• 'Hamilton' tickets in Denver: Don't get scammed on Monday

    by John Moore | Jan 17, 2018
    Mathenee Treco, Jordan Donica, Ruben J. Carbajal & Michael Luwoye - HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan Marcus

    From left: Aurora native and Eaglecrest High School graduate Mathenee Treco with Jordan Donica, Ruben J. Carbajal and Michael Luwoye in the 'Hamilton' national touring cast. Tickets for the Denver engagement go on-sale Jan. 22. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Here's how to make your ticket-buying experience go smoothly when Hamilton tickets go on sale Jan. 22

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Monday will be a historic day in Colorado theatre when single tickets go onsale for the Denver run of Hamilton, one of the most honored and rapturously received musicals in Broadway history. Denver Center officials are expecting consumer interest to be akin to that of a Denver Broncos playoff game.

    But along with passionate theatergoers, the Hamilton ticket sale promises to also attract third-party ticket brokers hoping to scoop up tickets and re-sell them for well above face value — which for most tickets in Denver will not exceed $165.

    Re-selling sports and entertainment tickets is big business. How big? according to Northcoast Research, it's a $5 billion annual industry. They do it by using “bot” technology that can access legit online ticket providers such as denvercenter.org and essentially replicate human behavior. By the thousands. And with super-human speed.

    JohnEkebergHAMILTONQUOTE"This is a worldwide problem," said John Ekeberg, Executive Director of DCPA Broadway. "The bigger the show, the bigger the problem."

    And shows don't get any bigger than Hamilton. With tickets going on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 22, this is both "buyer beware" and "buyer be aware" time for all potential consumers, whether you choose to buy tickets in person, on the phone or online.

    "We have safeguards in place to try to keep tickets in the hands of those people who actually want to attend our performances," said Yovani Pina, DCPA Vice President of Information Technology. But he and his team are in an endless race against technological advances that help secondary brokers get their hands on tickets.

    Those safeguards include limiting purchases to four tickets per account so if the brokers win, they don’t win as much as they might have won before. "Anti-bot" technologies have been implemented to prevent bots from obtaining tickets. Another safeguard: The Denver Center does not allow a single credit-card to be used from multiple computers.

    But perhaps the biggest new weapon in the good guys’ toolbox is a service called “Queue It.” That's a virtual waiting room that guarantees your place in line, and lets you know in real time how long it will be before it is your turn to buy. "We will even let those folks know that they can either stay on the site or we will let them know via email that it's their turn," said Pina.

    No matter how long you have been purchasing your theatre tickets from denvercenter.org, this will be a whole new consumer experience. The "Queue It" service will help ensure a smooth patron experience when purchasing tickets online.

    Here’s how it works:

    Visit hamilton.denvercenter.org between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan 22. You will find yourself in a virtual waiting room. At 10 a.m., you and everyone else in the virtual waiting room will be assigned a random place in line. (And then any latecomers who join after 10 a.m. will be placed, in order, at the back of the line.)

    Hamilton Virtual Waiting RoomOnce your place in line is randomly assigned (see example pictured at right), your place in line is secure. If and when you reach the front of the line before Monday’s allotment of tickets are claimed, you will have 15 minutes to complete your transaction.

    "The whole point of this new system is to ensure that the patron purchasing experience online is as smooth and as efficient as possible," Pina said.

    Now here’s perhaps the best news for legit Hamilton-loving customers: After Monday’s available tickets are gone and the sale is over, the DCPA has committed to reviewing every single online purchase for its legitimacy before any sale is final. That part of the process is essentially a cleansing of the list of unfairly bought tickets.

    "We will be looking for different indicators of purchase behavior that violates our ticket policy," Ekeberg said. Any and all transactions that are detected to be “bot” purchases will be canceled without further consideration. Also: Any patrons who create duplicate accounts with the intention of purchasing more than four tickets per account will also find their orders canceled.

    "We want to reassure people that we are doing everything we can to make this as fair as possible," Ekeberg said. 

    If you do not make it to the front of the virtual line by the time Monday’s allotment of tickets are gone, an announcement will appear in the waiting room that says, “This Event Has Ended.” But if that happens to you, do not despair: Before every performance, there will be a lottery for 40 $10 orchestra seats. That’s 1,500 lucky people who will see Hamilton in Denver from great seats — and for only 10 bucks each. Details will be announced closer to the Feb. 27 opening.

    Here are more helpful tips, useful background information and answers to some of your anticipated questions, not only to help you from being scammed on Monday, but also to help you make your purchasing experience go as smoothly as possible:  

    Five helpful tips to make your Monday go better:

    NUMBER 1 This is big: If you have not created a ticket-buying account on denvercenter.org, do it before Monday. Heck, do it right now. Here's where to do it. Fill out all your information now, so that if you make it to the front of the virtual line on Monday, your transaction will go that much faster. (And those behind you in line will thank you for it.)

    If you already have a Denver Center account, know your username and password. Test it today so that you won't have any trouble purchasing tickets quickly on Monday. If you are unsure of your username and password, please call the box office at 303-893-4100 no later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 to ensure a smooth login process on Monday.

    Also: Look up your account information and write it all down in a secured, secondary place so if you need that information on Monday, you will have it handy — on a device separate from your computer.

    NUMBER 2This one is even bigger: The Denver Center's web site at hamilton.denvercenter.org is the only authorized online ticket provider for Hamilton. Do not buy tickets from ANY OTHER online source. You will pay more on any other site. And how to know you are buying from the Denver Center?
    • Look for the Denver Center logo at the top of the online page.
    • Make certain that you see "denvercenter.org" somewhere within your URL.
    Don't be fooled by sites with URLs that might even include official-looking words like "buelltheatre" in the web address. It's all a ploy to make you believe you are buying from an official site, when you aren't. Bottom line: On Monday, just remember "denvercenter.org."

    NUMBER 3Real Hamilton tickets will range from $75 to $165, with a select number of $545 premium seats available for all performances. So if any seller asks you for more than $165 (plus fees), something is probably wrong.

    Take it from 9News' Jeremy Jojola: Only buy from denvercenter.org

    NUMBER 4 Bonfils ComplexThe DCPA is providing three points of purchase: Online, by phone (303-893-4100) and at the box office located in the lobby of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex. (See map at right.) Tickets are not guaranteed for any point of purchase, and agents are authorized to process only one transaction per customer, regardless of point of purchase. If you choose to purchase in-person at the DCPA box office, know that the line outside will not be allowed to form until after 6 a.m. on Monday. If you plan to purchase by phone, you can expect a very high call volume. Certain carriers may give a "disconnect" message as opposed to an "all circuits are busy" message — which is, unfortunately, out of the DCPA's control.

    NUMBER 5If you succeed in buying tickets, congratulations! As part of your purchase, you will be asked whether you prefer to have your tickets mailed to you, or left for you at will call. For this show only, the Denver Center’s "Print at Home" service is not a ticketing option — purely as a safeguard to cut down on potential fraud. So if any seller says they will email your tickets as a PDF to download, print and take to the theatre, know that it's a fake.

    And a bonus: Even after Monday’s sale, a small number of new tickets often become available for a variety of reasons. Before overpaying any secondary broker, try checking back on denvercenter.org first for any new availability. 

    View answers to your Hamilton questions in our FAQ

    Now, you might be asking: If tickets for Hamilton don’t go onsale until Monday, why am I seeing them being offered online right now, and for as much as $3,000 a seat?

    The answer: These brokers do not even have their hands on any actual tickets yet, because until Monday, Hamilton tickets do not exist. Potential customers searching the web today for Hamilton tickets will find such offers and might think the Denver Center is gouging them — only it isn't the Denver Center that is doing the gouging.

    So how can these brazen brokers sell tickets they don't have? "Essentially they are making promises to their buyers in the certainty that, one way or another, they will get their hands on enough tickets to satisfy their demand," Ekeberg said. Bottom line, added Pina: “They are gambling. And they are betting the house.”

    Despite the Denver Center’s best efforts, Ekeberg acknowledges, the brokers will successfully amass some inventory of actual Hamilton tickets. Just how many is not currently measurable.

    HAMILTON Google screen shot One of the most common mistakes buyers make, Pina said, is trusting a Google search to send them to the right place for real tickets. For example, if you search "Hamilton tickets Denver," the first four options you will see are actually paid ads from third-party ticket brokers. The official denvercenter.org outlet only comes up fifth. (See the example at right.)

    "Most folks hear about a show like Hamilton on TV or the radio, and they go to Google to buy," Pina said. "But most consumers aren't aware that the first few options they see are paid advertisements. Take a second to look at your screen. These are sites that pay big money to look like the Denver Center when they are not. And if you click one of the wrong sites, you are going to find a ticket broker who might be selling a $70 ticket for $500."

    What to do? If you start at hamilton.denvercenter.org, you will not have this problem. But if you do use Google, keep scrolling until you see the real denvercenter.org option. hamilton.denvercenter.org is the only place you can buy tickets at face value.

    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.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Hamilton: At a glance:
    HamiltonWith book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography.  It is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.

    Feb. 27-April 1
    Buell Theatre

    Related NewsCenter coverage:
    Hamilton Tickets
  • Tickets for 'Hamilton' in Denver go on-sale Jan. 22

    by John Moore | Dec 29, 2017
    Mathenee Treco, Jordan Donica, Ruben J. Carbajal & Michael Luwoye - HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan MarcusFrom left: Aurora native and Eaglecrest High School graduate Mathenee Treco with Jordan Donica, Ruben J. Carbajal and Michael Luwoye in the 'Hamilton' national touring cast. Tickets for the Denver engagement go on-sale Jan. 22. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Tickets go on-sale to the public next month with a caveat: Buy only from the Denver Center or risk overpaying 

    Producer Jeffrey Seller and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced today that single tickets for Hamilton at the Buell Theatre will go on-sale to the public at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, at hamilton.denvercenter.org. Tickets will be available for performances Feb. 27 through April 1.  

    There is a maximum purchase limit of four (4) tickets per account for the engagement. Tickets range from $75 to $165 with a select number of $545 premium seats available for all performances. There will be a lottery for forty (40) $10 orchestra seats for all performances. Details will be announced closer to the engagement.

    Helpful tips for when Hamilton tickets go on sale in Denver

    Seller said anyone buying tickets to Hamilton anywhere other than hamilton.denvercenter.org runs the risk of overpaying.


    “It's tempting to get tickets any way you can," said Seller. "There are many web sites and people who are selling overpriced, and in some cases, fraudulent tickets. For the best seats, the best prices and to eliminate the risk of counterfeit tickets, all purchases for the Denver engagement should be made through hamilton.denvercenter.org.”



     Hamilton Tickets

    Tickets will also be available by phone at 303-893-4100 or in-person at the DCPA Box Office in the lobby of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby, located at the northwest corner of the Denver Performing Arts Complex at Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street.

    Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.

    To receive alerts related to Hamilton in Denver, click here

    With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography

    The Hamilton creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award-winning best musical In the Heights. Hamilton  features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell (DCPA Theatre Company's The Unsinkable Milly Brown), lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA. The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater. The Hamilton original Broadway cast recording is available everywhere nationwide. The Hamilton recording received a 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album.

    For more information on Hamilton, visit:

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Related NewsCenter coverage:

    SoleaPfeifferEmmyRaver-LampmanAmberIman-HAMILTONNationalTour(c)JoanMarcusSolea Pfeiffer, Emmy Raver-Lampman and Amber Iman in the 'Hamilton' national' touring production of 'Hamilton.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

  • Five things to know about Sunday's Tony Awards

    by John Moore | Jun 09, 2017
    Dear-Evan-Hansen-You-Will-Be-Found-4645-Photo-Credit-Matthew-Murphy 800
    'Dear Evan Hansen,' which will launch its national touring production in Denver in October 2018, is nominated for nine Tony Awards on Sunday, including Best Musical. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 

    Broadway's big night is a valley of the 'Dolls':
    A Doll’s House Part 2 and Hello Dolly! among leaders

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Hamilton has brought more widespread pop-culture attention to Broadway theatre than any musical in decades. And that helped make last year’s Tony Awards telecast the most-watched in 15 years. But as an awards program, it was also something of a fait accompli for viewers as Hamilton racked up 11 trophies.

    A year later, with Hamilton still running strong but out of awards contention, Sunday’s Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, promises to spread the focus around.

    160x600_TuneinBanners_1199Think of Times Square as the Valley of the ‘Dolls’: A Doll’s House Part 2 and Hello Dolly! are among this year's wide-ranging favorites.

     “Compared to last year, where the vast majority of the award attention was centered around Hamilton, this year has many more competitive categories and unknowns,” said John Ekeberg, Executive Director of DCPA Broadway and a Tony Awards voter. “I expect there to be much more drama, shall we say.”

    Broadway introduced 13 new musicals this past season. That's the highest number in 35 years, and it doesn't include five revivals. That means few clear frontrunners this year, Ekeberg said, which should make the 2017 awards unusually competitive.

    Leading the musical field with 12 nominations is Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, followed by the emotionally visceral Dear Evan Hansen, with nine. Come From Away is a potential dark horse, with seven. (See play descriptions below.)

    David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter breaks down the races

    It was recently announced that Denver will launch the first national touring production of Dear Evan Hansen in October 2018. Director Michael Greif, who also helmed the groundbreaking musicals Rent and Next to Normal, told the DCPA NewsCenter, “Dear Evan Hansen is a cathartic story about a kid who comes to love himself. And it's about a grieving family that gets healed.” Read our full interview here.

    The favorites among new plays are Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, with eight nominations, and J.T. Rogers' Oslo, with seven. Hnath also wrote The Christians, which was presented by the DCPA Theatre Company this last season.

    Celebrity nominees include Cate Blanchett, Kevin Kline, Laura Linney, Chris Cooper, Josh Groban, David Hyde Pierce, Danny DeVito, Nathan Lane, Richard Thomas, Patti LuPone, Cynthia Nixon and Sally Field. But most eyes will be fixed on Bette Midler, who is starring in a fun revival of Hello, Dolly!, which is nominated for 10 awards.

     “I can’t wait to see how it all sorts out,” said Ekeberg.

    The awards will be telecast on a one-hour delay at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS-4 Denver. For those who just can’t wait, you can stream the awards live online here.

    Five things to know about Sunday’s Tony Awards

    NUMBER 1laurie-metcalfA Doll's House Part 2 claims the rare distinction of having earned nominations for its entire four-member cast, including Laurie Metcalf (pictured right), the runaway favorite to win for lead actress in a play.

    NUMBER 2There’s a fun twist to the Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical category. The nominees include Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!) and Andrew Rannells (Falsettos), both of whom played Elder Price in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon.

    NUMBER 3Celebrity presenters will include Scott Bakula, Sara Bareilles, Orlando Bloom, Glenn Close, Brian d’Arcy James, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Josh Gad, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Groff, Mark Hamill, Taraji P. Henson, Allison Janney, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, John Legend, John Lithgow, Patina Miller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chazz Palminteri, Sarah Paulson, Lea Salonga and Tommy Tune.

    NUMBER 4Performers will include the casts of Bandstand, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Falsettos, Groundhog Day The Musical, Hello, Dolly!, Miss Saigon, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and War Paint, along with additional performances by The Radio City Rockettes and Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr.

    NUMBER 5Annaleigh AshfordIf you heard all the great buzz about Jake Gyllenhaal and Wheat Ridge native (and past Tony Award winner) Annaleigh Ashford in Sunday in the Park with George, you may wonder why the show isn’t among the mix of nominees. The producers withdrew the show from Tony Award consideration. Their statement: "With a season so full of tremendous, soon-to-be long-running new musicals and revivals, the producers feel this extremely limited, special run of Sunday stands most appropriately outside of any awards competition. The production is nevertheless proud to be part of such a landmark Broadway season.”

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



    A Doll's House, Part 2
    Author: Lucas Hnath
    The reimagined Ibsen classic considers what has and hasn't changed in terms of gender politics in the past 140 years.

    Paual_VogelAuthor: Paula Vogel
    recounts the controversy surrounding the play God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch, for which the cast of the original production were arrested on the grounds of obscenity.

    Author: J.T. Rogers
    shapes nine months of secret back-channel peace negotiations into a riveting political thriller.

    Author: Lynn Nottage
    This working-class drama, set in 2008, tells the story of a group of friends whose friendships come apart when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust. Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


    Come From Away
    Set in the week following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Come From Away tells the true story of what transpired when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon.

    Dear Evan Hansen
    The story of a lonely boy who perpetuates a lie that earns him Internet fame.

    Groundhog Day The Musical
    Based on the 1993 film of the same name, the plot centers an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
    . A brilliantly conceived electro-poperatic retelling of a chapter of War and Peace

    Best Book of a Musical

    Come From Away
    Irene Sankoff and David Hein

    Dear Evan Hansen

    Steven Levenson

    Groundhog Day The Musical
    Danny Rubin

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Dave Malloy

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

    Come From Away
    Music and Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein

    Dear Evan Hansen
    Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

    Groundhog Day The Musical
    Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Music and Lyrics: Dave Malloy

    Best Revival of a Play

    August Wilson's Jitney
    John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
    Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes

    Present Laughter

    Best Revival of a Musical

    Hello, Dolly!

    Miss Saigon

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

    Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
    Chris Cooper, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Corey Hawkins, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
    Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
    Jefferson Mays, Oslo

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

    Cate Blanchett, The Present
    Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
    Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
    Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Christian Borle, Falsettos
    Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
    David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
    Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Christine Ebersole, War Paint
    Patti LuPone, War Paint
    Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
    Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

    Michael Aronov, Oslo
    Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller's The Price
    Nathan Lane, The Front Page
    Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson's Jitney

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

    Johanna Day, Sweat
    Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Condola Rashad, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Michelle Wilson, Sweat

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
    Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
    Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
    Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
    Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
    Jenn Colella, Come From Away
    Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
    Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

    Best Scenic Design of a Play

    David Gallo, August Wilson's Jitney
    Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
    Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
    Michael Yeargan, Oslo

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical

    Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
    David Korins, War Paint
    Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

    Best Costume Design of a Play

    Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
    Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson's Jitney
    David Zinn, A Doll's House, Part 2

    Best Costume Design of a Musical

    Linda Cho, Anastasia
    Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
    Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Catherine Zuber, War Paint

    Best Lighting Design of a Play

    Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
    Jane Cox, August Wilson's Jitney
    Donald Holder, Oslo
    Jennifer Tipton, A Doll's House, Part 2

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical

    Howell Binkley, Come From Away
    Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
    Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen

    Best Direction of a Play

    Sam Gold, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson's Jitney
    Bartlett Sher, Oslo
    Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

    Best Direction of a Musical

    Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
    Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
    Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
    Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

    Best Choreography

    Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
    Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
    Kelly Devine, Come From Away
    Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
    Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

    Best Orchestrations

    Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
    Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
    Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
    Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

    Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

    James Earl Jones 

    Special Tony Award
    Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, Sound Designers for The Encounter

    Regional Theatre Tony Award
    Dallas Theater Center

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Baayork Lee

    Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
    Nina Lannan
    Alan Wasser

    Tony Nominations by Production

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 - 12
    Hello, Dolly!
    - 10
    Dear Evan Hansen
    - 9
    A Doll's House, Part 2
    - 8
    Come From Away
    - 7
    Groundhog Day The Musical
    - 7
    - 7
    August Wilson's Jitney
    - 6
    Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    - 6
    - 5
    War Paint
    - 4
    - 3
    Present Laughter
    - 3
    - 3
    - 2
    - 2
    The Front Page
    - 2
    John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
    - 2
    Miss Saigon
    - 2
    Arthur Miller's The Price
    - 1
    The Glass Menagerie
    - 1
    - 1
    Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
    - 1
    The Play That Goes Wrong
    - 1
    The Present
    - 1

    Have fun: Tony Awards trivia

    Follow along on social:


    Some information in this report was culled from national media reports.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'Hamilton' dates, 2017-18 Broadway season titles announced

    by John Moore | Mar 01, 2017

    Chris De'Sean Lee, Jose Ramos, Wallace Smith and Miguel Cervantes in Broadway's 'Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Here's what you have been waiting to hear:

    Hamilton opens in Denver next Feb. 27

    February 27 through April 1.

    Those are the dates theatre audiences from all over the Rocky Mountain region have been waiting to hear, and here they are. Hamilton, the history-making story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, will play The Buell Theatre as part of DCPA Broadway’s 2017-18 season, opening just shy of a year from today. 

    Joining Hamilton for the full 2017-18 Broadway subscription season are Something Rotten!; First Date; Waitress; Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King And I; Disney’s Aladdin; School Of Rock, and On Your Feet!

    New subscriptions for next season are not available at this time. A single ticket on-sale will be announced at a later date. For more information and to sign up for the subscription waiting list, go to denvercenter.org/Broadway.

    The DCPA also announced several non-subscription shows, including (in order of their Mile-High arrival): Dixie's Tupperware Party; Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus Live!; Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women; Rent 20th Anniversary Tour; Chicago; Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis; Elf The Musical; STOMP; The Book of Mormon; and Les Misérables.

    (Subscription shows in bold)

    Dixie's Tupperware Party

    Garner Galleria

    July 19-Aug. 6, 2017

    Men are from Mars,
    Women are from Venus Live!

    Garner Galleria

    Aug. 9-27, 2017

    Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women

    Garner Galleria

    Sept. 21-Oct. 22, 2017

    Something Rotten!


    Oct. 17-29, 2017

    First Date

    Garner Galleria

    Nov. 11, 2017-
    April 22, 2018

    RENT 20th Anniversary Tour


    Nov. 14-19, 2017



    Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2017

    Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis


    Dec. 9-10, 2017

    Elf The Musical


    Dec. 13-17, 2017



    Dec. 19-31, 2017

    Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I


    Jan. 2-14, 2018



    Feb. 13-18, 2018



    Feb. 27-Apr 1, 2018

    Disney’s Aladdin


    April 6-28, 2018

    School of Rock


    May 29-June 10, 2018

    The Book of Mormon

    The Ellie

    June 13-July 1, 2018

    Les Misérables


    July 25-Aug 5, 2018

    On Your Feet!


    Aug. 8-19, 2018



    (In alphabetical order; descriptions provided by DCPA)

    Disney's ALADDIN

    • AladdinApril 6-28, 2018
    • Buell Theatre

    Discover a whole new world at Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical. From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” Aladdin features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony and Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).


    Ryan Bondy. The Book of Mormon. Joan Marcus

    • June 13-July 1, 2018
    • The Ellie

    Back by popular demand, The New York Times calls it “the best musical of the century.” The Washington Post says, "It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals." And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.” Jimmy Fallon of “The Tonight Show” calls it “Genius. Brilliant. Phenomenal.” It's The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award-winning best musical. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room only productions in Australia, London, on Broadway, and across North America, The Book of Mormon has truly become an international sensation. (Contains explicit language.)

    (Photo: Ryan Bondy, by Joan Marcus)


    Chicago. Barrett Martin.

    • Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2017
    • Buell Theatre

    There’s never been a better time to experience Chicago, Broadway’s razzle-dazzle smash. This triumphant hit musical is the recipient of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy, thousands of standing ovations and now the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history. Chicago has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; one show-stopping song after another, and the most astonishing dancing you've ever seen.  It’s no surprise that Chicago has wowed audiences from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa. And now it’s returning to Denver. Whether you're looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you've seen the Academy Award-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage, or whether you've seen it before and want to recapture the magic, Chicago delivers.


    • Dixie's Tupperware PartyJuly 19-Aug 6, 2017
    • Garner Galleria Theatre

    Denver’s favorite Tupperware lady returns. Critics and audiences have howled with laughter as Dixie throws a good ol' fashioned Tupperware party filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, free giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage. Loaded with the most up-to-date products available for purchase, Ms. Longate will share how she became the number one Tupperware seller in the world as she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products.


    • Dec 13-17, 2017
    • Buell Theatre

    Elf The Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner Elf.

    (Photo: Connor Barth and Matt Kopec by Joan Marcus.)


    • First Date Nov. 11, 2017-April 22, 2018
    • Garner Galleria Theatre

    When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds that they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines. Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives? Produced by DCPA Cabaret, First Date is directed by Ray Roderick. Auditions will be posted at a later date at https://www.denvercenter.org/about-us/careers.


    • Girls OnlySept. 21-Oct. 22, 2017
    • Garner Galleria Theatre

    Girls Only – The Secret Comedy of Women, written by Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein, is an original comedy that celebrates the honor, truth, humor and silliness of being female.  With a two-woman cast and audiences full of raucous, laughing ladies, the show has found quick popularity in its unique examination of all things girly. Born out of the earnest and sweetly absurd writings the two authors discovered in their girlhood diaries, the Girls Only mix of sketch comedy, improvisation, audience participation, and hilarious songs and videos reminds audiences of the very funny and very charming similarities all women share.

    (Photo: Linda Klein and Barbara Gehring by Terry Shapiro)


    • Hamilton. Joan Marcus 2016Feb. 27-April 1, 2018
    • Buell Theatre

    Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now. With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

    (Photo: Karen Olivo, Ari Afsar, Samantha Marie Ware by Joan Marcus)

    Rodgers & Hammerstein's THE KING AND I

    Jose Llana and Laura Michelle Kelly in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I.  Photo by Matthew MurphyJan. 2-14, 2018
    Buell Theatre

    Two worlds collide in the Lincoln Center Theater production of this “breathtaking and exquisite” (The New York Times) musical, directed by Bartlett Sher. One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for best musical revival.

    (Photo Jose Llana and Laura Michelle Kelly by Matthew Murphy.)


    • July 25-Aug. 5, 2018
    • Buell Theatre

    Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon Les Misérables, direct from its acclaimed Broadway return. Featuring the beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars," “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. With its glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck. “Les Miz is born again!” (NY1). 

    (Photo: John Owen-Jones by Matthew Murphy.)


    • MS_GreenTour_Roxanne_Layton-Becky_Kia-234Dec. 9-10, 2017
    • Buell Theatre

    Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for more than 30 years. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics along with a selection of compositions from his groundbreaking Fresh Aire series, which introduced the distinctive Mannheim sound to all of America. The program celebrates the group’s recent anniversary of 30 years since the first Christmas album and 40 years since the first Fresh Aire album and includes dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller.  Their holiday CDs have become synonymous with Christmas and continue to occupy top spots on Billboard’s seasonal charts every year.

    (Photo: Roxanne_Layton and Becky_Kia.)


    • Aug. 9-27, 2017
    • Garner Galleria Theatre

    This hysterical show will have couples elbowing each other all evening as they see themselves on stage. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences laughing and giggling like little kids. When Mars and Venus collide, the adventures are earth-shatteringly hysterical. It's a great recipe for a night out: a little storytelling blended with some comedy and a dash of sage wisdom from the book. A delicious evening of entertainment!


    • On Your FeetAug. 8-19, 2018
    • Buell Theatre

    From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything. From international superstardom to life-threatening tragedy, On Your Feet! takes you behind the music and inside the real story of this record-making and groundbreaking couple who, in the face of adversity, found a way to end up on their feet. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), ON YOUR FEET! features some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter-century — and one of the most inspiring stories in music history.

    (Photo: Gloria Estefan by Matthew Murphy)

    RENT 20th Anniversary Tour


    • Nov. 14-19, 2017
    • Buell Theatre

    In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway…and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s Rent continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème, Rent follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters — love.  



    • School of Rock Original London Cast. Photo by Tristram Kenton.May 29-June 10, 2018
    • Buell Theatre

    School of Rock is “an inspiring jolt of energy, joy and mad skillz!” (Entertainment Weekly). Based on the hit film, this hilarious new musical follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. This high-octane smash features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage. Vanity Fair raves, “Fists of all ages shall be pumping.”

    (Photo: 'School of Rock' Original London Cast. Photo by Tristram Kenton.)


    •  Cast of the Something Rotten! National Tour. © Jeremy DanielOct. 17-29, 2017
    • Buell Theatre

    With 10 Tony Award nominations including best musical, Something Rotten! is a “big, fat hit!” (New York Post). Set in the ’90s — the 1590s — this hilarious smash tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom (Tony nominee Rob McClure and Broadway’s Josh Grisetti), two brothers who are desperate to write their own hit play while the “rock star” Shakespeare (Tony nominee Adam Pascal) keeps getting all the hits. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL! With its heart on its ruffled sleeve and sequins in its soul, Something Rotten! is “The Producers + Spamalot + The Book of Mormon. Squared!” (New York Magazine). 


    • STOMPFeb. 13-18, 2018
    • Buell Theatre

    STOMP is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty, and utterly unique—an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered armfuls of awards and rave reviews and has appeared on numerous national television shows. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. Year after year, audiences worldwide keep coming back for more of this pulse-pounding electrifying show. As The Boston Globe says, “If you haven’t seen STOMP, GO! If you have seen it, take someone and share the pleasure.”

    (Photo by Junichi Takahashi.)


    • Nick Cordero as Earl and Jessie Mueller in the Original Broadway Production of Waitress Credit Joan Marcus 2016Dec. 19-31, 2017
    • Buell Theatre

    Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland). “It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!” raves the Chicago Tribune. Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna — a waitress and expert pie maker, who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life. “Waitress is a little slice of heaven!” says Entertainment Weekly and “a monumental contribution to Broadway!” according to Marie Claire. Don’t miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation, presenting Broadway tours and producing theatre, cabaret, musicals, and innovative, multimedia plays. Last season the DCPA engaged with more than 1.2 million visitors, generating a $150 million economic impact in ticket sales alone.

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts News Center.

  • Denver's North High School gets real with 'In the Heights'

    by John Moore | Feb 20, 2017
    Video preview: In the Heights

    Video above: Rehearsal footage from 'In the Heights,' which will be performed Feb. 23-25 at Denver North High School. 

    Everyone from a Pulitzer Prize-winner to the Flobots are helping to launch a unique high-school collaboration.

    Long before Hamilton was a distant rhyme in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ear, his breakthrough Broadway musical In the Heights was changing the landscape – and the shade – of the Great White Way.

    In the Heights, the 2008 Tony Award winner for best musical, is the story of a close-knit Manhattan barrio where Latino immigrants struggle to eke out small pieces of the American dream as their neighborhood is gentrifying and splitting apart. Broadway hadn’t seen anything even remotely like it since perhaps West Side Story.

    For three nights starting Thursday, Denver’s North High School and Strive Prep Excel High School will collaborate on the work that changed the language of the American musical by bringing hip-hop and spoken-word rap to mainstream stage life.

    North High School. In The Heights. Photo by John Moore

    With a cast of 26, In the Heights is not only introducing many minority students to the joy of live theatre performance, it gives them a story to tell that most of them feel in their bones. Students like North High junior Maya Stone, who plays Nina, an overachiever who drops out of Stanford. “It is really amazing to be able to put on a show that the whole cast can relate to on a personal level,” she said.

    And students like Strive Prep Excel High School junior Alan Sanchez, whose first role on a stage of any kind will be starring as the narrator Usnavi – yes, the role same role that made Miranda a star. Usnavi runs a struggling bodega out of familial obligation but has dreams of a larger life.

    “This show is important to me because, as a fellow immigrant, I can relate to my character, and I'm sure many others can, as an immigrant not trying to make it to the top but to try to live a good and healthy life,” said Sanchez.

    Motown the Musical cast visits North High School

    Music Director Edwina Lucero of Strive Prep said her kids were born to play these roles. “I think Lin-Manuel has given us this art that students who are not white or particularly well-versed in musical theatre can step in and play so genuinely,” she said.

    In the Heights has only one featured character who is not Latino. The minority enrollment at North High is 90 percent - 85 percent of whom are considered economically disadvantaged. In other words: It’s a perfect fit.

    North High School In The Heights. Photo by John Moore“My goal has been to create a comprehensive drama program at North that is not only sustainable but open to all students, no matter their experience or social-economic status,” said director Megan Gilman, who is in her fourth year at North. (Pictured: Edwina Lucero, left, and Megen Gilman. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Choosing to do In the Heights, Gilman said, was a simple decision.

    “The show speaks to the gentrification that several North Denver neighborhoods are facing,” she said. “It also gives voice to students who are not used toIn the Heights quote seeing characters like themselves on a stage. The talent in North Denver is astounding, and I am proud to be a small part in bringing it to the larger community.”

    That larger community has lent its support as well, helping to raise $15,000 to stage the play. Quiara Alegria Hudes, who wrote the speaking portions of In the Heights, recently beamed in for a 30-minute Skype conversation with the Denver cast to offer encouragement and answer questions. Hudes won a Pulitzer Prize for writing the play Water by the Spoonful, which recently was performed at Curious Theatre. 

    “She was amazing,” Lucero said. “She talked about her process in writing the show, about the role that storytelling plays in her life, and about the importance of authenticity in musical theatre.”

    Photo gallery: North High/Strive Prep's In the Heights

    'In the Heights' at North High School
    Photos from rehearsal for Denver North/Strive Prep's upcoming production of 'In the Height.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos may be downloaded for free by clicking. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Among the 10-person live orchestra will be Stephen Brackett and drummer Kenny O of the Flobots, a Denver-based band that is committed to social justice and global betterment. (Brackett is the co-founder of Youth on Record.) The creative team includes choreographer Ricardo Changeux, Set Designer Allan Trumpler, Sound Designer Michael Cousins, Music Advisor Erin Cisney and Costume Designer Mona Lucero. Former North High School drama director Antonio Mercado has helped raise funds.

    Michelle Alves and CJ Wright of Motown the Musical at North High SchoolMichelle Alves, a Puerto Rican-born actor in the national touring production of Motown the Musical, stopped by North High School last week to offer words of encouragement. And the students, in turn, performed a song from the show for her. (Pictured right.)

    In the Heights is one of my favorite musicals because it represents my culture in such a beautiful way, and to know that a high school in Denver is doing the show makes me so happy,” Alves said. “If I can be honest, it’s really hard to find In the Heights in performance because it is so culturally specific. It’s really hard to find the people you need to do the show. So I think this production at North High School is going to be phenomenal. Magnificent.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The support the students have gotten from all over, says Stone, “has been absolutely inspiring.”

    For everything new that In the Heights represented when it burst onto the Broadway landscape in 2008, Miranda told me in an interview at the time that the musical should also feel as familiar to audiences as Fiddler on the Roof, with nods to Our Town, Rent and West Side Story. Listen closely, and you’ll pick up Miranda’s references to Cole Porter and even Lord of the Rings.

    North High School In The Heights. Fiddler on the Roof really was our template,” said Miranda, who won 2016 Tony Awards for writing and starring in Hamilton. “For the story we wanted to tell, about a community in the face of change, there’s really no better example to look to. We saw the parallel where Anatevka is a community where everything has been the same way for hundreds of years, and now the world is changing around it. They had to decide, ‘What do we take with us, and what do we say is non-negotiable?’

    “In the Heights’ is almost the inverse of that,” he continued. “When everyone is from everywhere, and we all have our disparate traditions, coming from so many different Latin American countries, we have to decide: What do we pass on?”

    As for the language of hip-hop, which seemed like such a novelty to Broadway audiences at the time, Miranda said it was never a novelty to him.

    Why Lin-Manuel Miranda's father is obsessed with Molly Brown

    “I never existed in a time when hip-hop didn’t exist,” he said. “It’s how any character my age who grew up in this neighborhood would express himself.”

    For Alan Sanchez, the young actor playing the starring role at North High School, the experience of putting on this play has been not unlike his character’s search for a place to belong.

    “With all the things that have been happening with the economy and politics, escapism should be something we value,” he said. “And this musical shows people this is our home.”

    There couldn't be a better place or time to put on In The Heights, added his castmate. “I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this huge accomplishment for the North Denver community," said Stone. "This is only the beginning for us.”

    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.

    In the Heights posterIn the Heights: Ticket information
    • Feb. 23, 24 and 25
    • 7 p.m.
    • 2960 Speer Boulevard
    • Main entrance located on West 32nd Avenue at Eliot Street
    • Adult tickets are $10; students and seniors $5
    • Tickets available at the door.

  • NewsCenter: Our 10 most popular articles of 2016

    by John Moore | Jan 08, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    by John Moore | Sep 07, 2016

    Steppenwolf Theatre's 2015 production of 'This is Modern Art' in Chicago. A reading of the play will take place in Denver on Sept. 15. Photo by Michael Courier.

    Graffiti artists have been called vandals, criminals and even urban terrorists.

    Idris Goodwin calls them “artists who push upon the boundaries of legality.”

    But, they are artists, Goodwin said. “First and foremost.”

    Goodwin is a playwright, break-beat poet, essayist and Colorado College theatre professor whose play Victory Jones and the Incredible One Woman Band was featured at the Denver Center's 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. He is also co-author of the controversial play This is Modern Art, with Kevin Coval, which will be presented as a reading on Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. It's part of a larger program presented by Off-Center and the museum that will include spoken-word, Q&A, a DJ and a rooftop party. Robin Munro, founder of the Colorado Crush street-art festival, will talk about the local graffiti scene in Denver.

    Idris Goodwin Quote. This is Modern ArtThis is Modern Art recounts the true story of one of the biggest graffiti bombs in Chicago history. In less than 20 minutes, and in a snowstorm, a stealthy crew spray-painted a 50-foot “graffiti piece along the exterior wall of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. The tagging began with the words “modern art” and ended with the phrase “made you look.” The work was sandblasted off the next day, but because the artists had chosen such a high-profile target, “the consequences get serious,” Coval said, and the artists had to go underground.

    “They were putting out a challenge,” Goodwin said. “What is modern art? Who gets to decide who a real artist is? And where does art belong?”

    Coval, editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, adopted what he calls “a journalistic verse” approach to creating the play - a form inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks, the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. “Kevin was able to get the story behind it - who they are, why they did it - and then we decided to write a play based on that information,” Goodwin said.

    The play, now published by Haymarket Books, debuted last year as part of the nationally renowned Steppenwolf Theatre’s Young Adult series. But no one was quite prepared for the severe critical response. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune faulted the play for romanticizing graffiti, an act he called “invasive, self-important and disrespectful of the property of others,” while Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times said the play “spray-paints all the wrong messages.”

    “Both reviews shared a common theme,” wrote national arts administrator Howard Sherman, “that the play celebrated the graffiti artists’ work without making sufficiently clear, to the critics’ minds, that the majority of graffiti art is also illegal vandalism.”

    Kevin Coval Quote. This is Modern ArtThe reviews sparked a second round of heated backlash and public debate.

    “The theatre community at large said the critics’ arguments were bogus and unfair,” Goodwin said. “Antiheroes and difficult, and complicated questions are what the theatre is for."

    As incendiary as the response was, Goodwin says This is Modern Art is intended to be a gateway into a larger conversation that must be had in America. Not only in the context of escalating racial tensions in America today, but in consideration of the country’s entire history. The problem certainly did not start with Ferguson, nor did it end with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem, Goodwin said.

    “I tweeted jokingly: ‘I don't know why you all are tripping. We've been refusing to stand up since Rosa Parks,’ ” Goodwin said. “This is not new. I don't think we have really confronted these issues because we still don't really know each other. We're acquainted but we haven't done the work that you have to do to become family. Which is learning to listen, to be patient, to forgive.”

    For those Americans not of color who are struggling with how to proactively respond, Coval’s advice is simple.

    “For white people, I think it's a matter of leaving the house,” Coval said. “You have to leave the comfort of where you are. Get outside of what you read. Get outside of what you assume and begin to listen to the stories of people of color. Because they will tell a different tale from the dominant tale that continues to weave in this country.”

    (Kevin Coval photo above by Nyce Life Photography.)

    Sample: Listen to Idris Goodwin's
    Say My Name

    More of our conversation with Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval:

    John Moore: What do you say to those who say see graffiti artists as vandals?

    Idris Goodwin: There is a clear distinction in my mind between art and vandalism. They are definitely breaking the law - but I feel like that is the art they practice. And despite your feelings about the legality and the appropriateness of graffiti art, you cannot deny the boldness of it.

    John Moore: What are we so afraid of?

    Kevin Coval: Freedom. I think we are afraid of people being and getting free. Graffiti art calls into question who has the right to public property, and who has the right to make art. I think once disenfranchised young people of color begin to take the notion of creation into their own hands, I think that shakes the center. Graffiti artists challenge what norms are in culture, and I think that makes people uncomfortable.

    (Pictured right: The graffiti left on the exterior wall of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, which inspired the new play 'This is Modern Art.')

    John Moore: What’s at the root of all of this?

    Idris Goodwin: I think this country has yet to fully own up to the hate crimes and war crimes that it, as a government, has committed against a multitude of communities of color. The shameful state of public education in this country has a lot to do with that. People have no idea of history, or of what has happened even on the soil upon which they stand. The only difference today is that because of social media and the way information travels, the dialogue is now out in the open and documented, and we're really seeing the problem. But it's always been there.

    Kevin Coval: James Baldwin talked about whiteness as a sickness; as a psychological disease that affects all people and is detrimental to the humanization of people of color. In Chicago and other cities, we continue to be radically segregated around race and socioeconomic status. White people don't really know people of color. We imagine the lives of people of color. We fear what it might mean if we live in proximity to people of color we don't actually know. But people of color know white people all too well.

    Idris Goodwin: One of the questions the play puts out there is the punishment for doing graffiti. Does it fit the crime? There are some cases where graffiti artists have been chased to their deaths. Now people might say, 'Well, he was a thug.' Really? Do they then deserve to die?

    John Moore: How has the Broadway musical Hamilton changed the game in terms of the need for the American theatre to open itself up to new forms of storytelling?

    Idris Goodwin: I think it is a tremendously missed opportunity for any theatre not to embrace, on a consistent basis, a multitude of stories that really reflect the multitude in this country. If we really want this art form to live, we cannot continue to champion and exalt - and then also demonize and tear down any attempt to broaden our idea of what a play is.

    This Is Modern Art: Denver ticket information

    • Partial reading and book launch for the play This is Modern Art (not a full production)
    • Presented by Off-Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
    • One night only: 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15
    • At the MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany St., Denver. Rooftop party to follow at MCA Café & Bar with DJ Chonz
    • Tickets $10 for adults and $5 for students with code STUDENT0915. BUY ONLINE

    Other Colorado tour events: Ticket information

    • 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16: This is Modern Art staged reading with Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin, with spoken-word performance by Coval and poet Juan Morales,
      at Songbird Cellars, 220 S Union Ave. in Pueblo
    • 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17: This is Modern Art staged reading with Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin, at Colorado College (Cornerstone 131 Screening Room) INFO
    • 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17: Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin reading from The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, at Mountain Fold Bookstore, 121 E Costilla St., Colorado Springs INFO

    Sample: Watch Kevin Coval's The Crossover:

  • Broadway's 'Hamilton' is heading to Denver

    by NewsCenter Staff | Jul 06, 2016

    By Heidi Bosk
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The national tour of the Broadway musical Hamilton will play the Buell Theatre as part of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ 2017-18 Broadway subscription series, it was announced today by producer Jeffrey Seller and the DCPA.
    On Sunday, Hamilton won 11 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, after having set the all-time record with 16 nominations.

    Hamilton. Daveed Diggs. The best way to guarantee tickets to Hamilton is to purchase a full 2016-17 Broadway subscription. Broadway subscribers who renew their 2016-17 Broadway subscription packages for the 2017-18 Broadway season will guarantee their tickets for the DCPA's premiere engagement of Hamilton.

    Hamilton will be on the 2017-18 Broadway subscription package. Information regarding engagement dates and how to purchase groups and single tickets will be announced at a later time.
    DCPA's full 2016-17 Broadway subscription package features the pre-Broadway debut of Frozen, The Phantom of the Opera, Roundabout Theatre Company's Cabaret, An Act of God, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, An American in Paris and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Subscriptions for the 2016-17 Broadway season start as low as eight payments of $51.25 and are available at DenverCenter.org.  Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is the ONLY authorized online ticket provider for the Broadway touring productions in Denver.

    (Pictured above right: Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette the Broadway musical 'Hamilton.')
    With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

    Subscription information for 2016-17 Broadway season

    Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.  
    Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowa, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda in 'Hamilton.'
    Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda from the Tony Award-winning Broadway cast of 'Hamilton.'

    's creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award-winning Best Musical In the Heights.
    Hamilton features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell (DCPA Theatre Company's The Unsinkable Molly Brown), lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Hamilton is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.
    The Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording is available everywhere nationwide. The Hamilton recording received a 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album.
    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA's News Center.
    For more information on Hamilton, visit:

    Hamilton’s 2016 Tony Awards:
    Best Musical: Hamilton
    Best Book of a Musical: Lin-Manuel Miranda
    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater:
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Leslie Odom Jr.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Daveed Diggs
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Renee Elise Goldsberry
    Best Costume Design of a Musical: Paul Tazewell
    Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Howell Binkley
    Best Direction of a Musical: Thomas Kail    
    Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler
    Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire

    Related DCPA NewsCenter coverage:
    Tony Awards offer powerful response to Orlando massacre
    The HamilTony Awards: What Denver’s voter has to say 
    Colorado's ties to the 2016 Tony Award nominations
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance
    Why Lin-Manuel Miranda's father is obsessed with The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Hamilton. Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Gold, Cephas Jones.
    Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones.

    The Broadway company of Hamilton.
    The Broadway company of 'Hamilton.'

  • Tony Awards offer powerful response to Orlando massacre

    by John Moore | Jun 12, 2016
    Lin-Manuel Miranda's sonnet to Orlando.

    The 2016 Tony Awards were not overshadowed by the worst mass shooting in U.S. history earlier in the day in Orlando, Fla. They were instead underscored by a powerful message of inclusion and human resilience. Fitting, then, that the winner of the 2016 Best New Play is called The Humans.

    As expected, Hamilton the Musical was coronated as one of the most celebrated new musicals in Broadway history, winning 11 Tony Awards. That's one fewer than the record of 12 won by The Producers in 2001 - largely only because Hamilton had multiple nominees in several categories (16 in all).

    But of all the moving acceptance speeches, it was creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, quickly becoming the conscience of the new America, reciting a "thank you sonnet" he wrote in the wake of the massacre that left 50 people dead in an Orlando nightclub. He delivered it after winning for best book of a musical:

    My wife’s the reason anything gets done
    She nudges me towards promise by degrees
    She is a perfect symphony of one
    Our son is her most beautiful reprise.
    We chase the melodies that seem to find us
    Until they’re finished songs and start to play
    When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
    That nothing here is promised, not one day.
    This show is proof that history remembers
    We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
    We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
    And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
    I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story
    Now fill the world with music, love and pride.

    Added Tony Awards host James Corden: "Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together, we have to make sure of that."

    Diane Paulus quote Tony AwardsDiane Paulus, acclaimed director of Best New Musical nominee Waitress, called the Tony Awards "a deeply moving and emotional evening" because of what happened in Orlando. "It made us all think about what our purpose is, and how precious time and life are," she said. But the response of the New York theatre community on display at the Beacon Theatre on Sunday, she said, made plain what makes theatre special among art forms. 

    "It made me appreciate what the theatre can be as a community: A place of tolerance and kindness that is embracing of diversity and freedom of expression," Paulus said in an exclusive interview for the DCPA NewsCenter. "Our role as artists is to do whatever we can to give people courage and resilience at times like this, through music and song and dance or drama."

    Our interview with DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg

    Hamilton, the improbable hip-hop musical about America’s first Treasury Secretary, picked up Broadway’s highest honor, for best new musical. The show is sold out through January 2017. That almost everyone in the cast is non-white punctuated these as the most diverse Tony Awards in history.

    "Think of tonight as the Oscars, with diversity,” Corden joked in his opening monologue. By night's end, 2016 made history as the first Tony Awards where all four awards for acting performances in musicals went to black actors. (Pictured below right: Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry. Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.)

    Additionally, Waitress became the first Broadway musical with an all-female creative team. And the powerful political drama Eclipsed was the first Broadway play written by, directed by and starring women.

    Tony Awards. Cynthia Erivo. Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images. "This was landmark season for women in so many ways," said Paulus, who launched the national touring production of Pippin in Denver in 2014, and also helmed Finding Neverland, opening here on Dec. 20. "But I have said this time and time again - every artist is in their position on Waitress because they were the best person for the job.

    (Pictured: Actress Cynthia Erivo accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical in 'The Color Purple.' Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Tony Awards.)

    "This was not about a casting agenda. It's just a reflection that women are at the top of their field in composing, in writing, in choreography. This is the 21st century. We all have benefited from generations of women behind us who actually were told they couldn't be directors or writers. I hope we can provide that example for the next generation of artists wherever they are across America. To say, 'If you work with integrity and you tell important stories, this is not a closed door.' We have a long way to go for women, especially in leadership roles in the musical theatre. So yes, this is a  landmark year - but let's hope it's not a one-off, and that this continues."

    Paulus noted that Eclipsed, Blackbird, Waitress, The Color Purple and Spring Awakening all have one very powerful commonality: "These are all shows about women who are encountering some sort of abuse or violence," she said. "And it's not because that's all we care about as women. It's because 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. experiences some sort of intimate partner domestic abuse. This is a crisis in our time." 

    A practical example of change: CBS did not pull the plug on the Tony Awards telecast at exactly three hours, as it did last year. (The historic win for the female composing team of Fun Home came after the live cutoff.)

    Perhaps both the Hamilton hype and the Orlando massacre played a part, but the telecast posted its highest overnight rating in 15 years, growing 33 percent from last year. The CBS telecast drew 8.7 million viewers, largest since 2001.

    The Humans, by Stephen Karam, won for best new play, best featured actress (Jayne Houdyshell) and featured actor (Reed Birney), who played a married couple struggling to love and cherish a family under stress. The cast features frequent Denver Center actor Lauren Klein, who recently starred with her husband, Mike Hartman, in the DCPA Theatre Company's Death of a Salesman.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Tony Awards included Denver Center founder Donald R. Seawell in its memoriam segment, alongside names such as Roger Rees, David Bowie and Patty Duke. Seawell was first to bring the Royal Shakespeare Company to America, and he produced more than 65 Broadway plays, including the RSC's The Hollow Crown.

    In the aftermath of Orlando, the night ended with a poignant parting message from Producer Jeffrey Seller, accepting the Best Musical for Hamilton: "How lucky we are to be alive right now." It is a song from the show, and its meaning was all the more resonant given the events of the day.

    Donald Seawell Tony Awards

    News and notes: 

    • Keri Russell, who grew up in Highlands Ranch, introduced the live performance by the cast of Waitress, which is based on the movie she starred in from 2007.
    • Josh Groban shouted out arts education when introducing the Fiddler on the Roof performance. "Thank you very much, arts education," said Groban, who will make his Broadway debut this fall in The Great Comet
    • Best Director Ivo Von Hove said he first came to the U.S. specifically to see David Bowie perform in The Elephant ManHere's our story on how that production began in Denver.
    • Celebrity presenters included Carole King, Barbara Streisand, Carole King Cate Blanchett and Jake Gyllenhaal.
    • One of Hamilton's wins went to Costume Designer Paul Tazewell, who also designed the DCPA Theatre Company's new look at The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 2014.

    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.

    News services contributed to this report.

    2016 Tony Award winners:

    Best Musical: “Hamilton”

    Best Play: “The Humans”

    Best Book of a Musical: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater: “Hamilton”

    Best Revival of a Play: “Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge”

    Best Revival of a Musical: “The Color Purple”

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Frank Langella, “The Father”

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Jessica Lange, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton”

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Cynthia Erivo, “The Color Purple”

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Reed Birney, “The Humans”

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Jayne Houdyshell, “The Humans”

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Daveed Diggs, “Hamilton”

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Renee Elise Goldsberry, “Hamilton”

    Best Scenic Design of a Play: David Zinn, “The Humans”

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical: David Rockwell, “She Loves Me”

    Best Costume Design of a Play: Clint Ramos, “Eclipsed”

    Best Costume Design of a Musical: Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton” 

    Best Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Katz, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Howell Binkley, “Hamilton”

    Best Direction of a Play: Ivo Van Hove, “Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge”

    Best Direction of a Musical: Thomas Kail, “Hamilton”

    Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Hamilton”

    Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, “Hamilton”

    Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre: Sheldon Harnick, Marshall W. Mason

    Special Tony Award: National Endowment for the Arts, Miles Wilkin

    Regional Theatre Tony Award: Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, N.J.

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Brian Stokes Mitchell

    Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: Seth Gelblum, Joan Lader, Sally Ann Parson

  • The HamilTony Awards: What Denver’s voter has to say

    by John Moore | Jun 09, 2016

    Colorado Tony Awards Connections Kyle Malone 
    Graphic above by DCPA Art Director Kyle Malone.

    Click for an expandable version of the graphic

    DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg has been a Tony Awards voter since 2006. And while it would be professional bad form for him to express a preference for one musical over any another, he is among the few, the bold, and the brave who are going out on a limb and calling this year’s awards “The HamilTonys.”

    “I would say Ross Perot has a better chance of winning the Democratic presidential nomination than Hamilton has of losing the Best Musical Tony Award,” Ekeberg said, adding with a wink: “But you never know until all the votes are counted.”

    Hamilton Hamilton (pictured right) is the rare piece of live theater to cross over into the mainstream popular culture. But it is perhaps the first to do so before anyone outside of Broadway has even seen it. Interest in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop-infused musical about the founding fathers is approaching what Variety calls “stratospheric levels.”

    Hamilton is nominated for 16 Tony Awards, more than any other show in Broadway history. It can’t break The Producers’ all-time record with 12 wins on Sunday night (7 p.m., CBS), but it’s a mathematical impossibility only because the show has so many multiple nominees in the same individual acting categories. Still, Hamilton is nominated in every category of theatremaking — acting, writing, directing, dancing, music and design.

    John EkebergHamilton is sold-out on Broadway through January 2017. It is regularly propped and promoted on daytime and late-night television. But if you really want to know how deep Hamilton Fever runs, consider that officials at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo have named a new camel born there last month “Alexander Camelton.”

    We are having a pop-culture moment, said Ekeberg (pictured right).

    “I think where Hamilton really succeeded was the gestalt of it all,” said Ekeberg. “When a piece of theatre works, there is something about it that is larger than the sum of its individual parts. Hamilton succeeds at all of the things that make theatrical storytelling great.”

    Here is our complete list of 2016 Tony Awards nominees

    Ekeberg said the musical is resonating with audiences on multiple levels. “Some of the issues the story touches on regarding diversity and immigration and our country’s values at its beginning are revealing meaningful truths about where we are as a country today,” he said.  

    But if Hamilton is going to run the table on Sunday night, is there any reason to even watch on Sunday night? “Absolutely,” Ekeberg was quick to say back. Since CBS began broadcasting the awards in 1978, the annual telecast has become an essential opportunity to introduce to heartland American audiences the musicals that will be visiting their cities in the coming years.

    “It is incredibly important that as many TV viewers tune into the Tony Awards as possible,” said Ekeberg. And with interest in Hamilton skyrocketing, Ekeberg believes the often ratings-challenged broadcast could get a boost.

    Hamilton is a fantastic show, no question, and I expect it to do very well in terms of awards,” Ekeberg said. “But it was a great season on Broadway all around, and a lot of shows will be featured on that broadcast. I am excited that whatever attention Hamilton brings to the broadcast means more people will see other shows like Shuffle Along and Waitress as well.

    “The Tony Awards are a celebration of all things Broadway, and if Hamilton means more people will tune into the celebration because of it, then all the better. I like to believe the old saying that a rising tide floats all boats.”

    What strikes Ekeberg most about the Broadway theatre season just passed was its unprecedented diversity. Of the 40 acting nominations, 14 went to black, Hispanic and Asian-American actors. Contrast that with the controversy the Academy Awards faced in February over the lack of nominations for nonwhite performers.

    “From Hamilton to Shuffle Along to The Color Purple to On Your Feet, it’s been an amazing season for diversity on Broadway,” said Ekeberg. But the open-door policy goes far beyond skin color. This season brought Deaf West’s acclaimed production of Spring Awakening, which included not only hearing-impaired actors, but the first non-able-bodied actress to appear on Broadway in a wheelchair (Ali Stoker).

    Tony Awards Trivia TONY AWARDS 3

    Additionally, Waitress became the first Broadway musical with an all-female creative team. And the powerful political drama Eclipsed was the first Broadway play written by, directed by and starring women.

    “It’s been a pretty amazing year,” Ekeberg said.

    We talked to Ekeberg further about the Tony Awards, who votes for them, and what else to look for on Sunday’s broadcast, which will be hosted by Broadway actor, film star and now, late-night TV host James Corden.

    James Corden Tony Awards John Moore: So, who are the Tony Awards voters, anyway?

    John Ekeberg: There are approximately 846 eligible voters, the vast majority of whom are New York theatre professionals. Tony voters include full members of The Broadway League as well as the board of directors and designated members of the advisory committee of the American Theatre Wing, which is comprised of theatre professionals, general managers and those of us from out-of-town who oversee touring Broadway programming in those communities.

    John Moore: Why is it important that the touring community has a voice in determining the winners?

    John Ekeberg: Broadway is first and foremost a New York-centric business. But I actually think that as the years go on, the lifespan of any piece of commercial theatre is only expanded by its increased exposure on the road.

    John Moore: How much do the Tony Awards directly affect what shows we eventually see in Denver?

    John Ekeberg: I take the results very seriously. If the profession-at-large has determined a show to be the best musical of any given season, there would be no reason I would prevent the Denver community from seeing that show. I feel like part of our role here is to keep our local community at the forefront of the pulse of Broadway theatre, and certainly winning the Tony Award for best musical qualifies a show as being a part of that heartbeat.

    Tuck Everlasting Cynthia Settje. Sketches by Gregg Barnes
    Cynthia Settje's Boulder shop Redthreaded was called upon to build some costumes for the Tony Award-nominated 'Tuck Everlasting.' Sketch by Gregg Barnes.

    John Moore: Still, it must takes some courage to book underdog or controversial Best Musical winners such as Fun Home and Spring Awakening.

    John Ekeberg: I don’t know that it takes courage. When I heard the name “Fun Home” announced as last year’s Best Musical, my immediate reaction was, “When is it getting to Denver?” I never gave it a second thought. I just can’t imagine getting a call from John Q. Public asking me, ‘Why didn’t you book the Tony Award-winner for Best Musical?’ - and not having a good answer for that.

    John Moore: But your predecessor Randy Weeks said it took some real soul-searching for him to eventually book Spring Awakening.

    John Ekeberg: Things have changed.  I go back to how freaked out people were about Avenue Q. I feel like our Denver audiences, time and time again, have proven to us that challenging material is valuable to their lives, and they want it to be seen onstage here in Denver. I think we’re in a really exciting time where we have a lot of shows that are telling important stories from interesting points of view.

     Tony Awards Trivia

    Tony Awards telecast information

    • The Tony Awards will air on a one-hour delay at 7 p.m. MDT on CBS-4.
    • Host: James Corden
    • Watch the pre-show, red-carpet special live online at tonyawards.com
  • Colorado's ties to the 2016 Tony Award nominations

    by John Moore | May 03, 2016

    With a Pulitzer Prize already under its bulging belt, the question this morning when the Tony Awards nominations were announced was just how historic of a morning this would be for the historical musical Hamilton.

    The answer: As historic as it gets. Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical earned 16 nominations, making it the most-honored production in Broadway history. Miranda's hip-hop-flavored biography about the first U.S. treasury secretary broke record of 15 nominations held by The Producers and Billy Elliot. Hamilton was nominated in virtually every category it could compete in.

    The other unfortunately timed productions nominated for Best New Musical are Bright Star, School of Rock, Shuffle Along and Waitress.

    The Humans. Photo by Joan Marcus(Pictured right: Stephen Karam's extraordinary family drama 'The Humans' earned six nominations. Photo by Joan Marcus.) 

    The Best New Play nominees are Eclipsed, The Father, The Humans and King Charles III.

    For the first time in many years, there appear to be no direct nominees with a considerable Colorado connection. George Washington High School graduate Sierra Boggess is headlining Andrew Lloyd Webber's Best Musical nominee School of Rock. That ensemble also features Tally Sessions, who starred in the Arvada Center's Chess.

    Sierra Boggess tweet
    Denver native Sierra Boggess tweeted out congratulations to her 'School of Rock' team for its Best New Musical nomination.

    Paul Tazewell, who designed costumed for the DCPA Theatre Company's The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 2014, earned his sixth Tony Award nomination, for Hamilton. Aisha Jackson, a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, is an ensemble member in the nominated Waitress.

    Longtime DCPA Theatre Company actor Lauren Klein, wife of actor Mike Hartman, is an\ key player in the the celebrated Best Play nominee The Humans, but there had been some speculation she might be among the individual nominees for her acclaimed performance.

    Likewise, Colorado Springs native Jeremy Shamos is a member of the ensemble of Noises Off, a nominee for Best Revival of a Play, but he was not singled out. Several of his castmates were, including David Furr, who starred in the DCPA Theatre Company's production of All My Sons in 2005. He was nominated as Best Featured Actor.

    Colorado native Aaron Quintana, who performed often for the Performance Now Theatre Company, is the Associate Company Manager for the Best Musical nominee Shuffle Along ...

    Jessie Mueller, who co-headlined the DCPA's 2015 Saturday Night Alive fundraiser for its Education programs, was nominated for Waitress.

    The Tony Awards ceremony will be hosted by James Corden on June 12 and broadcast on CBS-TV.

    Nominations for the 2016 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®
    Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing

    Best Play

    Author: Danai Gurira

    The Father
    Author: Florian Zeller

    The Humans
    Author: Stephen Karam

    King Charles III
    Author: Mike Bartlett

    Best Musical

    Bright Star

    Hamilton. Lin-Manuel MirandaHamilton 

    School of Rock—The Musical

    Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed


    Best Revival of a Play

    Arthur Miller's The Crucible

    Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge


    Long Day's Journey Into Night

    Noises Off

    Best Revival of a Musical

    The Color Purple

    Fiddler on the Roof

    She Loves Me

    Spring Awakening

    Best Book of a Musical

    Bright Star, Steve Martin

    Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

    School of Rock—The Musical, Julian Fellowes

    Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, George C. Wolfe

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

    Bright Star: Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

    Lyrics: Edie Brickell

    Hamilton: Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

    School of Rock—The Musical: Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Glenn Slater

    Waitress: Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

    Gabriel Byrne, Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
    Frank Langella, The Father
    Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
    Mark Strong, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

    Jessica Lange, Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Laurie Metcalf, Misery
    Lupita Nyong'o, Eclipsed
    Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller's The Crucible
    Michelle Williams, Blackbird

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Alex Brightman, School of Rock—The Musical
    Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
    Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
    Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
    Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
    Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
    Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
    Jessie Mueller, Waitress
    Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

    Reed Birney, The Humans
    Bill Camp, Arthur Miller's The Crucible
    David Furr, Noises Off
    Richard Goulding, King Charles III
    Michael Shannon, Long Day's Journey Into Night

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

    Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
    Megan Hilty, Noises Off
    Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
    Andrea Martin, Noises Off
    Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
    Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
    Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
    Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
    Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
    Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
    Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
    Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
    Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

    Best Scenic Design of a Play

    Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
    Christopher Oram, Hughie
    Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge
    David Zinn, The Humans

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical

    Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho
    David Korins, Hamilton
    Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
    David Rockwell, She Loves Me

    Best Costume Design of a Play

    Jane Greenwood, Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Michael Krass, Noises Off
    Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
    Tom Scutt, King Charles III

    Best Costume Design of a Musical

    Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
    Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
    Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
    Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

    Best Lighting Design of a Play

    Natasha Katz, Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Justin Townsend, The Humans
    Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller's The Crucible
    Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical

    Howell Binkley, Hamilton
    Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
    Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
    Justin Townsend, American Psycho


    Best Direction of a Play

    Rupert Goold, King Charles III
    Jonathan Kent, Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Joe Mantello, The Humans
    Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
    Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge

    Best Direction of a Musical

    Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
    John Doyle, The Color Purple
    Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
    Thomas Kail, Hamilton
    George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed


    Best Choreography

    Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
    Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
    Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
    Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
    Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan

    Best Orchestrations

    August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
    Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
    Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
    Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories 

    Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
    Sheldon Harnick, Marshall W. Mason

    Special Tony Award
    National Endowment for the Arts, Miles Wilkin

    Regional Theatre Tony Award
    Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Brian Stokes Mitchell

    Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

    Seth Gelblum

    Joan Lader

    Sally Ann Parsons


    Tony Nominations by Production

    Hamilton - 16
    Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed - 10
    She Loves Me - 8
    Long Day's Journey Into Night - 7
    Eclipsed - 6
    The Humans - 6
    Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge - 5
    Bright Star - 5
    King Charles III - 5
    Noises Off - 5
    Arthur Miller's The Crucible - 4
    The Color Purple - 4
    School of RockThe Musical - 4
    Waitress - 4
    Blackbird - 3
    Fiddler on the Roof - 3
    Spring Awakening - 3
    American Psycho - 2
    The Father - 2
    Dames at Sea - 1
    Disaster! - 1
    Hughie - 1
    - 1
    On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan
    - 1
    Thérèse Raquin
    - 1
    Tuck Everlasting
    - 1
  • 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

  • Brian d’Arcy James: 'The confetti is still falling'

    by John Moore | Mar 04, 2016
    Brian Darcy JamesBrian d'Arcy James will perform with Kelli O'Hara at the annual Saturday Night Alive concert on March 5 to raise money for the DCPA's arts education programs. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Broadway favorite Brian d'Arcy James, now a conqueror of TV and film as well, has had a whirlwind week like no other in his professional career. On Sunday, James was among the ensemble accepting the Academy Award for the Best PIcture of 2015, Spotlight. The next day, he was offered the leading role on a new CBS-TV pilot based on Tracy Letts' 2008 stage comedy, Superior Donuts. The next day, James was back on Broadway starring as Nick Bottom in the ongoing hit musical comedy Something Rotten!

    Three medium in 48 hours. "I feel like I've got all my bases covered," James said with a laugh. And his week will not end with a nap.

    Kelli O'Hara On Saturday, James will be here in Denver headlining the annual Saturday Night Alive concert alongside Broadway royalty Kelli O'Hara (right). The old friends will be performing together in concert for the first time, helping to raise nearly $1 million for the Denver Center's arts education programs.

    How does he sum it all up? How can he possibly? "The confetti is still falling," James told the DCPA NewsCenter on Thursday. The moment Morgan Freeman announced that Spotlight had won the Oscar, he said, felt like "being shot out of a cannon."

    James grew up in Saginaw, Mich., the son of a mother who sold children’s books, and graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago. He has received Tony Award nominations for his performances in Something Rotten!, Shrek and Sweet Smell of Success, and originated the role of the harried husband in Broadway's breakthrough musical Next to Normal. He also was in the original workshop cast of Broadway's biggest hit, Hamilton. TV credits include Smash (created by The Nest playwright Theresa Rebeck), The Big C and The Good Wife.

    Spotlight is the story of how four dogged investigative reporters from The Boston Globe exposed the Boston archdiocese priest sex-abuse scandal in 2001. James played journalist Matt Carroll alongside Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams.

    Superior Donuts follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop, his new young black employee and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago. The comedy is based on the 2008 play by Tracy Letts.

    Something Rotten is an original musical set in 1590s. Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but, stuck in the shadow of Shakespeare, they instead set out to write the world’s very first musical.

    We asked James what to expect from his concert appearance with O'Hara, his castmate in Broadway's Sweet Smell of Success. She is a six-time Tony Award nominee and the winner in 2015 for The King & I. (Watch her acceptance speech here.) One morsel: The pair will sing a never-before-heard song by Marvin Hamlisch that was cut from the Sweet Smell of Success score.  

    Here are more excerpts from our conversation with Brian d'Arcy James:

    John Moore: How do you even describe your life right now?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Well, there was a 48-hour window where I was on the stage at the Dolby Theatre winning an Oscar for best movie, and then the next day I was auditioning for a new television show. By the end of that 48 hours, I found out that I got it. And the next day, I was back in New York performing in my Broadway show.

    John Moore: Let’s start with Spotlight. What was it like for you to go on stage with everyone to accept the Oscar?

    Brian d'Arcy James: It was stunning. I was sitting next to (sexual abuse victim) Phil Saviano, who is portrayed in the film by Neal Huff. We just bolted up there. It was bizarre walking up that aisle, knowing that you're walking past all these luminaries and icons and you're receiving acknowledgement for being in this film that has gone the distance. It's an amazing feeling.

    John Moore: What do you think the film says about the need for the continuation of real, funded, enterprise journalism at a time when the industry seems to be dying from a lack of reader curiosity?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Well the answer is in your question. And all of those things you say are true. It rings an alarm bell. Hopefully, it will let people know in a loud and clear way that without funded and supported long-lead investigative journalism, stories like these won’t be told. I've heard Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, who wrote the movie, speak much more eloquently on the subject about how curtailing reporters on a local level invariably leads to fewer people covering local government. But in those cracks - that's where the grass grows. If no one's minding the store, that's when institutional power tends to get away with abuse. So it takes an informed citizenry and a supportive citizenry to allow for this kind of work to happen. That comes from digital subscriptions and buying papers and reading a paper. Long answer short: Buy a newspaper. 

    Mike Hartman in 'Superior Donuts.' Photo by Terry Shapiro. John Moore: There was a production of Superior Donuts here at the Denver Center in 2011, so we know the story well. (Pictured at right: Mike Hartman in the DCPA Theatre Company production.) Playwright Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) is as good as it gets. And yet, I can’t think of another play being turned into a TV sit-com since maybe The Odd Couple. What's the plan?

    Brian d'Arcy James: That's an interesting point; I don't think I've ever thought about that, either. The plan is to basically use Tracy Letts’ play as a starting-off point to delve deeper, and let these characters explore their community, and all the issues that Tracy wants to address, on a weekly basis. I'm very grateful that it happens to be Tracy Letts. I'm a very big fan of his. He's an extraordinary writer and a great actor. I think my background in the theatre makes me feel like I'm crossing the chasm between television and theatre in a very natural way. How it plays itself out remains to be seen, but the idea is a smart one, and an interesting one, and it is rife for exploring all kinds of themes concerning what's going on in America today. 

    John Moore: So with all of these changes, how long will you be able to stay with Something Rotten! on Broadway?

    Brian d'Arcy James: I am working that out right now. My hope is to stay for an extended period of time. The confetti is still falling right now, so I'm trying to figure that all out. But needless to say, if it's one day more than I thought, that would be a luxurious thing. I want to stay with the show as long as I can because it's funny, it's joyful and it's so well done. It's got great music. It's just everything you want in a Broadway show. The audience leaves happy, and the company leaves happy. That's a pretty good way to end the day.

    Brian d'Arcy James in 'Something Rotten.' Photo by Joan Marcus. John Moore: You have done a lot of musicals based on existing source material, and you’ve done many that have been completely original. Is there an additional joy in bringing a show like Something Rotten! to life that isn't piggybacking on a previous audience base?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Yes, I do feel a certain pride in that. (Doing a show based on existing material) is a formula that works, and for good reason. And just because something works doesn't necessarily mean it should be dismissed, obviously. But to take on something like Something Rotten, which is a completely original idea, is courageous. It speaks to the potency of the idea, and the execution of it, and the way it was written and drawn up and produced and directed. So I feel very happy and proud to be a part of that. We have to encourage each other to embrace the things we don't know. By doing that, we make room for new things that become the new norm. Again, I'm not dismissing the things that are familiar because there's room for that. But I think we should be mindful that we can't put all our eggs in that basket. We have to be diligent in breaking new ground when we can.

    (Photo above right: Brian d'Arcy James in 'Something Rotten.' Photo by Joan Marcus.) 

    John Moore: Last year I heard you speak about seeing your first Broadway show. What did Dreamgirls mean to you at the time?

    Brian d'Arcy James: I would have been 14 years old, I think. It was a remarkable experience because I was already very interested in theatre. But there was something about seeing this mythical world – Broadway – and what that meant, in the place where it lives. I was  struck that the theatre was a lot smaller than I would have imagined. But it had an impact in terms of the energy, and the impression that something in a Broadway theatre can make on a young person. It was pretty astounding. At least it was for me.

    John Moore: Let's talk about arts education, which is the primary reason you are coming to Denver on Saturday night. How do you think growing up with a mother who was a bookseller set you on the path to becoming a storyteller yourself?

    Brian d'Arcy James quoteBrian d'Arcy James: My mother has a Library Science degree, and so books and reading were always a part of her natural reflexes. She was an educator as well, so it was always a natural thing to be surrounded by books. My grandmother was an avid reader, too. She had books all over the place when we would visit. Reading was just something we saw as a necessary part of life. So I guess my mother's love for reading, and her interest in the significance that she saw in reading, were passed on to me in that I see that to be fruitful ground in terms of storytelling. Not so much as an author but rather as an interpreter of words. 

    John Moore: What are the consequences of the continuing diminishment of arts education in schools today?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Well, my sister is an art educator. She is a theatre administrator for New Trier High School in Wilmette, Ill. Her whole job is teaching kids about the theatre. Thankfully - and luckily - they have a healthy budget to do that. That's not the norm. These days schools move money around to take care of issues that may appear to be more pressing, and oftentimes it is arts and music that get cut. It's my belief that those are just as important, if not more, in any budget, in order to pass along the chance to awaken a young person's mind to see what a creative life can be. Not only as a possibility of a profession but, more important, as a chance for someone to find their own voice. And a chance for a person to have an opportunity to express themselves when perhaps they were afraid to, or weren't allowed to. Those are just a few ways arts education can give young people a new sense of themselves, and help them find new dimensions of their own personalities. That's invaluable. And that pays itself forward in terms of how we as a society grow and become more healthy. 

    John Moore: People are obviously very excited that you will be performing here with Kelli O'Hara at Saturday Night Alive, which will raise as much as $1 million for arts education programs here at the Denver Center.  How far back do you go with her?

    Brian d'Arcy James: We met doing Sweet Smell of Success on Broadway. We had an extraordinary experience doing that because it was a really big deal for both of us at that time in our lives.

    John Moore: Congratulations on your Tony Award nomination for that.

    Brian d'Arcy James: Thank you. That was thrilling. We haven't had many chances to work together since, but we're good friends. And we thought it would be fitting to honor that time when we worked together by singing something from that show. It’s a beautiful song by Marvin Hamlisch that was cut from the score of Sweet Smell of Success. That's a part of our personal history that we thought would be fun to share with the Denver audience, because that's something that's very rare that we get to do.

    John Moore: Is this show something you're doing for multiple cities or is Denver getting a one-and-only performance?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Well, let's see how it goes. I think the latter is mostly true. These types of shows are often very unique. In this case, Denver had what I think is a great idea, which was to invite both of us to come and do this. It would be lovely to think this is the beginning of many more times doing this show. But I would say it's a work in progress. And that Kelli and I are excited about the chance to sing for this incredible organization that is raising a great deal of money for a great cause. That's exciting. And then, just to be able to share that experience with each other, with our history, and maybe bring a little bit of New York City to Denver - that sounds like a lot of fun to me. 

    John Moore: Is the song list primarily show tunes or will there be some pop as well?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Yeah, there will be some pop. I've always been a pop-music fan. The great thing about the era I've grown up in is that popular music is well-represented on Broadway in a pretty interesting way in terms of Elton John and Billy Joel and Sting and now Sara Bareilles and just a variety of different musical singer/songwriters who are on the radio and are Grammy Award-winning musicians and singers. They're finding an interest and a home in representing themselves on Broadway.  For someone like me, that is fantastic, because I can justify the idea of singing a song by Sting and legitimately say that he was represented on Broadway (in The Last Ship). It's not going to be all pop tunes. We're definitely going to sing some classics, too. It will be a nice mix of Broadway and a bit of pop.

    John Moore: I wanted to ask you about Hamilton and Next to Normal and Smash and Theresa Rebeck and the apostrophe in your name and everything that is happening in Flint, Mich., and about 10 other things. But I am going to exercise a tiny bit of restraint and thank you for your time and end it here.

    Brian d'Arcy James: Well, why don’t you pick one of them. I’d be happy to talk about any of them.

    John Moore: Well, thanks. We just had Theresa Rebeck out here in Denver for the world premiere of her newest play, The Nest. What are your thoughts on working with her on Smash, and the voice that she brings to the American theatre?

    Brian d'Arcy James: Oh, that’s great. Smash was a great experience, and I had an amazing time. She chose me to be in her television show, and I'm forever grateful for that. She has a very unique voice, a very funny voice, and a very strong voice. She's obviously proven herself as someone who's prolific, and she just has a great sense of story and dialogue. I love her writing. The experience of doing Smash was a dream come true for me because I was doing a television show that shot in New York City, and it was about my profession. It was a complete no-brainer that I wanted to be a part of it. I'm very proud to be a part of that tapestry. I love what she did, and the bold vision she had to make that show happen.

    Saturday Night Alive: At a glance
    Annual fundraising gala for DCPA Education
    Saturday, March 5, at the DCPA's Stage Theatre
    Headlining concert: Broadway stars Kelli O'Hara and Brian d'Arcy James
    Five intriguing auction items, from Denver Broncos to African safari
    More information
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance

    by John Moore | May 20, 2015
    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 4

    NEW YORK - Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer and star of the big-buzz, Broadway-bound hip-hop musical bio Hamilton, had a message for attendees of the Broadway League conference last week:

    When life tells you it's time to go... it's time to go.

    Keynote speaker Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Broadway League's 2015 Spring Road Conference. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.The Caribbean-born Alexander Hamilton had his epiphany working for a rum- and slave-trading company in New Jersey. Luis Miranda, father of the Tony-winning rapper, lyricist, and actor of In The Heights fame, had his moment watching West Side Story at a cinema in a small Puerto Rican town in 1961.

    Read more: Why Lin-Manuel Miranda's father is obsessed with 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown'

    Hamilton, of course, went on to become chief aide to George Washington and took up residence on the $10 bill. Luis Miranda left Puerto Rico for New York and rose to prominence as a New York political consultant who has served in three New York City mayoral administrations. And he's a self-professed musical theatre geek.

    In a powerful keynote speech before the nation's leading theatre presenters, producers and theatre owners on May 12 at the Hudson Theatre, Miranda spoke of the two epiphanies that everyone who finds a life in the theatre has: Transcendence and action.

    Photo above: Keynote speaker Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Broadway League's 2015 Spring Road Conference. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

    Photo below: Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as Alexander Hamilton, which opens for Broadway previews on July 13. Photo by Joan Marcus.


    Here is an excerpt from Lin-Manuel Miranda's keynote address:

    There are two moments that happen to everyone who has a life in this business: The moment where the theatre first transported us. And as Moss Hart says to George Abbott in Act One, we have the moment where we say, 'I mean to have a life in this business.'

    I want to talk about those two moments for me. I want to talk about transcendence and action.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as Alexander Hamilton, which opens for Broadway previews on July 13. Photo by Joan Marcus. My father was born in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, and his moment of transcendence happened in a family way. His uncle, Ernesto Concepcion, was the founder of the Actors Guild of Puerto Rico. His first memories were of his uncle playing John Merrick in The Elephant Man. One minute he is kissing his uncle hello backstage. The next he is seeing his uncle as John Merrick in a room full of crying people. And John Merrick isn't Puerto Rican. He is transformed. The man in front of him is both his uncle and not his uncle. And nothing is ever really the same for him again.

    My father was born in 1954; West Side Story came out in 1957. West Side Story did not send an Equity tour to Puerto Rico. My father had to see it at the movies. And back in 1961, there was just one movie theatre in Vega Alta, which was a town of 30,000 then, and it played just one movie every day at 8 o'clock.

    There is that moment where Maria is standing over Tony, and Schrank and Krupke are going to pick up the body. She screams, "Don't you touch him!" ... and the audience laughs. But my father is in tears. He is 7 years old, and he is balling.

    And why is my father the only one crying while everyone else is making fun of gang members dancing, and making fun of Natalie Wood's accent that sounds suspiciously like Marni Nixon when she sings?

    Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis. My father didn't see any of that, and it's because he had that early exposure to John Merrick. He had that thing that movies don't really have that can only happen in live theatre. When we're all in the same room together, and we all decide to believe the same moment. We see a man who is not disfigured. But he says he is disfigured, and so we believe him. And so when everyone else who is watching the movie laughs at this outburst of emotion, my father is a wreck. And it's because he grew up watching his uncle's shows in a live theatre. 

    This was my father's moment of action. He looked around at everyone laughing at the grieving Puerto Rican widow Maria and he said, 'I've got the get the (bleep) out of this town.' And he left the Caribbean. He met my mom, he moved to New York and he never went back. And I grew up here with my sister.

    Photo: Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis. Photo courtesy Luis Miranda.

    My first moment of transcendence and action was seeing The Phantom of the Opera. It was my first Broadway musical. I was 12 years old, and I’ll never forget: There’s Raul banging on the door, and Christine could go over and open the door for him. But instead, she goes into the basement with The Phantom, who is playing really cool music. And I realized - on the cusp of puberty - that I am never going to be the good-looking guy at the door. I am going to be the guy in the basement playing the cool music. I identified so deeply with that guy.

    My moment of action came a few years later when, for my 17th birthday, my girlfriend took me to see Rent on Broadway in its first year. 

    Again, I grew up loving musicals. My dad was a lifelong collector of cast albums. But I didn't think I had a way in. I had parts in the school musicals, but I knew was never really going to get to play the Modern Major General in The Pirates of Penzance - they are going to go for the standard white guy for that part. And then I saw Rent, which took place in my city, downtown. The notion that a musical could take place today was groundbreaking to me. And that these characters were struggling with the urgencies of life and death today, and with the conflict of, "Do I pursue what I love and make a life in this business - or do I make money?" I have friends who make money, and they are really happy. But I am choosing a much harder path.

    I started writing musicals after seeing Rent. There was a moment of transcendence, and there was a moment of action.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 1

    But this goes beyond transcendence and action: It’s empathy. When you create that moment between the audience and the people onstage, you’re asking the audience to live outside of themselves. You’re asking the audience to identify with people they might not normally ordinarily identify with.

    I went on vacation in 2008, and I grabbed a book at random from a bookstore – back when bookstores still existed. It was Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. I grabbed it because I love reading biographies, and all I knew about Hamilton was that he died in a duel. So I thought, "This will have a good ending at least." 

    So I started to read the book, and I didn’t know that Alexander Hamilton was born in the Caribbean. He was born in Nevis (in the British West Indies) and later moved to St. Croix. By the end of the second chapter, this young man has seen every manner of hardship: His father leaves. His mother dies in bed with him when he is 12 years old. He moves in with a cousin who commits suicide. He works at a trading company - they're trading rum, spices and slaves.

    And Hamilton looks around and he says, “I gotta get the (bleep) out of this town."

    He writes a poem about a hurricane that had destroyed the island of St. Croix, and that poem was used in relief efforts. People took up a collection to send him off the island to get his education. And I thought, “I know this guy.” Ron Chernow's writing had eliminated the distance between me and the dead white guy on the $10 bill.

    And as I read the book, I kept finding moments of immediacy. Parallels between his life and my father's; and the life of any immigrant who comes to this country and creates themselves from whole cloth, and kills themselves to contribute so that their kids can have a better life. It was all of the stories of In the Heights, but even less diluted and even more concentrated into the first immigrant story.

    It's also the story of the founding of our nation. Alexander Hamilton saw one Unites States instead of 13 colonies because he didn’t have a colony to claim. He didn’t have anywhere to claim except for this place that he had adopted. And that’s what Hamilton is about.

    We create our own reality so much these days. You curate your Twitter feed. You unfriend your friend who has the racist or unpopular opinion off your Facebook page. We see the reality that we choose to see, and we have more power to do that than ever before. Theatre is one of the last things that eliminates that. Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton will go see the same show with 299 other people, and they are going to have the same experience. And they are going to have to reckon with that experience.

    My goal, and the goal of our creative team, was to eliminate any distance between the Founding Fathers and the fights we are still having and the struggles that are still happening as Americans. And when you go and sit in The House of Hamilton, it’s an incredibly powerful thing. It has been amazing to see that journey happen. 

    I will close with one more story, and it brings us back to West Side Story, because it all comes back around.

    So I had the good fortune to work with Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim on the last revival of West Side Story. The glorious thing about that was I got to work with the surviving creators of the show on Spanish lyrics for the Sharks. Again: Eliminating distance. And my father, who cried so hard when Maria pushed the police away, saying, "Don’t you touch him!” was the Anita to my Maria while we were writing Spanish lyrics for “A Boy Like That.” He was my thesaurus, because he came to New York at the age of 18 - the same age as the characters who were the Sharks. We got to write that together, and it was a real full-circle moment for him. The success of that tour has been a joy because, again, it creates more identification with even more people who maybe didn’t necessarily see themselves in the show.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 2

    I conclude with this: The first Equity tour to go to Puerto Rico was In the Heights. We went back to my dad’s hometown. Now, Puerto Rico is very economically depressed. We sold one performance at a time to make sure that we could sustain playing a full week there. But it all worked out.

    I will never forget the review that most moved me was in the main newspaper of Puerto Rico ... and I can’t not cry every time I think of it. It said: “The show is a letter from the people who left. And it is telling us that they struggled, but they did all right."

    That full-circle moment for my father and me is one of the greatest moments I have had in the theatre. That Puerto Ricans on the island saw this show about their cousins and their brothers and sisters and their sons and daughters and were able to see themselves in it means the world to me. 

    That’s what you do every time you mount a show. And every time you bring a student group to your show, there might be some kids who laugh at an outburst of emotion. But I promise you there is a kid balling his eyes out. He is not only being transported ... but he’s saying to himself, “I need to make a life in this business.”

    Read more: Why Lin-Manuel Miranda's father is obsessed with 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown'

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Quote 3

    Our New York report (to date)

    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver

    More in the coming days:
    Our New York report continues with videos featuring Colorado actors on Broadway.

John Moore
John Moore
Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

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