• Deeper dive: A closer look at 'A Christmas Carol'

    by John Moore | Apr 05, 2018

    In the video above, DCPA Theatre Company Costume Crafts Director Kevin Copenhaver talks with actor Darrell T. Joe about the transformation of Christmas Yet to Come into a taller, larger and more imposing figure for the company's 2017 seasonal staging of 'A Christmas Carol.' Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.



    Note: In this daily series, we will take a deeper dive into the eight titles recently announced on the DCPA Theatre Company's 2018-19 season. Today: A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    • Written by Charles Dickens. Adapted for the stage by Richard Hellesen with music by David de Berry
    • Year: 1987
    • Sam Gregory A Christmas CarolDirector: Melissa Rain Anderson
    • Dates: Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 2018 (Opens Nov. 29)
    • Where: Stage Theatre
    • Genre: Victorian classic set to music
    • At a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ populist novel, the Theatre Company’s joyous and opulent seasonal offering traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.
    • Says new DCPA Artistic Director Chris Coleman: "When I got to see this production in December, I was so excited about it. This company has put together a beautiful production that, frankly, is the best I’ve ever seen of this story. Clearly this version has resonated with Denver audiences for generations. This is a story about reclaiming a human heart — and I don't think that ever gets old. But at its core, A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, and I think at the darkest time of year, when we're so ready for the light to return, a ghost story makes really good sense. And this is a ghost story that's really well told."
    • He's back: Denver theatre favorite Sam Gregory, presently starring as Joe Keller in the Arvada Center's All My Sons through May 3, is scheduled to return for a third time playing Scrooge. "Sam is a great sport and a thoroughbred actor taking iMelissa Rain Anderson quote n the barrage and letting it move him nightly, moment by moment," says director Melissa Rain Anderson, who also will be returning for her third staging.
    • More from the director: "For my first two stagings, it was important to focus on the clarity and impact of the ghosts. This year, I will continue to fine-tune that storytelling. My through-line for every actor and element on that stage (besides Sam) is to 'assault' Scrooge: That's our only job: To awaken his soul. I believe every moment of the play can be funneled through that action. The ghosts do a lot of the assaulting, but other tactics are employed as well: The purity and joy of the children, the loyalty of Scrooge's nephew Fred, the generosity of The Fezziwigs and the humanity and grace of Bob Cratchit."
    • What the critics have said: "The evening ends in a kind of transformation — and not just Scrooge’s." — Juliet Wittman, Westword. "Some stories stand the test of time by their persistent relevance. And in this respect, Dickens' A Christmas Carol is near the top of the list." — Alex Miller, Vail Daily
    • Fun facts: The Theatre Company's "almost annual" staging of A Christmas Carol now includes 25 stagings dating back to 1990. In that time, nearly 850,000 people have watched the timeless story here  ... Last year, Peyton Goosen became the first young girl to play Tiny Tim in all of the DCPA stagings.  

    A Christmas Carol 2017 cast. Photo by Adams Viscom
    The 2017 cast of 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Adams Viscom. 


    2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season at a glance:

  • Aug. 24-Sept. 30: Vietgone (Ricketson Theatre) READ MORE
  • Sept. 7-Oct. 14: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (Stage Theatre) READ MORE
  • Sept. 21-Oct. 21: The Constant Wife (Space Theatre) READ MORE
  • Nov. 21-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol (Stage Theatre) READ MORE
  • Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2019: Last Night and the Night Before (Ricketson Theatre) READ MORE
  • Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2019: Anna Karenina (Stage Theatre) READ MORE
  • Feb. 8-March 10, 2019: The Whistleblower (Space Theatre) READ MORE
  • April 26-May 26, 2019: Sweat (Space Theatre) READ MORE

  • DCPA Theatre Company tickets and subscriptions:
    New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are now available online at denvercenter.org or by calling 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy 30 percent off savings, free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time. BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Selected NewsCenter coverage of A Christmas Carol 2017:
  • 2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season: In with the old ... and the new

    by John Moore | Apr 01, 2018
    Chris Coleman offers a play-by-play look at the 2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season, his first as the company's new Artistic Director. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Coleman's 40th anniversary season includes two world premieres, Tolstoy and an African-American Oklahoma!

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Incoming DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman has announced a 40th anniversary season he believes both honors the company’s past and boldly steps into the future — and in some intriguing examples, at the same time.

    Coleman will return to the company’s roots by presenting its third Rodgers and Hammerstein musical following previous stagings of Carousel and South Pacific. But Coleman is promising a fresh new look at Oklahoma! by telling the beloved story of a spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys from a mostly African-American perspective. Similarly, Coleman will offer adaptations of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and W. Somerset Maugham’s The Constant Wife, stories of women overcoming great societal barriers that may strike audiences as remarkably contemporary.

    A Last Night 800 1“It’s incredibly exciting to imagine what you want your first season at an organization to be,” said Coleman, who assumes his full-time Denver duties in May. "This company has long been known as a place where you can do really big, interesting, meaty, dramatic literature. One of the things that's exciting to me is to do something really traditional and then follow that with something that is brand new and edgy. That collision of styles and voices is really juicy to me.”

    Pictured above: Valerie Curtis-Newton, left, will return to again direct 2017 Colorado New Play Summit offering 'Last Night and the Night Before' on the mainstage season. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Coleman covers the traditional-to-edgy gamut with the announcement of both an eight-play Theatre Company season that includes three classics and two world premieres, as well as an innovative five-play slate from the company's adventurous Off-Center wing.  

    nataki-garrettWhen Coleman was named Artistic Director in November, he promised programming that will further the DCPA’s efforts to diversify its audiences, champion local storytelling and give voice to underserved communities. All five of the other mainstage directors he named today are women — and three of the playwrights are women or persons of color. Four if you count Off-Center's commission of a planned immersive hip-hop piece from This is Modern Art co-writer Idris Goodwin.
      

    The mainstage season includes two world-premiere plays: Donnetta Lavinia GraysLast Night and the Night Before, which was featured at the company’s 2017 Colorado New Play Summit, and Itamar MosesThe Whistleblower. With the exception of A Christmas Carol, which returns for a 26th year, every playwright and source writer (even Tolstoy) will be new to Theatre Company audiences except Nottage, whose Ruined was one of the most celebrated productions in company history In 2011.

    The Off-Center offerings, said Curator Charlie Miller, will complement the Theatre Company season and tell exciting stories in unconventional ways. “From original micro plays to new theatrical experiments to a large-scale immersive hip-hop show, Off-Center will take audiences into unexpected Denver spaces and showcase local artists, stories, and communities,” he said.

    Take a deeper dive into each play on the 2018-19 season

    The Theatre Company debuted on New Year’s Eve 1979 with The Caucasian Chalk Circle, starring Tyne Daly. Coleman says there is special significance to this being the 40th anniversary season because the company is old enough to have built an significant canon but also young enough to still have staff, artists and audience members who have been here all along — a lot of them.

    "As we step into the next chapter of the Theatre Company’s history, it's inspiring and energizing to look back on the extraordinary body of work that this company has brought to the region over the last 40 seasons," Coleman said. "What's really vivid to me is how many people have been around from Day 1. There are so many people who are really invested in the history and the future of this organization. So, to me, that's worth celebrating. And I view that as a launching pad for me.

    These playwrights and directors are the cream of the crop, and I look forward to the conversations these works will open up with the Denver community."

    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.

    Meet new Theatre Company Artistc Director Chris Coleman


    Chris Coleman 2018-19 season announcement


    2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season at a glance:

    • Aug. 24-Sept. 30: Vietgone (Ricketson Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Sept. 7-Oct. 14: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (Stage Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Sept. 21-Oct. 21: The Constant Wife (Space Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Nov. 21-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol (Stage Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2019: Last Night and the Night Before (Ricketson Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2019: Anna Karenina (Stage Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Feb. 8-March 10, 2019: The Whistleblower (Space Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • April 26-May 26, 2019: Sweat (Space Theatre) DEEPER DIVE

    DCPA Theatre Company tickets and subscriptions: New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are now available online at denvercenter.org or by calling 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy 30 percent off savings, free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time. BUY ONLINE

    2018-19 Off-Center season at a glance:

    • July 11-Aug. 22: Mixed Taste: Tag team lectures on unrelated topics (Wednesdays only, with MCA Denver, Seawell Ballroom)
    • Oct. 23-Nov. 18: Bite-Size: An evening of micro theatre (at BookBar)
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries (with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company at The Jones)
    • March 2019: Powered by Off-Center (The Jones)
    • Dates TBA: Untitled Immersive Hip-Hop Show

    Off-Center ticket information: The single ticket on-sale date for all Off-Center productions will be announced at a later time. Subscriptions are not available for Off-Center shows.


    2018-19 THEATRE COMPANY SEASON: Title by title

    (Descriptions provided by DCPA Theatre Company)

    Vietgone

    • Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2016 VietgoneBy Qui Nguyen
    • Original music by Shane Rettig
    • Directed by Seema Sueko
    • Aug. 24-Sept. 30, 2018 (Opens Aug. 31)
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • Glance: This rap-spitting, pop culture-crusted dramedy is an ode to the real-life courtship of Playwright Qui Nguyen’s parents. Forced to leave their country during the height of the Vietnam War, two refugees find themselves at the same relocation camp in Arkansas – the land of Harleys, hot dogs and “howdy!” Before they find their way into each other’s arms, they’ll have to blaze a trail in their weird new world and leave behind the baggage they didn’t pack. Jump on this emotional ride for an adventure that hums with excitement as it hops across time and around the globe through the highs and lows of love.
    • Fun fact: Qui Nguyen is the self-described geeky playwright behind She Kills Monsters, which addressed stereotypes and social issues through the game “Dungeons and Dragons.”
    • Take a deeper dive into Vietgone

    (Pictured: Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2016 production of 'Vietgone,' courtesy Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)

    Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

    • Oklahoma!Music by Richard Rodgers; book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
    • Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
    • Original Dances by Agnes de Mille
    • Directed by Chris Coleman
    • Sept. 7-Oct. 14, 2018 (Opens Sept. 14)
    • Stage Theatre
    • Glance: With a spring in their step and a song in their hearts, cowboys, farmers and travelling salesmen alike have chased their destinies to a land that promises everything they could hope for: love, opportunity and a brighter future. The first collaboration by the legendary team of Rodgers and Hammerstein became a landmark musical for its rollicking music and stunning dance numbers, and this joyful presentation will solidify why it has stood the test of time. New DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman makes his DCPA directorial debut with this production, and he will set the story in one of the 50 all-African-American towns in the early days of the Oklahoma Territory. Discover an overlooked piece of American history as one small community stakes its claim on a place full of hope. The choreographer will be Dominique Kelley, a dancer in the film La La Land and the musical Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.
    • Fun fact: Oklahoma! opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre 75 years ago Saturday, and the cast of the Denver-born Frozen marked the anniversary with a curtain-call singalong that you can watch at this YouTube link.
    • Take a deeper dive into Oklahoma!

    The Constant Wife

    • The Constant WifeBy W. Somerset Maugham
    • Directed by Shelley Butler
    • Sept. 21-Oct. 21, 2018 (Opens Sept. 28)
    • Space Theatre
    • Glance: As the intelligent, charming housewife of a successful doctor, Constance Middleton cheerfully plays her traditional role. But she knows far more than she’s willing to let on. This cheeky satire pokes holes in the expectations of relationships, fidelity and social roles that were just as relevant in the 1920s as they are today. Featuring an infectiously plucky heroine at the helm, The Constant Wife takes joy in the imperfections of life and applauds those who elude the strict confines of society to discover true happiness. DCPA alum Shelley Butler (Human Error, The Most Deserving) returns to direct this contagious comedy.Fun fact: Variety calls Maugham’s protagonist “a perverse protofeminist — and an antecedent to the women of “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex and the City.”
    • Take a deeper dive into The Constant Wife

    A Christmas Carol

    • Sam Gregory A Christmas Carol. By Charles Dickens
    • Adapted by Richard Hellesen
    • Music by David de Berry
    • Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    • Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 2018 (Opens Nov. 29)
    • Stage Theatre
    • Glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, the Theatre Company’s joyous and opulent seasonal offering now in its 26th year traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. Note: This is an added attraction, not part of the Theatre Company subscription season.
    • Fun fact: Denver favorite Sam Gregory is scheduled to return for a third time as Scrooge.
    • Take a deeper dive into A Christmas Carol

    Last Night and the Night Before (world premiere)

    • Summit. Last Night. Donnetta By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
    • Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2019 (Opens January 25)
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • Glance: When Monique and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha show up unexpectedly on her sister’s Brooklyn doorstep, it shakes up Rachel and her partner Nadima’s orderly New York lifestyle. Monique is on the run from deep trouble and brings their family’s Southern roots with her, grabbing hold of Rachel’s life more ferociously than she could have ever imagined. Poetic, powerful and remarkably funny, Last Night and the Night Before play explores the struggle between the responsibilities that are expected of us and the choices we actually end up making.
    • Fun fact: This play was featured in the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit. Its original title was simply, Sam. The new title references a line from the children’s game "Last night and the night before, I met my baby at the candy store."
    • Take a deeper dive into Last Night and the Night Before


    Anna Karenina

    • TC-web-Season-Ann-400x3003By Kevin McKeon, adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy
    • Directed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman
    • Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2019 (Opens Feb. 1)
    • Stage Theatre
    • Glance: Love holds the power to bind us together or tear us apart, and no one knows better than Countess Anna Karenina. As a noblewoman and socialite, her glamorous lifestyle shrouds her unhappy marriage. But everything changes when she meets the dashing army officer Count Vronsky. She risks her social status, marriage, friends and family for the thrill of forbidden love. Anna Karenina uses the romantic backdrop of Tsarist Russia to tell a turbulent tale of passion and betrayal, dreams chased and lost, and the consequences of getting swept off your feet. Helmed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman, this lush, modern adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece brings the opulent setting and heart-wrenching story to life.
    • Fun fact: The play was made into a 2012 movie adapted by Tom Stoppard and featuring Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
    • Take a deeper dive into Anna Karenina


    The Whistleblower (world premiere)

    • itamarmoses whistleblowerBy Itamar Moses (pictured right)
    • Directed by TBA
    • Feb. 8-March 10, 2019 (Opens Feb. 15)
    • Space Theatre
    • Glance: For screenwriter Eli, an offer to finally create his own TV show should be the ultimate culmination of his goals, but instead shocks him into wondering why he had those dreams in the first place. Armed with a new sense of spiritual clarity, he sets out on a quest to serve up some hard truths to his coworkers, family, exes and friends. What could possibly go wrong? A lively world premiere about the lies we tell to protect ourselves  and how the tiniest gestures can have deep impact on those around us. Written by Itamar Moses, the award-winning author of the musical The Band’s Visit, currently on Broadway.
    • Fun facts: The Whistleblower was first introduced as a staged reading at South Coast Repertory’s 2015 Pacific Playwrights Festival in Costa Mesa, Calif. — alongside Vietgone. Also, Moses was an Executive Story Editor for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."
    • Take a deeper dive into The Whistleblower

    Sweat

    • TC-web-Season-Ann-400x3004By Lynn Nottage
    • Directed by Nataki Garrett
    • April 26-May 26, 2019 (Opens May 3)
    • Space Theatre
    • Glance: For the people of poverty-stricken Reading, Pa., work is so much more than a paycheck – it’s the glue that holds the town together. The floor of their central factory is where lifelong friendships are made, where love blossoms and where family members work side-by-side. But as layoffs become the new norm and a cheaper workforce threatens the viability of the local union, the threads that once kept the community together begin to fray. Sweat is an “extraordinarily moving drama,” said The New York Times, that powerfully contrasts life’s happiest highs with the heart-wrenching struggles of survival. Using warm humor and deep empathy, this 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner from Lynn Nottage (Ruined) paints a moving portrait of today’s working-class America in decline.
    • Fun fact: Nottage developed her play through interviews with actual former steelworkers in Reading.
    • Take a deeper dive into Sweat

    2018-19 OFF-CENTER SEASON: Title by title

    Mixed Taste: Tag team lectures on unrelated topics

    • Mixed Taste Aug 9Co-presentation with MCA Denver
    • July 11-Aug. 22, 2018 (Wednesdays only)
    • Seawell Ballroom
    • Glance: Returning for a second summer series, even mismatched subjects find common ground in this fun lecture forum that can go pretty much anywhere. Two speakers get 20 minutes each to enlighten you on unrelated topics, but can’t make any connections to each other. Ideas start to blend afterward, when audience members ask questions to both speakers and anything goes.
    • Fun fact: One clever example from last year’s series: “Wild West mail delivery and post-conceptual art.” Last year’s series emcee Suzi Q. Smith wrote a poem during each performance and read them at the end of every evening.
     

    Bite-Size: An evening of micro theatre

    • 2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS Gary Grundie Meridith C. GrundeiCreated and directed by Meridith Crosley Grundei
    • Oct. 23-Nov. 18, 2018
    • At BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St.
    • Glance:
    • Bite-Size brings you five short plays with bookish twists performed in and around BookBar, an independent bookstore and wine bar in the Tennyson Street Arts District. Grab tapas and drinks between the short performances of original works by Colorado-based artists. There is no better way to see a variety of local playwrights and performers in one place. Whether you’re a theatre geek, a bookworm or on the hunt for an off-beat night out, this evening will leave you eager to crack into a fresh hard-cover and dream up some tales of your own.
    • Fun fact: Director Meridith Grundei, a 2017 True West Award winner, packed up a used R.V. and hit the road with her husband and daughter in 2017 to travel the United States and Mexico for a year.


    The SantaLand Diaries

    • A Santaland Diaries Michael BouchardCo-presentation with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • By David Sedaris, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
    • Directed by Stephen Weitz
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2018 (Opens Nov. 25)
    • The Jones Theatre
    • Glance: This acclaimed one-man show is based on David Sedaris’ best-selling memoir about his curmudgeonly experience working as a Macy’s SantaLand elf, once again featuring Michael Bouchard and Luke Sorge as David, and his devilish Macy’s persona, Crumpet the Elf. Think holiday shopping is brutal? Try being on the receiving end of Macy’s SantaLand madness in a pair of pointy shoes. This twisted tale is the cure for the common Christmas show and the perfect excuse to take a break from it all.
    • Fun fact: 2018-19 will mark the 10th anniversary of BETC’s annual holiday staging, the last seven in partnership with Off-Center. That will equal The Bug Theatre’s run of 10 seasonal The SantaLand Diaries starring Gary Culig.

    Powered by Off-Center

    • March 2019
    • The Jones Theatre
    • Glance: Discover your next favorite Colorado performer as they debut new work at the Denver Center. Off-Center is offering the spotlight to local creators of all kinds as they get their projects off the ground with the support of our team. We’re giving our local artistic community a new place to play and a platform to experiment, engage and excite us all. Performance dates and participating artists to be announced.

    Untitled Immersive Hip-Hop Show

    • Idris Goodwin 160Written by Idris Goodwin
    • Directed by Jenny Koons
    • Glance: Following the hit experiential shows Sweet & Lucky and The Wild Party, Off-Center is cooking up its next large-scale immersive adventure. Off-Center has commissioned playwright Idris Goodwin and New York-based director Jenny Koons (Burn All Night at American Repertory Theatre) to create a one-of-a-kind new hip-hop-inspired event. Title, location, dates, and details to be announced.
    • Fun fact: Goodwin is the director and co-writer of This is Modern Art, currently playing through April 15 in The Jones Theatre.

    Note: Due to the nature of live performance, all productions, prices and dates are subject to change.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'A Christmas Carol' still brings playwright to laughter, tears

    by John Moore | Dec 07, 2017
    Making of 'A Christmas Carol' 2017

    Photos from the making of 'A Christmas Carol' from Friday's opening night and going back to the first rehearsal. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    'One of the things I love so much about this Denver Center production is its humanity,' the playwright says at opening.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Richard Hellesen's 1987 stage adaptation of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol has become a holiday standard for theatre companies across the country including the Denver Center, which opened its 10th seasonal staging of Hellesen’s script last Friday — with the playwright in the audience.

    Hellesen doesn't track how many productions his sweeping adaptation, with music by David de Berry, has enjoyed over the past 30 years. But the number of performances here at the Stage Theatre since 2006 is now nearing 500, with attendance topping 300,000. Hellesen said he was moved to tears by Melissa Rain Anderson’s take on the story.

    Richard Hellesen quote A Christmas Carol“I know the words, but sometimes the performances and the direction surprise me,” Hellesen said after the performance. “I was laughing tonight, I was crying — and I wrote the damn words. How does that work?”

    Well, it starts with Sam Gregory, who is playing Scrooge for a second straight season. Hellesen was taken by Gregory’s evident youth, which while uncommon for actors playing the role of the grizzled old skinflint, is actually consistent with Dickens’ novel.

    Hellesen said Gregory presents a Scrooge who has an opportunity to make a more lasting impact on his Victorian community after his conversion — and a greater emotional impact on audiences — because he still has a significant amount of time left to improve himself and his community. 

    “My favorite line from the whole play is: ‘Best of all, Scrooge knew he had the time before him to make amends — and he started that very day.'

    “One of the things I love so much about this Denver Center production is its humanity, because it's extremely easy to make Scrooge one-dimensional, or a stereotype. I think the harder challenge for the actor is to humanize him to the point where you are sitting in the audience saying to yourself, 'You know what? I kind of … sort of … actually see where he is coming from. And that moves us a little closer in his direction.

    Lisa Kennedy on why we circle back to A Christmas Carol

    “I know when the emotional parts are coming,” he said, “and yet I am just floored whenever I see an actor who is giving it something new like Sam Gregory.”

    A Christmas Carol 2017 Peyton GoosenAdded Anderson: “What I love about this adaptation and the way Sam plays it is that it works on all levels,” she said. “There's the bitter, there's the sweet, there's the political, there's dark humor and there's frivolous humor. Sam really hits every single scope that a man can hit in one night.”

    Part of the enduring power of the source story, Hellesen said, is its ever-relevant decrying of injustice in all its forms. Audiences may not realize it, he said, but Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843 as a demand for societal change.

    “I think certain lines in the script will suddenly resonate anew with any present-day audience depending on what is going on in the world,” he said. “For me tonight, that was when The Ghost of Christmas Present made his speech about how some men commit acts of envy and pride and bigotry and prejudice in the name of Christmas. That's in Dickens’ book, and I put that in my adaptation for a reason. It's because I want people to hear that today. We are at an interesting time. There is want, and there is ignorance. But there is also hope for redemption.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    (Pictured above and right: Peyton Goossen, who plays Tiny Tim, at the opening party. Photo by John Moore. Below: Goossen with Brian Vaughn and Latoya Cameron. Photo by Adams Viscom.)

    A Christmas Carol 2017. Peyton Goossen Brian Vaughn and Latoya Cameron. Photo by Adams ViscomHellesen said the Denver Center’s various stagings have always ranked among his favorites for their production values and the quality of the acting. This year he was particularly impressed to see a multi-racial Cratchit family on the stage.

    “I absolutely loved that,” he said. “Yes, this is a very specific story written in 1843 London, but it's obviously a much more universal story than that. And so to expand the casting in terms of ethnicity and age just adds to the universality of the piece.”

    Hellesen took a moment after the opening performance to thank the cast and crew directly.

    “When you sit at your computer and you adapt something, you just hope that somehow it has a life,” he told those gathered. “To see all of you people who are so talented giving so much to something that I wrote  — I am incredibly humbled to be in the room with you all, watching you do this.”

    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.


    A Christmas Carol: Video


    Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    A Christmas Carol: Ticket information
    A Christmas CarolAt a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through Through Dec. 24
    • Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Previous NewsCenter coverage of A Christmas Carol 2017:
    Photos, video: Your first look at A Christmas Carol 2017
    Video: Governor, Carol cast send Colorado National Guard thanks and hope
    A Christmas Carol: A timeline to today
    DCPA's 25th A Christmas Carol brims with mistletoe and milestones
  • 'A Christmas Carol': A timeline to today

    by John Moore | Nov 22, 2017
    A 2014-ACC-gmk-1089 allen dorseyAllen Dorsey in the DCPA Theatre Company's 2014 production of 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Gabe Koskinen. 

    Over the past 25 years, more than 820,000 people have watched the the timeless story play out here in Denver.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    It seems A Christmas Carol and its seasonal message of redemption and empathy for all is a perennial need in this country. Charles Dickens’ classic tale of the miser Scrooge’s spiritual redemption remains the DCPA Theatre Company’s most popular and most-produced show. This holiday season marks the company’s 25th musical presentation of the story dating to 1990 — with two years off along the way. (Pictured below in 2003.)

    DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol' 2003. In that time, there have been 18 young Tiny Tims but only two versions of the script. From 1990-2004, the DCPA staged an adaptation written by Laird Williamson and Dennis Powers. Since 2005, the company has presented the adaptation by Richard Hellesen and David de Berry. 

    Dickens wrote his opus in just six weeks, motivated in part by his own financial problems and in part by his anger seeing children working in appalling conditions in the tin mines and barely living in streets overrun with half-starved, illiterate urchins and orphans.

    Here’s a brief look at how the story has played out from London to Denver:

    1843 Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol as a novel on Dec. 19. By Christmas Eve, more than 6,000 copies are sold. 

    1844 The first stage presentation of A Christmas Carol is held, running for 40 nights. Within a year, eight rival A Christmas Carol theatrical productions are playing around London.

    1845 By now 13 editions of the A Christmas Carol novella have been released.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    1852 Charles Dickens gives the first of 127 public readings in London.

    1870 Charles Dickens’ death.

    Philip Pleasants Sam Gregory Scrooge A Christmas Carol1901 Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost is produced as a silent black-and-white British film. Since then, there have been at least 18 film variations featuring everyone from Albert Finney to Bill Murray to The Muppets to Mr. Magoo to Scrooge McDuck. Other actors to portray Scrooge on screen or stage include F. Murray Abraham, George C. Scott, Kelsey Grammer, Tony Randall, Hal Linden, Tim Curry and even The Who frontman Roger Daltrey. 

    1990 The DCPA Theatre Company presents A Christmas Carol for the first time, an adaptation by Laird Williamson and Dennis Powers. Laird Williamson also directs, which he continues through 2004. 

    2005 The company switches to an adaptation by Richard Hellesen and David de Berry directed by Bruce K. Sevy. Philip Pleasants plays Scrooge and continues as the primary Scrooge through 2015.

    2007 The DCPA gives A Christmas Carol a year off in favor of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and will do so again in 2012.

    A MayorHickenlooperTinyTim Charlie Korman2009 Charlie Korman (pictured at right with then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper) is cast as Tiny Tim at age 5. He would play the role for the next four years before aging up to play Young Scrooge in 2014. Korman would later play featured roles in the Theatre Company’s Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein

    2015 Elias Harger, the Theatre Company’s Tiny Tim the year before at age 7, is cast in Netflix’s Fuller House, the sequel to the long-running hit family sitcom Full House.

    2016 Sam Gregory becomes the eighth actor to play the Theatre Company’s Scrooge. Additionally, Melissa Rain Anderson takes the reins as director.A peyton_headshot_102017

    2017 For the first time, a young female actor, Peyton Goossen, plays the role of Tiny Tim. 

    2017 The Man Who Invented Christmas is released, a film that tells the story of how Charles Dickens brought the Scrooge story to life, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer (as an animated Scrooge).

     DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol' 2016. DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol' 2016.


    A Christmas Carol:
    Ticket information
    A Christmas CarolAt a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    • Stage 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

    Photo gallery: The making of A Christmas Carol 2017

    Making of 'A Christmas Carol' 2017

    Above: Photos from the first day of rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol.' To see more, click in the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

  • DCPA's 'A Christmas Carol' undergoes its own rebirth

    by John Moore | Nov 10, 2016

    Sam Gregory as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

    Denver is getting its first chance to meet Sam Gregory as the miserly Scrooge in its 24th seasonal staging of 'A Christmas Carol,' opening Nov. 25. 




    Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the world’s most beloved story of seasonal spiritual reawakening. And now, in its 24th staging at the Denver Center, the production itself is undergoing its own kind of renewal. The beloved holiday tradition has a new director and star this year: Denver newcomer Melissa Rain Anderson and longtime company favorite Sam Gregory playing Scrooge.

    “I think there is something addictive about the journey of A Christmas Carol every year,” said Anderson. “That sense of joy and wonder and getting re-birthed every year is pretty special.”

    And if the Theatre Company’s most popular annual offering is not getting fully re-birthed, it is certainly getting a re-boot. Audiences again will be treated to the familiar adaptation by Richard Hellesen with music by David de Berry, and many of the DCPA’s homegrown scenic and technical elements will be largely unchanged.

    Melissa Rain Anderson. A Christmas Carol. “Absolutely we want to pay homage to what has come before, because obviously it’s been a huge success,” said Anderson, who thinks of this production as one she is adopting, not reinventing. Still, the newness of this staging will be as evident as the man barking out the old man’s unhappy humbuggery.

    Gregory, who has more than 40 Theatre Company credits to his name, will become only the eighth actor to play Scrooge since the Denver Center’s nearly annual tradition began in 1990. Gregory’s task is merely to replace a fellow actor he calls irreplaceable: Philip Pleasants.

    “Taking over Scrooge from somebody like Phil is a monumental task that I would never wish on anyone because he was such a master at it,” Gregory said. “What I so very much appreciated in his performance was how within 10 minutes you could hear little children in the audience giggling away at the stuff he was doing. Phil was able to present this mean old curmudgeon and yet, right away, the children could spot his good heart.”

    Gregory said following Pleasants feels a little like Trevor Siemien following legendary Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. But Anderson and Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson both say he’s up to the task.

    “Sam is a masterfully comic actor who can also turn scary and scared at any moment,” Thompson said. “He has a gift for the language and dialects of England — whether it’s Dickens or Shakespeare. Besides that, Sam brings great heart to his acting, making him a beloved actor in the Denver theatre scene. I’m excited to see his Scrooge.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Anderson sees in Gregory the opportunity for this A Christmas Carol to make an even greater emotional impact on audiences, simply given the actuarial differences between Pleasants, who is 79, and Gregory, who is 53. Gregory initially worried he might actually be too young for the role, until his research turned up that while Dickens never specifies the old man’s age, he plants clues that suggest Scrooge is only 54 years old.

    “Sam is really the perfect age to be playing Scrooge because he has a significant amount of time left,” Anderson said. “His Scrooge lives through this beautiful redemption — and then how wonderful it will be for us to consider that this Scrooge still has 20 or more years left to give all his money away. And what a gift for Scrooge to gain his family back into his life and to open his arms to Bob Cratchit again while he still has so much time to do good? This Scrooge will change lives for many years after our story ends.”

    Sam Gregory as Bob Cratchit in 2008. Anderson and Gregory both have deep bloodlines with the Hellesen adaptation of A Christmas Carol. As an actor, Anderson has performed in it four times around the country. Gregory has previously played Bob Cratchit and six other roles. Anderson thinks it’s probably better for her that the actor playing Scrooge is changing at the same time she is becoming the first new director of this annual production in Denver since 2004.

    “I think it’s great that we are shaking everything up at the same time rather than in bits and pieces,” she said.

    For his part, Gregory isn’t aiming to simply give audiences a younger version of Pleasants’ Scrooge. How could he? “I can’t roll my R’s the way Phil can,” he joked.

    “I think we want to focus more on the fact that this is really an incredible play about redemption and that is the reason it stands the test of time,” he said. “This play is about how anyone can be redeemed and can change and can become a better human being.”

    But getting there won’t be easy. And shouldn’t be.

    “The Scrooge we meet is hardened and calcified,” Gregory said. “He doesn’t turn on the heat because he has no heat inside of him. That’s why poor Bob is freezing. Scrooge isn’t cold because he has ice-water in his veins. I’d like to try it so that we see him thaw — and come to life.”

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

    (Photo above right: Sam Gregory has played seven different characters in DCPA stagings of 'A Christmas Carol,' including Bob Cratchit in 2008. Photo by Terry Shapiro.)

    A Christmas Carol: Ticket information
    A Christmas CarolAt a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

    Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    By Charles Dickens
    Adapted for the stage by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    Nov. 25-Dec. 24
    Stage Theatre
    ASL Interpreted and Audio-Described Performance: 1:30 p.m. Dec 11
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of A Christmas Carol
    Cast lists: A Christmas Carol, The SantaLand Diaries begin anew
    Video: Leslie O'Carroll performs A Christmas Carol in five minutes
    Photos, video: Philip Pleasants takes final bow as Scrooge

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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.

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