• Authentic voices: DCPA Education names 2018 playwriting finalists

    by John Moore | Jan 17, 2018
    scenesters_finalists_011618 800

    The winning plays, taking on a wide array of topical issues, will be read at the Colorado New Play Summit

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts today announced the finalists for its fifth annual Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition for Colorado high-school students:

    • Emmaleth Ryan, Grandview High School: Sleep No More, about a young woman who decides to commit suicide until she is reminded of the resilience of the human spirit. Says Ryan: “I learned more about how to grapple with life by writing a character who has fought her demons and won.” MEET EMMALETH
    • Julianna Luce and Trinell Samuel, Vista Peak Preparatory: Technical Difficulties is a comedy about a high-school theatre production that has been seized by vengeful understudies. Say the self-described techies: When the lights, sound or even just the ambience we help create draws ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience, it is mystical for us. It feeds the hunger of our inner artist.” MEET JULIANNA AND TRINELL
    • Noah Jackson, Girls Athletic Leadership School: Wine Colored Lip Gloss, about a teenager dealing with gender-identity problems and how to tell his parents about it. Says Jackson: “I learned how to take advice on social situations from my own characters, which actually helped me through a lot of problems I've faced.” MEET NOAH
    2017 Student Playwriting_John MooreAfter week-long workshops and mentoring from nationally acclaimed playwrights, the winning playwrights will have their scripts read by professional actors at the 2018 Colorado New Play Summit at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, in The Conservatory Theatre. Finalists also receive a $250 cash scholarship and complimentary pass to all Summit activities.

    (Pictured: A reading of a student play at the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    The finalists were chosen from a field of 153 submissions, after which 10 semifinalists were named. Director of Education Allison Watrous noted that the entries covered a much more substantive range of important topics this year, including sexual abuse, gender identity, suicide, homelessness, child abuse race relations and addiction.

    "We are so inspired by the quality and the depth of the writing this year," said Watrous. "These writers are exploring the fullest potential of the art form through their use of poetry and nuanced dialogue. These extraordinary playwrights are writing with distinct, authentic and brave voices. We are honored to nurture and empower these emerging voices of the American theatre."

    Starting last fall, DCPA Education faculty Finalists quote 2018 Scenesterstaught 146 playwriting workshops in 57 Colorado schools. A record 3,002 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 20 counties around the state. The subsequent submissions judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals.

    In addition to the Summit reading, each teacher of the finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms.

    After the Colorado New Play Summit, one of the three scripts will be selected for full production during DCPA Education’s 2018 summer program.

    “These young playwrights are the next generation of theatre. It is our responsibility and our privilege to encourage them and give them the tools to succeed,” Watrous said. “We launched the one-act play playwriting competition in 2013 to nurture Colorado’s promising young playwrights, create new plays and inspire creativity.

    "In just five years, we’ve been overwhelmed with the response: 730 submissions and more than 13,500 students served through the program, giving voice to the next generation of American theatre.”

    It's worth noting that at this time of pronounced gender disparity in the American theatre, the DCPA's statewide playwriting competition has, by a blind judging draw, produced 70 percent female semifinalists in its first five years (39 of 56.) 

    Our profiles of all 2018 Scenester semifinalists:

    In addition to the previously announced finalists listed above, the judges singled out two entries for honorable mention:
    • Los Amorios by Catalin Varela, Castle View High School
    • This Play is Literally Impossible to Perform by Caroline Storey, Compass Montessori High School
    The coordinator of the DCPA's  student playwriting program is 2017 True West Award winner Claudia Carson. The sponsors are Robert and Judi Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from The Ross Foundation, June Travis and Transamerica.

    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 bonus: Last year's playwrights at the Colorado New Play Summit

    Video: We talked with the four 2017 student playwriting finalists whose plays were read by DCPA actors at the Colorado New Play Summit. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2017 True West Award: Claudia Carson

    by John Moore | Dec 06, 2017
    True West Awards. Claudia Carson. Photo courtesy Jimmy Awards


    Day 6: Claudia Carson

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Claudia Carson loves her job to her core. That job is to help high-students love theatre to their cores. And she’s pretty good at her job.

    There’s far more to it than that. Carson is also a stage manager, choreographer, director and teaching artist. But what really fuels her fire is coordinating two profoundly meaningful student programs for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts: The annual Bobby G Awards, which celebrate achievements in high-school musical theatre, and a year-round, statewide teen playwriting competition.

    “Claudia is just so joyful, so inspirational and so hungry to make an impact with students,” said DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous. “She makes those programs possible with her year-round passion and commitment.”

    Claudia Carson True West BGA 2017The Bobby G Awards, which served 42 high schools and nearly 7,000 students last school year, are Carson’s true labor of love. She manages all operational elements of the wide-ranging, 5-year-old  program, including coordinating in-school workshops, professional adjudications of every production and a big, culminating Tony Awards-style party attended by nearly 2,000 each May at the Buell Theatre.

    Participating high schools have the opportunity to be mentored by DCPA Teaching Artists, and last year 24 schools signed on for 70 workshop classes. Once their school musicals go up, they are judged by a field of professional artists and educators who not only score each show for awards consideration, they provide detailed, constructive feedback that teachers can use to make their programs better.

    The awards ceremony itself is a remarkable celebration of the high-school theatre community. Carson not only directs the slick show, she choreographs sophisticated, original medleys that are performed by all of the male and female leading actor nominees. The two students ultimately named Outstanding Actor and Actress move on to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City, also known as The Jimmys. And Carson chaperones them every step of the way.

    “I think the magic of Claudia coordinating the Bobby G Awards program is that she cares so much about theatre in Colorado, and she cares so much about teachers,” Watrous said. “Claudia is a full-on champion of high-school theatre in Colorado.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    This past year, the DCPA’s fourth High School Playwriting Competition drew 132 one-act submissions from budding writers in 14 Colorado counties. That after Carson sent DCPA Teaching Artists to 46 high schools, where they conducted 138 workshops for more than 2,800 students. Four of the resulting scripts were chosen to be read by professional actors at the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit in February, and two were ultimately given fully staged productions through DCPA Education’s summer academy.

    Claudia Carson True West BGA 2016If that weren’t “job enough,” Carson also returned to her roots as a Stage Manager this year for the recent return engagement of Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women. And as a summer Teaching Artist for DCPA Education, she and a group of ambitious teens created an entire original musical from scratch — in just two weeks.

    If that sounds like a lot, you should know this about Carson: It's in her DNA. Her mother, Bev Newcomb-Madden, is a pioneer of  children's theatre in Denver and has directed more plays than any other woman in Colorado theatre history. Her sister, Glenna Kelly, is an accomplished actor who for a long time ran Kaiser-Permanente’s acclaimed Educational Theatre Programs for Colorado. And her daughter, Claire Carson, studied at Denver School of the Arts and SMU, and is now an actor in Dallas. That’s three generations of accomplished Newcomb women — and counting. And brother Jamie Newcomb performed in the DCPA Theatre Company's recent productions of Benediction and All the Way

    Pictured above and right: Claudia Carson with 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actors Curtis Salinger and Charlotte Movizzo, and DCPA  Senior Manager of Press and Promotions Heidi Bosk).

    “Claudia is a sensitive, caring and compassionate person, and she really has an innate ability to connect with teenagers,” said DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg. “But at the same time, she is also a quintessential stage manager and mother, which is probably why she is so good at both jobs. Part of being a good mom is being a good stage manager.”

    Carson graduated from Denver East High School and studied journalism at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She came to the Denver Center as a stage manager for all Galleria Theatre shows for a five-year stretch starting in 2003 with the longest-running musical in Colorado theatre history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. She later took charge of the global expansion of the runaway hit Girls Only and then served as Executive Assistant to DCPA President Randy Weeks, who died in 2014. She has also worked as a stage manager at Curious Theatre and the Arvada Center.

    But she seems to have found her sweetest spot working with students.

    “She’s doing what she loves with the people she loves the most,” Ekeberg said. “For someone who has done so many things, that’s a pretty cool culmination of a pretty cool career.”

    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.

    True West Claudia Carson 2017

    The four finalists from the DCPA's fourth statewide High School Playwriting Competition had their plays presented as readings at the 12th annual 2017 Colorado New Play Summit, including 'Dear Boy on the Tree,' above, written by Jasmin Hernandez Lozano of Vista Peak Preparatory Academy in Aurora. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards

    Video bonus 1: The 2017 Bobby G Awards

    Video bonus 2 Student playwriting:

  • Video, photos and quotes from 2017 Bobby G Awards

    by John Moore | Jun 02, 2017

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

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate achievement in high-school musical theatre. Our look back in video, photos and words. 

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Denver Center's fifth annual Bobby G Awards celebrated achievement in Colorado high-school theatre on May 25 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. (Click here for complete night-of coverage of the awards, including a list of winners and nominees.)

    Bobby G Awards. Boulder High RentThe video above provides a recap of the evening and includes interviews with students, teachers and DCPA staff. Our photo gallery below includes the red-carpet walk, the awards, student performances, backstage trophy presentations and a look back at rehearsals leading up to the big night.

    The Bobby G Awards are a culmination of a year-long program administered by the Denver Center that emphasizes camaraderie and shared experiences - but there is also much at stake. The students named Outstanding Actor and Actress go on to represent Colorado at the The Jimmy® Awards/National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. This year’s honorees are Elleon Dobias of Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch and Austin Hand of Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins.

    (Pictured above: Boulder High School's performance of 'Rent.')

    Our full report from the 2017 Bobby G Awards

    Bobby G Awards. Valor Christian.  PippinFor Dobias, was her record fourth straight nomination and first win. “Yes, I was nominated for Bobby G Awards my freshman, sophomore and junior year, and lost, lost, lost. But you lose some - you lose some,” she said with a giggle. “I was super excited to be nominated again this year just to have the chance to maybe go out on a win. I can't believe it. My mind is short-circuiting right now because I am just so happy.”

    Dovias played Catherine in Valor Christian's production of Pippin, which was named Outstanding Musical (pictured right). Valor Christian is a private Christian school in Highlands Ranch. "My freshman year when I auditioned for the school play, there were 10 people auditioning," she said. For Pippin, we had more than 60 people audition. I think recognition from a program like the Bobby G Awards has helped that growth."

    (Story continues below the photo gallery)



    2017 Bobby G Awards

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter. All photos may be downloaded and redistributed with permission from the DCPA with proper photo credit.

    Award presenters included Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee and Colorado native Gene Gillette, who is a member of the national touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, currently performing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House through  June 25.

    Bobby G Awards. Valor Christian.  Pippin“High school was pretty rough for me,” Gillette told the DCPA NewsCenter. “I really look up to and envy these kids and the discipline they have to have gotten this far at this young of an age. I've been lucky to have theatre in my life." Asked his advice to the teens, Gillette wisdom of his own theatre professor from the University of Colorado. “He told me, "There are two wolves inside of you. There is the wolf that wants to do good, and the wolf that wants to do bad. And whichever wolf you feed, that's what you become. So feed your good wolf.”

    (Pictured right: Reaction to naming of Valor Christian's 'Pippin' as Outstanding Musical.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    While the Bobby G Awards culminate each year with the awards ceremony, which is modeled after the Tony Awards, the year-long focus of the program is to both celebrate and educate. The participating schools receive detailed feedback on their musical productions from the adjudicators. Joe Robinson, who played Dewhurst in Chaparral High School’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, was named the 2017 Rising Star. That’s an award reserved for a promising underclassman. 

    “I would like to thank my Bobby G adjudicators for all of the valuable feedback you gave me,” Robinson said in his acceptance speech. “It really helped me in the right direction last year, moving into this year, and now going into next year.”

    (Story continues below the photo)

    Bobby G Awards

    Timothy McCracken, Head of Acting for DCPA Education, said the Denver Center is proud to offer the Bobby G Awards in Colorado because it aligns so well with its overall educational mission. “We are always looking for ways to continue to offer opportunities for younger artists to see what art and theatre can bring to a community, and to themselves as individuals. And this is one of those programs that highlights that."

    Coming next week: A separate video offering performance highlights.

    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.


    • Shelly Cox-Robie, Director, Boulder High School (and 25-year actor at the nearby BDT Stage): The theatre kids feel like this is their equivalent of the football team going to state. As both a parent and as a teacher, it means so much for these kids to have the support and the camaraderie and the family that they have with (school theatre).
    • Bobby G Awards. North High School and Strive Prep's 'In the Heights'Maya Stone, North/Strive Prep High School's In the Heights: Doing In the Heights made a really big impact at our school because the story of In the Heights isn't just a story to our community. It's our story. We have such a feeling of pride. So many people put in so much work to make this happen. And it means so much to come together for one final performance her at the Bobby G Awards. I was telling (a castmate) on closing night, 'I just want to go on stage as Nina one more time. You always want that when a show closes - and it is amazing that we get that opportunity to do that here tonight.
    • Davie Gonzalez, North/Strive Prep High School's In the Heights: It feels great to be invited to the party. It makes us feel like we did something really special. Something this big makes us feel really happy about ourselves, and makes us feel like we really do matter to this community.
    • Dayna Marshal, North/Strive Prep High School's In the Heights: Being nominated for Outstanding Musical was a very big deal to us. It meant coming out of the shadows. It meant proving everyone wrong about a minority community at a small school. It means everything to us. And as for performing tonight at the Ellie: It feels like butterflies are exploding in my stomach.
    • Trey Kochevar, Outstanding Actor finalist, Lakewood High School: At school, it's become a lot more that arts can be a cool thing thanks to the Bobby G Awards, rather than it just being about sports. You get a lot more respect when you are able to showcase your craft like all of the other extra-curricular activities can.  
    • Grace Nolte, Outstanding Actress finalist, Chaparral High School: I came into this experience so scared that it was going to be such a catty environment. That changed the first minute we were all together. I have never been in such a collaborative environment with such contagious energy.
    • Asha Romeo Outstanding Actress finalist, Boulder High School: I think this program raises up the schools that have put  a lot of work and dedication into their productions, and pushes other schools to better their own programs.
    • Jesse Shafroth, Outstanding Actor finalist, Boulder High School: The Bobby G Awards has given us all good insight into what  show business is actually like. Because these rehearsals have been really fast-paced, and we have been learning a lot of stuff very quickly. I want to give a shout-out to our (Bobby G Awards) director, Claudia Carson. She's the best.
    • Chantal King, Outstanding Actress finalist, Niwot High School: Everyone has been so nice. Meeting everybody here was such a humbling and great experience.
    • Gable Kinsman, Outstanding Actor finalist, Valor Christian High School: “I think theatre doesn't usually get the credit that it deserves at our schools, but I think the Bobby G Awards program definitely helps.
    • Austin Hand, Outstanding Actor, Fossil Ridge High School: This was the first year Fossil put itself up for nominationf, so just everyone was so excited when we found out that we were even nominated for two awards. I feel like athletics in schools get most of the recognition because of the competitive nature of sports. Theatre doesn't have that, so its fun to have that extra push that Bobby G Awards provides to strive for greatness.
    • Timothy McCracken, Head of Acting for DCPA Education: I have an 8-year-old son and I cannot wait till he has an opportunity to be in this environment, I think it is so inspiring. There are so many people here. The excitement is just amazing. You can just feel everyone bubbling over.
    Bobby G Awards. Outstanding Actor and Actress medley.
    The Bobby G Awards' Outstanding Actor and Actress finalists performed a medley tailored to each other, and their school musicals.

    Previous 2017 Bobby G Awards coverage

    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress finalists
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced
    Video: The 2017 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
  • Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists

    by John Moore | May 25, 2017

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The fifth annual awards and performance take place Thursday, May 25, at the Buell Theatre. (RESERVE YOUR SEAT HERE.)

    Today we introduce you to the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City.

    Actor 1 Carter


    Chauvelin in The Scarlet Pimpernel
    Chaparral High School
    Class of 2017

    • First role: I played Baby Elephant in a kids version of The Jungle Book in fourth or fifth grade. But the first role I feel like I really played was Frank Senior last year in Catch Me If You Can.
    • Why do you perform? Because I love to sing, and I've always loved making jokes as other "characters" in daily conversation. Theatre gives me a place to do that where it doesn't feel odd or out of place.
    • Ideal scene partner: I'd love to be in a scene with Kyle Gill from ThunderRidge High School. He’s one of my very best friends and I don't get to be around him nearly enough.
    • Favorite moment from your show: The first night that Jack, who played Percy, decided he was going make a joke about Chauvelin's name being "like a shovel!" on-stage, in front of an entire audience. I was so close to breaking, and it's a moment I'll never forget.
    • Fun with a moment where something went wrong: There was one night where my cape decided that it wasn't going to come off right before a fight scene, after which the sword I was trying to grab fell to the floor. I just kept going, because at that point there's nothing else you can do.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It's amazing, and something I wasn't expecting. It's really cool to get to work with the other nominees.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? I already valued arts education and extracurricular activities so much. But I'm so glad that this program exists. It makes me happy to see high-school theatre being recognized for the work we all put into it.

    Actor 2 Hand


    Gomez Addams in The Addams Family
    Fossil Ridge High School
    Class of 2019

    • First role: I played the frog in Thwacked, a rendition of The Princess and the Frog, in fifth grade.
    • Why do you perform? To find out more about myself through the complexity of a character.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to act in a scene with Jack Nicholson because the energy he brings to each and every character is so unique and real to the point that it is almost terrifying.
    • Fun moment where something went wrong: During a dress rehearsal, we reached the end of the show when I was supposed to kiss Caroline Frevert, who played Morticia. That night was the first time that makeup had experimented with drawing my mustache on, and after the kiss I remember looking up and hearing all of the directors and crew laughing in the audience. I was confused until I looked back at Caroline and noticed that most of my mustache had rubbed off onto her lip, making it appear as though we had matching facial hair.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I don't think that it has quite sunk in yet. It's a very surreal and humbling opportunity that I am so thankful to have been given. Working with some of the most talented (and kind) high-school thespians in the state has been one of the most fun experiences of my life, and has only solidified my passion for theatre and acting.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? A truly magnificent thing occurs when people of all different backgrounds come together to develop a shared passion, whether it is theatre, sports, academics or anything else. School is a place where people of varying perspectives and beliefs are sort of forced together in a building, and these activities provide a medium to unite each individual in creating something brand new and entirely unique.

    Actor 3 Kinsman


    Pippin in Pippin
    Valor Christian High School
    Class of 2018

    • First role: I played a sailor in Christian Youth Theatre's production of The Little Mermaid in 2008. I vividly remember my one line at the end of Act 1 when I yelled 'C’mon mateys, let’s get out of here!' and shortly after, I was followed offstage by the rest of the pirate crew. I felt like the coolest 8-year-old in town.
    • Why do you perform? To communicate with people through the telling of
      stories. It is a special thing to me that I get to communicate with people I have never met before through a story that comes to life on stage. I personally have been very impacted by stories through performance, and that inspires me to do the same unto others.
    • Ideal scene partner: If I were to take the stage with Derek Klena and Robin Williams, I think I would pee my pants. They both have been huge inspirations to me, Robin through his impeccable film and standup work, and Derek through his incredible performances in his multiple musicals as a lead. I have grown up watching and listening to both of them, and just being in the same room as them would be an honor.
    • Favorite moment from Pippin: At our very last dress rehearsal before opening night, our Theo, who was played by a 12-year-old, wasn’t able to make the rehearsal. But without a hesitation, our fearless stage manager (Neil Trotter) stepped in to play Catherine’s (Elleon Dobias) strapping young son. He waddled on, playing the best little boy he could play, which actually turned out to be pretty good. Now this was my first time seeing Neil onstage performing instead of hiding backstage in the dark, but was so dedicated to giving the most realistic performance possible, with his high-pitched voice and enthusiastic youthfulness. Let me tell you, it was an inspiration to experience that first-hand onstage. Elleon and I finished the scene, fighting through the tears of laughter, as our directors in the audience laughed hysterically at the fact that Catherine’s son was taller than both her and Pippin. I still think he could get a job as either a stage manager or playing a young boy. Or both.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is surreal. I can’t describe how incredible it feels. It has been such a joy to work with the rest of the nominees and get to know them. They are so much fun to be around. Working with (Bobby G Awards Director) Claudia Carson and (Musical Director) Robyn Yamada has been such a blast. They are like my two new moms. I feel honored and humbled to be nominated, and I’m so glad that I get to go through this whole process with one of my best friends, Elleon Dobias, who is such a deserving nominee as Outstanding Actress for her work as Catherine.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? This process has shown me
      the importance of education through creativity. People are able to hone
      different skills when they learn creatively, and this is very important for everyone to experience. Theatre alone provides so many opportunities to excel through creative art, which is a very special thing. Also, this process has reminded me how much I love this community. The other nominees have become some of my best friends in just the first two days that I have been rehearsing with them. That doesn’t happen anywhere else.

    Actor 4 Kochevar


    Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School
    Class of 2017

    • College plans: University of Northern Colorado’s acting program
    • First role: I was in the ensemble of Lakewood High School’s Young Frankenstein in my freshman year. I was 14 years old and I played a mad scientist and an angry villager.
    • Why do you perform? Because people can learn a lot about themselves and society from art. It allows us to become self-aware and question ourselves. I have always been so intrigued by all the tiny details I have seen in acting performances both onstage and in film, and I love being a part of telling stories that make people re-think aspects of their lives.
    • Ideal scene partner: Philip Seymour Hoffman, because he knew how to get to the core of a scene. He had a very human, instinctual sense of grit when attacking any piece of dialogue. He’s one of those actors who makes every performance a believable one. To have shared the stage or screen with someone who had such a tremendous presence would have been an absolute honor.
    • Favorite moment from your show: When I finally felt confident with my character. This is an iconic role that has so much expectation attached to it. So for the first month or so it was a struggle to figure out my own take on the role. I did my character research, analyzed the script and even read excerpts from the original penny dreadful. It finally started feeling more organic, and I was gaining more confidence in my performance as the show approached. I knew I had found a character of my own on the night of the first performance, when I was greeted by both laughs and gasps.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? This has been a truly humbling experience, and the talent I’ve seen in my fellow nominees has just blown me away. This year’s nominees are a true display of the positive effects of the arts in education, and I am honored to have the opportunity to perform with them.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? I’ve learned that both extracurricular activities as well as arts education in schools allow students a therapeutic outlet that can be difficult to find elsewhere at this age. I’ve seen students who would rather stay at school working on building a set than go home and face whatever challenges they are dealing with. That’s OK, because that’s what helps them. It teaches them to refocus their energy and contribute to something bigger. But at the same time, when something tragic does occur, those within their extracurricular activities are often their most powerful source of support. On top of that, the arts teach life skills that can be difficult if not impossible to find in a math or English class.

    Actor 5 Shafroth


    Mark Cohen in Rent
    Boulder High School
    Class of 2019

    • First role: I played Yao, the fat, bad-tempered soldier in Mulan Jr. in the seventh grade at Casey Middle School. I wasn’t going to audition, but my friend dragged me into it, and I’m glad he did.
    • Why do you perform? I love making people feel. Whether it’s laughter, crying or shock, seeing people care about a character I’m portraying feels awesome. Plus, it’s fun.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Robert Downey Jr. He is just so hilarious and random and all over the place, it would be fun to see what we could create. Also, just ’cause he’s Robert Downey Jr.
    • Favorite moment from your show: After an eight-hour rehearsal, we were running the final scene for the second time. By then, we were all really tired and, honestly, feeling quite weird. So when our lead guitarist began shredding on his electric guitar, we all just let loose and started dancing and singing like there was no tomorrow. Our directors were fine with it. In fact, they started filming us and posted it to Facebook. It was quite a way to end a long and stressful day.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I am so, so honored. Even though it’s been stressful at some points, it has really been a great experience, and it is helping me to understand what show business is like.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? The arts foster a very inclusive social circle. People from all walks of life can be a part of this incredible community without being judged. A lot of extracurricular activities promote inclusiveness, but I think the arts are almost completely nondiscriminatory because art is fluid. To be on a sports team, you have to be good at that sport. To be on a trivia team, you have to be smart. But art is everywhere. Art can be anything.

    Reserve your seat for the May 25 Bobby G Awards celebration here!

    Previous coverage of the 2017 Bobby G Awards:
    Meet your 2017 Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced
    Video: Montage welcoming all 42 participating schools

    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists

  • Video: 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Performances

    by John Moore | Jun 23, 2015

    The fourth in our series of five videos covering the 2015 Bobby G Awards on May 28 at the Buell Theatre is a brief montage showing highlights from the live medley performed by all Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees.

    Opening the number are 2014 winners Abby Noble and Conner Kingsley. The nominees are:

    • Emma Buchanan, Eponine in Durango High School's Les Misérables
    • Raegan DeBord, Amneris in Mountain View High School's Aida
    • Ty Eatherton, Puck in Chaparral High School's Puck's Potion
    • Sam Hulsizer, Nathan Detroit in Rock Canyon High School's Guys and Dolls
    • Charlie Kolbrener, Moonface Martin in Fairview High School's Anything Goes
    • Taylor Lang, Aida in Mountain View High School's Aida
    • Dylan Ruder, Beast in Valor Christian High School's Beauty and the Beast
    • Alei Russo, Reno Sweeney in Fairview High School's Anything Goes
    • Evatt Salinger, Jean Valjean in Durango High School's Les Misérables
    • Lea Schoengarth, Mimi Marquez in Westminster High School's Rent

    Medley produced by Claudia Carson and Ryan Durfee for the the DCPA.

    The video culminates with the announcement of the winners.

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore.

    2015 Bobby G Awards: Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees. Photo by John Moore

    2015 Bobby G Awards: Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees. Photo by John Moore

    Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:

    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game
    Video: The Acceptance Speeches
    Video: A look at Durango's Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
    Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
    Video: The 2015 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech
    Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
    Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
    Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
    2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
    Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
    Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards
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.