• Video: Your 'First Date' with Director Ray Roderick

    by John Moore | Feb 13, 2018

    In the video above, Director Ray Roderick talks about the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' production of the musical comedy First Date, which he calls a "super-funny, modern love story" that follows two characters as they go through their first date at a busy New York restaurant.

    First Date Fall Casting Photo by Emily LozowAs the date unfolds, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. "It reminds people of what it was to be in love for the first time," Roderick said.

    The all-local cast includes Adriane Leigh Robinson, Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge, Jordan Leigh, Lauren Shealy, Barret Harper and Cashelle Butler. (Pictured at right:  Dhonau and Robinson, by Emily Lozow.)

    First Date performs through April 22 at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    Video by Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Meet the cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!

    First Date: Ticket information
    First DatePerformances through April 22
    Tickets: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    At the Garner Galleria Theatre

    The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of First Date:
    Understudies talk about their unique role in First Date
    Video: Photos: Your first look at First Date
    Check out the all-local cast of the Denver Center's First Date


    Ray Roderick
  • 'First Date' understudies will take center stage at Denver Actors Fund screening

    by John Moore | Jan 18, 2018
    Understudies Cashelle Butler and Barret Harper. First Date Photo by John Moore
    First Date understudies Cashelle Butler and Barret Harper. Photo by John Moore

    Unsung heroes will get their chance to sing out at Monday's benefit screening of 500 Days of Summer at Alamo

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Understudies are among the many unsung heroes of the theatre — especially on long-running shows such as DCPA Cabaret’s romantic musical comedy First Date at the Galleria Theatre. All the more so during the ongoing cold and flu epidemic in Denver.

    We talked about it with Cashelle Butler and Barret Harper, who on Monday will be performing songs from First Date before a screening of the popular film 500 Days of Summer at the Alamo Drafthouse. It’s a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund, which, in four years, has made more than $200,000 in medical relief available to members of the Colorado theatre community. Alamo donates 50 percent of all ticket proceeds from this fun monthly film series, which cleverly pairs a popular movie with a live appearance by a local theatre company staging a related musical.

    Cashelle Butler First Date QuoteFirst Date, which performs at the Galleria through April 22, follows a blind-date newbie who is set up with a serial dater. The audience follows along as a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a comically high-stakes dinner.

    We asked Butler and Harper about the life and challenges of an understudy, the importance of The Denver Actors Fund and Monday’s upcoming appearance at the Alamo.

    “I always find it an honor to be cast as an understudy,” said Butler, who attended Cherry Creek and Cherokee Trail high schools and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “They are trusting me not only to know multiple roles, but to be able to come in at the last minute and keep the show running.”

    Butler was called on to perform in First Date just last week. “My castmates were all so supportive, helpful, trusting and incredibly fun to be on stage with,” she said. “They are a great group. You should all go see them shine, because they are truly amazing performers and human beings.”

    Harper, who graduated from Littleton High School and the University of Colorado Boulder, said understudies make it so that the lead actors don’t have to take unnecessary health risks for the sake of a single performance. “When an actor knows he has an understudy, he or she generally does a better job and is less likely to get sick because it removes the stress from feeling like they have the weight of the show resting on the unpredictable nature of human health,” he said. “They can focus on their craft with the confidence someone has their back.” 

    Choose your 500 Days of Summer screening seats here

    Join Butler and Barrett Monday for their live appearance at the Sloan’s Lake Alamo Drafthouse, hosted by film series emcee (and, coincidentally, First Date castmate) Steven J. Burge.

    In the meantime: Don’t forget to hug an understudy … but only if you’re healthy.

    Question: How is the importance of understudies heightened during cold and flu season?

    Cashelle Butler: That’s when understudies are especially vital. As a performer, you want to know that if you have to go out of the show, you aren't letting anyone down. Having an understudy gives you the peace of mind to know you can take the time you need to heal your body without any guilt. I want everyone to be healthy and happy and to never need me. But should that day come, I want to make sure nobody on stage has to worry about me or the show.

    BARRET HARPER QUOTE FIRRST DATEBarret Harper: Working as an understudy during cold and flu season requires extra vigilance and discipline. Your chances of performing skyrocket, but you are equally at risk for illness yourself. So staying fresh on the material and staying healthy are paramount.

    Question: What does it mean to you to help support The Denver Actors Fund on Monday?

    Cashelle Butler: It is both an honor and a privilege. While being an artist is incredibly rewarding, fun and exciting, it does not always afford us the stability and comfort that other jobs have. Life happens, and nobody should have to face life's worst turns alone. The Denver Actors Fund is there when you are going through your darkest days, offering help, support, hope and a reminder that this community is there for you and you are not alone. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a kind, supportive, genuinely caring community of humans and artists, and to be able to support the Denver Actors Fund is such a rewarding treat.

    Barret Harper: The Denver Actors Fund is the lifeline that connects the entire Colorado theatre community. It sends a message to the artists in this community that helping each other in our time of need makes our community and our art stronger. Individual actors generally don’t have the means to help others in a meaningful financial way, so the DAF provides a mechanism to transform our magnanimous spirit into something more tangible. It means the world to me to support an organization that has helped so many of my brilliant coworkers and friends over the past few years. 

    Question: Why should people come to see the screening of 500 Days of Summer on Monday?

    First Date Fall Casting Photo by Emily LozowCashelle: Everyone should hang out with us on Monday! When you support The  Denver Actors Fund, you are supporting Denver's community of actors. And you get to hear a few songs from First Date. Plus, Steven J. Burge is the funniest, most lovely and prettiest human around. He will make you laugh so hard you will leave with a washboard stomach. You also get to ogle Barret Harper and listen to his gorgeous voice. You'll get to eat popcorn and drink beer and watch one of the cutest movies of all time — which is not coincidentally quite similar to First Date. You get to escape the world for a few hours and hide in a movie theatre and believe in love.

    (Pictured: Seth Dhonau and Adriane Leigh Robinson in the DCPA's 'First Date.' Photo by Emily Lozow.)

    Barret Harper:  People should come knowing they will be contributing to an organization that is dedicated to directly helping the local theater community. You can see your donated money in action every time you see the actors perform. You become a part of the art in a meaningful way.

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

    Meet the cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!

    500 Days of Summer: Benefit film screening:
    What: Denver Actors Fund screening of the film 500 Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel
    Who: Live pre-screening entertainment from DCPA Cabaret's First Date.
    When: Monday, Jan. 22: Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7
    Where: Sloan's Lake Alamo Drafthouse, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com

    First Date: Ticket information
    First DatePerformances through April 22
    Tickets: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    At the Garner Galleria Theatre

    The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of First Date:
    Video: Photos: Your first look at First Date
    Check out the all-local cast of the Denver Center's First Date


    Video bonus: Cashelle Butler visits Cherry Creek High School:

  • 2017 True West Awards: Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill

    by John Moore | Dec 30, 2017
    2017 True West Awards The Breakouts  Jeremy Rill Steven J. Burge

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 30: The Breakouts

    Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill are very different performers. Think Sean Hayes and Frank Sinatra. Burge will shock you into gut-busting laughter, while Rill will make you swoon. If Burge is the flamboyant life of the party, then Rill is more, say … sunset on the beach.

    “If there is a spectrum,” said director and actor Robert Michael Sanders, "those two are on the opposite ends of it.”

    The comedian and the crooner.

    Steven J Burge and Jeremy Rill But these two emerging actors have far more in common than you might think. Both had big-time breakout years on Denver stages in 2017 — and both were separately described as “the nicest guy in Denver theatre” in interviews for this very story.

    Something's gotta give.

    Steven Cole Hughes, Burge’s castmate in the Denver Center’s extended hit comedy An Act of God, goes so far as to declare with dead-on eye contact that “Steven Burge is the nicest guy working in the American theatre today. Period.”

    Even Hughes’ 2-year-old daughter, Birdie, backed her father up.

    “Hey Birdie, who is this?” Hughes said, pointing to a poster for An Act of God. The child’s face immediately lit up. She pointed to a photo of Burge playing no less than God Himself, and she declared enthusiastically: “Steven!”

    “She’s 2,” Hughes reiterated. “Even the 2-year-olds love Steve Burge.”

    That’s high praise (or short praise, come to think of it) for Burge, who has been working his way up to this moment with one joyful performance after another since moving from Iowa in 2003, most often in extroverted comic roles. Highlights have included playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and conquering the epic challenge of playing 40 roles in the one-man comedy Fully Committed. In 2012, Westword’s Juliet Wittman flatly declared, “Steve Burge is one of the funniest actors anywhere.”

    Says his friend and fellow actor Shannan Steele: “I love watching him delight in making others happy.”

    But Burge’s body of work has revealed far greater range and uncommon emotional honesty in stagings such as Dog Sees God at The Avenue Theater (I called him "triumphant" in The Denver Post) and Curious Theatre’s Speech and Debate. No matter how big the character Burge is called upon to play, “you always know there's a real and very interesting person underneath," Wittman wrote.

    (Story continues after the photo.)

    Steven J. Burge United in Love Photo by John Moore
    Steven J. Burge co-hosted the 'United in Love' benefit concert with Eden Lane that raised $40,000 for The Denver Actors Fund.  Photo by John Moore.


    But Burge’s steady career trajectory took a turn for the skyward late last year when he was hired by Director Geoffrey Kent to be the understudy for An Act of God, a pointed social comedy in which God comes down to Earth in human form to set the record straight about the misguided ways in which we sometimes act in God’s name. When Broadway and TV star Wesley Taylor’s contract expired, the Denver Center did not seek out a similarly big-named national replacement. It already had Burge, who smoothly ascended to Almighty status for what turned into an extended run at the Galleria Theatre. The role called on all of Burge’s comic skills, as well as his uncommon gift to make people listen and laugh, even when they might not like what he is telling them. Burge had An Act of God audiences eating out of his holy goblet.

    To say that Burge made an impression in his Denver Center debut would be an understatement.

    “Steven has spot-on comic timing, a fantastic voice and the best rehearsal attitude and esprit de corps I know of,” said Kent. “He improves the quality of everything he touches.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A few months later, Director Ray Roderick punched Burge's ticket for an immediate return trip to the Galleria Theatre in the musical comedy First Date. Gigs at the Galleria are considered jackpot jobs among local actors because they generally come with a minimum six-month contract.

    Burge plays many characters in First Date, most notably the quintessential gay best friend of a young woman who’s just starting to brave the dating pool. The reason Burge succeeds at taking such a stock character and making him meaningfully connect with an audience, says Steele, is his willingness to bring his authentic self to all his roles.

    “The thing you need to know about Steven is that just beneath his hilarious and charming exterior is a beautifully tender, vulnerable, compassionate and generous person,” she said.

    “Steven is the opposite of an old soul. He is brand new to his world ... and his childlike wonder and joy are palpable.”

    800 Red Hot and Cole Cherry Creek Theatre Jeremy Rill Phot by Olga LopezHe’s now being rewarded for paying his many dues, and everyone agrees — it could not be happening to a nicer guy. For years, Burge has been known for saying yes to anyone who asks for his time and talents. This year, he co-hosted a benefit concert at the Lone Tree Arts Center that netted $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund, and Miscast 2017 at the Town Hall Arts Center, which raised $7,000 more. He also has kept the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards buzzing along since 2012 with his unpredictable comic energy as co-host with GerRee Hinshaw.

    "To me, Burge encapsulates the heart and soul of the Denver theatre community,” Kent said. “He volunteers for almost every arts organization I can list. If Denver were to elect a ‘Theatre Ambassador,’ he would have my vote.”

    Also receiving votes for Nicest Guy in Denver Theatre would be Jeremy Rill, an Arkansas native who already was a big deal in the lofty Chicago theatre scene when he moved to Colorado for love. And it didn’t take long for people to notice.

    “It's that voice,” said his frequent director, Kelly Van Oosbree. “The richness and his absolute control of it is remarkable. The first time I heard Jeremy open his mouth, I said, ‘This guy is going to be big.’ You just can’t deny that voice.”

    Coming Sunday: 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year

    The Performance Now Theatre Company in Lakewood was the first Colorado company to catch wise, casting Rill in the regional premiere of Jane Eyre (Edward Rochester), Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson) and Ragtime (Younger Brother). By then it was becoming pretty obvious to anyone within earshot that Rill was going to be a man in demand this year.

    Jeremy Rill Miscast Photo by John MooreA lot more people know “that voice” after it opened up and sang for the first time on four different metro stages this year. Rill started out playing no less than Cole Porter himself in the Cherry Creek Theatre Company’s Red, Hot and Cole at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, landing quite cozily among a star-filled cast that included Steele alongside local big-shots Seth Dhonau and Lauren Shealy (both now co-starring with Burge in First Date), Damon Guerasio, Stephen Day, Matt LaFontaine, Sharon Kay White and several others.

    Rill then earned karma points for life when he was asked to join the ensemble of the Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar after the actor playing Judas had to leave the show for medical reasons. That set off casting dominoes that ended with Rill stepping onto one of the biggest theatre stages in the state a mere four hours before the first performance in front of an audience.

    There’s a reason Arvada Center director Rod Lansberry turned to Rill, whom he had never before cast, when the chips were down, Van Oosbree said. It’s that Sinatra cool.

    “If someone ever asked me to do something like that, I would have said, ‘No, thanks,’ ” Van Oosbree said. “But Rod knew Jeremy could handle the pressure. And he did.”

    That may be one reason karma has smiled back on Rill, who will return to Performance Now to play Cinderella’s prince in Into the Woods opening Jan. 5 at the Lakewood Cultural Center. He then joins the cast of the Arvada Center’s Sunday in the Park with George — and on the first day of rehearsal this time. Rill will play Louis, fiancé of the model who attracts the eye of an artist based on Georges Seurat.

    Superstar led to the 2017 performance that will put Rill on every director’s radar – and wish list — for years to come. Van Oosbree tapped Rill to head another dauntingly loaded ensemble in Stephen Sondheim’s Company for the Aurora Fox that included Shealy, Heather Lacy, Lindsey Falduto, Carolyn Lohr, Rebekah Ortiz, Heather Doris and many others.

    (Story continues below the video.)


    Video bonus: Jeremy Rill performs 'Everybody's Girl' at Miscast 2017:




    You knew going in that Rill would bring any production of Company to a thunderous finish with his take on the forceful ballad “Being Alive.” But what separates a good Company from a great one is an actor who understands that Bobby’s journey is a serious rumination on the relative pros and cons of choosing a married or solitary life. Rill allowed himself to get fully lost in his journey — which at times meant going inside and checking out from the Aurora Fox audience altogether.

    Turns out, as Van Oosbree plainly puts it: Jeremy Rill is not just another pretty voice.

    “He’s also a really good actor,” she said. “He found the vulnerable in Bobby and the underlying pain that I think sometimes goes missing in other performances. The easy thing would be to make Bobby a fun, jovial bachelor, but that’s just not who this man is. Jeremy was clever and he was sexy and he was charming and he was cynical and he was sad. He was all the things. He just killed it.”

    Wrote Ramsey Scott for the Aurora Sentinel: “Jeremy Rill nails the mix of aloofness and emotional despair that plagues his character throughout the show and matches it with a voice that deserves to be the center of attention.”  Added Wittman for Westword: "Jeremy Rill has a richly melodious and supple voice that’s sheer pleasure to listen to."

    Norell Moore by Jeremy RillAnd Rill’s artistry, by the way, is not limited to the stage. He’s also a disarmingly effective portrait photographer who is known for bringing out an astonishing clarity of character in a single frame. Look no further than his revealing portrait of fellow actor Norrell Moore (right) soon after she started chemotherapy for breast cancer.

    “I mean this as no disrespect to any other photographer,” said Sanders. “But if you put 100 random actor headshots in a pile in front of me, I could easily pick out the ones taken by Jeremy because he has such a distinctive style behind the camera. He just has a way of making actors look their best. Maybe it’s because he’s one of them. But somehow he manages to put a sparkle in the eye of every single person he photographs.”

    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 

    Steven J. Burge: 2017
    • The Almighty in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    • Co-Host, United in Love benefit concert
    • Co-Host, Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards
    • Co-Host, Miscast 2017
    • Multiple roles in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date

    Jeremy Rill: 2017
    • Man 1 (Cole Porter) in Cherry Creek Theatre’s Red, Hot and Cole
    • Ensemble in Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar
    • Aurora Fox’s Company
    • Emile de Becque in Platte Valley Players' South Pacific (concert version)
    • Performed in Miscast 2017 for the Denver Actors Fund

    Steven J Burge GerRee Hinshaw 2017 Henry Awards BLF Photography
    Steven J. Burge and GerRee Hinshaw co-hosting the 2017 Henry Awards. BLF Photography.


    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 (to date)

     

  • 2017 True West Award: Lauren Shealy

    by John Moore | Dec 16, 2017
    Lauren Shealy True West Award Photo by Emily Lozow

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 16: Lauren Shealy

    Lone Tree Arts Center
    Aurora Fox
    Denver Center for the Performing Arts

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The thing Lauren Shealy brought to Evita was teeth.

    The thing she brought to Company was … passive-aggressive karate.

    The thing she brought to First Date was … dead Grandma Ida. Oh, and Google Girl.

    The thing Shealy brings to every role she plays is her depth of feeling as both an actor and as a human being on this planet.

    Lauren Shealy Quote True West AwardShealy is an accomplished, homegrown actress and vocalist who is as adept at playing comedy as she is the most ambitious woman in history. (Broadway history at least!) Her résumé is impeccable, with more than 20 years of knockout performances around the country including a national tour of South Pacific, off-Broadway and multiple productions at the Denver Center and throughout the Denver area. Shealy is a Littleton native who can be the picture of 1940s elegance one minute — and rip her shirt open the next.

    Shealy first came to the Denver Center for its 2011 production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and returned for The Doyle and Debbie Show, Forbidden Broadway, A Christmas Carol, Sweeney Todd and now, the new musical comedy First Date.

    But the role that changed her life is the one that also changed her as a performer: Motherhood. Having a child left her raw, she says, and yet more brave. “My heart underwent profound renovations,” she said. “The current model has no walls, many doors – and seriously leaky faucets. Every day I wrestle with a delightful and terrifying mix of fear, love and humility.”

    It’s no coincidence then that the newly leaking, vulnerable, karate-chopping Shealy just knocked three consecutive and very different roles right out of the park. This year she headlined a high-profile production of Evita at the Lone Tree Arts Center alongside a primarily New York ensemble and not only held her own, she had the trailing masses both onstage and in the audience pawing at her fur. It was a gutsy portrayal of a legendary figure whose disputed legacy remains passionately divided 65 years after her death.

    Opening yourself up so fully can both make an actor better, and leave her utterly vulnerable. It’s done both to Shealy.

    “Encountering my best and worst self also has invited me to look at my stage characters differently,” she said. “I have more empathy for them and less judgment. When I look at Eva Peron, for instance, I don’t see a power-hungry manipulator of men. I see a passionate woman who wants to matter; wants to be loved. I see a fighter who uses street sense, wiles and alliances to gain the mobility she needs to realize her dreams.”

    Our full interview with Evita star Lauren Shealy

    Director Gina Rattan believes the real Eva, at her best, was a woman not all that dissimilar to Shealy. “Eva was giving, purposeful and driven,” Rattan said. “She wanted what was best for her fellow man. She stood behind her word and her deeds.”

    Lauren Shealy True West Aeard Lone Tree EvitaThe downfall of many a portrayal of Evita has been presenting the ruthless First Lady with perhaps too much sympathy. Shealy bared both her fangs and her heart, which is what Rattan said made Shealy “a dream” to work with — the very same word First Date Director Ray Roderick separately chose to describe Shealy.

    “Not only is Lauren effortlessly talented and effervescently positive, she has the discipline of a drill sergeant,” Rattan said. “I admire Lauren’s generosity of spirit, shimmering voice and her ability to bring searing truth to even the smallest moments.” 

    (Pictured: The money kept rolling in for Lauren Shealy and Miles Jacoby in Lone Tree Arts Center's 'Evita.' Below: Shealy and Kyle D. Steffen as Sarah and Harry in the Aurora Fox's 'Company.' Photo by Jeremy Rill — who also played Bobby.)

    Shealy followed Evita with an all-star production of Company at the Aurora Fox. That’s Stephen Sondheim’s melancholy musical rumination on the relative merits of solitude versus coupling. Surrounding bachelor Bobby (played by a terrific Jeremy Rill) are five married couples who unknowingly make strong cases for either life direction.

    Lauren Shealy Kyle Steffen Company Aurora Fox Photo by Jeremy Rill Photography Shealy played Sarah, a wife who is deluding herself with food, opposite a husband (Kyle D. Steffen) who is deluding himself about booze. The two walked a very thin tonal line between playful and pathos when they finally broke into a comically antagonistic display of the marital martial arts.

    Then came her current, long-term commitment to First Date, a musical comedy that explores the common pitfalls and pratfalls of contemporary dating, all in one pair’s first blind date. Shealy’s task is to play all the voices inside the dating woman’s head, real or imagined.

    First Date reunites Shealy with Roderick, her director on the daddy of all relationship musical comedies, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Roderick seeks out only the very best actors he can find, but he also proudly espouses choosing actors who show a kind generosity of spirit — actors like Shealy.

    “Lauren is as stunning and engaged in the process as she is onstage,” Roderick said. “She is a true pro with extraordinary range, and a dream to work with." (There’s that word again.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Actor Seth Dhonau has witnessed Shealy’s impressive range first-hand this year as her castmate in both Evita and First Date.

    denver-center_first-date_photo-by-emily-lozow lauren shealy“Working with Lauren, one can't help but strive to match the professionalism and preparation she so effortlessly brings to her roles,” Dhonau said. “Imbuing a performance with Lauren's positivity and energy is no small feat, and we're all so lucky to share the stage with her.”

    Audiences may not recognize the steely Argentinian in the taunting, imaginary ex-girlfriend Shealy portrays in First Date. And there’s no bigger compliment to Shealy, Rattan said.

    “I truly don’t know if there is anything she can’t do,” she said.

    (Pictured above right: Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge and Lauren Shealy in DCPA Cabaret's 'First Date.' Photo by Emily Lozow.)

    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.

    Lauren Shealy 2017: 

    • Evita in Evita, Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Sarah in Company, Aurora Fox
    • Woman I (six roles) in First DateDCPA Cabaret

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • Study: There's a lot of Denver in Denver Center casts this fall

    by John Moore | Dec 13, 2017

    Fall Casting 800 Photos by Adams Viscom

    Survey of DCPA cast lists shows 56 percent of all available jobs this fall have gone to actors who live in Denver area 

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    There has been a lot of Denver at the Denver Center this fall. An analysis of cast lists for the eight shows presented since the start of September shows that 56 percent of all actors who have taken to a DCPA stage also call Denver home.

    That doesn’t even include the eight child actors who currently populate the Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol. And when you add in all the actors who grew up in Colorado but are now based elsewhere, the number of actors with local connections jumps to 67 percent.  

    “The Colorado acting community is such a multi-talented group, and that is evident in all the amazing work featured across the entire state and on every one of our stages at the DCPA this fall,” said DCPA Director of Casting Grady Soapes.

    The survey includes all homegrown programming offered by the DCPA, totaling 73 adult actor slots. Much of the local infusion this year can be traced to Off-Center’s immersive musical The Wild Party at the Stanley Marketplace, as well as DCPA Cabaret’s newly launched musical First Date at the Galleria Theatre, both of which cast entirely local actors.

    First Date Fall Casting Photo by Emily LozowFirst Date director Ray Roderick, who is based out of New York, is responsible for the longest-running musical in Colorado Theatre history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, also at the Galleria, as well as The Taffetas, Five Course Love and many others. And while he is always empowered to cast actors based anywhere around the country, he almost always fills his Denver cast lists with Denver actors. Why? Because he can, he says.

    (Pictured above and right: Local actors Seth Dhonau and Adriane Leigh Robinson will be taking their 'First Date' through April 22. Photo by Emily Lozow.)

    “There is no question that there is a wealth of talent here in Denver,” Roderick said. “When I work at other regional theatre centers and I choose my cast, I’m often told, 'Well what have they done on Broadway?’ I never get that here at the Denver Center. The fact is, when you are casting a show, what matters is the story, period. And we have beautiful storytellers in Denver. That they happen to live in Denver has nothing to do with their level of talent.”

    It was the Denver Center’s Jeff Hovorka who convinced then-DCPA President Randy Weeks that the first staging of the Galleria Theatre’s Always…Patsy Cline back in 1997 could be effectively cast with local actors. Melissa Swift-Sawyer and Beth Flynn made Denver musical-theatre history when their show ran for three and a half years, only to be surpassed by I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, another all-local show that opened in 2000 and became Denver’s longest-running musical by 2004.

    “The three biggest successes in the Galleria Theatre history, including Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women, all have had local casts,” said Hovorka, now the DCPA’s Director of Sales and Marketing for Broadway and Cabaret. “Denver always has had an incredibly strong talent base, and we are always proud to celebrate the homegrown talent we have in this city.”

    Check out the all-local cast of DCPA's First Date

    The Wild Party Director Amada Berg Wilson, also the founder of a Boulder theatre company called The Catamounts, put 15 local actors to work on Off-Center’s risky plunge into immersive musical theatre, which was attended each night by 200 live party guests.

    “Having an all-local cast is evidence that we really do have the talent right here to pull off a show like this,” said Wilson. “And I think it is great that as the Denver Center continues to experiment with immersive theatre, we are developing a base of talent right here who have the tools and the vocabulary to make this specific kind of work. We are discovering that audiences are really hungry for more of it, and now we have the people here to do it.”

    michael-fitzpatrick-leslie-ocarroll-photo-credit-adamsviscom_24874516748_oThe list of local actors working for the Denver Center this fall spans beloved veterans such as Leslie O’Carroll, who is again playing Mrs. Fezziwig in the Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol, to first-timers such as longtime BDT Stage favorite Wayne Kennedy and Adriane Leigh Robinson, who just played Sally Bowles for the Miners Alley Playhouse’s Cabaret.

    (Leslie O'Carroll, right with 'A Christmas Carol' castmate Michael Fitzpatrick, is now the longest-tenured actor in the DCPA Theatre Company.)

    Longtime Galleria Theatre favorites Jordan Leigh and Lauren Shealy, now appearing in First Date, have built sustainable acting careers around steady work at the DCPA, including occasional crossover roles in Theatre Company productions. Shealy, headlined the Lone Tree Arts Center’s summer production of Evita that was nominated for Outstanding Musical by the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards.

    Colorado theatre favorite Steven J. Burge, who joined the Denver Center earlier this year to play none other than God in the long-running Galleria Theatre hit An Act of God, is back in First Date, which runs through April 22. This is a job, Burge says, “that I would not quit even if I won the lottery, because I love it so much.”

    Each May, the Denver Center holds three days of “general auditions” that are open to local actors to sign up for. This year a record 100 union and 275 non-union actors participated, directly resulting in many of the fall hirings.

    Many of the Denver Center’s current crop of actors have tentacles that reach throughout the Colorado theatre community from Creede Repertory Theatre (Diana Dresser and Emily Van Fleet) to Phamaly Theatre Company (Leonard E. Barrett), which exists to create performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.

    Michael Bouchard and Luke Sorge, the two actors playing David in Off-Center’s The SantaLand Diaries, are both company members with the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which was co-founded by occasional DCPA Theatre Company actor and Director Stephen Weitz.  

    The Theatre Company’s season-opening production of Macbeth included local playwright Steven Cole Hughes, also a longtime Teaching artist for DCPA Education and graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory. Robert O’Hara’s cast was a Denver Center reunion of sorts that also brought home Colorado natives Gareth Saxe, Erik Kochenberger and Skyler Gallun.

    Skyler GallunSaxe, a graduate of Colorado College and Denver East High School, played Scar for two years on Broadway in Disney’s The Lion King, but his DCPA Theatre Company roots go back to Cyrano de Bergerac in 2001. Kochenberger also graduated from East High School — but his was in Pueblo. Gallun, who previously appeared in Lord of the Flies, led a talkback with students from his alma mater, George Washington High School, after one Macbeth matinee (pictured at right by John Moore).

    DCPA Education head of acting Timothy McCracken, who has recently performed with both BETC (Outside Mullingar) and Local Theatre company (The Firestorm), landed this fall in both the Theatre Company’s Smart People and A Christmas Carol. His Smart People co-star Jason Veasey graduated from Coronado High School in Colorado Springs and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. His many past local credits include playing Jesus in Town Hall Arts Center’s Godspell.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    This fall also has brought the launch of DCPA Education’s new Theatre for Young Audiences program. The three-person cast of The Snowy Day who performed Ezra Jack Keats’ beloved story for 19,000 pre-kindergarten through third-graders included longtime DCPA Teaching Artist Rachel Kae Taylor (also an NTC grad with three Theatre Company credits) and Robert Lee Hardy, who was recently seen in Vintage Theatre’s A Time to Kill In Aurora.  

    finalpdheadshots0005-web“This has been an exciting year not only for the local actors but for myself and the DCPA,” Soapes (pictured right) said of his local casting. “The dedication this organization has made to further highlighting the talent we have here in Denver has also deepened our appreciation for the artists who are working hard every day to entertain our audiences —  my hat goes off to them,” he said.

    Soapes said his top priority always will be to cast the best person for every role, regardless of ZIP code.

    “We here at the DCPA are excited to continue to tap further into the local talent pool, open our doors wider and show the entire industry why Denver is a destination for quality theatre,” Soapes 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.

    Grady Soapes Quote


    Denver Center Fall 2017 Casting:

    Macbeth: 17 actor jobs
    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Steven Cole Hughes as Doctor of the Psychic/Ensemble)

    Actors from Colorado:

    • Skyler Gallun as Donalbain/Ensemble
    • Erik Kochenberger as Hecate Two/Ensemble
    • Gareth Saxe as Duncan/Ensemble)


    'A Snowy Day. Rachel Kae Taylor, Robert Lee Hardy. Zak Reynolds. Photo by Adams Viscom.The Snowy Day:
    Three actor jobs

    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Rachel Kae Taylor as Archie, Amy, Mom and others
    • Robert Lee Hardy as Peter

    Smart People: Four actor jobs
    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Timothy McCracken
    Actors from Colorado:
    • Jason Veasey

    The Wild Party: 15 actor jobs
    Actors living in Colorado:

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

    Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women: Three actor jobs
    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Barbara Gehring
    • Linda Klein
    • Amie MacKenzie

    A Christmas Carol (through Dec. 24): 21 adult actor jobs; eight youth jobs
    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Sam Gregory as Ebenezer Scrooge
    • Chas Lederer as Swing
    • Kyra Lindsay as Martha Cratchit/Ensemble
    • Chloe McLeod as Swing
    • Timothy McCracken as Ebenezer Scrooge understudy
    • Leslie O’Carroll as Mrs. Fezziwig/Ensemble
    • Jeffrey Roark as Jacob Marley/Ensemble
    • Shannan Steele as Ensemble
    • Marco Robinson as Ensemble

    A Michael Bouchard 800The SantaLand Diaries (through Dec. 24): Two actor jobs
    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Michael Bouchard as David
    • Luke Sorge as David understudy
    First Date (through April 22): Eight actor jobs

    Actors living in Colorado:

    • Adriane Leigh Robinson as Casey
    • Seth Dhonau as Aaron
    • Steven J. Burge as Man 1
    • Aaron Vega as Man 2 (Nov. 11-Dec. 3)
    • Jordan Leigh as Man 2 (Dec. 5-April 22)
    • Lauren Shealy as Woman 1
    • Barret Harper as Male Understudy
    • Cashelle Butler as Female Understudy
  • Video, photos: Your first look at 'First Date'

    by John Moore | Nov 16, 2017

    Video by David Lenk.

    Here is your first chance to see video and photos from the new musical comedy opening Friday at the Galleria Theatre

    Here is your first look in video (above) and photos (below) at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' new staging of First Date, opening Friday, Nov. 17,  and running through April 22, 2018, in The Garner Galleria Theatre.

    When blind-date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a comically high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this unpredictable evening.

    The director is Ray Roderick, and the all-local cast includes Adriane Leigh Robinson, Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge, Aaron Vega, Jordan Leigh, Lauren Shealy, Barret Harper and Cashelle Butler. (Vega plays the "Man 2" role from Nov. 11-Dec. 3. Leigh plays Man 2 from Dec. 5-April 22.)

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced that it is dedicating the opening performance and the entire run of First Date, opening Friday, as well as the entire run of A Christmas Carol, to Daniel Langhoff, who died last week from cancer. Read more here.

    Meet the cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!


    Full photo gallery: First Date production photos


    First Date

    Photos from the making of 'First Date.' To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    First Date: Ticket information
    First DateNov. 11, 2017, through through April 22, 2018
    Tickets : Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Garner Galleria Theatre

    The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'The Mystery of Love and Sex' and 'Company'

    by John Moore | Sep 05, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 6.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex



    Featured actor in the video above: Suzanne Connors-Nepi

    • Sept. 9-Oct. 7
    • John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place (former Lowry Air Force Base)
    A Suzanne Connors Nepi Firehouse 400303-562-3232 or go to firehousetheatercompany.com
    • Playwright: Bathsheba Doran
    • Director: Lorraine Scott

     

    The story: Now students at a southern college, Charlotte and Jonny have been friends since childhood. She’s Jewish, he’s Christian; he’s black, she’s white. Their differences intensify their connection until sexual desire complicates everything. Their relationship takes unexpected turns while Charlotte’s parents, who hold secrets and resentments of their own, keep watch.

    But what is it about? The Mystery of Love and Sex is a modern comic drama that explores the impact of racial and religious differences; sexuality, friendship and love; and the fluidity of identity. It is a story of discovery, alienation and ultimately, forgiveness. Audiences will reflect on how relationships affect the ways in which we come to terms with who we are. (Provided by Firehouse Theater Company.)


    Cast list:
    • Charlotte: Kristen Poole
    • Jonny: Johnathan Underwood
    • Howard: Joel Silverman
    • Lucinda: Suzanne Connors Nepi


    A Suzanne Connors Nepi Firehouse 610Clockwise from left: Joel Silverman, Johnathan Underwood and Kristen Poole and Suzanne Connors Nepi in rehearsal for Firehouse Theatre’s 'The Mystery of Love and Sex.' Photo by Christine Fisk.



    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Aurora Fox's Company

    Featured actor in the video above: Jeremy Rill.


    • Sept. 22-Oct. 22
    • 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
    A Jeremy Rill 400Call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org
    Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
    • Book by George Furth
    • Director and Choreographer: Kelly Van Oosbree
    • Andrew Fischer: Music Director

    • The story:
    On his 35th birthday, a perpetual bachelor named 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.

    • But what is it about? Company is about relationships in all their oddball, loving and teeth-clenching glory. No person can escape a viewing of Company without seeing themselves portrayed on stage. Regardless of who you love, you are guaranteed to encounter your caricature head-on. The humor is sharp and the music is legendary, written by musical theatre’s greatest composer, Stephen Sondheim. (Provided by the Aurora Fox.)

    Cast list:
    Jeremy Rill: Bobby
    Lauren Shealy: Sarah
    Kyle Steffan: Harry
    Michelle Merz-Hutchinson: Susan
    Patrick McAleer: Peter
    Carolyn Lohr: Jenny
    Andy Sievers: David
    Rebekah Ortiz: Amy
    Timmie Antoine: Paul
    Heather Lacy: Joanne
    Frank Oden: Larry
    Lindsey Falduto: Marta
    Leiney Rigg: Kathy
    Heather Doris: April

    More creatives:
    • Jen Orf: Production Stage Manager
    Brandon Case: Technical Director and Scenic Designer
    Curt Behm: Sound Designer
    Brett Maughan: Lighting Designer

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

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



    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • Check out the all-local casting for DCPA's 'First Date'

    by John Moore | Jul 12, 2017

    First Date

    The cast of 'First Date,' top row from left: Steven J. Burge, Seth Dhonau, Jordan Leigh and Lauren Shealy. Second row: Adriane Leigh Robinson, Cashelle Butler, Barret Harper and Director Ray Roderick. (Note: Aaron Vega plays Jordan Leigh's role from Nov. 11-Dec. 3.)


    Returning Galleria faces among the all-Colorado cast are Jordan Leigh, Lauren Shealy and Steven J. Burge

    By John Moore and Heidi Bosk
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced an all-local cast for its  upcoming production of First Date, playing The Garner Galleria Theatre from Nov. 11, 2017, through April 22, 2018.

    When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a comically high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. In an unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines. Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives?

    Directed by Ray Roderick (The Last 5 Years, The Taffetas, Five Course Love and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), First Date features both returning Denver Center favorites and exciting new faces:  
    • Adriane Leigh Robinson – Casey
    • Seth Dhonau – Aaron
    • Steven J. Burge – Man 1
    • Aaron Vega – Man 2 (Nov. 11-Dec. 3)
    • Jordan Leigh – Man 2 (Dec. 5-April 22)
    • Lauren Shealy – Woman 1
    • Barret Harper – Male Understudy
    • Cashelle Butler – Female Understudy

    The First Date creative team includes Martha Yordy (musical direction), Lisa M. Orzolek (scenic design), Charles R. MacLeod (lighting design), Meghan Anderson Doyle (costume design) and Craig Breitenbach (sound design).

    The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    (Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized ticket provider for this productions in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.)


    First Date: Meet the cast

    Adriane Wilson 160ADRIANE LEIGH ROBINSON (Casey) is overjoyed to be making her Denver Center debut in this production of First Date. Before migrating to Colorado, Adriane performed internationally with a number of Air Force troupes and with James Madison University’s Children’s Playshop in Harrisburg, Virginia. Since graduating from The University of Northern Colorado, Adriane has appeared on the stages of Little Theatre of the Rockies and Miner’s Alley Playhouse, where she recently played Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Adriane was the recipient of Best Actress in a Musical at The European Toppers Awards in Heidelberg, Germany for her role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Aviano Theatre) and an Irene Ryan Awards nomination for her performance as Laurie Williams in Oklahoma (University of Northern Colorado).

    Adriane WilsonHometown: Aviano, Italy. I spent the ity of my high-school years there, and consider it the place where I truly began finding myself as an adult.
    • College: University of Northern Colorado in Greeley
    • What's your handle? @little.adriane.leigh on Instagram
    • Twitter-sized bio: I am a Pit-bull-loving, cheese-devouring, Harry Potter enthusiast. I was raised in a military family, so I had the opportunity to live and perform all over the country, and overseas. In my free time, I am a princess impersonator with a fabulous company called Wands and Wishes Occasions, in addition to running a photography business with my partner called Marco Robinson Photo. I am happiest when I’m reading, cooking, and playing with my two handsome puppies.
    • The role that changed your life? I recently played Sally Bowles in Cabaret with Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden (pictured above.) Sally was by far the most challenging and enjoyable character I’ve had the opportunity to tackle in a long while. She is such an iconic persona in the musical theatre world, and it was an honor to put my own spin on her manic yet lovable personality.
    Ideal scene partner: Steve Carell. I am such an enormous fan of his work; his range is so vast, and he seems like such a friendly person.
    What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? I hope they walk away understanding that the presence of love in one’s life should stand above all other things. Professional success, material possessions and good looks all fade away at some point. But the one thing that has been proven to stand the test of time is love. Love deserves our attention, respect and dedication.
    Your worst first-date story: When I first arrived in Colorado in 2011, a friend set me up with one of his classmates. Let’s call him Ryan. Ryan seemed cute and sweet, so I agreed to the date. As a surprise, Ryan set up a horse-riding excursion for us in Colorado Springs, but we got hit by a terrible rainstorm, so that was no longer an option. I was new to the area, so I had no ideas, and neither did Ryan. Things were a little awkward as we sat in his car, trying to make small talk. Then things got very weird very fast. As our conversation started to dwindle, I realized we had nothing in common, especially when he started telling me about the demons that possess him. That’s right … demons. He went into great detail about the personalities of his demonic captors, and how they affected his daily life. Needless to say, there was no second date. I haven’t heard from Ryan or his demons since.
    Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "... safety, good health, and happiness for those I love. Oh, and for my Hogwarts letter to arrive.
    Anything else you want to add?
    Enjoy the show, folks!

    Check out the all-local casting for DCPA's The Wild Party



    Seth DhonauSETH DHONAU
    (Aaron). Since moving to Denver last year, Seth has been seen in several productions including Red Hot and Cole (Cherry Creek Theater, pictured below right) and Evita (Lone Tree Arts Center). Previously he lived in New York and sang with some of the top choirs in the area, appearing at both St. Patrick's Cathedral and Carnegie Hall. Seth studied opera, theater and economics at Northwestern University where he appeared in Bernstein’s Mass, The Waa-Mu Show and multiple productions with the American Music Theatre Project. 

    Seth DhonauHometown: Fond du Lac, Wis.
    • College: Bachelor of Music (Voice and Opera) from Northwestern University
    • What's your handle? @Deathsono on Instagram
    • Twitter-sized bio: Connoisseur of film, literature, music, wine and cowboy boots.
    • The role that changed your life? George in Sunday in the Park with George. It wasn’t until I took on this role that I realized the power of storytelling on stage. To me it’s the ultimate confluence of music and art and the attending emotions that each brings about in us.
    Ideal scene partner: Joaquin Phoenix. I’m absolutely transfixed when he’s on screen; whether he appears to be digging into some unfathomable, wild place or just … being.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? I hope our show reminds our audiences to take chances, and to not focus too much on the stuff you can’t change. There’s a big world out there if you allow yourself to go find it.
    • Your worst first-date story: Back in college, during the dark ages of Facebook (temporally, not socio-politically), I attempted to use my cell phone to look up an acquaintance with whom I’d be going on a first date that evening. Instead of typing her name into the search bar, I accidentally posted it, like a total creep, prominently atop my profile page where it remained for the duration of a recital I had just stepped on stage to perform. The post got no ‘likes,’ and I don’t think there was a second date.
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "... for people to slow down!”



    A Steven J. Burge 160STEVEN J. BURGE
     (Man 1) is thrilled to be back and treading the Denver Center boards again after making his Galleria debut last season as God in An Act of God (pictured below right). He made his Colorado debut in 2003 as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors following the national tours of … And Then They Came for Me and A Christmas Carol. Since then, this award-winning character actor has appeared on stages throughout the Denver metro area including the Denver Center, Arvada Center, Curious Theatre, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and many others. Steven was the recipient of The Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Solo Performance in Fully Committed (Aurora Fox), a one-man show in which Steven portrayed more than 30 different characters. Steven has also been recognized for his work in Contrived Ending (Buntport Theatre) and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Avenue Theatre).

    Steven J. Burge, Erik Sandvold, Steven Cole Hughes, An Act of God. Photo by John Moore. Hometown: Martelle, Iowa. There's a sign on the city limits that reads "Welcome to Martelle! The small town with a big heart!" And it very much lives up to that hype. When my family moved there just after my seventh birthday, the town claimed fewer than 300 people. But I remember them as being the nicest 300 people on Earth. 
    • College: Theatre and Communications at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa
    • What's your handle? I don't do the Twitter or the Instagram. But you should totally feel free to "friend" me on the Facebook if you'd like. It's my most favorite way to waste time.
    • The role that changed your life? In 2003, a tour I was doing ended and I came to Denver to take a three-month contract playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. The plan was for me to do the show and hit the road again. But Colorado was so beautiful, and the people were so great, that I just kept on not leaving. Thirteen years later, I consider myself a proud Denverite. I guess that role didn’t just change my life; in some ways it sort of created it.
    Ideal scene partner: I don't need to look beyond Colorado to find a scene partner who will excite me or challenge me or inspire me. The artist community here is vibrant and relevant and I, for one, am so grateful to the Denver Center’s producers and subscribers and individual ticket-buyers for giving so many local theatre artists the opportunity to work where we live. That is a great gift. … OK, also Cassandra Peterson, a k a Elvira Mistress of the Dark. She's hilarious and she has been my comic hero since I was 10 years old. And guess what? She’s also from Colorado, kind of. Colorado Springs. But that counts.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? Kissed. I hope you come to the show with someone you have a big ol' crush on ... whether it's a brand new crush or someone you've loved and married and crushed on for 50 years. I hope you sit in the audience together and get all twitterpated and nervous and get that "barfy" feeling. (It's a great feeling, isn't it?) And then I hope you get kissed. Every single one of you. 
    • Your worst first-date story: Ohmigosh, you guys, no lie: When I read this question, I immediately started to sweat. Then I briefly thought about quitting this show so I could avoid thinking about my dating life and answering this question. Then I recognized I was being a crazy person so I spent the better part of an hour Googling therapists in my insurance network and late-night delivery restaurants in my neighborhood. Then I watched a couple episodes of Dateline on Investigation Discovery because I find that when you're reflecting on your dating history, more often than not an episode of Dateline will remind you that no matter how bad you think it is, your taste in men could be worse. Pass.
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "... a room somewhere.
    Far away from the cold night air.
    With one enormous chair.

    (That's from My Fair Lady. Because I am a #MusicalTheatreNerd)
    • Anything else you want to add?
    Fine! Tell you what. ... If you REALLY want to hear my dating horror stories, find me after the show and I'll tell you over dessert. (It's a first date!) <3



    Jordan LeighJORDAN LEIGH
    (Man 2 from Dec. 5-April 22) couldn’t be happier to be back on the Garner Galleria stage for a fifth time after his record-setting run in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (1,731 performances), Five Course Love, The Doyle and Debbie Show and Forbidden Broadway. A proud Denver native, he has appeared on stages across the city for 20 years, including his co-starring role with the DCPA Theatre Company as the Apostle, Matt in 2015’s The 12 (pictured below right) and in front of capacity crowds at The Buell while co-starring in the DCPA Theatre Company’s, White Christmas. An award-winning film actor as well, (three-time Best Actor-48 Hour Filmmaking Project/Special Screening Cannes), he recently appeared alongside Hollywood legends, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, in the Netflix feature Our Souls at Night. Proud 17-year member of Actors Equity Association. Much love to Hannah.

    Jordan Leigh The 12Hometown: Denver. I am a third-generation Coloradan!
    • College: BA in Theatre and Masters Acting Intensive from UCLA School of Theatre (magna cum laude)
    • What's your handle? @JordanLeighActs on Twitter; @ThatActorGuyJordan on Instagram
    • Twitter-sized bio: Buddhist Jew who loves Jesus. And Science. And South Park. And Animals. Hopes we can find a way to cut through all this worldly Mishegas (Yiddish for “insanity”). 
    • The role that changed your life? I regularly find that the roles I play reflect aspects of my own life journey that I'm experiencing right then and there. I'm constantly reawakened to how this craft is somehow esoterically and intimately intertwined with my own life experience. Well that, and playing Danny Zuko my senior year in high school. Because, well... Danny Zuko.
    Ideal scene partner: I love the idea of discussing the fact with Hugh Jackman that he can pull off playing both Wolverine and Jean Valjean. That seems pretty ideal from an acting standpoint.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? When I am affected by the truth of human connection in this life, it restores my faith in our common journey on this planet. When I'm able to be a part of making others feel that way through theatre, it makes me all warm and fuzzy. That's what I'm hoping this show will do to the good folks who continue to support this ancient form of storytelling. Oh, and I hope that at least one person laughs hard enough to pee a little.
    • Your worst first-date story: When she said, “I'm not a big reader. My favorite book is Hop on Pop." No offense to Dr. Seuss, but I'll just leave that there.
    • Your best first-date story:
    Driving down to Albuquerque to meet the woman with whom I now love and share my life. Hooray for internet dating!
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "... for all sentient beings to be free from suffering.” (That is the goal of Buddhist philosophy.)
    • Anything else you want to add?
    I have been so fortunate to call the Denver Center (and especially The Galleria Theatre) my theatre home for 17 years now. I feel truly blessed to have been able to do what I do so frequently at this incredible place. To all at the DCPA who have placed your professional faith in me all these years, you have my undying gratitude.



    Lauren ShealyLAUREN SHEALY
    (Woman 1) DCPA Cabaret: Forbidden Broadway (Woman 2), The Doyle and Debbie Show (Debbie), I Love You, You’re Perfect… (Woman 2). DCPA Theatre Company: Sweeney Todd (Swing), A Christmas Carol (Ensemble). Off Broadway: Lingoland (Lauren), How to Succeed In Business... (Rosemary). The Arvada Center: White Christmas (Betty), A Man Of No Importance (Mrs. Patrick), Curtains (Georgia), Miracle On 34th Street (Doris), 1940’s Radio Hour (Anne). Lone Tree Arts Center: Evita (Eva, pictured below right), South Pacific (Nellie). National Tour: South Pacific (Nellie). Other Theaters: Jekyll and Hyde (Lucy), Tick, Tick…Boom (Susan), Phantom (Christine). Training/Awards: NYU, Tisch; 2015 CTG Henry nomination for Best Actress in a Musical; Westword’s Best Actress in a Musical for 2013. 

    Lauren Shealy. Photo by Danny Lam. EvitaHometown: Littleton
    • College: BFA Drama from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts
    • What's your handle? I am not that cool.
    • Twitter-sized bio: Lover of life, stories, music, family, heavy weights, hikes, hugs and cake pops. Habitual bath taker, banana bread maker and horror movie watcher.
    • The role that changed your life? My role as a mother changed me as a performer. My heart underwent profound renovations; the current model has no walls, many doors and seriously leaky faucets. Every day I wrestle with a delightful and terrifying mix of fear, love, and humility. I am often raw, I doubt my goodness, question my strength … but I am strangely more brave.
    Ideal scene partner: Emma Thompson. I want to work a scene with her, follow her around for a week, peek in her freezer. She’s so yummy to watch – fully present, strong and beautifully vulnerable. She is so smart! – she adapted the script for the Ang Lee version of Sense and Sensibility – it’s perfection.  
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? I hope the audience laughs and releases the stress of the day. I hope that they make a connection ... to me, to each other, and to the role that love/attraction plays in their lives.
    • Your best first-date story:
    In the summer of 2011, friends set me up on a blind date with Bret Hipsher. I had reservations. I was casually dating a photographer and felt conflicted about going on a date with someone else. My father encouraged me to go. “Lauren, you have nothing to lose and you never know ... this guy could be the love of your life," he said. I kept the date. When Bret arrived, I opened the door and promptly lost the ability to speak coherently. There was something about his easy smile, beautiful blue eyes and delicious smell that rendered me useless for a short time. Once I recovered, I found myself more at ease with Bret than I had ever been with another man. I loved talking to him. I stared at his forearms. I felt his kindness washing over me at regular intervals. I watched the breeze play with his hair. I marveled at his exceptional intelligence and great sense of humor. He had his stuff together. I knew he was important. After he kissed my cheek that night, I called the photographer and wished him well. I married Bret a year later.
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "… what I have.”



    Aaron VegaAARON VEGA
    (Man 2 from Nov. 11-Dec. 3)
    DCPA Off-Center: The Wild Party. Aaron has performed in theaters across the country and after many years in New York City moved to Colorado with his dog. He has adapted and directed Shakespeare, staged rock and symphony concerts, is a founding artist and board member for the puppet and mask ensemble The Zoot Theatre Company, is the Artistic Director for Eureka Suitcase in New York and is the Executive Producer for The People’s Theatre of Denver.

    Aaron Vega. The Wild Party. Adams VisComHometown: I grew up in Amish country in north central Ohio. A little rural town called Mansfield
    • Home now: Denver
    • Training: I graduated from high school early so that I could get a degree at Wright State University's Professional Actor Training Program
    • What's your handle? @bardgeek on both Twitter and Instagram
    • Website: AaronVega.com
    • Twitter-sized bio: Freelance actor and director who is committed to bringing the audience's imagination into the theatrical process. Also an over-eater of pizza and hummus.
    • The role that changed your life? I played John Harrower in an unknown musical by Ricky Ian Gordan and Tina Landau called States of Independence. That was the moment I realized that musical theatre could be something deeper and more meaningful than I previously thought. And that I didn't have to choose between being an actor and being a musical-theatre performer.
    • Ideal scene partner: Laurence Olivier. He was the perfect blend of technique, imagination, grace and courage.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? A sense that the world is not as scary as prime-time TV would have us believe. That there is love in the world and that the only thing separating us from it is our frantic mind.
    • Your best first-date story: I've been incredibly lucky, and I've never been on Tinder so ... I'm good.
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …”:
    "... for the world to create more and destroy less."
    • Anything else you want to add? I have the index page of Shakespeare's Folio tattooed on my forearm. Whenever I'm feeling to big for my britches I can just look down and be reminded of what true genius is, and it motivates me to keep working harder. Kaizen! (That's the Japanese word for "change for better.")



    Barret HarperBARRET HARPER
    (Male Understudy) Denver Center debut. Barret has performed across the country in New York, Arizona and Florida, but is thrilled to return to Denver, which he considers home. He was most recently seen as Lonny in Rock of Ages at BDT Stage after two regional premieres of the production in Colorado and Arizona. Other favorite roles include Cornelius in Hello, Dolly!, Jinx in Forever Plaid, Mark in Altar Boyz, and Link in Hairspray. Regional: Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Arvada Center, Central City Opera, Arizona Broadway Theater, Broadway Palm Theater and Colorado Light Opera. Thanks to friends, family, and my beautiful wife for always encouraging me to dream.

    Barret Harper Forever PlaidHometown: Littleton 
    • College: BFA in Theater Performance, BA in Biochemistry, Minor in Chemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder 
    • What's your handle? @BarretHarper on Twitter; @grin.and.barret on Instagram
    • Twitter-sized bio: Barret. Beets. Battlestar Galactica
    • The role that changed your life? Jinx in Forever Plaid (pictured right at the Town Hall Arts Center). He is this quiet and shy person the audience gets to see come out of his shell, exposing so much heart. Everyone loves an underdog, and Jinx is the perfect personification of one. I love the journey he takes and his uncompromising nerdiness, which makes him incredibly endearing. If given the chance, I would play that role forever. 
    Ideal scene partner: Tom Hanks is a master of subtlety and nuance. His attention to small details makes his characters so vibrant and rich. I would love to watch him work and play off of that energy.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? I hope the audience walks away with a renewed faith for the human spirit. In recent times, I have sensed that we have lost touch with the ability to find common ground as a source of compassion for people with different views. This show is about two impossibly matched people who find that deep down they are looking for the same thing. My hope is that we all find that common ground and a compassion for one another. 
    • Your worst first-date story: That would have to be the time I thought I would impress the girl with some culinary skills. The plan was to make a Greek-themed meal complete with homemade baklava, since she had never eaten any Greek food before. As we finished eating, she had a few bites of the baklava before her face started to flush and swell. I had never thought to ask her if she had a nut allergy, and the baklava was stuffed with finely crushed walnuts. Luckily, she realized what was happening and stopped eating the deadly dessert before it got any worse. We later laughed about my unintentional attempt at murder, but at the moment it happened I was sure I had blown it. 
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "... a room somewhere. Far away from the cold night air.” That’s from My Fair Lady. The world could use a little more of the kind of joy that musical theater celebrates. 


    Video above: Watch as Cashelle Butler returned to her Cherry Creek High School stomping grounds when she was in Denver for the farewell tour of 'Mamma Mia!' Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    CashelleButlerCASHELLE BUTLER (Female Understudy) is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Denver following two years playing Tanya on the national tour of Mamma Mia!. Other credits include: Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth, Westword Best of Denver Award), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Cindy Lou, pictured below right at the Town Hall Arts Center), Parade (Lucille) and Legally Blonde (Paulette). University of Northern Colorado. Former DCPA Education student. Immense gratitude to DCPA, the cast, and the creatives. Love to Mom, Dad, Shea and Aaron.

    • Hometown: Denver
    • College: BA in Musical Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley
    • What's your handle? @cashellebutler on Twitter and Instagram
    • Website:
    cashelle-butler.com
    • Twitter-sized bio: Lover of conversation, family, naps, music, coffee, cute animal photos and Chipotle.
    Chashelle Butler. Town Hall Arts Center. The role that changed your life? Playing Tanya in the Farewell Tour of Mamma Mia! The character is so fun and comical that it was a blast to be able to go to work every night and just be silly and laugh. However, it was also amazing discipline, doing the show for two years straight and staying truthful and genuine every night. It is crazy to think that live theatre can ever become muscle memory, but after a long run it is so important to be present every single night. The role was life-changing, but so was the lifestyle that went with it. Seeing the country while doing what I love was an incredible opportunity, and it was so wonderful to be able to perform in amazing theatres in awesome cities. (My favorite was Denver). It was such a whirlwind.
    Ideal scene partner: I really love Rachel Bay Jones, who is currently appearing in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway). She is so versatile and such a strong actress. I’ve seen her in a few different shows, and every character she plays is just so genuine and believable. She's funny and fierce and vulnerable all in one, and I would love to work a scene (or 20) with her and learn from her.
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing First Date? I hope the audience is able to laugh, enjoy, and escape the world, I think First Date has a little bit of something for everyone. The story is so easy to connect with, and the music is so great that I think it’s an awesome way to spend an evening.
    • Your worst first-date story: One first date suggested we go on a hike and, in retrospect, it’s kind of creepy going off into the woods with a stranger. He said he was going to bring his dog, and I love dogs, so that really sold me. I met him at the trail thinking we will get to know each other while we leisurely walk. Instead, the guy broke into a full uphill sprint. What followed was two breathless hours of me trying to keep up on the trail run with this man and his dog. I tripped a lot, sweat a lot - and all we got to know about each other was our very different fitness levels.
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is …"
    "... Happiness for myself and all those around me. Also music, Chipotle, and endless photos of baby animals.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    First Date: Ticket information
    First DateNov. 11, 2017, through through April 22, 2018
    Tickets : Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Garner Galleria Theatre

    The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

  • In the Spotlife: Lauren Shealy of 'Evita'

    by John Moore | Apr 15, 2017
    Lauren Shealy. Photo by Danny Lam. EvitaJesse Sharp and Lauren Shealy in Lone Tree Arts Center's 'Evita.' Photo by Danny Lam.


    MEET LAUREN SHEALY

    forbidden_broadway_group_JOHN_MOORELauren Shealy plays the fated First Lady of Argentina Eva Peron in Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita through April 29. She is known to Denver Center audiences for Sweeney Todd; Forbidden Broadway; A Christmas Carol; The Doyle and Debbie Show; and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. She has also appeared locally at the Arvada Center (White Christmas, A Man Of No Importance, Curtains, Miracle On 34th Street, 1940s Radio Hour); and as Nellie in the Lone Tree Arts Center's South Pacific. (She also played that role on a national tour.) Off-Broadway credits include Lingoland and How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

  • Lauren Shealy QuoteHometown: Denver
  • Home now: Lakewood
  • High School: Arapahoe
  • College: BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Betty Haynes in the Arvada Center’s White Christmas
  • Twitter-sized bio: Lover of life, stories, music, family, heavy weights, hikes, hugs and cake pops. Habitual bath-taker, banana-bread maker and horror-movie watcher.
  • What was the role that changed your life? My role as a mother changed me as a performer. My heart underwent profound renovations. The current model has no walls, many doors – and seriously leaky faucets. Every day I wrestle with a delightful and terrifying mix of fear, love and humility. I am often raw, I doubt my goodness and question my strength. But I am strangely more brave. Encountering my best and worst self also has invited me to look at my stage characters differently. I have more empathy for them, and less judgment. When I look at Eva, for instance, I don’t see a power-hungry manipulator of men. I see a passionate woman who wants to matter, wants to be loved. I see a fighter who uses street sense, wiles and alliances to gain the mobility she needs to realize her dreams.   
  • Ideal scene partner: Emma Thompson (pictured below and right). I want to follow her around for a week and peek in her freezer. She’s so yummy to watch – fully present, strong and beautifully vulnerable. And she is so smart! She adapted the script for the Ang Lee version of Sense and Sensibility – and it’s perfection.
  • What is Evita all about? This is Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterful musical take on the  illegitimateEmma Thompson, dirt-poor 15-year-old Argentinian girl who, driven by ambition and blessed with charisma, was a starlet at 22, the president's mistress at 24, the First Lady at 27 and dead at 33. In short: It's about love and power.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing your part: I think the biggest challenge is burning voice, body and soul at an absolute fever pitch for two hours. Holding on to that intensity and maintaining the highest stakes possible as each scene tumbles forth is wildly challenging.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? Connection – to me, to the person next to them, to the memory of an extraordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life. 
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I love, love ... love horror movies. I need them on a steady drip.
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? There are no perfect circumstances, there is no perfect time and life is so very short. If you know what you are meant to do – do it. If you love someone – tell them. If you can make the world kinder, safer and more honest – start … now.

  • The iconic balcony scene from Lone Tree Arts Center's 'Evita.' Scenic Design by Michael R. Duran. Photo by Danny Lam. 

    Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita: Ticket information

    • Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice
    • Directed by Gina Rattan and Max Mamon (music)
    • Through April 29
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 1:30 p.m. Sundays. Also 1:30 p.m. Saturdays, April 15 and 22; Wednesday, April 19
    • Lone Tree Arts Center, just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue
    • Tickets $35-$70
    • For tickets or information, call 720-509-1000 or go to lonetreeartscenter.org

    Cast list:
    •  Lauren Shealy as Eva Peron
    •  Miles Jacoby as Che
    •  Jesse Sharp as Peron
    •  Seth Dhonau as Magaldi
    •  Katherine Jackson as the Mistress
    •  Natalie Beaumont as Young Girl
    •  Ensemble: Rob Costigan, Maggie Davenport, Andrea Forsythe, Eric Anthony Johnson, Thadd Krueger, Michayla Lupien, Angela Mendez, Matthew D. Peters, Alejandro Roldan, Shannan Steele
    •  Children: Natalie Beaumont, Sophia Dotson, Isabella Fabiani, Grace Klusacek, Heidi Rogers, Rebecca Ruth, Ross Smallwood, Callie Jean Tysdal, Ryley Weinstein

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport's The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre's The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Rebekah Ortiz of The Robber Bridegroom
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet 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

    Lauren Shealy. Photo by Danny Lam. Evita
  • April: Here's what's coming this month in Colorado theatre

    by John Moore | Mar 30, 2017
    April Listings Baby Dance


    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.

    Five intriguing titles for April:

    NUMBER 1The Nether. The new Benchmark Theatre debuts March 31 with the regional premiere of Jennifer Haley’s serpentine crime drama at Buntport Theater. This haunting sci-fi thriller is described as a virtual wonderland where one can simply log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment in this world, she triggers an interrogation into the darker corners of the imagination. The cast features Haley Johnson, Jim Hunt, Marc Stith, Cameron Varner and Ella Madison. Directed by Rachel Bouchard. Performances 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays through April 23 at 717 Lipan St. Tickets at the door or online at benchmarktheatre.com.

    NUMBER 2The Gun Show. Playwright EM Lewis takes aim at her own relationship with firearms in And Toto Too Productions' 12th-season opener at The Commons on Champa, a newly available performing space at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. From a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York, The Gun Show features one actor (Mark Collins) sharing Lewis' unique, middle-ground perspective on the issue with her true stories about America’s favorite and perhaps most dangerous pastime. And Toto Too is Colorado's only theatre company dedicated exclusively to women's voices. The Commons on Champa is subsidized in part by the city's The Next Stage NOW, a public initiative with a mission to enliven, diversify and sustain the downtown arts complex. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays from April 13-29 at 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org.

    NUMBER 3Waiting for Godot. When Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece opens April 21, the Arvada Center's first repertory season will be in full swing, joining The Drowning Girls and Bus Stop in the studio theatre. (And Jesus Christ Superstar continues on the mainstage through April 16.) Waiting for Godot, the story of a couple of patient hobos, their hats, boots and a tree, is directed by the Denver Center's Geoffrey Kent (An Act of God) and features DCPA Education Head of Acting Tim McCracken, Sam Gregory (A Christmas Carol), Josh Robinson and Sam Gilstrap. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    NUMBER 4Robert SchenkkanBuilding The Wall. Denver Center commissioned playwright Robert Schenkkan wrote this dystopian play as an immediate and angry response to the presidential election. In it, he imagines us six months into the Donald Trump presidency by invoking George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the Nazi regime. The play focuses on the frontman of the new administration, who loses his humanity amid chaos and martial law. His policies have  resulted in the mass roundup of millions of illegal aliens, with their incarceration overflowing into private prisons and camps reminiscent of another century. Building the Wall, Schenkkan told the DCPA NewsCenter, “is a terrifying and gripping exploration of what happens if we let fear win.” The play is being presented from April 4-19 by Denver's Curious Theatre, featuring John Jurcheck and Brynn Tucker, at 1080 Acoma St. 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    NUMBER 5Lauren ShealyEvita. Argentina's controversial First Lady is the subject of Andrew Lloyd Webber's enduring musical masterpiece, which features Denver actor Lauren Shealy (DCPA's Forbidden Broadway) in the starring role alongside Broadway actors Miles Jacoby (Che) and Jesse Sharp (Perón). As an illegitimate 15-year-old, Eva escaped her dirt-poor existence for the bright lights of Buenos Aires. Driven by ambition and blessed with charisma, she was a starlet at 22, the president's mistress at 24, the First Lady at 27, and dead at 33. The director is Gina Rattan, who helmed the recent national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Runs April 13-29 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org


    DCPA April theatre listings



    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    March 30-April 23: Cherry Creek Theatre Company’s The Baby Dance
    Pluss Theatre at the the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org

    April Listings Blue KitchenMarch 30-April 31: Bas Bleu Theatre's The Blue Kitchen
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949or basbleu.org

    March 31-May 7: DCPA Theatre Company's Disgraced
    Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    March 31-April 30: Town Hall Arts Center's The Robber Bridegroom
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or town hallartscenter.org READ MORE

    March 31-April 23: Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
    At Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., benchmarktheatre.com READ MORE

    March 31-April 23: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Bye Bye Birdie
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    March 31-May 21: Vintage Theatre’s The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    March 31-April 16: Star Bar Players' Tape
    The Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado, Colorado Springs
    Info: Email tickets@starbarplayers.org or call 719-357-5228

    March 31-April 30: Dangerous Theatre's Dogmai (world premiere)
    2620 W. 2nd Ave #1, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com

    April 1-April 29: OpenStage's Don't Dress for Dinner
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    April Listings Crimes of the HeartApril 1-29: Firehouse Theater Company's Crimes of the Heart
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehouse’s home page 

     

    April 1-29: Miners Alley Children's Theatre's Peter and the Wolf
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    April 4-19: Curious Theatre's Building the Wall
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    April 6-30: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Silent Sky
    Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org READ MORE

    April 6-22: 5th Wall Productions' Life Lessons
    At The Bakery, 2132 Market St., 5th-wall-productions.com

    April 7-May 21Vintage Theatre’s A Time to Kill
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page

    April 7-30: Germinal Stage-Denver's Arms and the Man
    At Westminster High School, 69th Avenue and Raleigh Street, 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    April 7-15: Theatre Company of Lafayette’s The X-Files: The Spoof is Out There
    Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

    April 7-8: PACE Center and Inspire Creative's Mr. Popper's Penguins
    20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker,  303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

    April 11-16: National touring production of Mamma Mia!
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    April 13-29: Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

    April 13-29: And Toto too Theatre Company’s The Gun Show (world premiere)
    The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org 

    April 14-30: Funky Little Theatre Company’s Sylvia
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    April 14-22: Robert Dubac’s The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?
    At the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    April 14-29: StageDoor Theatre's Footloose, The Musical
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoor’s home page

    April 21-May 28: DCPA Theare Company's The Secret Garden
    Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    April 21-May 21: The Edge Theatre's Misery
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheatre.com

    April 21-May 20: Arvada Center's Waiting for Godot
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    April 21-May 28: Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    April 22-May 7: TheatreWorks' Pride and Prejudice
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    April 23-May 13: square product’s She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange (world premiere)
    At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or the dairy.org

    April 27-May 7: Upstart Crow's Dark of the Moon
    At the Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    April 27-May 13: Dairy Arts Center's The Testament of Mary
    2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or tickets.thedairy.org

    April 28-May 21: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins (Second Stage)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through March 31: Vintage Theatre Productions’ Stella & Lou
    At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through April 2: The Edge Theatre's The Nance
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheatre.com

    Through April 2: Millibo Art Theatre's The Crucible
    1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org

    Through April 2: BiTSY Stage's The Lass Who Went Out With The Cry Of Dawn: A Celtic Yarn
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Through April 8: 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 April 8: Athena Project Arts Festival's The Wave That Set the Fire
    At the Byron Theatre in Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave., AthenaProjectFestival.org

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Through April 9: Aurora Fox's Chinglish
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org


    Through April 9: Performance Now's Hello, Dolly!
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performancenow.org

    Through April 9: The Avenue Theater's Oddville
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Through April 15: Evergreen Players' Enchanted April
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.com

    Through April 15: Equinox Theatre Company’s Stage Kiss
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com

    Through April 15: Curious Theatre's Constellations
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org READ MORE

    Through April 16: Arvada Center's Jesus Christ Superstar
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org



    Through April 30: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com READ MORE

    Through April 30: Denver Children's Theatre's The Jungle Book
    Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 or maccjcc.org

    Through May 6: BDT Stage's Disenchanted
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

     

    Through May 14: Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    Through May 19: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 21: Off-Center's Travelers of the Lost Dimension, with A.C.E.
    At the Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through May 21: Arvada Center's The Drowning Girls
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 27: Midtown Arts Center's Sister Act
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through June 4: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s 42nd Street
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com


    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

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

    THE ATHENA PROJECT ARTS FESTIVAL
    Through April 8: World-premiere play The Wave That Set the Fire
    At the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave. INFO

    2017 Plays In Progress Series

    • April 1 at 1 p.m. and April 8 at 4 p.m.: Beating a Dead Horse by Jennifer Stafford
    • April 1 at  4 p.m. and April 2 at 7 p.m.: Famous Last Words by Katherine Millett
    • April 8 at 1 p.m. and April 9 at 7 p.m.: Handcrafted Healing by Nancy Beverly

    At the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave. ticket info

    Special Table Reading

    • April 2 at 9:30 a.m. and April 3 at 7 p.m.: Honor Killing by Sarah Bierstock

    At the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave. ticket info

    BENNETT COMMUNITY CENTER
    April 8-9: Vintage Theatre presents RFK – A Portrait of Robert Kennedy
    Starring James O’Hagan Murphy at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, and at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9.
    1100 E. Colfax Ave., Bennett (35 miles east of Denver). 303-856-7830 or vintagetheatre.com

    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    • Saturday, April 8: 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)
    • Saturday, April 9: Very Short Stories: International for Stories on Stage, at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
    • Tuesday, April 18: The Great Debate (monthly)
    • Wednesday, April 19: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
    • Friday, April 28: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum, monthly)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    THE CLOCKTOWER CABARET

    • Saturdays in April: 1980s Burlesque Tribute: Ladies of the '80s

    D&F Clocktower, 16th and Arapahoe streets, 303-293-0075 or clocktowercabaret.com

    Concert Lone Treey 340

    DENVER ACTORS FUND
    • Sunday, April 9: Screening of the film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, with live pre-screening entertainment for the cast of the Aurora Fox's upcoming stage production of the stage musical. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7.

    Alamo Drafthouse Littleton, 7301 S Santa Fe Drive, drafthouse.com

    • Sunday, April 30: United in Love: A benefit concert starring Broadway's Annaleigh Ashford, Andy Kelso and Mara Davi. Featuring Mary Louise Lee, Jodie Langel and Denise Gentilini. Hosted by Eden Lane and Steven J. Burge.

    At the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org READ MORE


    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

    • BethMalone-SO FAR-artApril 1: Hal Holbrook: Mark Twain Tonight!, Buell Theatre READ MORE INFO
    • April 15: Beth Malone: So Far, Galleria Theatre INFO READ MORE
    • April 28 and May 12: Cult Following & SCRIPTprov™, Jones Theatre INFO
    • April 29 and May 13: Cult Following: Rated G, Jones Theatre INFO

    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: BOULDER

    • Saturday, April 29: Giving Motherhood a Microphone

    One-day live staged-reading event where local writers share their stories of motherhood. At Unity of Boulder, 2855 Folsom, Boulder, listentoyourmothershow

    LONE TREE ARTS CENTER

    • Sunday, April 30: United in Love: A concert benefiting the Denver Actors Fund

    Starring BROADWAY'S Annaleigh Ashford, Andy Kelso and Mara Davi. Featuring Mary Louise Lee, Jodie Langel and Denise Gentilini. Hosted by Eden Lane and Steven J. Burge.
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

    PHAMALY THEATRE COMPANY
    • April 1-2: James and the Giant Peach
    At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or the dairy.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, April 9: Very Short Stories: International
    Flash fiction from around the world. Stories will be performed by Erin Rollman, Hannah Duggan, Erik Edborg and Brian Colonna of Buntport Theatre.
    1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

    SU TEATRO

    • April 18- 29: Wordfest

    Su Teatro's third annual festival of readings of new work, presentations and performances
    721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or su teatro’s home page

  • Cherry Creek Theatre pulls up carpet and moves into Mizel

    by John Moore | Jan 25, 2017

    Video above: Jeremy Rill as Cole Porter in 'Red Hot & Cole,' opening Jan. 26.



    Since 2010, Cherry Creek Theatre has performed in the most distinct setting of perhaps any local troupe – inside the Shaver-Ramsey Gallery surrounded by opulent, finely woven Oriental rugs more than likely worth more than the net worth of all the actors combined. But after six years and 18 productions, the company is apparently no longer feeling the (carpet) burn.

    Cherry Creek opens its seventh season on Thursday with its first show as the new resident theatre company at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center. The group will perform Red Hot & Cole in the Pluss Theatre, which is the Mizel’s intimate studio theatre. The Shaver-Ramsey Gallery in Cherry Creek North served the company well, but the set and portable lights had to be taken down after every performance so the store could conduct normal business by day. A more permanent venue has been long overdue.

    Cherry Creek Theatre Shannan Steele Quote“To continue to provide the quality productions the theatre is known for, and to expand its artistic pursuits, additional space is required,” said Mark Rossman, who co-founded Cherry Creek Theatre with his wife, Maxine. 

    Steve Wilson, Executive Artistic Director of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, said he is overjoyed by the new partnership. “The Rossmans and Cherry Creek Theatre have been a powerful artistic presence in our area, and the MACC is delighted to bring them into our facility to assist in the continued growth of their outstanding work,” he said.

    Under Artistic Producer and outgoing Colorado Theatre Guild President Pat Payne, Cherry Creek Theatre has produced an eclectic mix ranging from Proof, Doubt and Twelve Angry Men to musicals including Baby, John & Jen and several Sondheim revues.

    Two huge upsides from the move: Free parking at the Mizel, and the ability to schedule more matinee performances. One downside: No Friday performances at the Mizel because of the Sabbath day of rest. Also, the move out of Cherry Creek North, given that the theatre company was specifically created in 2010 to bring live theatre to the shopping district.

    “While we would have liked to remain in Cherry Creek North, current redevelopment of the area has made this impossible from a cost standpoint,” Rossman said.  

    Red Hot & Cole is a two-act revue that traces Cole Porter’s career from Indiana to the world stages of New York, London, Paris and Venice, through his marriage, his friendships with contemporaries and the tragic riding accident that crippled him mid-career. The score features more than 25 Porter standards, including “Night and Day,” “Anything Goes” and “In the Still of the Night.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Cherry Creek has helped make its name as a legit new company by often incorporating union actors into its productions, which is cost-prohibitive for most comparably sized small companies. The local theatre ecology is teeming with professional-caliber non-union actors. But by committing to hiring - and paying - union actors, Cherry Creek has the full pool of available talent to choose from, and Red Hot & Cole is a primary example. Among the cast of Jeremy Rill, Seth Dhonau, Damon Guerasio, Stephen Day, Matt LaFontaine, Sharon Kay White, Lauren Shealy, Shannan Steele, Susannah McLeod and Olivia James are five members of the Actors Equity union.

    Red Hot Cole Cherry Creek Theatre Those are some big names. Day starred in the Arvada Center’s La Cage Aux Folles and many others; White just won a True West Award for her work in Sister Act and others at the Arvada Center, and Steele is a very familiar face at the Denver Center, having appeared in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; The Last Five Years; My Way; Animal Crackers; Sweeney Todd, and A Christmas Carol. Likewise, Lauren Shealy has appeared at the Denver Center in Forbidden Broadway; A Christmas Carol; The Doyle and Debbie Show, and Love, Perfect, Change.

    The Director is Broadway performer Piper Arpan (Spamalot) and the Music Director is Susan Draus, Music Director of the recent Broadway hit Beautiful, The Carole King Musical and creator of last summer’s interactive party Reunion ’85 at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

    "This move into an actual theatre speaks volumes about the passion, commitment and drive of the Cherry Creek Theatre directors and board," said Steele. "They are such an asset to the arts community here in Denver."

    Cherry Creek Theatre’s inaugural three-show season at the Mizel will include The Baby Dance, directed by Gavin Mayer, March 30-April 30; and Beau Jest, directed by M. Curtis Grittner, Nov. 9-Dec. 10.

    Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Stephen Day, Susannah McLeod, Matt LaFontaine and Lauren Shealy.

    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.

    Red Hot and Cole: Ticket information
    Who: Presented by the Cherry Creek Theatre Company
    When: Jan. 26 through Feb. 19
    Where: Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St.
    Times: 8 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; also 7 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 12 and 19. No Friday perfromances
    Tickets $30-$35
    Call 303-800-6578 or go to cherrycreektheatre.org

    Mizel Arts and Culture CenterThe exterior of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, home of the Pluss Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Thanks pour in for DCPA Theatre Company's Kent Thompson

    by John Moore | Jan 06, 2017

    Sense and Sensibility
    Marcia Milgrom Dodge‎, Director of Sense & Sensibility The Musical (above) was among the many offering Kent Thompson their well wishes today. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen


    Kent Thompson, only the third Producing Artistic Director in the nearly 40-year history of the DCPA Theatre Company, announced his resignation Thursday, effective March 3. Here is a sampling of the well-wishes that have been sent in or posted on social media since the news broke:

    Kent Thompson QuoteOn the morning Kent Thompson announced the creation of the Women’s Voices Fund for the DCPA Theatre Company, I remember thinking that this man just counted up all the shows before his arrival in Denver and figured out fewer than 10 were written or directed by women in all those years. And he said, "Enough is enough. Let's change that." Kent was the first leader I met who worked on gender inequities in the field. Also, while we're at it, he said, “Let's launch a huge new-play program.” The Denver Center has been a major artistic home for me. Many shows. Many workshops. Many birthdays. Many problems with altitude. Many, many years of great theatremaking. I feel privileged to have been part of the Thompson years, and I have so much respect for the work he has done.
    Wendy C. Goldberg, Director (Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner), Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

    I've worked with Kent Thompson off and on for almost 20 years. Nothing I can say will begin to describe what that has meant to me. He already knows I'm grateful. I've told him many times. I wish him all the best in whatever new adventures come his way.
    Sam Gregory, Actor (A Christmas Carol)

    Robert Petkoff Sweeney ToddI will forever be grateful for the opportunity you gave me to play one of my dream roles. Robert Petkoff, Actor (Sweeney Todd)

    Kent Thompson is a damn fine human being. Kent's work for the theatre company and Denver at large will be felt for years to come.
    Geoffrey Kent, Fight Director and Actor

    220px-Marcia_Milgrom_DodgeBest of luck to you, dear Kent. I am grateful for the spectacular Sense & Sensibility The Musical experience with the DCPA Theatre Company. Here's hoping your next chapter brings you great success and much happiness.
    Marcia Milgrom Dodge‎, Director (Sense & Sensibility The Musical)

    I so enjoyed working with you and getting to know you, and was looking forward to much more of that. I hope our paths cross again soon in the world. Many congrats on your huge accomplishments at the DCPA.
    Melissa Rain Anderson, Director (A Christmas Carol)

    I have admired your leadership not only in Denver, but the ambition many of your ideas have fueled the national conversations about important issues and initiatives we ignore at our peril.
    Edgar Dobie

    A Kent Thompson Matt ZambranoI owe so much to Kent Thompson. He took a chance on me while I was still in school and cast me in The Liar, which was my first show at the Denver Center. As a kid growing up in Denver theater, that was a big deal. It's also because of him that I got to play Sylvester in Scapin at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where I met friends I will cherish for the rest of my life. He did so much for the DCPA and for the Denver theater community, and I wish him the best in all his new endeavors.
    Matt Zambrano, Actor (The Liar)

    Kent Thompson is a true visionary. I admire him so.
    Elaine Romero, Playwright

    Kent Thompson will be missed ... and that's an understatement.
    Tina Walls, DCPA Trustee

    A Midsummer Night's DreamKent Thompson, thanks to you, I played a sassy wench from Cyprus with epic red hair and an ethereal green-haired lady and her feisty granddaughter. But best of all, I had the privilege of running around an Athenian forest with these wonderful people and a gaggle of mechanicals and fairies, to boot. I am so grateful to you, sir, for taking a chance on an overzealous grad student. I would dunk myself in a freezing pool of water in Denver in February for you anytime.
    Allison Pistorius, Actor (A Midsummer Nights Dream)

    Thompson's legacy: Giving sound to unheard voices

    It was a great honor and pleasure working with you. I wish you all the best as you transition into the next chapter of your life. I know beautiful experiences and adventures await you.
    Lauren Shealy, actor (A Christmas Carol)

    Kent is a kind and wonderful human being and a generous collaborator who is leaving very large shoes to be filled.
    David M. Barber, Scenic Designer (The Most Deserving)

    I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had under Kent’s leadership and proud of the work we have created together. He leaves behind an incredible legacy, and I'm excited to see what artistic adventures await him.
    Charlie Miller, DCPA Associate Artistic Director for Strategy and Innovation

    Kent, I so value our artistic collaboration and friendship. Thank you for everything.
    Karen Zacarias, Playwright (Just Like Us)

    Thank you for your talent and creativity.  It has been wonderful to see your productions,  and your footprint is apparent. Best wishes for you next endeavors. We will be watching.
    Karen Garcia

    I've had the honor of working on two shows with Kent Thompson, and he will be missed greatly in the Denver theatre community. Kent's work with the DCPA has impacted my life so much, which is why I think of Denver as a second home.
    Erik Daniells. Conductor (Sweeney Todd)

    Kent Thompson’s groundbreaking achievements here are not likely to be matched in the near future.
    Alan Gass

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Fred Vaugeois and I of the Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre in Trinidad want you to know how pleased we've been with the many new programs and quality productions you brought to us as theatregoers and the increased focus on live theatre you generated for all of us in Colorado. We met briefly one day in your office when you were kind enough to share insights and suggestions for our work in southern Colorado.  You also facilitated a playwriting workshop for our youth interns, which was a great success for our kids.
    Harriet Vaugeois, Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre

    Your creativity, drive and excellent spirit made each story the best quality in storyline, character development and being able to pull it all together with grace. Judith Babcock

    Many thanks for your leadership of the Denver Center. My spouse and I have admired your work and your loyalty to the Denver Center.
    Ed and Patty McAuliffe, ushers and patrons

    I have enjoyed your tenure at the DCPA. You have helped keep things relevant while pushing boundaries and preserving excellence.
    Andy Frazier

    You have brought excitement and joy to me with the wonderful plays you've produced in Denver. We have been blessed with your creativity, vision, sensitivity and so many more of your talents to our theater here in Denver.  I'm grateful I was able to participate in the experience.
    Kathleen Anderson

    We followed you from Alabama Shakespeare Festival and were feeling a bit isolated until we got to our first play at the Denver Center. When we first realized that you and several "friends" from Alabama were here in Denver, we began to feel at home in Denver. Thank you.
    Samera and Bill Baird

    We have been season-ticket holders since the DCPA was formed, and you have been such a marvelous addition to the organization.  We think the plays get better each year and we credit you with the many wonderful experiences you have given us.
    Ann and Gary Polumbus

    We have been subscribers since 1990 and have missed only one production during that time.  Kent Thompson’s contribution and leadership have been felt and appreciated. Richard and Christine Hall, Colorado Springs

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage:
    The Thompson legacy: Giving sound to unheard voices
    The Christians
    : Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Where the blade meets the band: Kent Thompson on Sweeney Todd
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season: Two world premieres and a return to classics
    Westminster High School tackles immigration with DCPA's Just Like Us
    How Thompson turned questions into exclamation points

    Photo gallery: A retrospective of Kent Thompson's years in Denver

    Kent Thompson: A retrospectiveTo see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above.

  • January: Colorado theatre listings

    by John Moore | Jan 04, 2017
    Becky's New Car, Firehouse Theatre,

    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.

    Five intriguing titles for January:

    NUMBER 1Red Hot and Cole. The Cherry Creek Theatre begins its seventh season with a big move out of the Shaver-Ramsey Gallery and into the Pluss Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center. The cast includes Jeremy Rill, Seth Dhonau, Damon Guerasio, Stephen Day, Matt LaFontaine, Sharon Kay White, Lauren Shealy, Shannan Steele, Susannah McLeod and Olivia James. The director is Susan Draus, music director for the tour of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical and creator of last year’s fun romp at the Lone Tree Arts Center Reunion ’85. Jan. 26-Feb. 19 at 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    NUMBER 2The Wiz. Ignite Theatre’s 31st production will be the 1975 Broadway musical that tells the story of The Wizard of Oz from an African-American perspective. Ignite intended to ease on down this road last summer, but issues involving the use of the Aurora Fox as a host venue forced the postponement. Featuring Clarissa DuBose as Dorothy. Jan. 7-29  at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., 720-362-2697 or ignite’s home page

    NUMBER 3Peter TrinhComing to America. Theatre Esprit Asia returns with a compelling collaboration with the Theatre Company of Lafayette: Two monologues addressing issues of immigration. In Boat Person, Peter Trinh recounts the bloody fall of Saigon. In Antecedents, Maria Cheng recollects the Americanization of a precocious Chinese teenager. Jan. 13-22 at the Mary Miller Theater in Lafayette, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or www.tclstage.org

    NUMBER 4RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy. James O’Hagan Murphy returns to his signature role as a tribute to his recently departed director, Terry Dodd. Presented by Vintage Theatre Jan. 6-8 at the Dairy Center in Boulder, 2590 Walnut St., 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org; and Jan. 13-22 At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive in Evergreen, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.com

    NUMBER 5The Happiest Song Plays Last. Curious Theatre presents the final chapter of its Elliot Trilogy of plays by Quiara Alegría Hudes. In a cozy North Philadelphia kitchen, a matriarch takes a stand in her new role as the heart and voice of a crumbling community. Halfway around the world in Jordan, her cousin (Elliot) finds that his wartime nightmares have followed him into his new life as a film star. Punctuated by live music from Puerto Rico and the Middle East. Jan. 14-Feb. 17 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Jan. 5-Feb. 4: OpenStage Theatre & Company’s Bright Ideas
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    JANUOARY OPENINGS DCPA 1Jan. 6-28: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Red
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Jan. 6-22: Performance Now's Man of La Mancha
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performance now’s home page 

    Jan. 6-March 18: Midtown Arts Center's Million Dollar Quartet
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Jan. 6-8: Vintage Theatre's RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy
    At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

    Jan. 6-29: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Godspell
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Jan. 7-Feb. 4: Firehouse Theatre Company's Becky’s New Car
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or firehousetheatercompany.com

    Jan. 7-29: Ignite Theatre's The Wiz
    At the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., 720-362-2697 or ignite’s home page

    Bright IdeasJan. 10-22: National touring production of Fun Home
    Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Jan. 12-March 12: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s Forever Plaid
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Jan. 12-29: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Buyer & Cellar
    Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Jan. 13-Feb. 26: DCPA Theatre Company's The Book of Will
    Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Jan. 13-Feb. 12: The Edge Theatre's Burn This
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Jan. 13-22: Theater Esprit Asia and Theater Company of Lafayette’s Coming to America
    At the Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or www.tclstage.org

    Jan. 13-Feb. 4: Town Hall Arts Center's Avenue Q
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Jan. 13-Feb. 12: The Avenue Theater's Almost, Maine
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page


    Jan. 13-Feb. 4: Equinox Theatre Company’s The Who’s Tommy
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Jan. 13-22: Vintage Theatre's A Portrait of Robert Kennedy
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.com

    Jan. 13-22: Vintage Theatre's A Portrait of Robert Kennedy
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.com

    Carter NovingerJan. 13-March 5: Vintage Theatre's Brilliant Traces
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page

    Jan. 13-29: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's WYNOT Radio Theatre in The Other Coast Caper
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Jan. 13-22: Longmont Theatre Company's Leading Ladies
    513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Jan. 13-March 18: Midtown Arts Center's Forbidden Broadway (Studio Theatre)
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Jan. 14-Feb. 17: Curious Theatre's The Happiest Song Plays Last
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    Jan. 20-Feb. 19: Aurora Fox's Myth
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    Jan. 20-Feb. 12: Parker Arts Center and Inspire Creative's Disney's Beauty and the Beast
    20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, parkerarts.org

    RFK VintageJan. 26-Feb. 19: Cherry Creek Theatre's Red Hot and Cole
    At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center's Pluss Theatre, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    Jan. 27-Feb. 26: DCPA Theatre Company's The Christians
    Stage Theatre, Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Jan. 27-March 5: Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Jan. 27-Feb. 12: Something’s Afoot
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoor’s home page


    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Jan. 8: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Shrek: The Musical
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

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

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

    Through March 12: 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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

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

    THE AVENUE THEATER
    Jan. 26: Scriptprov (improv comedy and theatre actors working together)
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page

    BUNTPORT THEATRE
    Jan. 14: 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)
    Jan. 17: The Great Debate
    Jan. 18: The Narrators (a live storytelling show and podcast)
    Jan. 27: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    THE CATAMOUNTS
    Jan. 27: FEED: Darkness
    An examination of why we need darkness in order to see the light through a  short performance piece and live music. With a four-course meal and drink.
    At Still Cellars, a distillery and arthouse, 115 Colorado Ave., Longmont


    Paula Poundstone

    COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER

    Jan. 13-14: Staged concert of Next to Normal with Broadway veteran Susan Dawn Carson
    Jan. 27, 2017: An Evening With Paula Poundstone
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    CURIOUS THEATRE
    Jan. 8: Gabriella Cavallero host an evening of music and conversation with the Harlem Quartet. The program will spotlight the music in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ plays.
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org


    Waiting for Obama

    DENVER ACTORS FUND

    Jan. 19: Staged reading of John Moore's play Waiting for Obama
    The Edge Theatre 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 720-231-7547 email denveractorsfund.org
    (Free, no advance ticketing. Drop in.)

    Jan. 22: Billy Elliot (the movie)
    Denver Actors Fund monthly film series in partnership with local theatre companies)
    Pre-screening entertainment by cast of Vintahe Theatre's upcoming production of Billy Elliot, The Musical
    At the Alamo Drafthouse, Aspen Grove, 7301 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, 720-588-4107 or BUY TICKETS

    LANNIE’S CLOCKTOWER CABARET
    Jan. 6: The Jerseys sing the Four Seasons and more
    D&F Clock Tower, 16th and Arapahoe streets, 303-293-0075 or clocktowercabaret.com

    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
    Jan. 14: Leaps of Faith
    "The Conversion of the Jews” by Philip Roth Young, performed by Michael Bouchard
    "The Blue Hole” by Erika Krouse, performed by Jessica Austgen
    "A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets” by Kevin Brockmeier, performed by Cajardo Rameer Lindsey
    1:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

  • 2016 True West Award: Daniel Langhoff

    by John Moore | Dec 15, 2016
    Daniel Langhoff

     



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 16: Daniel Langhoff

    When a man is diagnosed with cancer, he tends to take stock. Make a bucket list. Daniel Langhoff made a bucket list of dream roles - both of them dreamers: Tateh, the immigrant single father in the epic musical Ragtime, and the chivalrous knight Don Quixote in the epic musical Man of La Mancha.

    Both characters are kind, inventive men who see the world not as it is, but how it should (or could) be. “They are both Daniel,” said director Kelly Van Oosbree, the director of both productions for Performance Now Theatre Company in Lakewood.

    Daniel Langhoff picked the year he got his life back to have the year of his life as an actor.

    A Daniel Langhoff QuoteA year ago, when Langhoff was just beginning a six-month round of chemotherapy, he got word that Performance Now would soon be staging Ragtime. He called Van Oosbree to express his interest in playing Tateh, the poor inventor who rises to become one of the most prominent silent-film directors of the era.

    “I remember thinking, ‘How in the hell is this going to happen?’ ” Van Oosbree said. This was December, just a few months after Langhoff married, became a father and was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. Van Oosbree knew he had just begun chemotherapy.

    “I couldn’t wrap my brain around it because if were in the same situation, I wonder how I would even cope,” she said. “But Daniel did not let cancer stop him from doing anything.”

    Quite the contrary. Langhoff had surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes in October – then immediately joined the cast of the DCPA Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol, fitting rounds of chemo into 10-show weeks at the Denver Center. Then, on to Ragtime.

    Langhoff, 41, had strong sentimental and professional reasons for wanting to play Tateh.

    He had played the homegrown terrorist known as “Younger Brother” in a remarkable production of Ragtime for the Arvada Center in 2011, and he now wanted to complete the circle by playing Tateh for Performance Now. Like Tateh, Langhoff was now a first-time father, having welcomed daughter Clara into the world with wife Rebecca Joseph earlier in the year.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “As a father and a dreamer, Tateh was a role that speaks to him,” Van Oosbree said. As surely will the  imprisoned author Miguel de Cervantes, the chivalrous and blindly hopeful dreamer who sees beauty in brokenness and uses the power of storytelling to save his own life. Langhoff, in his own way, has used storytelling, insistent optimism, the love of family – and amazing advancements in medicine – to save his own.

    Arvada center 40. Daniel Langhoff. Provided by the Arvada Center, Matthew Gale Photography 2016.In July, he was declared cancer-free. He celebrated by performing as a featured vocalist in the Arvada Center's 40th anniversary concert outdoors alongside fellow big-time local musical-theater stars Megan Van De Hey, Lauren Shealy and Stephen Day, accompanied by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. (Picture above by Matthew Gale Photography). He then played the Rev. John Hale in Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible for Firehouse Theater Company. The minister is the dupe who comes to Salem intent on seeing witchcraft at play. Currently he's appearing in the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's regional premiere of the madcap Every Christmas Story Ever Told though Dec. 24. After Man of La Mancha (Jan. 6-22), he will join the ensemble of Jesus Christ Superstar for the Arvada Center (March 24-April 16), then perform the music of Johnny Cash in Ring of Fire for Vintage Theatre (June 23-Aug. 6).

    Daniel Langhoff and Anna Eastland in Ragtime. Photo by Rachel D. Graham PhotographyVan Oosbree said it was a coup for her to get Langhoff to even audition for Ragtime. Not because Performance Now doesn’t do great work, but because it’s not a place where an actor makes a living. “And Daniel was making a living as an actor,” Van Oosbree said. “You come to Performance Now because you love it, and Daniel loved it. It really, really meant something for him to play Tateh – and it meant something to all of us that he wanted to do it here.

    “Daniel doesn’t care about the money. He cares about doing thought-provoking, meaningful theater.”

    But there’s no question, Van Oosbree said, that Langhoff’s battle with cancer enhanced his portrayal of Tateh. It made his performance somehow deeper and richer; sweeter and more soulful, she said.

    “I think anyone who goes through something like that realizes how important and brief our time is,” she said. “And that makes you more grateful for the time that you have.”

    Langhoff is not winning a True West Award for overcoming cancer. He’s winning a True West Award for overcoming cancer as a new husband and father, all while conquering one big role after another, and maintaining an uncommon kindness and humility throughout.

    (Photo above and right: Daniel Langhoff and Anna Eastland in 'Ragtime.' Photo by Rachel D. Graham Photography.)

    Daniel Langhoff/At a glance

    • High School: Cherry Creek
    • College: Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley
    • DCPA connection: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre; A Christmas Carol for the DCPA Theatre Company
    Daniel Langhoff and Lisa Kraai in The Crucible. Photo by Christine Fisk.
    Daniel Langhoff and Lisa Kraai in Firehouse's 'The Crucible.' Photo by Christine Fisk.


    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

    Video: Daniel Langhoff presents Community Impact Award to Denver Actors Fund:

  • Video: Last call for 'Forbidden Broadway' in Denver

    by John Moore | Feb 13, 2015
    Video by John Moore and David Lenk.



    William Selby. Photo by John Moore. In the video above, William Selby, director of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!, talks about how the popular franchise, now in its 32nd year, is all-new for Denver.

    This comic roast of Broadway has just two weeks left in its return run to Denver with a fresh view of the highs and lows of recent Broadway shows. It features outrageous costumes, comic rewrites of classic showtunes old and new, and dead-on impressions by a stellar, all-Colorado cast of Lauren Shealy, Sarah Rex, Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan. "You talk about Colorado Pride: I am super-proud of this group. One of the best I have ever worked with," said Selby, who has directed 18 iterations of Forbidden Broadway. The Musical Director is Denver's Martha Yordy.

    There show plays only through March 1 at the Garner Galleria Theatre. Appropriate for children 8+. 303-893-4100 or go to the DCPA's web page.

    Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!: Ticket information
    Performances run through March 1
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
    Performances daily except for Monday
    Tickets: Start at $25
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our previous coverage of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
    Go to the show page
    Video: Jordan Leigh's fresh take on Adam Sandler's 'Hanukkah Song'
    Opening Night performance coverage
    Jennifer Schmitz is an unsung hero of Forbidden Broadway
    Download the program
    Meet the homegrown cast of Forbidden Broadway

    Photos by Terry Shapiro for the DCPA.
  • Video: Fun highlights from the DCPA's Holiday Box Office

    by John Moore | Dec 13, 2014

    Here are performance highlights from the first weeks of the DCPA’s new Holiday Box Office, an innovative, interactive storefront in Cherry Creek North that offers holiday shoppers musical numbers; actor interviews; a behind-the scenes look at one of the leading arts centers in the nation; and plenty of activities for kids, including origami, storytelling, a stage to play on, props to play with and costumes to try on.

    It's all a fun respite from the hubbub of shopping. And there are no fees on any tickets or gift certificates purchased at the store through Dec. 23.

    Featured guests in this video include cast members from Forbidden Broadway (Katie Drinkard, Jordan Leigh, Sarah Rex and Lauren Shealy); Jersey Boys (Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Nicolas Dromard); How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The Grinch); A Christmas Carol (Elias Harger); and Off-Center @The Jones' Perception (Tom Hagerman). Also: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, DCPA Director of Marketing and Media Jeff Hovorka; and Visit Denver's Richard Scharf. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

    For ticket information, call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org.

    Holiday_Box_Office_Store_800_3_map


    DCPA Holiday Box Office: At a glance

    Our previous coverage from the Holiday Box Office:
    Here's our news story announcing the store opening
    Mayor, Grinch, help DCPA launch new storefront
    Video: Watch Jordan Leigh's fresh take on Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song in full
    Video: Interview with Shaun Taylor-Corbett of Jersey Boys

    Holiday_Box_Office_800_JerseyThe cast of Jersey Boys greets a fan at the DCPA's Holiday Box Office. 


    Holiday_Box_Office_800_Hagerman
    Let's play!

  • Photos: Denver opening of 'Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking'

    by John Moore | Nov 23, 2014
    Forbidden_Broadway_Alive_Kicking_Opening_800_1
    The cast and crew of the DCPA's world premiere of 'Forever Broadway" Alive and Kicking' gathered at LImelight for a post-show celebration. Photo by John Moore.


    Here are photos from Friday's opening performance of the brand new Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!, which plays at the Garner Galleria Theatre through March 1. To see our complete gallery of downloadable Opening Night photos, click here

    Forbidden Broadway is a comic roast of Broadway that has picked up nine Drama Desk Awards, a special Tony Award, an Obie, a Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award. This New York sensation returns to Denver with an all-new, fresh view of the highs and lows of recent Broadway shows. It pays special attention to shows that Denver audiences have recently seen: Pippin, Kinky Boots and The Book of Mormon.

    The show features outrageous costumes, rewrites of popular showtunes  and celebrity impressions by an all-Denver cast of Lauren Shealy, Sarah Rex, Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan. The director is Bill Selby, who also celebrated his birthday on Opening Night. The musical director is Martha Yordy. 

    Photos by John Moore. To see our complete gallery of downloadable Opening Night photos, click here


    Forbidden_Broadway_Alive_Kicking_Opening_800_2
    Opening night was also Director Bill Selby's birthday. Photo by John Moore.



    Forbidden_Broadway_Alive_Kicking_Opening_800_3
    A scene from the show: Here are Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan sending up 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Terry Shapiro.


    More photos:
    To see our complete gallery of downloadable Opening Night photos, click here

    Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!: Ticket information
    Created by Gerard Alessandrini
    November 15 through March 1
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission
    Tickets: Start at $25
    Age recommendation: Appropriate for children 8+
    303-893-4100
    DenverCenter.Org


    Our previous coverage of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
    Meet the homegrown cast of Forbidden Broadway


    Scenes from 'Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking.' Video by David Lenk.
  • Randy Weeks celebration draws 1,500 to recall a singular friend in story and song

    by John Moore | Nov 05, 2014



    A month before Randy Weeks died in a London hotel room, he mailed his godson a random greeting card that said: “Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but in the number of moments that take our breath away.”

    That was but one of many poignant remembrances peppered between showstopping musical numbers at a bittersweet public celebration on Monday afternoon for the President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, who died in his sleep Oct. 9 while attending a conference of theatre presenters. He was 59.

    It was delivered from the Buell Theatre stage by Jimmy Calano, who was Weeks’ pledge son 40 years ago at the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Later, Calano asked Weeks to be the godfather to his own son.

    “Although Randy was cheated out of his fair share of breaths, he took our breath away by the power of his friendship, by the way he made us feel special, and by how he flat-out took care of us,” Calano told a crowd that was estimated at 1,500 by the city of Denver.

    Video: Cast members from 'Kinky Boots' sing 'Give My Regards to Broadway' to honor the late Randy Weeks. To see our entire downloadable photo gallery from the Randy Weeks celebration, click here.

    Attendees included family and friends; DCPA employees past and present; theatre audiences; more than 100 fraternity brothers; and members of the local and national theatre communities including theatre owners, producers, presenters, booking agents, press agents and representatives from both The Broadway League and the Independent Presenters Network.

    Dean Singleton, chairman of The Denver Post and a member of the DCPA’s Board of Trustees, said, “We have lost one of the greatest minds in theatre. Not only did Randy bring Broadway to Denver, but he made Denver the first stop for some of the greatest productions leaving New York. Randy had the unique ability to convince people that Denver was the right place for a first stop -- and he delivered.”


    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_Quote_2

    In his 23 years as the Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway division, Weeks presented more than 400 shows that served 11.6 million patrons. In his tenure, Denver hosted the launches of 10 national touring productions, including The Lion King, The Book of Mormon and, most recently, Pippin. Representatives from those shows and more flew to Denver to attend Monday’s classy send-off. The program culminated with University of Northern Colorado freshman Abby Noble singing “One (Singular Sensation)” from A Chorus Line alongside nearly 30 members of the Denver School of the Arts’ recent production of Hairspray.

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_1

    Abby Noble of Grandview High School and the University of Northern Colorado, right, performing with students from Denver School of the Arts. Photo by John Moore. To see more photos, click here.

    In May, Noble was named Outstanding Actress in a Musical at the Bobby G Awards, which honor achievements in Colorado high school theatre. The program was spearheaded by Weeks in 2012 and quickly became his greatest professional joy. He also served on the Friends Foundation at Denver School of the Arts.

    Two of Monday’s performers were DSA students Jimmy Bruenger and Madison Kitchen, who fell in love with Broadway musicals by watching productions that Weeks brought to the Buell Theatre stage. Monday’s celebration afforded both the opportunity to perform on that same stage for the first time. Even in death, Bruenger said, Weeks was making dreams come true.

    “When I found out we were being asked to perform here, I started hyperventilating,” Kitchen added. “Both of us saw Kinky Boots here just last night. And so to be on that stage for the first time today? It’s incredible.”

    Video: Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Abby Noble sings "One" with students from Denver School of the Arts.


    The Pippin tour has recently bestowed upon Weeks what is believed to be an unprecedented honor: The entire tour has been dedicated to Weeks, who will now be acknowledged in programs in every city Pippin visits. The idea was suggested by Kathleen O’Brien, Weeks’ counterpart with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

    “This has been the best tour-opening experience in my 27 years out on the road, and Randy is the reason,” said Pippin national press rep Anita Dloniak, citing the camaraderie and professionalism he inspired in his staff. “And he throws the best parties,” she added. Honoring Weeks, she said, was one way for the Pippin family to grapple and cope with their grief over his sudden death. 

    “He is just a wonderful force to be reckoned with,” Dloniak said. “A giant ... but a gentle giant.”

    Nancy Gibbs attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver and has since produced many major theatricals including Wicked; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (the longest-running show in Denver theatre history); Traces; Next to Normal, and Peter and the Starcatcher, which launched its first national tour in Denver in August.

    “Randy was a leader,” Gibbs said. “Once he stepped up to the plate, he knocked it out of the ballpark.”

    David Turner, General Manager for The Book of Mormon, said it was Weeks who convinced producers that Denver was the only place for that tour to launch.

    “Randy was the one who knew that the writers (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) were from here, and he really wanted us to make that connection,” Turner said.

    The Book of Mormon launch in Denver sold all 51,000 available tickets in less than five hours. Turner called that an “extremely important” validation of the show.

    “For everybody who wasn’t sure how The Book of Mormon would be received outside of New York, that was an incredible vote of confidence,” Turner said. 

    Weeks was respected by his colleagues for his uncanny ability not only to maximize blockbuster, popular fare, but to predict the next big thing. One of the most poignant moments in Monday’s celebration came when seven members of the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots took the stage to sing “Give My Regards to Broadway” in Weeks’ honor. The show is currently playing in Denver through Sunday (Nov. 9).

    “During a very early preview performance of Kinky Boots, Randy ran up to me at the intermission and said, ‘Promise me this show will play Denver,’ ” said Kinky Boots’ Hal Luftig. “To a producer with a show still in previews, that meant the world to me. And now, here we are in Denver, playing to packed houses every night.”

    Weeks also was credited for his willingness to take risks both large and small. Weeks could have responsibly passed on important, challenging musicals with questionable commercial road potential, like Next to Normal (about a mother’s suicidal depression) and Spring Awakening (about 1890s German teens experiencing puberty in the complete absence of information). But when Weeks came across shows that had the potential to change audiences’ lives, he felt a deep obligation to schedule them.

    “He was so clearly willing to take risks here,” said The Book of Mormon’s Turner, “and over time, he developed an audience that was willing to take risks with him. That combination is very rare.”

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_2
    Actor Shannan Steele and director Ray Roderick banter with an aptly dressed Randy Weeks stand-in at Monday's celebration. Photo by John Moore. To see more photos, click here. 

     

    Added Ray Roderick, who directed large world premieres like I Love a Piano in the Auditorium Theatre and small cabaret shows in the Garner Galleria: “Randy saw the Denver community as one that was going to embrace good work no matter what it was. Denver is a very big demographic, and a very smart demographic, and Randy managed to please a lot of different kinds of people.”

    Weeks was remembered on Monday for far more than just his many professional successes. He was remembered as an uncommonly compassionate friend … and a most decidedly uncommon dresser.

    Weeks was known for wearing argyle sweaters and golfing pants adorned with animal prints only Rodney Dangerfield could love. The sweaters were a tribute to his late mentor, Robert Garner. “But the pants were all Randy,” said his longtime assistant, Claudia Carson, who directed the musical portion of Monday's celebration. Family members confessed that Weeks left seven pair of Brooks Brothers animal-print pants behind in his closet at home.

    “We’re going to miss Randy because he was always there with outstretched arms and a sweater that looked like something out of 1962 Paris Vogue,” joked Kris Andersson, otherwise known as Dixie Longate, whose Dixie’s Tupperware Party has played in the Garner Galleria Theatre four times. “It was so vogue that you probably wouldn’t want to dress that way. You’d look at it and go, ‘Really?’ But Randy owned it.”

    Andersson’s longtime manager Michele Helberg credited Weeks for “reinvigorating the Dixie brand” five years ago when he first brought the Tupperware Party to Denver. And Andersson credited Weeks for green-lighting last summer’s mouthful of a sequel, Dixie’s Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I Learned While I was Drinking Last Thursday.

    “He used his influence with other people in the industry to take a new artist and a new piece of work and move it forward further than if we had to do it on our own,” Helberg said. “If it hadn’t been for Randy and his Denver Center family, I don’t think we would be where we are right now.”

    "Randy used to say, 'It’s all about the fun,' ” Andersson added. “We get to have fun every day of our lives, and a really big part of that is because Randy looked at our show and said yes. And then, when the opportunity came along to do the new show, Randy put tickets on sale before I had even written it. He had that much faith in me.”

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_3

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_Quote_1



    Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein are two other performers whose lives were forever changed when Weeks decided to move their two-woman sleepover Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women from the Avenue Theatre to the DCPA.

    And here’s the thing: “He picked up our show without ever even seeing it,” Klein said. In those days, the title was truth in advertising: No men allowed.

    “He had heard about it, and he knew that women loved it, and so he just said, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’ ” Klein said.  

     That came as no surprise to Ekeberg, Weeks' protege and successor.

     “Randy led with his heart, and he put his heart into everything,” Ekeberg said.

    Girls Only played at the Garner Galleria Theatre for two years and has now been seen by 250,0000 women … and a few men. “That’s not something Linda and I could have done on our own,” Gehring said.

    Girls Only is currently playing in Rochester, N.Y., but the Denver-based duo came home for Monday’s celebration.  “We had to,” said Klein. “We needed to grieve with our friends.”

    DCPA Chairman Daniel Ritchie welcomed Monday’s crowd, and the master of Ceremonies was CBS-4 Critic-At-Large Greg Moody. Speakers included all three of Weeks’ siblings -- Pam Weeks, Joel Weeks and Stephanie Gamble. Others included Al Nocciolino, representing the Broadway League and the Independent Presenters Network. He was with Weeks at the London conference. He told Monday’s crowd that Weeks spent his final day shopping, and bought a deck of cards adorned with vintage fighter planes for his history-buff dad. That night, Weeks attended a performance of the controversial new play King Charles III in London's West End. Afterward, Nocciolino said, “Randy was holding court and telling everyone he had just seen the best performance he had ever seen.” 

    Video: "I Love a Piano" performed by Shannan Steele, Lauren Shealy, Randy St. Pierre, Michael Gold, Sarah Rex and Jordan Leigh.

    The musical program included performers from some of Weeks’ favorite shows, including I Love a Piano and Forever Plaid. The first show Weeks ever presented in the Garner Galleria Theatre was Forever Plaid, and on closing night in 1992, cast members sang “Old Cape Cod” as a gift to him in honor of his New Hampshire roots. Michael Gold, Drew Frady, Randy St. Pierre and Scott Rathbun sang the song at Monday’s celebration.

    Shannan Steele credited Weeks for hiring local actors, citing the upcoming opening of Forbidden Broadway in the Garner Galleria Theatre, which has an all-local ensemble.

     “I think most of my career wouldn’t exist without his efforts and his vision for the local community,” Steele said. “If you ever got to work under Randy, it was always a huge employment opportunity – and a huge artistic opportunity.”

    Gold, who performed in Roderick’s I Love a Piano, has known Weeks since he joined the DCPA box-office team as a college student in 1978. “I remember seeing him run credit cards over carbon paper; it was that long ago,” Gold said.

    When Joel Weeks took to the podium at the Buell, he referenced Weeks’ eulogy to his mentor, Robert Garner. “In it, he said, ‘How can you know someone for such a long time and never fully comprehend how much they have become a part of your life?’ ” Joel Weeks said.

    “My journey will be an amazing one if I can just try to emulate a fraction of what my brother was.” 

    Ekeberg, the final speaker, said his boss’ true strength lay in one-on-one relationships. “He made you feel special; he made you feel heard, and he made you feel important,” Ekeberg said. To honor that spirit, he urged the crowd to heed the message of Pippin:

    “Find the simple joys,” Ekeberg said.

    Our coverage of the death of Randy Weeks:
    DCPA president Randy Weeks dies at London conference
    Video: Randy Weeks honored with dimmed lights, moments of silence
    Randy Weeks photo gallery
    DCPA to celebrate Randy Weeks' life on Nov. 3
    A look back at Randy Weeks' 'It Gets Better' video
    'Pippin' dedicates entire tour to Randy Weeks



    Video: Randy St. Pierre, Michael Gold, Drew Frady and Scott Rathbun sing 'Old Cape Cod.'

    MORE PHOTOS:

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_3


    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_4

    TO SEE OUR COMPLETE GALLERY OF DOWNLOADABLE PHOTOS FROM THE RANDY WEEKS CELEBRATION, CLICK HERE.
          

    Memorial Contributions
    Memorial gifts can be made to The Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for the Bobby G Awards, which supports the advancement of musical theatre for Colorado high school students. Please make checks payable to Denver Center for the Performing Arts and mail to: DCPA Development Office, 1101 13th Street, Denver, CO 80204.

  • Meet the homegrown cast of 'Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!'

    by John Moore | Oct 01, 2014

    Forbidden_Broadway_Group_800_2

    "Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking," a comic roast of Broadway, returns to the Garner Galleria Theatre on Nov. 15.  From left: Joshua Archer, Chad Reagan, Sarah Rex, Jordan Leigh and Lauren Shealy. Not pictured: Katie Drinkard. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA. To see our full, downloadable photo gallery with the cast of "Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!," click here.



    Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
    skewers all things musical theatre, but you don’t have to be a Big Apple insider to enjoy it.

    “The writers seem to have figured out a way to make it work for rabid musical theatre fans and more casual fans alike,” said actor Jordan Leigh, who is part of an all-local ensemble who put the Denver in the Forbidden Broadway.

    This returning favorite has since 1981 offered an always fresh and always changing comic parody of recent Broadway shows and tried-and-true classics. The evening features outrageous costumes, hilarious rewrites of songs you already know well, and dead-on impressions of actors and characters who have become part of the pop-culture landscape.

    What shows will the writers take on specifically for Denver?

    That’s “forbidden” information, but it’s a good bet the cast will have some comedy “magic to do” regarding Pippin, which recently launched its first national tour at the Buell Theatre, as well as Kinky Boots, Matilda and The Book of Mormon. Every show in every city is different, but some of the Broadway classics that often pop up for parody include My Fair Lady, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King.

    Adding to the familiarity for Denver audiences will be a cast of performers who all call Denver home. Leigh was part of the longest-running show in Denver theatre history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which ran for four years at the Garner Galleria Theatre. He’s also been seen at the DCPA in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Five-Course Love and The Taming of the Shrew.

    His castmates will include Lauren Shealy (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change; A Christmas Carol), Sarah Rex (Five Course Love) and noted opera baritone Chad Reagan. Their understudies are Joshua Archer, a University of Northern Colorado senior who just completed a busy summer with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Highlands Ranch native Katie Drinkard.

    Leigh calls Forbidden Broadway a win-win for the local theatre community – and the audience.

    “I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be working at the highest level that Denver has to offer, and to share the stage with incredible talent,” Leigh said. “Plus, I think audiences like seeing actors they know.”


    See our full photo gallery:

    Forbidden_Broadway_Casting_Collage_2_800
    To see our full, downloadable photo gallery with the cast of "Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!," click here. All photos by John Moore.


    Meet the cast:

    Forbidden_Broadway_Casting_800


    Forbidden_Broadway_Casting_JordanJordan Leigh

    Hometown: Born in Denver, raised in Southern Cal … Broncos fan forever! (South Park premiered the year I returned to my Colorado birthplace and the Broncos won their first Super Bowl. Coincidence? I think not.)

    High School: Palm Springs

    College: UCLA, majoring in Theatre

    First Broadway musical you saw: Cats in 1985

    First musical you were in: Alice In Wonderland. I played the White Rabbit.

    Favorite charity: Anything having to do with helping animals!

    One thing you are forbidden from doing:  I'm a vegetarian, so I forbid myself from eating meat.

    One musical that is rife for Forbidden Broadway satire: Well, not to avoid the question or anything, but I think the creators of Forbidden Broadway kind of have their finger on that pulse.  So I will say … all the musicals we satirize in our show! (And anything Disney).

    Name your own cologne, starting with Forbidden (fill in the blank):
    I'm a natural-scent, animal-welfare kind of guy, so mine would be called: Eau de Forbidden Testing On Animals In Order To Cover Up Your Sickly Sweet Human Musk.


    Forbidden_Broadway_Poppins_Lauren_ShealyLauren Shealy

    Hometown: Centennial

    High School: Arapahoe

    College: Metropolitan State, majoring in Secondary English Licensure; BFA in Drama from NYU

    First Broadway musical you saw: The national touring production of The Secret Garden at the Buell Theater in 1993.

    First musical you were in: Santa Says No. I played Mrs. Claus.

    Favorite charity: The Girl Rising Fund, which aims to remove barriers to education faced by many girls in developing nations.

    One thing you are forbidden from doing: When I was a little girl, my parents forbade gum. My father was afraid my sisters and I would “aspirate” the treat.

    One musical that is rife for Forbidden Broadway satire: Floyd Collins. I don't know if many people know this musical. The story draws directly from the entrapment and subsequent death of a miner inside a cave in 1925. The musical is absolutely genius, but the super-serious subject matter, Kentucky dialect and Adam Guettel's distinct musical style could provide the raw material for a great parody.

    Name your own perfume, starting with Forbidden (fill in the blank):
    Forbidden Donut

    Forbidden_Broadway_Casting_RexSarah Rex

    Hometown: North Reading, Mass.

    High School: North Reading

    College: Oral Roberts University, majoring in Music Education

    First Broadway musical you saw: Yul Brynner in the national touring production of The King and I in Boston. I can’t tell you what year it was. ... I just can’t.

    First musical you were in: Lil Abner in ninth grade. I was one of the scientists.

    Favorite charity: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, raising money to fight breast cancer.

    One thing you are forbidden from doing: Going near snake pits. I have a strange phobia of snakes.

    One musical that is rife for Forbidden Broadway satire: Fifty Shades the Musical. I say, "Let's spoof the spoof!"

    Name your own perfume, starting with Forbidden (fill in the blank):
    Forbidden Stank ... "You will stank no more with a spritz of Forbidden Stank. The odor of true love!"

    Forbidden_Broadway_Casting_ReaganChad Reagan

    Hometown: I am a third-generation Denverite, and fifth-generation Coloradan

    High School: Sheridan

    College: University of Northern Colorado majoring in Voice with a minor in Economics

    Graduate school at DU in Opera Performance.  

    First Broadway musical you saw: The national touring production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Denver Center in 1997

    First musical you were in: I was in Bye Bye, Birdie as member of the ensemble. The first actual role I had was as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.  

    Favorite charity: I have always been a big supporter of Merkins for Hope. (Sorry, I couldn't resist a 30 Rock reference). … But actually, I have always tried to support the March of Dimes whenever possible.

    One thing you are forbidden from doing: Speaking to my wife in a German accent for more than five minutes in a day. ... Or in any accent, for that matter.  

    One musical that is rife for Forbidden Broadway satire: It has to be Rocky. I mean, did you see the Tony Awards?!

    Name your own cologne, starting with Forbidden (fill in the blank):
    This really funny, because in college I actually joked with my friends about my own line of cologne that nobody would actually want to buy under my "... by Chadwick" guise. Two of my favorites were Pittz and Hamper. I don't know either of those would sound following the word Forbidden: Forbidden PittzForbidden Hamper. Sketchy. But they sound hilarious when you whisper the words “by Chadwick” after you say them. Try it: Forbidden Pittzby Chadwick. Forbidden Hamper … by Chadwick. See what I mean? But I guess in semi-seriousness I would say Forbidden Opulence, because, well ... why not? I think it is good for people to know that I have a (not-so) secret desire to be an early era Hip-Hop artist, and that I know Rapper's Delight by heart.

    Forbidden_Broadway_Casting_ArcherJoshua Archer

    Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

    High School: Lady Bird Johnson

    College: Finishing up my senior year at the University of Northern Colorado, majoring in Musical Theatre

    First Broadway musical you saw: Once' in the summer of 2012

    First musical you were in: As a high-school freshman, I auditioned for West Side Story and I got the one Jet who doesn't have any lines. Correction: the only Jet with no lines. The character's name was Mouthpiece … and I'm not kidding.

    Favorite charity: Hope World Wide, I've worked them my entire life both in the U.S. and overseas. It is an incredible charity dedicated to ending the hardships of poverty around the world.

    One thing you are forbidden from doing: Nothing … so far!

    One musical that is rife for Forbidden Broadway satire: The obvious answer is anything involving Mandy Patinkin. But I think Les Miserables, because even though it’s one of my all-time favorites, it also has got such high drama that it’s practically begging for us to make fun of it. 

    Name your own cologne, starting with Forbidden (fill in the blank):
    Forbidden Chocolate. Oh, sorry that’s the forbidden snack I most want. I think I would call my cologne Forbidden Contact: It's got a dark, musky ... manly smell. I don't know. I think it would sell well though! 


    Forbidden_Broadway_Katie_Drinkard_300Katie Drinkard

    Hometown: Highlands Ranch

    High School: ThunderRidge

    College: Ithaca College Class of 2014, BFA Musical Theatre

    First Broadway musical you saw: Les Miserables in 2002

    First musical you were in: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I was in the chorus of children (rocking that colored T-shirt)

    Favorite charity: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

    One thing you are forbidden from doing:  I should be forbidden from going anywhere near a track-and-field hurdle course. My first track of meet of middle school, I attempted to compete in hurdles having never attempted the event before. It was truly a valiant and courageous effort, coupled with a lot of contact with the ground, and I don't think I will ever be the same.

    One musical that is rife for Forbidden Broadway satire: I can't think of one that fits the bill that hasn't already been Forbidden Broadway-ified. I think the shows that are most rife for satire are anything big budget or "epic" where mimicking the sheer enormity, scale, and drama of the production is inherently comical.

    Name your own perfume, starting with Forbidden (fill in the blank):
    OK, I will call it Forbidden Fantasy. ... I went for the alliteration. 


    Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!

    Created by Gerard Alessandrini
    November 15 through March 1
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission
    Tickets: Start at $25
    Age recommendation: Appropriate for children 8+
    303-893-4100
    DenverCenter.Org

    Forbidden_Broadway_800_3

    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA. To see our full, downloadable photo gallery with the cast of "Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!," click 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.