• 2017 True West Award: Claudia Carson

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

    2017 TRUE WEST 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.


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS: '30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS'
    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 (to date)


    Video bonus 1: The 2017 Bobby G Awards




    Video bonus 2 Student playwriting:

  • Tony winner on Denver playwright Max Posner: 'I want him to be heard'

    by John Moore | Nov 08, 2017
    Max Posner. Deanna Dunagan. The Treasurer. Photo by John Moore
    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'I did it because I believe in Max,' says Deanna Dunagan, creator of Violet Weston in August: Osage County

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Denver native Max Posner's new off-Broadway play The Treasurer closed on Sunday after an extended run, full houses and great critical acclaim. 

    Max Posner. The Treasurer. Playwrights HorizonsAnd the 29-year-old Denver School of the Arts grad is the first to admit that all of that was in large part due to the play being directed by David Cromer, presented by New York’s esteemed Playwrights Horizons, and starring Tony Award winner Deanna Dunagan and Peter Friedman, who played Tateh in Broadway's Ragtime.

    But Dunagan, whose life and career are based in Chicago, said on closing weekend there was only one reason she accepted the role: Max Posner.

    "It was because I believe in Max, and I wanted to help him get started," said Dunagan, who previously originated the epic, acidic role of Violet Weston in Tracy Letts' August: Osage County in both Chicago and on Broadway.

    "He is going to be an important playwright in the American theatre, you mark my words," Dunagan told the DCPA NewsCenter. "I want him to be heard."

    (Pictured above: Peter Friedman and Deanna Dunagan in 'The Treasurer,' courtesy Playwrights Horizons.)

    The Treasurer, which opened Sept. 22, is a darkly funny portrait of an elderly mother and her aging son. Ida Armstrong, who abandoned her husband and three sons when they were teenagers, is now broke, lonely and facing encroaching dementia in Albany, N.Y. Her 60-something son (who goes without a specific name but lives at a Denver address that matches Posner's childhood home), is then forced into the unfair and unwanted role of “The Treasurer."

    New York Magazine called The Treasurer "an invaluable new play." Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it tender and unforgiving. "Mr. Posner has a precocious feeling for the harshness with which people often judge themselves as they approach the midpoint of their lives," Brantley wrote. "His writing is often effectively double-edged, an amalgam of 21st-century casualness and cadenced lyricism. Mr. Posner has a sharp and original ear for the tension between what is spoken and what is not." 

    Our interview with Max Posner about The Treasurer

    Max Posner. The Treasurer. Curious New VoicesAnd to think he started out as a teenager in the inaugural class of young writers in the first Curious New Voices summer playwriting program started by Dee Covington of Curious Theatre Company in 2004. Posner's play was called Counting to Infinity. And it turns out that the director of that play (Laura Tesman Gillette) and one of his actors (Gary Culig) were at the final Saturday matinee performance of The Treasurer in New York (pictured right).

    Posner said of his overall experience with The Treasurer: “It’s a total fantasy realized." 

    The Treasurer also featured Marinda Anderson and Pun Bandhu, who starred in the DCPA Theatre Company's The Catch in 2011. Bandhu was also one of the original producers of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening

    Posner had his first New York production in 2015 with Judy, which is set in the winter of 2040. Posner called Judy “a subterranean comedy about family life when technology fails and communication breaks down."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Critics were not as kind to Judy. So what did it feel like to be understood and championed by New York critics this time around?

    "It was the feeling of not being murdered," he said with a laugh.

    Moving in next to the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre just vacated by The Treasurer is Mankind, written by Robert O'Hara and featuring Ariel Shafir. O'Hara directed just directed a rousing reimagining of Macbeth for the DCPA Theatre Company. Shafir played the title role.   

    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.

    Max Posner. The Treasurer. Photo by John Moore.
    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    From the video archive: Our 2015 interview with Max Posner

    Watch our video interview with Max Posner from May 2015 in New York City. Video by John Moore.

    Selected previous coverage of Denver's Posner family:
    Max Posner's The Treasurer to be staged at Playwrights Horizons
    Denver playwright Max Posner scores first New York production
    Jessica Posner's triumphant tale is a world-changer and a page-turner
    Jessica Posner: Changing lives in a hell on Earth
    From 2006: Max Posner one of Colorado's "Can't Miss Kids"

    Max Posner/At a glance
    Max Posner’s play Judy premiered Off-Broadway in 2015 (Page 73, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll). Recent productions include Snore (Juilliard, directed by Knud Adams), Sisters on the Ground (Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll), and Gun Logistics (Drama League, directed by Knud Adams). He is the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, the Heideman Award from Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, the P73 Fellowship, and two Lecomte du Nouy awards from Lincoln Center. Max is a Sundance Institute Theatre Fellow, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow, and was the Writer-In-Residence at Williamstown. He's an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Ars Nova's Playgroup, The Working Farm at Space on Ryder Farm, and I-73. He contributed to John Early's episode of The Characters (Netflix) and is working on a libretto for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with composer Ellis Ludwig Leone. Max's plays have been developed by Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Page 73, Clubbed Thumb, Williamstown, The Atlantic, Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, NYTW, American Theater Co., The Juilliard School, and Space on Ryder Farm. He is a frequent volunteer at Manhattan's 52nd Street Project. He studied writing as an undergrad at Brown, and recently completed a two-year Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Max was born and raised in Denver and lives in Brooklyn. 

    David Cromer/At a glance
    Recent credits include: Man from Nebraska (Second Stage Theater); The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company); The Effect (Barrow Street Theatre); Come Back, Little Sheba (Huntington Theatre); Angels in America (Kansas City Rep); and Our Town at the Almeida Theatre in London. New York Credits include: Women or Nothing at Atlantic Theater Company, Really Really at MCC, The House of Blue Leaves and Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway, When the Rain Stops Falling and Nikolai and the Others at Lincoln Center Theater. Also at the Barrow Street Theatre he has directed Tribes, Our Town, and Orson’s Shadow as well as Adding Machine, which was a BST production at the Minetta Lane. Originally from Chicago, his credits there include Sweet Bird of Youth (The Goodman); A Streetcar Named Desire, Picnic, and The Price (Writers Theatre); Cherrywood, Mojo, and The Hot l Baltimore (Mary-Arrchie); The Cider House Rules (co-directed with Marc Grapey at Famous Door); and Angels in America (The Journeymen); among others. For Michael Ira Cromer (1966-2015). 

  • In the Spotlife: Candy Brown of 'Love Letters'

    by John Moore | Nov 08, 2017
    Candy Brown and Mark Rubald. Lone Tree Arts Center.

    Candy Brown and Mark Rubald in 'Love Letters' at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Photo by Danny Lam.

    MEET CANDY BROWN
    Pippin_Candy_Brown_Manson_800Candy Brown is playing Melissa opposite Mark Rubald in Love Letters from Nov. 9-19 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Broadway credits include Grind, Chicago, Pippin, Hello Dolly and several Shirley MacLaine concert performances. She has an indelible place in Broadway history indelible for being part of the first Manson Trio, a signature Bob Fosse moment in the original Broadway production of Pippin. Brown can be seen in famous photographs stepping alongside Pamela Sousa with top hats and canes wearing white faces and exaggerated smiles just behind their Leading Player, Ben Vereen.

    • Candy Brown Quote Hometown: Northern California
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Hermantown High School in Duluth, Minn.
    • College: St. Mary’s College of Moraga, Calif.
    • One recent role? The “role” I love most is being a guest artist in the theatre department at the Denver School of the Arts.
    • Twitter-sized bio: With any luck, I am rarely what I seem to be.
    • The role that changed your life: Performing as a Player and understudying Fastrada in the original Broadway cast of Pippin. While I had done three Broadway musicals, this was the first time I had worked on a Broadway show from the ground up. It was an eye-opening experience, and working with Mr. Fosse made me aware that I also needed to be a better actor to be a competent dancer. I had had some acting classes, but it made me want to study the craft more seriously ... which I did. READ MORE
    • Ideal scene partner: Meryl Streep and/or Viola Davis (pictured below right). Having never met either, I imagine they are both not only brilliant actors, but grounded and giving human beings.
    • What is Love Letters all about? It’s a relationship between a man and a woman spanning decades revealed in the letters they wrote to one another.
    • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: Melissa is a very wealthy free spirit. ... I am neither. But I certainly understand the moral, emotional and intellectual elements of her character. My favorite characters are those seemingly different from me — until the human connection is discovered. viola-davis-fences
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your play? Theatre’s task is to illuminate the human condition. I will honor my contract to the audience to do that to the best of my ability.
    • What's one thing we don't know about you? This is painful to admit, but: I am quite boring.
    • What do you want to get off your chest? I am passionate about empowering the young people with whom I come in contact in an educational platform. I am passionate to encourage them to be beacons going forth with confidence, and armed with passion and compassion wherever their paths lead.

    Check out all your November theatregoing opportunities

    Love Letters: Ticket information
    At a glance: Two actors, one stage and a love story spanning 50 years. Andrew Makepeace Ladd III wrote his first letter to Melissa Gardner to tell her she looked like a lost princess. They were both 7 years old. For the next five decades, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out the secrets of their hearts to each other — in letters.

    • Written by A.R. Gurney
    • Directed by Bruce K. Sevy
    • Featuring Candy Brown and Marl Rubald
    • Nov. 9-19
    • 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue,
    • Tickets: $35-$45
    • For tickets, call 720-509-1000, or go to lone tree’s home page

    Performances:

    • Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

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    • Friday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m.

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    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

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    • Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Thursday, Nov. 16, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.

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    • Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 18, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.

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    • Sunday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.

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    More 2017-18 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep's Arsenic and Old Lace
    Meet Deb Persoff of Vintage Theatre's August: Osage County
    Meet Monica Joyce Thompson of Inspire Creative’s South Pacific
    Meet Hugo Jon Sayles of I Don't Speak English Only
    Meet Marialuisa Burgos of I Don't Speak English Only

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Shakespeare Fest: Students put spirit of youth in everything

    by John Moore | Apr 29, 2017

    Above: Video coverage from the 2017 The Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival on April 28. Our guests include Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock; DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden; DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg; teacher Tim Boyle (John F. Kennedy High School); students Amelia Corrada (Denver School for the Arts), Vincent Haney (Denver North High School) and Alexis Ayala (J.F.K). Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

     

    'Today, we keep the arts alive. Today we triumph
    over hatred, over grief and over despair.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Surely no one will compare Friday to a summer’s day. But compared to the bone-chilling festivities of a year ago, the 33rd Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival was, in the Bard’s own words, a comfort like sunshine after rain.

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalDespite a gloomy forecast, the mild weather cooperated just long enough for 5,000 students from kindergarten through high school to perform more than 640 short scenes, dances, soliloquies and sonnets on stages in and around the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The celebration is the largest and oldest student Shakespeare Festival in the country.

    Performing in 14 tents, theatres and stairway landings spread out over four acres, students from an estimated 80 schools soliloquized, sang, fenced, danced, played musical instruments, raged and gently wooed – but did not kiss. (Festival rule: High-fives – not smooches!)

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalDressed in authentic period garb, Mayor Michael B. Hancock told the wee throng that the DPS Shakespeare Festival has become part of the fabric of Denver. “We believe wholeheartedly in arts education,” said Hancock, a graduate of DPS’ Manual High School. “We believe in connecting to our history. We believe in upholding our culture. You are making Denver proud today.”

    Most participating DPS teachers have spent the past two months introducing Shakespeare to their students and creating live performances through auditioning, rehearsals, text analysis and costume-building. Studies have shown that studying Shakespeare improves students’ literacy and literary skills, especially in a district like DPS, where more than 50 percent speak English as a second language.

    “This experience gives them the opportunity to really dig into Shakespeare’s words and find emotions and character motivations and storylines,” said Jacqueline Smilack, a journalist and fourth-year English teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School. And for those who speak English as a second language, she said, “Shakespeare is the great equalizer. Everyone comes into it on the same page.” A team from Denver School of the Arts presented a scene from Romeo and Juliet with two students performing in English and two others in Spanish.

    (Story continues under the photo gallery)

    Full photo gallery: 2017 DPS Shakespeare Festival

    2017 DPS Shakespeare Festival

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. Photos may be downloaded and shared with credit to the DCPA NewsCenter. 



    Alix Gonzalez, 15-year-old sophomore from North High School, performed Friday in her third festival, dating back to middle school. “I love it because it gets me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “Speaking in old English stretches your confidence as an actor because of how big you have to go to do Shakespeare.”

    Watch our Facebook Live stream from the parade

    Each year, DPS students submit essays for the privilege to play William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I in the welcoming ceremonies, and ride at the head of a short parade from the 16th Street Mall to the Denver Performing Arts Complex. This year’s honorees were Denver North High School Senior Vincent Haney and Denver School of the Arts senior Amelia Corrada, who has been accepted into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Haney said he was speechless and euphoric when he learned he had been selected to speak as The Bard.

    Story: Where do those 5,000 costumes come from?

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festival“Theatre is the voice of our people,” Haney said as Shakespeare. “And today, our message is as strong as ever. Today, we keep the arts alive. Today we triumph over hatred, over grief and over despair. Today we sing, today we dance, today we act.”

    Corrada said Shakespeare remains timely because “the themes of Shakespeare’s plays are the same themes we are living through in our country right now. Through his verse, he exposes us to the very truth and nature of friendship, magic, betrayal, war and even love in all its forms. It's totally relevant.”

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalSmilack admitted that Shakespeare can be intimidating for first-time students, and they are not alone. “It can be intimidating for teachers, too,” she said. Because many teachers are not specifically trained in teaching or interpreting the Shakespeare canon, she said, “This exercise gives teachers good perspective on what our students are going through.”

    Now in its fourth decade, the DPS Shakespeare Festival’s bloodlines go back for generations. Acclaimed singer and actor Mary Louise Lee (Hancock’s wife), performed in the festival as a student at Thomas Jefferson High School. The First Lady has made restoring arts-education programs in schools her top priority since founding her nonprofit, Bringing Back the Arts. John F. Kennedy High School Drama Director Tim Boyles, who brought a fresh group of festival participants this year, performed in the festival when he himself was a student at JFK.

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalNot all of the performances on Friday were by students. A team of DCPA Education Teaching Artists presented a 45-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that they perform at schools statewide in and around a beat-up old pickup truck as part of the “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” program. All costumes and props come from the back of the truck – so, for example, floor mats are used as a wall, and an ice-scraper is used as a sword to depict a suicide.

    This is the DCPA’s third year partnering with Denver Public Schools and the DPS Foundation to present the festival. “We provided workshops, we judged auditions, we opened our doors and we offer financial support to 4,000 students from across Denver to participate in this event,” said President and CEO Janice Sinden. “We do that because the DCPA knows arts education improves academic success, produces leaders and cultivates creativity. Plus, it’s fun.”

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalDance Legend Cleo Parker Robinson, a graduate of the Denver Public Schools who created Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 47 years ago, brought two of her company members to perform a short excerpt from their current offering, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet layered with scenes from George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (through May 7 at 119 Park Avenue West.)

    “It's thrilling to see students of all backgrounds and ages be introduced to the magic of theatre in this way,” said Robinson. “Our presence here today is meant to show these young students that Shakespeare can be expressed through the word, through music – and also through the ballet of Prokofiev.”

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalThe Grand Marshal of this year’s parade was Deputy Director of Denver Arts and Venues Ginger White Brunetti, who heads the city’s Imagine 2020 arts program.

    While students were free to perform from any of Shakespeare’s works, this year’s featured title was Much Ado About Nothing. But in the words of DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, “Today there is going to be much ado about something.” 

    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. This is his 16th year covering the DPS Shakespeare Festival.


    2017-dps-shakespeare-festival

    Our 2017 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2016 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festival
    TO SEE MORE PHOTOS, CLICK ON THE GALLERY AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.
  • 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

  • Max Posner's new play to be staged at Playwrights Horizons

    by John Moore | Feb 28, 2017
    Max Posner
    Photo of Max Posner by Elisa Quero.

    So what does rocketing Denver playwright Max Posner have in common with Sarah Ruhl and David Cromer?

    Posner and Ruhl - who was just named among the 10 most important living American playwrights in a national survey by the DCPA NewsCenter - both will have their newest plays premiered later this year by New York’s esteemed Playwrights Horizons. And Posner’s director will be Cromer, a MacArthur Genius best known for his groundbreaking directions of Our Town, The Adding Machine and Angels in America.

    “It’s a total fantasy realized,” said Posner, a 28-year-old graduate of Denver School of the Arts. “I think Playwrights Horizon is my favorite theatre. Going to plays there has enriched my ideas about what a play can and should be. So having my own play staged there is totally insane, and I feel very fortunate.”

    Posner’s The Treasurer will open Sept. 22 in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater in midtown Manhattan. The play is a darkly funny and very private portrait of an aging mother and her son. Ida Armstrong is broke, lonely and fading – and she is spending her children’s money fast. This forces her son into the unwanted role of “The Treasurer,” an arrangement that becomes untenable the more he questions his devotion to her.

    Posner says his play is set “in the hell of a guilty conscience.”

    Max Posner quote“My goal was to address a kind of emotional constipation I have sensed in various relationships between people I know and their aging parents,” said Posner. “I wanted to really think about debt, and people try to monetize their feelings. It’s about what parents think they are owed by their children, and what children think they are owed by their parents.”

    The resulting play, he said, is “definitely emotionally wrenching, But I hope it’s kind of funny, too.” Posner is interested in exploring frayed family dynamics but not by filling the stage with dramatic yelling. “To me, that doesn’t capture the reality of being in a family as I know family to be,” he said. “In fact, when families are facing something really difficult, it seems to me that they mostly speak about it indirectly, or in hushed tones ... And rarely with the person they should be having the conversation with.”

    That approach, it was suggested to Posner, may make him the anti-Tracy Letts - author of August: Osage County. "What’s funny about your comparison is that my play requires the exact same thing a Tracy Letts play needs, but the outlet for that need is a little more decentralized in mine. I think my play sets us on a more winding kind of path.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A year ago, Posner was selected to have his developing play workshopped by the Sundance Theatre Lab in, of all places, Morocco. When Posner heard he was assigned Cromer as his director, he said, “I was elated - and immediately desperate to make the play worthy of his time.”

    The New Yorker's Hilton Als recently called Cromer a director with singular vision that lifts any script up into something unpredictable, new and fresh. Cromer's expertise, Als said, "is moving human beings from darkness to light and back again."

    Posner and Cromer spent a month together working on The Treasurer last May. During that time, “he really became such a deep and amazing collaborator,” Posner said. “I think he revealed the play to me and the actors. So in many ways he helped form it."

    And now, Posner said, “He’s my buddy.”

    Casting for The Treasurer has not yet been completed, but it’s a safe assumption that it will be performed by some of the biggest names in the New York theatre.

    Max Posner. Lost in Yonkers. MizelAs a teenager, Posner studied writing under Moss Kaplan at Denver School of the Arts. He was also a longtime student of the Curious New Voices young playwrights program under Dee Covington. And he was named one of The Denver Post's "Can't Miss Kids" in 2006. (Pictured at right: Jeremey Palmer and Max Posner in 'Lost in Yonkers' at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center in 2002.) 

    Posner had his first New York production in 2015 with Judy, which is set in the winter of 2040. Posner called Judy “a subterranean comedy about family life when technology fails and communication breaks down."

    For Posner, Judy was also a crash-course in both playing in the big leagues … and swimming with the sharks. The New Yorker hailed Posner as one of New York’s most unique new voices, saying “Posner’s revelations, touching on the linguistic, the sociological and the theological, waver between the explicit and the mysterious, and give us something funny and scary to ponder.”

    But former New York Times critic Charles Isherwood just didn’t get it. And Posner gets that.

    “The success of our plays can’t be measured based on how warmly they are received by any one person,” Posner said. “A lot of my work is about facing moments of extreme discomfort, or dealing with things that are frustratingly undefined. I think it is important that theatre does that. My favorite theatre does that. It’s completely legitimate to be upset by my plays because a lot of my plays are upsetting comedies.”


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

    The Treasurer
    By Max Posner
    Opens Sept. 22
    Peter Jay Sharp Theater
    416 West 42nd St., New York
    Info: 212-564-1235

    From the video archive: Our 2015 interview with Max Posner

    Watch our video interview with Max Posner from May 2015 in New York City. Video by John Moore.


    Selected previous coverage of Denver's Posner family:
    Denver playwright Max Posner scores first New York production
    Jessica Posner's triumphant tale is a world-changer and a page-turner
    Jessica Posner: Changing lives in a hell on Earth
    From 2006: Max Posner one of Colorado's "Can't Miss Kids"

    Max Posner/At a glance
    Max Posner’s play Judy premiered Off-Broadway in 2015 (Page 73, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll). Recent productions include Snore (Juilliard, directed by Knud Adams), Sisters on the Ground (Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll), and Gun Logistics (Drama League, directed by Knud Adams). He is the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, the Heideman Award from Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, the P73 Fellowship, and two Lecomte du Nouy awards from Lincoln Center. Max is a Sundance Institute Theatre Fellow, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow, and was the Writer-In-Residence at Williamstown. He's an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Ars Nova's Playgroup, The Working Farm at Space on Ryder Farm, and I-73. He contributed to John Early's episode of The Characters (Netflix) and is working on a libretto for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with composer Ellis Ludwig Leone. Max's plays have been developed by Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Page 73, Clubbed Thumb, Williamstown, The Atlantic, Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, NYTW, American Theater Co., The Juilliard School, and Space on Ryder Farm. He is a frequent volunteer at Manhattan's 52nd Street Project. He studied writing as an undergrad at Brown, and recently completed a two-year Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Max was born and raised in Denver and lives in Brooklyn. 

    David Cromer/At a glance
    Recent credits include: Man from Nebraska (Second Stage Theater); The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company); The Effect (Barrow Street Theatre); Come Back, Little Sheba (Huntington Theatre); Angels in America (Kansas City Rep); and Our Town at the Almeida Theatre in London. New York Credits include: Women or Nothing at Atlantic Theater Company, Really Really at MCC, The House of Blue Leaves and Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway, When the Rain Stops Falling and Nikolai and the Others at Lincoln Center Theater. Also at the Barrow Street Theatre he has directed Tribes, Our Town, and Orson’s Shadow as well as Adding Machine, which was a BST production at the Minetta Lane. Originally from Chicago, his credits there include Sweet Bird of Youth (The Goodman); A Streetcar Named Desire, Picnic, and The Price (Writers Theatre); Cherrywood, Mojo, and The Hot l Baltimore (Mary-Arrchie); The Cider House Rules (co-directed with Marc Grapey at Famous Door); and Angels in America (The Journeymen); among others. For Michael Ira Cromer (1966-2015). 

  • Meet the cast: Charlie Korman of 'Frankenstein'

    by John Moore | Oct 16, 2016


    MEET CHARLIE KORMAN
    William Frankenstein in Frankenstein

    At the Theatre Company: Sweeney Todd, Lord of the Flies, Shadowlands, A Christmas Carol (six seasons) and Ed, Downloaded. Elsewhere: Oliver! (Denver School of the Arts), Poor Baby in Whistle Down the Wind, Our Time Cabaret, Bye Bye Birdie (Stagedoor Manor). Training: Sweatshop Dance, Vocal Training with Bob Downard. Awards: 2016 NYCDA regional Junior Outstanding Dancer first runner-up, 2016 Stagedoor Manor Best Featured Actor in a Musical, 2015 Stagedoor Manor Best Member of an Ensemble.

    • Charlie Korman and Jeff Cribbs. A Christmas Carol. Photo by Terry ShapiroHometown: Denver
    • School: Denver School of the Arts Theatre Major
    • What was the role that changed your life? Playing Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol for the DCPA Theatre Company. I started portraying him when I was only 5, and did it every year until I was 9. That was my start to a professional career. The experience was truly once in a lifetime, and it hooked me up with many talented performers.
    • Why are you an actor? The best part of going to the theatre is watching others go on a journey, and learning something valuable about yourself in the meantime. That's why I became an actor - to change people’s lives. 
    • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? If I don’t become an actor when I grow up, then I want to be a computer programmer. I have a
      fascination with how computers and other machines work. And I have found a website that has been teaching me code.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would want to work with Charlie Chaplin. He has such a wonderful presence on screen, and can make any generation laugh. He also revolutionized physical comedy, and the way an actor can be funny, without even speaking. And lastly, he has a pretty awesome name.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    • What do you hope the audience gets out of seeing Frankenstein? I hope they get a new look on horror. Horror movies nowadays are mostly cheap ghost films or bad serial-killer flicks. But this play has a whole new (yet old) take on horror. This is horror that gets inside your brain.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "... equality for all races, religions, and nationalities."

    Our 2013 video profile of Charlie Korman:

    Video by John Moore.
    'Frankenstein' photos above by Adams VisCom. 'A Christmas Carol' by Terry Shapiro.
    Follow Charlie Korman on his web site

    Frankenstein: Ticket information
    Frankenstein• Through Oct. 30
    • Stage Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 23
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829 

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frankenstein:
    Photos: Opening Night of Frankenstein
    Video series: Inside look at the making of Frankenstein
    Five things we learned about Frankenstein at Perspectives
    Photos, video: Your first look at the making of Frankenstein
    Frankenstein
    : On the making of a two-headed monster
    Frankenstein and race: It IS a matter of black and white
    Breathing life into the Frankenstein set: 'It's alive!'
    A Frankenstein 'that will make The Bible look subtle'
    How Danny Boyle infused new life into Frankenstein
    Casting set for Frankenstein and The Glass Menagerie
    Introducing DCPA Theatre Company's 2016-17 season artwork
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season announcement

    More 2016-17 DCPA Theatre Company 'Meet the Cast' profiles:

    Aubrey Deeker, The Glass Menagerie
    Sullivan Jones, Frankenstein
    Mark Junek, Frankenstein

    Amelia Pedlow, The Glass Menagerie
    Jessica Robblee, Frankenstein
    John Skelley, The Glass Menagerie

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.

  • Video: Bobby G Awards' Outstanding Musical nominee performances

    by John Moore | Jun 15, 2016


    The 2016 Bobby G Awards, which celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school theatre, were held May 26 at the Buell Theatre. Each of the five nominated Outstanding Musicals performed songs or medleys before the crowd of 1,700. Here are excerpts from each of those performances. The featured productions were:  

    • Cherry Creek High School's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    • Denver School of the Arts' Spring Awakening
    • Mountain View High School's Anything Goes
    • Arvada West High School's Les Misérables
    • Fairview High School's Guys and Dolls
    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    Bonus video: Mountain View High School 's
    Anything Goes:


    Anything Goes,
    by Mountain View High School of Loveland, was named Outstanding Musical at the 2016 Bobby G Awards. Here is the school's full performance at the Buell Theatre.   


    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    Video, story: Kinship and camaraderie at 2016 Bobby G Awards
    Video: 2016 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Photos: 2016 Bobby G Awards (Download for free)
    Mountain View scales Bobby G Awards' 2016 peak
    Meet your 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'

    Bobby G Awards. Arvada West High School's Les Misérables Arvada West High School's 'Les Misérables.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. 
  • Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists

    by John Moore | May 25, 2016

    The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The fourth annual awards and performance take place Thursday, May 26, at the Buell Theatre. 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.

    Arvada West Garrett Charles 

    GARRETT CHARLES

    Javert, Les Misérables
    Arvada West High School
    Class of 2017

    • College plans: BYU
    • Your Director: Lindsey Welsh
    • First role: This is it. It was such an honor to be cast in such a large role as a rookie.
    • Garrett CharlesWhy do you perform? Because I love to see the emotions I can evoke from an audience.  It's the greatest feeling to know someone appreciated your work enough to let affect them emotionally.  It's the greatest compliment to hear, "Garrett, you made me cry with that song."  It means I've made someone's life a little better by sharing my hard work and talent. That is what I live for.
    • Ideal scene partner: Honestly, it was so much fun to do “The Confrontation" with my classmate, Danny Miller. But I would love to sing it with Alfie Boe.  I am such a fan of that man's voice and his work in the 25th Anniversary recording of Les Misérables was phenomenal. It would be such an experience to perform with him.
    • Favorite moment from your show: If I was forced to pick from the among the millions I'd probably say performing “The Epilogue on closing night. I remember entering from underneath the bridge I had thrown myself off of just scenes before, my head whirling with emotions. During that song, I reflected on the entire process and realized how much change I had gone through personally as a result of joining the family that is the Arvada West Theatre Company.  I remember glancing to either side of me and seeing tears streaming down all of my friends' faces.  The emotion and power of that performance topped anything I'd ever experienced.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: My police-officer uniform had a flap on the front, which was sewn on one side and had Velcro on the other.  After the prologue, I had to do a quick costume change to go back out and play a street urchin, and with the urgency of my costume change on my mind, I ran to the dressing room and promptly tore the flap clean off of the front of my police uniform.  I now had an official-looking trapezoid of cloth in my hand and a very plain-looking blue tailcoat on my body.  I knew I had to be onstage quickly, so I completed my costume change and pounded on the girls’ dressing room door like there was a fire.  They told me I was safe, so I opened the door, mumbled, "ItoremyflapoffcansomeonegosewitbackonIgottabeonstagethanks!" and closed the door.  Thankfully they were able to decode my panicked slur - and the audience never found out about it.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? Javert has been my dream role ever since I found out about Les Mis my freshman year. To be cast in such an important role almost blindly was such an honor, and I was determined not to let anyone in the production down.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? I was extremely surprised when Ms. Welsh read my name. I did not expect to be nominated alongside someone with so much talent as our Jean Valjean, who was also nominated.  I definitely owe thanks to my directors for having the faith to cast me despite never really having seen me act before.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing arts are the quickest way to get a gigantic circle of friends.  Also, if you don't want the pressure of being onstage or in the pit, there's always a need for crewmembers to run the show behind the scenes, and you will still have the same bonding experiences with your friends that all those onstage do.  I absolutely love it, and I think you will, too.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? Arts education and extra-curricular activities save lives.  I've learned that being a part of something larger than yourself helps you mature, and gives you productive outlets for you pain and sorrow.  That's definitely what theatre and choir are for me.
    • Last word: Thank you so much for the nomination. I'm so honored to be considered for this prestigious award.


     Denver School of the Arts Michael Kosko Bobby G Awards

    MICHAEL KOSKO

    Moritz Stiefel, Spring Awakening
    Denver School of the Arts
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
    • Your Director: Shawn Hann
    • First role: I was the Mayor of MunchkinLand in The Wizard of Oz in the 6th Grade at Campus Middle School.
    • Actor Quote 2 Michael Kosko Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? I had an obsession with The Wizard of Oz my entire childhood. My older brother loved Pokémon and G.I. Joes, and I just loved Oz. I would parade around saying I’d be the Scarecrow when I grew up. So of course, when the middle school announced the spring musical of The Wizard of Oz, my mother made me audition. The rest is history. Theatre has become my form of expression. It’s the human connection through this work. We all have rich pain and emotion - and in this art form, we’re able to understand others.
    • Ideal scene partner: The first of many to come to mind is Jessica Lange. I have so much respect for the woman. She’s one of the bravest and most powerful artists I can think of, so to do a scene with her would be unreal. More specifically, to play her son, Edmund, in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, would be the dream.
    • Favorite moment from your show: Absolutely, it was saying the line, “I’m ready now: I’ll be an angel.” During that line, I’m on my knees collecting the lilies that llse dropped, and by the end come to the realization that I really am ready. And then I’d take a big breath of the flowers, carefully set them down and then pull out the gun. It was raw and terrifying and beautiful.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: We had this wonderful moment during an evening performance where my good friend Jimmy Bruenger, who was playing Hanschen, forgot the gun to hand me at the end of the song And Then There Were None. It’s essential to that moment for the gun to appear, and the second the lights shifted into the final chords: he bolted off stage-right and vanished. As each of the other boys made their exits, Jimmy, from the corner of my eye, came charging through the stage door and then stopped dead right at the last foot of wall protecting him from view of the audience. Then, as confident as ever, he strolled on and threw the gun in my hand. It was thrilling.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? This became my dream role in the fall of my freshman year. I wanted nothing more than to play Moritz, and the last thing I could have ever imagined was playing him for my senior musical. It was the biggest deal for me, and it felt so right. I never doubted what he was to me, and where he lived in me. My little Moritz is a huge part of me.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? It is unreal to me, and such an incredible, incredible honor. In the 10th grade, I was in Cherry Creek High School’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and performing at the Bobby G Awards that year as a finalist for Outstanding Musical was the biggest nomination I thought I’d ever come across. I could have never anticipated being nominated myself two years later.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? I’d say this is the single most important thing in the world. It teaches you what it means to be human. There’s something seriously missing from the boy or girl who is not in the arts. It allows you to feel. There are so many moments in this life when we have to step into the fear, and the moment you’re slightly uncomfortable is the moment you’re living. You must be brave. If you’re even the tiniest bit interested in something: Pull the thread. Investigate it. You owe it to yourself to be open to everything.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? It taught me how important it is to push the bill. Our wonderful principal doesn’t believe in the censorship of art, and we were so fortunate to have his blessing to perform full version of Spring Awakening. Arts education frees you completely. It gives you the ability to process heavy depression or intense delight and really feel those things, but be OK. This show was my biggest challenge yet, but it helped me to understand my emotions and how to deal with them. It taught me that through the darkness, there is always light.



    Arvada West Danny Miller Bobby G Awards

    DANNY MILLER

    Jean Valjean, Les Misérables
    Arvada West High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: Majoring in classical voice at the University of Northern Colorado
    • Your Director: Lindsey Welsh
    • First role: It was back in 2014, when I was cast to play The Phantom in Arvada West's production of Phantom of the Opera
    • Actor Quote 3 Danny Miller Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? For the joy of meeting new friends I can call my family. And to share music with the world.
    • Ideal scene partner: Ramine Karimloo is my idol. I love his work, and it would be a dream to work with him. He's my inspiration.
    • Fun moment when something went wrong, and how you bounced back: I forget words and flip lyrics around, and once I forgot the words to "Alive," a song in Jekyll and Hyde - and I did not bounce back at all. I literally sang the rest of the song in something like growls and grunts.
    • Favorite moment from your show: The slight moments of silence after singing the last glimmering note of your song.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? This was a euphoric dream. It was unreal. I couldn't have been more excited to be playing the same role as my idols.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? Being nominated again is truly a humbling and scary opportunity. I'm so excited!
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Fake it till you make it, be confident in your ability to succeed.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? It's enlightening, and I think everyone should have a chance to do live theatre. It really expands your mind to its limits.

     


     Fairview Jacob Pearce Bobby G Awards

    JACOB PEARCE

    Nathan Detroit, Guys & Dolls
    Fairview High School
    Class of 2016

    • College plans: Studying International Affairs and Theatre at George Washington University 
    • Your Directors: Janice Vlachos and Lanny Boyer
    • First role: I played Bully the bullfrog in Bully the Bullfrog, The Musical. I was 6, and in the 1st grade.
    • Actor Quote 4 Jacob Pearce Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? To help people to escape from daily lives, and provide that same kind of escape for myself. 
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Emma Watson, because she seems like such a fun person to work with. Plus just meeting her would be awesome. 
    • Favorite moment from your show: Every day, I got to ad-lib a little bit while Adelaide (Carrie Douglass) had a quick-change. Getting to improvise every performance was such a blast. 
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It meant I could fully immerse myself in my character’s life and for a few hours each day get to live life from his perspective. 
    • How does it feel to be nominated? Appreciated and honored. 
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? You will be challenged so much in so many ways, but all of these challenges will shape your life in such a positive way. Do not pass up the opportunity to live the life of another and to carry people away from the turmoil of their everyday lives. 



    Durango Curtis Sallinger Bobby G Awards


    CURTIS SALLINGER

    Emmett Forrest, Legally Blonde, The Musical
    Durango High School
    Class of 2018

    • College plans: I’m a sophomore
    • Your Director: Ben Mattson
    • First role: I was a flyboy in the musical Neville at the Durango Arts Center when I was 5 years old.
    • Actor Quote 5 Curtis Sallinger Bobby G AwardsWhy do you perform? Because I love how much you can discover about yourself and your life by portraying someone else. I love sharing the wonderful art of performance, and I love the home, the family, and the trust a theatre creates.
    • Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Brian D’arcy James because he is a phenomenal actor and so versatile and seems like such a fun genuine guy.
    • Favorite moment from your show: I very much enjoyed Elle’s proposal at the end. (Spoiler!)
    • Fun moment when something went wrong: I ran on-stage after a very hectic off-stage incident getting my mic checked and - fully committed and 100 percent serious - I called to Elle, but Elle didn’t come out of my mouth. Instead, I said, “SAM!!!!” I said, “Man I’m stressed out, Elle, what are you doing here?” and continued on. It was real smooth.
    • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It’s such an amazing experience to work with a cast and put on a show. I just don’t know how to describe it. It’s an amazing feeling.
    • How does it feel to be nominated? Unreal. I came to the Bobby G Awards last year and watched my brother (Evatt Salinger) win for Outstanding Actor. I watched the guys, dreaming I could be one of them someday. That dream is coming true, and it's exhilarating.
    • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? It is so much fun. You get so much support. You develop a place in your school where you can go for help with anything. The only negative aspect is it's really time-consuming. But putting in long hours doing something you love, in my opinion, is worth it.
    • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? The diverse group of friends you make from all grade levels is something that makes life in school so much easier. The performing arts at our school is so important to so many people and it develops a family that you’d never expect from a school environment. Arts education is essential, and should never be taken for granted.
    • Last word: Guys, it’s hard to do theatre. I get that. But it's also extremely fun. Don’t let negativity and scorn discourage you from pursuing something you’re passionate about. It’s also extremely important that you’re not afraid to cry or show emotions. Never lose touch of your feelings, or yourself.

    Brothers Bobby G Awards Sallingers
    ​Curtis Sallinger celebrated his brother Evatt's victory as Outstanding Actor at last year's Bobby G Awards with a body lift. This year, Curtis is nominated as a sophomore. Photo by Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School



    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete listBobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances 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)
    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'
  • Countdown to the Bobby G Awards: Denver School of the Arts

    by John Moore | May 21, 2016
    Denver School of the Arts. Spring Awakening. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Denver School of the Arts is the fourth of five schools nominated for Outstanding Musical we will be featuring here in the DCPA NewsCenter in the days leading up to the May 26 Bobby G Awards at the Buell Theatre. Denver School of the Arts. Spring Awakening is nominated for seven awards. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    DENVER SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

    Spring Awakening
    7111 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO 80220 MAP IT
    WEB SITE 

    Denver School of the Arts is a comprehensive secondary arts magnet school for grages 6 through 12. It is part of the Denver Public Schools District. In addition to a rigorous academic program, students engage in intensive studies in Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Stagecraft and Design, Theatre, Video Cinema Arts and Visual Arts. DSA is committed to fostering a lifelong love of the arts in a culturally diverse, academically challenging environment. The theatre program itself is made up of about 160 theatre students who auditioned to gain admittance. Its leader is Shawn Hann, who has been at the school for 15 years.

    Reserve your seat for the May 26 Bobby G Awards

    • Tell us a little about your school’s theatre tradition and history: DSA, as it is known for short, started as part of Cole Middle School. Arts classes were held in the Byers building fro the late 1990s until the school was opened in its present location 13 years ago. Our most notable graduate and Colorado thespian is probably Gabriel Ebert (pictured at right), who won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Mr. Wormwood in Matilda. Most recently he appeared in the movie Ricky and the Flash with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Gabe still comes back as an occasional guest artist, and he  meets up with DSA students in New York every year to talk about acting. Another notable grad is Justine Lupe (Schomp), who was on Harry's Law, Shameless (with William H. Macy), Younger (with Sutton Foster), and in the film Frances Ha. DSA Gabriel Ebertgrad Jesse JP Johnson is currently in SpongeBob the Musical on Broadway. Jesse has done seven national tours, as well as three years in the ensemble of Wicked on Broadway. New York playwright Max Posner (Judy) is also a DSA theater major, as well as his sister Jessica Odede Posner, who founded  Shining Hope for Communities in Kenya, Africa. Also five members of the class of 2010 created the Black Actors Guild in Denver, who take Shakespeare into elementary schools and create original work. 
    • Your program goals: Our school is slightly different than a traditional high school in that we are a DPS magnet school. Students audition for one of 11 arts majors and get the opportunity to be a part of that art every single day for 90 minutes. Many of our students travel between 25 minutes to an hour to get to our campus and are very dedicated to studying theatre. Our goal in our performances is to give as many kids mainstage opportunities as possible in any given year, to challenge them with difficult material, and to work together with dancers, musicians, vocalists, and stagecraft majors. Spring Awakening, however, is cast with only acting majors as it is a theatre major performance not an all-school musical.
    • What kind of general support do you get? We are a "do it yourself" organization.  The tickets for each show pay for each show. Most of the time we barely break even on any show that we put on our mainstage. Support live theatre! 👍.
    • What would you say to a younger student at your school who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Our department motto is this: Step into the fear and be brave. We talk a lot with our students about how taking risks and putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, is the only way that you will get rewards back from this art form. I would say have fun and go for it.
    • What does it mean to your school for your show to be nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Bobby G Awards? We are beyond thrilled to be nominated for Outstanding Musical. The students have worked so hard on this production and believe so strongly in the message this musical carries. When we performed the show at our own school, many audience members were so moved and touched by the story that they opened up to cast members and school counselors about problems they had been dealing with at our school. The whole point of Spring Awakening is to encourage that kind of communication.
    • What does this whole experience tell you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? Theatre changes students' lives. It gives them skills that will transfer into any occupation after high school. From self-esteem to coping skills to organizational skills to working as a team and/or leading a group, stidents walk away with a massive skill set.  

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Denver School of the Arts. Spring Awakening. Jimmy Bruenger. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Denver School of the Arts' is nominated as Oustanding Supporting Actor for 'Spring Awakening.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    Denver School of the Arts' 2016 Bobby G Award nominations

    • Overall Production of a Musical (Spring Awakening)
    • Outstanding Direction: Shawn Hann
    • Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Kosko, Moritz
    • Actor in a Supporting Role: Jimmy Bruenger, Hanschen
    • Hair and Makeup Design: Skylar Arterburn and Owen Nuss
    • Costume Design: Mary V Benoit and Lara Kirksey
    • Orchestra

    Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
    Cherry Creek High School
    Fairview High School
    Mountain View High School

    Denver School of the Arts
    Arvada West High School

    Bobby G Awards
    : Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list
    Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
    Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances
    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)
    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 

  • Soggy skies can't shake 5,000 students' Shakespeare spirit

    by John Moore | Apr 29, 2016
    2016 DPS Shakespeare Festival

    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos may be downloaded and recirculated with source attribution. Click on any photo to download.

    "April hath put a spirit of youth in everything." - William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98

    Michael Berger grew up with a stutter. On Friday, the high-school senior stood ebulliently in the rain and welcomed thousands to the 32nd annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival.

    A DPS Shakespeare 160"This is the greatest honor I have ever had in my theatre career,” said Berger, a senior at Denver School of the Arts who was chosen from hundreds of DPS students to perform as none other than the Bard himself at the festival’s opening ceremonies in Skyline Park.

    “My first performance as an actor was here. It was in the fourth grade, I was 8 or 9, and I performed Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 1,” he said definitively. “Because of that, I was inspired to continue in the theatre. And it was through Shakespeare that I learned how to speak clearly. So this is very much full circle for me.”

    The rain-snow mix didn’t dampen the students’ spirits, but the chill surely put the shake in the Shakespeare as nearly 5,000 chilly students from 80 schools in grades kindergarten through high school braved the cold to perform more than 640 short scenes, dances, soliloquies and sonnets on stages in and around the Denver Performing Arts Complex while bundled in an array of colorful costumes that were often covered in parkas.

    DPS Shakespeare Fetsival opening ceremonies: Micael Berger as Shakespeare, Vicky Serdyuk as Queen Elizabeth I, and DCPA CEO Scott Shiller. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
    DPS Shakespeare Festival opening ceremonies: Michael Berger as Shakespeare, Vicky Serdyuk as Queen Elizabeth I, and DCPA CEO Scott Shiller. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Denver Center or the Performing Arts CEO Scott Shiller served as Grand Marshall for the three-block opening parade alongside Berger and George Washington High School senior Vicky Serdyuk, who won the annual honor of playing Queen Elizabeth I at the oldest and largest student Shakespeare festival in the country.

    “Shakespeare was the first live performance I ever saw – and I was in daycare,” Serdyuk said with a laugh. “I remember that the actors talked funny, but that they made it sound so good.”

    Shiller told the students that by participating in arts-education programs like the Shakespeare Festival, studies indicate they will be more likely to graduate, enroll in college, contribute meaningfully to civic life and volunteer. “Plus, children who are exposed to live performance are 165 percent more likely to receive a college degree,” he said.

    Gillian McNally, who served as a festival adjudicator and general encourager, was undaunted by the cold. Despite the gloomy weather, she declared Friday to be the most beautiful day of the year.

    DPS Shakespeare Quote “This might be the only time most of these students ever perform on a stage in their whole lives – and we celebrate that,” said McNally, an Associate Professor of Theatre Education at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “Just look at these wonderful, handmade costumes,” she added, indicating young students from the DaVinci Academy dressed as a human forest. “That tells me teachers collaborated with students and their parents, and they made something together. That’s what this is all about: We are making something together.”

    More than half of all students enrolled in Denver Public Schools speak English as a second language. Serdyuk says it makes sense that many DPS English teachers use Shakespeare as a language-learning tool in the classroom. “Shakespeare’s English follows a lot of the same rules as many of these students’ first languages,” she said. 

    Berger serves as student teacher for Denison Montessori School’s Shakespeare program.  He says Shakespeare is less intimidating for students whose native language isn’t English because they are already learning one foreign language – so what’s another? “It’s neat seeing kids learn to speak Shakespeare while they are learning English at the same time,” Berger said.

    Christine Gonzalez, who teaches kindergarten through 6th grade students at Denison, said Berger has been a big help to her students. “He keeps it light and fun and inspirational,” she said. “It’s easier to learn when you make it fun.”

    DPS Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Mary Louise Lee, an accomplished performer and also the First Lady of Denver, addressed the crowd about the importance of arts education. “I am a proud product of the Denver Public Schools,” said the graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School. Lee, wife of Mayor Michael B. Hancock, has made restoring arts-education programs in schools her top priority since founding her nonprofit, Bringing Back the Arts.

    The DPS Shakespeare Festival draws students of all ages and experience levels. While hundreds were performing for the first time Friday, Denver School of the Arts senior Jimmy Bruenger was performing in his seventh DPS Festival.

    “I remember feeling nervous my first year because I was performing Shakespeare for the first time,” said Bruenger, who was born in Mexico. “But I looked around and I saw younger kids who were only 6 or 7 years old and they were completely into it. That gave me confidence that I could do it, too.”

    Seven years later, Bruenger is not only a recent winner of a True West Award and Denver Mayor's Award for the Arts, but also a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma from the Daniels Fund. After he performed in his final Shakespeare Festival on Friday, he was off to star in the opening of a world premiere musical about the Armenian genocide called I Am Alive.

    DPS Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. This is the first year the DCPA served as a full producing partner in the DPS Festival. The DCPA’s Education Department offered up its Teaching Artists to assist all 80 participating schools in their preparations for Friday.

    “We are proud to partner alongside the largest school district in the state,” Shiller said. “Colorado’s commitment to arts integration outpaces the national average in nearly every category. In fact, 64 percent of our high schools offer theatre education, just like our own Shakespeare Festival.”

    Friday’s crowd was peppered with prominent figures in the local theatre community. Susan Lyles, founder of the city’s only company dedicated to female playwrights (And Toto Too) was on hand to root on her son, Harrison Lyles-Smith, who played a shepherd with a wicked death scene in As You Like It.

    Lyles said Harrison and his 5th-grade classmates at Steck Elementary School have been practicing for two hours every Friday since February. “It has given him self-confidence and a fearlessness when it comes to Shakespeare that a lot of adults don’t have,” she said.

    DPS Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. Sara McPherson Horle, Executive Producer of The Catamounts Theatre Company of Boulder, happened to have a nephew in that same class at Steck. For her, one of the great rewards young Samuel Davis has gotten out of the experience is the lost art of listening.

    “You have to be self-disciplined to be an actor at any age,” Horle said. “Learning to listen is a huge thing, but especially at this age.”

    McNally said the emphasis of the festival is not on producing professional-quality performances – although many of the older students come awfully close. What the judges want more to encourage is passion, which leads to the development of useful life skills such as public speaking and boosted self-esteem.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    But occasionally there are performances that make even the Shakespeare purists turn their heads. DCPA Head of Acting Timothy McCracken was particularly impressed with the 3rd through 5th graders from Isabella Bird, a “heart-centered” community school where teacher Rebecca Sage says students are all made to feel valued for their own specific, individual talents.

    DPS Shakespeare Quote 2“The general clarity of their storytelling was astounding, and their delivery were astounding,” McCracken said after watching Sage’s students perform a Cinco de Mayo-informed take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Ricketson Theatre. “That was an amazing throughline for elementary-school actors." 

    Sage said her approach to the project was not unlike the approach of any director who takes on a full-fledged theatrical production: “It all starts with table work,” she said. That means working through the script with the students line-by-line, making sure they understand the meaning, the innuendo and most important, the comedy of the words they speak.

    Sage’s students fully bought into the project, she said, in part because Friday’s festival was only the start of their reward. Next week, the students will perform the full story back at the school for parents and friends. Sage said her students have been putting in half-mornings two days a week since January.

    “It was hugely gratifying for them to put in the work, both at home and at school, and then to get that kind of validation and respect once they got here today,” she said. “This whole experience is a huge incentive for them to continue doing things that challenge them and take them to their edge.”

    DPS Shakespeare Festival. John Hauser and Jenna Moll Reyes Shakespeare in the Parking Lot's Romeo and Juliet

    DCPA Teaching Artists John Hauser and Jenna Moll Reyes starred in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot's 'Romeo and Juliet' at the DPS Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Also new this year was the evening Shakespeare After-Fest program, when arts organizations from across Denver came together to continue the celebration of the Bard. The program included music from DeVotchKa's Tom Hagerman and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, mini-performances from The Catamounts, The Black Actors Guild, DCPA's Off-Center, Stories on Stage and PHAMALY. DCPA Education also performed its hour-long production of Romeo and Juliet from its outreach program called Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.

    The First Lady of Denver left the kids with a Shakespeare quote whose authorship has been disputed over time – but its meaning was indubitably apropos for Friday’s occasion:

    “The meaning of your life is to find your gift,” Lee told the gathered crowd. “The purpose of your life is to give it away.”

    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.

    Our 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    DPS Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Photos: Brenda Billings' Life Celebration brings Ashford home

    by John Moore | Apr 20, 2016
    Brenda Billings Life Celebration
    Photos from Brenda Billings' Life Celebration. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Sarah Roshan and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. (Read Roshan's accompanying blog here).


    On April 19, an overflow crowd gathered at Denver School of the Arts to honor Brenda Billings, who was the co-Artistic Director at Miners Alley Playhouse, President of the Denver Actors Fund and a longtime contributor to Colorado’s non-profit community. Brenda Billings died April 13 of complications from a sudden brain hemorrhage. She was 57.

    Billings will be remembered as an intuitive director, a ferociously free spirit and a mother to hundreds. She was feted with stories and songs from family and friends, including Tony-winning actor Annaleigh Ashford, who considers Billings a second mother. Ashford sang both "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz and "For Good" from Wicked.

    Read our tribute to Brenda Billings

    Another surprise came when a video was shown featuring members of the cast of the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton. Much was made of not only Billings' love for the show, but also for her personal directing mantra: "Are we telling the story?" 

    Several Hamilton cast members made a selfie video singing "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?" from the show. Its lyrics include: "But when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame?"

    The evening ended with "Song of Purple Summer," from Spring Awakening, led by Billings' daughters Jacquie Jo and Jamie, as well as nephew Tucker Worley, family and friends.

    Annaleigh Ashford They were backed by the cast of Denver School of the Arts' Spring Awakening, which soon will travel to a national high-school competition as one of only two invited productions. 

    Look for video highlights in the days to come.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Denver Actors Fund also announced an upcoming tribute evening in partnership with the Denver Hard Rock Cafe.

    "Be Brave," on Tuesday, May 10, will be a night of songs from musicals directed by  Billings featuring returning cast members from Hair, Hairspray, The Fantasticks, Godspell, Songs For a New World and more. The Emcee will be Paul Dwyer and the Musical Director will be Mitch Samu. Detals below. Tickets $25 and advance purchase is strongly recommended: Maximum capacity is 150.

    Highlights from the Brenda Billings memorial concert


  • Director of Education introduces theatre to students in China

    by Olivia Jansen | Mar 17, 2016
    Allison Watrous China

    DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous, far left, recently was chosen to teach an Intro to Theatre course at the International College of Beijing.


    The opening scene of Tennessee WilliamsOrpheus Descending features a group of women gossiping, something Allison Watrous, the DCPA’s Director of Education, struggled recently to explain to her Chinese students. She tried many different ways to explain the word “gossip,” only to be met with blank stares. But after one student translated it on her phone, the meaning clicked for everyone.

    It was a new, beautiful moment for Watrous. And for three weeks this winter, her classroom in Beijing was full of beautiful moments.

    Watrous was chosen to teach an Intro to Theatre course at the International College of Beijing, an honor not given to many professors. Although not every student aspires to be an actor, Watrous believes the arts are a valuable part of anyone's education. And she would know. She was a DCPA Teaching Artist for 17 years before being named the DCPA's new Director of Education in 2014, overseeing classes for more than 65,000 students of all ages every year.

    “I think it’s important for education because it’s about human skills. We can learn to empathize and how to communicate with other people,” Watrous said. “And in terms of job force and job leadership, theatre teaches public speaking, communication skills, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Those are skills that transfer across any job.”

    Watrous is a Wheat Ridge native and a graduate of the Denver Center's former National Theatre Conservatory masters program. She won a 2015 True West Award in recognition of the breadth of impact she has on the live of young Coloradans.

    Teaching the three-week class in China happened through her role as an adjunct professor for the University of Colorado at Denver. Watrous teaches one class every semester there. This semester, she is teaching the same Intro to Theatre course that she led in China during her visit, which spanned Dec. 20-Jan. 14.

    The course usually takes 15 weeks, but because Watrous was only in China for three weeks, she taught the equivalent of four classes each day. She described it as intensive and fast-paced, but said her students were amazing and handled it well. That all 40 of her students are bilingual made it easier for her. But there were still a few misunderstandings along the way.

    “They needed their own word to really understand what I meant,” she said. “There were many moments like that, in terms of figuring out how to have something make sense. They also had times where they just needed to process it with each other through Chinese.”

    Although she didn’t have to worry about the language barrier, there were other things she was nervous about for the trip. She worried her class wouldn’t be embraced, and that she would be unable to form real relationships with each student in such a limited time frame. But she was nervous for naught.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Watrous credits planning. Before she left, faculty members who had previously taught in China told her the students were often quiet, but having them write down their questions helped spark conversations. So she built that into her curriculum.

    “It’s not culturally familiar for them to just raise their hand and be a part of a discussion,” she said. “So they needed a format that would work for them in order to ask or respond to questions, and it ultimately worked.”

    True West Awards, Allison Watrous Greek mythology still serves as something of a universal language, and Watrous’ entire Chinese class devised original work based on the myth of Persephone for their final projects. And they all performed, which took them out of their more reserved comfort zones.

    Outside of teaching, Watrous found time for sightseeing. One of her favorite excursions was seeing the Terracotta Warriors, a collection of sculptures built by the first Qin Emperor of China, buried with him for protection in the afterlife. She also traveled with other faculty to Harbin for one of the largest ice festivals in the world. She joked that her big Colorado coat couldn’t keep her warm in the minus-12 degree weather there. And then there was, of course, karaoke.

    Allison Watrous China Pictured above right: Allison Watrous' 2015 True West Award. Right: Posing at Terra Cotta.)

    It’s not the American, sing-your-heart-out karaoke Americans are accustomed to in bars. Watrous raved about how popular karaoke is in China. She said it takes place in private booths inside a large building where people sing with friends. Although Beijing doesn’t have much of a live theatre culture like the U.S., the city does have have the Beijing Opera, a famous ballet company and a variety of live music venues. To connect the content from her theatre class to her students’ lives, Watrous had to draw on different moments they had experienced.

    “They said they had a production of Rent come into town. So we had a lot of discussion around if anyone had seen it or what they heard about it,” Watrous said. “Karaoke was another connective tissue I used in the room because they all love to sing. I think it’s an interesting part of their culture in terms of artistry.”

    While in Beijing, Watrous also managed her directing responsibilities back home. She was in the middle of directing Denver School of the Arts’ student production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, a play challenging enough on its own without adding nearly 7,000 miles and a 15-hour time difference. Thankfully, Watrous’ actors were on Christmas break for two of the weeks she was in China. Her technical director helped during the third week by taking them into tech rehearsals, sending videos to Watrous for her to review.

    Watrous said her experience in China opened her eyes to a new way of engaging with students. What she normally does in an American classroom was completely different from the way she eventually ran classroom in China. She learned to be more present in her classes and with her students, which she said was a valuable lesson.

    “It was awesome having the opportunity to teach and be fully immersed in a different culture,” she said. “It was a really amazing challenge, and also such a huge gift.”

    About the Author: Olivia Jansen

    Olivia JansenDCPA NewsCenter intern Olivia Jansen, right, is a junior at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where she is studying multimedia journalism. She is from Johnsburg, Ill. Read her previous profiles of Denver actors Karen Slack and Paige Price here, and Stage Manager Rachel Ducat here.

    (Pictured below: Photos from the Lama Temple in Beijing, and the Outdoor Ice Festival in Harbin, China. Photos provided by Allison Watrous.)

    A Allison Watrous China 600 3
  • Mayor unveils bold vision for new Denver Performing Arts Complex

    by John Moore | Mar 10, 2016
    Nest Stage: The New Denver Performing Arts Complex

    Our complete gallery of photos from the city's press event today, including a look at artist renderings and live entertainment that was spread throughout the Denver Performing Arts Complex. To see more photos, simply click the forward arrow on the photo above. To download for free, click on the photo. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

     

    The city’s grand vision for a new downtown Denver Performing Arts Complex is for now, just that. But when the mayor orders you to dream big … you dream big.

    On Thursday, Mayor Michael B. Hancock unveiled “Next Stage,” a bold proposal for what a transformed arts center might look like at a public press event held under the iconic arches of the 38-year-old Denver Performing Arts Complex.

    Scott ShillerIf realized, the 12-acre site that is already the largest arts complex in the country by attendance will undergo a makeover that aims to go much further than simply transforming the city’s Theatre District.

    “We are here to transform a city,” Hancock said.

    When you combine the Performing Arts Complex with the Colorado Convention Center next door, Hancock said, more than 2 million people visit Denver’s arts corridor each year. “But what I love about Denver is that that even though we are No. 1, we are saying that’s simply not good enough,” he added. “This project has the potential to change our city's cultural life in untold ways.

    “I want Denver  to be known for its commitment to arts and culture.”

    The ambitious – and as of now unfunded - plan calls for expanding Sculpture Park, which runs along Speer Boulevard between Arapahoe and Stout streets, into an entertainment destination that would be anchored by an amphitheater that would rival Chicago’s Millennium Park. It calls for moving Denver School of the Arts from its east Denver campus to the Boettcher Concert Hall property. It calls for three 40-story residential towers that would include new hotels, restaurants, office and retail space where the city’s public parking garage is currently located. It imagines a new 1,200-seat music hall at 14th and Arapahoe streets that would, among other things, serve as a new home to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. It calls for a new parking facility under Sculpture Park that would raise the current number of available parking spots from 1,700 to more than 2,600. And it calls for dedicating at least $250,000 to introduce new public art projects in and around the Performing Arts Complex over the next two years.

    For starters.

    A look at what the new Denver Performing Arts Complex might look like from the entranceway at 13th and Curtis streets.A look at what the new Denver Performing Arts Complex might look like from the entranceway at 13th and Curtis streets.


    The goal is to make the Denver Performing Arts Complex a place that will be buzzing with activity for 18 hours every day. And remaining right at the heart of it all would be the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which presently draws about 800,000 to the Denver Performing Arts Complex with its theatre programming and educational opportunities. DCPA CEO Scott Shiller was present on Thursday to lend his full support for the plan.

    Go to the city’s ‘Next Stage’ web page

    “The city has made arts and culture one of the pillars of what is going to make Denver a global arts center,” said Shiller, who was backed by more than 200 DCPA employees wearing matching black DCPA jackets. “Mayor Hancock has been supportive of us, and we want to be supportive of him.”

    Mayor Michael B. Hancock: 'What I love about Denver is that that even though we are No. 1, we are saying that's simply not good enoughAccording to city officials, the new DPAC will be “an enlivened, vibrant, thriving, public regional center of cultural activity in the heart of downtown. It will attract diverse audiences, celebrate a variety of art forms, contribute to the city's economic vitality, enhance Denver's urban fabric, integrate with neighboring amenities and serve as an innovative model for sustainable cultural and civic investment.”

    And despite the radical proposed new looks, all early architectural renderings call for maintaining the signature arch that connects the two sides of the Complex at Curtis Street, and provides patrons protection from the weather.

    The plan unveiled Thursday was developed by an Executive Leadership Team appointed by Hancock (pictured above right) that received input from more than 4,200 Denver residents, as well as arts patrons, performers and presenters. Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks, who served on that Leadership Team, said its charge from the mayor was to simply reimagine what the new Performing Arts Complex might look like in the future, without limits.

    "It is rare to announce something that can change the face of a city and in a way that we are doing today,” said Brooks.  

    Added Hancock: “I asked the Leadership Team to be bold, to think outside the box and to not acknowledge limitations. I asked them to make this Complex into something that will take Denver to the next level."

    Colorado Ballet. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.  Among those representing the DCPA on that Executive Leadership Team were Shiller, Broadway Division Executive Director John Ekeberg and board member Tina Walls.

    “As the largest non-profit theatre company in America and the primary programmer of the Performing Arts Complex,” Shiller said, “we appreciate Mayor Hancock's challenge to look beyond what the Complex is today and to focus on what we can become tomorrow. The cornerstone elements that comprise Next Stage align with our own vision to be the most engaging theatre organization in the nation.”

    A key component of the plan is tearing down the 2,600-seat Boettcher Concert Hall to create a new home for Denver School of the Arts, currently located at East Montview Boulevard and Quebec Street. Denver Public Schools Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova hailed the Hancock plan as “revolutionary.” She said moving DSA to the downtown corridor would not only infuse the new Performing Arts Complex with “adolescent energy,” but, being centrally located near many public transportation hubs would solve many existing transportation problems for low-income students who come from all over the city.

    “We are so excited to be a part of all this newness coming here to downtown Denver,” Cordova said. “We know that as the Performing Arts Complex grows, so will grow the opportunities for our students, both on the stage and as supporters of the amazing arts community here in Denver.”

    Read the city’s Executive Summary

    There has been no attempt at attaching a price tag or a timeline to the project yet. And as for how Hancock will pay for it all, he said bluntly, “I don’t know.” He has appointed a funding and governance committee that has been tasked with delivering a financing plan by the end of the year.

    The unveiling event included entertainment from Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Symphony, Denver Brass, Black Actors Guild, Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, Opera Colorado, Gift of Jazz, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, students from Denver School of the Arts and former Bobby G Awards winner (for outstanding high-school achievement in musical theatre) Abby Noble.

    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.

    Frequent Flyers. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.  A member of the Frequent Flyers performs from a makeshift trapeze outside the Bonfils Theatre Complex at the heart of the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Thursday. Above right: A member of the Colorado Ballet. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    A video prepared by the city's Department of Arts and Venues about its plans for a new Performing Arts Complex.

  • Guest column: DSA students join 25th anniversary 'Secret Garden' concert

    by NewsCenter Staff | Mar 04, 2016

    The Secret Garden. Lincoln Center. Denver Scool of the Arts
    Fifty Denver School of the Arts students were among the 200-member choir who sang in one of the two recent 25th anniversary concerts for 'The Secret Garden.' Photos courtesy Shawn Hann.


    EDITOR'S NOTE: Two 25th anniversary concert performances of The Secret Garden were held Feb. 21-22 at the Lincoln Center starring Denver native Sierra Boggess and her Love Never Dies co-star, Ramin Karimloo. The performances each featured separate choirs with more than 200 singers from the across the United States, including 50 students from Denver School of the Arts. We asked two of those students to share their experiences with DCPA NewsCenter readers.



    By Aleksandra Kay and Alice Zelenko
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    We recently had the honor of traveling to New York City with our choir group of 50 from Denver School of the Arts to perform in one of the 25th Anniversary performances of The Secret Garden at the Lincoln Center alongside an all-star cast that included some of the show's original Broadway cast members from 1991.

    It was the learning - and résumé-building - experience of a lifetime. We built more skills and friendships over that short weekend than you can imagine. It also was challenging, and it had its drawbacks.

    When we landed in New York City, simultaneously excited and drained from travel and adrenaline, we were met by a huge bus. Once in the center of Times Square, we checked into the Crowne Plaze - the hotel where we would not only sleep, but also where all of our rehearsals would take place. We had time to eat before our first rehearsal, so everyone split up to find grub in the city that never sleeps. Our group chose some greasy (but rather good) pizza. We encountered an angry man who was cursing about his order to anyone who could hear - an authentic New York experience, to say the least.

    (Pictured above right: Guest columnists Aleksandra Kay, left, and Alice Zelenko.)

    When we got back, we were ready for our first rehearsal. It was only a choir rehearsal, but it came with expectations. For example, you are expected to know your parts before you arrive. This is a fundamental truth of any professional acting experience. No actor (we would hope) comes into the first day of a Broadway show without some knowledge of the lines, music and story. For the choir, the same is true. We learned the music in the weeks before we arrived.

    The 50 Denver School of the Arts students only made up about a quarter of the 200-person choir. We had a few rehearsals all together. We were even given choreography and objectives and other direction.

    Over the course of the trip, we did have multiple blocks of free time. We wanted to get out of Times Square, so the DSA group took a bus tour of the city. We were shown all over from the Lower East Side all the way to the Upper West Side. We saw Battery Park, the 9-11 Memorial, Soho and Central Park. We were blown away by all the different cultures New York City has to offer.

    ​We had the amazing opportunity to see the Broadway revival of The Color Purple with a cast that includes Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks. The intimate theatre brought the audience up close for what proved to be a truly magical experience. Not a single person in that audience escaped without tears.

    Our next rehearsal was with the renowned principal cast of The Secret Garden, including Cheyenne Jackson, Ramin Karimloo and Sydney Lucas. Our encounter included a Q&A with the cast. The actors shared their own experiences. They talked about what made them fall in love with theatre and what drives them to continue in such a demanding profession. Every one of them encouraged us, as rising artists, to follow our ambitious dreams. They told us that if you have the right work ethic, and if you stay humble and considerate, you could possibly "make it." But their definition of "making it" doesn't really match the superficial meaning of success we have ingrained into our minds. To them, "making it" simply means the ability to create art, collaborate, and truly affect an audience.

    During a break, we got to talk with individual cast members. Talking with Cheyenne Jackson and Ben Platt, both incredibly successful actors who are living out our dreams, was an experience we will never forget.

    As we came back together for the last part of rehearsal, we got to see the cast in action. This was a real Broadway rehearsal. The professionalism on display in that room is something you never see in rehearsals for a high-school production. The speed at which tasks were accomplished was incredible. There was a complete absence of distractions.

    Here are a few of the quotes we wrote down from that incredible group of artists:

    • "Have fun. Be stupid. Enjoy."
    • "Let 'no' be a motivator."
    • "Your best acting training is your life."
    • "Stay inspired."
    • "Everyone is afraid."
    • "Don't waste time trying not to be yourself."
    • "The only stupid question is the one not asked."

    Our free time was ours to create our own experience in the city most of us would like to call home one day. On Sunday morning, my group of five friends chose to go down to the SoHo neighorhood, which is the area south of Houston Street. We navigated the intricate subway system and found ourselves enjoying a quieter-than-usual New York morning.  Coffee, New York and our best friends all in one place - what more can two 16-year-olds ask for?

    The quiet, vintage neighborhoods of New York were a nice change of pace from the chaos of Times Square. Chai lattes, authentic macarons, lunch at Dean & Deluca and the comforting company of our favorite people made for a perfect morning.

    As we made our way back for our next rehearsal, we found out just how confusing the subway can be. But we made it back to the Crowne Plaza in one piece. Later we finished off the day with a trip to the Imperial Theatre to see Les Misérables, a final expanding of horizons, and more fuel for our own performance.

    As we lay in our beds thinking about the next day, we couldn't help but ponder our futures. Maybe one day we could be at Schmackary's Bakery too - but instead of just getting cookies, we'd be getting food for our castmates as we reported in for our own Broadway shows.

    The next day was "show day." We had a quick morning of exploration, before we all met to ride the subway to Lincoln Center together. Dressed up in our black choir outfits, holding binders filled with our music and holding our water bottles close, we entered the stage for our technical rehearsal. It was quicker than expected and more efficient than anything we had ever experienced before. Still, the experience made some of us cry, in a good way.

    Listening to the music sung by our wonderful musical director was amazing. Listening to the music sung by the cast was beautiful. But listening to the music with the full 70-piece orchestra was breathtaking beyond words. When I looked down my row after the run-through of the finale, I saw four people crying. The vastness of this hall, and the idea that we would be performing this beautiful music with such a talented cast in front of 3,000 people, was overwhelming. Even seeing glimpses of the hauntingly beautiful scenic and light design, including giant chandeliers lit from the inside, moved us all.

    We had a quick dinner break at the Magnolia Bakery, where we stuffed food into our mouths and recharged our sleep-deprived, yet highly charged selves for the performance. The backstage hallway was filled with Broadway stars warming up inches away from us - although we mostly upheld the advice we were given about maintaining our professionalism around the stars.

    Guest Column Quote. Denver School of the ArtsThe final pep talk was professional, and the walk up to the stage was completely silent and orderly. It was clear the Broadway shows we all hope to be part of one day are places of preparedness and efficiency. The whole show was run like clockwork. Before we knew it, the performance began and everything we had worked so hard to put together was happening right before our eyes. It didn't matter that our backs ached from sitting up straight, or that we probably only had a total of 10 hours of sleep over the past four days - and an equal amount of rehearsal. It didn't even matter that we hadn't run through all of the music and technical elements with the entire cast.

    That night, we sang our hearts out before thousands of people, living through the art of loss and power and music that The Secret Garden captures. The show went by so quickly it felt like less than an hour had gone by. But we will all remember the final moment of the performance. Hidden under our chairs were yellow roses, and as the last note hit, a sea of 200 yellow roses appeared before the audience. An audible gasp could be heard throughout the hall just before thundering applause as the audience stood. The sound was wonderfully deafening, and together the lights and people and sensory effects created an image we will never forget.

    After the show, we were invited to a cast party where we ate Planet Hollywood buffet food and had a few more conversations with the cast. We had the chance to talk to Director Stafford Arima, who told us to never give up on our dreams and to always believe we can pursue our passion.

    The final day of our trip was filled to the very brim of opportunity. We saw a taping of The View. The hosts talked about issues that are so important to us. During a break, we had the honor of asking Whoopi Goldberg a few questions. Our personal favorite moment of the entire trip was when Whoopi told our choir of 50: “Y’all will be fine!” after she heard us sing one of the pieces from the show. Singing for two personal heroes of ours - Whoopi Goldberg, who had starred in the film version of The Color Purple, and Raven Symone, from our favorite childhood TV show, That’s So Raven - was an absolutely incredible experience.

    As our trip came to a close, we were all exhausted and in need of sleep. The plane ride home was filled with lethargic teenagers who wanted nothing more than a good night’s rest. Homework and slumber were our haven for the next four hours as the airplane drifted quietly in the darkening sky. As we landed, the end of our weekend in New York sunk in. Content with the time we had just spent both on the stage, and exploring New York with our best friends, we climbed into our respective cars with our families, and made the trek to our homes, counting down the days until we will return one day to the Big Apple.

    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 Columnists
    Alice Zelenko is a sophomore at Denver School of the Arts. Acting credits include Moon Over Buffalo (Ethel), Arcadia (Lady Croom/Hannah/Chloe US), Macbeth (Ensemble), The Man of Mode (Orange Woman), Willy Wonka (Veruca Salt), Alice in Wonderland (Red Queen), Once Upon A Mattress (Jester), Shrek (Ogress Fiona), Into the Woods (Witch), Romeo & Juliet (Mercutio) and Eurydice (Loud Stone).

    Aleksandra Kay is a sophomore at Denver School of the Arts. Acting credits include Judevine, The Man of Mode, Shrek the Musical, Hairspray, Footloose, Oklahoma, Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland.

    A Guest 600 2

    The view from the stage at the Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall.


    Selected previous Guest Columns:
    Students Aleksandra Kay and Alice Zelenko on The Secret Garden in NYC
    Student Nik Velimirovic on A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
    Douglas Langworthy: On translating Shakespeare for Oregon Shakes
    Scott Shiller: Making Cents of Arts Funding
    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


  • Guest column: Students learn insider art of 'Love & Murder'

    by NewsCenter Staff | Feb 26, 2016

    In this exclusive video interview, John Rapson and Kevin Massey tell DCPA NewsCenter viewers about 'A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder.'



    A Gentleman's Guide Student  Master Class'A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder' choreographer Peggy Hickey (front row middle) led a Master Class in a DCPA Eduction studio for students who had attended the touring production. Photo by Jessica Austgen for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Editor's note: DCPA Education student Nik Velimirovic was part of a group of theatre students who recently attended the touring Broadway production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, a specialized talkback with the cast, followed by a master class with show choreographer Peggy Hickey. We asked him to share his thoughts about the overall experience.


    By Nik Velimirovic
    For the DCPA NewsCenter


    Being involved with DCPA Education for years now, I always get especially excited when we get to do fun activities. Working on the upcoming Teen Company production of Songs and Scenes of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, I’ve acquainted myself with the show. Our cast was invited last week to see the national touring production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder at the Buell, attend a talkback with the cast, and then participate in a master class with the show's choreographer, Peggy Hickey. Naturally, I was beyond excited.

    A Gentleman's Guide quote. Musicals tend to ebb and flow stylistically and lyrically. Take Les Miserables, which jumps from the brooding "I Dreamed a Dream" to the sharp and staccato "Lovely Ladies." Even the recent hit Broadway comedy Something Rotten! takes an emotional dip with the reprise of "God, I Hate Shakespeare" fresh from the exciting song prior. A musical might slow down or stop abruptly for a dance break. A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, the story of an outcast who charmingly kills off an entire bloodline on his way to a huge inheritance, doesn't do that. It's a show about timing that plays like a clock - never stopping and never slowing down.

    I remember a moment in Act 1, shortly after Monty (Kevin Massey) offs his playboy cousin, when he tosses his scarf behind a closing curtain without missing a beat. I turned to my friend and we both mouthed "Oh my God." And we didn't stop with the "ooos" and "ahhhs" until long after the curtain closed. Every aspect of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder feels like a well-oiled machine from ensemble entrances to physical gags to the choreography of “Why Are All the D’Ysquiths Dying?”

    A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder feels like the cast of The Iceman Cometh walked into an Agatha Christie mystery, through the set of Hitchcock's 39 Steps, grabbed some irony from Voltaire, and managed to top it all off with a healthy dose of self-aware humor.

    And John Rapson. Oh, John Rapson, who plays every member of the dying D'Ysquith Family. He is "a host unto himself." His performance is just fresh enough to distinguish itself from Jefferson Mays' Tony Award-nominated D'Ysquiths. His characters run from stage left to stage right before running back stage left to die, heading to a quick-change stage right, and re-emerging as someone else stage left.

    Rapson epitomizes comedy theatre, flying between entirely different personas in heartbeats. Each character is unique, and Rapson plays them all differently, showing off a level of creativity that only a real master actor could. I've been to big band concerts and I've been to packed theatre productions and big-ticket film festivals, but I've never heard an audience erupt with such applause as the audience did for Rapson. Honestly, this was probably the best of all the touring shows I've ever seen. My friend and I were blown away. Speechless, I believe, is the common hyperbole when you see something incredible. It’s not a hyperbole in this case, as my friend and I were both, literally, speechless after the show ended. Since I saw the show last week, I have consistently, if not dogmatically, stuffed praise for the show down the throats of all of my friends.

    I think there’s a defined line between good theatre and fun theatre. Most productions of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus are naturally good theatre - the source text lends itself to this. Most productions of Titus Andronicus are rarely fun theatre. The suicide drama  'Night Mother, as a piece, is very good, but by no means fun. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder manages to firmly plant one foot on either side of the line, and that’s one  reason I love it so very much. I probably also love it because of how awesome the cast is.

    Peggy Hickey of 'A Gentleman's Guide.' I thought the talkback was going to be an ordinary talkback: A few broad questions, a few broad answers, a second round of applause, a thank you and a goodbye. But the talkback with the cast of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder was genuine and substantive. Everyone in the cast seemed genuinely excited and passionate about talking to us young musical theatre people. There were no politically correct answers.  They offered sage advice and cracked jokes. Some of the advice they gave was so straightforward, it resonated especially well. One example came from Massey, who simply said, “Take care of your body, drink lots of water and hot liquids.” I don’t know why but this really spoke to me, and I have found myself in the week since the show, drinking more water than I probably have in the past month.

    As we were saying goodbye to the cast, ensemble member Lesley McKinnell asked us when our production of Songs and Scenes of A Gentleman’s Guide will be. When we told her it will be on March 12, two weeks after the tour leaves Denver, she seemed legitimately sad that she can't be here to see it. We were thankful to Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski of DCPA Education for making the talkback happen.

    We then had the extraordinary opportunity to attend a master class with choreographer Peggy Hickey (pictured above right), and that might have been the highlight of our entire A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder experience. It was truly inspirational, not to mention incredibly educational. I am not much of a dancer. Actually, I don’t dance at all. But after working with Peggy, all of a sudden, I want to. She was very straightforward with her direction, and she made plain the motivation and reasoning for every action on stage, right from the get-go.

    It was especially awesome to be taught part of the final dance audition combo for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. Then we had a nice, long Q&A with Peggy, who said nothing but inspirational words to us. In the end, we were all reinvigorated in our passion for theatre and for those of us who are planning to pursue it as a career, we left excited and inspired.

    About our Guest Columnist
    Nik Velimirovic is a young actor born and raised in Denver who goes to Denver School of the Arts. Last week, he appeared in DCPA Education's High School Playwriting Competition held at the Colorado New Play Summit, playing Rowe in Sonder. He's also a filmmaker who will be debuting his latest short film man prepares and eats frozen lasagna at film festivals in the next year. He enjoys making movies about Macbeth and lasagna. The D'Ysquith Family is his dream role.

    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.

    A Nik Gentleman's Guide 6002
    Photo by Jessica Austgen for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    A Gentleman' Guide to Love & Murder:
    Ticket information

  • Feb. 16-28 at the Buell Theatre
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.
  • Accessibility performance: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28

  • Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for 'A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder.'


    Our previous NewsCenter coverage of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder:
    A Gentleman's Guide
    : Where every murder is a comic gift  
    Video: A Gentleman's Guide to A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
    Video: Kevin Massey sings the national anthem at Broncos game
    Official show page


    Selected previous Guest Columns:
    Douglas Langworthy: On translating Shakespeare for Oregon Shakes
    Scott Shiller: Making Cents of Arts Funding
    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
  • 2016 Scenesters, No. 7: Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe

    by John Moore | Jan 12, 2016
    Today at the DCPA NewsCenter, we continue our exciting daily countdown of the 10  student playwrights have been named semifinalists for our third annual statewide playwriting competition. (Details below.)

    Scenesters. Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffeScenester No. 7:  Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe

    School: Denver School of the Arts

    Teacher: Brandon Becker

    Play title: Empty Space

    What is your play about? The difficulties of living in small-town America and falling in love with the wrong person. It is about a strange interaction between a girl and a boy who clearly once loved each other very much. It is also about the significance of a young oak tree.

    Favorite word that appears in your script: "Somber."

    Excerpt from your play: GIRL: "Do you think I enjoy being stuck in this no-good racist town surrounded by nothing but wheat and cows for miles? It’s (crap). Everyone here pretends that they have this ideal little life. Small town, a close-knit community of friends helping each other out. It's exactly what people that don’t live here see it as. I want to go somewhere where people are actually real with each other."

    Who was your inspiration for writing your play? Partly from hearing about police brutality and all of the disgusting things that people do because of prejudice. I also was inspired by my own experience as a high school student struggling with parents and relationships while constantly being pressured to think about my future. My play is hardly autobiographical, but it is very much about being a teenager in a day and age where adolescents voices are constantly quieted.

    Killer casting: I would want Taissa Farmiga to play the girl. I think she has a perfect, innocent yet wise look that I imagined when writing. She is also extremely talented and good at playing characters with a lot of baggage, like Violet in American Horror Story. I also think that she is very beautiful but in a sort of subtle way, which is perfect for the girl.

    What did you learn from writing this play? It's hard to stick with something. I wrote so many drafts of this show, and I was shocked that I even finished it. I wasn’t even sure I was satisfied with the final draft, but I had to be confident in my work and submit it anyways, despite it’s imperfections. I know that as a writer there will always be things you want to tweak or change about your work, but you can’t do that forever, you have to have a final draft. So basically I learned that I needed to be confident with the art that I had created eventually, even if it wasn’t perfect. I also learned that perfection is unrealistic, and that stories don’t need to be perfect to be told successfully.



    Our complete countdown of 2016 semifinalists (to date):
    No. 1: Jafei Pollitt, Denver School of the Arts
    No. 2: Jessica Wood, Denver Christian High School
    No. 3: Kristine Guo, Peak to Peak Charter School
    No. 4: Gabrielle Moore, D'Evelyn High School
    No. 5: Ashley Wright and Amelia Middlebrooks, Valor Christian High School
    No. 6: Kalina Gallardo, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    No. 7: Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe, Denver School of the Arts
    No. 8: Stephanie Kiel and Mady McGraw, Chatfield High School

    ________________________________________________________________

    About the Denver Center’s 2016 Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition:

    What: A one-act playwriting competition designed for area high schools. Local playwrights and DCPA Education staff members taught 145 playwriting workshops in 60 Colorado high schools. More than 3,110 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 18 counties, including Alamosa, LaPlata, Montezuma, Ouray and Weld.  

    Why: To nurture Colorado’s young playwrights; develop theatre artists and audiences; develop new plays; and advance literacy, creativity, writing and communication through playwriting.

    How: A total of 212 submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals. That represents a 34 percent growth in submissions from 2014. Ten semifinalists are being identified through this rolling daily countdown. At the end of the countdown, three winners will be named. They will receive a cash scholarship of $250 each AND a staged reading in the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit next month. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play also will be presented as a fully staged performance exercise for DCPA Education students in the summer of 2016.

    These back-to-back videos begin with the three teen play readings at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit through the full staging of the winning play last summer.
  • The 2016 Scenesters, No. 1: Jafei Pollitt

    by John Moore | Jan 04, 2016
    Today at the DCPA NewsCenter, we begin our exciting daily countdown of the 10  student playwrights have been named semifinalists for our third annual statewide playwriting competition. (Details below.)

    Jafei Pollitt ScenestersScenester No. 1: Jafei Pollitt

    School: Denver School of the Arts

    Teacher: Brandon Becker

    Play title: Moonlight

    What is your play about? Moonlight follows a man who’s on a mission to reach a moon that has been talking to him since he was a teen. When he meets the mystical God who takes the role of Earth’s Moon, he discovers something shocking and extraordinary about his rather normal life.

    Favorite word that appears in your script: "Dream."

    Excerpt: Man: "I had a dream a couple of months ago. It was an awakening I swear. The moon, she had this amazing face and she was talking to me, but it wasn’t English. Her mouth was just spilling out water, but I heard every word. I heard every single word."
     
    Who was your inspiration for writing your play? The original inspiration actually came from a thumb war I was having with my friend and I was having a really fun time so I went home and wrote a scene about it for future sentimental use. Eventually, I had to add to the story because thumb wars can only hold an audience’s attention for so long and so out of pure whim I decided to write about the moon. The story built on itself and with revisions; I saw a definite theme to base the story off of.

    Killer casting: Johnny Depp hands down for any play I ever write.

    What did you learn from writing this play? I learned the intricate relationships that come with putting together a story and how much depth they give. I also learned about my style and focus as a writer; I like to play with ideas that are nearing the impossible.



    Our complete countdown of 2016 semifinalists (to date):
    No. 1: Jafei Pollitt, Denver School of the Arts
    No. 2: Jessica Wood, Denver Christian High School
    No. 3: Kristine Guo, Peak to Peak Charter School
    No. 4: Gabrielle Moore, D'Evelyn High School
    No. 5: Ashley Wright and Amelia Middlebrooks, Valor Christian High School
    No. 6: Kalina Gallardo, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
    No. 7: Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe, Denver School of the Arts
    No. 8: Stephanie Kiel and Mady McGraw, Chatfield High School

    ________________________________________________________________

    About the Denver Center’s 2016 Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition:

    What: “Your Words Take the Stage”: A one-act playwriting competition designed for area high schools. Local playwrights and DCPA Education staff members taught 145 playwriting workshops in 60 Colorado high schools. More than 3,110 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 18 counties, including Alamosa, LaPlata, Montezuma, Ouray and Weld.  

    Why: To nurture Colorado’s young playwrights; develop theatre artists and audiences; develop new plays; and advance literacy, creativity, writing and communication through playwriting.

    How: A total of 212 submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals. That represents a 34 percent growth in submissions from 2014. Ten semifinalists are being identified through this rolling daily countdown. At the end of the countdown, three winners will be named. They will receive a cash scholarship of $250 each AND a staged reading in the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit next month. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play also will be presented as a fully staged performance exercise for DCPA Education students in the summer of 2016.

    These back-to-back videos begin with the three teen play readings at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit through the full staging of the winning play last summer.
  • 2015 True West Award: Jimmy Bruenger

    by John Moore | Dec 24, 2015
    Jimmy Bruenger True West Award

    Denver School of the Arts' 'Spring Awakening' photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient:
    Jimmy Bruenger
    Denver School of the Arts


    Today’s award presenter: DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore


    Twelve days before then 16-year-old Jimmy Bruenger was to star as the heartthrob Link Larkin in Denver School of the Arts’ all-school production of Hairspray last year, his world fell out from under him. His father had died of a sudden heart attack, leaving Jimmy, his younger sister and newly widowed mother behind.

    Bruenger decided the best way to honor his father was to sing through his grief. It was both a survival strategy and a personally felt social responsibility. For three years, Bruenger has made fundraising an essential element of every theatre production at Denver School of the Arts. With Bruenger leading the way, the Theatre Department there has raised more than $10,000 for local and national nonprofit charities.

    At the curtain call following the final performance of Hairspray, Bruenger announced that his fellow thespians had raised $2,411 for the Denver Actors Fund. At the time, it was the largest single gift in the history of the new nonprofit, which offers financial and neighborly assistance to members of the local theatre community in medical need. Simultaneous collections raised an additional $2,490 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The year before, a “Picture with Belle” promotion during Beauty and the Beast raised $1,000 for Broadway Cares.

    Video announcing Jimmy Bruenger as the winner of a 2015 Mayor's Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture.

    This fall, DSA became one of the first high schools in the country to tackle Spring Awakening, a powerful rock musical that explores issues of suicide, abuse and the potentially fatal consequences when children grow up in a complete absence of information about human sexuality.

    Jimmy Bruenger True West Award 220“We decided to fund-raise for Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention, an organization that has helped students in and outside of DSA tremendously,” said Bruenger (pronounced "Brew-in-jer.") Citing critical assistance from fellow student Skylar Mabry, Bruenger said the cast raised $2,247 for the organization, which also assists teens in abusive situations. For the final few nights of the run, Bruenger again focused on fundraising for the Denver Actors Fund, and that effort raised yet another $1,700.

    Bruenger credits DSA Director of Theatre Shawn Hann and Principal William Kohut for the success of the theatre department’s fundraising mission. “They are constantly showing us that art is a way of building community together,” he said.

    Hann says Bruenger is the kind of kid “who gives and gives and gives. He can do anything he puts his mind to, and it is never about ego. It’s always been about the whole - and that is a beautiful thing to see.” But she also said it should not be lost that Bruenger is the real deal when he takes the stage. “He is a triple-threat performer who can sing and dance and act,” she said.

    Jimmy Bruenger True West Award
    Jimmy Bruenger and his 'Hairspray' castmates present Denver Actors Fund founder John Moore with $2,411. From left: Amelia Corrada, Madison Kitchen, Jeremy Willis, Claire Willcutt, John Moore and Jimmy Bruenger.


    Bruenger has been a pinchable part of the local theatre community since he was 10 years old and nearly stole the show as the feisty little revolutionary Gavroche in the Arvada Center’s first-ever locally staged production of Les Misérables. (This reviewer wrote in The Denver Post: "It is an astonishing debut from letter-perfect Jimmy Bruenger, who shows uncanny timing and unnerving confidence as the tiny rebel who sings 'Little People.' ")

    To now be ending his high-school career taking on a role as challenging as the predator Hanschen in an outstanding staging of Spring Awakening clearly shows the upward trajectory his performing has taken. That he responded to his father’s death by not dropping out and disrupting all the hard work his classmates had put into Hairspray surprised no one.

    Neither that Bruenger, who was born in San José del Cabo, came to this country from Mexico and from his earliest consciousness understood his responsibility to give back. He is the son of a mother from Mexico and a father born in Colorado.

    Jimmy Bruenger True West Award quote“I feel giving back is our way of saying thank you to the community for supporting us as young artists,” Bruenger said. “I feel that we are so lucky to really jump into our training as we do at DSA, and I know that spending five minutes raising money after a show can bring together an audience to the performers and help out organizations that we as young artists care about.”

    Bruenger’s efforts have not gone unnoticed in the larger community. Last month, he won the Mayor’s 2015 Youth Arts & Culture Award. It is presented each year to a person under 18 who has made a difference in the community through the arts. A statement from Mayor Michael B. Hancock recognized Bruenger’s passion for raising funds. “Jimmy leads by example and strives for excellence in all he does,” it read.

    As his final high-school semester approaches, Bruenger is chasing college scholarships so he can pursue his dream of earning a BFA in Musical Theatre, although that prospect grew more precarious after his father’s death. And yet, the focus for his remaining time in high school remains squarely on helping others, starting with choreographing the 8th grade production of The Little Mermaid Jr.

    He is also developing an awareness campaign at DSA called ‘I for Art,’ which will advocate for the arts in education. “I'm starting within DSA to remind fellow students how lucky we are to get the chance to pursue our art, and also to showcase some unbelievable work that goes unnoticed by our community,” he said. “For example, we have a visual artist at DSA who helped design clothes for Miley Cyrus' appearance on Saturday Night Live. I plan to make video segments focusing on different individuals at school to raise awareness of the importance of letting kids be exposed to the arts and showcase the amazing things that come out of young artists.”

    As he sang seven years ago in Les Misérables: "This only goes to show what little people can do."

    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. He is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

    The True West Awards began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. This year, 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 around the state over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore's daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org


    THE 2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS
    Day 1: Rachel D. Graham
    Day 2: BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Day 4: Laurence Curry
    Day 5: Bernie Cardell
    Day 6: Susan Lyles
    Day 7: John Jurcheck​
    Day 8: Christopher L. Sheley
    Day 9: DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot'
    Day 10: Man and Monster: Todd Debreceni and TJ Hogle
    Day 11: Shauna Johnson
    Day 12: Geoffrey Kent and Benjamin Bonenfant
    Day 13: Sesugh Solomon Tor-Agbidye
    Day 14: Keith Ewer
    Day 15: Allison Watrous
    Day 16: Jonathan Farwell
    Day 17: Bob, Wendy and Missy Moore
    Day 18: Emma Messenger
    Day 19: Shannon McKinney
    Day 20: Mary Louise Lee and Yasmine Hunter
    Day 21: Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin
    Day 22: Scott Beyette
    Day 23: Augustus Truhn
    Day 24: Jimmy Bruenger
    Day 25: The Masters of Props: Rob Costigan, Peki Pineda and Becky Toma
    Day 26: Jalyn Courtenay Webb
    Day 27: Andre Rodriguez
    Day 28: Rebecca Remaly
    Day 29: Mark Collins
    Day 30: Phamaly Theatre Company's Cabaret
    Bonus: Donald R. Seawell
  • 2015 True West Award: Allison Watrous

    by John Moore | Dec 15, 2015
    True West Awards, Allison Watrous
    Photo by Chris Howard for Denver School of the Arts.


    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient:
    Allison Watrous,
    DCPA Director of Education, director, actor and teacher


    Today’s presenter: Shawn Hann,
    Denver School of the Arts Director of Theatre


    After a recent local performance of the wrenching play Gideon’s Knot starring Allison Watrous, a student in the audience lit up and said, ‘That was the most amazing piece of theatre I have ever seen in my life.” The student's teacher is Watrous. 

    Watrous is an actor, director and big-time theatre educator. No matter the role, it seems, when it comes to lighting a fire under young people with a love of theatre, Watrous is kerosene.

    “I have never seen anyone with a greater ability to connect with people through art in so many different ways,” said Shawn Hann, Director of Theatre at Denver School of the Arts and today’s True West Awards guest picker.

    From the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to Denver School of the Arts to Golden to Auraria to even China, it’s unlikely anyone in the Colorado theatre community had a greater impact on more young theatre lives in 2015 than Watrous. After 17 years as a DCPA Teaching Artist, the Wheat Ridge native was named the DCPA’s new Director of Education a year ago. She now oversees classes for more than 65,000 students of all ages every year.

    Allison WatrousYet Watrous somehow has managed to continue teaching classes as a visiting artist at Denver School of the Arts and as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Denver. And her big year is ending with a huge accolade: She has been selected to teach Intro to Theatre for 40 students at the International College of Beijing from Dec. 20-Jan. 14.

    Watrous also found time this year to direct Brighton Beach Memoirs for Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, and she starred in Gideon’s Knot for her own theatre company, Sis Tryst Productions. Watrous played a grieving mother who confronts an overwhelmed teacher after her son’s suicide.

    In short, Hann said, “Allison is everywhere.”

    In her first year running DCPA Education, the Denver Center entered into a partnership with the Denver Public Schools Foundation to both preserve and expand the 31-year-old DPS Shakespeare Festival, which draws more than 5,000 largely minority students from 70 schools to the Denver Performing Arts Complex, where they perform more than 640 short scenes, dances, soliloquies and sonnets.  

    Watrous also conceived and implemented “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” a new program that brings Romeo & Juliet to area schools in a 1980 Ford F-250 farm truck. DCPA Teaching Artists perform an abridged version of the romantic tragedy in, on and around the old beater, followed by companion classroom curriculum that relates issues of the play to difficulties in the students’ everyday lives.

    Watrous launched another pilot program that uses Shakespeare’s frequent use of gender-bending as a gateway to help students talk about the increasingly complex issue of gender fluidity in schools.

    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. And after Westminster High School became the first high school in the nation to stage the immigration drama Just Like Us, Watrous and Artistic Director Kent Thompson visited with the cast at the school to offer their encouragement and insight. Thompson commissioned and staged the world premiere of the controversial story in 2013, and Watrous played a role in it.

    (Photo above right: John Hauser and Jenna Moll Reyes perform in 'Romeo & Juliet' as part of "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot." Photo by John Moore.)

    Meanwhile, DCPA Education completed its second year-long, statewide teen playwriting initiative, which began with classroom workshops for nearly 3,000 students last fall. That inspired 158 original one-act play submissions. Three were selected to be workshopped and read by professional actors at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. The winning entry, The Tale of the Almighty Sword by Jack Hansen of Arapahoe High School, later received two fully staged performances at the Denver Center.

    And seriously? That’s just for starters.

    Last year, Denver School of the Arts became the first high school anywhere to stage both the DCPA-born The Laramie Project and its sequel, Ten Years Later. The companion plays explore the brutal 1998 murder of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Watrous directed The Laramie Project while Hann helmed the sequel. The plays were presented in repertory after the students spent several bitter-cold days in Laramie researching the murder first-hand. Hann said it was a profound experience for everyone involved.

    The achievement was recognized by the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which issued a statement calling the students' work no less than incredible. An excerpt:

    “It was inspiring to watch these student performers approach this production with such passion and responsibility for the history it captured, knowing the words that lived within the script were not written, but recorded.

    "There was a noticeable transformation that occurred over the course of a few months and daily rehearsals. These students became more than just actors — they became the catalyst for change. … On top of their own stresses, responsibilities and daily lives, the cast pushed boundaries to understand what it means to feel hate, anger and fear in their most extreme forms.

     “To Allison Watrous and Shawn Hann, we applaud your work to inform, comfort and guide these students through such an eye-opening and heavy production. … The courage, professionalism and determination of young minds can and should never be underestimated.”

    Hann said Watrous’ strengths as an actor – intelligence, vulnerability and generosity of spirit, are also what make her such an effective educator.

     “Allison has an amazing ability to paint the world of the play, giving context for these characters to live and breathe in our students,” she said.

    Watrous graduated from Wheat Ridge High School and Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, before earning her masters degree from the DCPA’s National Theatre Conservatory. Next year, she again will teach at DSA. She also will direct Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia – one of the great challenges any theatre company can undertake, much less a high school.

    The question is – how does she do it all while also running DCPA Education, a massive operation that offers a wide variety of theatre classes for every age and skill level? Her division also provides training, study guides, field trips and in-school workshops to help area educators activate a love of theatre in their students.

    “It’s just crazy what Allison is able to get accomplished,” Hann said. “When she got the promotion at the DCPA, we just naturally expected her to be less involved at our school. But she loves it so much that she will do whatever it takes to make it work. I think it’s because she is fed by the students as much as she feeds them.”

    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.

    Teen playwriting, Tale of the Almighty Sword. Photo by John Moore. The DCPA's second annual Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition culminated in June with two fully staged performances of "The Tale of the Almighty Sword" by Jack Hansen of Arapahoe High School. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

    The True West Awards began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. This year, 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 around the state over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore's daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS TO DATE
    Day 1: Rachel D. Graham
    Day 2: BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Day 4: Laurence Curry
    Day 5: Bernie Cardell
    Day 6: Susan Lyles
    Day 7: John Jurcheck​
    Day 8: Christopher L. Sheley
    Day 9: DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot'
    Day 10: Man and Monster: Todd Debreceni and TJ Hogle
    Day 11: Shauna Johnson
    Day 12: Geoffrey Kent and Benjamin Bonenfant
    Day 13: Sesugh Solomon Tor-Agbidye
    Day 14: Keith Ewer
    Day 15: Allison Watrous
    Day 16: Jonathan Farwell
    Day 17: Bob, Wendy and Missy Moore
    Day 18: Emma Messenger
    Day 19: Shannon McKinney
    Day 20: Mary Louise Lee and Yasmine Hunter
    Day 21: Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin
    Day 22: Scott Beyette
    Day 23: Augustus Truhn
    Day 24: Jimmy Bruenger
    Day 25: The Masters of Props: Rob Costigan, Peki Pineda and Becky Toma
    Day 26: Jalyn Courtenay Webb
    Day 27: Andre Rodriguez
    Day 28: Rebecca Remaly
    Day 29: Mark Collins
    Day 30: Phamaly Theatre Company's Cabaret
    Bonus: Donald R. Seawell
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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.