• 'Tommy': How The Who went from smashing guitars to blowing people's minds

    by John Moore | Apr 16, 2018
    Sam Buntrock. Photo by John Moore
    Performances of the DCPA Theatre Company's staging of 'The Who's Tommy' begin Saturday. Photo of Director Sam Buntrock by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Director Sam Buntrock says 50 years on, Tommy's true wizardry remains its emotionally authentic storytelling

    By Sylvie Drake
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    Remember The Who’s Tommy? Remember when it played Denver’s Buell Theatre in 1994? Maybe you were too young.

    The show was very young then too, known mostly by hearsay or from the 1969 rock concept album on which it is based. It had made waves by elevating the life of a deaf, mute and blind boy whose prodigious talent at pinball makes him a celebrity. By applying what was then a lot of new technology to his fertile imagination, director Des McAnuff’s 1992 transfer of that iconic album to the La Jolla Playhouse stage in San Diego took musical theatre to a whole new level of innovation.

    At the time, The Who was a British rock group seeking broader recognition, so the album’s breakthrough in London — and the rock opera created in La Jolla — became sensations. Rock operas were still uncommon. There had been Hair (1968) and Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), both huge, to say nothing of The Rocky Horror Show that exploded on several London stages in 1973 before spreading across the globe with its enduring popularity.

    Rommy Sam Buntrock Andy Mientus. Photo by John MooreTommy was different. Its La Jolla opening with its flashy tech effects, its combination of heartbreaking story and unrestrained flamboyance, was a big surprise. The tools were the same, but watching the astonishing fall and rise of a traumatized child on stage offered a deeper and deeply thrilling experience. The subsequent 1993 Broadway run set box-office records, and the show traveled to Denver the following year on the wings of great press and five Tony Awards.

    (Pictured: Sam Buntrock with Andy Mientus (Tommy) on the first day of rehearsal in Denver. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Today’s DCPA Theatre Company revival is a homegrown incarnation, with a live band and reinvented staging by director Sam Buntrock, whose Frankenstein at the DCPA and whose West End direction of Sunday In the Park With George scored high marks.

    “I’ve never directed Tommy before,” he said by email earlier this spring. “In the ’60s, Townsend wrote the score to be performed in concert. In the ’90s he worked with Des McAnuff to transform it into a big and brilliant stage musical. I suspect mine will be a more emotionally driven, intimate version of the show. I’m approaching that version through the lens of contemporary theatrical conventions.

    “Audiences have become accustomed to simpler, more distilled storytelling, the sort whose thrills are precise and unexpected. With Tommy, I’m excited to stage a fantastical show that has, at its heart, a rich and emotionally authentic story.”

    Video: Andy Mientus, Lulu Fall sing for Denver Actors Fund

    Among the new ideas Buntrock brings to his staging is younger casting, including that of Andy Mientus (of TV’s “Smash” and Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening) as Tommy.

    “Of course, there are children written into the fabric of the show — 4-year-old and 10-year-old Tommy,” Buntrock said. “These two are givens, though our 4-year-old may play a larger part than people expect.

    Sam Buntock Tommy“The only other child is a teenaged Kevin. The story spans some 20 years, and Kevin is one of the characters who features through most of the timeline. So if he interacts with 10-year-old Tommy, and then adult Tommy, it’s powerful to see him grow up too. How that doubling works and what the payoff is, are both things conceived in service of creating a credible family on stage.” 

    (Right: 'Tommy' artwork by DCPA Theatre Company Director Sam Buntrock.)

    Pete Townshend, The Who’s lead guitarist, composed most of the score for Tommy. He told Applause magazine in 1994 “that story is, in a sense, my life brought up-to-date. I didn’t quite realize how autobiographical it was. Not just of me, but of the people around me at the time … everybody in the group. Not only was it an important step for us artistically, it also was the critical financial breakthrough for a group that, up to that point, had been known for wearing funny clothes and pop-art outfits and smashing guitars.”   

    Almost 50 years on, the Tommy story, and especially its score, still resonate.

    Four-year-old Tommy is thrown into a catatonic state after he witnesses a traumatic family event reflected in a mirror. It makes him instantly deaf, dumb and blind. This triple whammy brings him the wrong kinds of attention; he struggles through childhood, badgered and abused — until he discovers he has a freakish talent for winning at pinball. 

    In late adolescence, when he’s accidentally present as his mother, in a moment of despair, smashes the same mirror that caused his catatonia, Tommy is magically healed. The revitalized pinball wizard becomes an international star before evolving into a sentient, responsive and compassionate human being. All this melodrama, married to its stunning musical score, results in a rock opera whose alchemy is practically addictive.

    When asked if he agrees that what continues to make the show so gripping
    is this melding of music, magic, mystery, mysticism and melodrama,
    Buntrock demurred.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “Yes. In part. It remains so gripping because it is one of the greatest musical scores ever written,” he said. “It’s not faux musical theatre rock and roll, it’s … rock and roll. All those ‘m’s are intrinsic to what Townshend was exploring when he wrote it.

    “Ultimately,” he added, “it’s a deeply honest exploration of Townshend’s own childhood. With Tommy, with his prone passivity, we have a hero we can all project ourselves upon. Yes, it’s magnified and melodramatic, but it’s rock and roll, so what do you expect? And despite this, I think it has something profound to say about our relationship to our childhood selves.”

    Theatre, being a primary champion of human understanding, often takes the lead in reversing secretive old-fashioned attitudes. Tommy is an example of art shining a light into the darkness and, in former theatre critic Frank Rich’s words, “spreading catharsis like wildfire through the cheering house.

    Sylvie Drake is a former theatre critic and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a translator, a contributor to culturalweekly.com and American Theatre magazine, and a former Director of Media Relations and Publications for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

    Tommy cast Photo by John MooreThe cast of 'The Who's Tommy' at its first rehearsal in Denver. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The Who's Tommy
    at the DCPA: Ticket information

    Tommy_show_thumbnail_160x160Based on The Who’s iconic 1969 rock concept album, Tommy is an exhilarating musical about the challenges of self-discovery and the resilience of the human spirit. When young Tommy retreats into a world of darkness and silence after a deeply traumatic incident, he must navigate a harsh and unforgiving world with no hope of recovery. But when he discovers a newfound talent for pinball, he’s swept up in the fame and fortune of his success. Tommy and his family give new voice to The Who’s classic stadium rock as they navigate the troubles and joys of being alive.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances April 21-May 27
    • Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Who's Tommy:
  • More, more Mormon: 'The Book of Mormon' extended through July 7

    by John Moore | Apr 12, 2018
    Monica L. Patton, Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

    From left: Monica L. Patton, Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson from 'The Book of Mormon,' returning to Denver June 13 and now staying a week longer. Photo by Julieta Cervantes. 


    Tickets start at $35 and there will be a lottery for a limited number of $25 tickets before every Denver performance

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced the addition of more seats for The Book of Mormon at The Ellie. Due to popular demand, performances for the fourth Denver engagement of the show, opening June 13, will now run for an additional week, through July 7. The added performances are on public sale now at denvercenter.org.

    The Book of Mormon has played three previous sold out runs in Denver starting, with the national tour launch in 2012 and return engagements in 2013 and 2015.

    Kevin Clay 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.Tickets for the upcoming engagement start at $35. There will be a lottery for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each for every performance. Lottery details will be announced closer to the engagement.

    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized ticket provider for The Book of Mormon in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party run the risk of overpaying, purchasing illegitimate tickets and should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance. Patrons found in violation of the DCPA Ticket Purchase and Sale Terms and Policies  may have all of their tickets canceled.

    (Pictured at right: Kevin Clay from 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.)

    The Book of Mormon features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated TV series South Park. Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy Avenue Q.  The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker. 

    The Book of Mormon is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

    The Book of Mormon features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.  

    The Original Broadway Cast Recording for The Book of Mormon, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

    Photo gallery: The Book of Mormon

    The Book of Mormon
    Production photos for the national touring production of 'The Book of Mormon' To see more, click on the image above to be taken to the full photo gallery. Photos by Julieta Cervantes.


    The Book of Mormon
    :
    Ticket informationBook of Mormon
    Back by popular demand, The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical returns to Denver. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word.

    • National touring production
    • Performances June 13-July 7
    • Ellie Caulkins Opera House
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    More information:
    • Visit the official The Book of Mormon website at BookofMormonTheMusical.com
    • Follow The Book of Mormon on Twitter and on Facebook
    • Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center
  • Disney names a new Aladdin for Denver: Clinton Greenspan

    by John Moore | Mar 26, 2018
    Clinton Greenspan. Aladdin North American Tour. Photo by Deen van Meer 800 3

    Photo by Deen van Meer.

    'Denver is going to fall in love with him,' hometown cast member says of Clinton Greenspan, who flies high April 7

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    When Disney’s Aladdin flies into Denver next week, the hit Broadway musical will be rolling out the flying red carpet for Clinton Greenspan, who is being elevated to the title role of the charming street urchin and reformed thief.

    But it won’t be a whole new world for Greenspan, who has been a member of the touring production’s ensemble for more than a year. He told the DCPA NewsCenter that playing his dream role will be, for him, literally a dream come true.

    “It really does feel like I am on a bit of a magic carpet ride,” said Greenspan, who said his feelings on his promotion can best be described by the show’s signature song, “A Whole New World:”

    “Unbelievable sights.
    Indescribable feeling.
    Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
    Through an endless diamond sky.
    A whole new world.”

    "Those lyrics are quite accurate for what's going on in my head,” said Greenspan. “With this family, with this crew and with this company, I feel very comfortable taking this next step.”

    Greenspan has performed in productions of Romeo & Juliet, Dreamgirls, Fiddler on the Roof and the North American tour of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

    Celina Nightengale, a graduate of Denver Lutheran High School and a member of the Aladdin ensemble, said Denver is going to fall in love with Greenspan. “Clinton embodies Aladdin,” she said. “It's always a beautiful thing to see someone play their dream role because they just give it so much heart. He is so young and charming and present onstage.

    “There are going to be so many screaming women, I'm not even going to be able to get out the stage door.”

    Disney’s Aladdin, based on the 1992 animated film, is set in the fictional kingdom of Agrabah. It tells the story of Princess Jasmine, who is feeling hemmed in by her father’s desire to find her a royal groom. Meanwhile, the Sultan’s right-hand man, Jafar, is plotting to take over the throne. When Jasmine sneaks out of the palace, she forms an instant connection with the commoner Aladdin, who is quickly sentenced to death. But where there’s a lamp, there’s a genie …

    Greenspan describes the musical stage adaptation as a spectacle of sight and sound — and the perfect date night.

    Aladdin is a story for anyone and all people,” said Greenspan. "Families, students and adults come to see the show for a great time, and they all experience the magic in their own ways. But most of all, this is a story of love between Aladdin and Jasmine. The show has these thrilling, magical and colorful elements to it that make it a perfect romantic evening for those with adult sensibilities. Just know that you're going into something unbelievable. There's so much to look at."

    The first time Greenspan saw the design elements, "I just drooled," he said, specifically citing The Cave of Wonders, the forbidden realm that holds vast vast riches and magical artifacts — most notably, the lamp of the all-powerful Genie.

    "The Cave of Wonders still leaves me speechless," Grenspan said. "It's so gold. You could go to the show 10 times and still miss some of the gorgeous set details. There's so much color."

    Not to mention dance. Dance. And more dance.  

    "The very first number of the show is called Arabian Nights," he said. "It runs more than eight minutes, and it leaves our jaws completely dropped because there's so much going on.”

    Greenspan calls the show a magical journey for all audiences. “I can’t tell you how many times you will say to yourself, ‘This is like nothing I've ever seen before in my life,' " he said. "We can’t all ride a magic carpet, but we have all had those experiences when we have just known: 'This is changing my life.' That’s what this is like."

    Original tour cast members Reggie De Leon (Iago) and Mike Longo (Kassim) will play their final performances in Denver and will be replaced by Jay Paranada and Jed Feder, respectively.

    The touring production also features Michael James Scott (Genie), Isabelle McCalla (Jasmine), Jonathan Weir (Jafar), Jerald Vincent (Sultan), Zach Bencal (Babkak), Philippe Arroyo (Omar), Korie Lee Blossey (Standby Genie and Sultan), Ellis C. Dawson III (Standby Genie and Babkak) and Adam Stevenson (Standby Jafar and Sultan).

    Rounding out the cast are Nightengale, Mary Antonini, Michael Bullard, Michael Callahan, Gary Cooper, Jace Coronado, Cornelius Davis, Bobby Daye, Lissa deGuzman, Mathew deGuzman, Olivia Donalson, Michael Everett, Karlee Ferreira, Michael Graceffa, Adrienne Howard, Albert Jennings, Kenway Hon Wai K. Kua, Jason Scott MacDonald, Angelina Mullins, Jaz Sealey, Charles South, Manny Stark, Cassidy Stoner, Annie Wallace and Michelle West.

    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.

    FriendLikeMe1.AladdinNorthAmericanTour.PhotobyDeenvanMeer

    From the song 'Friend Like Me.' Photo by Deen van Meer.



    Disney's Aladdin: Ticket information

    Disney’s AladdinFrom the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.
    • National touring production
    • Performances through April 28
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • For one day in Denver, 'Hamilton' makes students the stars

    by John Moore | Mar 23, 2018


    The video above offers a full recap of 'EduHam' day in Denver, complete with interviews and performance excerpts. Separate videos of each individual performance below. Videos by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

    Education program allows underserved students to rise up and have their voices be heard before thousands of peers 

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Wednesday was no ordinary day at the Buell Theatre.

    The decibel was higher, the shrieks were louder, the ages were younger and the faces were distinctly more varied in color. 

    EduHam Mathenee TrecoThis was “EduHam,” the innovative educational program developed by the Broadway musical phenomenon Hamilton. On Wednesday, 2,700 students and teachers from 38 Denver-area high schools participated in morning activities followed by a matinee performance of the sold-out, Tony Award-winning musical. 

    You knew this performance would be different before it even began when the students in the mezzanine started a wave. You knew it during the show as they finger-snapped in affirmation of lines that connected with them and roared at the end of songs as if this were a rock concert. Which, in many ways, it was. You knew it as the show was ending when one voice pierced the silence with a scream of “Oh my God!” as, onstage, one of history’s most infamous bullets was piercing Alexander Hamilton’s heart.   

    The students were not only watching a piece of history. They were part of it. Because there has simply never been another pop-culture phenomenon quite like Hamilton. And, to shamelessly quote the show's anthem: They were in the room where it happened.

    “There are moments that the words don’t reach … “ 

    Hamilton, winner of 11 Tony Awards, is the story of Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it features a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway.

    Cast member Mathenee Treco calls Hamilton the story of America then, as told by America now.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda on theatre's power to eliminate distance

    Hamilton changes lives,” said Treco, who attended Eaglecrest High School in Aurora. And EduHam was perhaps recalibrating the lives of many of the students who spent the day at the Denver Center participating in the show’s innovative educational program that debuted on Broadway in 2015 and has continued in every city it has visited since.

    The participating students prepared by spending up to three months in their classrooms studying American history through a special integrated curriculum about Hamilton and the nation’s other Founding Fathers. On Wednesday morning, select students performed original works based on their studies – songs, rap, poetry, scenes and monologues – on The Buell Theatre stage, in front of their peers. Afterward, they had a Q&A with six cast members.

    “Immigrants … we get the job done”

    Treco, like Hamilton and many of the students in Wednesday’s audience, is an immigrant himself, having been born in the Bahamas and moving to Aurora with his family at age 6. “Today they saw a representation of themselves on the stage," he said. "Their energy was tangible. I could feel their excitement. And I think it's going to propel them.”

    Hamilton is performed by an almost entirely non-white cast. That the audience on Wednesday was almost entirely students of color, Treco said, was overwhelming — in the best possible way. “I want to see children of color feeling empowered and feeling uplifted,” said Treco. But it was not a coincidence, said Hamilton Education Program Manager Amy DiChristina of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

    It was the point. 

    “The goal of this program is to reach Title I schools across the country, and those schools are very often underserved,” DiChristina said. Title I schools have high percentages of children from impoverished families, many of which speak English as a second language. “They don't have the resources they need. And they don't normally have access to field trips like these, or tickets to a show like this.”

    DiChristina’s research indicates more than 65 percent of students who participate in EduHam  have never before attended a Broadway-level show in their lives. “So to be able to offer them both access and educational resources is the goal,” she said.

    Cast member Sabrina Sloan, who plays socialite Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton and volunteered to emcee the morning program at The Buell, said “it was incredible to see this group of students, specifically being mostly kids of color. I remember the first show my parents took me to was West Side Story, and seeing people who were brown onstage and seeing people who looked like me meant the world. It told me that theatre was something that was accessible to me. So knowing that Hamilton might be their first show ever really gives me chills.”

    (Story continues after the video playlist below.)

    Click the video above to see all 14 of the Denver 'EduHam' student performances in one video playlist. Each one plays after the other. Videos by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    “I wrote my way out…”

    Grace Padilla, a junior at Vantage Point High School, was one of the students who applied for — and won — a chance to recite from her poetry on The Buell stage. She has been writing since she was 7 years old, and self-published her own book at 14. She was inspired to bridge Hamilton’s story with her own by penning a variation on a song from the Broadway musical called “Wrote My Way Out.” It’s the story of how Hamilton, born out of wedlock on the Caribbean island of Nevis, was abandoned by his father, orphaned at 13 and came to the American colonies two years later to further his education. Padilla can relate.

    “I was born of dirt, but I will live of redwoods,” Padilla read, bringing her peers to their feet.

    “Growing up, I had to deal with being very poor in an abusive, broken home,” she said afterward. “Hamilton wrote his way out, and that is what I have been doing with my life, too. I really wanted to touch other people and be their voice and let them know they are heard, too.”

    Noah Thomas, a junior at Atlas Preparatory High School in Colorado Springs, opened the program by reading a poem called “Remember the Ladies,” written by his best friend, Laci Caballero. It's about Abigail Adams, wife of the second president, John Adams.  “While her husband was off building the country, he forgot the ladies," he said afterward. "This was Laci’s way of saying, ‘Remember them.’

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Performing for thousands of peers, Thomas said, made him feel emboldened. 

    "Even though I'm just a 17-year-old kid from Colorado, I felt like my voice was heard, and Laci's words were heard, and the message behind them were heard," he said.

    That, DiChristina said, is the point. “We want these students to go out into the world and feel empowered to use their voices for whatever they feel is important.”

    Four students from West Leadership Academy used their voices to perform a full scene called The Story of Peggy, about Hamilton's wife, in their native Spanish.

    "I’m young, scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwing away my shot."

    Padilla said Miranda’s spoken-word writing style is the biggest attraction to Hamilton for students  “because you just can't connect with the younger generation today without a little hip-hop and rap,” she said.

    Treco said Miranda isn’t telling a different story than what is already being told in history books. He’s just telling it in a more exciting way.

    Sloan says presenting constitutional debates and personal disputes as rap battles is not only a clever variation on a Broadway theme — it is an essential way of reaching younger theatre audiences. “And it doesn’t just reach students,” she said. “It reaches everyone across generations, color lines, social, economic backgrounds. There is a truth to it. There is a humanity in how he speaks."  And the way he speaks, Treco added, "makes history sound really, really cool.”

    Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints…”

    The Hamilton Education Program is one of several history education programs funded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute. “This project is transformative," said president James G. Basker — who devised the education program in New York in tandem with Miranda, Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, The Rockefeller Foundation and the New York City Department of Education.

    "Hamilton has struck a chord with students because it embodies what great history education is all about: Bringing the past to life, and fostering connections with the exceptional individuals and moments that have made us who we are. This program empowers students to reclaim their own narrative and empowers teachers to bridge classroom learning with the stage.”

    (Story continues after the video below.)



    The response to EduHam on social media was rapturous. On Twitter, Jill Williams called the Hamilton “the best history lesson ever.” A sample of others:

    • “One of the best things about Hamilton is that every person in the room is excited about art and music and collectively vibrates with good energy,” a woman named Jennifer Tweeted. “We need more of that.”
    • Wrote Lois Rapport on Facebook: This was so fabulous. I am so happy to be a part of a group that encourages learning and helps kids fall in love with the theater. I was lucky that my parents took me to the theater at a young age, and I immediately was hooked.”
    • West Early College posted: We are so proud of our very own Josiah Blackbear, who was selected as one of the students to perform on stage for EduHam Keep an eye on our rising star. He is going places.
    • "That was amazing for those students. I hope the felt as inspired as I did," posted Matt Carnes.

    This is not a moment, it is a movement

    Treco said for it took guts for the high-school students to bare their souls before their peers on the Buell Theatre stage, but he’s sure the experience laid seeds of courage left that are already now germinating.

    "They killed it," Treco said. "Honesty is scary. But at the end of the day, they spoke their truth, and I promise you some of those kids just got really addicted to that feeling. … And some of them will be performing in Hamilton someday.”

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

    The participating schools:

    ·    Alameda International High School
    ·    Arapahoe Ridge High School
    ·    Atlas Preparatory School
    ·    Bruce Randolph High School
    ·    Denver School of Science and Technology
    ·    Green Valley Ranch High School
    ·    Denver South High School
    ·    DSST: College View High School
    ·    Early College Academy
    ·    Emily Griffith High School
    ·    Global Leadership Academy
    ·    Harrison High School
    ·    High Tech Early College
    ·    John F. Kennedy High School
    ·    Justice High School
    ·    KIPP Denver Collegiate High School
    ·    KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy
    ·    Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    ·    Legacy Options High School
    ·    Manual High School
    ·    Mapleton Early College High School
    ·    Moffat School (K-12)
    ·    Monte Vista High School
    ·    Noel Community Arts School
    ·    North High School
    ·    Northglenn High School
    ·    Overland High School
    ·    RiseUp Community School
    ·    Sheridan High School
    ·    Sierra High School
    ·    STRIVE Prep RISE
    ·    STRIVE Prep- SMART
    ·    STRIVE Preparatory Schools - Excel Campus
    ·    The New America School Thornton
    ·    Vantage Point High School
    ·    Venture Prep
    ·    West Early College
    ·    West Leadership Academy
    ·    York International 

    The student performers (with video links):

    Noah Thomas, Atlas Preparatory School
    “Remember the Ladies”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/0v1stGZo7po

    Esteban Gallegos and Madis, on RustEmily Griffith High School
    “Hypocrisy of America”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/fys9vkwFyWc

    Eduardo Gonzalez and Sydney Hernandez, Global Leadership Academy
    “Boston Tea Party”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/VEbqfxspC58

    Erin JonesHarrison H, igh School
    “My Father”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/mrk_pIx_-7U

    Albert Ortega, High Tech Early College
    “George Washington at Valley Forge”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/dXjmAHPVTAw

    John Le, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    “Aaron Burr”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/-hT17DgOelU

    Luis Castro and Jesus Villa, Mapleton Early College High School
    “Hamilton v. Jefferson Constitution”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/xNR2vJ226_4

    Ryker Poor and Sabian Storm, Moffat School
    “Jefferson v. King George”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/wh1Af6pU5s0

    Precious Allen, Sierra High School
    “Common Sense”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/hAe-INcmJ2k

    Issak Lucero, Strive Prep - SMART
    “Benjamin Franklin"
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/KQBBuj94vxo

    Isabel Aguilar, Jaqueline Garcia and Brandon Garcia
    The New America School at Thornton
    “Boston Massacre”
    Direct video link:  https://youtu.be/xIv7YatWQfE

     Isabel Aguilar, Jaqueline Garcia, Brandon Garcia, The New America School at Thornton
    “Boston Massacre”
    Direct video link: https://youtu.be/bWk5j00QsGc

    Grace Padilla, Vantage Point High School
    “Wrote My Way Out”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/wMlT6NmvrPE

    Josiah Blackbear, West Early College
    “Alexander Hamilton”

    Zehydi Chaparro-Rojas, Jose Torres-Andazola, Rossy Martinez-Sanchez and Alexandra Andazola-Chavez, West Leadership Academy

    “The Story of Peggy”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/sRfGFcMZjC8

  • Videos of all 'EduHam' student performances in Denver

    by John Moore | Mar 22, 2018

    Watch students from 14 schools perform original songs, rap, poetry, scenes and monologues based on studies

    EduHam” is the innovative educational program that Hamilton debuted on Broadway and continued in Denver on Wednesday, March 21, when 2,700 students and teachers from 38 Denver-area high schools attended an all-student matinee performance of the hit musical at The Buell Theatre

    The students spent several weeks in their classrooms studying American history through a special integrated curriculum about Alexander Hamilton and the nation’s Founding Fathers. Before the special performance, students representing various Title I schools performed original works they created based on their classroom studies – songs, rap, poetry, scenes, monologues – in front of their peers on The Buell stage. Title I schools have high percentages of children from low-income families.

    The Hamilton Education Program is one of several history education programs at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “This project is transformative," said president James G. Basker — who devised the education program in New York in tandem with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, producer Jeffrey Seller, The Rockefeller Foundation and the NYC Department of Education.

    "Hamilton  has struck a chord with students because it embodies what great history education is all about: bringing the past to life, and fostering connections with the exceptional individuals and moments that have made us who we are. This program empowers students to reclaim their own narrative and empowers teachers to bridge classroom learning with the stage.”

    The emcee in Denver was cast member Sabrina Sloan. Later Thursday, you can read more about “EduHam” in Denver on the DCPA NewsCenter, MyDenverCenter.Org

    Click here to see all 14 of the student performances in one video playlist, where each one plays after the other. 


    Noah Thomas
    Atlas Preparatory School
    “Remember the Ladies”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/0v1stGZo7po



    Esteban Gallegos and Madison Rust
    Emily Griffith High School
    “Hypocrisy of America”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/fys9vkwFyWc





    Eduardo Gonzalez and Sydney Hernandez
    Global Leadership Academy
    “Boston Tea Party”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/VEbqfxspC58



    Erin Jones
    Harrison High School
    “My Father”
    Direct link https://youtu.be/mrk_pIx_-7U



    Albert Ortega
    High Tech Early College
    “George Washington at Valley Forge”
    Direct link https://youtu.be/dXjmAHPVTAw



    John Le
    Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    “Aaron Burr”
    Direct link https://youtu.be/-hT17DgOelU



    Luis Castro and Jesus Villa
    Mapleton Early College High School
    “Hamilton v. Jefferson Constitution”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/xNR2vJ226_4


     



    Ryker Poor and Sabian Storm
    Moffat School
    “Jefferson v. King George”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/wh1Af6pU5s0


     



    Precious Allen
    Sierra High School
    “Common Sense”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/hAe-INcmJ2k



    Issak Lucero
    Strive Prep - SMART
    “Benjamin Franklin”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/KQBBuj94vxo


     

    Isabel Aguilar, Jaqueline Garcia and Brandon Garcia
    The New America School at Thornton
    “Boston Massacre”
    Direct link:  https://youtu.be/xIv7YatWQfE


     

    Grace Padilla
    Vantage Point High School
    “Wrote My Way Out”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/bWk5j00QsGc


     

    Josiah Blackbear
    West Early College
    “Alexander Hamilton”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/wMlT6NmvrPE




    Zehydi Chaparro-Rojas, Jose Torres-Andazola, Rossy Martinez-Sanchez and Alexandra Andazola-Chavez
    West Leadership Academy
    “The Story of Peggy”
    Direct link: https://youtu.be/sRfGFcMZjC8

  • 2018-19 Broadway season: 'Dear Evan Hansen,' Betty Buckley as Dolly and more

    by John Moore | Feb 26, 2018

    Play the video above to learn more about the Denver Center's 2018-19 Broadway season announcement.

     

    Highly anticipated 2017 Best Musical opens September 25; legendary Buckley to find empty lap in Denver as Dolly Levi


    Hello, Betty!

    We now know that the previously announced national tour launch of the 2017 Tony and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen will launch the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' 2018-19 Broadway season from Sept. 25 through Oct. 13 in the Buell Theatre, it was announced this morning.

    Joining Dear Evan Hansen will be the 2017 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival Hello, Dolly! starring Broadway legend Betty Buckley and the first national tours of Come From Away, A Bronx Tale, The Play That Goes Wrong, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Anastasia. Also as part of the season, DCPA Cabaret will produce Xanadu in the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    Reservations for the limited number of new subscriptions are available at 10 a.m. starting today (Monday, Feb. 26), at 10 a.m. at denvercenter.org. Renewing subscribers, followed by members of the wait list, will receive priority seating. Some restrictions apply. A public on-sale will be announced at a later date.

    The DCPA also announced several non-subscription shows, in order of their Denver arrivals: Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Love Never Dies, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Cirque Eloize – Hotel, Rock of Ages, Bat Out of Hell, Cats, Wicked and ­Fiddler on the Roof.

    Dear Evan Hansen Creative Team. Photo by Chad Kraus

    Dear Evan Hansen creative team members, from left: Benj Pasek, Steven Levenson, Alex Lacamoire, Justin Paul and Michael Greif. Photo by Chad Kraus. 


    2018-19 BROADWAY SUBSCRIPTION SEASON AT A GLANCE
    :

    • Dear Evan Hansen tour launch, Buell Theatre, Sept. 25-Oct. 13, 2018
    • Xanadu, Garner Galleria Theatre, Nov. 3, 2018-April 28, 2019
    • Come From Away, Buell Theatre, Nov. 13-25, 2018
    • A Bronx Tale, Buell Theatre, Jan. 8-20, 2019
    • The Play That Goes Wrong, Buell Theatre, March 5-17, 2019
    • Hello, Dolly! Buell Theatre, March 27-April 7, 2019
    • Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Buell Theatre, July9-28, 2019
    • Anastasia, Buell Theatre, Aug. 7-18, 2019

    ADDITIONAL NON-SUBSCRIPTION OFFERINGS:

    • Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, Garner Galleria Theatre, July 12-Aug. 5, 2018
    • The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Garner Galleria Theatre, Sept. 13-30, 2018
    • Love Never Dies, Buell Theatre, Oct. 23-28, 2018
    • Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Buell Theatre, Dec. 5-15, 2018
    • Cirque Eloize – Hotel, Buell Theatre, Dec. 19-23, 2018
    • Rock of Ages, Buell Theatre, Jan. 25-27, 2019
    • Bat Out of Hell, Buell Theatre, Feb. 6-17, 2019
    • Cats, Buell Theatre, April 24-28, 2019
    • Wicked, Buell Theatre, May 8-June 9, 2019
    • ­Fiddler on the Roof, Buell Theatre, June 11-16, 2019

    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized ticket provider for these productions in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker, or any third party, run the risk of overpaying or potentially buying illegitimate tickets. If they do, they should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and are unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance. Patrons found in violation of the DCPA Ticket Purchase and Sale Terms and Policies may have ALL of their tickets canceled.

    Read more: DCPA NewsCenter interview with Michael Greif


    ABOUT THE SHOWS:
    (In alphabetical order; descriptions provided by DCPA)

      [3475]_NicoleScimecaMaryBethPeilinANASTASIAonBroadwayPhotobyMatthewMurphy2017ANASTASIA

      • Aug 7-18, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia is on a journey to Denver at last. From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family. Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) with direction by Tony Award-winner Darko Tresnjak. (Photo by Matthew Murphy.)


      Andrew Polec as Strat & Christina Bennington as Raven in BAT OUT OF HELL THE MUSICAL (7). Photo Credit - SpecularBAT OUT OF HELL

      • Feb 6-17, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      The romance of rock ‘n’ roll comes alive on stage in Jim Steinman’s “Jaw-Dropping Spectacle” (London Evening Standard) Bat Out of Hell The Musical. The streets are heating up as Strat, the forever young leader of rebellious gang The Lost, falls in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler of post-apocalyptic Obsidian in a love story that has “changed the way musicals are staged forever” (North West End). Winner of Best Musical at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, this “dazzling tale of star crossed lovers” (Toronto Sun) plays The Buell February 2019. Forget everything you know about musicals and get lost in this critically-acclaimed, smash-hit theatrical spectacle. (Photo by Specular.)


      A Bronx Tale. Photo by Joan Marcus. A BRONX TALE

      • Jan 8-20, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Broadway’s hit crowd-pleaser takes you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s — where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Bursting with high-energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes from the songwriter of Beauty and the Beast — Alan Menken — A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty and family. Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Tony® winner Jerry Zaks direct this streetwise musical based on Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri’s story that The New York Times hails as “A Critics’ Pick. The kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry.” “A combination of Jersey Boys and West Side Story” (amNewYork).


      Mamie Parris as Grizabella in CATS (Photo by Matthew Murphy)CATS

      • April 24-28, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Cats, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in more than 30 countries and 15 languages, is now on tour across North America. Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater—“Memory”. Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom, School of Rock, Sunset Boulevard), original scenic and costume design by John Napier (Les Misérables), all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz (Aladdin), all-new sound design by Mick Potter, new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne (Phantom) and direction by Trevor Nunn (Les Misérables) make this production a new Cats for a new generation. (Photo by Matthew Murphy.)


      6_RyanFoustinROALDDAHLSCHARLIEANDTHECHOCOLATEFACTORYPhotosbyJoanMarcus2017ROALD DAHL’S CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

      • July 9-28, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Roald Dahl’s amazing tale is now Denver’s golden ticket. It’s the perfect recipe for a delectable treat: songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray. Willy Wonka is opening his marvelous and mysterious chocolate factory...to a lucky few. That includes Charlie Bucket, whose bland life is about to burst with color and confection beyond his wildest dreams. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination. Now’s your chance to experience the wonders of Wonka like never before – get ready for Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper. (Photo by Joan Marcus.)


      Cirque-Eloize-Hotel-200x200CIRQUE ELOIZE - HOTEL

      • Dec 19-23, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      For its 25th anniversary, Cirque Éloize once again presents a touching, poetic, one-of-a-kind creation. Hotel is the story of a place and the travelers who come passing through it. A stopover where lives intersect, collide and juxtapose for a brief time to generate tales and memories. Acrobatics, theatre, dance and live music will draw spectators into a colorful, timeless world. Avant-garde stage design, inspired by the elegance of the great hotels, will carry the narrative. All that remains is to enter through the lobby door and get swept away by the grandeur and poetry of Hotel.


      [2]_ThecastofCOMEFROMAWAYPhotobyMatthewMurphy2016COME FROM AWAY

      • Nov 13-25, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      The true story of the small town that welcomed the world. Broadway’s Come From Away has won Best Musical all across North America. The New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Don’t miss this breathtaking new musical written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein and helmed by this year’s Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley. Newsweek cheers, “It takes you to a place you never want to leave.” On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. (Photo by Matthew Murphy.)


      Dear-Evan-Hansen-200x200DEAR EVAN HANSEN
      North American tour launch of the Tony and Grammy-winning Best Musical

      • Sept. 25-Oct. 13, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      Winner of Six 2017 Tony Awards Including Best Musical and the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. “One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history,” says The Washington Post. Rolling Stone calls Dear Evan Hansen  “a game-changer that hits you like a shot in the heart” and NBC News says the musical is “an inspiring anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.” Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman) and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal). Casting will be announced at a later date.


      Fiddler-on-the-Roof-200x200FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

      • Jun 11-16, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Audiences across North America are toasting a new production of Fiddler on the Roof. Rich with musical hits you know and love, including “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and "To Life (L'Chaim),” Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Featuring a talented cast, lavish orchestra and stunning movement and dance from Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins, Fiddler on the Roof will introduce a new generation to the uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy.


      HelloDolly_Performance4_033117-398HELLO, DOLLY!

      • March 27-April 7, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in Hello, Dolly! – the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). Breaking box office records week after week and receiving thunderous raves on Broadway, this Hello, Dolly! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be seeing something historic."


      The-Improvised-Shakespeare-Company-200x200THE IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

      • Sept 13-30, 2018
      • Garner Galleria Theatre

      Based on one audience suggestion (a title for a play that has yet to be written) The Improvised Shakespeare Co. creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your very eyes! Each of the players has brushed up on his “thee’s” and “thou’s” to bring you an evening of off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare. Nothing has been planned out, rehearsed, or written.  All of the dialogue is said for the first time, the characters are created as you watch, and if every you're wondering where the story is going ... so are they. The night could reveal a tragedy, comedy, or history. Each play is completely improvised, so each play is entirely new.


      LoveNeverDies-5LOVE NEVER DIES

      • Oct 23-28, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      This story of boundless love, full of passion and drama, follows Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most successful musicals of all time, which has now been seen by more than 130 million people worldwide and is the winner of more than 50 international awards. The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. Love Never Dies is a dazzling new production, which takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Be seduced by the beautiful, sometimes magical and poetic, sometimes joyful, and occasionally melancholic score. Don’t miss this magnificent continuation of one of the world’s greatest love stories as it makes its Denver premiere.


      The Play That Goes WrongTHE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

      • March 5-17, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You’d get The Play That Goes Wrong, Broadway and London’s award-winning smash comedy. Called “a gut-busting hit” (The New York Times) and “the funniest play Broadway has ever seen” (Huffington Post), this classic murder mystery is chockfull of mishaps and madcap mania delivering “a riotous explosion of comedy” (Daily Beast). Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “tons of fun for all ages” (Huffington Post) and “comic gold” (Variety).



      Rock-of-Ages-200x200ROCK OF AGES

      • Jan 25-27, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      It’s 1987 on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip when a small-town girl meets a big city rocker.  As they fall in love in L.A.’s most famous rock club, Rock of Ages allows fans to rock out once again to their favorite ‘80s hits. Featuring the music of iconic bands such as Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister and Whitesnake among many others, this 10th Anniversary production features a dynamic new cast revisiting the larger than life characters and exhilarating story that turned Rock of Ages into a global phenomenon.


      IMG_3494_Kiss-CroppedSEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN FROM A GAY MAN

      • July 12-Aug. 5, 2018
      • Garner Galleria Theatre

      This romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man.  The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly meet the author’s event.  Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this meet the author’s event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar.  Will Stefan’s muscles be used for more than moving more than heavy scenery?  Will the power of Dan’s tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event ... that is for Dan to know, and you to find out.



      8_IBWCIRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS

      • Dec. 5-15, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      Start this holiday season with a timeless tale of joy and good will, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and head on over to The Buell Theatre to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written. Give everyone the gift they’re dreaming of with this merry and bright holiday musical.


      GinnaClaireMasonMaryKateMorrisseyinWICKED.PhotobyJoanMarcusWICKED

      • Sept. 25-Oct. 13
      • Buell Theatre

      Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…but from a different angle.  Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin — smart, fiery, misunderstood and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.” From the first electrifying note to the final breathtaking moment, Wicked — the untold true story of the Witches of Oz—transfixes audiences with its wildly inventive story that USA Today cheers is “a complete triumph. An original musical that will make you laugh, cry and think.” (Photo by Joan Marcus.)



      xanadu-200x200XANADU

      • Nov. 3, 2018-April 28, 2019
      • Garner Galleria Theatre

      Xanadu follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time – the first roller disco. (Hey, it's 1980.) But, when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds. This Tony Award-nominated, hilarious, roller skating, musical adventure about following your dreams despite the limitations others set for you, rolls along to the original hit score composed by pop-rock legends, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Based on the Universal Pictures cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly,  Xanadu is hilarity on wheels for anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired. Produced by DCPA Cabaret, local Xanadu auditions will be posted at a later date at denvercenter.org/about-us/careers.


      ABOUT THE DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

      The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation, presenting Broadway tours and producing theatre, cabaret, musicals, and innovative, multimedia plays. Last season the DCPA engaged with more than 1.1 million visitors, generating a $115 million economic impact in ticket sales alone.

      Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts News Center.

      Save the date for the 2018/19 Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company & Off-Center announcement in early April.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    • Announcing the 'Hamilton' lottery in Denver

      by John Moore | Feb 12, 2018

      Hamilton lottery. Photo by Joan MarcusThe national touring production of 'Hamilton.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

      The #HAM4HAM lottery will make 40 tickets for every performance at the Buell Theatre available for $10 each

      Producer Jeffrey Seller is pleased to announce a digital lottery for HAMILTON tickets will begin in conjunction with the show’s first performance (February 27) in Denver at The Buell Theatre.  Forty (40) orchestra tickets will be sold for every performance for $10 each.  The digital lottery will open at 11:00 AM MT on Sunday, February 25 for tickets to the Tuesday, February 27 performance.  Subsequent digital lotteries will begin two days prior to each performance. The digital lottery will begin two days prior to each performance.

      HOW TO ENTER:

      • Use the official app for HAMILTON, now available for all iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (hamiltonmusical.com/app).
      • You can also visit hamiltonmusical.com/lottery to register.
      • The lottery will open at 11 a.m. (Mountain Time Zone) two days prior to the performance date and will close for entry at 9 a.m. (Mountain Time) the day prior to the performance.
      • Winner and non-winner notifications will be sent at approximately 11 a.m. (Mountain Time) the day prior to the performance via email and SMS (if mobile number is provided).
      • There is a limit of one entry per person, and each winner can purchase two tickets. Repeat entries and disposable email addresses will be discarded.
      • Tickets must be purchased online with a credit card by 4 p.m. (Mountain Time) the day prior to the performance using the purchase link and code in a customized notification email. Tickets not claimed by 4 p.m. (Mountain Time) the day prior to the performance are forfeited.
      • Lottery tickets may be picked up at will call beginning two hours prior to the performance with a valid photo ID. Lottery tickets void if resold.

      ADDITIONAL RULES

      Limit one (1) entry per person, per performance. Multiple entries will not be accepted. Patrons must be 18 years or older and have a valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter. Tickets are non-transferable. Ticket limits and prices displayed are at the sole discretion of the show and are subject to change without notice.

      Lottery prices are not valid on prior purchases. Lottery ticket offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. All sales final — no refunds or exchanges. Lottery may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not improve the chances of winning.

      Tickets for HAMILTON are currently on sale.  Patrons are advised to check the official HAMILTON channels, denvercenter.org/hamilton, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Box Office for late release seats which may become available at short notice.

      HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.

      With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and music supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The HAMILTON creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award ® Winning Best Musical In The Heights. HAMILTON features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA.

      The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater. The HAMILTON Original Broadway Cast Recording is available everywhere nationwide.  The HAMILTON recording received a 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album.

      For information on HAMILTON, visit HamiltonMusical.com, Facebook.com/HamiltonMusical, Instagram.com/HamiltonMusical and Twitter.com/HamiltonMusical.

      About THE DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

      The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation, presenting Broadway tours and producing theatre, cabaret, musicals, and innovative, multimedia plays. Last season the DCPA engaged with more than 1.2 million visitors, generating a $150 million economic impact in ticket sales alone. Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts News Center. The DCPA Broadway season is generously sponsored by UCHealth and United Airlines. Media sponsorship is provided by The Denver Post and CBS4. Denver Center for the Performing Arts is supported in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

      Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Hamilton

      Hamilton’s celebrated education program debuts March 21 at DCPA
      'Rise Up!' More things to know about Hamilton tickets
      Hamilton tickets: Don't get scammed on Monday
      2018 Saturday Night Alive guests will attend Hamilton

    • Hamilton’s celebrated education program debuts March 21 at DCPA

      by John Moore | Feb 08, 2018
      Hamilton. Joan Marcus

      The 'Hamilton' national touring company. Photo by Joan Marcus.

      2,700 students and teachers will attend performance of the Broadway musical at The Buell Theatre

      The innovative educational program that debuted at HAMILTON on Broadway will continue in Denver (Denver Center for the Performing Arts) on Wednesday, March 21 when 2,700 students and teachers from Denver area high schools attend the matinee performance of the musical at The Buell Theatre. 

      The March 21 all-student matinee performance in Denver will provide more than 2,700 Denver area high school students the opportunity to experience the musical HAMILTON after having spent several weeks in their classrooms studying American history through a special integrated curriculum about Alexander Hamilton and the nation’s Founding Fathers. 

      In addition to seeing a performance of HAMILTON, students will participate in a Q&A with members of the HAMILTON cast.  As well, students representing various schools in attendance will perform an original work they created based on their classroom studies – songs, rap, poetry, scenes, monologues – on The Buell Theatre stage in front of their peers.  

      The Hamilton Education Program is one of several history education programs at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Its president, James G. Basker -- who devised the education program in New York in tandem with HAMILTON creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, producer Jeffrey Seller, The Rockefeller Foundation and the NYC Department of Education -- adds, “This project is transformative. HAMILTON has struck a chord with our nation’s students because it embodies what great history education is all about: bringing the past to life, and fostering connections with the exceptional individuals and moments that have made us who we are. This program empowers students to reclaim their own narrative and empowers teachers to bridge classroom learning with the stage.”

      HAMILTON producer Jeffrey Seller, who was instrumental in developing the HAMILTON Education Program, says about the program in Denver, “Our goal is to ensure that students have a shot to see HAMILTON and use its words, music and staging to further their understanding and enjoyment of American History, music and drama. We’ve had the pleasure of expanding the education program outside of New York in Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities around the country.”

      Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation said “After the initial success of the partnership in New York City we could not throw away our shot to ensure students across the United States had the opportunity to witness living breathing history. We look forward to seeing the creativity and engagement this program continues to spur.”

      The HAMILTON producers are making tickets for this educational partnership available for $70, $60 of which is subsidized by Google. Tickets will cost $10 for each student.

      "Google is proud to work with Hamilton Education Program and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to bring Hamilton to thousands of students in the Denver community. The play shares a critical piece of American history and it's especially important for high school students to be engaged in civic learning and have a deep understanding of our country's past so they can make informed decisions about its future," says Gerardo Interiano, Head of External Affairs for Colorado. 

      The Rockefeller Foundation provided an initial grant of $1.46 million that funded the educational partnership in New York City.  After the resounding success of the partnership in New York, The Rockefeller Foundation committed an additional $6 million to the effort to support the national expansion of the program.  The Rockefeller Foundation has a long history of supporting the arts and humanities, fueled by a belief that the cultivation of aesthetic sensibilities through literature, music and other fine arts is essential to the well-being of humanity.  The HAMILTON Education Program underscores the Foundation's commitment to nurturing the vitality of American cultural institutions and the role of the arts as a catalyst for social change.   

      HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.  

      With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

      The HAMILTON creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award ® Winning Best Musical In the Heights. 

      HAMILTON features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA.

      The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.

      The HAMILTON Original Broadway Cast Recording is available everywhere nationwide. The HAMILTON recording received a 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. 

      For information on HAMILTON, visit www.HamiltonMusical.com, www.Facebook.com/HamiltonMusical, www.Instagram.com/HamiltonMusical and www.Twitter.com/HamiltonMusical.

      ABOUT THE GILDER LEHRMAN INSTITUTE OF AMERICAN HISTORY

      Founded in 1994 by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 education, while also serving the general public. Drawing on the 65,000 documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and an extensive network of eminent historians, the Institute provides teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to unique primary source materials.

      As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

      For information on the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, visit www.gilderlehrman.org, www.Facebook.com/gilderlehrman, www.instagram.com/gilderlehrman and www.twitter.com/Gilder_Lehrman.

      About THE DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

      The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation, presenting Broadway tours and producing theatre, cabaret, musicals, and innovative, multimedia plays. Last season the DCPA engaged with more than 1.2 million visitors, generating a $150 million economic impact in ticket sales alone. Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts News Center. The DCPA Broadway season is generously sponsored by UCHealth and United Airlines. Media sponsorship is provided by The Denver Post and CBS4. Denver Center for the Performing Arts is supported in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

    • The Book of Mormon's Denver return goes onsale February 5

      by John Moore | Jan 29, 2018
      Monica L. Patton, Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

      From left: Monica L. Patton, Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson from 'The Book of Mormon,' returning to Denver June 13. Photo by Julieta Cervantes. 


      Tickets start at $35 and there will be a lottery for a limited number of $25 tickets before every Denver performance.

      Back by popular demand, The Book of Mormon, which played sold-out runs in Denver starting with the national-tour launch in 2012 and return engagements in 2013 and 2015, returns for a limited engagement presented by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts from June 13-July 1 at The Ellie.

      Kevin Clay 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.Tickets start at $35 and go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5 at denvercenter.org. There will be a lottery for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each for every performance. Details will be announced closer to the engagement.

      Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized ticket provider for The Book of Mormon in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party run the risk of overpaying, purchasing illegitimate tickets and should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance. Patrons found in violation of the DCPA Ticket Purchase and Sale Terms and Policies  may have all of their tickets canceled.

      (Pictured at right: Kevin Clay from 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.)

      The Book of Mormon features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated TV series South Park. Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy Avenue Q.  The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker. 

      The Book of Mormon is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

      The Book of Mormon features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.  

      The Original Broadway Cast Recording for The Book of Mormon, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

      Photo gallery: The Book of Mormon

      The Book of MormonProduction photos for the national touring production of 'The Book of Mormon' To see more, click on the image above to be taken to the full photo gallery. Photos by Julieta Cervantes.


      The Book of Mormon
      :
      Ticket informationBook of Mormon
      Back by popular demand, The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical returns to Denver. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word.

      • National touring production
      • Performances June 13-July 1
      • Ellie Caulkins Opera House
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or MORE INFO
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      More information:
      • Visit the official The Book of Mormon website at BookofMormonTheMusical.com
      • Follow The Book of Mormon on Twitter and on Facebook
      • Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center
    • John Lithgow's Broadway 'Heart' beats back to Boulder

      by John Moore | Jan 24, 2018

      John Lithgow. Stories by Heart. Photo by Joan Marcus‘Stories are the life's blood to all of us,’ John Lithgow says. Photo by Joan Marcus.


      John Lithgow, again the toast of Broadway, gave Boulder audiences a sneak peek at his intimate play back in 2011

      Note: This interview was originally published in The Denver Post on Aug. 25, 2011, when John Lithgow came to Boulder to perform Stories by Heart to help launch Boulder’s Local Theatre Company. Lithgow is now performing the play on Broadway through March 4.

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      The symmetry was exquisite and heartbreaking.

      A grown son, like millions before him and millions to come, struggling with how best to care for his sad, sick parents, reading them bedtime stories — the same ones they had read to him as a boy.

      It was especially hard for actor John Lithgow to reconcile the depressed man before him with the father he had always known. “He had lost his spirit, and his will to go on,” said Lithgow. “He had all but given up.”

      JohnLithgowQuoteArthur Lithgow had lived as the consummate gypsy, an actor and director who instilled in all his young Lithgows a love for storytelling. He was a man of such gusto, he once covered for an ill fellow actor by playing both Baptista and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew — at the same time. He used a black cloak and an orange cap to distinguish the two characters, “and the audience just roared,” said John Lithgow, award-winning star of stage and screens big and small.

      But in 2002, after months of caring for his parents, Lithgow just could not cheer his father up, “and I knew that was my No. 1 task,” he said.

      The idea hit him like a bolt.

      He combed through his parents’ bookshelves until he came upon an old tome called Tellers of Tales, a collection of 100 short stories his father had often read to his kids.

      “I told my parents to pick a story as they were lying in bed, and they chose P.G. Wodehouse’s Uncle Fred Flits By, ” Lithgow said.

      Lithgow launched into the zany tale, “and as I was reading it, my father started to laugh,” he said. “In my mind, in that moment ... he came back to life.”

      Seeing it, Lithgow said, “crystallized all my thoughts about acting and performing and entertaining and storytelling.” It hit him why we all want and love stories in our lives: “They persuade us we are human, and they reacquaint us with our own emotions,” he said. “They are the life’s blood to all of us.”

      Lithgow comes to Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium on Sunday to perform his one-man stage memoir, Stories by Heart.

      It’s billed as the inaugural production by the Local Theatre Company founded by Boulder’s Pesha Rudnick. She’s Lithgow’s niece — the daughter of another sibling who grew up spellbound by Arthur Lithgow, teller of tales.

      But that’s not why he’s coming to Boulder.

      “Oh, I’ll do the show at the drop of a hat,” Lithgow said of Stories by Heart. “If I were a vaudevillian in the old days, this would be called my trunk show. I just carry it around and do it anywhere.”

      New York Times: Stories by Heart is delightful and uplifting

      In Boulder, he will reflect on how storytelling shaped his upbringing while he’s performing — not merely telling! — Uncle Fred Flits By and the decidedly darker Haircut, by Ring Lardner. The first is a silly British comedy in which Lithgow plays 10 outrageous characters (including a parrot). The second he calls “a darkly comic and extremely mordant American story.”

      John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in TheCrownLithgow believes there has been a renaissance in great storytelling of late, citing Elizabeth Stroud’s Olive Kitteridge, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionistsas favorites, as well as old standby John Irving, who helped vault Lithgow to fame by penning The World According to Garp, the film version of which earned Lithgow his first Oscar nomination.

      (Pictured at right: John Lithgow recently won his sixth Emmy Award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the Netflix drama The Crown.)

      But as a matter of nightly routine, storytelling has been under siege in households across America for decades. “And it all started with that (expletive) remote control!” Lithgow said.

      “I think our sensibilities have changed in the way stories are delivered to us,” he said. We’ll rotely sit in front of a TV for five hours, but we can’t stand still for 40 minutes while our own parents tell us tuck-in tales.

      But Lithgow is an optimist. He cites the recent sold-out, seven-hour off-Broadway production of Gatz, which takes the audience through every word of The Great Gatsby.

      And Irving’s recent opus, Last Night in Twisted River — another period novel Lithgow says his hero writes “almost in defiance of the snappy 200-page novels that are so popular.”

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      “People do respond to great storytelling,” he said. “People get surprised by their patience. And I like to think that there’s a great hunger for that, almost because of and in the face of the digital revolution.”

      Those who sate that hunger with Lithgow on Sunday will hear two stories framed by the narrator, now 65, telling his very personal story about telling stories to his parents.

      “People identify so powerfully to that aspect of the evening, especially people of my age who have older parents,” he said. “Once you get north of 50 or 60, that experience becomes extremely poignant and intense.”

      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.

    • Video: Genie from Disney's 'Aladdin' sings Broncos anthem

      by John Moore | Dec 27, 2017

      Anthony Murphy, who has joined the Melbourne production of Disney's Aladdin, visited Denver on Nov. 19, 2017, to sing the National Anthem at the Denver Broncos' home game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mile High Stadium. Murphy will not be appearing in the U.S. touring production that will play at the Buell Theatre from April 7-28, 2018, but he was here as an ambassador for the show.

      Watch as Murphy goes through sound check and gets advice about the vagaries of stadium singing from the Denver Broncos' Liz Coates, as well as the pomp surrounding the anthem — including the induction of running back Terrell Davis into the Broncos' Ring of Fame. After the anthem, Murphy is shown being congratulated by Broncos nose tackle Domata Peko, who also tells Murphy he enjoyed seeing Disney's Aladdin on Broadway.

      Tickets to the show's upcoming visit to Denver now on sale. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter. Anthem footage provided by Denver Broncos.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

       

      Disney’s AladdinDisney's Aladdin: Ticket information
      From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!),with sets, costumes and lighting from Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots) and Natasha Katz (An American in Paris).

      • National touring production
      • Performances April 7-28
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

      Aladdin Photo by Deen van Meer National touring production of Disney's 'Aladdin.' Photo by Dean van Meer.
    • The King and Us: A former Anna recalls her time with Brynner

      by John Moore | Dec 14, 2017
      Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I Jose Llana. Photo by Matthew MurphyJose Llana as The King in Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'The King and I'  In Denver, playing 2-14. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

      The King and I is a triumphant survivor of changing theatrical fashions and wildly changing times


      By Sylvie Drake
      For the DCPA NewsCenter

      How unfamiliar can anyone possibly be with the plot, music and subject of The King and I? It’s only been around for 66 years and it has hardly stopped playing somewhere in the world since it was launched in 1951.

      At first, incredibly, composer Richard Rodgers and book-writer Oscar Hammerstein II resisted writing this musical, doubting there would be much of an audience for it. Yet the musical about to emerge from their serendipitous collaboration turned out to be their fourth gigantic Broadway-and-beyond success. It made Yul Brynner virtually a one-role star; he played The King 4,625 times over a 34-year span. At an uninterrupted clip, that’s 12 years, seven weeks and five days.

      But a stage musical is not an endurance test (although there is that), but the result of a creative impulse. And The King and I is that result, plus the triumphant survivor of changing theatrical fashions and wildly changing times.

      It all began in 1873 when Anna Leonowens decided to write her two books of courtly memoirs, The English Governess at the Siamese Court and The Romance of the Harem. Little did this gutsy Victorian widow dream that, all these years later, this uncommon episode in her life would become the basis for one of America’s most beloved musicals.

      KING AND I 800When the urbane English comedienne Gertrude Lawrence chanced on a Margaret Landon novel called Anna and the King of Siam, inspired by Leonowens’ five years at the Siamese court, the aging Lawrence recognized Anna as a potential comeback role for herself. After failing to cajole Cole Porter into writing a musical for her based on the Landon novel, she turned to Rodgers and Hammerstein II, who had just delivered three successive Broadway megahits: Oklahoma! (1943), Carousel (1945) and South Pacific (1949).

      (Pictured above and right: Patricia Morison joined Yul Brynner on Broadway as Anna in 1954.)

      The two men had heard about the Landon novel from their wives, and the wives must have insisted, because eventually their husbands offered not only to write The King and I(a title Lawrence reportedly did not like), but also to produce it. Opening in March 1951 with Lawrence in the lead, it became the fourth Broadway megahit for its creators, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. (A fifth, The Sound of Music, would follow in 1959.)

      The production was an all-Broadway-royalty affair. Aside from the glittering Gertie Lawrence, it had fabulous songs (“Getting to Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Shall We Dance?”), Jerome Robbins’ charismatic choreography, opulent sets by Jo Mielziner, lavish Irene Sharaff costumes and, in the role of the King’s son — on Broadway and on tour, until his voice broke — a very young, very personable Sal Mineo.

      As for The King, after turndowns from Nöel Coward, Alfred Drake and Rex Harrison (who’d played The King in the 1946 nonmusical film with Irene Dunne), it went to that little-known Russian-born actor with a funny name who had been a circus acrobat in Europe, the one-of-a-kind Yul Brynner.

      So Lawrence got her wish, but while she created Anna on Broadway, she did not get to savor it for long. Developing cancer, she died in September 1952, after remaining with the show until the last possible minute. By then, Brynner was well on his way to making The King synonymous with himself, eventually wresting top billing and fulfilling the title’s promise, which placed The King before the I.

      Patricia Morison, who at the time had created her own Broadway sensation in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, was Rodgers’ first choice to replace Lawrence. But Morison was in London with Kate and had a year to go on her contract. She eventually joined Brynner in 1954, continuing the Broadway run of The King and I for another four months — the fourth longest of that decade — before going on the road with Brynner and the show for more than three years.

      Still lucid and luminous at 102, Morison gladly shares memories of those heady days, recalling especially the joy of working and traveling with all the young children in the company and their mothers.

      “Yul was remarkable,” she says of Brynner, who continued to draw worldwide admiration if, later in life, also a different set of whispered adjectives (try arrogant, demanding and imperious). Over time, Morison insists they became the best of friends.

      “Yul had broken every bone in his body when he was with the circus and had built himself up again,” she says. “He was wonderful with the children. Every Monday night he would hold acting classes for the actors and dancers. At Sal Mineo’s final performance he and Sal were both in tears.”

      Her biggest challenge? “Dealing with the 60-pound ball gown Anna wears in ‘Shall We Dance?’ It was quite a scramble to dance and leap around in those enormous crinolines.”

      The King and I features José Llana as The King at The Buell, a role he’s played twice in this 2015 Tony-winning Lincoln Center revival directed by Bartlett Sher. Madeline Trumble is his Anna.

      Sylvie Drake is a former theatre critic and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a translator, a contributor to culturalweekly.com and American Theatre magazine, and a former Director of Media Relations and Publications for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

      Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I: Ticket information
      The King and I Set in 1860s Bangkok, this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical tells of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.  score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.

      • National touring production
      • Performances Jan. 2-14
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    • 'Waitress' writer Jessie Nelson has a tip: Tip your waitress

      by John Moore | Dec 11, 2017
      Waitress. Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman. Waitress. Photy by Joan Marcus

      From left: Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman of the first national touring production of 'Waitress,' coming to Denver from Dec. 19-31. Photo by Joan Marcus.

      Telling a story about a woman doesn't make it a woman's story, says the veteran scribe. 'It makes it a human story.'

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      If you saw the recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where caustic comedian Larry David hilariously stalks an Uber driver who repaid his trademark rudeness with a poor customer rating, it will come as no surprise that the director of that episode also wrote the breakout underdog Broadway musical hit Waitress.

      Jessie Nelson knows what it’s like to be mistreated in a service industry. Long before she hit in big as a writer in TV and film (I am Sam), Nelson hoofed it for years as a waitress while she pursued her dreams.

      Waitress. Jessie Nelson “I always called waitressing my Hollywood Finishing School, because I learned everything I know about writing from waitressing,” Nelson told the DCPA NewsCenter. “You can know everything you need to know about a person by how they treat their waitress. You can size up a person's character in two brushstrokes. There is something profound in that.”

      While Nelson was pulling hundreds of invisible and anonymous double shifts, she came across both amazing real-life characters — “people with really generous, open hearts,” she said — “and those people who think they are entitled to treat you like you are not a human being.”

      The Denver-bound national touring production of Waitress was Nelson’s first foray into musical theatre. The stage adaptation of the late Adrienne Shelly’s breakout indie film of the same name is about a pregnant, unhappily married waitress named Jenna who falls into an unlikely relationship as a last attempt at happiness.

      “We call Jenna ‘The Queen of Kindness and Goodness,’ ” said Nelson. “She knows how to take care of everybody but herself. She presents this sunny exterior, and she bakes these extraordinary pies, and she's the only one who can handle the curmudgeonly customers. But she's also living this very dark secret — this relationship she’s in that is really destroying her self-esteem, her hopes and her dreams.”  

      “What's so beautiful about this story that Adrienne created is the whole restaurant — the customers, her fellow waitresses, the cook, the owner — they all rally around Jenna to support her in this huge next step she is taking.”

      Waitress made history in 2015 as the first-ever Broadway musical with a female director (Diane Paulus), writer (Nelson), composer (pop star Sara Bareilles), choreographer (Lorin Latarro) and orchestrator (Nadia DiGiallonardo). Nelson considers collaborating with Bareilles, a six-time Grammy nominee, to be “the greatest gift of this experience” — especially given this was the first piece either of them had ever written for the theatre.

      “We both have a background in the musical theatre from when we were younger, but our careers took in very different directions,” Nelson said. “So because neither of us had ever done this before, there were a lot of 2 a.m. emails that said things like" 'Hey, how about we try this?' or, 'Hey, how about a song right there that talks about how much she loves baking?' ” 

      Our interview with Lenne Klingaman of Waitress

      It can come as a shock to some first-time book writers just how collaborative making a musical can and ultimately must be. “You will write a scene that you are so proud of and someone will say, ‘Hey it might be better to turn that scene into a song,’ ” Nelson said. “I felt it was one of the greatest compliments to watch Sara Bareilles take a scene I had written and turn it into a beautiful song. It was an amazing thing to witness, because Sara can really capture characters and story with her music in such a beautiful way. Eventually you get to this point where there's no divide between you and your writing partner. You're birthing it together."

      Waitress is a uniquely female story in that its protagonist is a woman who was brought to the stage by women. But Nelson doesn’t think of Waitress as a uniquely female story. “I think of it as a uniquely human story,” she said. “I think everybody can relate to the overriding themes in the story. There’s the theme of daring yourself to pull a long-forgotten dream off a shelf and to just go for it. The theme of getting out of a relationship where you’ve had to shrink yourself to fit into it just to survive the relationship. I think everyone can relate to the liberation you feel when you dare to step out a toxic relationship. Men understand that. The themes are really universal, and I am pleased that men seem to respond to the piece as much as women.”


      Waitress. Photo by Joan Marcus

      Photo above by Joan Marcus.


      Here’s more from our conversation with Jessie Nelson about Waitress being the first Broadway musical to be led by an all-female creative team, her connection to Colorado’s own Supergirl, Melissa Benoist (who grew up in Littleton), and much more:

      John Moore: OK, so you produced Danny Collins, the movie that put Melissa Benoist in a scene with Al Pacino on one side of her, and Annette Bening on the other.

      Jessie Nelson: And she completely held her own. She's such a nice person to boot.

      John Moore: And at the time of this interview, we’ve just learned that Lenne Klingaman, who just played a female Hamlet for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, has been cast to play Jenna’s waitress friend Dawn on the tour that is coming to Denver. What can you tell us about her?

      Jessie Nelson: That she's just so good in the part. She's got such a natural funnybone, and she is just bringing so much to the role. I'm thrilled we cast her.

      John Moore: Much has been made that Waitress made Broadway history as the first musical to be led by an all-female creative team. What does that milestone mean to you?

      Jessie Nelson: The funny thing is, none of us even noticed until a man pointed it out to us. At the time, we were so knee-deep in the work and finding people who were really in sync with the vision that was forming that no one even thought about gender. It was about a creative connection. When it got pointed out to us, that was just an extraordinary thing to observe because honestly, people were only chosen because they were right for their creative role in the team. It means more to me as time passes.

      John Moore: What should we glean from that?

      Jessie Nelson: That when you throw women into the mix in hiring, they bring a lot to the table.

      John Moore: Studies show 68 percent of the Broadway audience are made up of women. So why are not more women writing the material that the primary Broadway audience is watching?

      Jessie Nelson: I think that is the most important question. I see it in film, too. Women choose the movies you go to, and they think it's an anomaly when there is a successful female movie. It's been shown time and time again that when you have a woman at the center of musicals, people — all people — want to see those stories. And people want to see stories where women are kind to each other and support each other, like they do in our piece. That was very important to us. I do think this is a time where more and more female voices are emerging, so I have great hope for this next chapter, and for the world.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      John Moore: How is creating a Broadway musical not unlike being part of a team of waitresses getting through the dinner rush?

      Jessie Nelson: Both experiences are really team sports. When you are waitressing, it’s like this: ‘You get the menus. I'll get the water. I'll bus that table for you. You bring that pie over there.' You are all working together to get through those very intense few hours when there is a lot of demand on you. And that’s a lot like the creative process on a musical, which goes a little like this: I’ll say, ‘I'll write this scene that will express this.’ And then the composer will go, 'Oh, hey, can I take those five lines of yours out of the scene and turn them into a song?' And the director will go, 'Well, if you give me five more bars of music here, we can make a beautiful transition here.' And then the choreographer will say, 'Actually, if you add just a little more room here, I can create this really beautiful visual moment that will kick us off into the next scene.’ In both examples, you are only as good as the trust and the intimacy that develops between you and the rest of the team."

      Bryan Fenkart and Desi Oakley in the National Tour of WAITRESS Credit Joan Marcus
      Bryan Fenkart and Desi Oakley in the National Tour of 'Waitress.' Photo by Joan Marcus.


      John Moore: Before you go, what do you want us to know about the next person who greets us when we walk into a diner?

      Jessie Nelson: That saying something as simple as, 'Hi, what’s your name?' to your server can change the entire interaction. I love that. It's so important for us to think about what they might be going through that you cannot be aware of. This person is living a whole life that's completely separate from taking your order.

      John Moore: And lastly: What do you think Waitress is ultimately about?

      Jessie Nelson: For me, Waitress is about daring to find your authentic self, or your voice or your talent, and finding some way to express that. I also think it is about community and these unexpected families we form with the people we work with. Sometimes you can be closer to them than you are to your own families because you spend so much time together, and they see you for who you really are.

      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.

      Jessie Nelson/At a glance
      Jessie Nelson wrote, directed, and produced Corrina, Corrina with Whoopi Goldberg and I Am Sam with Sean Penn, who received an Academy Award nomination for his performance. Recently she directed Love the Coopers with Diane Keaton and John Goodman. She also co-wrote Step Mom and The Story of Us, and produced both Danny Collins with Al Pacino and Annette Bening, and Fred Claus with Vince Vaughn. She co-wrote Alice By Heart with Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik (creators of Spring Awakening), which was developed at The National Theatre. Nelson began her career in the theater working with Mabou Mines and The New York Shakespeare Festival. And she co-wrote the children’s book Labracadabra. Nelson has been the Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute’s Writers Lab.

      waitressWaitress in Denver: Ticket information
      Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna — a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life. This is an uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

      • National touring production
      • Performances Dec. 19-31
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

      Selected NewsCenter coverage of Waitress:

    • Play 'Cast Album Karaoke' with 'Waitress' band on Dec. 28

      by John Moore | Dec 08, 2017
      Bryan Fenkart and Desi Oakley in the National Tour of WAITRESS Credit Joan Marcus
      Bryan Fenkart and Desi Oakley in the national touring production of Waitress, which plans a special audience event on Dec. 28. Photo by Joan Marcus.

      Here's a good idea: Sing Bad Idea - or another favorite Waitress song - at a post-show karaoke with the band.

      Following the Thursday, Dec. 28 evening performance of Waitress at The Buell Theatre, audience members will have a chance to sing one minute of any song from the show accompanied by the Waitress band.

      It's a fun audience appreciation event called Cast Album Karaoke that started with the  Broadway cast in New York. It was so popular there, the team is taking it on the road to cities like Denver. 

      The Dec. 28 performance is also a designated Theatre Thursday event. When you order your tickets, Enter the code THURSDAY to receive a discount off the purchase price, as well as a free pre-show drink from the lobby bar.

      Interested audience members with tickets to the Dec. 28 evening performance will be chosen at random for Cast Album Karaoke. Just find one of four volunteers in Waitress shirts and carrying Waitress clipboards to sign up for consideration. The four will be stationed on all levels of The Buell Theatre lobby.

      Signups are available before the show and at intermission. You will be asked to include your name, what song from Waitress you want to sing and a fun fact about yourself. You can sign up to sing solo, in duets or as a group. Up to eight names will be drawn. A book of lyrics will be provided. But, hey, if you want to practice in advance, the cast album is available for listening or download on Spotify, iTunes or Amazon

      With original music and lyrics by six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), Waitress is an uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood and the magic of a well-made pie. Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. While her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness, a baking contest in a nearby county and the town's new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, but Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life. This irresistible new hit features a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Finding Neverland, Pippin, Hair).

      Tickets are on sale now for the Dec. 19-31 Denver engagement at denvercenter.org. Information below.

      DCPA Tickets

       

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      waitressWaitress in Denver: Ticket information
      Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna — a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life. This is an uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

      • National touring production
      • Performances Dec. 19-31
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

      Selected NewsCenter coverage of Waitress:

      Waitress. Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman. Waitress. Photy by Joan MarcusFrom left: Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman of the first national touring production of 'Waitress.' Photo by Joan Marcus
    • How ELF became an instant holiday tradition on stage and screen

      by John Moore | Dec 05, 2017
      Elf The Musical Jeremy Daniel Photography
      The cast of 'ELF The Musical,' which comes to Denver's Buell Theatre from Dec. 13-17. Jeremy Daniel Photography.

      Director: 'ELF The Musical on tour is really its own entity, and we’re very proud of that.'

      Elf, the 2003 Christmas movie, is America’s newest holiday classic. It ranks up there with It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street. When Buddy, a 6-foot-plus man raised by elves, sets out to find his father, his rosy, optimistic and endearing outlook on humankind thaws even the coldest heart — his dad’s. Director Sam Scalamoni discusses how collaborators brought this iconic movie to life for the tour of ELF The Musical, visiting Denver's Buell Theatre from Dec. 13-17.

      Tell us about your experience directing ELF The Musical on tour.

      When they were planning the tour, the original Broadway director was unavailable. So they passed it to me and I brought on my choreographer and design team. We re-imagined the whole show from scratch. It was an amazing experience. We were able to work with the original writers: Matt Sklar [music], Chad Beguelin [lyrics], Bob Martin [book] and Tom Meehan [book]. They were incredible collaborators and they continue to work with us each year to refine it. ELF The Musical on tour is really its own entity, and we’re very proud of that.

      Did the writers resist the changes you wanted?

      Not at all – in fact, they really embraced our ideas. They see the tour or a run-through in the studio every year. So Tom will see it and might say, “This isn’t funny. This joke is working – this isn’t.” They had some strong opinions not only about things they wanted to keep, but some they wanted to change. For example, the second year the show was on Broadway they added a new song called “Happy All the Time.” It’s a very funny opening number Santa sings about how happy the elves are all the time and how he just needs a little break.

      Whose idea was it to put the elves at the North Pole on their knees?

      We came to the idea together. When we came to Gregg Barnes [the original Broadway costume designer who redesigned the show for the tour] with it he said, “Oh great, because I designed these amazing things; they’re called ‘knee shoes’” that wrap around the actors’ knees with a built-in kneepad. The actors are as comfortable as they can be and the shoes lay flat on the floor. It’s really brilliant.

      Why do you think both the movie and now the musical have become such instant classics?

      It’s one of the few contemporary films about the holidays that really connects with audiences. The fact that the story is present day with current content really strikes a
      chord with people. 


      ELF The Musical: Ticket information
      elfAt a glance: Based on the beloved 2003 film, ELF The Musical is a modern day Christmas classic that is sure to make everyone embrace their inner ELF. Variety proclaims, “ELF is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults."

      • National touring production
      • Performances Dec. 13-17
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
      • ASL Interpreted, Audio-Described and Open Captioned Performance: Dec. 16, 3 p.m.

      ELF The Musical. Jeremy Daniel Photography.
    • After 42 years, 'Chicago' still has all that juice

      by John Moore | Nov 27, 2017
      Chicago Broadway Photo by Jeremy Daniel The Broadway company of Chicago, above. The national touring production comes to Denver for a week starting Nov. 28. Photo by Jeremy Daniel. 


      Chicago grew long legs from the shadow of A Chorus Line to take its own place in Broadway's razzle-dazzle history

      Genevieve Miller Holt
      For the DCPA NewsCenter

      The 1975-76 Broadway season made history. Meryl Streep earned her first Tony Award nomination and Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures premiered on Broadway. And two of musical theatre’s most enduring musicals were created nearly simultaneously. 

      In the preceding year, while visionary director and choreographer Michael Bennett was developing A Chorus Line, the equally visionary Bob Fosse enlisted composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb (Cabaret) to create a new piece too: the musical version of a 1926 play about an infamous dame who’d killed her husband.

      Chicago Dylis CromanFosse was an established Broadway director and choreographer at this point (Pippin, Sweet Charity) with a corps of loyal dancers. Denver resident Candy Brown was one of them.  

      In January 1974, while Brown was dancing in Pippin, she and 18 other dancers gathered to discuss the challenges of being a Broadway gypsy, which eventually became the basis of A Chorus Line. Bennett’s project was an unknown quantity with only the glimmer of becoming something bigger, so some participants defected to more secure gigs, Brown among them. She joined Fosse’s Chicago

      “I felt a loyalty to Bob as Chicago would be my third project with him," she said. "Not to mention the fact that no one knew if the Bennett workshop would even be a show.”

      A year later, Brown arrived for the first day of rehearsal, yet just after lunch, the cast was told that Fosse had been hospitalized. “I went numb,” said Brown. “We all were in a state of disbelief.” Work stopped as Fosse suffered two heart attacks and underwent bypass surgery.

      Months later, the Chicago team reassembled and Fosse began to construct his iconic musical.   

      Candy Brown Quote CHICAGO“Every costume, every gesture, every bit of lighting, every word and moment were all woven together to create the story,” said Brown, who played the role of June.

      Chicago opened on Broadway on June 3, 1975, to enthusiastic audience response. Fosse considered it a compliment that some took offense at his cynical take on the American justice system and the cult of celebrity. “Bob was tickled when people walked out,” said Brown, “because he figured that in order to be offended, they must have ‘got it.’ ” 

      But when the Tony Awards came around, the unconventional A Chorus Line won them all. In his review of Chicago’s 1996 revival, New York Times critic Ben Brantley reflected that the 1975 production of Chicago had been, “in a sense, the evil twin of its rival musical, as acerbic and cold-hearted as the other was sentimental and warm.” 

      But Chicago would eventually get its due. The 1996 revival was a resounding success, winning six Tonys and a Grammy while Rob Marshall’s film version won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Picture. 

      Still considered one of Fosse’s towering undertakings, Chicago returns to Denver for a seventh time, and, after 20 years, is the longest-running American musical on Broadway today.

      It’s still got that razzle dazzle. 

      Genevieve Miller Holt, formerly of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, is the General Manager for Broadway Across America in Cincinnati.

      In the Spotlife: Denver's own Broadway star, Candy Brown

      Chicago in Denver: Ticket information

      chicagoThe longest-running American musical in Broadway history has everything that makes Broadway great: A universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; show-stopping songs, astonishing dancing and a story that never seems far from today's headlines. 

      • National touring production
      • Performances Nov. 28-Dec. 3
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $30
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    • Paul Ludick: The man who dressed Ben Platt for the part

      by John Moore | Nov 21, 2017
      Paul Ludick and Ben Platt. Dear Evan Hansen.Former longtime DCPA Theatre Company dresser Paul Ludick has spent the past year working with Tony-winning actor Ben Platt, who completed his run in the title role of Broadway's 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Sunday. Photo courtesy Paul Ludick.

      Former Denver Center dresser explains the expansive, intimate role of the backstage dresser at Dear Evan Hansen

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      Actor Ben Platt completed his Tony Award-winning run in the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Sunday, which means one thing: He’s going to have to dress himself for a while.

      Since the celebrated Broadway musical opened a year ago, that job (at least at the Music Box Theatre) has gone to Paul Ludick, who also worked for 16 seasons as a dresser for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company.

      Platt earned raves for his performance as Evan Hansen, the lonely high-school student who perpetuates a lie that earns him Internet fame. Platt not only won the Tony Award, he became the youngest recipient of The Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award. That’s an accolade an actor can win only once in a lifetime — and Platt won it at age 23.

      And from the first Broadway preview in October 2016 through Platt's final performance on Sunday, it was Ludick who made sure Platt always was dressed for the part. That and so much more.

      DEH-Mike-Faist-Ben-Platt-0104-Photo-Credit-Matthew-Murphy 800

      By definition, a dresser helps cast members backstage with their costume changes — but the job is far more involved than that. 

      “Yes, we take care of the costumes and we help the actors change in and out of them,” Ludick said. “But sometimes you're also a therapist, a doctor, a personal assistant or a mediator. You’re there to deal with everything that comes up that needs dealing with. My job was to make sure Ben had everything he needed so that he could fully focus on his performance.”

      That included shepherding the actor’s guests backstage and filtering email. Ludick would stay long after each performance to make sure Platt got to his car safely.

      (Pictured above and right: Mike Faist, left, and Ben Platt from the original Broadway company of 'Dear Evan Hansen.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.)

      Paul Ludick 400 Peter PanLudick was a dresser for many DCPA Theatre Company productions between 1988 and 2006, as well as homegrown cabaret musicals in the Garner-Galleria Theatre. In his first season alone, Ludick dressed both Burke Moses and future Tony Award nominee Craig Bierko in Carousel, as well as future Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator John Cameron Mitchell in the Theatre Company’s Peter Pan. (Coincidentally, both Bierko and Moses later played Leadville Johnny Brown in various incarnations of the Denver Center’s recent premiere of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.)

      Ludick, a Chicago native, first came to Colorado in 1987 to work for Central City Opera. His most meta experience at the Denver Center had to be when he was the dresser for The Dresser, an acclaimed play by Ronald Harwood starring two Denver legends – Jamie Horton and Tony Church.

      (Photo above and right: John Cameron Mitchell in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Peter Pan.' Story continues after the photo below.)

      Paul Ludick The Dresser. Jamie Horton. Tony Church Jamie Horton, left, played the dresser in 'The Dresser,' with Tony Church, for the DCPA Theatre Company in 1988. Photo by Terry Shapiro.

      Horton played a backstage assistant who struggles to keep an aging actor’s life together. To research his role, Horton asked Ludick if he could shadow him as he worked on Always … Patsy Cline at the Galleria Theatre.

      “I shadowed Paul for a very good reason:  He was damned good at what he did, and I knew I would learn from him,” Horton said. “And learn I did.” One example: How to properly place a wig on a wig block (that's essentially a Styrofoam mannequin head). At a subsequent rehearsal, Horton interjected: “That’s not how Paul set the wig, so I'm going to do it the way Paul did it.”

      Before Dear Evan Hansen, Platt was known for his appearances in the Pitch Perfect movies. But in the past year, during which Platt was named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man on Broadway” and secured a recording contract, Ludick witnessed a rising young star enter into a new stratosphere in the pop-culture landscape.

      PAUL LUDICK QUOTE

      “Ben is a phenomenon I've never experienced before," he said. "I’m so happy for him, especially him being so young. For someone to be that in-tune with his life at 23 was amazing to see.”

      As is the case in Harwood’s play, Ludick says, dressers can develop lifelong friendships with the actors they serve. It happened with Bobby Cannavale when the Mr. Robot star performed alongside Chris Rock in the edgy Broadway comedy The Motherf**ker with the Hat. That’s a play that got done mostly because Rock, a Broadway newbie, signed on to do it. “I thought Chris Rock did a great thing for theater,” Ludick said. “When a guy of that stature lends his name to a Broadway show that a lot of people who normally don’t go to theater came to see, that is just great.”

      Ludick has seen some careers seriously move. “So always be nice … because you never know,” he said with a laugh.  

      Ludick reunited with Cannavale in 2013 for The Big Knife, and at closing, the star presented Ludick with a framed poster from the original play as thanks. Other New York milestones include working on the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening, and dressing for Mark Ruffalo on Awake and Sing!

      Dear Evan Hansen will launch first national tour in Denver

      Ludick lists Dear Evan Hansen right up there among them, partly because of Platt, but more so because the show is saving lives. Ludick likens its impact to that of Spring Awakening.

      Dear Evan Hansen has touched a nerve that young people can relate to,” Ludick said. “And now, because we have social media, they don't even have to be in New York to experience the essential message of the show. They are hearing about it in Omaha and Charlotte and everywhere in-between."

      The story is about young people who feel there's no one out there for them. "But there are people out there ready to help,” Ludick said. “You just have to reach out and make it known that you're going through a hardship. Ben's character, for example, has anxiety disorders, which we found from his fan mail and from the kids coming to the stage door is a very common thing. Some of them have contemplated suicide. Our show helps them to realize there are ways to get help and people to talk to. And we're opening up a lot of parents’ eyes, too.”

      Read our coverage of Colorado theatre on the NewsCenter

      When Dear Evan Hansen hits the road with its first national touring production next year, Ludick said it will have the opportunity to positively impact tens of thousands more lives. And that road starts in Denver in October 2018 — which is meaningful to Ludick.

      “That's just perfect, because it's a show that I love, in a place that I love,” Ludick said. “That’s just a perfect way to start a tour."

      As Ludick now adjusts, as he has so many times before, to serve a new actor (Noah Galvin), he likes to believe he will occupy a small but special place in Platt’s memory.

      “We've been with each other almost every day for more than a year, so that friendship is strong,” Ludick said. “Once he goes on to start being a mover and a shaker, hopefully we'll stay in touch. Each person I have ever dressed I have a special relationship with, and every one is different. But whenever I see them again, it's like we haven't missed a beat.”

      Ludick was a bit bemused by the request to be interviewed for this story, given the covert nature of his daily work. But he was glad for the opportunity to sing the praises of dressers and the thousands of other invisible practitioners of the unseen arts.

      “If we're doing our job right, we go completely unnoticed,” Ludick said. “That’s actually our goal — to go unnoticed. It’s the same for everyone backstage. But what we do that you don’t see is what makes a show whole. It takes every little part to make the show work.”  

      Jamie Horton, who is now a theatre professor at Dartmouth College, is a believer.

      “I have great respect and admiration for the dressers who have been such an important part of my professional life as an actor,” he said, “and I wish Paul the very, very best.”

      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.


      Dear Evan Hansen: Denver information

      UntitledOctober 2018
      • The Buell Theatre
      • Tickets: An on-sale date will be announced at a later time. For more information, 303-893-4100 or sign up for EMAIL ALERTS
      • Groups: Call 303-446-482

    • November 2017: Applause Magazine puzzle solution

      by John Moore | Nov 18, 2017
      With each new issue of Applause Magazine, we offer readers a puzzle related to our current shows. Here is the most recent word challenge, covering RENT, Chicago, Mannheim Steamroller, Elf, Waitress and A Christmas Carol.

      The solution is posted below. Print and play! CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS PUZZLE, WITH THE SOLUTION!

      Word Search Applause Puzzle
      Word Search Applause Puzzle

      A Word Search Applause 4Brent Barrett stars in 'Chicago,' coming to the Buell Theatre from Nov. 28-Dec. 3. Photo by Catherine Ashmore.

      Word Search Applause Puzzle

        RENT clues
      • Lyric: I have to go out ___ Tonight 
      • Lyric: Measure your life in ___ Love 
      • Last name of RENT creator who died just hours after the show's final dress rehearsal off
      • Broadway: Larson   

        Chicago clues
      • Longest-running revival in Broadway history, and it's coming to Denver: Chicago
      • Lyric: We both reached for it: Gun
      • Chicago writers are Kander, Ebb and ___ Fosse

        A Christmas Carol clues
      • Number of years Marley has been a ghost before visiting Scrooge: Seven 
      • Last name of the actor who is back to play Scrooge: Gregory
      • "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is ____" Want

        Mannheim Steamroller clues
      • Mannheim Steamroller is largely credited with establishing the genre of New ___ music: Age
      • Mannheim Steamroller has sold more albums than Billy Joel, Bon Jovi and Bruce ___ Springsteen
      • Last name of the Mannheim Steamroller founder: Davis

        Elf clues
      • Name of the orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s sack: Buddy
      • Actress ____ Deschanel performs three songs in the Elf source film. Zooey

        Waitress clues
      • Last name of six-time Grammy nominee who wrote the music and lyrics to Waitress: Bareilles
      • Last name of Waitress director who also launched the national tour of Pippin in Denver:
        Paulus
      • What's inside of love? Sugar, butter, ___ Flour.


      Recent previous downloadable puzzles:

      Mamma Mia!, The Secret Garden, The Illusionists – Live From Broadway and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

      An American in Paris, Kinky Boots, Hal Holbrook Tonight and Disgraced DOWNLOAD

      Fun Home, The Book of Will, The Christians and Two Degrees DOWNLOAD

      Jersey Boys, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Finding Neverland, A Christmas Carol and The Hip-Hop Nutcracker DOWNLOAD
    • 'RENT' and more: No day like Tuesday at the Denver Center

      by John Moore | Nov 15, 2017
      Rent Cast Denver Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore
      Original 'RENT' cast member Rodney Hicks, front, joins the ensemble performing the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour playing at the Buell Theatre through Tuesday, Nov. 21. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

      Original cast member meets the newest crop of stage squatters, capping a Tuesday that's one to remember

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      “No day but today,” the cast sings at the finale of RENT, which opened in Denver on Tuesday night. But there was no day quite like Tuesday at the Denver Center in recent memory.

      The day began early with the morning introduction to employees of Chris Coleman as the DCPA Theatre Company’s fourth Artistic Director. Coleman, who has led Portland Center Stage for 17 years, was accompanied by husband Rodney Hicks, who originated the role of Paul and others when RENT debuted on Broadway in 1996.

      Tuesday was a homecoming for Hicks, who played Edmund in the DCPA Theatre Company’s King Lear in 2007. Coleman said Hicks was encouraging about the potential new job in Denver based on his brief experience here. "He told me, ‘What’s possible in that performing-arts complex is very unique in the American theatre,’ ” said Coleman.

      Chris Coleman Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore. Coleman also told the gathered company members a personal story that elucidates why storytelling means so much to him. It happened when his sister died quickly and unexpectedly, he said, from a burst clot that stopped her heart.

      “What that solidified for me is that we know not the hour or the day,” Coleman said. “We do know that the universe calls to each of us to carve out meaning in the time that we have together on this planet.”

      (Pictured right: Chris Coleman and his husband, Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

      At the same time Coleman was being introduced, DCPA Education was staging a morning performance of its inaugural Theatre for Young Audiences offering, The Snowy Day, in the Conservatory Theatre.

      That evening, as RENT was opening its 20th Anniversary touring production to screaming fans in the Buell Theatre, the the Garner Galleria Theatre was hosting a preview performance of the homegrown musical First Date, featuring a cast of all-local actors. Over in the Ricketson Theatre, the Theatre Company's smart comedy Smart People was playing out. It's the story of four young Harvard intellectuals who collide over race and sexual politics.

      Breaking: Coleman DCPA Theatre Company's new leader 

      Following RENT, Hicks and Coleman were taken backstage along with DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden and Broadway Division Executive Director John Ekeberg. The cast and crew gathered in the green room to meet Hicks, trade some stories and take a group photo.  

      Hicks told the newest RENT squatters their performance transported him right back into his 21-year-old shoes, and that at intermission, he texted superstar Anthony Rapp (the original Mark Cohen) to tell him all about it. Hicks, who has several other Broadway credits, most recently Come from Away, returned to the RENT family in 2007 to play Benny, the conformed ex-roommate who is now evicting his penniless old bohemian friends “for their own good.” Hick spoke to the cast of the ongoing influence the late RENT composer Jonathan Larson has on his life.

      Back in the Buell, four cast members regaled a few hundred audience members who stayed for a post-show Q&A — and some in the crowd returned the favor. One woman told the story of having been in attendance at RENT’s first pre-Broadway performance (and that this touring cast compared quite favorably). Another thanked the cast for bringing the show back to life with this touring production, and revealed a RENT shoulder tattoo that takes its inspiration from the show.

      A Rent Lyndie Moe 400The audience was also delighted to learn that actor Lyndie Moe, who plays the demonstrative performance artist Maureen in RENT, is a Colorado native and granddaughter of beloved former Denver Nuggets coach Doug Moe. She was asked how the loveable, legendary old coach liked seeing her perform the evocative role created by Idina Menzel. “I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about that — but he actually really liked it, thank God,” said Lyndie, whose sport of choice was volleyball through high school and college.

      (Here is a video of Lyndie Moe performing the national anthem at a Nuggets game at McNichols Sports Arena in 2006. Photo at right.)
       

      One young audience member asked what advice the cast has for aspiring performers such as herself.

      “Well, RENT was my first audition in New York — and I got it,” said Moe. “So my advice is to just go for everything, because you can never know what you are going to get.”  

      All in all, “today” was one very full day at the Denver Center, one that was unique in many ways but at the same time representative of the non-stop activity that both surrounds and fuels the Denver Performing Arts Complexon a daily 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.

      RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour: Ticket information200x200-rent
      At a glance: This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters.

      • National touring production
      • Performances Nov. 14-21
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more CLICK HERE
      Previous NewsCenter coverage of RENT:
      Two decades later, RENT still comes in on time
      RENT announces daily Denver lottery for $20 orchestra seats
    • 'RENT' announces daily Denver lottery for $20 orchestra seats

      by John Moore | Nov 10, 2017
      RENT Carol-Rosegg
      Kaleb Wells and Sammy Ferber of the Denver-bound 'RENT 20th Anniversary Tour' playing at the Buell Theatre from Nov. 14-21.

      Hopefuls may enter their names in a drum starting
      2½ hours before each performance in Denver

      Seats in the first two rows of the orchestra section will be available for $20 for every Denver performance of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical playing at the Buell Theatre from Nov. 14-21.

      The $20 tickets are available for in-person purchases at The Buell Box Office on the day of each performance only. Starting 2½ hours before each performance, everyone who presents themselves at the Buell Theatre box office will have their names placed in a lottery drum. Thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for seats in the first two rows of the orchestra at $20 each.

      This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery participants must have a valid photo I.D. when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.

      The tradition of the $20 Rent tickets began in New York in 1996 when the show moved to Broadway after a sold-out run in a small downtown theatre. The producers of the show are committed to continuing the tradition of offering orchestra seats for $20 in every city the show will play.

      RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour: Ticket information200x200-rent
      At a glance: This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters.

      • National touring production
      • Performances Nov. 14-21
      • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
      • Tickets start at $25
      • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Sales to groups of 10 or more CLICK HERE

      dcpa.org


      More about RENT

      In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. Now, RENT returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. 

      A re-imagining of Puccini's  La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters — love.   The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on Feb. 13, 1996, and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996.

      RENT is winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is one of only five musicals to win both awards. Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Evan Ensign will restage this 20th anniversary tour. Marlies Yearby (Tony nomination) will serve as choreographer.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Previous NewsCenter coverage of RENT:
      Two decades later, RENT still comes in on time
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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.