as Joanne in the Aurora Fox's production of Company.  9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    NUMBER 5Arvada Center The Foreigner. Matthew GaleThe Foreigner. Denver audiences might not know that Colorado Springs actor Sammie Joe Kinnett is one of the funniest comic performers in the state. They will after they see him in Larry Shue's reliable comedy The Foreigner, which launches the Arvada Center's second season of repertory plays performed by a resident company of actors. It's the story of a painfully shy Brit who pretends not to speak English awhile visiting a rural Georgia hunting lodge and soon knows way more about his fellow travelers than is good for his health. The cast includes  Edith Weiss, Greg Ungar, Lance Rasmussen, Jessica Robblee (DCPA's Frankenstein), Josh Robinson (DCPA's All the Way) and Zachary Andrews. The director is Geoffrey Kent (DCPA's An Act of God). Oct. 13-Nov. 18 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Oct. 5-Oct. 29: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Oct. 6-28: The Bug Theatre and Paper Cat Films’ Night of the Living Dead…Live! On Stage!
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info

    Oct. 6-22: StageDoor Theatre's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Oct. 6-Nov. 5: The Edge Theater Company's A Delicate Balance
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Oct. 6-Nov. 10: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's The Vagrant 2011 REVIEW
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com

    Oct. 6-Nov. 26: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Legally Blonde, The Musical
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Oct. 7-29: Theatre Esprit Asia's Hearts of Palm
    At ACAD Gallery, 1400 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-492-9479, or theatre-esprit-asia.org

    Oct. 7-22: PopUp Theatre's On Golden Pond
    At The Masonic Temple, Blue Room, 225 W. Oak St., Fort Collins, eventbrite.com

    Oct. 7-Nov. 11: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's Medea
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com



    Oct. 12-31: Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    At The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St. Aurora, 303-893-4100 or wildpartydenver.com READ MORE

    Oct. 12-28: La Carpa Aztlan presents: I Don’t Speak English Only
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org

    Oct. 12-22: The Upstart Crow's Richard III
    Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    Oct. 12-29: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s Afterlife: A Ghost Story
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Oct. 12-21: Fountain Community Theatre's A Night of Dark Intent
    Dean Fleischauer Activities Center, 326 Alabama Ave., Fountain, CO, fountaintheater.org

    Oct. 13-Nov. 18: Arvada Center's The Foreigner (black-box theatre)
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Oct. 13-21: Platte Valley Players' To Kill a Mockingbird
    At The Armory at the Brighton Cultural Center, 300 Strong St., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org

    Oct. 13-22: Town Hall Arts Center's The Lannie Garrett Revues
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.com

    Oct. 13-28: Longmont Theatre Company's The Rocky Horror Show
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    A October Night of the Living DeadOct. 13-Dec. 29: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad (children’s) 
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Oct. 13-Nov. 12: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Bunnicula  (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Oct. 13-31: Theatrix USA's Taking Tea with the Ripper
    Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa St., bovinemetropolis.com

    Oct. 14-Nov. 11: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre and Theatre Or present Buyer & Cellar
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Opening Oct. 14: Buntport Theater's Siren Song (ongoing children's series, second Saturdays through May 2018)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Oct. 17-29: National touring production of Something Rotten!
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    A 800 BIRDS BOULDER ENSEMBLEOct. 19-Nov. 12: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Birds of North America
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    Oct. 19-Nov. 5: TheatreWorks' Wild Honey
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Oct. 19-21: Millibo Art Theatre's The Long Way
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    Oct. 20-Nov. 19: DCPA Theatre Company's Smart People
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 20-Dec. 31: Avenue Theater's Comedy Sportz
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Oct. 20-29: Counterweight Theatre's Macbeth (cast of four)
    Oct. 20-22 at Switchback Coffee Roasters, 330 N. Institute St., Colorado Springs
    Oct. 27-29: at The Modbo, 17C E. Bijou St., Colorado Springs https://www.counterweighttheatre.com

    Oct. 20-Nov. 4: Iron Springs Chateau's Rocky Horror Picture Show
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

    Oct. 20-Nov. 1: Evergreen Players' The Explorers Club
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    Oct. 20-Nov. 4: Coal Creek Theatre's Shining City
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Oct. 26-Nov. 4: Phamaly Theatre Company's Vox Phamilia
    At Community College of Aurora, Fine Arts Building, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, 303-340-7529 or brownpapertickets.com




    Oct. 27-Nov. 19: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    Oct. 27-Nov. 18: Buntport Theater's Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Oct. 27-28: Aurora Fox presents Kenny Moten’s 12 O’Clock Tales: An Evening of Songs and Stories (studio theatre)
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    Oct. 27-28: The Catamounts' FEED: Los Muertos
    At the Firehouse Art Center, 667 4th Ave., Longmont, 720-468-0487 or thecatamounts.org

    Oct. 27-Nov. 18: Theater Company of Lafayette’s Return to the Twilight Zone, a Parody
    Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

    Oct. 27-Dec. 17: Anansi: The Itsy BiTSY Spider Stories
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Oct. 28-Nov. 25: Openstage's Monty Python's Spamalot
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Oct. 22: DCPA Cabaret's Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE



    Through Oct. 22: Aurora Fox's Company
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org



    Through Oct. 28: Thin Air Theatre Company's The Toxic Avenger Musical
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Oct. 28: Miners Alley Playhouse's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (children’s)
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through Oct. 29: DCPA Theatre Company's Macbeth
    Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 5: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Music Man
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com




    Through Nov. 11: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Sept. 1-Nov. 11: Midtown Arts Center's Once
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through Nov 18: DCPA Educaton and Theatre Company's The Snowy Day (children's)
    Conservatory Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    BAS BLEU THEATRE COMPANY
    • Oct. 14: The Unpresidented Parodies with Sandy and Richard Riccardi
      401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    • BDT STAGE

    • Oct. 17: An Evening with the 17th Avenue All-Stars
      5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    • BUNTPORT THEATRE

      • Saturday, Oct. 14: Season opener  of Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m.)
      • Tuesday, Oct. 17: The Great Debate (monthly)
      • Wednesday, Oct. 18: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
      • Friday, Oct. 27: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum, monthly)
      717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

      DENVER ACTORS FUND
      • Sunday, Oct, 8: 13 The Musical, self-produced by a group of 13 young, Denver-based performers, at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture. ticketor.com/13themusicalforthedenveractorsfund
      • Sunday, Oct. 15: Screening of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with live pre-screening entertainment for the cast of OpenStage of Fort Collins; upcoming stage production of the stage musical Spamalot. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7. At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake. drafthouse.com

      LAKEWOOD CULTURAL CENTER
      • Sunday, Oct. 22: Childsplay presents Go, Dog. Go!
      • 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or Lakewood.org

         

      THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

      • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
      At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org 

      STORIES ON STAGE
      • Saturday, Oct 7: The Year of Magical Thinking (7:30 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
      • Sunday, Oct. 15: The Year of Magical Thinking (1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
      Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month, actor Anne Penner reads Joan Didion's acclaimed memoir about the death of her husband.

      TRI-LAKES CENTER FOR THE ARTS
      • Saturday, Oct. 28: An Evening with C.S. Lewis
        Shows at 3 and 7 p.m.; 5:15 p.m. High Tea and meet-and-greet between shows

      304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, 719-481-0475 or trilakesarts.org

    • 'Cancer Warriors' bring powerful inspiration to 'Miscast 2017'

      by John Moore | Oct 01, 2017
      Miscast 2017
      Photos from 'Miscast 2017,' which raised nearly $7,000 for the Denver Actors Fund on Sept. 25 at the Town Hall Arts Center. To see more, press the forward arrow on the image above. All photos are directly downloadable and may be freely used on social media. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      Three actors battling cancer help Denver Actors Fund raise almost $7,000 with help from dozens of local theatre artists

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      Last year, Miscast 2016 gave birth to the Killer Kids. This year unleashed the Cancer Warriors.

      Miscast, a popular annual community-wide benefit held Sept. 25 at the Town Hall Arts Center, raised $6,842 for the Denver Actors Fund, which provides financial and practical relief when members of the Colorado theatre community find themselves in situational medical need.

      In just three years, this grassroots nonprofit has distributed more than $128,000 in direct aid to help local artists.

      More than 30 local actors performed in roles they would never normally be cast to perform. The event was hosted by Steven J. Burge and Eric Mather, and directed by Robert Michael Sanders, who has produced and presented Miscast in its entirety for four years as his personal contribution to the Denver Actors Fund. Since 2014, Sanders' efforts have now raised $20,011 for the grassroots nonprofit. 

      The most inspiring moment of this and perhaps any other Miscast took place when actors Jona Alonzo, Daniel Langhoff and Norrell Moore, all at various stages of their personal own cancer battles, performed an original variation of the song "Tonight," from West Side Story. The number was put together by Langhoff and his (pregnant) wife, Rebecca Joseph.

      Miscast 2017. Photo by John Moore.

      The evening included the return of "The Killer Kids of Miscast," who were given that name after a remarkable performance at last year in which they performed a twisted variation of "The Cell-Block Tango" from Chicago, accompanied by Donna Debreceni. Most of the kids played a traditional storybook characters such as Little Orphan Annie and Peter Pan. In the year since the performance, a video of that performance has been viewed nearly 500,000 times on YouTube and Facebook. 

      A Miscast. Killer Kids. Photo by John MooreThis time, Evan Gibley, Kaden Hinkle, Hanna Katz, Darrow Klein, Hannah Meg Weinraub and Rylee Vogel performed a more Denver-centric parody of "Hey Officer Krupke" from West Side Story, in which the same storybook characters sing of getting older and lament not yet being seriously considered for adult roles. (Photo at right by John Moore. Video to come.)

      Those same six kids - and seven others - are also preparing to present a fully stage, self-produced staging of Jason Robert Brown's 13 the Musical, entirely as a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund. Brown also wrote The Last Five Years. Performances are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center. Information.

      The hosts also engaged audiences in participatory games including Match Game and The Dating Game (with Guest Host Avery Anderson, a college journalist from The Met Report). As guests entered the Town Hall lobby, they were asked if they wanted to be entered into a drawing to play in several on-stage games. Those who did paid $5 - sparing audience members with no desire to leave their seats.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Abner Genece, an actor from the Arvada Center, delivered remarks on behalf of The Denver Actors Fund. In June, Genece was in a life-threatening car accident that resulted in many surgeries and left his 12-year-old son with a broken neck. The Denver Actors Fund has provided more than $6,000 to the Genece family, and volunteers have helped him with groceries and household chores as he recovers.

      Many area merchants and theatre companies, including the nearby Melting Pot restaurant and iN-TEA shop in Littleton, contributed more than $1,000 in prizes for the event. Participating theatre companies included included the Denver Center,  Arvada Center, Aurora Fox, Benchmark Theatre, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, Cherry Creek Theatre Company, Creede Repertory Theatre, Miners Alley Playhouse, Midtown Arts Center and Performance Now.

      For more information on the Denver Actors Fund and its services, or to donate, go to DenverActorsFund.Org.

      MISCAST 2017:

      Hosts:
      Steven J. Burge
      Eric Mather
      Shannan Steele

      Program:

      • Steven J. Burge, Eric Mather, Robert Michael Sanders and Megan Van De Hey, “The Circle of Life,” from The Lion King
      • Jackson Garske, "Waiving Through a Window," from Dear Evan Hansen, as a Starbucks barista
      • Destiny Walsh, “Whatever Happened to My Part,” from Spamalot
      • Jalyn Courtenay Webb and Rylee Vogel, "I Know Him So Well,” from Chess, as a (surprise) love song to Denver Actors Fund founder John Moore
      • Jeremy Rill, “Everybody’s Girl,” from Steel Pier
      • Reace Daniel, “Out Tonight,” from Rent
      • Jose David Reynoza and Randy Chalmers competing for the lead role in Funny Girl
      • Hope Grandon, Kenny Moten and Margie Lamb as the three Fionas singing “I Know It’s Today,” from Shrek the Musical
      • Jona Alonzo, Daniel Langhoff and Norrell Moore, singing a variation of “Tonight" from West Side Story as a battle cry against cancer, altered lyrics written by Daniel Langhoff and Rebecca Joseph. Directed and choreographed by Rebecca Joseph.
      • Killer Kids of Miscast: Evan Gibley, Kaden Hinkle, Hannah Katz, Darrow Klein, Hannah Meg Weinraub and Rylee Vogel singing a variation of “Hey Officer Krupke,” from West Side Story, about coming of age in the local theatre community. Choreography by Piper Arpan
      • Group finale, “I Will Survive”

      Video: The Cancer Warriors at Miscast 2017:

      Performing here are Jona Alonzo, Daniel Langhoff and Norrell Moore, all at various stages of their personal own cancer battles. Video by John Moore.

    • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'The Mystery of Love and Sex' and 'Company'

      by John Moore | Sep 05, 2017
      For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 6.

      PLAY OF THE DAY: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex



      Featured actor in the video above: Suzanne Connors-Nepi

      • Sept. 9-Oct. 7
      • John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place (former Lowry Air Force Base)
      A Suzanne Connors Nepi Firehouse 400303-562-3232 or go to firehousetheatercompany.com
      • Playwright: Bathsheba Doran
      • Director: Lorraine Scott

       

      The story: Now students at a southern college, Charlotte and Jonny have been friends since childhood. She’s Jewish, he’s Christian; he’s black, she’s white. Their differences intensify their connection until sexual desire complicates everything. Their relationship takes unexpected turns while Charlotte’s parents, who hold secrets and resentments of their own, keep watch.

      But what is it about? The Mystery of Love and Sex is a modern comic drama that explores the impact of racial and religious differences; sexuality, friendship and love; and the fluidity of identity. It is a story of discovery, alienation and ultimately, forgiveness. Audiences will reflect on how relationships affect the ways in which we come to terms with who we are. (Provided by Firehouse Theater Company.)


      Cast list:
      • Charlotte: Kristen Poole
      • Jonny: Johnathan Underwood
      • Howard: Joel Silverman
      • Lucinda: Suzanne Connors Nepi


      A Suzanne Connors Nepi Firehouse 610Clockwise from left: Joel Silverman, Johnathan Underwood and Kristen Poole and Suzanne Connors Nepi in rehearsal for Firehouse Theatre’s 'The Mystery of Love and Sex.' Photo by Christine Fisk.



      MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Aurora Fox's Company

      Featured actor in the video above: Jeremy Rill.


      • Sept. 22-Oct. 22
      • 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
      A Jeremy Rill 400Call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org
      Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
      • Book by George Furth
      • Director and Choreographer: Kelly Van Oosbree
      • Andrew Fischer: Music Director

      • The story:
      On his 35th birthday, a perpetual bachelor named Bobby contemplates his unmarried state. Through a series of comical outings with pals and an especially anxious wedding, his friends explain the pros and cons of marriage and relationships. Bobby is forced to examine his adamant retention of bachelorhood during these hilarious arrays of social interactions.

      • But what is it about? Company is about relationships in all their oddball, loving and teeth-clenching glory. No person can escape a viewing of Company without seeing themselves portrayed on stage. Regardless of who you love, you are guaranteed to encounter your caricature head-on. The humor is sharp and the music is legendary, written by musical theatre’s greatest composer, Stephen Sondheim. (Provided by the Aurora Fox.)

      Cast list:
      Jeremy Rill: Bobby
      Lauren Shealy: Sarah
      Kyle Steffan: Harry
      Michelle Merz-Hutchinson: Susan
      Patrick McAleer: Peter
      Carolyn Lohr: Jenny
      Andy Sievers: David
      Rebekah Ortiz: Amy
      Timmie Antoine: Paul
      Heather Lacy: Joanne
      Frank Oden: Larry
      Lindsey Falduto: Marta
      Leiney Rigg: Kathy
      Heather Doris: April

      More creatives:
      • Jen Orf: Production Stage Manager
      Brandon Case: Technical Director and Scenic Designer
      Curt Behm: Sound Designer
      Brett Maughan: Lighting Designer

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


      Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

      Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
      Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
      Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
      Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
      Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
      Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
      Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
      Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
      Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
      Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical



      This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
    • Video playlist: Our 2017 Henry Awards coverage

      by John Moore | Jul 27, 2017


      This, the third in our series of DCPA NewsCenter videos from the 2017 Henry Awards, offers part of the presentation of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Germinal Stage-Denver co-founders Denver Ed Baierlein and Sallie Diamond.

      Ed Baierlein. BLF Photography. Of her husband, Diamond said: "I don't think there is anybody I have ever seen who has brought me to the theatrical catharsis that you are supposed to have when you see someone on stage. He's very funny. He's very touching. He can make you cry. He can make me cry."

      The award was presented by their son, Tad Baierlein. Germinal Stage-Denver is currently presenting Seascape, by Edward Albee, through Aug. 20 in the black-box theatre at Westminster High School, 6933 Raleigh St. Call 303-455-7108.

      The Colorado Theatre Guild's 12th annual Henry Awards were held on July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker.

       

      Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. More videos will be added to this special YouTube playlist.

      Previous 2017 Henry Awards videos:
      2017 Henry Awards Outstanding Musicals in performance
      Watch our 2017 Memoriam video honoring those who have died

      Complete NewsCenter coverage of the 2017 Henry Awards:

      Our complete photo coverage of the 2017 awards
      2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new
      Nominations: Henry Awards spreads love from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins


      Our complete photo gallery from the 2017 Henry Awards:

      2017 Henry Awards Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click on the forward arrow above.

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

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