• 2018 Bobby G Awards: DSA reaches the heights with 'In the Heights'

    by John Moore | May 24, 2018
    IN THE HEIGHTS Bobby G Awards. Photo by John Moore

    The cast of Denver School of the Arts' 'In the Heights,' which was named Outstanding Musical at the Bobby G Awards tonight. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Awards celebrating achievements in Colorado high-school musical theatre are spread over a record 13 schools

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Students from high schools all over the state of Colorado found themselves at the Buell Theatre on Thursday night for the Denver Center’s sixth annual Bobby G Awards — and now, Bobby G Awards are going to be found at high schools all around Colorado. In all, a record 13 schools won at least one award, spreading the love from Greeley to Parker to all sorts of towns named Springs: Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs and Colorado Springs.

    Bobby G Awards Abby 300And speaking of being found, the sixth annual party celebrating achievements in Colorado high-school musical theatre began like no other when two students from all 43 participating schools joined together to perform the stirring anthem “You Will Be Found” from six-time 2017 Tony Award® and 2018 Grammy®-Winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen, which will be launching its first North American tour at the Denver Center in September.

    Denver School of the Arts and Castle View High School in Castle Rock led all schools with three awards each. DSA earned its first-ever Outstanding Musical Award, for In the Heights. DSA is comprehensive secondary arts magnet school for grades 6-12 in the Denver Public Schools district. Much like college, DSA students graduate with majors in intensive arts programs ranging from Theatre to Stagecraft to Creative Writing. In the Heights was directed by the team of Brandon Becker and Mara Osterburg, who also won the Bobby G Award for Outstanding Direction.

    Bobby G Awards Elisha Horne 800Becker said In the Heights was a rare opportunity for DSA to wholly embrace multicultural casting, and he encouraged other directors in the room to do the same. "Please continue to cast color-blind, because everyone deserves a chance to shine on the stage," Becker said in accepting his award.

    In six years of the Bobby Gs, there has yet to be a school to win Outstanding Musical twice.

    The Bobby G Awards are a culmination of a year-long program administered by the Denver Center that emphasizes camaraderie and shared experiences — but there is also much at stake. The students named Outstanding Actor and Actress go on to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA) on June 25 at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Elisha Horne of Vista PEAK Preparatory in Aurora (pictured above) was named Outstanding Actor for his performance as The Baker in Into the Woods. Abby Lehrer (pictured above), who wonthe Bobby G Award two years ago for Rising Star (outstanding underclassman), on Thursday was named Outstanding Actress for her work as Eponine in Castle View’s Les Misérables.  Horne and Lehrer will participate in a 10-day series of intensive classes and workshops with Broadway actors, directors and designers leading up to the national awards ceremony, which is presented by The Broadway League Foundation, and will be hosted this year by Broadway and TV star Laura Benanti.

    Bobby G Awards Outstanding Musicals: Through the years

    • 2013: Chaparral High School, Les Misérables
    • 2014: Cherry Creek High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    • 2015: Durango High School, Les Misérables
    • 2016: Mountain View High School, Anything Goes
    • 2017: Valor Christian, Pippin
    • 2018: Denver School of the Arts, In the Heights

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

    (Pictured: Crowd celebration after Denver School of the Arts' 'In the Heights' was named Outstanding Musical. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    An unusual twist Thursday: Vista PEAK senior Julianna Luce, who in February was celebrated at the Denver Center’s 2018 Colorado New Play Summit as one of the winners of DCPA Education’s statewide student playwriting contest, won a Bobby G Award for Outstanding Lighting. Which could not have been more perfect, given her winning play, Technical Difficulties, is a backstage comedy about a high-school theatre production that is saved from vengeful understudies by members of the tech crew. The play will be publicly staged by DCPA Education’s summer academy students next month.

    In her acceptance speech. Luce said the award was especially meaningful to her given the DCPA's commitment to encouraging creativity in young people in many ways. "As Willy Wonka said, 'We are the dreamers of the dreams,' " she said. More on Julianna Luce

    Bobby G Awards Dear Eban Hansen 800
    Students from all 43 participating schools join together to perform "You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen to open the ceremony. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


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

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

    In the six years of the Bobby G Awards nearly 24,000 students have participated in the program. More than 2,000 students have been involved in free workshops delivered by DCPA Education Teaching Artists. Since the Randy Weeks Memorial Fund was begun in 2015, four schools have received funding to help support their productions.


    (Story continues after the photo gallery.)

    Our 2018 Bobby G Awards photo album (so far!)

    2018 Bobby G Awards

    Photos from the buildup to the 2018 Bobby G Awards, through Wednesday night's rehearsal. Photos fro the actual event will be added soon. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our downloadable Flickr gallery of photos. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    While the Bobby G Awards culminate each year with an awards ceremony modeled after the Tony Awards, the year-long focus of the program is to both celebrate and educate. The participating schools receive detailed feedback on their musical productions from the adjudicators.

    Bobby G Awards Salingers The 10 nominated Outstanding Actors and Actresses are invited to the Denver Center two weeks before the awards to prepare a medley together in community and friendship, which they then perform at the ceremony on the Buell Theatre stage. The annual ritual is created anew each year by 2017 True West Award winner Claudia Carson.

    Each of the five nominated Outstanding Productions performed a musical number during the ceremony, each drawing thunderous appreciation from an enthusiastic Buell Theatre crowd estimated at more than 2,000.

    (Pictured: Previous Outstanding Actor winners — and brothers — Curtis and Evatt Salinger continue a Bobby G Awards red-carpet tradition. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    The Master of ceremonies was again Greg Moody, longtime known as Colorado's Critic-At-Large for CBS-4. Acknowledging the ongoing tragedy of school shootings at American schools, Moody said, "The people who have been stepping up and making their voices heard and making their feelings known have been theatre students." 

    Liberty High School's Kyle Husted, who was named Outstanding Supporting Actor for his performance as Jean-Michel in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, summed up the evening succinctly in his acceptance speech when he said, "I love theatre. I hope you do, too."

    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 2018 BOBBY G AWARDS:

    Hair and Makeup 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Achievement in Hair and Make-up Design

    Rhiatta Gleghorn, Brynn Ledermann, Kacey Lowe and Olivia VanHattam
    James and the Giant Peach
     
    Resurrection Christian School

    Other nominees:

    • Jana Datteri, Jacelyn Hays and Bryana Martinez, The Little Mermaid, Greeley West High School
    • Lauren Lewis and Ailani Paramo, Into the Woods, Legend High School
    • Amanda Moore & Katie Taylor, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Liberty High School,
    • Arianna Mahan-Higgins, Little Women, Montezuma-Cortez High School


    Costumes 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design

    Kim Christensen and Katie Gorsline
    The Little Mermaid
    Greeley West High School

    Other nominees:
    • Jane Archuleta and Carson Charles, Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Katelynn Brusco & Julie Snow, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Chaparral High School
    • Nikky Haabestad, Big Fish, Fossil Ridge High School
    • Ana Alonzo, Nicole Lucier & Joan Stewart, Into the Woods, Legend High School


    Lighting 2018 Bobby G Awards


    Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

    Julianna Luce
    Into the Woods

    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Other nominees:
    • Jane Archuleta and Julia Snyder, Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Riley Dixon, Bye Bye Birdie, Cherry Creek High School
    • Drew Meier and Thomas Woolner, Big Fish, Fossil Ridge High School
    • Justin Fiscus, Kawak Miranda, Andrew Stott and Alexander Tucker, Crazy for You, Glenwood Springs High School


    Scenic 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
    Brogan Croom, Rylee Carlson and Rob Scott
    Les Misérables
    Castle View High School

    Other nominees:

    • Steven Davis and Danny de Paz, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Chaparral High School
    • Alyea Caldwell, Iz Nyghe and Megan Tunnell, Bye Bye Birdie, Cherry Creek High School
    • Jackie Carreras, Jon Ducat, Amanda Penke, Thomas Ray and Red Schweitzer, Into the Woods, Legend High School
    • Josh Belk and Emily Hartlaub, Little Women, Palmer Ridge High School


    Choreography 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Achievement in Choreography
    Sophie Carnoali and Cadie Harrison
    Crazy for You

    Glenwood Springs High School

    Other nominees:

    • Heather Westenskow, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Chaparral High School
    • Brandon Becker and Mara Osterburg, In the Heights, Denver School of the Arts
    • Andrew Cassel and Karen Cassel, Bring it On: The Musical, Fairview High School
    • Tammy Johnson and Rachel Miller, Crazy for You, Mountain View High School


    Musical Direction 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction
    Jay McGuffin, Heath Walter and Rochelle Walter
    Les Misérables

    Castle View High School

    Other nominees:

    • Alan Davis, Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Gretta Hambrook, Dave Hammond, Ray Hootman and Robert Styron, In the Heights, Denver School of the Arts
    • Travis Keller, Zachary Strand and Janice Vlachos, Bring it On: The Musical, Fairview High School
    • Randal Hoepker and John Richard, Into the Woods, Vista PEAK Preparatory


    Chorus 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Performance by a Chorus
    Once Upon a Mattress

    ThunderRidge High School

    Other nominees:

    • Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Chaparral High School
    • Bring it On: The Musical, Fairview High School
    • Fiddler on the Roof, Regis Jesuit High School


    Orchestra 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra

    Once on This Island

    Brighton High School

    Other nominees:

    • Side Show, Boulder High School
    • Annie, George Washington High School
    • Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Loveland High School
    • Into the Woods, Vista PEAK Preparatory


    Supporting Actress 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

    Vanesa Gomez
    Abuela Claudia
    In the Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Other nominees:

    • Gabi Meyer, Bridget, Bring it On: The Musical, Fairview High School
    • Megan Bean, Jenny Hill, Big Fish, Fossil Ridge High School
    • Rachel Miller, Tess, Crazy for You, Mountain View High School
    • Frankie Spiller, Aunt Eller, Oklahoma!, Palisade High School


    Supporting Actor 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
    Kyle Husted
    Jean-Michel
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Liberty High School

    Other nominees:

    • Ryker Chavez, Papa Ge, Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Ethan Leland, La Cienega, Bring it on: The Musical, Fairview High School
    • Eli Pettit, Bella Zangler, Crazy for You, Glenwood Springs High School
    • Matthew Sewell, Benny Southstreet, Guys and Dolls, Wheat Ridge High School


    Rising Star 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Other nominees:

    • Spencer Gordon, Drake, Annie, George Washington High School
    • Johnathan Webster, Wyatt, Crazy for You, Glenwood Springs High School
    • Abe Soto, Ticket Agent, Honeymoon in Vegas, Lakewood High School
    • DJ Bashford, Rudolph Reisenweber, Hello, Dolly!, Ralston Valley High School

    Lead Actress 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
    Abby Lehrer
    Eponine
    Les Misérables

    Castle View High School

    • Coco Justino, Camila Rosario, In the Heights, Denver School of the Arts
    • Daelyn Nace, Lady of the Lake, Spamalot, Fort Collins High School
    • Isabella McArdle, Ella, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Liberty High School
    • Dominique Smith-Lopez, Baker’s Wife, Into the Woods, Vista PEAK Preparatory


    Lead Actor 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
    Elisha Horne
    Baker
    Into the Woods

    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Other nominees:

    • Anton Karabushin, Frederic, The Pirates of Penzance, Eaglecrest High School
    • Travis Turner, Edward Bloom, Big Fish, Fossil Ridge High School
    • Will Warner, Tommy Korman, Honeymoon in Vegas, Lakewood High School
    • Jeremiah Garcia, Emmett Forrest, Legally Blonde, Pomona High School


    Direction 2018 Bobby G Awards

    Outstanding Achievement in Direction
    Brandon Becker and Aleksandra Kay
    In The Heights

    Denver School of the Arts

    Other nominees:

    • Jane Archuleta, Gabby Doyle and Ayaka Hayashi, Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Michelle Leisy and Bennie Palko, Into the Woods, Legend High School
    • Katie Marshall, Crazy for You, Mountain View High School
    • Jesse Collett and Taylor Hulett, Legally Blonde, Pomona High School


    Overall Production

    Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
    In The Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Other nominees:

    • Once on This Island, Brighton High School
    • Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Liberty High School
    • Crazy for You, Mountain View High School
    • Into the Woods, Vista PEAK Preparatory


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




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

    2018 SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT WINNERS:
    • Special Achievement in Prop Management: Cody Charlton, Scott Kull and Rachel Ross; The Pirates of Penzance, Eaglecrest High School
    • Special Achievement in Sound Design: Jocelyn Baker and Kate Holeman; Into the Woods, Legend High School
    • Special Achievement in Projections: Addison Sandvik, Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Steamboat Springs High School
    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    Video: A look back at the 2017 Bobby G Awards


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

    Our series of featured Outstanding Chorus nominees

    Meet our nominated Outstanding lead actors and actresses:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Participating schools (with 2018 nominations in parentheses):
    • Arvada West High School
    • Boulder High School (1)
    • Brighton High School (8)
    • Broomfield High School
    • Castle View High School (3)
    • Chaparral High School (4)
    • Cherry Creek High School (2)
    • Doherty High School
    • Denver School of the Arts (6)
    • Durango High School
    • Eaglecrest High School (2)
    • Erie High School
    • Fairview High School (5)
    • Fort Collins High School (1)
    • Fossil Ridge High School (4)
    • George Washington High School (2)
    • Glenwood Springs High School (4)
    • Greeley West High School (2)
    • Heritage High School
    • Lakewood High School (2)
    • Legend High School (5)
    • Lewis-Palmer High School
    • Liberty High School (4)
    • Loveland High School (1)
    • Lutheran High School
    • Monarch High School
    • Montezuma-Cortez High School (1)
    • Mountain View High School (5)
    • North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School
    • Palisade High School (1)
    • Palmer Ridge High School (1)
    • Pomona High School
    • Ponderosa High School (2)
    • Poudre High School
    • Ralston Valley High School (1)
    • Regis Jesuit High School (1)
    • Resurrection Christian School (1)
    • Steamboat Springs High School (1)
    • ThunderRidge High School (1)
    • Valor Christian High School
    • Vista PEAK Preparatory (6)
    • Wheat Ridge High School (1)
  • Bobby G Awards Outstanding Chorus nominee: Brighton High School

    by John Moore | May 19, 2018



    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Each year, we single out one category for further recognition on the NewsCenter. This year, we are spotlighting the five schools nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Chorus with a selfie video shout-out (above), along with an Q&A with each school's Choral Director. First up: Brighton High School's Once on This Island.

    Jane Archuleta BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL

    Once on This Island
    Jane Archuleta, Overall Director

    • How does one become a Choral Director, anyway? At our school, we are really fortunate that our Choir Director usually is our "person" who works with our program. We have had productions where we have not been able to use that person, and in our community we are lucky to have musicians and experienced people who are committed to our school and our program and they have helped. While the Choir Director directs the music, our whole team encourages and works with the chorus — always focusing on making them the core and heart of our shows.
    • Which singing range is hardest to find at your school? Boys in general.
    • What is the value that a full and robust (and on-key) chorus brings to an overall production? We value our ensemble and chorus very highly.  This is the piece of a stage production that adds to your overall production atmosphere. The chorus brings out the emotion of the show.
    • Brighton High SchoolWhat’s the one thing you wish people knew about the chorus of a high-school musical production? Their work is harder because that they have to coordinate with each other and everyone and usually they are busy running around backstage more than others. They have to be at every rehearsal and have a commitment to the entire show even when they aren't on stage and in the spotlight all of the time. It takes dedication to be in the chorus.
    • What do you say to a student who is disappointed to 'only' be a chorus member? First of all, we truly believe if you can't be part of the whole, you will never be very good alone. We value this at our school and in our program. Leaders take on many different roles — we even have an award at the end of the year for the outstanding 'extra.'


  • What is the greatest chorus performance you have ever witnessed? Les Misérables in London (above)
  • Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    • What does it mean to your kids to be nominated for a Bobby G Award? We were nominated the first year we applied three years ago, but we were not nominated last year. This was a goal they set for themselves early on. They have reached their goal for this year, and that means so much to them. This goal motivated them throughout all of our rehearsals.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of music education and extracurricular activities at your school? In a high-school world where there is so much recognition for sports and for other areas, having this recognition for the arts is outstanding. We are so proud to be a Bobby G Awards nominee and so appreciative of this program and all the work that goes into the process.

    Brighton High School Bobby G Awards


    Selected
    recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    Our series of featured Outstanding Chorus nominees:


    Meet our nominated Outstanding lead actors and actresses:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet 2018 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress nominee Dominique Smith-Lopez

    by John Moore | May 18, 2018
    Dominique Smith Lopez Bobby G Awards

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Today we conclude our daily rollout of the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actress. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA).

    Dominique Smith Lopez Quote HyphenDOMINIQUE SMITH-LOPEZ

    The Baker's Wife in Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory in Aurora
    Class of 2018

    • Twitter bio: Strong believer that we were put on this Earth for a purpose, and my purpose is to inspire people through musical theatre. I love acting, singing, and dancing, so why not do them all at the same time?  
    • What's your handle? @reneadominique on Twitter and @issadom.23 on Instagram
    • College plans: Metropolitan State University of Denver to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre
    • First role: My theatre debut was my sophomore year in my high-school musical Beauty and the Beast. I played a silly girl and a napkin.
    • Why do you perform? Because I love to. I love receiving energy from an audience, and I love the adrenaline rush you get from the curtain opening and the lights beaming down on your face. I perform to change the demographic of musical theatre.
    • One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: In December, I saw Waitress the Musical at the Buell Theatre and I couldn’t stop singing the soundtrack for the next three weeks because the music, the acting, the trust on stage was impeccable. I have never seen such perfection and love for performing on stage. That was when I knew that musical theatre was what I wanted to do.
    • Ideal scene partner: Johnny Depp. He has played such a wide variety of roles, and he just seems like a really fun person to be around.

    • What's playing on your Spotify right now?  I am listening to a lot of Daniel Caesar and the soundtracks to the musicals Dreamgirls and Waitress
    • Favorite moment from your show: It was when I cheated on The Baker (weird, I know!) because it was honestly one of the funniest moments in our entire show, and it allowed me to be more creative with my acting choices. It was a huge turning point in the show, as well as with my character.    
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I can honestly say that I have never been so excited about anything in my life. This is an incredible opportunity, and I think everyone should get the chance to experience the love and unity of this performing-arts family.

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? The importance of having a passion for everything you do — and not just arts education. If you don’t have a passion for something, then it’s not enjoyable for you or the people watching. School has taught me to finish everything I start and to finish strong, and those are lessons I will cherish forever.

     Our featured nominated actors and actresses to date:

    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet 2018 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor nominee Jeremiah Garcia

    by John Moore | May 17, 2018
    Jeremiah Garcia Bobby G Awards

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Today we continue our rollout of the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA).

    JEREMIAH GARCIA

    Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde
    Pomona High School
    Class of 2018

    • Twitter bio: Sagittarius and a tenor. Loves reality TV and long walks on the beach. Pretty loud but infectious laugh and a Vine obsession. Takes things one bag of hot Cheetos at a time. Have Fun, Be Young and Drink Pepsi.
    • College plans: I will be studying Musical Theatre in New York at Marymount Manhattan College in the fall
    • What's your handle? @liljaymiah on Instagram and Twitter
    • First role: I played The Cheese in our Kindergarten musical, It’s The Cheese If You Please
    • Why do you perform? To recognize peoples’ stories and struggles through my interpretation. Performing allows me to capture someone else’s story given my own experience in life. Overall, I enjoy exploring the many fascinating fathoms humanity has to offer.
    • One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: It was 2013, in middle school, I had the opportunity to see the matinee of Pomona’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I was absolutely blown away and couldn’t wait to be on that stage myself. I went home that night and memorized all the music to the show so I could go back for the evening performance and sing along. It was a turning point for me that I will never forget.
    • Ideal scene partner: I am constantly in awe of Eva Noblezada, who played Kim in the 2017 Broadway revival of Miss Saigon. I’d love to share the stage with a powerhouse like her. I might just have the tiniest crush. No biggie.

    • What's playing on your Spotify right now? Childish Gambino, of course. I’d also recommend Post Malone’s new album if you’re feeling a little down. But you can never go wrong with the classics: Whitney Houston, Prince, Celine Dion, Diana Ross.
    • Favorite moment from your show: Without a doubt, it was the dog auditions. It was heaven. I may be allergic but that didn’t stop any of the belly rubs. And boy, did I give lots of belly rubs.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is so humbling. I’ve stalked the nominees on social media since freshman year and dreamed of what this moment might be like. It’s been a dream come true to stand in the shoes of the talented young people before me. When I told my mom about it, we cried.

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? The experience of an arts education in a child’s life is irreplaceable. I’ve been blessed with a surplus of accessibility to arts education in my school and community, and that has helped me to be successful both academically and artistically. Arts education gave me the academic balance I needed and brought so much color to my world. I couldn’t be more grateful to the many exceptional theatre educators I’ve had the pleasure to work with in these short 18 years. We have to continue to fight for these opportunities to be provided to every student moving forward. Our future depends on it.

    Jeremiah Garcia Bobby G Awards


    Our featured nominated actors and actresses to date:

    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet 2018 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Nominee Will Warner

    by John Moore | May 16, 2018
    Will Warner Bobby G Awards


    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Today we continue our rollout of the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA).

    Will Warner QUOTE 2WILL WARNER

    Tommy Korman in Honeymoon in Vegas
    Lakewood High School
    Class of 2018

    • Twitter bio: Just a regular guy who wants to make an impact. I do every single activity I set my eyes on, and the one that has captured my heart is theatre.
    • College plans: I will be attending the University of Oklahoma to pursue a BFA in Acting.
    • First role: My theatre debut was Puck in the children’s version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream
    • Why do you perform? To make an impact. I enjoy seeing people leave the theatre with more insight and perspective than when they entered. It is the power of this art form to change minds and drive the American culture to a more equitable place.
    • One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: I saw The Woman in Black in London before my junior year, it was like watching magic. The two actors drew me into the story and took me on a roller coaster that changed my whole goal for my craft. I wanted to make magic like they did because it impacted me so much.
    • Ideal scene partner: Eva Noblezada, who played Kim in the 2017 Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

    • What's playing on your Spotify right now? “Take it Easy” by The Eagles
    • Favorite moment from your show: I enjoyed seeing people who came in with frowns leave with smiles.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I feel very honored to be recognized, especially considering how talented some of the actors were in other productions I saw.

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? My experience in high-school theatre has taught me how an arts education goes beyond the knowledge developed in core classes in order to develop the individual. Arts education builds character, empathy and accountability, which are all core attributes of leaders. Acting and working on shows has made a leader of me, and I think that it prepares students to graduate high school ready for anything life throws at them.  

     Our featured nominated actors and actresses to date:

    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet 2018 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress nominee Coco Justino

    by John Moore | May 15, 2018
    Coco Justino Bobby G Awards Denver School of the Arts


    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Today we continue our daily rollout of the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actress. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA) in New York City.


    Coco Justino Bobby G Awards quoteCOCO JUSTINO

    Rosario in In the Heights
    Denver School of the Arts
    Class of 2018

    • Twitter bio: Believes that aliens are totally real and that every dog is The Best Dog. Coco because a cousin couldn't say 'Nicole' as a baby.
    • What's your handle? @awkward.at.best on Instagram
    • College plans: I'll be at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle next year pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre.
    • First role: My theatre debut was playing Snoopy in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown
    • Why do you perform? Performing makes my heart feel full. I've always been a person who finds other people's stories to be super valuable. Theatre is such a beautiful way to immerse the public in stories. The prospect that I might be able to help spread empathy to the world makes me happier and more fulfilled than anything else in the universe.
    • One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: A few years ago at a theatre summer camp, I got to be an audience member in an original short-play festival. While watching my peers, I was hit with an epiphany about why I love this art form so much. I was able to experience the realities of each of the playwrights in a way that I don't think I could through any other medium.
    • Ideal scene partner: This is silly, but honestly, Tyra Banks. She is so eccentric in "America's Next Top Model." She just goes with whatever crazy thing she thinks up. I feel like she'd be a blast to do improv with.

    • What's playing on your Spotify right now?  I'm obsessed with both "Lover, You Should've Come Over" by Jeff Buckley, and "Gossamer Thin" by Conor Oberst (above). They are so lyrically beautiful and tell their stories so well.
    • Favorite moment from your show: There is a scene where the whole cast comes together as a community for a funeral. While it is the most somber moment of the show, it's also when I felt most connected to all of the elements around me. At one point during our opening performance, the actor who played The Piragua Guy (who was a good four years younger than me) put his head on my chest and cried. I wasn't expecting it, and my first genuine reaction was to hold him like a mother-figure. The in-the-moment connection I made both with him and the actor who played Camila felt like magic.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I am so extremely elated. Theatre is one of the most important things in my world, and to have people recognize how much I care about it and how much work I put into it is so special. It makes me want to cry happy tears.

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? This show has taught me so much respect for all of the people involved in putting on a production. Arts education is an extremely big component in that. I cannot imagine In The Heights having been such a great experience without the help of my dedicated and wonderful arts teachers. Mr. Brandon Becker, our director and one of our resident theatre teachers at DSA, was so phenomenally artful in how he conceptualized the show. He was so supportive and proved to be a great person to learn from. I know so many kids are learning amazing and valuable life lessons from teachers like him every day. Arts education, without any doubt, helps to improve our society.

    Our featured nominated actors and actresses to date:
    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet 2018 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor nominee Anton Karabushin

    by John Moore | May 14, 2018
    Anton Karabushin Bobby G Awards Eaglecrest


    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Today we begin our daily rollout of the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA).

    Anton Karabushin Bobby G AwardsANTON KARABUSHIN

    Frederic, Pirates of Penzance
    Eaglecrest High School in Aurora
    Class of 2021

    • Twitter bio: Singing, acting, and piano are my life. Props to my family, and my theater family too. Hoping to make a difference through music someday.
    • College plans: As a freshman, I only have a vague idea; but I plan to either go into musical theater, choral singing or mathematics
    • First role: My theatre debut was playing a lobster in Alice in Wonderland
    • Why do you perform? To transfer myself into a different persona than the one I fit into at school. Theatre, and the performing arts, allow me to embrace the carefree, joyous side of life where I just get to sing my heart out and make amazing memories with my friends. Singing truly does put a smile on my face.
    • One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: Seeing Hamilton opened my eyes to a new genre of musical theater. The moment the actors set foot on that stage, I felt astounded by the skill of the actors, the detail of the set and the musical itself.
    • Ideal scene partner: Ryan Gosling


    • What's playing on your Spotify right now? Simon & Garfunkel always make my foot tap along to their songs.
    • Favorite moment from your show: That would have to be the minutes before the curtains revealed the set and the actors before every show. While the thoughts running through my head were anxious ones, I felt so calm alongside all the actors with me. I could feel that the culmination of our efforts was going to create an amazing show.  
    • The complete list of 2018 Bobby G Awards nominees

    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is an honor. To start off high school with this type of opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? This experience has taught me that the arts bring so many people of so many diverse backgrounds together. It gave me so much understanding of just how big the Colorado theater community is. 

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards celebration here!

    Our featured nominated actors and actresses to date:

    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet 2018 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress nominee Abby Lehrer

    by John Moore | May 13, 2018
    Abigail Lehrer. Bobby G Awards


    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The sixth annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Buell Theatre. (Reserve your seat here)

    Today we begin our daily rollout of the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actress. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA).

    ABBY LEHRER

    Eponine in Les Misérables
    Castle View High School in Castle Rock
    Class of 2018

    • Abby Lehrer QuoteTwitter bio: Hello everybody! My name is Abby Lehrer, but Abs or Balou work too:) I adore talking to people. Every story is a good story, so if you've got one to share, I would love to listen!  //redeemed//
    • College plans: I am taking a gap year during which I can work and take more time to look for colleges so I can be solid and confident in my choice.
    • First role: My theatre debut was playing Molly in Annie
    • Why do you perform? That’s a packed question. I perform because it is where I find I am most strong at leaving an impact on the most people. There are so many stories to tell that can inspire or change lives, and having that power and using it for a purpose bigger than yourself is so fulfilling. I find that music speaks to almost everyone, so using the gift I’ve been given to impact others and being able to get lost in the moment at the same time is simply incredible to me. I do it to glorify God!
    • One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: I remember looking for a song to sing for an audition in Oklahoma City when I came across “Not a Day Goes By” from Merrily We Roll Along, and Bernadette Peters was singing. I remember being blown away because of the real, raw talent she shared with the audience. I watched it over and over because I felt like she was sharing a piece of herself with everyone, and that we were so lucky to get to witness her story. Her acting was flawless, and it inspired me to really strengthen my storytelling.


    • Ideal scene partner: Either Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep or Jeremy Jordan
    • What's playing on your Spotify right now? Jon Bellion or Steffany Gretzinger. A good song I listen to is “Guilty” by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb.
    • Favorite moment from your show: Our final performance of “One Day More” sent shivers through everyone’s spines, and it was the moment we as a cast understood just how important and powerful our show really was. We went off stage and the crowd kept cheering. We felt so unified.  
    • The complete list of 2018 Bobby G Awards nominees

    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is an honor and a privilege that I am beyond thankful for. I remember always being inspired by the nominees each year and just hoping and praying I would get the chance to perhaps inspire others on the same stage. I still can’t really believe it.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? They make people feel important and heard. They create lasting friendships and stories that will never be forgotten. They help kids find their purpose and, with the right coaching, give them a goal to strive for. They tells student they can leave a lasting impact on those around them.  

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    Our featured nominated actors and actresses to date:

    Selected recent coverage of the Bobby G Awards:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'School of Rock' true to Andrew Lloyd Webber's rocking roots

    by John Moore | May 11, 2018
    School of Rock. Rob Colletti and cast. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

    Rob Colletti and his young castmates in the national touring production of 'School of Rock',' coming to Denver starting May 29. Photo by Matthew Murphy.


    From Cats to kids: The knighted musical-theatre composer has long had a winning way with animals and children

    By Suzanne Yoe
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    It’s sometimes easy to forget how Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber got his start. After all, with a string of West End and Broadway hits including The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita and Sunset Boulevard among many others, rock 'n roll seems, well … a bit out of sync. 

    Yet this knighted composer — yes, he does bear the somewhat lofty title of “Sir” — is also considered the father of the rock musical. He actually got his start with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat followed closely by Jesus Christ Superstar.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber quoteFitting, then, that School of Rock, the 2003 Paramount Pictures film starring then little-known actor Jack Black, caught his attention.

    When down-on-his-luck rocker Dewey Finn can’t pay the rent, he poses as a substitute teacher at an elite private school. Not exactly the teacher type (and in need of a quick infusion of cash), he transforms these prep-school preteens into confidence-commanding rock stars who compete for $20,000 in the local Battle of the Bands competition.

    The plot of the musical hearkens back to Lloyd Webber’s professional beginnings. “I started with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which was a piece written for a school performance. And it’s taking me back to something that I really care very deeply about, which is the importance of music in schools and education.

    “It’s really about how music changes the lives of the kids in the show, and also changes the life of the leading man, because he finds himself, in a way, through the children and the music they’re making.”

    Even though the movie is about music performed by schoolchildren, there is really very little music in the film itself, which intrigued Lloyd Webber. “Originally, the idea was first mooted to me by my wife, Madeleine, who got the rights to the whole thing. I thought maybe it was something that we would flesh out with existing rock songs, because there were a few in the original movie. But when I got into it … there was only the song we all called ‘Teacher’s Pet’ and then ‘The Legend of the Rent.’ So, I thought that it really did need a score.”

    To fully flesh out the story for the stage, Lloyd Webber realized he needed a dramatist with a major career. Lloyd Webber tapped Julian Fellowes, whose career has spanned television (“Downton Abbey”), film (The Tourist) and theatre (Mary Poppins).

    Moving from what, to some, might seem more classical works into the world of rock, wasn’t an obvious transition. “It’s always good to do something that’s completely outside your kind of tame territory,” said Fellowes. “I was thrilled when Andrew asked me if I’d do it. Sometimes you have to talk yourself into things. But I knew I wanted to do it straight away.

    “I think my job was to give a kind of emotional imperative, a kind of emotional path, for all of the different characters, which is either suggested or pretty clearly delineated,” Fellowes said. “And then to add that to the central comedy of the situation. But I hope we’ve been very faithful to the film, too. I want people who adored the film to have a really good evening in the theater.”

    Lloyd Webber rounded out the team with Broadway lyricist Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid) and director Laurence Connor (Les Misérables), neither of whose credits might scream “rock 'n roll," either.

    School of Rock. Hernando Umana and Rob Colletti. Photo by Matthew MurphyWhile the creative team might seem anything but typical, what’s even more surprising is that, ultimately, the show’s success relies almost entirely on the talents of 9- to 13-year olds. The 12 children on stage who literally steal the show are required to be quadruple threats — act, sing, dance and play an instrument. More than 22,000 children responded to the original Broadway casting call.

    “We watched some incredible kids playing instruments,” said Connor. "But what we didn’t know was whether they would be cohesive as a band. So, in the end, we brought about 24 children into a room, and we set up some amps and plugged in some guitars and set up a drum kit, and they just played. The first band we put together just rocked. It was emotional. I mean, I think we all had little tears in our eyes. I think it really goes down as my favorite audition of all time.”

    (Pictured at right: Hernando Umana and Rob Colletti in the national touring production of 'School of Rock.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.)

    And they really can play," Webber said. "It’s extraordinary for their ages, just how great they are, and how together they play. I mean, you could close your eyes and say, ‘Oh gosh, this is a band that’s played together for years.’ You wouldn’t really think it’s 10- and 11-year olds.”

    Though W.C. Fields famously warned: "Never work with children or animals,” Lloyd Webber can say (somewhat tongue in cheek) that he’s done both and come out unscathed. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was first performed by 8- to 12-year-old boys. Then, he debuted Cats, which remains the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history. Now, he's bringing audiences the inspiring, fist pumping, heartwarming story in School of Rock — opening May 29 at the Buell Theatre.

    DCPA Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs Suzanne Yoe has been working for the Denver Center for 23 years.


    School of Rock:
    Ticket information
    school-of-rockBased on the hit film, this new musical comedy follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. This high-octane score features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage.

    • National touring production
    • Sponsored in Denver by Hard Rock Cafe
    • Performances May 29 though June 10
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    School of Rock. Rob Colletti and Phoenix Schuman. Photo by Matthew Murphy. Rob Colletti and Phoenix Schuman in the national touring production of 'School of Rock.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.

    Hometown trivia:
    The original Broadway production co-starred Sierra Boggess as Rosalie Mullins. She is a Denver native and graduate of George Washington High School. (She is not appearing in the national touring production.)
  • Breaking: 2017-18 Bobby G Awards finalists are announced

    by John Moore | May 01, 2018
    Video recap: Kinship and camaraderie at the 2017 Bobby G Awards:

    Video highlights from the 2016-17 Bobby G Awards ceremony. Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Brighton High School leads way with eight nominations;    all 43 Colorado high schools will perform opening together

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Finalists for the sixth annual Bobby G Awards were announced today by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The Bobby G's are the Colorado regional-awards program for the larger The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA).

    Bobby G Awards. Austin Hand.The Bobby G Awards honor outstanding achievements by students and educators in the areas of performance, design, direction, choreography, orchestration, technical production and overall production excellence. The evening is an opportunity for students from all over Colorado to commune and mutually support one another’s work.

    The awards ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 in the Buell Theatre. The program will include performances from the shows nominated for Outstanding Overall Production, and a medley featuring the nominees for Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Leading Role.

    This year, adjudicators considered 42 musical productions, and topping today's list of nominees is Brighton High School with eight nominations for its staging of Once on This Island. The Weld County high school was nominated for Outstanding Musical for the first time. 

    2018 Bobby G Awards Brighton Once on This IslandJoining Brighton in that category are Denver School of the Arts' In The Heights, Colorado Springs Liberty High School's Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Mountain View High School of Loveland's Crazy for You and Vista PEAK Preparatory (Arapahoe County)'s Into the Woods. 

    In all, 29 schools received at least one nomination. Vista PEAK and Denver School of the Arts received six each; and Mountain View, Boulder Fairview and Legend High School in Parker had five.

    With today's announcement, tickets are now on sale for the 2017-18 Bobby G Awards ceremony. Tickets are $10. Click here to purchase tickets.

    New this year: The Bobby G Awards ceremony will feature “You Will Be Found” from the six-time 2017 Tony Award® and 2018 Grammy®-Winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen launching the North American Tour in Denver this September, as the opening number performed by representatives from all 43 participating schools (with 2018 nominations in parentheses) :

    • Arvada West High School
    • Boulder High School (1)
    • Brighton High School (8)
    • Broomfield High School
    • Castle View High School (3)
    • 2018 Bobby G Awards In the Heights Denver School of the Arts MarcusKwanChaparral High School (4)
    • Cherry Creek High School (2)
    • Doherty High School
    • Denver School of the Arts (6)
    • Durango High School
    • Eaglecrest High School (2)
    • Erie High School
    • Fairview High School (5)
    • Fort Collins High School (1)
    • Fossil Ridge High School (4)
    • George Washington High School (2)
    • Glenwood Springs High School (4)
    • Greeley West High School (2)
    • Heritage High School
    • Lakewood High School (2)
    • Legend High School (5)
    • Lewis-Palmer High School
    • Liberty High School (4)
    • Loveland High School (1)
    • Lutheran High School
    • Monarch High School
    • Montezuma-Cortez High School (1)
    • Mountain View High School (5)
    • North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School
    • Palisade High School (1)
    • Palmer Ridge High School (1)
    • Pomona High School
    • Ponderosa High School (2)
    • Poudre High School
    • Ralston Valley High School (1)
    • Regis Jesuit High School (1)
    • Resurrection Christian School (1)
    • Steamboat Springs High School (1)
    • ThunderRidge High School (1)
    • Valor Christian High School
    • Vista PEAK Preparatory (6)
    • Wheat Ridge High School (1)
    The winners of Colorado's Outstanding Actor and Actress awards not only will be invited to attend the NHSMTA in June at the Minskoff Theatre in New York, but to participate in a week-long series of intensive classes and workshops with Broadway actors, directors and designers. The national awards ceremony, which is presented by The Broadway League Foundation, will be hosted by Laura Benanti on June 25.


    (Pictured above right: Mountain Vista's Anything Goes wins Outstanding Musical at the 2016 Bobby G. Awards. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards

    (Story continues after the following list of nominations.)

    2017-18 Bobby G Awards Finalists:

    Outstanding Achievement in Hair and Make-Up Design

    Jana Datteri, Jacelyn Hays and Bryana Martinez
    The Little Mermaid
    Greeley West High School

    Lauren Lewis and Ailani Paramo
    Into the Woods
    Legend High School

    Amanda Moore and Katie Taylor
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Liberty High School

    Arianna Mahan-Higgins
    Little Women
    Montezuma-Cortez High School

    Rhiatta Gleghorn, Brynn Ledermann, Kacey Lowe and Olivia VanHattam
    James and the Giant Peach
    Resurrection Christian School

    Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
    Jane Archuleta and Carson Charles
    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    2018 Bobby G Awards Vista PEAK Preparatory. Into the Woods Photo by Heather AndersenKatelynn Brusco and Julie Snow
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Chaparral High School

    Nikky Haabestad
    Big Fish
    Fossil Ridge High School

    Kim Christensen and Katie Gorsline
    The Little Mermaid
    Greeley West High School

    Ana Alonzo, Nicole Lucier and Joan Stewart
    Into the Woods
    Legend High School

    Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

    Jane Archuleta and Julia Snyder
    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    Drew Meier and Thomas Woolner
    Big Fish
    Fossil Ridge High School

    Justin Fiscus, Kawak Miranda, Andrew Stott and Alexander Tucker
    Crazy for You
    Glenwood Springs High School

    Riley Dixon
    Bye Bye Birdie
    Cherry Creek High School

    Julianna Luce
    Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design

    Alyea Caldwell, Iz Nyghe and Megan Tunnell
    Bye Bye Birdie
    Cherry Creek High School

    Brogan Croom, Rylee Carlson and Rob Scott
    Les Misérables
    Castle View High School

    Steven Davis and Danny de Paz
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Chaparral High School

    Jackie Carreras, Jon Ducat, Amanda Penke, Thomas Ray and Red Schweitzer
    Into the Woods
    Legend High School

    Josh Belk and Emily Hartlaub
    Little Women
    Palmer Ridge High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra
    Side Show
    Boulder High School

    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    Annie
    George Washington High School

    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Loveland High School

    Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction

    Alan Davis
    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    2018 Bobby G Awards LIBERTY CINDERELLAJay McGuffin, Heath Walter and Rochelle Walter
    Les Misérables
    Castle View High School

    Gretta Hambrook, Dave Hammond, Ray Hootman and Robert Styron
    In the Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Travis Keller, Zachary Strand and Janice Vlachos
    Bring it On: The Musical
    Fairview High School

    Randal Hoepker and John Richard
    Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Outstanding Performance by a Chorus

    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Chaparral High School

    Bring it On: The Musical
    Fairview High School

    Fiddler on the Roof
    Regis Jesuit High School

    Once Upon a Mattress
    Thunder Ridge High School

    Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

    Heather Westenskow
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Chaparral High School

    Brandon Becker and Mara Osterburg
    In the Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Karen Cassel and Andrew Cassel
    Bring it on: The Musical
    Fairview High School

    Sophie Carnoali and Cadie Harrison
    Crazy for You
    Glenwood Springs High School

    Tammy Johnson and Rachel Miller
    Crazy for You
    Mountain View High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

    Ryker Chavez
    Papa Ge
    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    Ethan Leland
    La Cienega
    Bring it on: The Musical
    Fairview High School

    Eli Pettit
    Bella Zangler
    Crazy for You
    Glenwood Springs High School

    Kyle Husted
    Jean-Michel
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Liberty High School

    Matthew Sewell
    Benny Southstreet
    Guys and Dolls
    Wheat Ridge High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
    Vanesa Gomez
    Abuela Claudia
    In the Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Gabi Meyer
    Bridget
    Bring it On: The Musical
    Fairview High School

    Megan Bean
    Jenny Hill
    Big Fish
    Fossil Ridge High School

    Rachel Miller
    Tess
    Crazy for You
    Mountain View High School

    Frankie Spiller
    Aunt Eller
    Oklahoma!
    Palisade High School

    Rising Star (Outstanding Underclassman)

    Spencer Gordon
    Drake
    Annie
    George Washington High School

    Johnathan Webster
    Wyatt
    Crazy for You
    Glenwood Springs High School

    2018 Bobby G Awards Crazy For You Mountain View High SchoolAbe Soto
    Ticket Agent
    Honeymoon in Vegas
    Lakewood High School

    Mackenzie Mackin
    Patsy
    Crazy for You
    Mountain View High School

    DJ Bashford
    Rudolph Reisenweber
    Hello, Dolly!
    Ralston Valley High School

    Outstanding Achievement in Direction
    Jane Archuleta, Gabby Doyle and Ayaka Hayashi
    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    Brandon Becker and Aleksandra Kay
    In The Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Michelle Leisy and Bennie Palko
    Into the Woods
    Legend High School

    Katie Marshall
    Crazy for You
    Mountain View High School

    Jesse Collett and Taylor Hulett
    Legally Blonde
    Pomona High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Coco Justino
    Camila Rosario
    In the Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Abby Lehrer
    Eponine
    Les Misérables
    Castle View High School

    Daelyn Nace
    Lady of the Lake
    Spamalot
    Fort Collins High School

    Dominique Smith-Lopez
    Baker’s Wife
    Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Isabella McArdle
    Ella
    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Liberty High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

    Anton Karabushin
    Frederic
    The Pirates of Penzance
    Eaglecrest High School

    Travis Turner
    Edward Bloom
    Big Fish
    Fossil Ridge High School

    Will Warner
    Tommy Korman
    Honeymoon in Vegas
    Lakewood High School

    Jeremiah Garcia
    Emmett Forrest
    Legally Blonde
    Pomona High School

    Elisha Horne
    Baker
    Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical

    Once on This Island
    Brighton High School

    In The Heights
    Denver School of the Arts

    Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Liberty High School

    Crazy for You
    Mountain View High School

    Into the Woods
    Vista PEAK Preparatory

    2018 Outstanding Special Achievement Award Winners:


    In addition to the nominations, this year’s three Special Achievement winners also were announced today: 

    Outstanding Special Achievement in Prop Management
    Cody Charlton, Scott Kull and Rachel Ross
    The Pirates of Penzance
    Eaglecrest High School

    Outstanding Special Achievement in Sound Design
    Jocelyn Baker and Kate Holeman
    Into the Woods
    Legend High School

    Outstanding Special Achievement in Projections
    Addison Sandvik
    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Steamboat Springs High School

    Nominees of note

    Today’s announcement produced several nominees of note, including Julianna Luce in lighting design for Vista PEAK Preparatory's Into the Woods. In February, Luce was named one of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' finalists for its fifth annual Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition. Luce and co-write Trinell Samuel wrote a comedy called Technical Difficulties, about a high-school theatre production that has been seized by vengeful understudies. The play is a salute to theatre techies, and was chosen to be fully presented this summer by DCPA education summer academy students. Which makes it all the more triumphant that she is now nominated for a Bobby G Award in a technical category.

    Reserve your seat for the May 24 Bobby G Awards celebration!

    Abby Lehrer, who was nominated two years ago as a Rising Star (outstanding underclassman) was nominated this year as a leading actress for her work as Eponine
    in Castle View High School's Les Misérables.

    Will Warner, nominated last year as a supporting actor, is nominated this year as a leading actor for his portrayal of Tommy Korman in Honeymoon in Vegas for Lakewood High School.

    Last year’s Bobby G Awards winner for Outstanding Actor was Austin Hand of Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins. Elleon Dobias of Valor Christian High School, twice previously nominated as a 2015 Rising Star and again the next year as a supporting actress, won the biggest award of all her third time around, for playing Catherine in Pippin.

    This year's first-time schools include Greeley West; Palisade; Broomfield; Eaglecrest in Aurora, and Doherty and Liberty in Colorado Springs.

    Photo gallery: All of our best photos from the 2016-17 Bobby G Awards

    2017 Bobby G Awards

    A look back at the 2017 Bobby G Awards in photos. To see more, click the 'forward' arrow on the image above. This year's ceremony will be May 24 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.


    Adjudicators made up of professional working theatre artists attended the participating high schools’ musical theatre productions. Using the standards set by The Bobby G Awards training and criteria, as well as their own professional experience, these adjudicators complete extensive evaluation forms offering detailed feedback on all of the various elements involved with staging a musical production. Participating schools receive a copy of the forms complete with each adjudicator’s comments, praise, and constructive criticism designed to motivate growth and recognize success. These evaluations serve as a foundation for the nominations.


    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2017 Bobby G Awards: Persistence pays off at Valor Christian
    Video: The 2017 Bobby Awards welcoming montage
    Videos: Complete coverage of the 2017 Bobby G Awards
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced
    Mamma Mia's Cashelle Butler returns to Cherry Creek High School
    Authentic voices: 2017 student playwriting winners announced
    North High School gets real with In the Heights
    Video: Colorado's Bobby G Awards reps win scholarships in New York 
    Bobby G Award winners' Road to the Jimmy Awards
    Video, story: Kinship and camaraderie at 2016 Bobby G Awards
    Video: 2016 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Video: Outstanding Musical nominee performances
    Photos: 2016 Bobby G Awards (Download for free)
    Mountain View scales Bobby G Awards' 2016 peak
    Meet your 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list


  • Jed Feder: A lad in Boulder is now bowing in 'Aladdin' in Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 24, 2018
    JED FEDER QUOTE. Photo by John MooreJed Feder's earliest theatrical memory is attending a 1997 national touring production of 'Annie' at the Buell Theatre. Tonight, he officially joins the cast of Disney's 'Aladdin' on the very same stage. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.  

    Boulder High graduate's wish came true to debut in Denver, just five days earlier than he or Disney originally planned

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Jed Feder’s magic carpet arrived in Denver about five days early.

    The Boulder native had been sitting for weeks on the happy news that he would be making his debut as Kassim in Disney’s Aladdin tonight (April 24) while the national touring production is visiting the same Buell Theatre where Feder grew up watching Broadway shows. Hometown stories don’t get any better.

    Only his does.

    Last Thursday, as Feder was on his way to the Buell for a regularly scheduled, five-hour rehearsal, he got a text telling him to stop by and see the production stage manager when he arrived. “So … do you want to go on tonight?" Michael McGoff asked Feder. Keep in mind, this was a full five days before Feder’s planned debut — and only eight hours before that night’s performance would begin in front of 2,800 people. Of course, Feder said yes. “And Michael was like, ‘Cool, let’s go do the rehearsal,’ ” Feder said with a laugh.

    There would be just enough time to summon Feder’s parents, Rob and Andrea, from Boulder, and his only sister Rachel, an English professor at the University of Denver. But not enough time for Feder’s girlfriend, who already had made plans to fly into Denver from Seattle for tonight’s show. “She was disappointed that she didn’t get to see what turned out to be my first performance — but she somehow got flowers sent to the stage door in less than an hour,” Feder said.

    Making Feder’s challenge all the greater was the fact that he wasn’t being promoted from within a show he already knows well. He is a newbie joining a cast that has been together on the road performing in front of nearly a million people over the past year. This would be Feder’s first time playing Kassim on any stage anywhere. And not just any stage. The stage where one of his earliest memories is seeing the touring production of Annie in 1997.

    But in the end, the evening was a thrilling, surreal success.

    “I was expecting to walk out on that stage and see nearly 3,000 people, but the most shocking part about it was that it was like walking into a black hole. You can't see anything,” Feder said. “But as soon as they started reacting and laughing, I could hear them. And then I could feel them. I could feel them breathing.”

    Feder credits the support he got from castmates Zach Bencal and Philippe Arroyo, who play Kassim’s layabout pals, Babkak and Omar. In the Broadway musical, these three characters replace Aladdin’s animated sidekick, Abu the monkey. “We basically serve as Aladdin's little street family,” Feder said. “Luckily, I am never on stage without those other two guys, and they totally got me through it. Toward the end I was just holding onto them. But we did it.”

    Broadway begins in Boulder

    TJed Feder family. he Feder family moved from Manhattan to north Boulder when Rachel was 4 years old and Jed was 6 months. Rob Feder is a real-estate land-conservation lawyer who specializes in open space, while Andrea’s background is in social work. “When I was born, my parents had this realization that they did not want the city life for us,” Jed said. Instead they raised their children on the go and out of doors: Backpacking, camping, canoeing. Anything under the sun. “Being outdoors was a big family value,” said Feder.

    So was the arts. The Feders exposed their children to every form, from fine arts to music to theatre. Jed picked up a guitar when he was 6. The family took regular culture trips to New York. “Everywhere we went, we were going to museums and seeing theatre,” said Jed, who got hooked on any art that moved. “My dad loved the museums most, but I'm color-blind, so I never really took to art as much. I was rewarded for my patience in the museums by seeing the shows later that night.”

    Disney names a new Aladdin for Denver: Clinton Greenspan

    Back home, Jed attended many stage shows with his grandmother at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre (now BDT Stage). She took Rachel and Jed on separate special trips to see classics like The Music Man and Camelot. “I remember it was all about the Bosco Sticks,” Feder said with a laugh. “That, and I was really into their souvenir glasses.”

    Jed’s first show as an actor was a family affair. The Feders joined a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof that was performed in the outdoor pavilion at Chautauqua Park.

    JED FEDER 800 BACK“It was really my sister who wanted to do the show, and my dad told me, ‘Well, then, you're going to do it, too.’ I was 7 at the time, and I remember my dad pushing me to all the places where I was supposed to stand on the stage. I also remember getting my cheek pinched by Yente.”

    Feder attended Boulder High School, where he performed in West Side Story, Chicago and Jesus Christ Superstar. “My big breakthrough was playing Mary Sunshine in Chicago,” Feder said of a female reporter who eventually reveals herself to be a man. Feder went to Northwestern as a math and film major, though he eventually dropped the math for music composition. His unusual path since has evolved into what he calls “half as an actor, half as a drummer.” His resume lists among his special talents: “Extreme finger-snapping and body percussionist.”  

    But for a young man who has never followed a beeline toward one specific field of performance, the live theatre has done a good deal of steering for him. He was cast in a big-time production of Mother Courage and Her Children at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C. that was directed by one legend (Molly Smith) and starred another (Kathleen Turner). He also has performed for the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

    The family that dances together

    He landed his role in the dance-heavy Disney’s Aladdin tour simply by showing up at a Chicago audition. And he got it, despite not having any actual dance training. Unless you count the innumerable bar mitzvahs and weddings the Feder family has attended in Boulder over the past few decades. “I come from a family of good movers. I mean we are not shy people,” Feder said. “Whenever there was a party, my family hit the dance floor.”

    Jed Feder guitar But still, Disney’s Aladdin is a show with big, aerobic musical numbers that last eight and 12 minutes at a time.

    “Well, the dancing has certainly been the hardest part for me to get into my body,” he said. “But I did grow up doing some swing dancing just for fun. And at Northwestern, I was in this group called Boom Shaka. It's a rhythm-and-dance ensemble that was sort of like Stomp. It was half drummers and half dancers. Those dance majors at Northwestern upped my game, for sure.”

    And now Feder is appearing in Aladdin, based on a film he grew up watching at home until the VHS tape wore out. Appropriately witnessed by the family who encoded the story into his DNA.

    “It is an ongoing joke in my family for my dad to say, ‘Who disturbs my slumber?’ ” Feder said of the famously terrifying threat issued to Aladdin by the tiger in the Cave of Wonders. But it’s been going on so many years now, even his parents had forgotten where exactly it came from — until they saw Feder’s first performance as Kassim last week.

    Celina Nightengale is doing her happy dance in Denver

    “After the show, my mom was like, ‘Did you remember that that was from Aladdin?’ ”

    Feder says it’s especially fun for him to watch Aladdin on stage through adult eyes and compare it to the kid-friendly animated film he grew up on.

    “I actually saw the show really soon after it opened on Broadway, just because I wanted to,” Feder said. “I think it very much honors the original film while also honoring the tradition of a big Broadway musical at the same. There's really something for everyone. I mean, you've got these big, Broadway production numbers. You've got Disney magic going on all over the stage. And when I first saw the magic carpet, my jaw literally dropped. It really sucks you in. It's a good family night. It's a good date night. It's just incredible.”

    JED FEDER. Photo by John Moore. Feder’s quirky, multidisciplinary career includes a college band that has been compared to Tenacious D. “We call it comedic contemporary rock,” he said with a laugh. He also has scored two musicals, including one that premiered at North Carolina State University last October. “It's called Beowulf: Lord of the Bros,” he said with another laugh. “It's a modern bromantic comedy adaptation of Beowulf.”

    With so many different directions to follow, Feder was asked when he realized that his immediate future is in the live theatre. In Aladdin.

    “I don't really know,” he said. “I guess when I got cast in this show.”

    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.

    Photo gallery: Jed Feder in Boulder

    Jed Feder in Disney's 'Aladdin'
    Boulder native Jed Feder he has provided some photos of his early life in Colorado with his family. Also photos of Feder on the Buell Theatre stage by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos.


    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

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Disney's Aladdin:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Aladdin Photo by Deen van Meer 'Aladdin.' Photo by Deen van Meer.
  • Breakin' Convention will break ground again at Denver Center in 2018

    by John Moore | Mar 28, 2018
    From 2017: British dancer, spoken-word artist and director Jonzi D is the most influential advocate for hip-hop theatre in the world. In the video above, he talked with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore about  last year's 'Breakin' Convention,' which will be coming back to the Denver Center from Nov. 3-4. 


    The hip-hop dance theatre extravaganza will include a special student matinee and the return of popular 303 Jam

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Breakin' Convention, Sadler’s Wells Theatre's critically acclaimed international hip-hop dance theatre festival, will return to The Buell Theatre the weekend of Nov. 3-4, it was announced today. Events will include a special student matinee on Friday, Nov. 2, and the popular 303 Jam will return on Saturday, Nov. 3. That's a full afternoon of free activities, performances, live DJs and workshops.

    Tickets go on sale April 16.

    Jonzi D 800. Breakin' Convention. Photo by John Moore Sadler’s Wells Theatre, located in London, is renowned as one of the world's leading dance venues. Breakin' Convention is the world's biggest festival of hip-hop dance theatre showcasing the best from around the world and around the corner. Curated and hosted by U.K. hip-hop pioneer Jonzi D, the weekend will be filled with performances from world champion b-boy crews to cutting-edge street-dance companies live on stage and taking over the whole building. Events will include dance workshops, graffiti, DJs and freestyle sessions. 

    The lineup will again feature local and international acts to be announced.

    “This is not just about dance from around the world,” said Alicia Bruce, General Manager of the DCPA’s Broadway division. “It’s also about dance from around the corner.” More details to come on local auditions. Last year's headlining acts included Yeah Yellow (from France), Protocol (U.K.), Salah (France), Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) and Popin’ Pete (U.S.).

    Jonzi D is the founder and Artistic Director of Jonzi D Projects and Breakin' Convention. A dancer, spoken-word artist and director, he is the foremost advocate for hip hop who has changed the profile and influenced the development of the U.K. British hip-hop dance and theatre scene over the past two decades.

    Breakin' Convention spreads message of hip-hop and hope

    “Theatre is missing out on a brand-new vision and voice and audience,” Jonzi D said. “This is a chance where you can bring your children and your grandchildren to something which will hopefully bring the whole family together and also demystify maybe some of the stereotypes that people have about hip-hop.” 

    Breakin Convention Salah Photo by Brent AndeckIan Flaws, again the designated local rep for the Denver gathering, made it clear that Breakin' Convention is, indeed, all about breaking conventions. His personal priority, he said, is authenticity.“

    “I am excited to be asked to do this again because this will be a bigger stage and a bigger platform that we are all hungry for here in the community,” said Flaws, who runs the Bboy Factory here in Denver, which is a dance studio dedicated to the preservation of the traditional hip-hop culture. “And I think we deserve it,” he added, “because there is a ton of talent in this state.” (Pictured above: Salah at least year's event.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Flaws said Breakin' Convention is a unique opportunity for the larger metro population to get a taste of what hip-hop is all about — especially if for the first time.
        
    "It will be a great introduction to hip-hop," said Flaws. "And when I say hip-hop, that usually brings an automatic assumption that we are only talking about rap music. Hip-hop is really a big, vibrant culture that includes dance, art, food and music. Hip-hop is a culture that comes from the street, and I think Breakin' Convention is a beautiful introduction to everything that is positive in hip-hop culture."

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Breakin' Convention:
    DJ CaveM: Saving lives one healthy beat, and bite, at a time
    Breakin' Convention
    promises to bring authenticity, local artists to DCPA 
    Video: Our talk with the one and only Jonzi D of Breakin' Convention
    Breakin' Convention workshop spreads message of hip-hop and hope

  • 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

    • City announces security change at Buell Theatre

      by John Moore | Feb 12, 2018

      Buell Theatre.


      Enhanced security, including metal detectors, will be in place by Tuesday, Feb. 13. Please plan accordingly.

      To ensure the safety of guests, the city of Denver’s Department of Arts & Venues has announced enhanced security, including metal detectors, at The Buell Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

      The first installation will be in place by Tuesday, Feb. 13, said Brian Kitts, marketing director for Denver Arts & Venues, the division of the City of Denver that manages the Buell Theatre. Tuesday is opening night of the national touring production of STOMP

      Much like any major concert or sporting event, guests will now pass through a metal detector and all bags will be inspected. Wand inspections and pat-downs are possible. Guests are encouraged to pack light, be aware of the guidelines and are strongly encouraged to arrive up to one hour before the ticketed start of any show.

      Security screenings and bag checks are becoming standard practice in civic spaces, Kitts said, and the city has been considering upgrading security at the venues it manages at the Denver Performing Arts Complex for some time. But he said these new procedures apply only to The Buell Theatre.

      “The Buell was chosen to pilot these new measures because it’s the most active venue at the Denver Performing Arts Complex,” Kitts told The Denver Post.

      The new measures specifically ban most outside food and beverages, weapons, marijuana and other drugs without prescription, and bags larger than 12 by 12 by 12 inches. The complete list can be found below.

      “Most people going to these performances have been through some sort of security before, whether it’s at the airport or Coors Field or the Pepsi Center,” Kitts told The Post. “This shouldn’t be any different than that.”

      But increased security does take advance planning. “We just ask that if you have a big, bulky bag with you and know it’s going to be searched, just leave it in the car,” he said. Arts Complex management, he added, reserves the right to refuse any item deemed a potential safety or security risk or with the potential to be a distraction to the event being held.

      “The Denver Center for the Performing Arts places the highest value on the safety of our guests,” said Suzanne Yoe, the DCPA’s Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs. “The DCPA has a dedicated security team focused on ensuring that our campus is safe, and that we continually evolve our safety procedures to meet current standards. We appreciate the leadership of Arts & Venues as it works to improve security throughout the Arts Complex campus.”

      She added that the DCPA will continue to evaluate security measures in the spaces it manages — The Stage, Space, Ricketson, Jones, Garner Galleria Theatre, Conservatory Theatre and Seawell Ballroom.

      COMPLETE GUIDELINES FOR CITY-RUN ARTS COMPLEX VENUES:

      PERMITTED ITEMS INSIDE:

      •    Empty or factory-sealed water (plastic and aluminum) bottles
      •    Limelight Restaurant beverages in plastic cups with lids
      •    Bags smaller than 12” x 12” x 12” (must fit under designated seat)

      PROHIBITED ITEMS INSIDE:

      •    ALL OUTSIDE FOOD AND BEVERAGES (exceptions: factory-sealed water bottles and Limelight beverages in plastic cups with lids)
      •    Marijuana and drugs without a prescription
      •    Laser pointers (will be confiscated and patron subject to ejection)
      •    Coolers (hard sided and soft sided)
      •    Audio or video recording devices, GoPros, professional cameras or cameras with removable lenses
      •    Weapons or items construed as weapons (including, but not limited to: firearms, knives of all sizes, sharp-edged objects, mace and pepper spray, tasers, props/toys)
      •    Bullhorns or noisemakers
      •    Balloons
      •    Selfie Sticks
      •    Confetti, glitter and other items that can be thrown
      •    Commercial signage
      •    Animals (except service animals)
      •    Bicycles and scooters
      •    Patrons bringing skateboards, inline skates, hoverboards, or strollers will be asked to check them at the theatre
      •    Remote control flying devices or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)
      •    Bags larger than 12” x 12” x 12”

      NOTE: Theatergoers may be asked to open bulky outerwear, such as jackets, prior to entering.

      For additional general information, please email Lori.Garza@denvergov.org

    • 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

    • 'STOMP' returns to Denver in all its explosive, syncopated glory

      by John Moore | Feb 10, 2018

      STOMP 2018. Photo by Junichi Takahashi.

      'STOMP' returns to The Buell Theatre in Denver from Feb 13-18. Photo by Junichi Takahashi.

      Using percussion, everyday objects and not a word of dialogue, another sweeping storm of rhythm is brewing

      Genevieve Miller Holt
      For the DCPA NewsCenter

      It’s been a while since you heard those clomping, clanging racket makers — racketeers? — right here in your own back yard. Yes, STOMP is back in Denver in all its explosive, syncopated glory with those incredible percussionists who treasure the old adage about one man’s trash…

      STOMP 2018. Photo by Steve McNicholas.The troupe still doesn’t look at everyday objects the way the rest of the world does. In their hands, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters (we’re not sure about Grouchos and Harpos) and the general detritus of the 21st century takes on a life of its own. Stomp, created and directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, is an exploration of the outer limits of rhythmic invention. It’s a Pipe (read drain pipe) and Drum (read anything) Corps for our age. 

      And speaking of age, it has not withered STOMP's clatter — or fun.STOMP, that concatenation of sound and skill, is back with its rhythms and drumbeats intact. 

      The same goes for its nonstop movement of bodies, objects, sound — even abstract ideas. There’s no dialogue, speech or plot. But music? Absolutely. Uncommon music, created in nontraditional ways — with every day objects ranging from matchbooks to every household item you can imagine. “It’s a piece of theatre that’s been created by musicians,” said  McNicholas. “It doesn’t have narrative and it doesn’t have dialogue and it doesn’t have melody particularly, but it is totally rhythmically based.” You’re bombarded by a caterwauling noise that under any other circumstances you would choose to shut out. 

      But not here.

      Here all is syncopated and choreographed with the precision of an army bugle corps (minus the bugles) and by the fertile imagination of buskers or street performers from the streets of Brighton — the spot where STOMP’s creators hail from and where they dream up versions of this utterly inventive, unexpected, whacked-out show. “Most ideas come from everyday life,” said McNicholas, “but when we put a routine together we are thinking not just in terms of the rhythmic qualities, the sound qualities of the instruments, but also visual impact.”

      And impact it will have. So sit back, relax, tap your feet, clap your hands. There’s only fun to be had here — from the ringing of hollow pipes to clashing metal weaving its spell, and industrial strength dance routines involving a lot of supremely well-coordinated bodies.

      Genevieve Miller Holt, formerly of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, is the General Manager for Broadway Across America in Cincinnati. Photo above and right by Steve McNicholas.

      STOMP in Denver: Ticket information
      STOMPSTOMP
      is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty and utterly unique — an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered armfuls of awards and rave reviews and has appeared on numerous national television shows. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. Year after year, audiences worldwide keep coming back for more of this pulse-pounding electrifying show. 

      • National touring production
      • Performances Feb. 13-18
      • 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

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    • Lester Ward retires: 'There were really no dark days'

      by John Moore | Feb 01, 2018

      Lester Ward Donald Seawell 2004
      The retiring Lester Ward, left, stood — literally — as Donald R. Seawell's right-hand man all the way back to the founding of the Denver Center in 1972. And before.


      The DCPA's modest former president and longest-serving trustee officially retired last month after 46 years of service

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      If the late Donald R. Seawell was the dapper, larger-than-life showman who commanded the spotlight for decades as the founder of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, attorney Lester Ward was more the genial and contented partner quietly applauding from the wings.

      But make no mistake, Seawell said in 2004: “Lester Ward has been an integral part of the DCPA since its inception.”

      Ward’s 46-year history with the DCPA is in many ways the history of the DCPA itself. And despite wild fluctuations in the economy and seemingly constant turmoil in the outside world, Ward now says with utter sincerity: “There were really no dark days" at the DCPA ... "because I thoroughly enjoyed every day I spent here.”

      Ward, 87, officially retired last month as the DCPA’s longest-serving board member, dating back to his appointment in 1986. Three years later, he was named the DCPA’s first-ever president and Chief Operating Officer — positions he held until his partial retirement in 2004.

      Lester Ward retired 2017. Photo by Julie Schumacher But Ward’s association with Seawell dates back to the mid-1960s, long before the famed theatre impresario dreamed up the 12-acre Denver Performing Arts Complex at the corner of 14th and Curtis streets on the back of a paper napkin. For decades, Ward stood in lockstep with Seawell as the newspaper magnate and confidant of prime ministers and Broadway stars grew the Denver Center for the Performing Arts into a world-class arts center out of what had been one of the sketchiest parts of downtown Denver.

      But Seawell’s vision was not universally shared by all of Denver. Not at first.

      “Don was rather amazed at the level of opposition there was,” Ward said. “And in fact, that was one of the reasons he wanted some help from me. But once Don decided on a course of action, that course of action was carried out, and carried out vigorously. And thank goodness. Just look what Don’s vision has meant for life in downtown Denver.”

      Audiences slowly came around. By 1998, the DCPA Theatre Company won the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Award as the nation’s Outstanding Regional Theatre. And so, two decades later, at Ward’s final board meeting on Dec. 5, DCPA Board Chairman Martin Semple and CEO Janice Sinden presented Ward with his own, personal replica of that award. 

      “It’s for Outstanding Performance as a Leader and Longstanding Supporter of the DCPA,” Semple said while presenting the award. (Photo above by Julie Schumaker.)

      Ward, Semple added, “was a key figure in the most glorious days of the DCPA and how it has developed over the years.”

      Ward, a modest Pueblo native, served Seawell as the DCPA’s attorney from its inception in 1972. They had met in 1965, when Ward was called in to help Denver Post editor Palmer Hoyt fight off a hostile takeover attempt. The newspaper’s longtime publisher at that time was heiress Helen Bonfils, and Seawell was her attorney and business partner until her death in 1972.

      “And then Don came up with the marvelous idea of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts,” Ward said.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Ward helped Seawell create the DCPA Theatre Company and open the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex in 1979. From there, he had a hand in every significant development in the Denver Center’s growth and evolution. In 1984, for example, Ward facilitated the conversion of Seawell’s American National Theatre and Academy in New York into the DCPA’s on-site National Theatre Conservatory, a three-year masters program that included an apprenticeship with the DCPA Theatre Company through 2012.

      “The DCPA had virtually no education program until Lester came on board,” Semple said of a division that has since grown to serve 106,000 students a year.

      Lester and Rosalind WardWard and Seawell were key players in the 1988 creation of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a voter-approved penny retail tax on every $10 that today infuses more than $50 million a year into metro-area arts organizations.

      Calling Mr. President …

      Seawell created the title of DCPA President and Chief Operating Officer for Ward in 1989. The job called for Ward to be in charge of all financial and administrative oversight of the DCPA while Seawell took charge of policy, fundraising and artistic direction.

      At the time, Ward still was living with wife Rosalind (pictured above) in their native Pueblo, where he had been a partner in his own law firm for 31 years. But the timing for a move to Denver was perfect. “The youngest of our three children was graduating high school and we were going to be empty nesters. So we thought, 'You know what? That sounds like a most enjoyable second career,' ” said Ward, who was 57 at the time. “It was a major decision, but we have had no regrets. I have been the luckiest guy in the world, with two wonderful careers.”

      But little did Ward know then that his second career would occupy his next 29 years.

      (Story continues below the photo gallery)

      Photo gallery: Lester Ward through the years

      Lester Ward: A Look back

      Photos above from Lester Ward's 46 years with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Click anywhere on the image above to be taken to a full gallery. Photos from Ward's final board meeting on Dec. 5 by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      Under Ward's presidency, the Denver Center’s annual budget has grown from $13 million to $57 million. Ward supervised the creation of the DCPA’s National Center for Voice and Speech and the building of the Seawell Ballroom in the early 1990s. He worked with the city to open the Buell Theatre in 1990 as a home for Broadway touring productions. The inaugural visit, from The Phantom of the Opera, drew audiences from 40 states.

      In 2000, Time Magazine listed DCPA Theatre Company world premieres of The Laramie Project and Tantalus as both among the 10 best theatre productions in the United States that year. Tantalus was an epic, 10-play co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company that the Bonfils Foundation supported with about $12 million. “Nothing in the theater has come along like this in 2,500 years, and it probably won’t ever happen again,” he later said. RSC artistic director Adrian Noble called the collaboration “an extraordinary, landmark event in world culture.”

      In 2002, Ward helped the late DCPA Broadway Executive Director Randy Weeks land the launch of Disney’s The Lion King's first national tour for Denver.

      Robert Petkoff TantalusIn 2004, Seawell, who was then 92, and Ward, who was 75, decided to step down from their primary positions to make way for new blood. In Seawell’s case, that meant new CEO Daniel Ritchie — who was a spry, 73-year-old mountain climber. Ward was succeeded by Weeks, who died in 2014. Seawell and Ward both stayed on as board members, and in 2007, Ritchie persuaded Ward to become president of the Bonfils Foundation — a fund that began as Helen Bonfils' assets from owning The Denver Post and were used by Seawell to build the DCPA.

      But since 2001, the fund's investment portfolio has diminished from $82 million in cash, investments and real estate to about $35 million today, Ward said. That’s largely because in 1995, the Bonfils Foundation borrowed — and has since been repaying — $37 million in bonds and $13 million in interest to pay for building expansions and capital improvements. 

      Of all of Ward’s accomplishments, he said, the most lasting may be the least publicly known: As of December, the Bonfils Foundation — and by extension, the Denver Center — are now debt-free, he said.

      “I made the decision to step down in December because that was the month we paid off those bonds,” Ward said of the Foundation’s ongoing payments of between $1.5 million and $2 million per year.

      “I can say that the Denver Center is in terrific financial shape," Ward said, "and I am so excited for its future.”

      Regrets? He has a few: Seawell, Ward and Semple stood nearly alone when the board voted to close the National Center for Voice and Speech, and later, the National Theatre Conservatory, for financial reasons. “Those were programs that gave us national standing — and that meant something," Ward said.

      But Ward considers among his greatest accomplishments the gradual but now total demolition of the persistent cliché of Denver as being some sort of a cultural cowtown. Mostly because the agrarian in Ward believes the comparison to be an insult to cows.

      Lester Ward 400 FirstSCFDCheck“It’s absolutely a wrong perception to think that because you’re interested in livestock or agriculture or sports that you’re not also interested in theatre, dance or the symphony,” Ward said in a 1992 interview with the Intermountain Jewish News. “Colorado has an incredibly diverse array of lifestyles, and I think this community is as sophisticated as you will find anywhere in the country.”

      As he reflects on that matter today, Ward adds: “I think I am most proud of the way the Rocky Mountain community has adopted theatre into their lives. The theatre that we have both made here at the Denver Center and also presented from Broadway have absolutely made Denver a national focal point for theatre.”

      (Pictured right: Lester Ward with the very first Scientific and Cultural Facilities payout to the Denver Center, for nearly $500,000 in 1989.)

      ‘Denver is now the greatest city …’

      Ward is stepping back for a final time, he says with a laugh, during a period of continuing change at the Denver Center. Within the past two years, the executive team has added a new CEO (Janice Sinden), Board President (Martin Semple) Vice President of Technology (Yovani Pina), Theatre Company Artistic Director (Chris Coleman), Vice President of Marketing (Lisa Mallory) and is currently searching for a Director of Development. But Ward sees nothing but blue skies — and high-quality theatre — ahead.

      “I absolutely feel things are going in the right direction,” said Ward, who calls Sinden “a breath of fresh air” as CEO and says Coleman will be a “top-notch” Artistic Director.

      Like Ward, Semple has been around since the very beginning of the DCPA, and Semple was in the room when Seawell introduced Ward as president back in 1989.

      “Don Seawell described Lester that day as the most intelligent, the most conscientious and the most civic-minded person he knew,” Semple said. “We believe that, because we have seen that.”

      At the final board meeting last month, DCPA trustees voted to designate both Ward and Margot Frank, who also is retiring after 17 years of service, as honorary trustees. The motion passed unanimously. Attorney Robert Slosky pointed out that Frank’s license plate is a shortened version of the word FUNDRAISER. “The T is silent,” Slosky said, “but Margot is not.”

      Ward is feeling good about stepping aside now. “I am just as pleased as I can be,” he said. “Denver is now the greatest city in the country in my opinion, and it has been a privilege for me to be involved with that.” 

      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.

       

      Lester Ward: Four favorites

      MAMMA MIA! North American Tour 2015 by Joan MarcusFor all of his attention to the bottom line, former DCPA President Lester Ward is quick to point out that the sole purpose for the DCPA’s existence is “to make people aware of what a wonderful force live theatre is in our lives. How it helps people to see the world and understand issues of every kind.” To that end, we asked Ward to name four personal favorite Denver Center offerings over the years:

      • St. Joan, Theatre Company, 1989
      • Wit, Theatre Company, 2001
      • Julius Caesar, Theatre Company, 1992
      • Mamma Mia (six Denver stops between 2003-17, pictured at right)


      Lester Ward: Highlights

      • Hometown: Pueblo
      • Graduated from Pueblo Central High School, Harvard College and Harvard Law School
      • Wife: Rosalind, 53 years
      • Children: Ann Marie, Alison Kay and Lester III. Four grandchildren. Niece Elizabeth Ward Land is a Broadway actor, most recently in Amazing Grace
      • Served in the U.S. Army, 1955-57
      • Partner at the private law firm of Predovich, Ward and Banner, 1957-89
      • Named Outstanding Young Man of 1964 by the Pueblo Jaycees
      • Appointed by Governor Dick Lamm to serve on the Colorado Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, 1975
      • President of the Colorado Bar Association, 1983-84
      • Named to the DCPA Board of Trustees, 1986
      • Named President and Chief Operating Officer of the DCPA on July 1, 1989
      • Chair of the Performing Arts Center Consortium, consisting of 27 major performing-arts centers in the U.S., Canada and Australia, 2001-02
      • President of the Helen G. Bonfils Foundation, 2007-16
      • Boards and charities including: Pueblo Kiwanis Club, Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, Pueblo Public Library, St. Mary Corwin Hospital, Thatcher Foundation, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Lawyers for the Arts
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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.