• Search is on for two young Denver actresses to perform in 'Waitress'

    by John Moore | Sep 29, 2017
    Waitress. Jesse Mueller. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
    The DCPA will present the Tony-nominated musical 'Waitress' at The Buell Theatre from Dec. 19-31. The Broadway production (above) originally starred Jessie Mueller. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

    Two local girls no older than 5 years, 3 months, can audition to play LuLu while the musical visits Denver.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The search is on for two young local girls to perform the role of “Lulu” for the duration of the Denver engagement of Waitress.

    “Lulu” is a sweet and carefree young girl aged 4-5 who appears in the production’s finale.

    Auditions will be held in two sessions on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Newman Center for Theatre Education, located at 1101 13th St. The first session will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The second session will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Those auditioning need only attend one session

    To sign up for an audition or get more information, parents or guardians can visit denvercenter.org/auditions.

    Young girls who would like to audition should be no older than 5 years and 3 months, and be less than 4 feet 2 inches in height. Each audition will take approximately five minutes, and each child will be asked to read two lines from the show. Individual applicants are welcome, as are sets of twins or siblings. If possible, parents should bring a current head shot and resume for each child. Prior acting experience is not required. Sign-up is on a first-come basis with a maximum of 40 slots.

    Waitress is the new Broadway musical from Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles inspired by Adrienne Shelly's 2007 motion picture.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Waitress_3x3.375_Show Tile_UPDATEBrought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by six-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles ("Brave," "Love Song"), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), choreography by Lorin Latarro (Les Dangereuse Liasons, Waiting for Godot) and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland). Paulus launched the national tour of Pippin in Denver.
     
    Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna - a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town's new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

    Waitress cast includes local favorite Lenne Klingamann

    "It's an empowering musical of the highest order," said the Chicago Tribune.

    The national tour of Waitress premieres in Cleveland, on Oct. 17. It visits Denver's Buell Theatre from Dec. 19-31. Single tickets are on sale at denvercenter.org.



    Waitress in Denver: Ticket information

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


    dcpa.org
  • 'Frozen': Your first look at production photos

    by John Moore | Sep 14, 2017
    The video above captures the excitement from Opening Night of the pre-Broadway engagement of 'Frozen; in Denver on Sept. 14, 2017. The run continues at the Buell Theatre through Oct. 1 before the moving to Broadway in February 2018. 


    Your first look at Opening Night and production photos from the Denver debut of the upcoming Broadway musical

    The first production photos of Disney Theatrical’s new Broadway musical Frozen were released this morning. The pre-Broadway engagement at the Buell Theatre opens tonight (Sept. 14)  and continues through Oct. 1. Photos by Deen van Meer.
     

    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Patti Murin (Anna) in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van Meer
    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Patti Murin (Anna) in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.



    Patti Murin (Anna) and John Riddle (Hans) in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van MeerPatti Murin (Anna) and John Riddle (Hans) in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.


    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Andrew Pirozzi (Sven) in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van MeerJelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Andrew Pirozzi (Sven) in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.


    Patti Murin (Anna) and Caissie Levy (Elsa) with Jacob Smith in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van Meer

    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), Patti Murin (Anna) and Caissie Levy (Elsa) with Jacob Smith in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.

    The Company of FROZEN. Photo by Deen van MeerThe Company of 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.


    Video: Our interviews with stars, creative team:

    Video above: Our series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team from the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen, which continues in Denver through Oct. 1. Videos by David Lenk. Interviews by John Moore.

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Through Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Following its pre-Broadway engagement, Frozen will join Disney Theatrical hits Aladdin and The Lion King on Broadway, beginning performances at the St. James Theatre on Feb. 22, 2018, and opening March 22. Tickets for Broadway performances are on sale now through Aug. 12, 2018. Visit FrozenTheMusical.com for more information.

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


     

  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 3: Thomas Schumacher

    by John Moore | Aug 18, 2017

     


    Disney's Thomas Schumacher: 'Frozen is not a musical film. It’s a theatrical musical on film.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

    Thomas-Schumacher-denver-center_frozen_photo-by-jenny-andersonPart 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, who talks about his company’s special relationship with the city of Denver, and what makes Frozen the perfect choice for a musical stage adaptation.

    “At its core, Frozen is not a musical film. It’s a theatrical musical on film,” Schumacher said. “The characters tell the stories with their songs. The songs turn the corner for the story action. Music propels it forward. And that’s why it wants to be on the stage.”

    Interview by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    (Pictured above from left: Director Michael Grandage, Thomas Schumacher and Scenic and Costume Designer Christopher Oram. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Production
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    by John Moore | Aug 16, 2017

     


    The choreographer calls the new Broadway musical's mingling of old and new songs 'seamless'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

    Travis Patton, Rob Ashford & James Brown III Photo by Jenny AndersonPart 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford, who says the mingling of old and new songs is surprisingly seamless. "When I first heard all the new music, I was like, ‘Is that a new song? I’m not sure.’ Because they all feel like they could have absolutely been in the film."

    Ashford says he had something of a blank slate because there is not much dancing in the animated source film. He's points to the Coronation Ball as an example of a scene he thinks the movement really works. "Anna sees Elsa across the room and she is thrilled to see her sister again, but doesn’t know how to approach her," said Ashford," and so all of those things are done through dance." He calls choreographing Frozen "a joy and a privilege."

    Interview by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    (Pictured above, from left: Travis Patton, Rob Ashford and James Brown III. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 2: Director Michael Grandage

    by John Moore | Aug 13, 2017

     


    Frozen director: 'The vision is to honor the film but at the same time give it its own identity.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team. Second up: Director Michael Grandage.  

    Frozen Michael Grandage "The vision is to honor the film but at the same time give it its own identity. We can do a lot onstage that you can’t do otherwise," Grandage says. 

    As for his own hopes for the audience, he added: "I’ve always found that if you can have your life changed just a little bit by watching theatre, and it can really make a difference in your life, then I think we have done our job. I hope Frozen does that.  

    Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    Pictured above from left: Patti Murin, Michael Grandage and Caissie Levy. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin

    by John Moore | Aug 11, 2017

     


    Frozen stars: 'It's great that this is the city Disney trusts to give them a valid and educated response.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of thA Frozen. Rehearsale cast and creative team. First up: Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna).  

    Says Levy: "I think you are going to mostly see the show that will arrive on Broadway, but you get to see it first here in Denver, which is cool - and you will know all those insider tweaks that happened. I think that's why we are excited to be here, because this is such a savvy theatregoing city."

    Read more: First interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin

    Says Murin: "Any changes that are made between Denver and New York are going to be because of how the Denver audience reacts. And so it's great that this is the city Disney trusts to give them a valid and educated response." 

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

    Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • 'Frozen' performance added for Friday night, Aug. 18

    by John Moore | Aug 10, 2017
    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

     

    Disney's Thomas Schumacher: Creative team will benefit from additional early performance before Denver audience

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The first performance of the highly anticipated developing Broadway musical Frozen takes place in Denver on Thursday, Aug. 17. And the second performance, as of right now, will be the next evening, it was just announced.

    According to the original Frozen schedule, Friday, Aug. 18, was to have been a full work day, with no public performance that evening. But Frozen Director Michael Grandage and Disney Theatricals President Thomas Schumacher have decided the Frozen creative team will benefit more from getting several performances in the books before implementing any potential changes.

    “Frankly, we want to get on a roll, and one performance isn’t enough to help us do that,” said Schumacher. “If we can have a second preview right away, then we can size up more than just one audience.”

    The newly added performance will take place in the Buell Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, which means an additional 2,800 seats have just been made available to the public at denvercenter.org, starting at $25.

    Frozen rehearsal. Caissie Levy and Patti Murin. Photo by Jenny Anderson. Pre-Broadway productions don’t always follow the same performance schedules audiences come to expect from established touring productions that visit Denver. Instead, shows still in development target specific “work days” to stop and incorporate lessons learned from early performances in front of live audiences. Those might include script, set or costume changes that can only be safely incorporated with additional, dedicated rehearsal time. The team still has planned “work days” scheduled for Aug. 22 and 29. 

    The entire seven-week run of Denver is, in essence, a preview period for the show’s opening next spring at the St. James Theatre in New York. For those unfamiliar with the term, a preview performance is essentially any that takes place before a designated opening night. In Denver, the official opening night is Sept. 14, after which any significant potential changes would not be implemented until the Denver run closes on Oct. 1.

    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin

    Schumacher said the Denver audience’s role in the creative process is of vital importance to the creative team. The audience contributes to the creative conversation simply by the way it responds to the story with its laughter, applause and tears. That’s why the creative team wants as much feedback as possible before considering any major changes.

    Michael Grandage, Thomas Schumacher, Christopher Oram. Photo by Jenny Anderson“You can't go by just one audience, because there will be diversity from one audience to the next depending on the time of day and day of the week,” Schumacher said. “Certain people love to come to a weekend matinee, and that is a very specific kind of crowd. The weekday audience is a different crowd. The people who hear about this newly added performance and buy a ticket tomorrow is a different audience than the people who bought their tickets four months ago. The people who bought their tickets four months ago are big Frozen fans. But I think this show also has so much appeal to the traditional audience that might not realize what we are even doing yet. They might not know yet that that this is actually a big, brand-new, proper musical. And when they come, we are going to learn from them as they watch the show, too.”

    The bottom line, Schumacher said: “We're in rehearsal. Previews are part of our process. And we want to get enough of them under our belt to take full advantage of what we learn from our Denver audiences to keep the momentum going.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Tickets for the added performance top out at $75, Schumacher said, since it’s such a late addition to the performance schedule. He added that the Denver engagement of Frozen is selling very well.

    “Today we have sold more tickets for Frozen than for The Little Mermaid pre-Broadway run in Denver 10 years ago,” Schumacher added. He attributed that to Frozen being staged in the Buell Theatre, which has a much higher capacity than the Ellie, which hosted The Little Mermaid.

    And yet, there are still 24,000 seats available to the public for Frozen in Denver, he said. Weeknights have the best availability.


    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.

    Pictured above: Top right: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin in 'Frozen' rehearsal. Above right, from left: Michael Grandage, Thomas Schumacher and Christopher Oram. Photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    dcpa.org


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen

    Exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

  • A new 'Frozen' for every age: Our exclusive interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin

    by John Moore | Jul 31, 2017

    Frozen Quote. Caissie Levy, Patti Murin. Photo by Jenny Anderson


    Disney's new musical Frozen 'is about women being supportive of each other. Simply put: Together we are stronger.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Caissie Levy and Patti Murin never imagined they would grow up to be princesses. “Not in a million years,” Levy said, just for emphasis. But there’s no question both Broadway stars have been living a fairy tale since they were cast to play Elsa and Anna in Disney’s Broadway-bound stage adaption of Frozen.

    “I am so proud to be a part of this company. I count my blessings every day,” Murin said in an exclusive interview just a week after rehearsals began for the pre-Broadway launch in Denver that runs from Aug. 17 through Oct. 1.

    “To be in this club is thrilling, to say the least,” added Levy, who plays Elsa to Murin's Anna. “And with each new day we have been working on it, that sense of giddiness and excitement has just grown deeper and deeper.”

    Both actors say the stage adaptation of Frozen will surprise people with its universal appeal to all audiences.

    (Story continues after the video)

    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver:

    “There is something for everybody,” Levy said. “We have discovered so many more layers to examine within this story that can only happen in the theatre. A lot of adult themes are explored. It’s not just for kids.”

    Murin added that adapting the 85-minute film into a full, two-act Broadway production with more than twice as much music gives the actors the opportunity to dig deeper into their characters’ storylines.

    “This is a complete show,” Murin said. “With the addition of so much new material, we have the freedom to expand and to go deeper than you are able to in a film.” To Director Michael Grandage, it’s about emphasizing “the beating heart of the story,” she said. 

    “I think what’s so brilliant about what the writers and Michael and (Choreographer) Rob Ashford are doing is that while they are using the film as a template, they are not trying to re-create what we saw on the screen for the stage,” Levy said. “This is not a replica of the movie. It’s a wholly new work of art. People who love the movie will want to buy a ticket to the musical because they love the movie, but once they are in the theatre they are going to have a completely new experience coming at them.”

    Great care has gone into the stage adaptation, said Levy, because with great opportunity also comes royal pressure.

    “This is not just any Disney show. It’s Frozen,” said Levy. “Elsa and Anna mean so much to so many people. The weight of that is both a huge responsibility and a huge honor.” 

    Frozen earned $1.2 billion at cinemas worldwide and that was before it was made available for home viewing. The soundtrack became the highest-selling album of 2014, moving more than 10 million units. The New Yorker magazine said Frozen “has transcended the commercial realm and captured the culture.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Levy totally gets it. The Oscar-winning anthem “Let It Go” has become so pervasive, Levy said, that her 16-month-old is already singing the song from his diapers.

    So how does one go about creating a new character for the stage that comes from a film that is already so ingrained in the hearts and minds of its Frozen 800. Caissie Levy, Michael Grandage and Patti Murin. Photo by Jenny Anderson. Frozen.audience?

    “It’s tricky,” Levy said with a laugh. “I think the reason Elsa resonates with so many people is that her struggle to figure out how to be who she really is and accept and own that and love herself in spite of her flaws, is so relatable. She is trying to shed the pressure of other people’s expectations of her and figure out how to celebrate her flaws as part of who she is. And that is what I am trying to focus on as the actor playing Elsa. A lot of people have expectations about how she should be portrayed, but I am trying to take a page from ‘Let It Go’ and get all of that out of my head.”

    Frozen is the story of two princesses, one cursed with the power to control and manipulate ice. When Elsa accidentally injures her sister, it sets off a series of betrayals, treacheries and curses that can only be healed with an act of true love. But unlike most fairy tales, the heroic act that saves the day in Frozen doesn’t have anything to do with a handsome prince; it’s all about sisterhood.

    “It’s about women being supportive of each other,” Murin said. “Simply put: Together we are stronger.”

    Levy and Murin have played Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, in Wicked — just not at the same time. Like Elphaba, Elsa possesses a power she has repeatedly been told is a bad thing, and it inadvertently hurts someone she loves. Levy said it is crucial for women in the audience to see their own individual power — whatever that power might be — as a beautiful thing.

    Patti Murin Quote “It’s all about harnessing that power and taking those things we don’t love about ourselves and trying to see the positive side of it,” Levy said. The essential message of Frozen, Murin added, is “accepting who you are — and not being afraid to be who you are.”

    The purpose of the seven-week Denver run is for the creative team to explore, experiment, act and react as the musical continues its development up to its Broadway opening in 2018. “The feedback from the audiences is critically important to the production as the creative team molds the show,” said Jack Eldon, Vice President of Domestic Touring and Regional Engagements at Disney Theatrical Productions.

    But Levy already has a pretty good idea of the theatrical experience audiences are in for here.

    “I think it’s going to really surprise people,” she said. “Yes, it is going to be visually spectacular. Yes, it is going to sound incredible. Yes, it’s going to have all of the things that you want out of a Disney production. But it is also going to have so much depth and heart and soul.

    “Nothing about this is frothy. What you will see is every important moment in the lives of these characters. You are going to come away having experienced something unique and new, while still within the template of something you know and love already.”

    Video bonus: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin:

    Our video interview with 'Frozen' stars Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna).


    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.


    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

  • Video: The summer of 'Frozen' is heating up in Denver

    by John Moore | Jun 23, 2017

    Disney Theatrical Productions launches its new Broadway-bound musical Frozen from Aug. 17-Oct. 1 at Denver's Buell Theatre. The new stage adaptation of the popular animated film plays here for seven weeks before joining Disney hits "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre.

    In this video, DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg talks Frozen as banners for the show were hoisted throughout the Denver Performing Arts Complex - ironically, on the first day of summer.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    "Hosting a pre-Broadway theatrical engagement is so unique because this will be the first time any audience gets to see the full Broadway production up on its feet in the theatre before it goes to New York next spring," said Ekeberg. The venture is also great for the local economy, he added, "because it provides a lot of jobs for the Denver region."

     Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. 

    Frozen Banner. John Moore
    Banners are going up throughout the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
    More photos here.


    Frozen
    : At a glance

    From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.

    Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    Buell Theatre
    Sales to groups of 10 or more here

    BUY NOW

    Ticket information for Denver:
    Single tickets for the pre-Broadway engagement of Frozen are on sale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Casting completed for Denver launch of Frozen
    Photos: Rehearsals begin for Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen
  • Photos: Rehearsals begin for Denver launch of 'Frozen'

    by John Moore | Jun 20, 2017
    Frozen

    Rehearsals began on Monday for Disney Theatrical Productions' new Broadway musical Frozen, the new stage adaptation of the popular animated film that plays its out-of-town tryout at Denver's  Buell Theatre from  Aug. 17-Oct. 1 before joining Disney hits Aladdin and The Lion King on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre. To see more photos, hit the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Jenny Anderson for Disney Theatrical Productions.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Frozen. Caissie Levy. Patti Murin. Photo by Jenny Anderson
    Caissie Levy, left, and Patti Murin at the first rehearsal for 'Frozen.' Photo by Jenny Anderson.


    Frozen
    : At a glance

    From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.

    Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    Buell Theatre
    Sales to groups of 10 or more here

    BUY NOW

    Ticket information for Denver:
    Single tickets for the pre-Broadway engagement of Frozen are on sale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Casting completed for Denver launch of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen
  • Breakin' Convention promises to bring authenticity, local artists to DCPA

    by John Moore | Jun 07, 2017
    Breakin Convention. Ian FlawsPhoto by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Full photo gallery at the bottom of this report. 

     

    The international hip-hop dance theatre festival will be an opportunity to both to fill a void and open a door.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The circle was made up of local hip-hop poets, dancers, graffiti artists, MCs, DJs, business owners, educators, musicians, activists, promoters and parents. And when they all got done introducing (or reintroducing) themselves, acclaimed Block 1750 choreographer DeAndré Carroll looked around in wonder.

    “It took somebody outside of our community to bring us all together in one room,” Carroll said to nodding heads and finger snaps. “This needs to not be the last time.”

    BREAKIN CONVENTION QUOTEThe occasion was a community roundtable organized by the Denver Center to start a conversation about Breakin' Convention, an international and local hip-hop dance theatre festival that will take over The Buell Theatre and the surrounding Denver Performing Arts Complex the weekend of Nov. 4-5.

    “But this is not just about dance from around the world,” Alicia Bruce, General Manager of the DCPA’s Broadway division, promised those gathered. “It’s also about dance from around the corner.”

    The major ticketed events will be two public performances in the Buell Theatre featuring four international hip-hop dance acts, one as-yet unnamed national act and four local crews who will be chosen from auditions to be held in Denver on July 6 (more info below). The Buell Theatre and surrounding spaces under the DCPA’s famed arches will be home to a free and unprecedented public hip-hop festival. “That's where we really want to give a stage to a variety of local artists,” Bruce said, including musicians, DJs, MCs, rappers, graffiti artists and dancers. “The hope is to present a program that is engaging to both theatre and hip-hop communities - and brings them together.”

    Breakin ConventionBreakin’ Convention was started in 2004 by Jonzi D of Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. The British dancer, spoken-word artist and director is the most influential advocate for hip-hop theatre in the world. He first took his creation across the pond to Charlotte two years ago. It comes to Denver in November both to fill a void and open a door here.

    “We have an awesome, supportive theatre community here in Denver,” said DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg, whose primary job is to bring touring New York theatrical productions to Denver. “We try to bring a broad range of musicals and other types of entertainment here. But there are untapped opportunities out there for us to bring in some other art forms we don't typically have down here at the Arts Complex.”

    Ian Flaws, 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 was really excited to be asked to do this 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.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    About 35 members of the local artistic community attended the conversation at the Denver Center. They represented a wide swath of organizations and crews from the Disciples of Funk to Youth on Record to the Colorado Ballet to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

    The guests included Laurence Curry, a former DCPA Teaching Artist, movement specialist and actor who most recently performed in the DCPA Theatre Company’s epic LBJ drama All the Way.

    “I am so excited and thankful for this on so many levels,” said Curry, whose passion is infusing hip-hop into school curriculums. He was also part of the DCPA’s Hip Hop Jumbalaya pilot program in 2010.

    He was joined by Bianca Mikahn, who last year directed the Denver Center's How I Got Over - five celebrated slam poets weaving an interconnected story about womanhood, self-discovery and adversity. Her focus is on using urban arts to increase mental wellness and reduce youth violence. “I have been saving my life through art since … breath,” she said.

    Breakin Convention.Also among the attendees were Denver rapper Soul Daddy, DCPA Board member Tina Walls (sister of one the Little Rock Nine) and Arian Noorzai, co-founder of Hype Hyena Entertainment and a contributing artist from the Muslim hip-hop community.     

    The organizer was FloraJane DiRienzo, the DCPA’s Director of Strategic Projects. “The roundtable accomplished our goal of gathering the community to discuss the elements of Breakin’ Convention including auditions, festival planning and youth outreach," she said. "But more important, it allowed us an opportunity to get to know one another, start a conversation and bring together all the amazing talent and energy of the Denver hip-hop community.”

    And Ekeberg promised the conversation doesn’t end in November. Toward that end, he told the group that the DCPA’s Off-Center next March will be staging This Is Modern Art, a controversial play by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval that explores graffiti as modern art ...  or urban terrorism.

    Breakin' Convention: The international lineup

    • Yeah Yellow (France) - An explosive b-boy crew from France, YY brings agility, creativity and invention to the BC stage. Bodies create orifices to dive through, and reform physical shapes with muscular alchemy. Recently performed at BOTY16.
    • Protocol (U.K.) - Lanre Malouda directs as well as performs in this duet that explores racial dynamics. Popping and tutting techniques, as well as text and physical theatre is used to present ideas that reflect the tensions in our community today.
    • Salah (France) - A living legend in the world of hip-hop dance, Salah returns to the Breakin’ Convention stage after an eight year hiatus. This consummate performer is a master popper, locker, b-boy, clown and all around entertainer. Known for his amazing battle abilities, Salah will present his theatre piece The Sickness.
    • Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) - From the most notorious township on the African continent comes the Soweto Skeleton Movers. The audience highlight of Breakin’ Convention 2016 returns with a brand new show. Experts in a particular form of pantsula dance developed by Skeleton Mover pioneer Jabulani, the crew use comedic contortionism, frenetic footwork, and magical hat tricks. 

    *International companies subject to change


    Photo gallery: Breakin' Convention community roundtable

    Breakin' Convention in Denver

    Photo gallery: About 35 members of the local artistic community attended the conversation at the Denver Center. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Breakin' Convention local artist auditions:

    Dancers, Graff Writers, DJ’s, Emcees, Rappers and Beatboxers are invited to audition from 4-10 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education, 1101 13th St. Audition submission forms will be accepted from June 5-18. “This is a highly produced hip-hop dance theatre show, so we are looking for polished acts,” said Ian Flaws. Visit denvercenter.org/BreakinConvention for more information, or to receive audition alerts.


    Breakin' Convention:
    Ticket Information

    Breakin’ Convention 2017 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance TheatreNov. 4-5
    • The Buell Theatre and surrounding areas
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    •Special student performance at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Breakin' Convention:
    Breakin' Convention to kick off Denver Arts Week in November


  • Dear Evan Hansen, You will be found ... in Denver

    by John Moore | May 16, 2017
    Dear-Evan-Hansen-You-Will-Be-Found-4645-Photo-Credit-Matthew-Murphy 800Director Michael Greif says 'Dear Evan Hansen' 'is going to give people the opportunity to talk about some really important and healing things.' Photo by Matthew Murphy

    The Denver Center will launch the acclaimed
    new musical’s first national tour in October 2018

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Dear Evan Hansen, one of the most celebrated musicals of the current Broadway season, will launch its first national touring production in Denver in October 2018, it was just announced, continuing a trend that has recently included Denver premieres of If/Then, Pippin and The Book of Mormon.

    Dear Evan Hansen, which is nominated for nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is the story of a lonely boy who perpetuates a lie that earns him Internet fame. Director Michael Greif, who also helmed the groundbreaking musicals Rent and Next to Normal, says Dear Evan Hansen “is a cathartic story about a kid who comes to love himself. And it's about a grieving family that gets healed.”

    And Greif could not be happier that the show’s hopeful message will be going out into the heartland, starting in Denver.

    Michael Greif quote“This show has such a beautiful and generous and important message,” Greif said in an exclusive interview with the DCPA NewsCenter. “I am thrilled that the universal appeal of this story is going to continue to touch and move people throughout the country. It’s going to give people the opportunity to talk about some really important and healing things, and I can’t wait to share that with as many people as possible.”

    Dear Evan Hansen, which will open DCPA Broadway’s 2018-19 season in the Buell Theatre, was greeted by overwhelming critical and box-office success when it opened in December. The New York Times called it “a gorgeous heartbreaker of a musical for anyone with a beating heart.” The Washington Post called it historic.

    The plot turns when a misunderstanding over a teenager’s death inadvertently turns Evan into a social-media celebrity. Greif says he knew the unlikely story would work on a Broadway stage before he even finished reading the earliest draft of Obie Award-winner Steven Levenson’s script. The score is written by the songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who just won Academy Awards for La La Land.

    “I knew right away - which I don't often say, and I don't often believe,” said Greif. “As soon as I got to talk to these three brilliant writers, I knew that this was a very special project. I knew it because of the incredible, complicated way they were going at this material. I just think it's so smart and beautifully crafted. I love it because the real theme of the play is not lying or fabrication - it's actually generosity."

    The score is built around a celebrated anthem called “You Will Be Found.” And as was the case when he directed Rent and Next to Normal, Grief is being reminded nightly of live theatre’s power to save lives.

    “It’s really unbelievable what we are hearing from kids and from parents and from families in crisis,” Greif said. “They are telling us that they are seen. They are telling us that things they didn't feel they could talk about – yes, they can talk about them. They are telling us that the redemption and the catharsis and the forgiveness in Dear Evan Hansen is helping them to get through whatever they are going through, and to forgive and to accept themselves.

    “Evan coming to terms with himself in our story is a proxy for our audiences being able to come to terms with their own issues."

    Listen to the anthem 'You Will Be Found'

    The Associate Director of Dear Evan Hansen is Adrienne Campbell-Holt, who last year directed the world premiere of the DCPA Theatre Company’s The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck. The producer is Stacey Mindich.

    DEH-Mike-Faist-Ben-Platt-0104-Photo-Credit-Matthew-Murphy 800The original Broadway cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen was released on Atlantic Records in February 2017 with the highest Billboard Chart debut of any cast recording in the past 50 years. 

    This is just the latest coup for Denver, which is quickly rising among the country's elite touring cities.

    “I am thrilled and honored the Dear Evan Hansen team has chosen Denver for their upcoming tour launch," said John Ekeberg, Executive Director for DCPA Broadway. "Bringing new voices and artistically powerful work to the stage is a primary goal of the DCPA, and this compelling new musical embodies all of these qualities and more.” 

    Information regarding on-sale dates and tickets will be announced at a later time. To sign up to receive alerts, click here or visit DearEvanHansen.com. Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – will be the only authorized ticket provider for Dear Evan Hansen tickets in Denver.

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

    Here's more from John Moore’s interview with Michael Greif:

    John Moore: Do you think we've ever seen a protagonist quite like Evan Hansen in a Broadway musical before?

    Michael Greif: When I first met this play and started to get to know it, it felt like we were doing the Natalie and Henry story from Next to Normal. It was really profound for me to be able to think, ‘Oh, what's so wonderful here is that the focus has shifted, and this here is a musical about Henry.’

    John Moore: I think with the advent of social media, we have created a generation of teenagers who are both more connected and more isolated than ever before. Now that you have been through this experience, what do you think are the pros and cons of growing up in the world of today’s social media?

    Justin Paul, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek - Photo Credit Jenny Anderson 800Michael Greif: I have a 22-year-old and an 18-year-old, so I have really watched it through the eyes of a parent, which has been very helpful in developing this musical with these three fantastic writers. What's remarkable about our story is how organically the role of social media informs both plot and characters. This particular story could only take place because the mechanism of Evan's fame is so credible to us in this moment. The germ of Benj's original idea had to do with how one high-school kid's identity changes through the various things that people say about him on social media. From the very beginning, the interaction of a very domestic plot in relation to access to the bigger world has always been a really, really important part of this musical. Like everything, my thoughts about social media relate to monitoring and understanding. It would be backward and conservative and wrong for me to say that it's not wonderful to be able to be in touch with the world the way social media allows us today. It's spectacular to have that kind of access to the rest of the world.

    (Pictured above, from left: 'Dear Evan Hansen' writers Justin Paul, Steven Levenson and Benj Pasek. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    John Moore: Why are you particularly attracted to the kind of theatre like Rent, Next to Normal and Dear Evan Hansen that can have such a profound impaMichael Greif quotect on the lives of their audiences, as opposed to the safer escapism of other musicals? 

    Michael Greif: I think everyone is attracted to great stories. I am really fortunate that I have some sort of a track record, so that I actually get the opportunities to work on these kinds of projects. The opportunity to recognize yourself, or someone you know, or some of the pain or struggles that you feel or have felt, in someone else’s acting, is both powerful and profound. And I think all three of those terrific musicals you mentioned share that. All three have incredible music and compelling characters and great stories. But what I think Dear Evan Hansen has that Next to Normal and Rent do not is an extraordinary duality. You are able to completely give your heart over to Evan and to the grieving Murphy family. And at the same time, your mind is racing because there is this whole other level of mistrust about the whole thing. So while your heart is feeling one thing, your head is feeling another. I think that’s just remarkable.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    John Moore: Are you watching 13 Reasons Why, which also addresses similar issues?

    Michael Greif: Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal, If/Then) wrote that, and so I am very interested in it, but I have not yet had the opportunity to watch it. I have a great regard for Brian Yorkey, as you know, and I am excited to be able to dive into that series when I have a little more time.

    John Moore: Speaking of If/Then, which also began its national tour in Denver, what are your thoughts about Denver as the launch pad for Broadway touring productions?

    Michael Greif: I am looking forward to spending time in Denver again because I had such a wonderful time there with If/Then. It's a great walking town, and that is fantastic for me. The audiences are open and interested and interesting, so I think Denver is a wonderful place to launch it.

    John Moore: Several years ago, producer David Stone told me it was the encouragement he got from late Denver Center Broadway President Randy Weeks that even got him thinking that a national touring production of Next to Normal might work.

    Video: Watch the NBC News report on Dear Evan Hansen

    Michael Greif: I know that there was the concern about touring that show. I feel so happy about the great success of that tour. I think the Fun Home tour also tells us that these are great stories and people around the country are hungry for them. I think it's wonderful when you can really integrate the play-going and the musical-going audiences. I don't think they should be two different kinds of audiences. I always love it when people who say, 'I generally prefer plays,' get so much out of musicals like Dear Evan Hansen and Rent and Next to Normal.

    John Moore: Speaking of Rent, the 20th anniversary tour is also coming to Denver, in November. After two decades, do you feel this is now a nostalgia piece for the original fans, or can Rent still be a musical for the Dear Evan Hansen generation?

    Michael Greif: It's certainly a wonderful opportunity for a new generation of people who love Dear Evan Hansen to see an ancestor. I think Rent remains profound because it's a musical about a group of people who learn to take care of one another.  And they have seen both the cost and the reward of taking care of one another.


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


    Video: Dear Evan Hansen:



    Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss from the original Broadway company perform 'Waving Through a Window' on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers.'

    Dear Evan Hansen: Denver information

    UntitledOctober 2018
    • The Buell Theatre
    • Tickets: An on-sale date will be announced at a later time. For more information, 303-893-4100 or sign up for EMAIL ALERTS
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    • ASL, Audio-Described and Open-Captioned performance 2 p.m. June 11

    Dear Evan Hansen: Creative team

    • Book by Steven Levenson
    • Score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

    • Directed by Michael Greif
    • Music direction by Ben Cohn
    • Choreography by Danny Mefford
    • Scenic design by David Korins
    • Lighting design by Japhy Weideman
    • Costume design by Emily Rebholz
    • Sound design by Nevin Steinberg
    • Projection design by Peter Nigrini
    • Hair design by David Brian Brown
    • Music supervision, orchestrations and additional arrangements by Alex Lacamoire
    •Vocal arrangements and additional arrangements by Justin Paul




  • Breakin' Convention to kick off Denver Arts Week in November

    by John Moore | Apr 25, 2017
    Breakin' Convention

    Photos from 'Breakin' Convention.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    By The DCPA NewsCenter

    Breakin' Convention, Sadler’s Wells Theatre's critically acclaimed international hip-hop dance theatre festival, will take over the The Buell Theatre and the surrounding Denver Performing Arts Complex the weekend of Nov. 4-5, it was announced today. The party will kick off Denver Arts Week, which runs throughout the city from Nov 3-11. Events will include a special student matinee at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. Tickets are on sale now at 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.

    Please be advised that denvercenter.org is the only authorized online ticket provider for Breakin' Convention in Denver. Ticket-buyers who purchase tickets from a broker or any third party should be aware that DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

    BREAKIN CONVENTION. Jonzi D. Photo by Paul HampartsoumianSadler’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, this is weekend will be filled with exceptional 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. 

    (Pictured above right: Jonzi D. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumian.)

    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 includes four international companies*:

    • Yeah Yellow (France) - An explosive b-boy crew from France, YY brings agility, creativity and invention to the BC stage. Bodies create orifices to dive through, and reform physical shapes with muscular alchemy. Recently performed at BOTY16.
    • Protocol (U.K.) - Lanre Malouda directs as well as performs in this duet that explores racial dynamics. Popping and tutting techniques, as well as text and physical theatre is used to present ideas that reflect the tensions in our community today.
    • Salah (France) - A living legend in the world of hip hop dance, Salah returns to the Breakin’ Convention stage after an eight year hiatus. This consummate performer is a master popper, locker, b-boy, clown and all round entertainer. Known for his amazing battle abilities, Salah will present his theatre piece The Sickness.
    • Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) - From the most notorious township on the African continent comes the Soweto Skeleton Movers. The audience highlight of Breakin’ Convention 2016 returns with a brand new show. Experts in a particular form of pantsula dance developed by Skeleton Mover pioneer Jabulani, the crew use comedic contortionism, frenetic footwork, and magical hat tricks. 

    *International companies subject to change


    Breakin' Convention
    local artist auditions:

    Dancers, Graff Writers, DJ’s, Emcees, Rappers and Beatboxers are invited to audition from 4-10 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education, 1101 13th St. Audition submission forms will be accepted from June 5-18. Visit denvercenter.org/BreakinConvention for more information.

    BREAKIN CONVENTION. Project Soul. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumain.Project Soul. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumain.
  • Guest column: Judy Craymer on the origins of 'Mamma Mia!'

    by John Moore | Apr 04, 2017
    MAMMA MIA!

    Photo from the farewell national touring production of 'Mamma Mia!' visiting Denver's Buell Theatre from April 11-16. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Kevin Thomas Garcia.


    By Judy Craymer

    Creative Producer

    As Creative Producer of Mamma Mia!, my job started long before any script had been written. The story begins more than 25 years ago when I first met Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the songwriting geniuses behind ABBA. I was working for Sir Tim Rice at the time, who was collaborating with Benny and Björn on his musical, Chess, and I was immediately smitten — after all, these were the men who had written Dancing Queen, one of the greatest pop songs of all time — but it was another of their songs, The Winner Takes It All, that first suggested to me the potential of an original musical using their compositions. The lyrics revealed a roller-coaster story of love and loss that struck me as extraordinarily theatrical, but how was I to bring this to life?

    First I had to approach Benny and Björn, who were a little unsure of my intentions. I explained that the project I had in mind would focus on a new and exciting story. It wouldn’t be a tribute show or “The ABBA Story,” but rather a truly original “book” musical. They weren’t 100 percent convinced.

    Mamma Mia Quote Judy CraymerSo I sat on the floor of my apartment listening to ABBA late into the night. I may have driven my neighbors to despair but as time passed, I became more and more certain of my idea. In 1995 my tenacity finally paid off. Björn said, “If you can find the right writer and story, well ... let’s see what happens …”

    A year later I was on location with a film I was producing when the director mentioned Catherine Johnson. I was aware of her work as a playwright. We met in January 1997 and soon I was confidently telling Björn that we had found our writer.

    My brief to Catherine was that no lyrics could change, the story should be a contemporary, ironic, romantic comedy and that if she listened carefully to ABBA’s songs, she’d notice how they fell into two different generations: the slightly younger, playful songs like Honey, Honey and Dancing Queen and the more mature, emotional songs such as The Winner Takes It All and Knowing Me, Knowing You ... and so the idea of a cross-generational love story was devised.

    By the end of that year Catherine had finished the first draft of the script and I persuaded Phyllida Lloyd to come on board as our director. Her background was serious, legit theatre and opera, and her secret weapon was her dry-martini wit.

    It was unusual, if not unheard of, for three women to be the collaborative creative force. I think it readdressed the balance and had a great nurturing effect on the production. Appropriately, Mamma Mia! features three strong women in the story. Their characters are completely different — slightly bossy, a bit chaotic, extremely practical, and very high maintenance. We have a lot of laughs about who is who in real life.

    Suddenly it was time to give up my day job as a TV and film producer and prepare for the white-knuckle ride of making the dream a reality: Money to raise, a theatre to find, artwork to create, ticket agents to seduce, deadlines to meet. It was the summer of 1998 and we had to open by April 7, 1999, or we’d lose Phyllida, who’d been booked to direct an opera in London. April 6 happened to be the anniversary, to the day, of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo 25 years before. It seemed a good omen.

    Mamma Mia Although Björn was enthusiastic and shared the vision for the musical, Benny was a little more cautious and at any time both, he could have put an end to the project. It was a tense time, as their emotional backing as well as their creative input was very important. If they were going to trust me with their fabulous songs, I didn’t want to let them down. Benny and I agreed that on our opening night one of us would be able to tell the other “I told you so.”

    By now we had a date for opening but we had no theatre. We’d been looking at smaller venues when suddenly the rather large and prestigious Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End became available. But its sheer size meant that the scale of the production had to expand dramatically too, with cast, crew, set and budget all having to be reworked. A lot of fingers were crossed for the big night.

    And so ... April 6, 1999, a night I will never forget — the world premiere of Mamma Mia! The audience was charmed, and one British critic wrote, “Mamma Mia! could put Prozac out of business.”

    Benny heartily accepted his defeat: with the entire theatre dancing in the aisles, he turned to me and said, “You can say it now.” I flashed back, “I told you so!”

    (Pictured above and right: Betsy Padamonsky in the farewell tour of 'Mamma Mia!, which visits Denver from April 11-16. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.)

    Our very first North American premiere was in Canada, where we were booked for six months and stayed for five years. The first U.S. tour opened in 2000 at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre. Having celebrated more than 12 years and 5,000 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre, Mamma Mia! transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway in late 2013. As of its final performance in September 2015, it was the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. There it remains, ahead of Wicked and Beauty and the Beast. Mamma Mia! also holds the title of longest-running "jukebox musical" (one with a pre-existing score).

    And let’s not forget Mamma Mia – The Movie, which had had its worldwide premiere in London on June 30, 2008, rapidly making history as the highest-grossing movie of all time at the UK and Irish box offices.

    One thing I’ve learned from 17 fun and frantic years of overseeing and coordinating the many productions of Mamma Mia! is that the potential and possibilities are continuously exciting, and seem to be limitless.

    Editor's Note: The DCPA NewsCenter offers a regular guest column from a variety of local and national voices covering a wide range of theatre topics. To submit a proposed guest column, email your name and topic to jmoore@dcpa.org.

    About our Guest Columnist: Judy Craymer
    Judy Craymer graduated from the Guildhall School of Music in 1977 and has since worked extensively in the theatre, film, television and music industries. She worked as a stage manager for the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester, the Old Vic Theatre, London, and on the original production of Cats for Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Theatre Company. In 1984, Judy became the managing director of Three Knights Ltd, formed by Benny Andersson, Tim Rice and Björn Ulvaeus and was the Executive Producer for the West End production of Chess at the Prince Edward Theatre. The idea for Mamma Mia! originated with Craymer, Judy who in 1996 formed Littlestar Services Limited to produce the stage musical. She is the Creator/Producer of Mamma Mia! and has produced 50 productions of the show in more than 440 cities around the world.




    Mamma Mia! Farewell Tour
    : Ticket information
    MAMMA MIA! This hit musical that combines ABBA’s greatest hits, including Dancing Queen, S.O.S., Super Trouper, Take A Chance on Me and The Winner Takes It All, with a romantic tale  of love, laughter and friendship.

    April 11-16
    Buell Theatre
    ASL and audio-described performance: 2 p.m. April 15
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Selected previous Guest Columns:
    Douglas Langworthy on 'translating' Shakespeare: First, do no harm
    David Nehls: Live theatre returns to Elitch Gardens after 24 years
    Gillian McNally: Colorado's oldest theatre celebrates Artistic Director Tom McNally
    Margie Lamb on the Henry Awards: Something doesn't add up
    Bryan VanDriel on Lloyd Norton: A name that will live on in Greeley
    Jessica Jackson on Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Susan Lyles on 10 years of staging plays for women in Denver
  • Breaking news: Denver 'Frozen' tickets go on sale May 1

    by John Moore | Mar 13, 2017

    Frozen


    Single tickets for the pre-Broadway engagement of Frozen, a new musical based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning musical film, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, May 1, it was announced this morning. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account.

    Frozen plays The Buell Theatre from Aug. 17 through Oct. 1, 2017. For more information, to to sign up for email alerts, go to Denvercenter.org/Frozen.

    Frozen

    Please be advised that the DCPA’s web site – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for Frozen in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

    This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.

    FrozenWritten by a trio of Oscar-winners, Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Up Here) and EGOT-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck). Frozen won 2014 Oscars for Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature.

    Frozen’s director is Michael Grandage, a Tony Award-winner (Red) and director of three Olivier Award-winning Outstanding Musicals (Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Guys & Dolls), and Tony Award winner Rob Ashford is the choreographer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Curtains). The design team for Frozen includes scenic and costume design by Tony and Olivier Award winner Christopher Oram (Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Evita), lighting design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Aladdin, An American in Paris, The Glass Menagerie) and sound design by four-time Tony nominee Peter Hylenski (The Scottsboro Boys, Motown, After Midnight).

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus (Avenue Q, Wicked, The Book of Mormon) is music supervisor and creates vocal and incidental arrangements.

    Frozen is slated to join Disney hits Aladdin and The Lion King on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre.

    Casting and Broadway dates will be announced at a future date.

    Frozen is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

    Frozen: At a glance
    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut.

    Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    Aug. 17 through Oct. 1, 2017
    Buell Theatre
    Sales to groups of 10 or more here

    MORE INFO


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Breaking: Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen
  • Barton Cowperthwaite: A Denverite in 'Paris' returns to alma mater

    by John Moore | Mar 11, 2017

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Denver native Barton Cowperthwaite, a featured ensemble member in the national touring production of An American in Paris, visited his Denver School of the Arts alma mater on March 8.

    Barton Cowperthwaite. Photo by John MooreCowperthwaite, son of Curious Theatre co-founder Laura Cowperthwaite, conducted a master class for dance and musical-theatre majors at the school, where he is a member of the Class of 2010. "It's cool to impart on them the wisdom that I wish I could have told myself when I was that age," he told DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

    Interviews also include DSA Director of Dance Alicia Karczewski and Director of Theatre Shawn Hann. Cowperthwaite, already a member of several major dance companies and Denver's Black Actors Guild, is making his musical-theatre debut in An American in Paris, playing several roles and understudying the lead role of Jerry Mulligan.

    "As a dancer, it’s exciting that there is a show that gets to employ really well-trained dancers in this musical format," Cowperthwaite said.

    Photo gallery: Barton Cowperthwaite at Denver School of the Arts

    Barton Cowperthwaite

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    An American in Paris
    : Ticket information
    An American In ParisAn American in Paris brings the magic and romance of Paris into harmony with unforgettable works from George and Ira Gershwin. This new hit musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war, earned more awards than any other musical in the 2014-15 Broadway season.
    Through March 19
    Buell Theatre
    ASL, audio-described and open-captioned performance 2 p.m. March 19
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of An American in Paris
    An American Paris dances from beginning to end
    Meet Sara Esty, who plays Lise
    Meet Garen Scribner, who plays Jerry

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Meet Garen Scribner of 'An American in Paris'

    by John Moore | Mar 10, 2017
    A Garen Scribner 800. Photo by Matthew Murphy


    MEET GAREN SCRIBNER

    Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris

    Garen comes directly from the Broadway company, where he also played Jerry Mulligan. A former soloist with the San Francisco Ballet and an artist of Nederlands Dans Theater I, Garen believes art has the capability of changing lives, and he is grateful for the opportunity to share his passion with the audience. Follow Jerry, Garen and his dog, Pilot, behind-the-scenes at @GarenScribner5.

    • Garen ScribnerHometown: Brooklyn
    • Your Twitter-sized bio: I love to laugh, have fun, be on stage with my colleagues, love design, music, art, dance and the people who create such things.
    • What was the role that changed your life? This role. It taught me how to be a leading man, onstage and off. Being a star is not a gift. It is a huge responsibility and humbling honor.
    • Why are you a performer? It’s where life brought me.
    • What would you be doing if you weren't a dancer? I have an obligation to help guide others and cultivate talent, nurture developing projects, stay involved in the form without performing myself.
    • Sara EstyIdeal scene partner: Sara Esty, who I have the privilege of performing with every day. She and I have a special bond that can’t be described. (Pictured right.)
    • Tell us about the particular challenge of playing Jerry in An American in Paris. Jerry is an artist, he’s optimistic and brave to a fault. He believes in the power of true love and that both art and love are transformative and intrinsic to one another. I’m right there with him.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of this musical? Inspiration, hope and joy.
    • What is one thing many people might not know about you? I can name almost every kind of hook-billed bird. Had a parrot obsession as a kid.
    • What's one thing you want to get off your chest? To all you AirBnB hosts, here’s what most of you are missing: Hooks, colanders, cheese graters, garlic presses, chests of drawers, large pots, aluminum foil and last but most importantly, a new, clean sponge. We’ve stayed in a lot of AirBnB’s on this tour!
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      " ... to be happy and spread love."
    • Twitter and Instagram handle: @GarenScribner5
    • Web site: garen.co

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Nick Spangler, Garen Scribner and Etai Benson. Photo by Matthew Murphy

    Three men, one object of their affection. From left: Nick Spangler, Garen Scribner and Etai Benson in 'An American in Paris,' playing in Denver through March 19. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

     

    An American in Paris: Ticket information
    An American In ParisAn American in Paris brings the magic and romance of Paris into harmony with unforgettable works from George and Ira Gershwin. This new hit musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war, earned more awards than any other musical in the 2014-15 Broadway season.
    Through March 19
    Buell Theatre
    ASL, audio-described and open-captioned performance 2 p.m. March 19
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of An American in Paris
    An American Paris dances from beginning to end
    Meet Sara Esty, who plays Lise

  • 'Circus 1903': Death-defying humans ... and puppet elephants

    by John Moore | Jan 31, 2017


    Neil Dorward and Simon Painter are proud circus geeks. The Brits love the quintessentially American Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus so much, they fashioned their new entertainment spectacle Circus 1903 largely in nostalgic tribute to the tradition P.T. Barnum started in 1875 as a traveling museum in Wisconsin.

    That’s why recent news of Ringling’s impending demise went down like a double-edged sword down a contortionist’s throat. Ringling will play its final show on May 21 in Uniondale, N.Y. Promoters cited declining ticket sales, high operating costs and a decision to take live elephants off the road after protests from animal-rights activists.

    Barnum called his circus, which traveled with as many as 1,200 live animals, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Painter calls Circus 1903 “The Most Amazing Show on Earth,” and it travels with … zero live animals.  The family friendly new spectacle, which plays under the Buell Theatre Big Top from Feb. 21-26, celebrates The Golden Age of Circus with all the strong men and acrobats and aerialists you might expect, alongside magnificent elephant … puppets.

    Circus 1903 Quote“It's very sad to us that Ringling is closing, because that's 150 years of legacy,” Painter said. “It’s part of American history. Even putting the elephant controversy to one side, it's a lot of people's jobs. So I think it is a real shame.” But, Dorward added, “we are keeping the Ringling tradition alive for new generations to experience.” And there is no controversy about these elephants. After all … they’re puppets.

    “My original idea was to bring elephants back to the circus,” said Painter, the Creative Producer, “but obviously we couldn't use real ones.” Instead, his Circus 1903 elephants were designed by the award-winning puppeteers from the acclaimed Broadway play War Horse, which visited Denver in 2012. That’s the story of a British World War I soldier whose beloved horse, Joey, is sold into military service. Joey was brought to breathing, galloping onstage life by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. He was operated by four human puppeteers inside and around him.

    Circus 1903 features two elephants – a mother and her baby. One stilt-walker works the mother’s head, one works the hind legs, and one, Painter says with unabashed sentimentality, “works the heart.”

    “These guys from War Horse make the most unbelievable puppets, and they really feel like they are 100 percent real when they are on stage,” said Dorward, the Director and Choreographer. “I sat next to this lady in the audience, and she thought it was a real elephant. People are very moved by them, and they are a very special part of the show.”

    And no animals are harmed ... because there are no live animals.

    “But make no mistake," Painter said, "The rest of the circus acts in our show are really death-defying. Yes, we are very safety-conscious, and we have an amazing technical team. But we are risking lives every time we perform. These amazing acts very scary to watch, and we always have to be on our guard.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Dorward took a year to cast Circus 1903, scouring the globe for what he calls “raw, amazing circus talent.” There are 17 nationalities represented among the cast. “We have this amazing contortionist from Ethiopia. She's just beautiful, and she bends herself in ways you have never seen before,” Dorward said. “We also have a family high-wire act from Mexico, and it's pretty spectacular. And scary.”

    Circus 1903 QuoteWhile Dorward and Painter both have artistic roots in Cirque du Soleil, they could not emphasize more strongly that Circus 1903 is not Cirque du Soleil, which takes more of a theatrical, character-driven approach to its shows - and without the use of performing animals. If you think of Cirque as contemporary circus, Painter said, Circus 1903 is a proudly old-school, turn-of-the-century throwback. The first act shows the company rehearsing backstage and raising the tent, followed by the actual circus performance. “Our production is much more about life back in the day of circus, and the people who worked there,” said Dorward. As opposed to Cirque, which is more narrative-based.

    “It would have been really easy for us to call our show Cirque 1903, but we didn't want to do a story about, you know - searching for the soul of the clown,” Painter said. “I think audiences these days are a little bit bored with that. I think they want to see the spectacle. That's why they come to the circus. So we really wanted to put the acts front and center, with an old-fashioned ringmaster. Our show focuses on showmanship and grandeur. This is really, legitimately, the greatest acts in the world performing very high and very fast.”

    Circus 1903 Tightropers. Photo by Mark Turner.

    Painter and Dorward are also part of the creative team behind The Illusionists, Live From Broadway, which, coincidentally, visits Denver from May 21-23, That show, Painter says, is seven of the greatest magicians in the world, each doing 10-minute sets.

    At a time when there is so much division in America and rancor in public discourse, the Brits think the time is perfect for the kind of theatrical escape they provide. 

    “Our shows are entertainment pieces,” Painter said. “We're not trying to tell you a deep story or change your political views. We're just trying to entertain you. And our shows are  hysterically funny. So whatever your political beliefs, or whether you are happy or sad or worried or upset or confused about the world right now, laughing together in a roomful of people is fantastic medicine - and we provide that with both of our shows.”

    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.


    Circus 1903 - The Golden Age of Circus: Ticket information
    The story: Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of CircusSensational puppetry puts elephants back in the ring as never seen before with a cast of unique, amazing and dangerous circus acts, from strong men to contortionists, acrobats to musicians, knife throwers, high wire and more.
    • Feb. 21-26
    • Buell Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    For more information on The Illusionists (coming May 21-23), please visit here

    A Circus 1903 Elephant 800 3Circus 1903. Photo by Mark Turner.
  • 'Fun Home' opening postponed by road closures

    by John Moore | Jan 10, 2017
    Fun Home. Joan Marcus

    Alessandra Baldacchino as 'Small Alison' and Robert Petkoff as Bruce in the touring production of 'Fun Home.' Photo by Joan Marcus.


    Tonight's scheduled opening of Fun Home has been canceled because of road closures on I-70 preventing the trucks transporting the set to Denver from arriving in time.

    The Denver Center Box Office will contact all ticket-holders who purchased for the Tuesday, Jan. 10 performance through denvercenter.org by Thursday to exchange into another performance or discuss other options.

    Alternatively, ticket holders may call 303-893-4100. Otherwise, they may contact their point of purchase for additional ticket options.

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter



    Fun Home
    : Ticket information

    • Jan. 11-22, 2017
    •  The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
    •  Based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic-novel memoir; book and lyrics by Lisa Kron; music by Jeanine Tesori; directed by Sam Gold
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    For more information on the production, please visit FunHomeBroadway.com.


    Video bonus: Broadway's Beth Malone sings the national anthem:


    Video: Colorado native Beth Malone returned home to talk about the Denver-bound Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home and sing the national anthem before the Denver Broncos' Oct. 30 win over the San Diego Chargers at Mile High Stadium. Malone is not appearing in the touring production, but she was here as an ambassador for 'Fun Home,' opening Jan. 11 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Video by David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Fun Home:

    Beth Malone on Fun Home: ‘It’s about anyone born of a mother'
    Denver’s Sweeney Todd will return with Fun Home tour
    Another Malone takes spotlight at Denver Film Festival
    Fun Home
    highlights Denver Center's 2016-17 Broadway season
    Denver’s Beth Malone returning to Broadway in Fun Home

  • NewsCenter: Our 10 most popular articles of 2016

    by John Moore | Jan 08, 2017

    Hamilton in Denver. Broadway Nothing got readers more excited last year than the news that the hit Broadway musical 'Hamilton' will be coming to Denver as part of the 2017-18 Broadway season.


    The DCPA NewsCenter was launched in October 2014 as an unprecedented new media outlet covering theatre at the Denver Center and throughout the state and nation telling stories with words, videos, podcasts and photos. It is a service made possible by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts as a shared resource for the Colorado theatre community as a whole. Here are the 10 most-clicked stories on the NewsCenter in 2016 from among the nearly 430 posted. Thanks to our readers for making it a record-breaking year:

    NUMBER 1HamiltonBroadway’s Hamilton is heading to Denver: The national tour of the Broadway musical Hamilton will play the Buell Theatre as part of the Denver Center's 2017-18 Broadway subscription series. Information regarding engagement dates and how to purchase single tickets will be announced at a later time. READ IT

    NUMBER 2Brenda Billings 1Brenda Billings: 'A warrior of acceptance':  Brenda Billings died while doing what she loves most – conducting auditions for an upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors. She was the co-Artistic Director of Miners Alley Playhouse and  President of the Denver Actors Fund, and she was only 57. “Her passion for storytelling and art is carried on through all of us who were lucky enough to call her friend,” said Tony Award-winning actor Annaleigh Ashford. READ IT

    NUMBER 3Fun Home. Joan Marcus2016-17 Broadway season: Frozen, Fun Home, Finding Neverland and more: The DCPA announced a landmark 2016-17 season lineup that includes both of the most recent Tony Award-winners as well as the pre-Broadway debut of the highly anticipated stage adaptation of Disney’s record-breaking hit Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film in history. It was later announced that the Denver dates for Frozen will be Aug. 17 through Oct. 1, 2017. READ IT 

    NUMBER 4Terry DoddTerry Dodd: a playwright, director who bled empathy: Terry Dodd will be remembered as one of the most prolific local directors in the Colorado theatre community, as well as an accomplished playwright and screenwriter who was known for exploring deeply personal family issues. Dodd died of a heart attack at age 64. READ IT 

    NUMBER 5osg-christiana-clark2In Ashland, converting rage into action: In many ways Ashland, home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, seems to be an insular, harmonious bubble immune to outside social realities. But on June 24, the bubble burst when an African-American company member had an ugly encounter with a white supremacist. Now the local and national theatre communities are asking difficult questions about race. READ IT

    NUMBER 6Finalists for the 2015-16 Bobby G Awards announced: The annual Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in high-school musical theatre in Colorado. The year-long program culminates in a Tony Awards-style ceremony at the Buell Theatre. Here’s who was nominated from among the 40 participating schools. READ IT

    NUMBER 7Tom SutherlandFormer hostage Thomas Sutherland is freed a second time: Former Colorado State University professor Thomas Sutherland was held hostage in Beirut for more than six years - or 2,353 agonizing days. The genial Scotsman made his first foray into acting at age 72, and later donated $500,000 to Bas Bleu Theatre Company’s new performance space. He drew it from the $35 million he was awarded in frozen Iranian assets. Sutherland died July 23 at age 85. READ IT http://dcpa.today/EX6aBY

    NUMBER 8David Bowie Elephant ManDavid Bowie's acting career began in Denver: David Bowie’s death had the world mourning the loss of one of rock’s most chameleonic performers. But he was also a versatile stage and screen actor whose legit theatre career began in Denver starring as the ultimate “Broken Man,” John Merrick, in a 1980 touring production of The Elephant Man. "Judging from his sensitive projection of this part, Bowie has the chance to achieve legit stardom,” one critic wrote. READ IT 

    NUMBER 9Buell TheatrePhantom return will mark Buell Theatre’s 25th anniversary: The Buell Theatre was built, in large part, to host the national touring production of The Phantom of the Opera in 1991. It was, Denver Post critic Jeff Bradley wrote at the time, “the most successful theatrical event in Denver history.” We take a look back at the Buell’s first 25 years. READ IT 

    NUMBER 10Theresa Rebeck quoteRebeck's The Nest flies in face of national gender trends: Theresa Rebeck, author of the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere play The Nest, says the need to level the gender playing field in the American theatre is urgent. “Women's voices have been marginalized in the theatre, and in film and television,” said Rebeck. But the Denver Center, she said, is bucking the trend. “Kent Thompson and everyone at the Denver Center have always been way ahead of the curve on this issue.” READ IT


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