• 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 (to date)

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

  • 2017 Colorado Fall Preview: 'Rock of Ages' and 'Appropriate'

    by John Moore | Aug 29, 2017
    Continuing a tradition dating to 2002, for the next 10 days, we will offer 10 intriguing theatre titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. Only this year we are expanding our coverage by offering 10 musicals AND 10 plays here on the DCPA NewsCenter

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Curious Theatre's Appropriate

    Featured actor in the video above: Sean Scrutchins


    Featured Actor Sean ScrutchinsSept. 2-Oct. 14
    • 1080 Acoma St.
    • 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org
    • Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

    The story: Three adult children descend on a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate. There, they find a gruesome Southern relic that causes them to question their family's history.

    But what is it about? Appropriate is a challenging play on racial legacy that is "right on time" as our country grapples with how to handle Confederate relics like statues. Appropriate asks us how we explore our own history with race and how we should progress as a society.

    Cast list:
    Jamil Jude: Director
    Jada Dixon: Assistant Director
    Dee Covington: Toni
    Erik Sandvold: Bo
    Mare Trevathan: Rachel
    Sean Scrutchins: Frank
    Alec Sarché: Rhys
    Rhianna DeVries: River
    Audrey Graves: Cassidy
    Harrison Lyles-Smith: Ainsley


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages

    Featured actor in the video above: Tim Howard


    Featured actor Tim HowardAug. 25-Nov. 11
    • 5501 Arapahoe Ave.
    • 303-449-6000 or bdt’s home page

    • The story: It’s the end of the 1980s, and the party is raging. Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor flow freely on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Rock of Ages is a mix-tape compilation including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “We Built This City” by Starship and Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” set to a story about pursuing dreams.

    • But what is it about? Rock of Ages is about following your dreams even when there are giant egos blocking your path. It’s about being loud when your heart speaks the truth. This is a poignant musical that finds that fighting spirit with anthems that make you want to jump out of your seat and show the world you still know how to rock.

    Cast list:
    Director: Scott Beyette
    Choreographer: McKayla Marso
    Drew: Tim Howard
    Dennis: Scott Beyette
    Lonnie: Barret Harper
    Franz: Brian Cronan
    Hertz: Brian Burron
    Stacee: Scott Severtson
    Sherrie: Olyvia Beyette
    Regina: Valerie Igoe
    Waitress: Tracey Warren
    Constance: Danielle Scheib
    Justice: Joanie Brosseau
    Groupies: Jessica Hindsley, Alyssa Robinson
    Ensemble: Brian Jackson, Alejandro Roldan, Leo Battle

    RockofAges_GlennRoss 610

    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.
  • In the Spotlife: Tim Howard of 'The Producers'

    by John Moore | Jun 19, 2017

     


    MEET TIM HOWARD     
    Leo Bloom in Breckenridge Backstage Theater's 'The Producers,' running through Aug. 6. In 2014, Howard won a DCPA True West Award for his work in Town Hall Arts Center's 'How to Succeed in Business...'

  • Tim HowardHometown: Denver
  • Home now: Arvada
  • High school: Littleton High School
  • College: Five Towns College (Long Island, N.Y.)
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Clyde Barrow in Town Hall Arts Center's Bonnie & Clyde.
  • What's next? I will be playing Drew in Rock of Ages at BDT Stage
  • What's your handle? @timothybrooks88 on Instagram
  • Twitter-sized bio: Currently enjoying the last year of my 20s. Hate adulting. Enjoy the outdoors and going on adventures. Usually, adventures start or end with my friends saying: "Tim, don't!" Or: "I do not want to take you to the hospital." But I'm still here (because of my friends). Love to go camping, hiking and backpacking. When I was 9, I got involved with The Academy of Theater Arts (ATA) and played there until I was 18 and have been involved with theater ever since. Someday I would love to have the means to travel. But on an actors salary ... hah!
  • The role that changed your life: I played Leo Bloom once before, five years ago at the Town Hall Arts Center. Before that, I was often cast in the ensemble or as a secondary character. I grew up with Paul Dwyer teaching me comedy and being cast as the comic relief and a lot of very fun character roles at ATA. Matt Dailey was always the leading man opposite Melissa Benoist. Paul, who co-directed the shows with Alann Worley, always said, "Matt got the girl, but Tim got the audience." Once I was given the opportunity to play Leo, I was suddenly seen as a leading man. It changed how I looked at roles. It wasn't always comedy, and I found myself getting more passionate about the "acting" part of musical theater.
  • Robin WilliamsIdeal scene partner: I have always wanted to act on stage with Robin Williams. He was such an inspiration to me growing up. He had such a knack for it. I wanted to be him. One thing that made me admire him even more was that he was an incredible actor as well. He understood emotion. Everything he did was so natural and real. Every role I take on, I try to be the kind of actor he would be proud to work next to.
  • What is The Producers all about? Max Bialystock, a has-been Broadway producer, can't seem to produce a hit. He meets a timid accountant named Leo Bloom who discovers (in theory) that a producer could make more money with a flop than a hit. Together they hatch a scheme to produce "the worst musical ever written": Springtime for Hitler. Everything does not go as planned, and they find themselves in a lot of awkward and funny situations.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: Leo Bloom is the shy, timid, mousy accountant who plays by the rules but has a secret desire to be a Broadway producer. He slowly comes out of his shell and finds there is more to him than even he knew there was.  When I played this role before five years ago, I found Leo to be pretty much like who I was then. I had just come back from college, and Denver theater wasn't the same as I remembered it. I was getting to know new people, and I wasn't ready to let them in. In that production, it was very easy to understand Leo. Fast-forward five years: I just finished Bonnie and Clyde. I was playing a character who was confident, spoke his mind, knew who he was and how to follow his dreams. Clyde, unlike Leo, wouldn’t let anything get in the way. I now identify with Clyde more than Leo, so I have found it difficult to transition from one back to the other. However, this challenge is allowing me to find a new take on Leo, and I have more of an understanding about his journey toward self-confidence.
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your show? I hope they laugh. Laughter is, as they say, the best medicine. This is a musical adaptation of the 1967 Mel Brooks hit, The Producers. Brooks even wrote the music, so how can you not laugh? I hope every audience leaves feeling happy. It's a great show to see if you are having a rough day and need a break from the outside world. On a more serious note, I hope they leave knowing that even when everything in your life goes wrong, you can always find a way through and have a happy ending.
  • What's one thing people might not know about you? I don't volunteer or do good deeds like everyone thinks I do. I watch a lot of Netflix and drink beer instead. But, when I was 7, I was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome. People don’t usually believe me when I tell them. It was a very tough time for me. I was bullied and made fun of a lot. A few years later I got into theater, and that changed my life. Throughout my school years, I was still picked on, but because of my comedy training, I knew how to handle it. I like to think theater is the reason my tics went away. Tourette's is still a part of me, but no one can tell.
  • What do you want to get off your chest? I am passionate about brewing beer. We live in a state where craft beers are a growing art form. Right now I have a Kiwi Wit beer in fermentation and I'm looking forward to sharing it with my Producers cast in Breckenridge.

  • Tim Howard. Scott Rathbun.Scott Rathbun, left, with Tim Howard in Backstage Breckenridge's 'The Producers.' 



    The Producers: Ticket information

    • Written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
    • Directed by Robert Michael Sanders
    • Through Aug. 6
    • 121 S. Ridge St., Brekenridge MAP IT
    • Tickets $23-$39
    • For tickets, call 970-453-0199 or go to backstagetheatre.org


    Remaining performance schedule:
    • Sunday, June 18, 6:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, June 24, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, June 25, 6:30 p.m.
    • Wednesday, June 28, 7:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, June 29, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, June 30, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 1, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 2, 6:30 p.m.
    • Wednesday, July 5, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 9, 6:30 p.m.
    • Friday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 15, 7:30 p.m.
    • Thursday July 20, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 23, 6:30 p.m.
    • Wednesday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, July 28, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 30, 6:30 p.m.
    • Wednesday, August 2, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, August 4, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, August 5, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, August 6, 6:30 p.m.

    Cast list:

    Tim Howard
    Scott Rathbun
    Colby Dunn
    Brian Jackson
    Christopher Willard
    Josh Rigo
    Barret Harper
    Stephanie Hesse
    Jessica Hindsley
    Kaitlyn Althoff
    Rose Metcalf
    Mary McGroary
    Cole Mitchell
    Alissa Robinson
    Eli Stewart
    Connor Sullivan

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Jack Barton of BDT Stage's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    Meet the ensemble of Buntport Theater's The Crud
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Ethelyn Friend of ________________, An Opera
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet Emily K. Harrison of She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Haley Hunsaker of Funky Little Theatre Company's Extremities
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport's The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre's The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Heather Lacy of the Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Tamara Meneghini of The Last Testament of Mary
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Rebekah Ortiz of The Robber Bridegroom
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Lauren Shealy of Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
    Meet Jane Shirley of The Avenue's Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Marc Stith of Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
    Meet Peter Trinh of the Aurora Fox's Chinglish
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas
    Meet Adriane Wilson of Miners Alley Playhouse's Cabaret

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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.