• March openings: Athena rises as 'All My Sons' leaves American Dream in ruins

    by John Moore | Mar 02, 2018
    All My Sons. Emma Messenger. Sam Gregory. Matt Gale Photography

    Emma Messenger and DCPA Theatre Company favorite Sam Gregory (Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol') are currently starring in the Arvada Center's 'All My Sons.' Matt Gale Photography 2018.


    Month-long Athena Project Festival turns March theatre spotlight to women in fields of theatre, music and dance

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company's newly completed Colorado New Play Summit serves as something of a kickoff to a series of Colorado festivals celebrating new work for the American Theatre. Throughout March, the spotlight shifts to the 6th annual Athena Project Arts Festival, which has grown into a massive, citywide celebration of women's voices in theatre, dance, music, comedy and fashion.

    Athena Project 2013The festival's signature program is its Plays In Progress series. Organizers have selected three promising scripts from among 150 submissions for development during the festival: The Buddha’s Wife by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin, Mama’s Eggnog by Angela Stern, and The Golden Hour by Elizabeth Nelson. Each script will get two public workshop readings between March 22 and March 31. In addition, Claire Caviglia's The Inside Child will receive a table read on March 22, and Philana Omorotionmwan's Strong Face will have a concert reading on March 29. Most theatre events will be held at the University of Denver.

    Music highlights will include an open-mic night for female singers on March 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall; and a concert headlined by Megan Burtt and emerging artist Nina de Freitas on March 10. New this year is Cross Pollinations, in which artists from different disciplines are paired together to create a live, original work of art to be presented March 9. Dance events will be held March 17 and 18.

    Tickets range from free to a $35 series pass that gets you into to all three plays, panel discussions and more. Full schedule and more information at AthenaProjectArts.org.

    The Athena Festival, founded by Angela Astle, will be followed by Local Theater Company's Local Lab new-play festival from April 20-22 in Boulder.

    Here are a few more highlights for the coming month in Colorado theatre, followed by a comprehensive list of all your statewide theatregoing options for March. 

    Ten intriguing titles for March:

    NUMBER 1All My Sons. It not only won the first-ever Best Play Tony Award, All My Sons may be Arthur Miller's best play, period. This classic tale is based on the true story of an Ohio manufacturer who sold faulty parts to the U.S. military during World War II. Joe Keller, played by DCPA Theatre Company favorite Sam Gregory, is made to face the true cost of his business choices and their devastating impact on his family. This is the last opening of the Arvada Center's second Black Box Theatre Company season. The big-name cast also includes Emma Messenger, Geoffrey Kent, Kate Gleason, Regina Fernandez, Abner Genece, Zachary Andrews, Jessica Austgen, Lance Rasmussen and youngsters Harrison Hauptman and August Reichert. Runs through May 3 in repertory with Sense and Sensibility and The Electric Baby at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    NUMBER 2Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. Monday, March 5, promises to be an emotional night when Mary Louise Lee revisits her signature role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at the Galleria Theatre. Lee's performing career began in the Galleria (then called StageWest) when she appeared in Beehive at only 18 years old and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. Lee first portrayed the jazz legend with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit — for Shadow Theatre in 2002. She returned to the role in January for this unique co-production with Vintage Theatre that now transfers to the Denver Center. This new production, directed by Betty Hart, will perform on Monday nights only through April 23. Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    NUMBER 3Wisdom from Everything. The latest provocative offering from Boulder's Local Theater Company asks: What you would sacrifice to escape a war? Chicago playwright Mia McCullough's story presents a 19-year-old Syrian who finds herself educating girls in the largest refugee camp in the world — until an older Jordanian doctor offers her an education in exchange for marriage. The primo cast includes Amy Carle (known for her work on "Chicago MED" and for the Goodman and Steppenwolf theatres) and Mehry Eslaminia, who performed in the DCPA Theatre Company's world-premiere play Appoggiatura. March 4-26 at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    NUMBER 4The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. With his trademark mix of soaring intellect and searing emotion, legendary playwright Tony Kushner unfurls an epic tale of love, family, sex, money and politics — all set under the hard-earned roof of an Italian family in Brooklyn. When former longshoreman and Marxist union activist Gus decides to die, his kids come home with a raucous parade of lovers and spouses to find that even the house keeps secrets. Curious Theatre presents the regional premiere of Kushner's 2009 opus with an all-star cast including the return of former DCPA Head of Acting Larry Hecht alongside Dee Covington, Karen Slack, Desirée Mee Jung, Kirkaldy Myers, Anne Oberbroeckling, Emily Paton Davies, Matthew Schneck, Luke Sorge and Brian Landis Folkins. March 17-April 14 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    NUMBER 5 Idris Goodwin 160This is Modern Art. Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval recount the true story of the biggest graffiti bomb in Chicago history. In less than 20 minutes, and in a snowstorm, a stealthy crew spray-painted a 50-foot graffiti piece along the exterior wall of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. The tagging began with the words “modern art” and ended with the phrase “made you look.” The work was sandblasted off the next day, but because the artists had chosen such a high-profile target, the consequences got serious. “They were putting out a challenge,” Goodwin said. “What is modern art? Who gets to decide who a real artist is? And where does art belong?” The all-local cast includes John Jurcheck, Brynn Tucker, Jake Mendes, Robert Lee Hardy, Chloe McLeod and Marco Robinson/ Presented by Off-Center from March 22-April 15 at the Jones Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    NUMBER 6Ugly Lies the Bone. When a newly discharged veteran returns to her native Florida hometown after a disabling third tour in Afghanistan, she discovers that readjusting can be painful and disorienting. Through virtual reality video-game therapy, Lindsey Ferrentino's brave and bracing drama, featuring Missy Moore, examines the restoration of one soldier’s life, relationships and self. Through March 18 at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    NUMBER 7Totally Awesome '80s Ski Town, USA. It's rare to see a fully staged, locally written and produced musical, and this silly new party tuner spoofs goofball ski movies of the '80s and early '90s. The story follows Billy Tanner, a hilariously tortured drifter who wanders into a seemingly quiet ski burg and gets mixed up in saving the town from a greedy oil tycoon while slaloming his way through house parties, Norse gods and strange foreign-exchange students. Writers Charlie Schmidt and Cory Wendling draw from films such as Ski Patrol, Better Off Dead, Hot Dog The Movie and even Footloose. Through March 31 at Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, 121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    NUMBER 8Company. On his 35th birthday, perpetual bachelor Bobby contemplates his unmarried state. Through a series of comical outings with pals and an especially anxious wedding, his friends explain the pros and cons of marriage and relationships. Bobby is forced to examine his adamant retention of bachelorhood during these hilarious arrays of social interactions. The humor is sharp and the music is legendary, written by Stephen Sondheim. Presented by the Evergreen Chorale through March 11 at 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen. 303-674-4002 or EvergreenChorale.org. A portion of ticket sales for the weekend of March 2-4 will benefit the Denver Actors Fund.

    Fun Home: Third staging to open in Colorado Springs

    NUMBER 9Jessica Robblee. Waiting for Obama. Waiting for Obama. Heeding the call from Florida high-school students for a national day of dialogue, marches and protest, the Bas Bleu Theatre will present a community conversation on the prevalence of gun violence in America, followed by a reading of John Moore's play Waiting for Obama about one Colorado family that, like so many others, is deeply divided by polarizing political beliefs. Waiting for Obama was praised at the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival as “a powerful and timely play that depicts the problem of gun violence in the United States in an emotional but often humorous light.” The cast will include Laurence Curry, Chris Kendall, Leslie O’Carroll, Drew Horwitz, Maggy Stacy, John Hauser and Jenna Moll Reyes. Panel at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24, with the reading to follow at 7:30. p.m. Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St. in Fort Collins, CO 80524. Admission is free but donations to the Denver Actors Fund will be accepted. Reservations are strongly encouraged by calling 970-498-8949 or emailing basbleu@basbleu.org.

    NUMBER 10The River Bride. The northern Brazilian locals say the river dolphin found in the Amazon River can transform into human beings in search of their destined life mate. Surely you don't believe that, but ... what if it were true? In this folk tale set alongside the mightiest river in the world, Marisela Treviño Orta's heartrending storytelling blends love, grudges and transformation. Directed Hugo Jon Sayles. March 8-25 at the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org


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

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    DCPA March Mary Louise Lee. Lady Day. Photo by Adams VisComMarch 1-31: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Totally Awesome 80's Ski Town USA
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    March 2-May 3: Arvada Center's All My Sons
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    March 2-18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Ugly Lies the Bone
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    March 2-11: Evergreen Chorale's Company
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org

    March 3-31: Athena Project Arts Festival
    Various locations, 303-219-0882 or athenaprojectfestival.org

    March 2-11: Vintage Theatre's Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    March 3-26: BDT Stage's Always … Patsy Cline
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    March 4-24: Local Theatre Company's Wisdom From Everything
    The Carsen Theater at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    March 5-April 23: DCPA Cabaret's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    March 8-25: Su Teatro's The River Bride
    721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org

    March 8-25: Millibo Art Theatre's The Blow Up
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, themat.org

    Briar-Rose-Ilasiea-L.-Gray-pricks-her-finger-with-Prince-Owain-Austin-Lazek-SLEEPING-BEAUTY-MACC-2018-RDG-Photography-1440x810March 8-May 4: Denver Children's Theatre's Sleeping Beauty
    Public performances 1 p.m. Sundays
    Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 www.maccjcc.org

    March 9-April 1: Theatre Esprit Asia's Coping With America
    At ACAD Gallery, 1400 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-492-9479, or theatre-esprit-asia.org

    March 9-24: Theatrix USA's The Baptism
    At Blanc, 3150 Walnut St., wellattended.com

    March 16-April 8: Evergreen Players’ Love/Sick
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    March 16-25: Inspire Creative's Laughter on the 23rd Floor
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    March 16-25: Longmont Theatre Company's Leaving Iowa
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    March 17-April 14: Curious Theatre's The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    Benjamin Cowhick RDG PhotographyMarch 20-April 1: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Androcles and the Lion (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    March 22-April 15: Off-Center's This Is Modern Art
    Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    March 22-25: Magic Moments' In the Same Boat
    Anschutz Family Theatre at Kent Denver School, 4000 East Quincy Ave, Englewood, 303-575-1005 or magicmomentsinc.org

    March 23-April 8: Performance Now's The Producers
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performancenow.org

    March 23-April 29: Miners Alley Playhouse's The 39 Steps
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    March 23-May 26: Midtown Arts Center's Ragtime
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    March 29-April 22: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Fun Home
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org READ MORE

    March 29-April 8: The Upstart Crow's Playboy of the Western World
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    March 30-May 13: Vintage Theatre's The Audience
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    March 31-April 28: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's The Diary of Anne Frank
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    March 31-April 28: OpenStage's And Then There Were None
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Local Theater. Mehry Eslaminia. Naseem Etemad. Photo by Michael Ensminger
    Naseem Etemad and Regis Jesuit High School graduate Mehry Eslaminia (DCPA Theatre Company's 'Appoggiatura') in Local Theatre's upcoming 'Wisdom from Everything.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through March 3: Grapefruit Lab's JANE/EYRE
    The Bakery, 2132 Market St., eventbrite.com

    Through March 3: Miners Alley Children's Theatre’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through March 4: Miners Alley Playhouse's Fun Home
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com READ MORE

    Through March 4: Bas Bleu Theatre's Waiting for the Parade
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Through March 4: Springs Ensemble Theatre's The Totalitarians
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 80909, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Through March 4: Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Trouble in Tahiti
    At the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through March 10: Coal Creek Theater of Louisville’s Becky Shaw
    Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Through March 10: Thunder River Theatre Company's The Price
    67 Promenade, Carbondale, 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com

    Through March 11: Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Oklahoma
    At the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through March 11: Vintage Theatre's Sleuth (with Lowry's Spotlight Theatre)
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through March 17: Midtown Arts Center's Fun Home
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com READ MORE

    Through March 17: Buntport Theater's The Book Handlers
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Through March 17: Firehouse Theatre's Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com  

    Through March 18: DCPA Theatre Company’s The Great Leap
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through March 18: Aurora Fox's Real Women Have Curves
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    Through March 25: Benchmark Theatre's A Kid Like Jake
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, benchmarktheatre.com

    Through March 25: Town Hall Arts Center's Something’s Afoot
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Through March 25: Midtown Arts Center's Always ... Patsy Cline
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through March 26: Local Theater Company's Wisdom from Everything
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    Through April 22: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through April 1: National touring production of Hamilton
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through April 8: Jester’s Dinner Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Through April 8: The BiTSY Stage’s Jotunheim: A Legend of Thor and His Hammer
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Through April 15: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Kiss Me Kate
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through May 4: Arvada Center's The Electric Baby
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 6: Arvada Center's Sense and Sensibility
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 25: Arvada Center Children's Theatre's Seussical
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Aug. 11: Iron Springs Chateau’s A Precious Bit of the West, or: She Was Simply a Delight!
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

    EVERGREEN CHORALE. Company. Photo by Michael Ensminger

     

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
  • Ongoing productions
  • ARVADA CENTER

  • Wednesday, March 14: The conflicted voices of America's World War I poets will spring to life in this performance written by Colorado Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison and presented by members of the Arvada Center Black Box Repertory Company. This event is part of “Where Do We Go From Here?” a multifaceted statewide event marking the 100th anniversary of World War I. 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $15.
  • AVENUE THEATER

  • Weekends: Comedy Sportz
  • leonard-barrett-jrAURORA FOX ARTS CENTER

    • March 23-24: True West Award-winning performer Leonard E. Barrett Jr. is the featured artist this month in the Aurora Fox's ongoing cabaret series in its studio theatre. Barrett will perform Unforgettable: The Songs of Nat King Cole, a tribute to Cole through story and song.

    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org


    BDT STAGE

    • March 5-6: The Glenn Miller Orchestra

    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com


    BUG THEATRE
    • Thursday, March 15: The Emerging Filmmakers Project, showcasing Denver's indie film scene on the third Thursday of every month.
    • Monday, March 26: Freak Train: Open-mic variety show hosted by GerRee Hinshaw on the final Monday of every month

    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info


    BUNTPORT THEATER

    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com


    THE 39 STEPSDENVER ACTORS FUND

    • Sunday, March 4: Watch the biggest night of the year for movies on the big screen with Denver7 at Alamo Drafthouse Denver. Arrive around 5 p.m. in BarFly for your own red carpet, paparazzi, and more before for food, drinks and fun for everyone i the theatre. Your ticket includes a glass of champagne (or sparkling cider) and a donation to the Denver Actors Fund. Choose your preferred seating

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com

    • Sunday, March 11: Screening of the film The 39 Steps with live entertainment from Miners Alley Playhouse's s upcoming comical stage adaptation of the Hitchcock classic. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7. Choose your preferred seating

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com

    • Saturday, March 24: Waiting for Obama. Community conversation on the prevalence of gun violence in America, followed by a reading of John Moore's play about a Colorado family deeply divided by polarizing political beliefs. Panel at 6:30 p.m. with the reading to follow at 7:30. p.m. Admission is free but donations to the Denver Actors Fund will be accepted. 
    At Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins. Reservations are strongly encouraged by calling 970-498-8949 or emailing basbleu@basbleu.org

    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
  • Tuesday, March 20: The Magic of Adam Trent
      At the Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

  • LOCAL THEATER COMPANY
  • Sunday, March 18: LocalREADS encourages a community-wide reading of a book with complementary themes to Local Theater Company's current production. First up: Helen Thorpe’s The Newcomers as a companion to Local's world premiere production of Wisdom From Everything. Read the book, see the play at 4 p.m. and stay for the conversation after the show.

    At the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or tickets.thedairy.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
    • Sunday, March 18: Wild Women. Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month: Rhonda Lee Brown, Allison Watrous and Betty Hart perform stories by and about women - unconstrained, fun-loving and living large. 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive,  303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
    (Program repeats on Saturday, March 24 at the Dairy Center in Boulder)
  • 2017 True West Award: Logan Ernstthal

    by John Moore | Dec 21, 2017

    LOGAN ERNSTTHAL 2017 True West Award 2

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 21: Logan Ernstthal

    Creede Repertory Theatre
    Miners Alley Playhouse
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Logan Ernstthal is a big, burly, bearded mountain man of an actor with a glare as intimidating as the spelling of his last name. He is known for being versatile, ever-prepared and always collaborative. But also serious. … Super serious.

    Yeah, that’s what John Hauser thought, too, when the two began rehearsals for Miners Alley Playhouse’s A Skull in Connemara. Hauser quickly realized the big guy is really just a big kid at heart.

    “The first time Logan got a hammer in his hand and started pounding on some skulls, he was like a 5-year-old, he was having so much fun,” Hauser said.

    A Creede Repertory Theatre2017 was a remarkable year for Ernstthal for the dual opportunity to star in both Martin McDonagh’s dark-to-blood-red comedy A Skull in Connemara in Golden, followed by the world premiere of Colorado playwright Brian WatkinsGeneral Store to finish up his 10th summer season with the Creede Repertory Theatre. He rounded out his full year nicely with roles in the antique comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, the period romantic musical She Loves Me, the Chekhov adaptation Wild Honey and the boutique play Enchanted April.

    That eclectic slate tells General Store Director Christy Montour-Larson Ernstthal is an everyman kind of an artist with many colors on his palette. “He can be very funny, he can be very scary, he can be charming and he can break your heart,” she said. "He reminds me of James Gandolfini in that way.”

    (Photo above and right: Logan Ernstthal and Stuart Ryder in Creede Repertory Theatre's  'General Store.' Photo by John Gary Brown.)

    A Skull in Connemara and General Store offered big, meaty and physically demanding roles in two wildly different mysteries that actually had more in common than meets the eye. Ernstthal played Mike in one, Mick in the other. One had flying skulls and bloody hatchets; the other had axes, bear traps and a huge mysterious metaphor that was making all kinds of racket under the floorboards of Mike’s faltering general store on the Eastern plains of Colorado.

    In Skull, directed by Billie McBride, Ernstthal played an Irish gravedigger who comes under suspicion over his possible involvement in his wife’s sudden death seven years before. Westword’s Juliet Wittman said Ernstthal’s Mick “is convincing from his earliest moments — a quiet and apparently reasonable man with something threatening and unspoken at his core.”

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    John Hauser and Logan Ernstthal. A Skull in Connemara. Miners Alley Playhouse. Photo  by Sarah Roshan.
    (Above: John Hauser and Logan Ernstthal in 'A Skull in Connemara' for Miners Alley Playhouse. Photo by Sarah Roshan.)


    In General Store, whatever is lurking under Mike's floorboards is getting louder — and hungrier. Mike is a decent, hardworking friend and father trying to stave off the ravenous creature below. And if that makes Mike the American Dream in Watkins’ metaphor (and it does), you can infer what the insatiably, greedy creature below might represent.

    “Brian has written a play that’s about the fear of uncertainty,” Montour-Larson said. “It doesn’t matter how much work the little guy puts in day in and day out — in this world, he going to get screwed over by the system.”

    Ernstthal calls General Store “a beautiful beast of a play. It’s as if Sam Shepard and the Coen Brothers and Stephen King had a love child.” (I'll add: Raised by the kids from Stranger Things.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    By the time the play ended each night, Montour-Larson said, “Logan was physically and mentally exhausted. He hoists, he pulls, he grapples, he goes down into the pit. He even gets squirted in the face with bile.”

    That's an underrated skill for an actor, Montour-Larson said: The ability to perform seamlessly with the demands of a show as technically challenging as General Store. Ernstthal had to be in perfect sync with everything from sound and light cues to a snapping bear trap, or the staging would lose all believability.

    "As the play becomes more parabolic each minute it goes on, so do the technical and acting challenges," Montour-Larson said. 

    Oh, and did we mention? The guy can dance. “In fact, I think it’s his ability as a dancer that makes him capable of so much physical exertion in our play,” Montour-Larson said.

    That’s just one reason Ernstthal is so widely thought of “an actor’s actor,” said playwright Jeff Carey, a graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory masters program.

    “He can play anything," said Carey. "What makes him so specific is that he immerses himself in every role. More than that — he actually becomes the role.”

    Montour-Larson, who directed the world premiere of the DCPA Theatre Company’s Two Degrees in January, has worked with pretty much all of the top actors in the Colorado theatre community. “And I found Logan to be one of the most talented actors I’ve ever worked with,” she said.


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



    Video bonus: Logan Ernstthal talks about General Store:

    Featured actor in the video above: Logan Ernstthal


    Logan Ernstthal: 2017

    • Mick Dowd in A Skull in Connemara for Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Frederick in Enchanted April at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
    • Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace for Creede Repertory Theatre
    • Zoltan Maraczek in She Loves Me for Creede Repertory Theatre
    • Mike in General Store for Creede Repertory Theatre
    • Porfiry Seyonovich Glagolyev in Wild Honey at Colorado Springs TheatreWorks

    Logan Ernstthal is from Darien, Conn, and studied theatre at Ithaca College in New York and the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He also has performed in Colorado forColorado Springs TheatreWorks, Colorado Shakespeare Festival (Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night; Lord Stanley in Richard III and Long John Silver in Treasure Island. He also was an understudy for three roles in the DCPA Theatre Company's The Three Musketeers.  

    About The True West Awards: '30 Days, 30 Bouquets'
    The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore's daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards


  • 2017 True West Award: Chris Kendall

    by John Moore | Dec 15, 2017
    2017 True West Award Chris Kendall

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 15: Chris Kendall

    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Vintage Theatre
    Benchmark Theatre

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Chris Kendall has an Everyman quality that not every man has.

    And it served the veteran actor well in 2017 when he played, essentially, every man in the history of time in An Iliad. And again as a lonely widower tending to a dingy South Philadelphia bar in Stella and Lou. And again as an aging father attempting to bridge a gap with his adult daughter in Birds of North America. And again as a grieving old Colonel whose encroaching dementia is picking off memories like apples off a tree in the current Smokefall (through Dec. 23).

    Chris Kendall Emma Messenger John MooreAs an actor, Kendall can play just about anyone. He is as sturdy as an oak, as honest as Abe and as reliable as a Rolex. Although he’d probably prefer we say “Timex,” because the one thing Kendall is not is flashy.

    To Emma Messenger, acting with Kendall “is like acting with a unicorn.” OK, so invoking a sparkly, mythical horned creature puts perhaps a too-fanciful spin on this particular point, but hear her out:

    “There is something so magical about the way Chris lives in the world of a play,” she said. "You always feel you’re in the presence of something alive, and that anything could happen.”

    Messenger was Kendall’s scene partner in Vintage Theatre’s charming two-hander Stella and Lou, which was so well-received in 2016 that this year the pair took it on the road to the Dairy Center in Boulder and the Barth Hotel in Denver as a benefit for Senior Housing Options. (Photo at right by Christine Fisk.)

    Lou is Kendall’s kind of guy: A simple man whose compacted grief has him retreating further into his loneliness — until sweet Stella enters the bar.

    Kendall tends to make his biggest impressions as an actor when he goes small. He’s just so natural and unassuming in the way he carries himself on a stage that sometimes you forget he’s playing a role. Ironic then, that after years of steady and reliable performances on stages all over Colorado, he delivered perhaps the crowning achievement of his career this year in a performance that was of — literally —  mythological proportions.

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    True West Awards Chris Kendall Iliad Michael Ensminger
    Chris Kendall in 'Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's An Iliad at the Dairy Arts Center. Photo by Michael Ensminger. 


    An Iliad
    , staged by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, is a one-man retelling of Homer’s epic poem. And a one-man meditation on perpetual American conflicts from Boston to Colorado Springs. Kendall, known only as The Poet, presents himself in the present day as a tired old garbageman long cursed like Midas to wander the centuries telling his cautionary, first-hand account of the Trojan War until such a time when mankind actually heeds his lessons and puts an end to war itself.

    But as we know only all too well, war has been a constant throughout recorded history. And as America continues to be mired in the longest war in its history, we have little reason to believe it ends here.

    In making The Poet’s case, Kendall transcended time and type. He delivered a physical, raging performance that rattled the cages of all who saw it — and perhaps a few long-disintegrating bones left scattered over time throughout the battlefields of history.

    “The biggest challenge for Chris was that the role is just such a monstrosity,” said his director, Stephen Weitz. “It’s an incredibly physical, emotional, draining role that requires not only stamina but 100 percent, absolute commitment at all times. Chris was out there on the wire all by himself.”

    Writing for getboulder.com, Beki Pineda said Kendall was just right for the challenge. "He has the stature, the age and the gravitas to pull it off," she said. "Like Odysseus, The Poet is an old soldier who just wants to go home. His genuine fatigue and disillusionment lend a poignancy to his mission. This is a tour-de-force performance that holds you by the heart until Kendall lets you go."

    Had Kendall left the stage after An Iliad and never come back, it would have been the theatrical equivalent of Elway walking off the field after winning his second straight Super Bowl and never returning. But that Kendall came back to BETC just a few months later to play a stoic old birder only demonstrates his sweeping range.

    "His simplicity on stage can also be heartbreaking," said Lindsey Pierce, who played Kendall's daughter in the world premiere of the modest two-hander called Birds of North America by Anna Moench.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Kendall, who graduated from the abandoned old Cathedral High School in downtown Denver and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, is presently wrapping up his triumphant year playing another heartbreakingly specific old man whose greatness has been gradually robbed by time in Noah Haidle’s Smokefall, one of the richest new paintings of an American family in years. It’s a fanciful play but deeply rooted in relatable family dynamics.

    Chris Kendall Smokefall McLeod9CreativeKendall plays a loving old military man who goes out for his daily walk and never comes home, leaving his pregnant daughter to forever wonder if simply he got lost, or simply lost her. The five-person play, running through Dec. 23 at Buntport Theater, is a comparative epic for Kendall considering he only shared the stage with three actors in his three preceding 2017 plays combined.

    (Pictured right: Chris Kendall, Sarai Brown and John Hauser in Benchmark's 'Smokefall.'  Photo by McLeod9Creative.)

    “One of the things I've loved most about working with Chris is that he's always willing to play in rehearsal,” said Smokefall director Rachel Rogers. “He creates a fun rapport with his castmates. He comes into the first rehearsal already performance-ready, but he continues to refine his characters with an honest nuance.”

    If there is a commonality to the four indelible old men Kendall portrayed this year, it’s perhaps their accumulated sorrow and fatigue over time. But the difference between The Poet and The Colonel is as stark as the difference between macro and micro. Kendall clearly can do both large and small … and everything in-between.

    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.

    Chris Kendall 2017: 

    • The Poet in An Iliad, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Lou in Stella and Lou, Vintage Theatre

      (At the Dairy Center in Boulder and the Barth Hotel in Denver)

    • John in Birds of North America, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Colonel/Johnny in Smokefall, Benchmark Theatre (through Dec. 23 at Buntport Theater)
    • Lou in Stella and Lou, Vintage Theatre

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards

  • 2017 True West Award: White Rabbit Red Rabbit

    by John Moore | Dec 13, 2017
    True West Awards 2017 White Rabbit Red Rabbit

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 13: White Rabbit Red Rabbit

    Pipedream Productions, Denver
    Star Bar Players, Colorado Springs


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Imagine walking into a theatre and having no idea what you were about to see.

    Now imagine being an actor walking onto a stage and having no idea what you were about to say.

    Now imagine being a 29-year-old playwright forbidden to leave your country.

    Those three imaginings were all realities that informed the most intriguing theatrical experiment of the Colorado theatre year: White Rabbit Red Rabbit.

    White Rabbit Red RabbitThat’s the name of a very meta, one-actor play written by Nassim Soleimanpour in 2010, when he was jailed in his native Iran for refusing to perform two years of required military service. Because he could not leave the country, Soleimanpour sent White Rabbit Red Rabbit out into the world like a message in a bottle, hoping someone might find it and perform it. Knowing that even if anyone did, he would probably never see it performed himself.

    “This was his way of traveling the world, essentially,” Dylan Clements-Mosley, Executive Director of Star Bar Players, told the Colorado Springs Independent.

    Adding to the intrigue: Soleimanpour included some party rules for every interested theatre company to follow: No director, no set and a different actor for every performance. The script must remain sealed until that night’s guinea rabbit, er, actor, enters the stage and begins to read aloud the 40-page script, which includes specific tasks for the narrator and audience to follow.

    We’d love to tell you more about the narrative’s twists and turns, but the biggest rule of Rabbit Club, as you might expect: No one talks about Rabbit Club.

    Now you might naturally assume from the playwright’s circumstances that his play must be a damning political screed. It turns out to be more of a thoughtful, allegorical rumination on many different ways we live in closed worlds. Starting with a playwright who is trapped in a cage — and an actor who is, in many ways, trapped on a stage.

    Sending the play out in the playwright’s stead, said acclaimed Denver actor Emma Messenger, “was like setting a balloon free into the atmosphere — and you have no idea where it will end up.”

    But it turns out, the balloon ended up on dry land throughout the world.  Over the past seven years, more than a thousand actors have performed White Rabbit Red Rabbit, including Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, Martin Short, F. Murray Abraham, Cynthia Nixon, Stephen Rea and John Hurt.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    It ended up in Colorado for the first time this year when two very different companies accepted the challenge to stage it: Pipedream Productions, made up of five unafraid youngsters from the University of Denver who took it on as just their company's second production; and the venerable band of Colorado Springs renegades known as the Star Bar Players.

    True West Awards 2017 White Rabbit QuoteThe DU whippersnappers assembled an ambitious roster of 21 actors any local casting director would drool over, including Messenger, Mare Trevathan, Luke Sorge, Adrian Egolf, John Hauser and Meridith C. Grundei (for starters). Clements-Mosely and wife Alysabeth Clements Mosley adopted a diverse, 10-show slate that included a mix of well-known Colorado Springs actors (Hossein Forouzandeh, Lynne Hastings), as well as community leaders such as the outspoken Rev. Dr. Nori Rost of All Souls Unitarian Church.

    That Pipedream Associate Artistic Director Ashley Campbell didn’t know Messenger didn’t stop her from asking the actor who has as many local theatre awards as Streep has Oscars. Messenger’s two-word, email response: “How terrifying!” Quickly followed by a terrified "yes."

    And it was terrifying, Messenger admits. “Until you actually stepped onstage,” she said. “And then, all of a sudden it became this instant connection between you and the audience and this unseen playwright whose words took on a life of their own.”

    True West Award White Rabbit Ashley Campbell At one point, Messenger said, “It got emotional for me, and it became hard to say the lines. It was like we were puppets. And the playwright was pulling the strings not only across continents, but through time.”

    The mission of the Pipedream collective, which includes Campbell (pictured right), Alexis Robbins, Tony Ryan, Trevor Fulton and Katie Walker, is to push the boundaries of the stage while bringing attention to notable causes. Both were accomplished with this self-funded undertaking — all proceeds went to three local charities that fight for animal rights, immigrant rights and free speech, respectively. (Just to give you another clue about the play’s themes.)

    2017 True West Award White Rabbit Jihad MilhemIn all, about 500 curiosity-seekers came out to see one of Pipedream’s 21 performances —  and many of those returned again and again to see how the tone and impact varied according to each narrator’s commitment and passion.  Campbell said audience members regularly milled around for an hour after each performance talking about the experience with the designated actor and fellow audience members. (Pictured above: Jihad Milhem.)

    By the way, the playwright eventually was freed and left Iran in 2013 for London, where he saw White Rabbit Red Rabbit for the first time. And because Soleimanpour has violated the rules of Rabbit Club and given away the ending of his own play in various YouTube videos, it’s not all that much of a betrayal here to say that the possibility of suicide is, understandably, one of the narrator's many touchpoints. And that’s the part that hit Campbell the hardest.

    2017 True West Award White Rabbit Adrian Egolf“There is this point in the play when he lists all these different ways you can commit suicide,” Campbell said, “and the last method he lists is 'suicide by life.' That was really meaningful to me because while we are all living, we are also all dying. And here was this writer who could not leave Iran — but he did not let that prevent him from doing what he loved.

    "There is something so magical about how you can create something when you are confined, and yet it still can be seen all over the world — even if you are not part of it.”

    White Rabbit, Red Rabbit was an ambitious theatrical experiment, an audacious social experiment, and a potent reminder of the power of spontaneous theatre.

    And as they sang in the Broadway musical Urinetown, you know — don't be the bunny.

    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.

    Pipedream Productions' Denver lineup: 

    • Adrian Egolf
    • Meridith C. Grundei
    • Luke Sorge
    • Anthony Adu
    • Emma Messenger
    • Ilasiea Gray
    • Ben Hilzer
    • Andrew Uhlenhopp
    • Erik Fellenstein
    • Jihad Milhem
    • Julie Wolf
    • John Hauser
    • Kelly Uhlenhopp
    • Sean Michael Cummings
    • Anne Penner
    • Chloe McLeod
    • Jonathan Edward Brown
    • Jeff Jesmer
    • Cooper Braun
    • Mare Trevathan
    • Susannah McLeod

    The Star Bar Players' Colorado Springs lineup:

    • Rev. Nori June Rost
    • Hossein Forouzandeh
    • Phil Ginsburg
    • Lynne Hastings
    • Stoney Bertz 
    • John Hazlehurst
    • Bob Morsch
    • Omid D Harrison
    • Jodi Papproth
    • Michael Lee

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards

  • November promises to be a 'Disaster' on at least one area stage

    by John Moore | Nov 01, 2017

    From left: Peter Henry Bussian, Adeline Mann and Erik Fellenstein in Local Theater Company's 'The Rape of the Sabine Women,' playing through Nov. 19 in Boulder. Photo by George Lange.

    Curious goes to war over a photograph, monthly cabaret at the Aurora Fox, and The Edge makes a final Resolution

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


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Five intriguing titles for November:

    NUMBER 1November Disaster Disaster! The Musical! This silly new Broadway musical farce has adventurous fun at the expense of disaster films such as Earthquake, Jaws and The Poseidon Adventure. It's 1979, and New York's A-listers are lining up for the opening of a floating casino and discotheque. B-listers include a fading disco star, a nightclub singer with 11-year-old twins, a pair of wild and crazy guys and a nun with a gambling addiction.The score includes familiar pop tunes of the era including "Knock on Wood," "Hooked on a Feeling" and "I Am Woman." Written by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick. The evening grows more giddily ridiculous with every scene. Presented Nov. 10-Dec. 2 by Equinox Theatre Company at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    NUMBER 2Body of an American. Dan O'Brien's provocative new play, presented by Curious Theatre Company, speaks to a moment in recent history when the single, stark photograph of the body of an American being dragged from the wreck of a Blackhawk through the streets of Mogadishu reshaped the course of global events. O’Brien explores the ethical and personal consequences of this lone image and how it shines a light on deeply personal issues that are relevant to our time and culture. Nov. 4-Dec. 9: at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    NUMBER 3Flowers in the Desert. And Toto Too, the only Colorado company dedicated exclusively to presenting new works by female playwrights, next presents Donna Hoke's story of a married couple who call it quits after 14 years. Cheater Joe is surprised when, three years later, Britt asks him to try again. But he goes along — until he realizes his ex-wife has a very specific agenda. Starring Libby Arnold and Michael Kennedy. Produced in partnership with the Denver Center at  The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org.

    NUMBER 4Denver DollsAurora Fox monthly cabaret series. The Aurora Fox's continuing series of monthly cabaret offerings in its smaller studio theatre continues with The Denver Dolls presenting their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls are led by frequent DCPA performer Heather Lacy. Nov. 17-18 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    NUMBER 5Resolutions. It's the end of an era for The Edge Theatre Company, which is going into a period of hibernation after the presentation of this world-premiere holiday play by Denver playwright Josh Hartwell, described as  "unique, hilarious, edgy, and terrifying." For the past eight years, three middle-aged couples have gathered, post-Christmas, at a plush, cozy Vail cabin. They exchange white-elephant gifts, make resolutions for the upcoming year and. of course, down a few cocktails.  But this year, something has changed.  Relationships have evolved, and an unexpected guest is an all-too familiar face. Resolutions plays Dec. 1-31 at 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com. Benchmark Theatre will continue to present programming in The Edge's boutique theatre starting in 2018.

    Breakin Convention

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Cline and WynetteNov. 2-18: And Toto Too 's Flowers in the Desert
    At The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org

    Nov. 3-Dec. 17: Vintage Theatre Productions' Honeymoon In Vegas
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 3-18: Cline and Wynette: One More For the Road featuring Chris Whyde and Darren Bell
    At Gladys: The Nosy Neighbor, 500 Santa Fe Drive, 303-893-6112 (tickets available at the door only)

    Nov 4-5: DCPA Broadway’s Breakin’ Convention 2017
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE



    Nov. 4-Dec. 9: Curious Theatre's Body of an American (see video above)
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org 

    Nov. 9-Dec. 10: Cherry Creek Theatre's Beau Jest
    At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    November DCPA. RentNov. 9-19: Lone Tree Arts Center's Love Letters starring Candy Brown and Mark Rubald
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, lone tree’s home page

    Nov. 9-26: Millibo Art Theatre's The Accidental Death of an Anarchist
    1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org

    Nov. 10-Dec. 2: Equinox Theatre Company's Disaster!
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Nov. 10-19: Longmont Theatre Comany's Becky’s New Car
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Nov. 10-Dec. 30: Town Hall Arts Center's Seussical
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.com

    Nov. 11, 2017-April 22, 2018: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 14-19: National touring production of Rent 20th Anniversary Tour
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 14-19: Fivers Inc.'s Dinner at Five
    PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

    Candlelight Beauty Best Nov. 16-Feb. 14: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Beauty and the Beast
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Nov. 17-Dec. 23: Arvada Center's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Nov. 17-Dec. 31: Midtown Arts Center's A Christmas Story
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Nov. 18-Dec.17: Bas Bleu Theatre's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Nov. 18-Feb. 24: BDT Stage's Annie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and DCPA Off-Center's The SantaLand Diaries
    Jones Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org




    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie (see video above)
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org READ MORE

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The Avenue Theater's Santa’s Big Red Sack
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 17: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Murder for Two
    Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 30: Thin Air Theatre Company's Angel of the Christmas Mine
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's The Story of the Nutcracker (children’s)
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 25, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018: Vintage Theatre Productions' Red
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 2017: Firehouse Theater Company’s The Miracle Worker
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com 

    Nov. 28-Dec. 3: National touring production of Chicago
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 30-Dec. 23: TheatreWorks' The SantaLand Diaries
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Dec. 1-31: Edge Theatre Company's Resolutions
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Dec. 1-9: StageDoor Theatre's Cinderella
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Dec. 1-30: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Scrooge, Bah Humbug!
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Nov. 4: Coal Creek Theatre's Shining City
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Through Nov. 4: Phamaly Theatre Company's Vox Phamilia
    At Community College of Aurora, Fine Arts Building, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, 303-340-7529 or brownpapertickets.com

    Through Nov. 4: Iron Springs Chateau's Rocky Horror Picture Show
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com


    Through Nov. 5: The Edge Theater Company's A Delicate Balance (see video above)
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 5: TheatreWorks' Wild Honey
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through Nov. 5: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Music Man
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Nov. 10: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's The Vagrant 2011 REVIEW
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com




    John Hauser. SpotlightThrough Nov. 11: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages (see video above)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 11: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre and Theatre Or's Buyer & Cellar

    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Nov. 11: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's Medea
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com


     

    Through Nov. 11: Midtown Arts Center's Once
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 12: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Birds of North America
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 12: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Bunnicula  (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Explorers ClubThrough Nov. 12: Evergreen Players' The Explorers Club
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    Through Nov. 18: Arvada Center's The Foreigner (black-box theatre)
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Nov 18: DCPA Educaton and Theatre Company's The Snowy Day (children's) Conservatory Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 18: Buntport Theater's Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Through Nov. 18: Theater Company of Lafayette’s Return to the Twilight Zone, a Parody
    At the Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org




    Through Nov. 19: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 19: DCPA Theatre Company's Smart People
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 25: OpenStage's Monty Python's Spamalot
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Through Nov. 26: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Legally Blonde, The Musical
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Through Dec. 17: Anansi: The Itsy BiTSY Spider Stories
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Through Dec. 29: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad (children’s) 
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Dec. 31: Avenue Theater's Comedy Sportz (late nights through December)
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com READ MORE

    Through May 2018: Buntport Theater's Siren Song (ongoing children's series, second Saturdays of every month)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Edgar Allan Poe. Buntport
    Photo courtesy Buntport Theater.

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    AURORA FOX ARTS CENTER

    • Nov. 17-18: The Denver Dolls’ USO/Andrews Sisters tribute

    Studio Theatre, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    BRECKENRIDGE BACKSTAGE THEATRE

    • Nov. 24 and 25: Wine and Song: A Broadway Cabaret

    Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    BUNTPORT THEATRE
    • Wednesday, Nov. 15: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
    • Tuesday, Nov. 21: The Great Debate (monthly)
    CHERRY CREEK THEATRE
    • Nov 17: O, Beautiful, with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra
    At the Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St., 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER AT COLORADO COLLEGE
    • Nov. 3: An Evening with Tom Papa
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    DENVER ACTORS FUND
      Gone_With_The_Wind_Anniversary-05081
    • Sunday, Nov. 19: Screening of the film Gone With the Wind, with live pre-screening entertainment from Anna Maria High, star of the Aurora Fox's upcoming  upcoming stage production of the stage musical Hi-Hat Hattie. Entertainment 5:30 p.m.; film at 6.
    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake. drafthouse.com

    LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY

    • Nov. 10-11: Cabaret Series: Broadway Now and Then
      Featuring Kelly Renoux, Belen Moyano, Andrew Tebo and Jeffery Hyman. Musical Director: Drew Nichols
    Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.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
    • Saturday, Nov. 11: On the Couch (1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
    Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month, Betty Hart reads from The Whole Truth, by Stephen McCauley; Jim Hunt reads from Steve Almond's Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched; Emily Paton Davies reads from Amy Bloom's Psychoanalysis.
  • August theatre in Colorado: Run, 'Rabbit,' run!

    by John Moore | Aug 09, 2017

    White Rabbit Red Rabbit


    Denver, Colorado Springs companies launching month-long runs of a daring play where the actor hasn't read the script.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    August is the month of the rabbit. And, of course, Frozen.

    You know by now that Disney is presenting the stage adaptation of its Broadway-bound musical adaptation of the highest-grossing animated film in history. Performances of Frozen begin at the Buell Theatre on Aug. 17 and continue through Oct. 1.

    On the other end of the temperature scale, one of the hottest theatre topics this month is White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. We'd tell you what his story is about, but there's the trick: No one knows. Or rather, those who do know are asked not to tell.

    August Adrian Egolf 300With no rehearsal, no director and a different actor each night, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is an audacious theatrical experiment and a potent reminder of the power of spontaneous theatre. Because all that awaits each intentionally unprepared sole actor on the stage is a script in a sealed envelope.

    And ... go!

    Two Colorado companies are undertaking this newly popular social experiment, both beginning this Friday night (Aug. 11): The Star Bar Players in Colorado Springs, and the new Pipedream Productions, an upstart crew from the University of Denver. 

    Soleimanpour could not get a passport out of Iran in 2010 because he refused to do national service. So, at age 29, he devised a play that could travel the world without him. He didn't even see it performed himself until 2013.

    White Rabbit. Red Rabbit has been performed by more than a thousand actors around the globe, including Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, Martin Short, F. Murray Abraham, Cynthia Nixon, Stephen Rea and John Hurt. The work, says the official website, “has been called a play. But it’s a lively, global sensation that no one is allowed to talk about. Since Soleimanpour cannot leave Iran, he travels the world through this remarkable work."

    The Denver run starts with a guinea pig, er, rabbit, named Adrian Egolf, who has been seen in DCPA Theatre Company productions of Benediction and Death of a Salesman.

    All proceeds will go to one of three charities, each to be chosen by that performance's given actor: The Colorado Humane SocietyColorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and PEN Center USA. That's animal rights, immigrant rights and free speech. And that may offer a clue about the play's content.

    The Denver lineup: 

    • Friday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.: Adrian Egolf
    • Saturday, Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m.: Meridith C. Grundei
    • Sunday, Aug. 13, 2 p.m.: Luke Sorge
    • August John HauserThursday, Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m.: Anthony Adu
    • Friday, Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m.: Emma Messenger
    • Saturday, Aug. 19, 2 p.m.: Ilasiea Gray
    • Saturday, Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.: Ben Hilzer
    • Sunday, Aug. 20, 2 p.m.: Andrew Uhlenhopp
    • Thursday, Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.: Erik Fellenstein
    • Friday, Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.: Jihad Milhem
    • Saturday, Aug. 26, 2 p.m.: Julie Wolf
    • Saturday, Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.: John Hauser (pictured at right in DCPA Education's A Midsummer Night's Dream)
    • Sunday, Aug. 27, 2 p.m.: Kelly Uhlenhopp
    • Monday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.: Sean Michael Cummings
    • Thursday, Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m.: Anne Penner
    • Friday, Sept. 8: 7:30 p.m.: Chloe McLeod
    • Saturday, Sept. 9, 2 p.m.: Jonathan Edward Brown
    • Saturday, Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m.: Jeff Jesmer
    • Sunday, Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m.: Mare Trevathan
    • Monday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.: Susannah McLeod

    The Colorado Springs lineup:

    • Friday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.:  Rev. Nori June Rost
    • Saturday, Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m.: Hossein Forouzandeh
    • Thursday, Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m.: Phil Ginsburg
    • Friday, Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m.: Lynne Hastings
    • Saturday, Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.: Stoney Bertz 
    • Sunday, Aug. 20, 4 p.m.: John Hazlehurst
    • Thursday, Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.: Bob Morsch
    • Friday, Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.: Omid D Harrison
    • Saturday, Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.: Jodi Papproth
    • Sunday, Aug. 27, 4 p.m.: Michael Lee

    Click here for more on the Denver run, and here for more on Colorado Springs.

    Here are five more intriguing titles opening in the next few weeks. But be sure to also peruse the list of currently running shows that are about to close: More than 40 will finish by the end of the month.  

    (To update or correct your company’s schedule, email jmoore@dcpa.org).

    August DCPA 800


    NUMBER 1Creede Repertory Theatre. There's a lot going on at Creede Rep this month, starting with two benefit performances of award-winning actor Rhonda Brown's one-woman Molly Ivins tribute Red Hot Patriot on Aug. 15-16. The acclaimed theatre 250 miles southwest of Denver then premieres a promising new play called General Store, written by Colorado native Brian Watkins and directed by Christy-Montour Larson (DCPA’s Two Degrees) from Aug. 18-Sept. 16. It's about the owner of a small-town store who is determined not to let anything stop him from holding onto his small piece of the America Dream. That opening leads into Creede Rep's Headwaters New Play Festival on Aug. 25-26, which will feature readings of the new plays The Mess of Us, by Moss Kaplan and Greg Ungar; Caliban’s Island, by Diana Burbano; and Visible From Four States, by Barbara Hammond (and directed by former DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Kent Thompson). 124 Main St., 719-658-2540 or creederep.org

    NUMBER 2August BELLEVILLEBelleville. Progressive Theatre, the invention of Candace Joice, is a local company that exists to support other local theatres. For three successive weeks, Progressive will present its latest offering, Belleville, by Amy Herzog (Curious Theatre's After the Revolution), at three host theatres that will then keep the proceeds: Vintage Theatre (Aug. 25-26), Buntport Theater (Sept. 8-9), and Lowry’s Spotlight Theatre and Firehouse Theatre (at the John Hand Theatre Sept. 16-17). It's about two young Americans living a perfect ex-pat life in Paris that's about to become less perfect.

    NUMBER 3 Boulder Fringe. The Boulder International Fringe Festival is a 12-day freakout that provides a platform for artists to showcase their work in often non-traditional spaces throughout Boulder. The Fringe celebrates theatre, dance and music that is independent, accessible and affordable. The event brings together local, national and international acts.

    NUMBER 4Appropriate. Curious Theatre Company is about to embark on a 20th season that harkens to its hottest, hot-button roots. It starts Sept. 2 with Appropriate, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, an incendiary play on race, family, and if it’s possible for history to ever stay in the past. When the Lafayettes descend on a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate, his three adult children collide over clutter, debt and a contentious family history. Directed by Jamil Jude. Sept. 2-Oct. 14, 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org 

    NUMBER 5

    Patsy Cline. Today, Tomorrow, & Forever: A Celebration of Patsy Cline. Always…Patsy Cline made musical theatre history in Denver in the late 1990s when it ran for 3 1/2 years at the Denver Center's Galleria Theatre. That production starred Melissa Swift-Sawyer reliving the brilliant but brief career of the fated country singer. Swift-Sawyer has portrayed Cline almost 3,000 times around the country since, and she will be channeling the star's enduring popularity and unique vocal style in an intimate reflection for the Longmont Theatre Company. Aug. 18-26. 513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page

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


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Send updates or additions to jmoore@dcpa.org.)

    Aug. 11-20: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Grounded
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org READ MORE

    Aug. 11-Sept. 11: Pipedream Productions' White Rabbit Red Rabbit
    At the University of Denver's JMAC Studios, 1903 E. Iliff Ave., whiterabbitredrabbitdenver.bpt

    Aug. 11-25: Star Bar Players' White Rabbit Red Rabbit
    The Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado, Colorado Springs, starbarplayers.org

    Aug. 11-12: Star-Crossed Theatre's Green Day's American Idiot
    At Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Aug. 15-16: Creede Repertory Theatre's Red Hot Patriot
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Aug. 17-Oct. 1: DCPA Broadway's Frozen
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Aug. 17-Sept. 2: The Sisters, SweetwaterAt Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

    Aug. 18-27: Boulder International Fringe Festival
    At venues around Boulder, boulderfringe.com

    Aug. 18-Sept. 14: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Aug. 18-26: Longmont Theatre Company's Today, Tomorrow, & Forever: A Celebration of Patsy Cline
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page

    Aug. 25-26: Creede Repertory Theatre's Headwaters New Play Festival
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Aug. 25-Nov. 11: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Aug. 25-Sept. 4: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Billy Elliot
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Aug. 25-Sept. 17: Edge Theatre's Dinner
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheatre.com

    Aug. 25-26: Progressive Theatre's Belleville
    At Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page

    Aug. 25-26: Evergreen Players' EPiC summer (quarterly improv comedy)
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    Sept. 1-Oct. 15: Vintage Theatre's August: Osage County
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page

    Sept. 1-17: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Noises Off
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org READ MORE

    Sept. 1-30: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre's Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com READ MORE

    Sept. 1-23: Thin Air Theatre Company's The Nerd
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Sept. 2-Oct. 14: Curious Theatre's Appropriate
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org 

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS

    Through Aug. 9: Creede Repertory Theatre's Arsenic and Old Lace
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Through Aug. 10: Creede Repertory Theatre's She Loves Me
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Through Aug. 11: Creede Repertory Theatre's Pants on Fire
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Through Aug. 12: Theatre Aspen's Sex With Strangers
    Hurst Theatre  470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

    Through Aug. 12: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Buyer and Cellar
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Through Aug. 12: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Julius Caesar
    At the Mary Rippon Amphitheatre, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or cupresents.org

    A Alexis Cooley 800 2Through Aug. 12: square product theatre's House of Gold (pictured right)
    At the ATLAS Black Box Theater on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, 1125 18th St., Boulder READ MORE

    Through Aug. 13: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's The Taming of the Shrew
    At the Mary Rippon Amphitheatre, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or cupresents.org

    Through Aug. 13: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Hamlet
    At the University Mainstage, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or cupresents.org READ MORE

    Through Aug. 13: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    At the University Mainstage, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or cupresents.org

    Through Aug. 13: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Sister Act
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org READ MORE

    Through Aug. 15: Theatre Aspen's The World According to Snoopy
    Hurst Theatre  470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

    Through Aug. 18: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre's The Murder Room
    At the Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Aug. 19: BDT Stage's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com READ MORE

    Through Aug. 19: TheatreWorks' Much Ado About Nothing
    At Rock Ledge Ranch, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org READ MORE

    Through Aug. 19: Equinox Theatre's Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Through Aug. 19: Theatre Aspen's Hairspray
    Hurst Theatre  470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

    Through Aug. 20: Germinal Stage-Denver's Seascape
    At Westminster High School, 69th Avenue and Raleigh Street, 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    August BROADWAY BOUNDThrough Aug. 20: Miners Alley Playhouse's Broadway Bound
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through Aug. 20: Lakewood Cultural Center's My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!
    470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or Lakewood.org/LCCPresents

    Through Aug. 23: Off-Center's Mixed Taste
    Wednesdays at the Seawell Ballroom, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through Aug. 24: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Ghost
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org READ MORE

    MIXED TASTE 400Through Aug. 24: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre's Newsies
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Through Aug. 24: Thin Air Theatre Company's After Dark
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Aug. 25: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre's West Side Story
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Through Aug. 25: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Aida
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Aug. 26: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Hairspray
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Aug. 26: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Sister Act
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Aug. 26: Lowry Spotlight Theatre's On Golden Pond
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Aug. 26: Creede Repertory Theatre's The Syringa Tree
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Through Aug. 26: Midtown Arts Center's Hair
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through Aug. 26: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre's Mamma Mia
    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

    Through Aug. 26: Thin Air Theatre Company's Annie Get Your Gun
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Aug. 26: Millibo Arts Theatre's Circus of the Night
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    Through Aug. 27: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus Live!
    Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through Aug. 27: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Slipper and the Rose
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Aug. 27: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Big River
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Sept. 1: [title of show]
    At the Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Sept. 2: Dames at Sea
    At the Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Sept. 9: Creede Repertory Theatre's Boomtown
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Through Sept. 15: Creede Repertory Theatre's Talley’s Folley
    124 Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540 or CreedeRep.Org

    Through Oct. 1: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Anything Goes
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

  • In the Spotlife: Alexis Cooley of 'House of Gold'

    by John Moore | Aug 04, 2017
    Alexis Cooley. House of Gold. Square Product.


    MEET ALEXIS COOLEY
    Jasper in square product theatre company's regional premiere of the JonBenét Ramsey play, 'House of Gold,' now being performed on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.

  • A Alexis Cooley 160Hometown: Los Angeles
  • Home now: Denver
  • High school: McGavock High in Nashville, Tenn.
  • College: University of New Orleans
  • What's your handle? @wildimaginarium on both Twitter and Instagram
  • Website: wildimaginarium.com
  • Twitter-sized bio: Theatre artist - director, designer, actor, and producer - with a penchant for geekery and a flair for the outrageous!
  • The role that changed your life: My first role was as an orphan in La Boheme at the age of 4, and it completely changed my life. That experience set me on a path to learn everything I could so I could make art with my friends for the rest of my life.
  • IA helen-mirren 300deal scene partner: Helen Mirren is everything fabulous in the world: She's strong, hilarious, sexy and super-smart. Given the chance, I would play with Helen Mirren in a heartbeat. I would love to really dig into something meaty and fabulous with her.
  • In short, what is House of Gold all about? Ostensibly, the play is about the 1996 murder of JonBenét Ramsey, which spurred an international media obsession that continues to this day. But in reality, it is about something deeper and darker. What really happened? Who really did it? Those are the “easier” questions. The “harder” questions are really about us, and about humanity. Why did the public become so intensely wrapped up in this story? What is our part in this tragedy? What does this infatuation with “murder porn” say about us as people? What is that need, that absolute craving, that many people have to pour over the tragedies of others, and what should we do about it? That's what I think House of Gold is about.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: Jasper is a 13-year-old white boy who wants nothing more than to be a strong black man. He self-identifies as a black man and worships Richard Pryor, Muhammad Ali and other black celebrities. I am none of those things, so my task is huge. Giving heart to Jasper, this little outcast, while acknowledging and respecting the role of cultural appropriation in this process, is my greatest challenge in this production.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your show? As with all square product theatre shows, this play is really quite funny, charming, incisive and thought-provoking. I hope the audience leaves thinking about who they are and how they engage with the world – and hopefully have a bit of introspection about the difference in what we say and what we do. It is very telling.
  • What don't we know about you? I am much lighter on my feet than most folks think – and I love fight choreography. Come see House of Gold to see how well I can take a punch.
  • What do you want to get off your chest? I am a ginormous nerd. I really, really, enjoy science and nature shows. If Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku or Brian Cox is explaining something about the universe, I feel so smart and awesome ... until I leave the room, because I immediately forget everything. 
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Alexis Cooley. House of Gold. Square Product. Alexis Cooley with cast members from square product theatre company's 'House of Gold,' running through Aug. 12.


    House of Gold: Ticket information
    • Presented by square product theatre
    • Written by Gregory S. Moss, with original music compositions by Janet Feder and a live sound score performed by Todd Bilsborough
    • Directed by Gleason Bauer
    • Through Aug. 12
    • At The ATLAS Black Box Theater on the University of Boulder Colorado campus, 1125 18th St., Boulder MAP IT
    • Tickets: Up to $22
    • Call 800-838-3006 or go to brownpapertickets.com

    Remaining performance schedule:

    • Friday, Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, Aug. 6, 6 p.m.
    • Monday, Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m.

    Cast list:

    • Alexis Cooley
    • Jacob Dorr
    • Emily K. Harrison
    • Andrew Horsford
    • Moses Hunter
    • Michelle Moore
    • Mark Rudolph
    • Andrew Seracuse
    • Jesse Wardak

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Jack Barton of BDT Stage's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Repertory Theatre's Arsenic and Old Lace
    Meet the ensemble of Buntport Theater's The Crud
    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 Ethelyn Friend of ________________, An Opera
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet Emily K. Harrison of She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Tim Howard of Backstage Breckenridge's The Producers
    Meet Haley Hunsaker of Funky Little Theatre Company's Extremities
    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 Lenne Klingaman of Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Hamlet
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Heather Lacy of the Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Tamara Meneghini of The Last Testament of Mary
    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
    Meet Adriane Wilson of Miners Alley Playhouse's Cabaret

  • 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: Carla Kaiser Kotrc of 'A Skull in Connemara'

    by John Moore | Mar 24, 2017
    Carla Kaiser Kotrc. Cody Schuyler Photography. Cody Schuyler Photography.


    MEET CARLA KAISER KOTRC

    Carla Kaiser Kotrc plays the lovely MaryJohnny Rafferty in Martin McDonagh's dark Irish comedy, 'A Skull in Connemara,' through April 30 at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. Cody Schuyler Photography

  • Home: Arvada
  • High school: Manual High School
  • College: Western State Colorado University
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Mae Peterson (Mama) in Bye, Bye, Birdie for Performance Now
  • Carla Kaiser Kotrc. The Last Session.Twitter-sized bio: I am a graphic artist by day, actor by night, grateful wife, extracurricular creativity enthusiast, horrifying cook, devoted procrastinator, passionate adventurer and loyal friend. 
  • Instagram handle: @foruaprincess
  • What was the role that changed your life? Playing Vicki in The Last Session (pictured at right). I’ve had the great honor to have played the role twice. The first time was in 1999, directed by John Mandes at The Shop in Denver. I was in the midst of getting divorce from my best friend.  After seven years of marriage, my then-husband told me he was gay. In The Last Session, Vicki's husband revealed his homosexuality during their marriage.  Going through all the emotions of that character’s journey really helped me come to terms with my own failed marriage. And how to let go of the dream of wedded bliss, while still retaining the original friendship. My ex-husband remains a very special person to me, and I so admire his strength and honesty in living a full and meaningful life true to himself.  Like me, he has found his forever partner, and my pilgrimage through The Last Session both times allowed me to discover more of myself. I will always be grateful.
  • Meryl StreepIdeal scene partner: I would simply adore an afternoon with Meryl Streep. I have always admired her unparalleled talent, unapologetic outspoken nature and masterful ability to become someone else so completely. I would speak with her about her process when researching a role, and just bask in the glow of her. Of course, I will have probably peed my pants upon meeting her, so the first few moments will probably be awkward.
  • What is A Skull in Connemara all about? This play is the second chapter in Martin McDonagh's Leenane Trilogy (along with The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West). He gleefully mock sentimental Irish stereotypes with bleak tales filled with hilarious miscreants, misfits and misanthropes. A Skull in Connemara introduces us to Mick Dowd, who for one week each autumn is hired to dis-inter bones in crowded sections of the local cemetery to make way for new arrivals. But as the time approaches for him to dig up the bones of his own late wife, rumors about his possible involvement in her sudden death seven years before resurface. This play is a blasphemously funny whodunit complete with flying skulls and bloody hatchets.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing Maryjohnny Rafferty: She is a cantankerous, bingo-obsessed nag, town gossip, and poteen (moonshine) mooch who is comfortable with her lot in life. It’s a challenge to be held in the boundaries of a different place and time, and of someone so completely opposite of myself. But that’s acting, right? In the end, I’m a dedicated ball of nerves who is always grateful for the journey.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? I hope they laugh – it’s absurd, dark, dramatic, and feckin’ funny! And I hope they admire, as I do, the incredible talent of my castmates, as well as the production team. Billie McBride, our director and the True West Awards' 2016 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year, doesn’t miss a thing. Her eye is keen and her instincts are masterful. And a special shout-out to Jonathan Scott-McKean, whose set, light and sound designs for this production send you immediately into the exact environment for our story. It is absolute perfection from the mossy cemetery to the small cottage where Mick resides.
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? Actor Tim Fishbaugh and I drive through downtown Denver once a month distributing sandwiches, bottles of water and new socks to the homeless and needy. We are approaching our third year of service.  Actually many people do know this about me, but what most people don’t is that I do not have a uvula. Yep, uvula-less – that’s me!
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I am a devoted viewer of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. Therefore I would like to answer his famous 10 final questions:
    1. A Carla Kaiser Kotrc 160What is your favorite word? Grateful.
    2. What is your least favorite word? Hate.
    3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Something I’ve never seen, eaten, or done before. 
    4. What turns you off? Misinformed tweets by people of great responsibility who should be the most informed. It’s childish and divisive.
    5. What is your favorite curse word? Well since my parents-in-law are probably going to be reading this I’ll say, FECK! (Which is really just the sassy, Irish version of my real favorite curse word.) 
    6. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of my husband’s laughter. It’s so full of life and utter joy.
    7. What sound or noise do you hate? An animal in pain.
    8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Standup comedian, writer for Saturday Night Live or wildlife photographer.
    9. What profession would you not like to do?  White House Press Secretary.
    10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?: “We cleared your browser history.” (Rim shot.)

  • Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara: Ticket information

    • Written by Martin McDonagh
    • Directed by Billie McBride
    • March 24 through April 16
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. most Sundays (1 p.m. March 26 and April 30)
    • 1224 Washington St., Golden
    • Tickets $17-$27
    • Info: 303-935-3044 or minersalleyplayhouse.org

    Cast list:
    •  Logan Ernstthal as Mick Dowd
    •  Carla Kaiser Kotrc: MaryJohnny Rafferty
    •  John Hauser: Mairtin
    •  John Jankow: Tommy

    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 Probem
    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 Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    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 Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Jane Shirley of Santa's Big Red Sack
    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

  • 2016 True West Award: John Hauser

    by John Moore | Dec 25, 2016
    True West Awards John Hauser


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 25: John Hauser

    If you were to call him Doogie Hauser, you would only be the latest. But given how well former child TV star Neil Patrick Harris’ career has turned out, John Hauser would surely take the compliment.

    We’re not saying Hauser is a kid. But his Biloxi Blues director Kate Gleason is saying that “as soon as John is potty-trained … he's gonna make a great actor.”

    True West Awards John Hauser QuoteSo he’s young. But there was nothing embryonic about his fully formed year on local stages: He starred in Biloxi Blues at Miners Alley Playhouse, and in Hand to God for Curious Theatre. He made a key appearance in Vintage Theatre's Rabbit Hole, and he performed as Romeo before 10,000 high-school students for DCPA Education.

    That’s a U.S. Army private who comes of age at Basic Training in Neil Simon’s 1943 Mississippi. A grieving, God-fearing teen in possession of (or possessed by) a devilish hand puppet. A guilt-wracked teen who plowed his car into a 4-year-old. And only the most famous lover in all of literature. Plus, he joined the cast of Off-Center’s immersive freakout Sweet and Lucky, and later understudied several roles in the DCPA Theatre Company’s Frankenstein.

    John Hauser may not be old. But as an actor, he grew up in 2016.

    “He’s so good, you forget how young he is,” said  Gleason, herself a 2014 True West Award winner. “I mean, he's barely teething, and yet he manages to find humanity in all his roles.”

    When DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous launched a new pilot program called Shakespeare in the Parking Lot in May 2015, she turned to Hauser first. A team from DCPA Education perform an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet on and around a beat-up old truck in school parking lots - sometimes four times a day. Meaning four times a day, students who otherwise might never be exposed to Shakespeare (or live theatre) crush on the Bard, crush on live performance and, invariably for some, crush on the actor who could win Prom King at just about every school he visits.

    “John is stunning as Romeo,” Watrous said. “He connects to the hearts and minds of the students through authenticity, vulnerability, humor, kindness and depth.” (Pictured below and right: John Hauser as Romeo. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Read our recent profile on John Hauser

    Hauser and his castmates, all skilled DCPA Education Teaching Artists, return to each school the next day for classroom workshops and ask students tough, ethically ambiguous questions that revolve around teenagers, their parents and issues of privacy and personal responsibility. The point is to help them better understand the issues at the heart of Romeo and Juliet. Because being a teen hasn't changed as much as you might think.

    True West Awards John Hauser Shakespeare in the Parking Lot"I am so grateful for John's energy and impact,” Watrous said. “He is a true talent.”

    Next semester, the team will tackle A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    Hauser did not just turn a finger up at his squeaky-clean image, but his entire right hand with Hand to God, Robert Askins’ profanely dark comedy about a troubled teen who is forced to join his mother’s church-led puppet group after his father dies. But when his foul-mouthed sock puppet Tyrone takes on a life of its own and begins to encourage all those around him to give in to their carnal desires, the teen starts to question everything he's been taught. 

    “John brings a true lightness to the room,” said Hand to God Director Dee Covington. “He is generous, reflective and tireless in his determination to not only conquer but totally devour the creative task at hand. He knew the mountain was steep and arduous, but I was so impressed by his ability to temper that slightly self-effacing inner critic with humor and fearlessness. His grit and heart are inspiring.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Westword theatre critic Juliet Wittman wrote: “Hauser does brilliantly in the schizophrenic role of Jason, fully inhabiting both the teen’s innocence and Tyrone’s savagery, skillfully manipulating the intransigent puppet.”

    True West Awards John Hauser Rabbit Hole In July, Hauser and his Rabbit Hole cast were honored with the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Outstanding Ensemble Henry Award (with Haley Johnson, Marc Stith, Maggy Stacy and Deborah Persoff). As the accidental grim reaper who devastates a family when their son runs in front of his car, “John Hauser manages to deliver a handful of wallops in his limited scenes,” wrote the Aurora Sentinel’s Quincy Snowdon.

    But perhaps the most impressive evidence of Hauser’s stellar year is simply his dream team of directors: Kate Gleason, Allison Watrous, Dee Covington, Bernie Cardell  (Rabbit Hole), Zach Morris (Sweet and Lucky) and Sam Buntrock (Frankenstein).

    “He is a lovely human being,” Covington said, “and he makes the world a more artful place.”

    And he's not slowing down in 2017. In January, Hauser will be playing Ken in John Logan’s acclaimed Red, the story of the temperamental genius artist Mark Rothko and his apprentice, at the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre.

    (Pictured above and right: Haley Johnson and John Hauser in Vintage Theatre's 'Rabbit Hole.' Photo by Denver Mind Media.)

    John Hauser/At a glance

    • Hometown: Cocoa, Fla.
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs
    • College: Adams State University in Alamosa
    • Selected additional credits: The Few and Ambition Facing West for Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company; Jerusalem for The Edge Theatre Company
    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS
    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS
    Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
    Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
    Day 3: After Orlando
    Day 4: Michael Morgan
    Day 5: Beth Beyer
    Day 6: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski
    Day 7: donnie l. betts
    Day 8: Night of the Living Dead
    Day 9: The Killer Kids of Miscast
    Day 10: Jason Sherwood
    Day 11: Leslie O'Carroll and Steve Wilson
    Day 12: Jonathan Scott-McKean
    Day 13: Jake Mendes
    Day 14: Charles R. MacLeod
    Day 15: Patty Yaconis
    Day 16: Daniel Langhoff
    Day 17: Colorado Shakespeare Festival costumers
    Day 18: Miriam Suzanne
    Day 19: Yolanda Ortega
    Day 20: Diana Ben-Kiki
    Day 21: Jeff Neuman
    Day 22: Gabriella Cavallero
    Day 23: Matthew Campbell
    Day 24: Sharon Kay White
    Day 25: John Hauser
    Day 26: Lon Winston
    Day 27: Jason Ducat
    Day 28: Sam Gregory
    Day 29: Warren Sherrill
    Day 30: The Women Who Run Theatre in Boulder
    Theatre Person of the Year Billie McBride
  • 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.
  • November: Colorado theatre openings

    by John Moore | Oct 27, 2016
    November openings DCPA


    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.


    Five intriguing titles for November:

    Theatregoers have a dizzying array of options in November, with more special events and activities offered than in any other month. All told, you have 81 productions or events to choose from, including a whopping nine from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts alone. Statewide, you can choose between two stage adaptations of Night of the Living Dead, two musicalized versions of the holiday family film A Christmas Story, two It's a Wonderful Lifes, two The Crucibles and four variations of A Christmas Carol.

    At the Denver Center, you will find everything from three nights of David Sedaris to Jersey Boys to Hip Hop Nutcracker to the ongoing irreverent comedy An Act of God. And that doesn't even include two of Denver's most popular November activities: The Denver International Film Festival (Nov. 2-13) and the Denver Improv Festival (Nov. 10-12). Here are five (of many) intriguing titles or events to check out:

    1 PerspectivesJohn Hauser Young John Hauser is on a roll. His latest coup is landing the role of a troubled Texas teen named Jason in Hand to God, presented by Curious Theatre Company. Not to be confused with the DCPA's An Act of God, Robert Askins' ruthlessly profane comedy is about a God-fearing boy coping with his father’s recent death who is forced to join his mother’s Church-led puppet group. When Jason discovers that his foul-mouthed sock puppet has a demonic life all its own, all hell breaks loose. Literally. Hauser is part of the DCPA's Frankenstein company and stars as Romeo in the Education Department's traveling Shakespeare in the Parking Lot program. He also recently starred as Eugene in Miners Alley Playhouse's Biloxi Blues. Hand to God runs Nov. 5-Dec. 17 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    2 Perspectives

    The world premiere of Lost Creatures, written by Denver native Melissa Lucero McCarl, follows the evening British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan met his longtime cinematic obsession, actress Louise Brooks. It's May 1978 and she has sequestered herself for many years, but they discover they are kindred spirits. Starring local big-shots Billie McBride and Mark Collins, and directed by DCPA Education's Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski. Presented by And Toto Too Theatre Company from Nov. 3-19 at 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org 

    3 PerspectivesGerminal Stage-Denver is presenting a limited engagement of Dalton Trumbo's 1939 anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun. It's the story of a World War I soldier who wakes up in a hospital bed and gradually realizes he has lost his arms, legs and all of his face in an artillery blast. Now through Nov. 6 at the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com.

    4 PerspectivesEquinox Theatre Company is launching a world-premiere comedy by local actor (and writer) Christian Munck called One Death, Please? It's about a young pop-star named Olive Warren who seems to have it all. But she doesn't, and now she's determined to to take her own life with the help of an assisted suicide clinic. This new play is said to "shine a harsh spotlight on the brutality of the popular media." Nov. 11-Dec. 3 at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    5 PerspectivesThe DCPA’s Tony-winning Theatre Company is helping the community celebrate Denver Arts Week with a special, free evening on Nov. 7 titled Magic of Theatre.
    Ever wonder how it rains on stage? Snows inside? Or how many recipes there are for fake blood? Come explore the secrets of the trade with expert craftspeople. Activities may range from a light show and multimedia display to painting through a bamboo shoot to an exercise in stage combat. Guests also will be treated to scenes from current productions. Details are still being finalized. 6:30 p.m. at the Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    And that's just the start of things. Here are all your options in one handy list:  

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Oct. 28-30: DCPA's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
    JonesTheatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 28-Nov. 12: Coal Creek Theater of Louisville and Theater Company of Lafayette's Absurd Person Singular
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant Ave., Louisville, 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org 

    Oct. 28-Nov. 27: Vintage Theatre Productions' Stella and Lou
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Oct. 28-Nov. 6: Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun

    At the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    Oct. 28-Nov. 12: Funky Little Theatre Company's The Bold, the Young & the Murdered
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    Nov. 3-19: And Toto too Theatre Company’s Lost Creatures
    At The Commons on Champa,1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org 

    Nov. 3-13: Upstart Crow's The Crucible
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or upstart’s home page

     

    Nov. 5-Dec. 17: Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    Nov. 5-Dec. 3: OpenStage Theatre & Company’s The Flick
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or www.openstagetheatre.org

     

    Nov. 5-Dec. 18: The Bitsy Stage's Sadko's Song: A Russian Tale
    1137 S. Huron St. Free, but reservations are required by calling 720-328-5294 or  emailing patti@BitsyStage.com

    Nov. 9-Nov. 13: DCPA Broadway's Jersey Boys
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 10-12: Control Group Productions' Alone with Todd
    At Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., controlgroupproductions.org

    Nov. 11-Dec. 30: Town Hall Arts Center's A Christmas Story, The Musical
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Nov. 11-Dec. 31: Midtown Arts Center's A Christmas Story, The Musical
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Equinox One Death Please. Photo by Christine Fisk. Nov. 11-Dec. 3: Equinox Theatre Company's One Death, Please?
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Nov. 11-20: Inspire Creative's The Diary of Anne Frank
    19650 E. Mainstreet, Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    Nov. 17-Dec. 4: Maya Productions' Conviction
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-7328 or thedairy.org

    Nov. 18-Dec. 24: Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 18-Dec. 18: Two live radio plays: It's A Wonderful Life in repertory with A Christmas Carol
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Nov. 19-Feb. 25, 2017: BDT Stage's Thoroughly Modern Millie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Nov. 19-Dec. 23: Bas Bleu Theatre Company's The Snow Queen
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Nov. 11-20: Longmont Theatre Company's Tuesdays with Morrie
    513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Nov 20: DCPA Broadway's The Hip Hop Nutcracker
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 24: DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    At the Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 24: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Off-Center's The SantaLand Diaries
    At the Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 25-Jan. 8: Vintage Theatre Productions' Beauty and the Beast
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2016: The Avenue Theater's Santa’s Big Red Sack
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page

    Nov. 25-Dec. 18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Bad Jews
    At the Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 30, 2016: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's She Loves Me
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 31: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s A Wonderful Life
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 31: Thin Air Theatre Company's A Cripple Creek Christmas Carol
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Dec. 1-18: Boys Hair Club's A Krumpus Story
    Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St. TICKET INFO

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Bat Boy. Longmont Theatre. Through Oct. 29: Longmont Theatre Company's Bat Boy: The Musical
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Through Oct. 29, 2016: Naropa Universiity's Spill
    2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder MORE INFO

    Through Oct. 29: OpenStage Theatre Company’s Ultimate Beauty Bible
    At the Center for Fine Art Photography, 400 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

     

    Through Oct. 29: Bug Theatre's Night of the Living Dead, Live (with Paper Cat Films)
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info

    Through Oct. 30: DCPA Theatre Company's Frankenstein
    Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Oct. 30: Cherry Creek Theatre's The Last Romance
    Shaver Ramsey Showroom, 2414 E. 3rd Ave., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org

    Through Oct. 30: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s The Elephant Man
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Through Oct. 30: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Grounded
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Oct. 30: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Sarah, Plain and Tall
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

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

    Through Oct. 30: 5280 Artists Coop's Colorism

    1400 Dallas Street, Aurora, 5280artistcoop.ticketspice.com

    Through Oct. 30: Star Bar Players' Night of the Living Dead, Live
    At the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado. 719-520-1899 or starbarplayers.org

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

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

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

    Through Nov. 5: Firehouse's Theatre's The Crucible
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehouse’s home page READ MORE

    Through Nov. 5: The Avenue Theater's Wait Until Dark
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

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

    Through Nov. 6: Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres, or The Sun That You Are
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 6: Aurora Fox's Dracula
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org

    Through Nov. 6: TheatreWorks' Game of Love and Chance
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through Nov. 6: Evergren Players' Stepping Out
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreen players’ home page

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

    Through March 12, 2017: DCPA Cabaret's An Act of God
    Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 13: The Edge Theatre's Marie Antoinette
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Through Nov. 13: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s Evita
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Nov. 13: Local Theater Company’s The Firestorm
    Carsen Theater at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org READ MORE

     

    Through Nov. 13: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Full Code
    Grace Gamm Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org

    Through Nov. 13: Ignite Theatre's Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
    2590 Washington St., 866-811-4111 or click here for tickets

    Through Nov. 19: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
    Second Stage, 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Through Nov. 27: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Godspell
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

     

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

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

    ATHENA PROJECT
    Nov. 19: Staged reading of Sheltered, a play by local playwright Catherine Wiley
    7 p.m.  $20 ticket includes donation to The Gathering Place.
    At Red Line Contemporary Art Gallery, 2350 Arapahoe St. or tickets

    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    Sept. 30: Untitled at the Denver Art Museum
    Nov. 12: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month, through May 13)
    Nov. 15: The Great Debate
    Nov. 16: The Narrators (a live storytelling show and podcast)
    Nov. 18-19: Stratus Chamber Orchestra with Buntport Theater at Augustana Lutheran Church
    Nov. 19: TRUNKS: a live comic book is back! (2-4 p.m.)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    THE CATAMOUNTS
    Nov. 5-6: FEED: Los Muertos
    Celebrating stories and rituals honoring the departed, including a three-course meal, live music and performance.
    Firehouse Arts Center, 667 4th Ave., Longmont, 720-468-0487 or brownpapertickets.com

    DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS ...

    (Monthly film series in partnership with local theatre companies)
    Nov. 15: A Christmas Story
    Pre-screening entertainment by cast of Town Hall Arts Center's current production.
    At the Alamo Drafthouse, Aspen Grove, 7301 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, 720-588-4107 or BUY TICKETS

    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
    Nov. 2-4: DCPA Broadway's An Evening with David Sedaris
    At the Seawell Grand Ballroom, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    DENVER IMPROV FESTIVAL

    Nov. 10-12: The Denver Improv Festival features the top improv performers from across Colorado as well as teams from all over the country. BUY TICKETS
    Venues:
    The Bovine Metropolis Theater, Voodoo Comedy Playhouse and Backstage at Beryl's.

    LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY
    Nov. 4-5: Tim and Ben
    The Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    LAKEWOOD CULTURAL CENTER
    Nov. 18: Aquila Theatre's Much Ado About Nothing
    Nov. 19: Aquila Theatre's Agatha Christie's Murder on the Nile
    470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or Lakewood.org

    LANNIES CLOCKTOWER CABARET
    Nov. 2: Drag Decades with Hostess Shirley Delta Blow
    Nov. 4 and 11: The Jerseys Sing the Four Seasons
    Nov. 5-26: Unforgettable, an R&B tribute starring Mary Louise Lee and Michael C

    Nov. 25: Revenge of the Misfit Toys, holiday improv comedy 
    D&F Clock Tower, 16th and Arapahoe streets, 303-293-0075 or Clocktowercabaret.com

    November openings. Einstein Mizel. MIZEL ARTS AND CULTURE CENTER
    Nov. 20: Einstein!, a solo play by Jack Fry, 4 p.m.
    Elaine Wolf Theatre, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 or maccjcc.org

    PACE CENTER
    Oct. 27: Rock the Presidents
    This high-energy musical revue spans 223 years of American presidents.
    20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, parkerarts.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
    Nov. 12: Born Funny
    1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or TICKETS
    Selections include:
    "Attempting Normal," by Marc Maron, performed by Drew Horwitz
    “Confessions of a Juggler,” by Tina Fey, performed by MareTrevathan
    “The Long Epiphany,” by George Carlin, performed by Bob Buckley

    November openings. Aquila Lakewood Cultural Center
  • Casting set for 'Frankenstein' and 'The Glass Menagerie'

    by John Moore | Aug 17, 2016

    Frankenstein Sullivan Jones
    Sullivan Jones, left, was the original Cassius Clay in Center Stage's production of  'One Night in Miami…' opposite Esau Pritchett. Jones will alternate with Mark Junek in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature in the DCPA's 'Frankenstein.' Photo by Richard Anderson.


    FrankensteinThe DCPA Theatre Company today announced full casting for its first two productions of the 2016-17 season, The Glass Menagerie and Frankenstein. The lineup includes returning artists from previous seasons, new collaborators and familiar faces from the Colorado theatre community.

    The U.S. premiere of Nick Dear’s adaptation Frankenstein will be directed by Sam Buntrock, who is returning to the DCPA after having directed the 2013 world premiere of Ed, Downloaded. Buntrock’s directing credits include Sunday in the Park with George (Broadway, West End, Menier and 5th Avenue Seattle). The production won five Olivier Awards including Outstanding Musical Production and was nominated for nine Tony Awards including Best Director.

    The company of Frankenstein will be led by Sullivan Jones (the original Cassius Clay in Rogue Machine Theatre’s production of One Night in Miami…) and Mark Junek (Broadway’s The Performers) alternating performances in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature.

    Frankenstein will also feature ...

    • Molly Carden (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Agatha/Ensemble
    • Thaddeus Fitzpatrick (2016 Colorado New Play Summit's The Book of Will) as Rab/Ensemble
    • Meridith C. Grundei (Off-Center’s Sweet & Lucky) as Servant/Ensemble and understudy to Gretel
    • Charlie Korman (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd, Lord of the Flies) as William/Ensemble
    • Jenny Leona (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Elizabeth/Ensemble
    • Rodney Lizcano (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Gustav/Constable/Ensemble
    • Conan McCarty as Klaus/Servant/Ensemble
    • Kevin McGuire (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd) as De Lacey/M. Frankenstein/Ensemble
    • Douglas Rees (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Ewan/Ensemble
    • Jessica Robblee (DCPA’s All The Way) as Clarice/Gretel/Ensemble
    • Nellesa Walthour (National tour of The Lion King, DCPA Theater Company debut) as Female Creature/Ensemble
    • Erin Willis (DCPA’s All The Way, A Christmas Carol) as Servant/Ensemble, and understudy to Agatha/Clarice
    • Max Woertendyke (Broadway’s A View From the Bridge, DCPA Theatre Company debut) as Felix and understudy to The Creature.

    • Additional understudies:

    • John Hauser (Off-Center’s Sweet & Lucky) will understudy Felix and Rab
    • Avi Levin (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) will understudy William
    • Leigh Nichols Miller (Off-Center’s Sweet & Lucky, DCPA’s Jackie and Me) will understudy Victor/Gustav/Constable
    • Brian Shea (DCPA’s Death of a Salesman) will understudy Klaus/De Lacey/M. Frankenstein
    • Brynn Tucker (DCPA Theatre Company Debut) will understudy the Female Creature

    The creative team includes Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer), Kevin Copenhaver (Costume Designer), Brian Tovar (Lighting Designer), Curtis Craig (Sound Designer), Charlie I. Miller (Projection Designer), and Douglas Langworthy (Dramaturg).

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    From left: Amelia Pedlow, Aubrey Deeker, Kathleen McCall and John Skelley. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The Glass Menagerie:

    The Glass MenagerieAs previously reported in the DCPA NewsCenter, Ina Marlowe will make her DCPA Theatre Company directorial debut with The Glass Menagerie. Regionally, Marlowe has directed for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Germinal Stage-Denver and served as the Producing Artistic Director for three companies in Chicago (Touchstone Theatre, Organic Theatre Company, The Library Theatre).

    This production, the Theatre Company's first to tackle Tennessee Williams' first play, reunites three cast members from the Theatre Company’s 2014 production of Hamlet.

    The Glass Menagerie will feature ...

    • Aubrey Deeker (Hamlet in DCPA’s Hamlet) as Tom
    • Kathleen McCall (DCPA’s Benediction, Gertrude in Hamlet) as Amanda
    • Amelia Pedlow (Ophelia in DCPA’s Hamlet) as Laura
    • John Skelley (DCPA Theatre Company debut) as The Gentleman Caller

    The creative team includes Joseph P. Tilford (Scenic Designer), Meghan Anderson Doyle (Costume Designer), Charles R. MacLeod (Lighting Designer), Tyler Nelson (Sound Designer), and Stephanie Prugh (Dramaturg).

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

    The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
    • Sept. 9-Oct. 16
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 15
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

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

    Additional The Glass Menagerie photos:

    'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver

    To see more photos, click on the forward arrow on the image above.


    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage:

    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie
  • 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: Augustus Truhn

    by John Moore | Dec 22, 2015
    True West Award Augustus Truhn
    Photo by Rachel D. Graham/RDG Photography. 

    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient:
    Augustus Truhn
    The Edge Theatre's Jerusalem


    Today’s award presenter:
    Actor Laura Norman
    2014 True West Award winner


    London’s The Guardian newspaper has called Mark Rylance the greatest actor of his generation, in part because of his once-in-a-lifetime, Tony Award-winning performance as Johnny “Rooster” Byron in the West End and Broadway stagings of Jerusalem. That’s Jez Butterworth’s incendiary, 3½-hour opus that many critics have declared to be the most thrilling live performance they have ever seen.

    But Rylance had two full years between his first rehearsal in London and the play’s 2011 Broadway debut. Augustus Truhn of Boulder found out he would be the first Colorado actor to play the wild man of the woods, the gypsy, the dragon, the self-destructive motorcycle stunt man, one day before rehearsals began for The Edge Theatre Company’s regional premiere in Lakewood.

    One day.

    JerusalemDirector Warren Sherrill turned to Truhn in desperation after the actor scheduled to play the monster role of Rooster dropped out. Performances were to begin just three weeks later. 

    Jerusalem is a long, dense and bewildering trailer-park epic set in the present-day forest of southwest England. Rooster is a drug-dealing old daredevil who struts and crows about like a drunken, cocksure fowl, humoring the motley crew of young ruffians nearby who use him for his drugs and booze and endless partying. Now this blustering old braggart is refusing to abide by an eviction notice, and is instead digging in for his last stand. (Pictured at right: Clockwise from left: Ben Hilzer, Jonathan Brown, Augustus Truhn and John Hauser. Photo by Rachel D. Graham/RDG Photography.)

    The trailer-trash standoff that ensues is in fact a sprawling, intellectual story rooted in everything from Shakespeare (with Rooster as both king and fool at once), to Druidic mythology to British history. The title refers to an 1804 poem by William Blake, a rebel like Rooster who imagined that Jesus, in the missing years, traveled the English countryside to establish a new Jerusalem, a place of universal love and peace.

    Not that that's the kind of Promised Land Rooster has found.

    Given the expanse of that challenge, you might think Truhn was being fed to the wolves – or being set up for failure. No one would have blamed him for running in the other direction. But he did not. He ran into the fire.

    Truhn is a cerebral actor who has been otherwise occupied since 2010 while starting a family with his wife, the noted local actor Karen LaMoreaux (Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ambition Facing West). They have twins to raise. Truhn was preparing to start grad school when Sherrill called. Truhn has not accepted a major role on a local stage since starring as Petruchio in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Taming of the Shrew in 2010. Until now.

    “Augie has life priorities other than theatre,” said The Edge Theatre Artistic Director Rick Yaconis. “But Johnny is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to get to do that in the Denver market would be exciting for any local actor. So when you get it – hell, yeah, you have to go for it. And Augie did.”

    Westword's Juliet Wittman said Truhn succeeded in making Rooster “a true and towering original.” Laura Norman, an award-winning actor and today’s True West Awards guest picker, had never seen the actor perform before Jerusalem. She chose Truhn because, she said, "I was completely blown away. He was 100 percent inside that role, and he created one of those awesome theatre experiences where I completely forgot I was watching an actor.”

    That assessment couldn’t make Yaconis any happier.

    “I think very few actors in Denver could have conquered that role,” he said. “Augie conquered it.”

    Rick Yaconis QuoteYaconis was most impressed that Rooster is a derelict, a foul-mouthed drug addict who sells junk to kids – “and yet somehow, he made him sympathetic,” he said of Truhn.

    That he did it with such little prep time is remarkable.

    “Augie is a true professional,” Yaconis said. "When he came in, you would have thought he has been working on this exclusively for the past six months."

    The Edge Theatre just completed its fifth season, and the edgy nature of the programming there is helping Yaconis to attract some of the best local talent to the intimate theatre he shares with an art gallery and the Lakewood Police Department. Other cutting-edge titles there this season have included Who's Afraid of Virgnia Woolf and The Mother(bleep) with the Hat.

    "People have been more excited about acting at The Edge," Yaconis said.


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

    Video: ​Augustus Truhn's contribution to the citywide Denver Sonnets Project.


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

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


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

  • '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.