• Video: Take a deeper visual dive into Off-Center's 'The Wild Party'

    by John Moore | Nov 01, 2017

     

    We didn't want to give away too much of the visual surprise while the show was going on, but now that The Wild Party has ended, here's a closer video look at Off-Center's deep dive into immersive theatre at Stanley Marketplace.

    Much like last year's Sweet & Lucky, The Wild Party transported audience members to a different era as guests at a decadent, 360-degree party set in the Roaring Twenties. There they mingled with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Amid all that, a scripted musical played out in which the debauchery turned disastrous as the alcohol set in, the evening wore on and the drama bubbled to the surface.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    This unusual, jazz- and gin-soaked gathering afforded a completely new kind of experience for visitors to the former airplane hangar Stanley Marketplace, which was completely transformed by the Denver Center's creative teams.

    The Wild Party was directed by Amanda Berg Wilson. The all-local ensemble included Brett Ambler, Leonard Barrett Jr., Allison Caw, Laurence Curry, Diana Dresser, Katie Drinkard, Trent Hines, Drew Horwitz, Wayne Kennedy, Sheryl McCallum, Jenna Moll Reyes, Marco Robinson, Emily Van Fleet, Aaron Vega and Erin Willis. To explore more about the show, go wildpartydenver.com.

    Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Wild Party:
    Meet the cast: Katie Drinkard

    First look at photos from The Wild Party
    2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Meet Emily Van Fleet
    Cast list: Look who's been invited to The Wild Party
    Off-Center throwing a Wild Party at Stanley Marketplace this fall
    The Wild Party: Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons announced

    PHOTOS: THE MAKING OF THE WILD PARTY

    Making of 'The Wild Party'

    (New photos added!) Photos from the making of Off-Center's 'The Wild Party,' from the Opening Night party back to the first day of rehearsal. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    OFFICIAL PRODUCTION PHOTOS:

    The Wild Party
    The official production photos for 'The Wild Party.' To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by Adams VisCom.

  • Video, photos: Your first look at 'The Wild Party'

    by John Moore | Oct 19, 2017

    VIDEO:

    Your first look inside the making of Off-Center's 'The Wild Party.' Just push play. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.


    The Denver Center's Off-Center programming wing is presenting the Jazz Age musical The Wild Party as a 360-degree immersive theatregoing experience where the 208 audience members are guests at a corker of a gin-soaked Big Apple soiree, right alongside the 14 professional actors in the ensemble. It is staged in what was once an airline hangar at the new Stanley Marketplace in the Stapleton neighborhood. The director is Amanda Berg Wilson and the all-local ensemble includes Brett Ambler, Leonard Barrett Jr., Allison Caw, Laurence Curry, Diana Dresser, Katie Drinkard, Trent Hines, Drew Horwitz, Wayne Kennedy, Sheryl McCallum, Jenna Moll Reyes, Marco Robinson, Emily Van Fleet, Aaron Vega and Erin Willis. The Wild Party runs through Oct. 31 only.

    OPENING-NIGHT PHOTOS:

    Making of 'The Wild Party'

    Photos from the making of Off-Center's 'The Wild Party,' from the Opening Night party back to the first day of rehearsal. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    OFFICIAL PRODUCTION PHOTOS:

    The Wild Party
    The official production photos for 'The Wild Party.' To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by Adams VisCom.


    The Wild Party: Ticket information
    The Wild PartyAt  a glance: You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind as you join a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties, brought to you by the producers of Sweet & Lucky. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and gin-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees.

    • Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    • Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    • Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    • Oct. 11-31, 2017
    • At The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St.
    • Visit the official Wild Party web site
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Previous NewsCenter and other local media coverage of The Wild Party
    :



    2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Meet Emily Van Fleet
    Cast list: Look who's been invited to The Wild Party
    Off-Center throwing a Wild Party at Stanley Marketplace this fall
    The Wild Party: Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons announced

    Reviews:
    Westword: This one party you should not miss
    5280 Magazine: full of fun, flappers, booze and tunes
    303 Magazine: The Wild Party delivers on the promise of its name

    About the Stanley Marketplace
    The Stanley Marketplace, which opened last year near the Stapleton neighborhood just east of Denver, is a community of like-minded businesses and residents who believe sustainable retail and community development. The more than 22-acre space, which occupies 140,000 square feet, was once Stanley Aviation headquarters, where airplane ejector seats were engineered and manufactured. Today it is an adaptive re-use community hub, home to a park, beer hall and an urban marketplace. All businesses are local and independent. The address is 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora. MAP IT

  • 'The Wild Party': Five things we learned at first rehearsal

    by John Moore | Sep 15, 2017
    Making of 'The Wild Party'

    Photos from the first rehearsal for Off-Center's upcoming off-site, immersive production of 'The Wild Party.' To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The audience will become, like the characters in the play,
    'a roomful of strangers who call themselves friends.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Denver Center is preparing to present the Jazz Age musical The Wild Party as a 360-degree immersive theatregoing experience where the 208 audience members are guests at a corker of a gin-soaked Big Apple soiree, right alongside the 14 professional actors in the ensemble. It will be staged in what was once an airline hangar at the new Stanley Marketplace in the Stapleton neighborhood.

    And that is not at all how composer Michael John LaChiusa originally imagined his piece to be staged. Like most musicals, The Wild Party was first presented in front of an audience separated from the stage by theatre’s nearly ubiquitous, invisible “fourth wall.”

    There’s no wall here.

    “Our production is going to put our audience directly in the Jazz Age,” two-time True West Award-winning Director Amanda Berg Wilson said Tuesday at the company’s first rehearsal for the show opening Oct. 11.

    The Wild Party. Amanda Berg Wilson. Photo by John MooreThe DCPA’s adventurous Off-Center wing is known for creating original nontraditional work in nontraditional spaces, most notably last year’s sprawling Sweet & Lucky, which played out in a huge warehouse north of downtown. The Wild Party will be its first musical, and first scripted work.

    The musical is based on a scandalous, book-length poem written by Robert Frost protege Joseph Moncure March in 1926. It was described as “a kind of obscene, more destructive take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Scott Miller, Artistic Director of St. Louis’ New Line Theatre. The poem paints a vivid and decadent picture of Manhattan just before the market crash. It centers on the damaged, reckless relationship between a dancer named Queenie and a vaudeville clown named Burrs. The audience here will witness many personal dramas unfold up close and in three dimensions.

    The Wild Party. Allison Caw, Marco Robinson, Katie Drinkard and Jenna Moll Reyes. Photo by John Moore.“The audience is not going to be passive witnesses to the party,” said Wilson. “They are going to be integral components of the party – and its conspirators. So we are going to encourage them to help mix the bathtub gin; to console the coke-snorting wannabe starlet; to read love letters; to be pulled into boiler rooms for intimate moments; to see things they are not supposed to see.” In the end, the audience will become, like the characters in the play, "a roomful of strangers who call themselves friends." 

    Which helps explains why this is a 21-and-over evening. It’s a party, after all. And apparently a wild one.

    “Our goal with each audience member is that they are going to experience a kind of release that you only have when you have had a really wild night," Wilson said.

    Here are five more things we learned about 'The Wild Party' at the first rehearsal:

    NUMBER 1A Wild Party PoemThe source poem, which went virtually unread for two years because no publisher would touch it, inspired iconic beat writer William Burroughs to become a writer. “It is a witty and risqué poem about two vaudeville performers who fight, make up, throw a party and flirt with danger,” Wilson said. “It name-drops Martha Graham and Langston Hughes, and the book for the musical is by George C. Wolfe (the Public Theatre icon who first directed Angels in America). The story is set at a time when America was waking up to its identity as a wild and creative nation that was emerging into its own sense of self separate from Europe. That sense of self was really born in vaudeville and speakeasies and the avant-garde of the 1920s when jazz, arguably the most American of art forms, was being born. These are people who are not only trying to figure out who they love but who they are and who they will present as. Ambisextrous, Jewish, uptown, downtown, black and white identities are all explored in these jazz-soaked numbers.”

    NUMBER 2The audience will be encouraged (but not required) to dress up for the party. Says Costume Designer Meghan Anderson Doyle: “I think we get the best of the 1920s in this piece because we get the glitz and glamour of beaded dresses and tuxedos and dinner jackets and champagne, and then we get the soft sensuality and the vulnerability of stockings and garter belts and bathtub gin.”

    NUMBER 3The Wild Party. David Nehls. Photo by John Moore.The Music Director is David Nehls (pictured right),  who has helmed the music for most every musical at the Arvada Center for more than a decade. "I am very excited that we have an amazing, seven-piece live band," Nehls said. One of those players is Trent Hines, himself an active Music Director in the local theatre community. For this production, Hines is also being integrated into the story as an actor.

    NUMBER 4The cast is made up entirely of local actors. Wilson, also the founder of a Boulder theatre company called The Catamounts, performed in Sweet & Lucky alongside Diana Dresser, Jenna Moll Reyes and The Wild Party choreographer Patrick Mueller. “Having an all-local cast is evidence that we really do have the talent right here to pull off a show like this,” said Wilson. “And I think it is great that as the Denver Center continues to experiment with immersive theatre, we are developing a base of talent right here in Denver with an increasing set of tools and vocabulary so that we can keep making this kind of work. And we are discovering that audiences are really hungry for it.”

    NUMBER 5The man charged with turning the airplane hangar at Stanley Marketplace into a New York apartment is Jason Sherwood, who first came to the Denver Center in 2014 as an assistant on The Unsinkable Molly Brown and returned last year as the lead Scenic Designer for Frankenstein. This season, he will create the worlds for the Denver Center’s The Wild Party, Macbeth and The Who's Tommy.

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



    The Wild Party: Cast list

    • Brett Ambler: Gold
    • Leonard Barrett Jr.: Oscar D’Armano
    • Allison Caw: Sally
    • Laurence Curry: Black
    • Diana Dresser: Miss Madelaine True
    • Katie Drinkard: Mae
    • Trent Hines: Phil D’Armano
    • Drew Horwitz: Burrs
    • Wayne Kennedy: Goldberg
    • Sheryl McCallum: Dolores
    • Jenna Moll Reyes: Nadine
    • Marco Robinson: Eddie Mackrel
    • Emily Van Fleet: Queenie
    • Aaron Vega: Jackie
    • Erin Willis: Kate


    The Wild Party:
    Ticket information

    The Wild PartyAt  a glance: You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind as you join a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties, brought to you by the producers of Sweet & Lucky. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and gin-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees.

    • Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    • Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    • Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    • Oct. 11-31, 2017
    • At The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St.
    • Visit the official Wild Party web site
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Wild Party
    :



    2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Meet Emily Van Fleet
    Cast list: Look who's been invited to The Wild Party
    Off-Center throwing a Wild Party at Stanley Marketplace this fall
    Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons announced

    About the Stanley Marketplace
    The Stanley Marketplace, which opened last year near the Stapleton neighborhood just east of Denver, is a community of like-minded businesses and residents who believe sustainable retail and community development. The more than 22-acre space, which occupies 140,000 square feet, was once Stanley Aviation headquarters, where airplane ejector seats were engineered and manufactured. Today it is an adaptive re-use community hub, home to a park, beer hall and an urban marketplace. All businesses are local and independent. The address is 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora. MAP IT
  • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: ‘The Revolutionists’ and 'The Wild Party'

    by John Moore | Sep 06, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 7.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists


    Featured actor in the video above: Jada Dixon, who is also the Assistant Director of Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.'

    • Sept. 14-Oct. 8
    • Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    The Revolutionists Jada Dixon 303-440-7826 or go to betc.org
    • Playwright: Lauren Gunderson
    • Director: Allison Watrous (Denver Center's Director of Education)

    The story: The Revolutionists takes place during the Reign of Terror in 1790s France.  It tells the story of four historical women struggling to find their individual and collective voices in a time of chaos and madness. Full of wit and wisdom, this historical comedy shines a light on women's place in history, and what happens when society breaks down.

    But what is it about? As our own society breaks down into madness and chaos, how do we effect change in the face of a world in which we feel powerless? How do the disenfranchised assume a seat at the table in the conversations that will define who we are as a people? That Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company has assembled an all-female production team also speaks to its commitment to diversity and a broader array of voices in the theatre. (Provided by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company.)

    What is it about that writer? Gunderson also wrote the DCPA Theatre Company's The Book of Will. This will be the fourth Gunderson title to be presented in the metro area in the past year. The others were The Catamounts' The Taming and Boulder Ensemble's Silent Sky.

    Please note: The Revolutionists contains adult language and content, so may not be suitable for patrons under 16 years old. Parental discretion advised.

    Cast list:

    • Olympe De Gouges: Rebecca Remaly
    • Marianne Angelle: Jada Dixon
    • Charlotte Corday: Maire Higgins
    • Marie Antoinette: Adrian Egolf

    More creatives:
    • Stage Manager: Karen Horns
    • Set Designer: Tina Anderson
    • Costume Designer: Brenda King
    • Lighting Designer: Katie Gruenhagen
    • Sound Designer: Ashley Campbell
    • Properties Designer: Amy Helen Cole
    • Dramaturg: Heather Beasley

    The Revolutionists Adrian EgolfImage above of Adrian Egolf. Photography: Michael Ensminger. Graphic Design: Brian Kolodziejski. Hair and Makeup: Vintage Hairstylings. Corset by Redthreaded.



    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Off-Center's The Wild Party


    Featured actor in the video above: Emily Van Fleet.

    • Oct. 11-31
    • The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
    Emily Van Fleet. The Wild Party. Call 303-893-4100 or go to wildpartydenver.com
    Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    • Director: Amanda Berg Wilson
    • Music Director: David Nehls

    • The story:
    You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent 360-degree party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and gin-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees.

    • But what is it about? Last summer, Off-Center took over a 16,000 square-foot warehouse in RiNo to bring you Sweet & Lucky. This fall, we’re breaking out the bathtub gin and heading to the Hangar at Stanley to tackle the first musical in Off-Center’s history. Much like Sweet & Lucky, The Wild Party will transport audience members to a different era, where they will be immersed in the story as guests at Queenie and Burr’s party. The live band will be swinging and we’ll find out what happens when you let down your guard and give yourself over to the party.” (Provided by Off-Center curator Charlie Miller.)

    Cast list:
    Brett Ambler: Gold
    Leonard Barrett Jr.: Oscar D’Armano
    Allison Caw: Sally
    Laurence Curry: Black
    Diana Dresser: Miss Madelaine True
    Katie Drinkard: Mae
    Trent Hines: Phil D’Armano
    Drew Horwitz: Burrs
    Wayne Kennedy: Goldberg
    Sheryl McCallum: Dolores
    Jenna Moll Reyes: Nadine
    Marco Robinson: Eddie Mackrel
    Emily Van Fleet: Queenie
    Aaron Vega: Jackie
    Erin Willis: Kate

    More creatives:
    • Patrick Mueller: Choreographer
    • Jason Sherwood: Scenic Designer (DCPA Theatre Company's Frankenstein)
    • Meghan Anderson Doyle: Costume Designer
    • Jason Lynch: Lighting Designer
    • Sean Hagerty: Sound Designer
    • Erin Ramsey: Fight Coordinator

    Emily Van Fleet. The Wild Party.

    From left: 'The Wild Party' castmates Emily Van Fleet, Laurence Curry, Sheryl McCallum and Drew Horwitz. Photos by Adams VisCom.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • Cast list: Look who's been invited to 'The Wild Party'

    by John Moore | Jul 06, 2017
    Wild Party
    From left: Wayne Kennedy, Sheryl McCallum, Diana Dresser and Erin Willis.


    Off-Center, the unconventional and most adventurous wing of Denver Center programming, has announced casting for its next off-site collaboration and first full-scale musical production: An immersive, 360-degree staging of Michael John LaChiusa’s jazz musical The Wild Party to run Oct. 11-31 at Stanley Marketplace.

    The Wild Party, which was nominated for seven Tony Awards when it appeared on Broadway in 2000, will feature Denver favorites Brett Ambler, Leonard Barrett Jr., Allison Caw, Laurence Curry, Diana Dresser, Katie Drinkard, Trent Hines, Drew Horwitz, Wayne Kennedy, Sheryl McCallum, Jenna Moll Reyes, Marco Robinson, Emily Van Fleet, Aaron Vega and Erin Willis.

    Barrett is set to star as Daddy Warbucks in Phamaly Theatre Company's Annie, opening Saturday at the Denver Center's Stage Theatre. Dresser recently appeared in Off-Center's Sweet & Lucky and the Theatre Company's All the Way. Curry appeared in the Theatre Company's All the Way; Willis in The Secret Garden; and Horwitz in As You Like It. Jenna Moll Reyes is a DCPA Teaching Artist who performs in the Shakespeare in the Parking Lot schools program. Reyes (Bus Stop) and Van Fleet (The Drowning Girls) were members of the Arvada Center's inaugural Black Box Repertory Ensemble. Drinkard returns to the Denver Center after having appeared in the Galleria Theatre's Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking.

    Kennedy is a 30-year veteran of Boulder's BDT Stage, where he is currently playing Jacob in the critically acclaimed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Ambler just appeared in the Arvada Center's Jesus Christ Superstar. Caw just worked with Ethelyn Friend on an improvised opera called “_____”, An Opera, in Lafayette. McCallum, a Denver native, was in the Broadway company of The Lion King. Robinson is an actor and professional photographer whose stage credits include playing the Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Assassins. Vega is a new Denver resident who most recently worked with the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton, Ohio.

    The previously announced director of this fully immersive staging is Amanda Berg Wilson, who is the artistic director of the Boulder-based company The Catamounts. She was a cast member for Off-Center's Sweet & Lucky last year and is a 2016 True West Award winner.

    The music will be directed by David Nehls, the Arvada Center's former longtime resident music director. Nehls and Hines are currently sharing the music direction for Phamaly, which creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.

    The choreographer is Patrick Mueller. The production will feature designs by Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer), Meghan Anderson Doyle (Costume Designer), Jason Lynch (Lighting Designer), Sean Hagerty (Sound Designer), and Erin Ramsey (Fight Coordinator).

    “Last summer, Off-Center took over a 16,000-square foot warehouse in RiNo to bring you Sweet & Lucky. This fall, we’re breaking out the bathtub gin and heading to the Hangar at Stanley to tackle the first musical in Off-Center’s history,” said Off-Center curator Charlie Miller.

    “Much like Sweet & Lucky, The Wild Party will transport audience members to a different era where they will be immersed in the story as guests at Queenie and Burr’s party. The live band will be swinging, and we’ll find out what happens when you let down your guard and give yourself over to the party. I am so excited to dive into this piece with our incredible team of collaborators.”

    This production continues the partnership forged between Off-Center and Stanley, which began with the adventure comedy Travelers of the Lost Dimension. That show ran throughout the public spaces at Stanley through May 21.

    The Stanley Marketplace, which opened last year near the Stapleton neighborhood just east of Denver, is a community of like-minded businesses and residents who believe sustainable retail and community development. The more than 22-acre space, which occupies 140,000 square feet, was once Stanley Aviation headquarters, where airplane ejector seats were engineered and manufactured. Today it is an adaptive re-use community hub, home to a park, beer hall and an urban marketplace. All businesses are local and independent. The address is 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora. MAP IT

    (Note: The Michael John LaChiusa adaptation of 'The Wild Party' is very different from the Andrew Lippa version that was presented by Ignite Theatre at the Aurora Fox.)

    The Wild Party: Cast list

    • Brett Ambler: Gold
    • Leonard Barrett Jr.: Oscar D’Armano
    • Allison Caw: Sally
    • Laurence Curry: Black
    • Diana Dresser: Miss Madelaine True
    • Katie Drinkard: Mae
    • Trent Hines: Phil D’Armano
    • Drew Horwitz: Burrs
    • Wayne Kennedy: Goldberg
    • Sheryl McCallum: Dolores
    • Jenna Moll Reyes: Nadine
    • Marco Robinson: Eddie Mackrel
    • Emily Van Fleet: Queenie
    • Aaron Vega: Jackie
    • Erin Willis: Kate


    The Wild Party:
    Ticket information

    The Wild PartyOfficial show description: You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind as you join a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties, brought to you by the producers of Sweet & Lucky. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and gin-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees.

    • Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    • Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    • Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    • Oct. 11-31, 2017
    • At The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St.
    • For more information including ticket pre-sale and other exclusive experiences, visit WildPartyDenver.com

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Laurence Curry
    File photo of Laurence Curry from his days as a teacher and choreographer for the Denver Center Theater Academy and the National Theatre Conservatory.
  • Photos: 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot'

    by John Moore | May 24, 2017
    2017 Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

    Photo gallery: DCPA Teaching Artist John Hauser performs with 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' at the recent Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Traveling to high schools across Colorado, DCPA teaching artists perform abridged versions of Shakespeare plays for a popular education program called Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. The next day, the actors often conduct classroom workshops to help students make the connection between the play its current-day relevance in their own lives. Here are photos from spring 2017, when the cast performed 45-minute versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet.

    Now finishing its third year, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot has now served about 25,000 Colorado students, 15,000 this school year alone. DCPA Education traveled to 31 schools in eight counties, did 98 performances and conducted 59 classroom workshops. The photos above come from performances of Midsummer at a local library, as well as the Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival.

    Our full coverage of the DPS Shakespeare Festival

    The current cast is made up of Jessica Austgen, John Hauser, Kevin Quinn Marchman, Chloe McLeod, Jenna Moll Reyes and Justin Walvoord, with technical support from Stuart Barr. The director is DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous.

    Teachers can book performances for the fall by emailing education@dcpa.org.

    All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 


    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is made possible by a grant from Anadarko.

    Selected previous coverage of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot
    How Shakespeare in a truck rolls down the window on today's world
    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot brings Bard to life at Weld Central High
    2015 True West Award: Rosaline the 1980 Ford F-250 Farm Truck
    The Shakespeare in the Parking Lot home page

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • In the Spotlife: Heather Lacy of 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'

    by John Moore | Apr 18, 2017
    Heather Lacy. Todd Peckham. John Moore Heather Lacy and Todd Peckham recently sang a song from the Aurora Fox's 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' before a benefit screening of the film for The Denver Actors Fund at Alamo Drafthouse. The stage production opens April 21. Lacy has performed at the DCPA in 'The Doyle and Debbie Show' and 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.' 


    MEET HEATHER LACY
    Heather Lacy plays Bernadette (the Terence Stamp role) in the Aurora Fox's regional premiere stage adaptation of the 1994 cult classic Australian film Priscilla Queen of the Desert. 
  • Hometown: Las Cruces N.M.
  • Home now: Denver ... and loving it
  • College: B.A. In Theater and Music from Colorado State University in Fort Collins
  • What have you done for us lately? Last month I had the joy of playing Rose in Enchanted April at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Twitter-sized bio: Actor, singer, sister, friend, lover of bacon, climber of mountains (because of the bacon), herder of teenagers, owner of YearRound Sound, listener.
  • What's your handle? @heatherlacy35 on Instagram, @yearroundsound on Twitter
  • Heather Lacy. Priscilla Queen of the DesertWhat was the role that changed your life? In my third year of college, I was cast as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and it was a revelation to me. She is such a complicated character. It was such a journey to discover her motivations, and to really truly embrace the idea that every character believes, in the moment, that the choices they are making are the right choices.  
  • Ideal scene partner: I can think of so many but one that comes to mind today is Liev Schreiber. I think he is such a smart, present, genuine actor, with great range.
  • What is Priscilla Queen of the Desert all about? It's about two drag queens and a transgender woman who are contracted to perform a drag show at a resort in a remote town in the Australian desert. They head west, into adventure, on their lavender bus called Priscilla. It is a high-energy romp with lots of glitz and lively music. In the midst of all of this fluff there are touching stories about redemption and second chances.
  • What is the gender identity of your character? Bernadette is a transgender woman -  defined as a person born biologically male, but who identifies as a female. In the past, this role always has been played by a male. In fact, I think we are the first production anywhere to feature a cisgender woman in this role. Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. There was one production in Chicago where Bernadette was played by a transgender woman.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing Bernadette: My challenge is to play Bernadette sincerely, and to give the character both the honesty and wit the role deserves. It is a new challenge, but there is so much to relate to in this lovely woman. Here are just a few relatable thoughts: 1. We all cast off parts of our younger selves - our beliefs, our boundaries, our choices in appearance, etc. - as we discover and become more fully who we each are. We evolve throughout our lives and make changes through the years to, hopefully, become even more genuinely ourselves. Bernadette is no different. 2. We all have experienced moments in our lives when someone has made us feel inferior, not good enough, or even judged. Bernadette is no different. 3. We all want to be loved. Bernadette is no different.
  • What can your casting as Bernadette teach us about gender identity? Perhaps this is a step forward in terms of how we think about all the members of our community. Perhaps in 10 years casting transgender and cisgender women in these roles will be the norm. I think about Jeffrey Tambor's Emmy Award speech, when he urged the TV industry execs to give transgender actors more opportunities, and I wonder what the future will bring. I hope it brings more of us together instead of finding ways for us to judge each other. I know we need each other. I know that much.

  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? I hope the audience walks away with a smile on their faces, a song stuck in their heads, and a greater appreciation for the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. 
  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I have an identical twin sister. Oh, and when I am home alone, I have full conversations with my dogs.
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? "A lot" is two words. It just is. 😊. No, but seriously: People who are good at what they do are kind. People who are confident in what they do are happy. People who are competent at what they do are pleasant to be around. If you come across a person who is mean, rude, controlling or self-important, run away quickly. Don't waste your life on those people. I have had experience with this, and it has taught me so much about who I want to work with and be surrounded by in my life. Life is too short. Be kind, and surround yourself with kind people!

  • Heather 800 2Part of the cast from the Aurora Fox's 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' before a benefit screening of the film for The Denver Actors Fund at Alamo Drafthouse. Heather Lacy is back and second from the left.  

    Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Ticket information

    • Written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott
    • Presented by the Aurora Fox
    • Directed by Eden Lane
    • April 21 through May 28
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays beginning April 30
    • 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
    • Tickets $26-37 ($16 for 12 and under)
    • For tickets or information, call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafox.org

    Cast list:

    • Todd Peckham as Tick/Mitzi
    • Heather Lacy as Bernadette
    • Rob Riney as Adam/Felicia
    • McKayla Marso as Marion/Ensemble
    • Harrison Lyles-Smith as Benji
    • Mark Rubald as Bob
    • Tashara May as Diva
    • Seles VanHuss as Diva
    • Krisangela Washington as Diva
    • Sharon Kay White as Shirley/Ensemble
    • Jenna Moll Reyes as Cynthia/Ensemble
    • Ammon Swofford as Miss Understanding/Ensemble
    • Ensemble: Melissa Morris, Jordan Manchego, Thomas Ilalaole, Michael Barlow,  Jonathan Sharp

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport's The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre's The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Rebekah Ortiz of The Robber Bridegroom
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Lauren Shealy of Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
    Meet Jane Shirley of The Avenue's Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Marc Stith of Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
    Meet Peter Trinh of the Aurora Fox's Chinglish
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

  • Shakespeare rolls down the window on today's world

    by John Moore | Mar 12, 2017
    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

    Photos from DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' program over the past three years, most recently a visit to University Schools in Greeley. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by McKenzie Kielman and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    How presenting Shakespeare in a pick-up truck
    rolls down the window on everyday issues for students 

    By McKenzie Kielman
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    “What light through yonder window breaks?” 

    If you are Stuart Barr and Max McEwen, abosutely none. For the DCPA Education crew to arrive in Greeley on time, the equipment must be loaded onto a truck before the sun rises. On this Tuesday morning, that’s 4:30 a.m. Pitch dark.

    Traveling to high schools across Colorado, DCPA teaching artists perform abridged versions of Shakespeare plays for a popular education program called Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. The next day, the actors conduct classroom workshops to help students make the connection between the play its current-day relevance in their own lives.

    Stuart BarrThere would be no Shakespeare in any parking lot without the early morning prep work undertaken by Barr, the DCPA Education’s Technical Director, and McEwen, his Assistant Technical Director. They meet in the pre-dawn dark at the downtown warehouse where the equipment is stored, but they have devised a methodical system to load their rig under the helpful aid of a nearby streetlight. The main set piece going along for the ride is an old, white 1980 Ford F-250 Farm Truck. It’s a beat-up contraption with a crystal door handle to accessorize the gearshift. But it has no mirrors, license plates or other legalities necessary to be road-ready.

    In fact, the truck has been known to have a mind of its own when Barr tries to get the motor to turn over after chilly evenings. The gas pedal will stick, and off they often fly. Surely the Bard’s line, “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” has come to Barr’s mind during these moments. The crew jokes that in order for the truck to be the center of a production filled with interesting characters, it had to be a character itself. They call this truck Rosaline - after the poor girl Romeo dumped about two seconds after first seeing Juliet.   

    When the truck has been tamed and tethered onto the flatbed, there is a quick double-check of necessary equipment, and then off toward Greeley they go, the Hamilton soundtrack punctuating the crisp morning air.

    While the program is called Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, the “parking lot” portion of the title can be interpreted liberally. The location of the actual performance at each school can vary widely depending on the building layout, traffic, noise pollution and weather.

    Problems are solved as they come up through trial and error, which at times can be painful. During the program's pilot run in 2015, Barr found out the hard way that wireless microphones do not work well near metal buildings. So the crew had to completely dismantle the whole staging and reassemble elsewhere. Now it's more of a well-oiled machine.

    Read more: Shakespare in the Parking Lot visits Weld Central

    Upon arrival, Barr and McEwen go straight into memorized action. And one of the most important items on their daily checklist is to simply take a moment to enjoy the sunrise. After a brief discussion about its quality of color and a comparison to the numerous others they have experienced together, they go back into work mode. Soon the actors arrive and begin assisting with the equipment and other assigned tasks. 

    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot By McKenzie KielmanOnce the stage is set, the equipment operational and the sound check complete, it’s time for fight call. According to union rules, each fight sequence in the performance must be practiced in advance under the supervision of the designated fight captain. Although the actors could by now do these exercises in their sleep - and often do depending on how early their call time is - Fight Captain and actor Jessica Austgen reminds the crew: “Safety first, safety last, safety always.” 

    Other performers in this cast of Romeo and Juliet are John Hauser as Romeo, Jenna Moll Reyes as Juliet, with Napoleon M. Douglas, Chloe McLeod, Joelle Montoya and Justin Walvoord playing a variety of supporting roles. Depending on the size of school, the actors can do up to four performances a day, each 45 minutes long, for audiences that at times exceed 200. 

    Long days spent together in the parking lot or in the classroom together over an intensive five weeks have fostered close friendships among the crew. Between performances, the group will play Frisbee or occasionally luck out to find the school has, say, a disc golf course. It’s in the downtime this crew has gone from co-workers to comrades.

    The sun, if not a curtain, rises

    The performance is timed to coincide with a typical high-school class session so as not to disrupt the normal school routine. On this day, the students seem intrigued by the unusual setting of the performance, the fight scenes, the masquerade ball, Shakespeare in the Parking Lotthe love story and Shakespeare’s beguiling words – all happening on and around this broken-down truck.

    More than 400 years later, Romeo and Juliet remains steeped in recognizable themes of violence, blind loyalty and the origin of love. As the playwright himself said, “Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

    While the set and costuming are modernized, it is important to DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous, who conceived this pilot program, that the students hear Shakespeare’s actual, if abbreviated, language.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    "Oftentimes, the students watching these performances have recently read Romeo and Juliet as part of their preparation for the actors’ visit. Seeing the play performed by professional actors after having read it can be vitally helpful in helping the students comprehend the action and its meaning," she said.

    Romeo and Juliet is a cornerstone of high-school reading curricula all over the country. And reading about a sword fight can certainly be exciting. However, it’s a completely different experience to watch a fully choreographed stage combat scene, let alone one that takes place against the cab of a truck.”

    Watrous came up with the idea for Shakespeare in the Parking Lot from seeing newfangled food trucks in action. Performing the play in an environmental setting gives the DCPA an opportunity to engage young audiences in a new way.

    “This unique approach breaks out of the physical theatre and directly delivers the show to students in an outdoor, non-traditional playhouse experience that introduces thousands of students across the region to the theatre arts,” Watrous said.

    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot By McKenzie Kielman 2
    On the second day, the 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' program moves into the classroom, here at University Schools in Greeley. Photo by McKenzie Kielman


    Why don't you take it inside?

    The next day, in this case a Wednesday at University Schools in Greeley, the actors lead students through three workshop activities to foster a discussion about the production and its meaning. They are asked to name a line from the play that sounded familiar to them, a character they related to, a moment in the play that stood out, or perhaps the trickiest question: Did Romeo and Juliet really experience true love? The fictional girl is only 14, after all, and the couple have no shared past. The question, put another way: Do you believe in love at first sight?

    With each question, the volume in the classroom grows along with the students' passionate opinions. “When you know, you know,” one group concludes. Another cluster of students disagrees, saying, “We’re too young to know anything for sure.”

    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot By McKenzie Kielman 3For the next segment, the students are asked to register their opinion on a suggested issue by moving to one side of the room or the other, like in a political caucus, to reflect whether they agree or disagree. Taking the middle ground – or being unsure – is not allowed in this exercise. They must take a stand. But as the students begin to defend their positions out loud, they can change sides by moving from one group to the other.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    An example: “Holding a grudge is a sign of strength.” One student immediately moves to the side indicating that she agrees. When asked to support her position, she giggles and says, “Because I’m petty.” A fellow student disagrees, saying, “It takes more guts to forgive someone.”

    More consequentially, the students are asked: “Violence always leads to violence.” One student disagrees. “You shoot someone, they’re dead,” he says. “They can’t do anything.” But DCPA actor John Hauser, who is co-leading this session, plays devil's advocate by pointing out an example from the performance the day before: Tybalt kills Mercutio, so Romeo kills Tybalt. And in the end, both Romeo and Juliet are dead.

    Another student responds with a real-world example by saying simply: “ISIS.”

    In a lighter moment, the student are asked whether friends should always come first in every situation, even before significant others. A quieter student sets up the scenario more simply: “Pals before gals.” It's a moment of welcome levity after such an earnest examination of the play’s issues.

    (Story continues below video)

    Video: Our visit to Weld Central High School in 2015:



    The workshop allowed the students to dig deep into matters that are clearly important to them both at school and at home. The moderators suggested the following talking points, and each sparked meaningful back-and-forth among the students:

    • Loyalty is dangerous
    • The only appropriate punishment for murder is death
    • Parents can never understand what a child feels
    • Going behind someone’s back can be necessary
    • Teenagers have right to privacy no matter what
    • Parents have a right to know a child’s whereabouts at all times
    • Parents own and therefore can regulate any items they have bought for their child

    To finish up, the students are presented a “what-if” scenario involving a fictional teenager and her father: A senior in high school, a few months shy of turning 18, has been getting into trouble and is disrespectful to her father. She is breaking curfew and other house rules. Frustrated and concerned, the father would like to gain access to her password-protected cell phone and computer. So he asks his older, adult daughter for her help with the passwords. Should the older sister give them to her father? 

    Students immediately dive into arguments on both sides of the issue. As the debate continues, the DCPA moderator adds to the stakes: What if the girl is also coming home with alcohol on her breath, and is possibly experimenting with drugs?

    Most of the students remain on the daughter’s side: “People need privacy,” says one. “Strict parents make for sneaky children,” offers another.

    Others sympathize with where the father is coming from. “What if she’s getting into illegal stuff?” one asks. “If you are not doing anything bad, there would be nothing to hide,” opines another.

    Check out the Shakespeare in the Parking Lot home page

    There is one classroom consensus - that a direct, one-on-one conversation between the father and younger daughter is in order.

    From the start of one normal class period to the end, these students have gone from being quiet and impartial to conversational and assertive. DCPA actor Justin Walvoord later says the point of the workshop wasn’t to change the students' minds about any particular issue. It was to empower them to be opinionated, and also to more thoughtfully consider and respect the opinions of people they don’t necessarily agree with. 

    In its first two years, more than 15,000 students have participated in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. The program returns on April 3 and runs through May 12 - one week longer than originally scheduled to accommodate demand. Participating schools can now choose between Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    The bottom line, Barr said, is that Shakespeare in the Parking Lot “is a touring production that introduces Shakespeare to young people who have never seen a play before with a group of very hard-working professional performers who have become a tightly knit group of friends," he said. 

    “And seeing some beautiful Colorado sunrises!”

    McKenzie Kielman is a sophomore at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and an intern for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is made possible by a grant from Anadarko

    Selected previous coverage of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot
    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot brings Bard to life at Weld Central High
    2015 True West Award: Rosaline the 1980 Ford F-250 Farm Truck
    The Shakespeare in the Parking Lot home page

  • Photos: DCPA demonstrates 'The Magic of Theatre' for Denver Arts Week

    by John Moore | Nov 08, 2016
    The Magic of TheatreAll photos are downloadable for free. To see more, just click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    More than a dozen Denver Center artisans both onstage and off treated a near-capacity crowd at the Ricketson Theatre to a free demonstration of insider tricks of the trade on Monday night. This special evening, titled The Magic of Theatre, was the DCPA's contribution to the community-wide celebration of Denver Arts Week.

    "The Magic of Theatre" blood demonstration from "Sweeney Todd." Photo by John Moore. Ever wonder how it rains on stage? Snows inside? Or how they sliced so many necks in Sweeney Todd without anyone getting hurt? DCPA experts in lighting, sound, multimedia, scenic design, costumes, wigs, painting and props made brief demonstrations in each of their respective crafts. The artists made real fire on stage, and showed how some of the bulkiest-looking set pieces are actually as light as styrofoam. 

    (Pictured above right: Director of Scenic Arts Jana Mitchell is just fine after having her throat slashed and eye gouged out. It's magic!) 


    The hosts were actors Steven J. Burge (An Act of God) and Napoleon M. Douglas (A Christmas Carol). Audiences were welcomed by actors Michael Bouchard (The SantaLand Diaries) and Sam Gregory (A Christmas Carol). Jenna Moll Reyes and John Hauser performed a scene from DCPA Education's traveling  "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" production of Romeo and Juliet, and Colorado native Matthew Dailey took questions about his current assignment playing Tommy DeVito in the Denver-bound national touring production of Jersey Boys. He welcomed about The Magic of Theatre. Jersey Boysa dozen audience members (including the boy pictured at right) onto the stage to learn how to "walk like a man."

    Some of the DCPA artisans who contributed to the program included Lisa Orzolek, Bob Orzolek, Meghan Anderson Doyle, Charles MacLeod, Robin Payne, Jana Mitchell, Doug Taylor and Topher Blair.

    They also took a wide range of questions from the audience, ranging from stage injuries to actor salaries power outages to whether crews use real black powder in their stage explosives.

    Among their pearls of wisdom:

    • The DCPA Theatre Company employs about 80 craftspeople
    • One dress can take up to 60 hours to construct
    • It takes about 20 backstage crew at every performance to keep A Christmas Carol running smoothly

    Information on the shows:
    Jersey Boys
    A Christmas Carol
    The SantaLand Diaries
    An Act of God


    The Magic of Theatre. Michael Bouchard and Sam Gregory. Michael Bouchard ("The SantaLand Diaries") and Sam Gregory ("A Christmas Carol") at Monday's "The Magic of Theatre" gathering. Photo by John Moore. 
  • In the Spotlife: John Hauser of 'Hand to God'

    by John Moore | Nov 04, 2016
    Spotlife John Hauser Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. Photo by John Moore.
    Above: John Hauser as Romeo in DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' schools production of 'Romeo and Juliet.' He is pictured with Jenna Moll Reyes, who is also his castmate in Curious Theatre's 'Hand to God.' Below and right: Hauser as Jason and his foul-mouthed friend, Tyrone.

    (The DCPA NewsCenter regularly profiles actors performing in theatre productions throughout the state of Colorado.)

    MEET JOHN HAUSER

    The DCPA Teaching Artist is now starring as both Jason (a boy) and Tyrone (a puppet) in Curious Theatre Company's regional premiere of the deliciously devilish comedy 'Hand to God.'

    • Hometown: Cocoa, Fla.
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs
    • College: Adams State University in Alamosa
    • What have you done for us lately? I played Eugene in Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues at Miners Alley Playhouse, and I was an understudy in the DCPA Theatre Company's Frankenstein.
    • What is Hand to God all about? It's a ridiculously raunchy dark comedy set in a small town in Cypress, Texas. I play Jason, a God-fearing but troubled teen who is coping with his father’s recent death and is forced to join his mother’s church-led puppet group. When he discovers that his foul-moA Spotlife John Hauser Quoteuthed sock puppet, Tyrone, has a satanic life all its own, Jason comes face-to-face with his own demons … literally. Hand to God is a blasphemous exploration of faith, grief and humanity.
    • Tell us about the challenge of playing these two particular characters: Well, I’ve never done any puppetry or had any real puppet training, so that was a little difficult at first, from a technical standpoint. But the real challenge is making a clear distinction between Jason and Tyrone. Tyrone interrupts Jason throughout the play, so learning how to cut yourself off can be a little awkward at first.
    • What do you love most about performing at Curious? I saw Curious' production of Red in 2011, and it completely changed my opinion of what theatre was and could be. From that day forward, I have wanted to work on that stage.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I love to cook. I mean, I really love it. I’m just doing this acting thing until my cooking career takes off. Just kidding, but if I weren’t acting I’d probably be cooking … or eating.
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? It’s really incredible to be in a cast made up entirely of local actors. As much as I love meeting new people from all over, it’s great to see that Denver can bring a lot to the table and put on a kick-butt show.

    Hand to God: Ticket information
    • By Robert Askins
    • Directed by Dee Covington
    • Nov. 5-Dec. 17
    • Presented by Curious Theatre Company at 1080 Acoma St. 
    • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 13. No performance on Thanksgiving Day.
    • Tickets $34-$44
    • Info: 303-623-0524, or go to curioustheatre.org 

    Cast List:
    John Hauser as Jason/Tyrone
    Tara Falk as Margery
    Michael McNeill as Pastor Greg
    Jenna Moll Reyes as Jessica
    John Jurcheck as Timothy

    A video preview of Curious Theatre's 'Hand to God.'

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre'sThe Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A Spotlife John Hauser Biloxi Blues Miners Alley. Photo by Sarah RoshanJohn Hauser and Chloe McLeod in 'Biloxi Blues' at Miners Alley Playhouse earlier this year. Photo by Sarah Roshan.
  • Photos: Arvada Center launches Black-Box Theatre Company

    by John Moore | Oct 01, 2016
    Arvada Center's Black-Box CompanyCurtain call on Opening Night of the Arvada Center's 'Tartuffe,' the very first performance by its new Black-Box Theatre Company. To see more, press the forward arrow on the image above.


    On Friday (Sept. 30), the Arvada Center launched its new Black-Box Theatre Company with the opening of Molière's Tartuffe. One group of actors will perform together for an entire season in four separate plays. Not all actors will appear in all four plays.

    The 2016-17 core ensemble is made up of Michael Morgan, Sam Gregory, Leslie O’Carroll, Sean Scrutchins, Emily Van Fleet, Kate Gleason, Anthony Adu, Josh Robinson, Jessica Austgen, Geoffrey Kent, Sam Gilstrap, Jenna Moll Reyes, Tim McCracken and Steve Wilson. Some plays will incorporate additional actors.

    Heading the operation for the Arvada Center are Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins and Executive Director Philip Sneed.
     
    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Read more about the Arvada Center's new repertory company

    Arvada Center's Tartuffe: Ticket information
    • Written by Molière
    • Directed by Lynne Collins
    • Sept. 30-Nov. 6
    • 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    • Performances: 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays
    • Tickets $45 at 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Cast list:

    Michael Morgan (Tartuffe/M. Loyal)
    Sam Gregory (Orgon)
    Leslie O’Carroll (Mme Pernelle) - also Mrs. Fezziwig in DCPA's A Christmas Carol
    Sean Scrutchins (Damis) - DCPA Teaching Artist
    Emily Van Fleet (Mariane)
    Kate Gleason (Elmire) - DCPA Teaching Artist
    Anthony Adu (Valère)
    Josh Robinson (Cléante) - DCPA's All the Way
    Jessica Austgen (Dorine) - DCPA Teaching Artist

    The creative team also includes Clare Henkel (costume design), Diana Ben-Kiki (wigs), Brian Mallgrave (scenic design), Shannon McKinney (lighting design) and Morgan McCauley (sound design).

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    In the Spotlife: Meet Sam Gregory of Tartuffe

    DCPA Teaching Artist Jessica Austgen is one of many actors with Denver Center ties who are part of the Arvada Center's first seasonal repertory company. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • September: Colorado theatre openings

    by John Moore | Aug 29, 2016

    Randy Harrison as the Emcee and the 2016 national touring cast of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 'Cabaret.' Photo by Joan Marcus.


    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of all upcoming Colorado theatre openings. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


    Seven recommended shows to watch in September:

    1 PerspectivesIn Final Fight of the Freedom Fighter, Theo Wilson plays the charismatic leader of a new human-rights movement who wrestles with his soul to do the right thing. Playwright Jeff Campbell and director donnie l. betts have interwoven the wisdom of Audre Lorde, Howard Zinn, Sitting Bull and Cesar Chavez into a dialogue about contemporary American concerns. Plays Sept. 2-10 at the Aurora Fox Arts Center. Call 303-739-1970 or go to the aurora fox’s home page.

    2 PerspectivesA September CatamountsBoulder's The Catmounts open their 2016-17 season with the political comedy The Taming, written by Lauren Gunderson (whose The Book of Will gets its world premiere at the DCPA next January.) In The Taming, a Miss America contestant has political aspirations to match her pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the U.S. government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator's aide on the cusp of a career breakthrough - and a bleeding-heart liberal blogger. This is the first production since The Catamounts' pledge to produce at least one play per season by a female, LGBTQ or non-white playwright. Directed by Edith Weiss. Plays Sept. 16-Oct. 8 in the newly remodeled Carsen Theater at the Dairy Arts Center.

    3 PerspectivesWater by the Spoonful, the second chapter in Pulitzer-winner Quiara Alegría Hudes' trilogy that follows a haunted Puerto Rican soldier from North Philadelphia to Iraq and back, opens Sept. 3 and runs through Oct. 15 at 1080 Acoma St. In a far corner of the internet, the soldier's mother leads a chat room for recovering drug addicts. From behind their screens, these individuals forge a bond as strong as blood. Off the computer, however, the mother’s real-life family is falling apart. Her son has returned from Iraq both physically and emotionally broken, and the family’s matriarch is dying of cancer. The accomplished cast includes DCPA masters graduate Gabriella Cavellero, Abner Genece, Damon Guerrasio, William Hahn, GerRee Hinshaw, Thony Mena and DCPA Teaching Artist Jenna Moll Reyes.

    4 PerspectivesA September WilsonsTartuffe marks the launch of the Arvada Center's new resident theatre company from Sept. 30-Nov. 6 in the studio theatre. Moliere's famous farce, directed by Lynne Collins, mercilessly and mirthfully skewers hypocrites and the fools who believe in them. The all-star local cast includes DCPA favorites Sam Gregory and Leslie O'Carroll (A Christmas Carol); Michael Morgan, Sean Scrutchins, Emily Van Fleet, Kate Gleason, Anthony Adu, Josh Robinson and DCPA Teaching Artist and Cult Following improv-comedy expert Jessica Austgen. This production includes a delicious casting twist. O'Carroll will miss the final two weeks of performances to begin her latest turn as Mrs. Fezziwig at the DCPA. At that point, her big-shot husband Steve Wilson (Producing Artistic Director of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center and also a graduate of the DCPA's National Theatre Conservatory), will take over O'Carroll's role as Madame Pernelle - which ought to be tons of fun. 

    5 PerspectivesIn Off-Center's one-night-only This is Modern Art, a special collaboration with Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin, graffiti artists set out to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. This performed reading includes a DJ and spoken-word poetry on Sept. 15 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, located on the corner of 15th and Delgany streets.

    6 PerspectivesLaura Slack Chavez Miscast 2015. Photo by John MooreLast week, the Denver Actors Fund passed the $50,000 mark in funds distributed to Colorado artists in situational medical need. The non-profit's major annual fundraiser is Miscast, where some of the local theatre community’s top performers sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legitimate stage. (Check the lineup here.) The Sept. 26 party, hosted by Damon Guerrasio and Eric Mather, will include audience games and prizes valued at more than $1,200. At the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    7 PerspectivesAnd here's a shout-out to the courageous who dare to present a new and unknown play during the biggest and busiest month of the new theatre season. The oddly titled dark comedy theMumblings tells of the marriage between a gay children’s performer and a straight anthropologist. Accomplished area actors Lauren Bahlman and Matthew Blood-Smyth play the couple as well as the many characters in their lives. New York playwright Dan Kitrosser's story deals with the vitality of self-love, non-traditional marriage and overcoming fear in the wake of sexual assault. Plays Sept. 24-Oct. 8 at The Bakery, 2132 Market St.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are more theatre openings in Setember than there are days in the month. Here are all your options in one handy list:  

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    A September BuntportSept. 1-11, 2016 Upstart Crow's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    Sept. 2-24, 2016: Buntport Theater's Middle Aged People Sitting in Boxes (pictured right)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Sept. 2-10: Aurora Fox's Final Fight of the Freedom Fighter
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org

    Sept. 2-24: The Avenue Theater's The Money Shot
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Sept. 2-Nov. 5: Midtown Arts Center's Motones vs. Jerseys
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Sept. 2-Oct. 1: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre’s Million Dollar Quartet
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Sept. 2-24: Thin Air Theatre Company's The Foreigner
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Sept. 3-Oct. 15: Curious Theatre's Water by the Spoonful
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    Sept. 4-26: The Bug Theatre's Miss Witherspoon
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info

    Sept. 8-Oct. 1: OpenStage Theatre Company’s La Bête
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Sept. 9-Oct. 2: Arvada Center’s Sister Act
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Sept. 9-Oct. 9, 2016: Town Hall Arts Center's Once Upon a Mattress
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Sept. 9-Nov. 12: BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2! (#WhatDidIComeInHereFor)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Sept. 9-Oct. 16: Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Sept. 9-24:  Funky Little Theater Company’s Trash
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    Sept 9-25: Performance Now’s Bye Bye Birdie
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performancenow.org

    Sept. 9-25: StageDoor Theatre's Steel Magnolias
    25797 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-838-0809 or stagedoortheatre.org  

    Sept. 10-25: TheatreWorks' Constellations
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Sept. 16-Oct. 16: DCPA Theatre Company's The Glass Menagerie
    Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Sept. 16-Oct. 8: Catamount Theatre ‘s The Taming
    At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826, 720-468-0487 or thecatamounts.org

    September Evergreen ChoraleSept. 16-Oct. 9: Evergreen Chorale’s My Fair Lady (pictured right)
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org

    Sept. 16-Oct. 16: Germinal Stage-Denver's The Tracks Home
    At the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    Sept. 16-Oct. 30: Vintage Theatre's Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, The Musical
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Sept. 16-Oct. 23: Vintage Theatre's The Oldest Boy (with Theatre Esprit Asia)
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Sept. 16-25: Longmont Theatre Company's I Ought To Be In Pictures
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Sept. 16-Oct 1: Millibo Arts Theatre's Oddville: Happiness Comes in a Cardboard Box
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org

    Sept. 17-Oct. 16, 2016: BiTSY Stage’s The Fortune Teller's Fortune: A Tale From Nicaragua
    1137 S. Huron St. Denver, 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com (Admission is free)

    Sept. 22–Nov. 13, 2016: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s Evita
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970) 744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Sept. 23-Oct. 9: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Grace Gamm Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org

    Sept. 23-Oct. 2: square product theatre company and CU Theatre & Dance's 44 Plays for 44 Presidents
    University Theatre, University of Colorado-Boulder campus, 303-492-8008 or colorado.edu

    Sept. 23-Oct. 16: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Shear Madness
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Sept. 24-Oct. 8: Wide Eyed West’s theMumblings
    At The Bakery, 2132 Market St., wideeyedproductions.com

    Sept. 24-Oct. 16: Bas Bleu's The Blue Flower
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Sept. 27-Oct 9, 2016: Roundabout Theatre Company’s Cabaret 
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Sept. 30-Oct. 30: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Sept. 30-Nov. 6: Arvada Center’s Tartuffe
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Sept. 30-Oct. 16: Inspire Creative & Parker Arts Monty Python's Spamalot
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker 303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

    Sept. 30-Oct. 30: Thin Air Theatre Company's Cripple Creep Show
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Sept. 30-Oct. 15, 2016: Thunder River Theatre Company’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
    67 Promenade, Carbondale, 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Sept. 2: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Almost Maine
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Sept 3: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Little Women
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Sept. 3: BDT Stage's Footloose
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Through Sept. 3: Equinox Theatre Company's The Toxic Avenger: The Musical
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com

    A September FrankieThrough Sept. 4: Germinal Stage-Denvers The Road to Mecca
    At the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    Through Sept. 4: Vintage Theatre ‘s Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune (pictured right)
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through Sept. 4: Breckenridge Backstage's Hairspray
    At the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Through Sept. 4: Creede Repertory Theatre's The History Room
    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Through Sept. 11: DCPA Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera
    At the Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through Sept 11: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Wizard Of Oz
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com 

    Through Sept. 17: Creede Repertory Theatre's Private Lives

    124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org

    Through Sept. 18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's First Date
    At the Outlets at Silverthorne, 246-X Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Through Sept. 24: Spotlight Theatre's Suddenly Last Summer (pictured right)
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Sept. 25: The Edge Theatre Company's Murder Ballad
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Through Oct. 2: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Oklahoma
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Photo credits: 'The Taming,' provided by The Catamounts; Leslie O'Carroll and Steve Wilson of 'Tartuffe,' by John Moore; Laura Chavez Slack in 'Miscast 2015,' by John Moore; Erin Rollman in 'Middle Aged People Sitting in Boxes,' provided by Buntport Theater; Colleen Lee as Eliza Doolittle in 'My Fair Lady,' by John Gaudreau; Kelly Uhlenhopp and Andrew Uhlenhopp in 'Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune,' by Christine Fisk/DenverMind Media; Maggy Stacy and James O’Hagan-Murphy in 'Suddenly Last Summer,' by Soular Radiant Photography.

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
    Ongoing productions
    2406 Federal Blvd., Denver, 303-455-1848 or adamsmysteryplayhouse.com

    ARVADA CENTER
    Sept. 15: 40th Anniversary community celebration
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    Sept. 20: Buntport’s attempt at Ted Talks
    Sept. 21: The Narrators (a live storytelling show and podcast)
    Sept. 26: The Great Debate: Food Court vs. People’s Court
    Sept. 30: Untitled at the Denver Art Museum
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    COLORADO SPRINGS THEATREWORKS
    Sept. 18-21: TheatreWorks' The Tempest, a concert reading with Tina Packer
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    OFF-CENTER
    Sept. 15: This is Modern Art, a collaboration with Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin
    At the Museum of Contemporary Art, 15th and Delgany streets
    303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

    Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

    STORIES ON STAGE
    Sept. 18: Dogs vs. Cats
    1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
    A portion of each ticket will be donated to the Denver Animal Shelter
    Performers include DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous, and actors Chip Persons and John Jurcheck

    TOWN HALL ARTS CENTER
    Sept. 26: Miscast 2016, a benefit for the Denver Actors Fund
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Our 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    DPS Shakespeare Festival. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • 2015 True West Award: Rosaline the 1980 Ford F-250 Farm Truck

    by John Moore | Dec 09, 2015
    John Hauser True West Awards
    John Hauser as Romeo. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient: Rosaline the 1980 Ford F-250 Farm Truck
    DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot
    '

    Today’s presenter: 2014 True West Award Winner Kate Gleason


    Kate Gleason, today’s True West Awards Guest Picker, fell hard this year for a performer that was regularly climbed on and trampled in plain sight of nearly 5,000 students who had the temerity to cheer as the poor thing was being beaten by a crowbar.

    What can she say? Gleason has a soft spot for underdogs.

    To clarify: Today’s honoree is a 1980 Ford F-250 farm truck. And her assailants – the actors who perform an abridged version of Romeo & Juliet in, on and around her - call her Rosaline. In Shakespeare's play, Rosaline is the jilted girl Romeo leaves in the dust the second he spies Juliet and ogles her as if she were a 2016 Ram 1500. In school parking lots all over the state, Rosaline is the Denver Center’s new “Theatre Truck,” the central player in DCPA Education's brand-new "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" program.

    Gleason, who parlayed her award-winning performance as a beaten ex-wife in Annapurna for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company into a gig playing the same role in Vienna this year, is just a sucker for a big ol’ truck.

    “But a Shakespearean truck? That transports the world of Verona to area schools? And serves as the central set design? Forget about it,” she said. “That is some serious talent.”

    Video, photos: Our full report on 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot'

    DCPA Education Technical Director Stuart Barr found the beaten beater on Craig’s List and bought it for $650 from a seller who was using it as a farm truck near Johnstown.

    “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” the brainchild of DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous, takes Shakespeare’s most accessible love story out of the classroom and onto the asphalt. Rosaline no longer has her own engine, so this fall she has been hauled to 17 high schools, middle schools and colleges. Once there, a dream team of six DCPA Teaching Artists - John Hauser, Jenna Moll Reyes, Erin Willis, Jessica Austgen, Justin Walvoord and Jacques Morrow - perform a shortened, spare version of Romeo & Juliet that runs about as long as your average algebra class.

    "It makes the play action-packed because people can really hit that truck with blunt force," Watrous said. Because it's not like it will ever be road-ready again. Christine, Rosaline is not.

    After performing the play in the cold or heat as many as four times for different classes, the actors go back to school the next day and introduce students to companion curriculum that relates both to the play and their everyday lives. They ask the students tough, ethically ambiguous hypothetical questions that revolve around teenagers, their parents and issues of privacy and personal responsibility. Such as: “It is true that your parent or caregiver has the right to know your whereabouts at all times?” At first, the students might not know the whole point is to help them better understand the issues at the heart of Shakespeare's play, and how closely they relate to issues that might be troubling them in their real lives. Eventually, they get it.

    The "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" team also includes Classroom Curriculum Directors Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski and Geoffrey Kent (also Fight Director); Set Designer Nick Renaud; Costume Designer Meghan Anderson-Doyle; Sound Designer Frank Haas; with a live accompanying score by Noah Wilson. The sound technician was Max McEwen.

    The program is partially funded by sponsorships from the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Innovate for Good, grant program of the Rose Community Foundation.

    Note: Today's Guest Picker, Kate Gleason, is a member of the DCPA Education acting faculty, but she is not directly involved with the Shakespeare in the Parking Lot program.  

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

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

    The True West Awards began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. This year, DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from around the state over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore's daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

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

    Jessica Austgen. 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.' Photo by John Moore

    Jessica Austgen performs (well, dies) as Tybalt in the back of the fancy truck DCPA Education originally borrowed from crewmember Tyler Stauffer for the pilot program last spring. 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' now performs in, on and around Rosaline, a 1980 Ford F-250 Farm Truck. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

  • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 10 shows to watch

    by John Moore | Sep 04, 2015
    Town Hall Arts Center's 'West Side Story.'

    Town Hall Arts Center's 'West Side Story' opens Sept. 11.



    Theatre never takes a rest in the busy Colorado theatre community, but September is always considered the traditional launch of the theatre season. The NEA recently ranked Colorado first in the nation in per-capita theatre attendance, and while the Denver Center for the Performing Arts plays a major part in that success, so does the work of the approximately 100 theatre companies of all sizes throughout Colorado, as new President and CEO Scott Shiller acknowledged at a local theatre forum on Monday.

    Continuing a September tradition that goes back 16 years, DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore will help mark the opening of the theatre season by offering a quick overview of all DCPA fall shows, as well as 10 intriguing titles on the upcoming theatre calendar outside the arches of the DCPA. These are not the 10 “best"; just 10 intriguing titles that have caught John’s eye as a former Denver Post theatre critic.

    OUR COMPLETE LIST OF SEPTEMBER THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO

    Before we dig in, the 10 fall DCPA offerings (with links to more information on each):

    Through Sept. 13: The Book of Mormon, Buell Theatre
    After record-breaking engagements in 2012 and 2013, the hilariously profane Denver-born tour is back by popular demand for a limited engagement.

    Through Oct. 11: Defending the Caveman, Garner Galleria Theatre

    Enduring,insightful comedy about the ways men and women relate to each other in the  ongoing battle for understanding between the sexes.

    Sept. 9-20: Matilda The Musical, Buell Theatre
    An extraordinary girl, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her destiny.

    Sept. 11-Oct 11: Lookingglass Alice, Stage Theatre
    Imagination soars and laughter and awe abound in this Chicago-born, gravity-defying hit inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.

    Sept. 25-Nov 1: As You Like It, Space Theatre
    Banished lovers Orlando and Rosalind become entangled in a beguiling game of mistaken identity when Rosalind disguises herself as a man.

    Oct. 9-Nov. 15: Tribes, Ricketson Theatre
    Meeting Sylvia causes Billy, deaf since birth, to question what it means to be understood.

    Oct. 13-25, 2015: If/Then, Buell Theatre
    In this tour launch, Broadway superstar Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent, Frozen) will reprise her acclaimed role alongside other original cast members

    Oct. 21-Feb 13, 2016: Cult Following, The Jones
    Off-Center’s signature night of unrehearsed, unscripted theatre features the  quick-thinking talents of some of Denver’s best improv performers.

    Oct. 27, 2015-Feb 21, 2016: Murder For Two, Garner Galleria Theatre
     A musical murder mystery comedy with a twist: One actor investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects - and they both play the piano.

    Nov. 4-29, 2015: Disney's The Lion King, Buell Theatre​
    More than 70 million people have now experienced the Julie Taymor phenomenon. The national tour debuted in Denver a decade ago.



    Any Given Monday

    Vintage Theatre
    Sept. 4-Oct. 25
    Directed by Sam Gilstrap (pictured)
    Sam GilstrapOn the surface, this play sounds like it could be a trifle – it’s described as “a comedy for the men who love football and the women who despise it.” Yet it’s written by Bruce Graham – the same guy who wrote one of the most unsettling plays of the past 20 years in Coyote on a Fence, which was about a racist death-row inmate. So maybe this football romp has some bite. It’s about a good guy whose life is shattered when his wife leaves him for a smooth-talking lothario. A development that doesn’t sit well with his best friend, who takes matters into his own hands.

    More Bruce Graham: Graham’s biggest success outside Coyote on a Fence has been The Outgoing Tide, a “death with dignity” dramedy about a man who wants to ensure his family’s security before his mind is consumed by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s playing Sept. 11-Oct. 12 at the Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins. 



    American Girls
    The Edge Theatre
    Sept. 4-27
    Directed by Angela Astle
    Edge Theatre In a very celebrity-driven culture, two God-fearing teenage girls have their sights set on much bigger things. They want fame, even if it means selling their souls to the devil in the name of the Bible. Their naiveté leads them down a dark and seedy path, forcing them to grow up much too soon. A regional premiere written by Hilary Bettis

    (Photo: Bethany Richardson and Alexis Robbins.) 



    The Flick

    Curious Theatre Company
    Sept. 5-Oct. 17
    Directed by Chip Walton
    John Jurcheck, left, and Laura Jo Trexler. Photo by Michael Ensminger. Polarizing playwright Annie Baker has been called everything from America’s next “it” playwright to the world’s next Harold Pinter. Which means she writes a lot of pauses. The Flick, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, is a short play – on paper – that lasts 3 hours in performance. That’s because Baker is known for writing giant intentional silences into her scripts that seem bent on forcing audiences to confront their discomfort with silence. But is that entertainment … or a psychological experiment? You decide as you follow three sad sacks who work at a run-down old movie house in Massachusetts. This play has been hailed as “an hilarious and heart-rending cry for authenticity in a fast-changing world.” Featuring Christopher Hayes, John Jurcheck, Royce Roeswood and Laura Jo Trexler.
    (Pictured: John Jurcheck, left, and Laura Jo Trexler. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)


    Lonny (Sean Riley) and Dennis (Joel Adam Chavez) in 'Rock of Ages' at the Midtown Arts Center.
    Lonny (Sean Riley) and Dennis (Joel Adam Chavez) in "Rock of Ages" at the Midtown Arts Center.

    Rock of Ages
    Midtown Arts Center, Fort Collins
    Sept. 10-Nov. 29
    Directed by Kurt Terrio
    Midtown is well-known for being first to locally stage some of Broadway’s most popular musicals. In this jukebox musical lark, Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor freely flow in 1987 at one of the Sunset Strip’s last legendary rock venues. A small-town girl (natch) and a big-city rocker fall in love to rock legends of the ’80s such as Styx, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Journey and more.



    Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
    BDT Stage
    Sept. 11-Nov. 14
    Directed by Wayne Kennedy
    Brett AmblerThis easygoing bio-musical Starring Brett Ambler (pictured) tells the true and tragic story of the bespectacled Buddy’s rise to fame, from the 1957 day when “That’ll Be The Day!” hit the airwaves, through his tragic death less than two years later – a moment forever immortalized by Don McLean as “The Day The Music Died.” The score includes 20 Holly hits including: “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “Rave On” and “Raining in My Heart.”




    Saturday Night Fever
    Arvada Center
    Sept. 11-Oct. 4
    Director: Rod Lansberry
    Shannan SteeleThe end of the Arvada Center’s summer musical tradition was an unsettling development, but Broadway spectacle – along with big hair, bell-bottoms and platform shoes – make a big comeback with the regional premiere of the stage adaptation of the classic John Travolta film. Featuring the music of the Bee-Gees, Saturday Night Fever brings back the zeitgeist and volatility of American pop-culture in the 1970s. Starring Ian Campayno and McKayla Marso as Tony ‘n Stephanie Mangano, and featuring local favorites including Emma Martin, Damon Guerrasio, Steven Burge, Tom Borrillo, Sharon Kay White, Adam Estes, Michael Bouchard, RJ Wagner, Shannan Steele (pictured right), Heather Doris, Sarah Rex, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Jenna Moll Reyes and more. Costume design by Mondo Guerra.

    West Side Story
    Littleton Town Hall Arts Center
    Sept. 11-Oct. 11
    ​Directed by Nick Sugar
    Nick SugarTown Hall is revisiting Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece 10 years after a staging that launched Elizabeth Welch (Maria) on her way to The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. This production stars Carolyn Lohr and Jared Ming as the fated lovers, and brings back from 2005 director Nick Sugar, Ronni Gallup (Anita), Kent Randell (Bernardo) and Tim Howard (Riff).

    Northside West Side: The Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is also presenting West Side Story in Johnstown, about 45 miles north of Denver, from Sept. 24 through Nov. 15.

    Still more Sondheim: The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center becomes just the second Colorado company to ever stage Putting It Together (Sept. 10-27), and the Cherry Creek Theatre Company presents Sondheim on Sondheim from Oct. 2-25.


    Emily Paton Davies and DCPA Head of Acting Tim McCracken will star in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Copmpanys 'Outside Mullingar' opening Sept. 17. Photo by Michael Ensminger
    Emily Paton Davies and DCPA Head of Acting Tim McCracken will star in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Outside Mullingar' opening Sept. 17. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    Outside Mullingar
    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Sept. 17-Oct. 11
    Directed by Rebecca Remaly Weitz
    Timothy McCrackenBetsy (the colloquial name for BETC) is the first of what is sure to many companies staging John Patrick Shanley’s latest comedy, which has been described as an Irish Moonstruck. It’s about two stubborn, feuding neighbors who put down their pitchforks and take a chance on later love. Featuring a stellar cast of Emily Paton Davies, DCPA Head of Acting Tim McCracken (pictured right), three-time 2015 Henry Award winner Billie McBride (DCPA's Benediction) and Chris Kendall.  

    More Mullingar: OpenStage & Company of Fort Collins will also stage Outside Mullingar in January.



    Baby with the Bathwater
    Phamaly Theatre Company
    Oct. 8-25 at the Avenue Theater
    Directed by Warren Sherrill
     Trenton SchindeleChristopher Durang’s 1983 absurdist comedy is about parents who are so clueless about even the most basic parenting skills, they think it’s a good idea to give their baby Nyquil. These two are too polite to check the child’s sex (it’s a boy) so they name him Daisy - which leads to all manner of future emotional and personality problems. Phamaly exists to provide performance opportunities to persons with disabilities. The cast includes Micayla Smith, Trenton Schindele, Daniel Traylor, Kimberlee Nanda and Kenzie Kilroy.


    The Explorers Club
    Lone Tree Arts Center
    Oct. 15-24
    Directed by Randal Myler
    photo of Sam GregoryNeil Benjamin’s wildly funny comedy features the madcap adventures of eccentric London-based explorers who are members of a prestigious club. And the looming possibility of a woman assuming the presidency of this club threatens to shake the foundations of the British Empire. This Colorado premiere features a notable cast filled with DCPA favorites including Brad Bellamy, Stephanie Cozart, Sam Gregory, Mark Rubald, Colin Alexander, Randy Moore, Director Randal Myler and Costumer Kevin Copenhaver.  

    OUR COMPLETE LIST OF SEPTEMBER THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO
  • 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' brings Bard to life at Weld Central High

    by John Moore | May 18, 2015

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


    The teaching artists from the Denver Center’s Education Department had some tough questions for the Weld Central High School students. Tough, ethically ambiguous questions that revolved around teenagers, their parents and issues of privacy and personal responsibility.

    At first, the students might not have known the whole point was to help them better understand the issues at the heart of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

    “It is true that your parent or caregiver has the right to know your whereabouts at all times?” asked DCPA teaching artist Erin Willis. The students were told to register their opinions by getting up and walking to one side of the classroom or the other. About half gathered together on the yes side, the other on the no side.

    “Sometimes it’s better for the parents not to know,” one student said bluntly - and honestly. 

    The questions then got grayer, and the conversations got deeper. Minds were made up, changed and then changed back again as they debated questions such as:

    • “Love at first sight is a myth.”
    • “Going behind someone’s back can be necessary.”
    • “Holding a grudge is a sign of strength.”
    • “The only appropriate punishment for murder is death.”
    • “Parents should be held responsible for their child’s actions.”

    And then this: “Does your parent have the right to install a tracker on your cell phone?” Nearly every student banded together on the side that said “no.”

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot 300 1But what if your parent came to you asking for help with your troubled sibling? He’s been distant, angry and and even violent. You’ve discovered he’s been spending lots of time on disturbing web sites that show photos of mutilated pets. You’re afraid he might hurt himself, or others. And much of the time, you have no idea where he is.

    Now would you help your parent install a tracker on your brother’s phone? Some of the "no's" now said "yes."

    This was no ordinary school day in sleepy Weld County, located 40 miles northeast and a world away from Denver. It’s a rural town in Keenesberg where, sophomore Julissa Garcia said, a fun Friday night for the cool kids means “bonfires, beer and a field.” The nearest movie theatre is a half-hour away in Brighton. 

    And this was no quick, in-an-out visit from the big-city theatre teachers from Denver. This was a team of actors, teachers and staff spending two full days fully interacting with dozens of mighty Rebels from Weld Central High.


    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. All our photos are downloadable for free in a variety of sizes from our Flickr account here. All rights reserved.


    The first, sweaty day was a real endurance test. The cast of six young professional  actors performed an abridged, hour-long performance of Romeo and Juliet for about three dozens students in the school parking lot. Then, after only a five-minute break, they did the whole play again for a new batch of Rebels. They performed it four times  in all that day on hot asphalt made hotter by an 80-degree May day.

    This was the launch of a new DCPA Education pilot program called “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.” The production was spare, performed by just six actors entirely on and around a white pickup truck that actor John Hauser likened to “a theatrical jungle gym.” But the play – directed by DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous and performed by Hauser, Jessica Austgen, Jacques Morrow, Jenna Moll Reyes, Justin Walvoord and Erin Willis, made its impact. Junior Jessica McClure managed to sneak out for three of the four performances, which included live, original musical accompaniment by Denver School of the Arts grad Noah Wilson.

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot quote 1"The actors are stellar on the stage and stellar in the classroom - and that is a hard, beautiful combination to find," Watrous said. 

    Watrous picked Romeo and Juliet in part because the play is included in the State Board of Education’s Common Core State Standards. “So we can venture to guess that the majority of the students in Colorado have read it by the ninth grade,” Watrous said.

    Reading the play is one thing, “but we know that Shakespeare really comes alive when it is spoken,” Watrous added. “It is meant to be performed.” Or, as Weld Central High School English teacher Iris Mesbergen put it: “Yes, our ninth-graders read it. But without being able to see it live ... how can they see how the story breathes?”

    Senior Bella Schroeder really can’t see how Romeo and Juliet could have fallen THAT much in love in just three days. But of one thing she is sure. “I understand the play a lot better now that I have seen it,” she said. “It just made a lot more sense.” 

    And when you understand the play – any play – then you can dig deeper into it.

    The next day, the DCPA team was back leading probing (indoor!) classroom activities that began with the students exploring universal frustrations with their own parents. 

    “Once the play comes off the page and they really get to see it in front of them, it’s so much more relatable to their real lives,” said Hauser, who played Romeo.

    As the classroom conversations continued, it became evident that similarly ineffectual communication in the houses of Capulet and Montague directly led to the bloody deaths of all sorts of people in Shakespeare’s most romantic tragedy. 

    “By the end of the story, we are left with a whole pile of dead bodies because these two teenagers weren’t really parented correctly,” said actor and DCPA teaching artist Jessica Austgen. “The Montagues let Romeo run all over town doing whatever he wanted, and the Capulets kept Juliet under lock and key. These are the two extremes of the spectrum. How could that have been prevented?”

    Senior Bella Schroeder had a suggestion that tied both days together nicely. 

    “If we could have put a tracker on Romeo back in the day, then we could have saved a lot of people from dying,” she said.  

    It was a source of great pride among the Weld Central students that their school was chosen to be the first to host “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.”

    “This is a poor little school no one knows about,” Schroeder said. “Today it feels just a little bigger. It’s like people care about us.”

    Teacher Iris Mesbergen said even though Denver’s many cultural attractions are less than an hour away, “many of the students just don’t have the economic means to go there.” That’s why, added actor Jenna Moll Reyes, “it’s so important that we come into these schools and show them that we want everyone to be exposed to art.”

    And Weld Central students weren’t the only ones who benefited from the DCPA’s visit. Kim Shaffer is a math teacher at the school, and she was never exposed to arts education as a child. “And we never studied Shakespeare in high school, so I’ve never really understood it,” she said. “But seeing these performers tell the story today, I feel like I understand what was happening for the first time.”

    Mesbergen’s classroom is a shrine to Shakespeare. She makes sure to take her students to Denver at least three times a year to soak up as much live theatre as they  can. When the second day of the DCPA's visit was over, she was so elated, she could have been easily mistaken for a fairy from A Midsummer Nights Dream.

    “I feel like I have been dancing all week, Mesbergen said, “but my feet have not touched the ground.”

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot 800 3

    About “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot”

    The “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” pilot program was funded by the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, which has significant oil and gas interests in northeast Colorado, and thus a vested interest in the young citizenry of Weld County. DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous hopes more companies will join in with their support so that the program can travel to more schools next school year.  The eventual goal is to have a DCPA-branded “Theatre Truck” that takes programs like “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” and other theatrical endeavors to schools all around the state.

    More recent coverage of DCPA in the schools
    :
    2015 Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Will Power
    DPS Shakespeare Festival returns with DCPA as new partner
    Grant immerses Denver third-graders in the many worlds of Cinderella
    Video: Lynn Andrews comes home and sings like an (East) Angel
    Matthew Lopez to students: Be citizens. Be informed. Have opinions.
    Denver Center brings Korean teen's take on The Little Mermaid to life
    DaVita Creative Classroom Collaborative: ‘Now I know I am an artist’

    A Shakespeare In The Parking Lot 800 2

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

    DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.