• After 20 years of comfort, Spotlight Theater is turning off the light

    by John Moore | May 07, 2018
    Photo gallery: Spotlight Theater through the years

    Spotlight Theater

    Photos of Spotlight Theater productions through the years. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos.


    Artistic Director Bernie Cardell cites time and money as factors in decision to close after remarkable, 20-year run

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Lowry’s Spotlight Theater Artistic Director Bernie Cardell was fond of saying his company "does the comfort food that makes you laugh, and goes down easy."

    Bernie CardellSpotlight, which began performing in a Westminster church in 1998, made a lot of people laugh in a remarkable 20-year run during which the upstart troupe outlasted dozens of other small theatres. The company announced its closure this morning, effective later this year.

    “It all boils down to the two things that inform most decisions: Time and money,” Cardell said in an email announcing the decision.

    “Money: Producing theatre is more expensive now than it was 20 years ago. Costs go up while the number of seats you can sell for a production remain the same. 

    “Time: Our board of directors is a working board. As a dedicated group, we make the shows you see at Spotlight happen. And for some of us, the amount of time we have available for Spotlight is decreasing. Some want to start families while others have commitments elsewhere that are requiring more and more time.”

    Spotlight was a company that lived to scare or tickle audiences by specializing in mysteries and farces — particularly mysteries written by Agatha Christie and farces written by Ray Cooney. Spotlight staged Cooney’s audience favorite Run for Your Wife four times. But the company didn’t shy from serious drama, most recently staging The Diary of Anne Frank.  

    Overall, it is estimated that Spotlight has presented nearly 75 shows and more than 750 performances for about 45,000 audience members and created about 550 acting opportunities for local actors.

    From 2007: My review of Spotlight's Run for Your Wife

    Spotlight’s 2017-18 season was scheduled to end with a June 23-July 22 run of The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, which will go on as scheduled featuring Ben Hilzer, Joe Von Bokern and Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry. But as a final goodbye, Cardell has announced the addition of a closing show: You Can’t Take it With You.

    “I thought this would be the perfect sendoff for the company, and it is a show we have not produced before,” said Cardell, a 2015 True West Award winner. “It incorporates the best of what Spotlight does: It allows you to forget your worries and escape for a night of fun.”

    The peripatetic company was founded by Pat Payne as the Westminster Spotlight in 1998. It first performed in the Westminster Presbyterian Church, then moved to a meeting room in the library at Front Range Community College. Spotlight’s first real home was the quaint 70-seat theatre in the West Colfax E-vent Center in Lakewood, the same space that birthed The Edge Theatre Company.

    The company moved southeast in 2007 into the John Hand Theatre on the former Lowry campus in East Denver, sharing space and sensibilities with the Firehouse Theatre Company. Recently the name changed again, to Lowry’s Spotlight Theater, to better reflect the location of the theatre. 

    Spotlight's goal from the start, Payne said, was not to change the world. "It was to tell good stories.”

    Spotlight provided acting opportunities for hundreds of artists and maintained a loyal audience base to the end. Payne was proud to report that despite tiny budgets, Spotlight has  lost money on only a handful of shows. He attributes that to audiences who kept coming back, he said, "because we gave them what they wanted.

    "I hope Spotlight's legacy is that it was a place to produce entertaining and fun theatre that audiences would fall in love with," Payne said, "and where artists were treated as part of the family."

    The list of prominent local actors who have passed through Spotlight stages is in many ways a cast list of the Colorado theatre community itself, including Emma Messenger, Haley Johnson, Todd Black, Andrew and Kelly Uhlenhopp, Adrian Egolf, Luke Sorge, James O'Hagan-Murphy, Linda Suttle and hundreds more.

    "What I've always loved about Spotlight is not only the sense of family they created with the artists they work with, but the patrons," said Johnson, who performed with Spotlight for 11 years. "Every time you attended a show there, you would see the same friendly faces working the box office or concessions. It created a sense of comfort and familiarity. It's been fun having a theater that consistently produces farces, murder mysteries and classics."

    Payne, now Production Manager at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown, left Spotlight in 2014. That's when Cardell, a longtime Spotlight company actor and director, took over as Artistic Director. 

    "I have been involved with Spotlight Theater for more than 11 years, and in that time I don’t know that I have ever seen patrons so enthusiastic in their support," Cardell said in his letter. "It’s been less like running a business and more like administrating a fan club.

    “I am grateful for the opportunity to bring you the best experience we could create. It’s been a soul-satisfying experience.”

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Spotlight The Diary of Anne Frank. Photo credit Meghan RalphSpotlight Theater's recent production of 'The Diary of Anne Frank.' The cast included Lili Shuger, Shane Delavan, Julie K. Wolf, Mariel Goffredi, Claude Diener, Erin Bell, Benji Dienstfrey, Leroy Leonard, Stephanie Kidd, and Eddie Schumacher. Photo by Meghan Ralph.

    Lowy's Spotlight Theater: History

    1998
    Harvey

    1999
    The Mousetrap
    The Odd Couple (female version)
    Run for Your Wife

    2000
    Murder at the Howard Johnson's
    London Suite

    2001
    The Unexpected Guest
    A Lion in Winter
    Funny Money

    2002

    Black Coffee
    Run for Your Wife

    2003
    Caught in the Net
    Diary of Anne Frank
    Dial "M" For Murder

    2004
    The Boys Next Door
    Czar Reid And the Punk

    2005
    Boeing-Boeing!
    A Piece of My Heart

    2006-2007
    Moon Over Buffalo
    Arsenic and Old Lace
    Run for Your Wife
    Caught in the Net

    2007-2008
    A Murder is Announced
    The Tender Trap
    Laughter on the 23rd Floor

    2008-2009
    12 Angry Men
    Funny Money
    The Mousetrap
    Don't Drink the Water

    2009-10
    Born Yesterday
    And Then There Were None
    A Hotel on Marvin Gardens

    2010-11
    Showtune: The Music of Jerry Herman
    Inspecting Carol
    Harvey
    Run For Your Wife

    2011-12
    Wait Until Dark
    Dearly Departed
    Forever Plaid
    Beau Jest

    2012-13
    Murder on the Nile
    The Man Who Came to Dinner
    The Front Page
    Sylvia

    2013-14
    Witness for the Prosecution
    Barefoot in the Park
    Deathtrap
    Boeing Boeing
    Don't Dress for Dinner

     2014-15
    A Few Good Men
    Christmas Belles
    Enchanted April
    Rope
    The Foreigner

    2015-16
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Big Bang
    One Man, Two Guvnors
    Steel Magnolias
    No Sex Please, We're British
    Night Watch

    2016-17
    Sabrina Fair
    Scotland Road
    Suddenly Last Summer 
    It’s a Wonderful Life, a Live Radio Play
    A Christmas Carol: a Live Radio Play
    It's Only a Play (with Vintage Theatre)
    On Golden Pond

    2017-18
    Buyer & Cellar (co-production with Theatre Or)
    Rumors
    Sleuth (co-production with Vintage Theatre)
    The Diary of Anne Frank
    June 23-July 22, 2018: The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged
    Dates TBA: You Can't Take it With You

     
  • 2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season: In with the old ... and the new

    by John Moore | Apr 01, 2018
    Chris Coleman offers a play-by-play look at the 2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season, his first as the company's new Artistic Director. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Coleman's 40th anniversary season includes two world premieres, Tolstoy and an African-American Oklahoma!

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Incoming DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman has announced a 40th anniversary season he believes both honors the company’s past and boldly steps into the future — and in some intriguing examples, at the same time.

    Coleman will return to the company’s roots by presenting its third Rodgers and Hammerstein musical following previous stagings of Carousel and South Pacific. But Coleman is promising a fresh new look at Oklahoma! by telling the beloved story of a spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys from a mostly African-American perspective. Similarly, Coleman will offer adaptations of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and W. Somerset Maugham’s The Constant Wife, stories of women overcoming great societal barriers that may strike audiences as remarkably contemporary.

    A Last Night 800 1“It’s incredibly exciting to imagine what you want your first season at an organization to be,” said Coleman, who assumes his full-time Denver duties in May. "This company has long been known as a place where you can do really big, interesting, meaty, dramatic literature. One of the things that's exciting to me is to do something really traditional and then follow that with something that is brand new and edgy. That collision of styles and voices is really juicy to me.”

    Pictured above: Valerie Curtis-Newton, left, will return to again direct 2017 Colorado New Play Summit offering 'Last Night and the Night Before' on the mainstage season. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Coleman covers the traditional-to-edgy gamut with the announcement of both an eight-play Theatre Company season that includes three classics and two world premieres, as well as an innovative five-play slate from the company's adventurous Off-Center wing.  

    nataki-garrettWhen Coleman was named Artistic Director in November, he promised programming that will further the DCPA’s efforts to diversify its audiences, champion local storytelling and give voice to underserved communities. All five of the other mainstage directors he named today are women — and three of the playwrights are women or persons of color. Four if you count Off-Center's commission of a planned immersive hip-hop piece from This is Modern Art co-writer Idris Goodwin.
      

    The mainstage season includes two world-premiere plays: Donnetta Lavinia GraysLast Night and the Night Before, which was featured at the company’s 2017 Colorado New Play Summit, and Itamar MosesThe Whistleblower. With the exception of A Christmas Carol, which returns for a 26th year, every playwright and source writer (even Tolstoy) will be new to Theatre Company audiences except Nottage, whose Ruined was one of the most celebrated productions in company history In 2011.

    The Off-Center offerings, said Curator Charlie Miller, will complement the Theatre Company season and tell exciting stories in unconventional ways. “From original micro plays to new theatrical experiments to a large-scale immersive hip-hop show, Off-Center will take audiences into unexpected Denver spaces and showcase local artists, stories, and communities,” he said.

    Take a deeper dive into each play on the 2018-19 season

    The Theatre Company debuted on New Year’s Eve 1979 with The Caucasian Chalk Circle, starring Tyne Daly. Coleman says there is special significance to this being the 40th anniversary season because the company is old enough to have built an significant canon but also young enough to still have staff, artists and audience members who have been here all along — a lot of them.

    "As we step into the next chapter of the Theatre Company’s history, it's inspiring and energizing to look back on the extraordinary body of work that this company has brought to the region over the last 40 seasons," Coleman said. "What's really vivid to me is how many people have been around from Day 1. There are so many people who are really invested in the history and the future of this organization. So, to me, that's worth celebrating. And I view that as a launching pad for me.

    These playwrights and directors are the cream of the crop, and I look forward to the conversations these works will open up with the Denver community."

    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.

    Meet new Theatre Company Artistc Director Chris Coleman


    Chris Coleman 2018-19 season announcement


    2018-19 DCPA Theatre Company season at a glance:

    • Aug. 24-Sept. 30: Vietgone (Ricketson Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Sept. 7-Oct. 14: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (Stage Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Sept. 21-Oct. 21: The Constant Wife (Space Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Nov. 21-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol (Stage Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2019: Last Night and the Night Before (Ricketson Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2019: Anna Karenina (Stage Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • Feb. 8-March 10, 2019: The Whistleblower (Space Theatre) DEEPER DIVE
    • April 26-May 26, 2019: Sweat (Space Theatre) DEEPER DIVE

    DCPA Theatre Company tickets and subscriptions: New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are now available online at denvercenter.org or by calling 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy 30 percent off savings, free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time. BUY ONLINE

    2018-19 Off-Center season at a glance:

    • July 11-Aug. 22: Mixed Taste: Tag team lectures on unrelated topics (Wednesdays only, with MCA Denver, Seawell Ballroom)
    • Oct. 23-Nov. 18: Bite-Size: An evening of micro theatre (at BookBar)
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries (with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company at The Jones)
    • March 2019: Powered by Off-Center (The Jones)
    • Dates TBA: Untitled Immersive Hip-Hop Show

    Off-Center ticket information: The single ticket on-sale date for all Off-Center productions will be announced at a later time. Subscriptions are not available for Off-Center shows.


    2018-19 THEATRE COMPANY SEASON: Title by title

    (Descriptions provided by DCPA Theatre Company)

    Vietgone

    • Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2016 VietgoneBy Qui Nguyen
    • Original music by Shane Rettig
    • Directed by Seema Sueko
    • Aug. 24-Sept. 30, 2018 (Opens Aug. 31)
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • Glance: This rap-spitting, pop culture-crusted dramedy is an ode to the real-life courtship of Playwright Qui Nguyen’s parents. Forced to leave their country during the height of the Vietnam War, two refugees find themselves at the same relocation camp in Arkansas – the land of Harleys, hot dogs and “howdy!” Before they find their way into each other’s arms, they’ll have to blaze a trail in their weird new world and leave behind the baggage they didn’t pack. Jump on this emotional ride for an adventure that hums with excitement as it hops across time and around the globe through the highs and lows of love.
    • Fun fact: Qui Nguyen is the self-described geeky playwright behind She Kills Monsters, which addressed stereotypes and social issues through the game “Dungeons and Dragons.”
    • Take a deeper dive into Vietgone

    (Pictured: Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2016 production of 'Vietgone,' courtesy Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)

    Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

    • Oklahoma!Music by Richard Rodgers; book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
    • Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
    • Original Dances by Agnes de Mille
    • Directed by Chris Coleman
    • Sept. 7-Oct. 14, 2018 (Opens Sept. 14)
    • Stage Theatre
    • Glance: With a spring in their step and a song in their hearts, cowboys, farmers and travelling salesmen alike have chased their destinies to a land that promises everything they could hope for: love, opportunity and a brighter future. The first collaboration by the legendary team of Rodgers and Hammerstein became a landmark musical for its rollicking music and stunning dance numbers, and this joyful presentation will solidify why it has stood the test of time. New DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman makes his DCPA directorial debut with this production, and he will set the story in one of the 50 all-African-American towns in the early days of the Oklahoma Territory. Discover an overlooked piece of American history as one small community stakes its claim on a place full of hope. The choreographer will be Dominique Kelley, a dancer in the film La La Land and the musical Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.
    • Fun fact: Oklahoma! opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre 75 years ago Saturday, and the cast of the Denver-born Frozen marked the anniversary with a curtain-call singalong that you can watch at this YouTube link.
    • Take a deeper dive into Oklahoma!

    The Constant Wife

    • The Constant WifeBy W. Somerset Maugham
    • Directed by Shelley Butler
    • Sept. 21-Oct. 21, 2018 (Opens Sept. 28)
    • Space Theatre
    • Glance: As the intelligent, charming housewife of a successful doctor, Constance Middleton cheerfully plays her traditional role. But she knows far more than she’s willing to let on. This cheeky satire pokes holes in the expectations of relationships, fidelity and social roles that were just as relevant in the 1920s as they are today. Featuring an infectiously plucky heroine at the helm, The Constant Wife takes joy in the imperfections of life and applauds those who elude the strict confines of society to discover true happiness. DCPA alum Shelley Butler (Human Error, The Most Deserving) returns to direct this contagious comedy.Fun fact: Variety calls Maugham’s protagonist “a perverse protofeminist — and an antecedent to the women of “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex and the City.”
    • Take a deeper dive into The Constant Wife

    A Christmas Carol

    • Sam Gregory A Christmas Carol. By Charles Dickens
    • Adapted by Richard Hellesen
    • Music by David de Berry
    • Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    • Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 2018 (Opens Nov. 29)
    • Stage Theatre
    • Glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, the Theatre Company’s joyous and opulent seasonal offering now in its 26th year traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. Note: This is an added attraction, not part of the Theatre Company subscription season.
    • Fun fact: Denver favorite Sam Gregory is scheduled to return for a third time as Scrooge.
    • Take a deeper dive into A Christmas Carol

    Last Night and the Night Before (world premiere)

    • Summit. Last Night. Donnetta By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
    • Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2019 (Opens January 25)
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • Glance: When Monique and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha show up unexpectedly on her sister’s Brooklyn doorstep, it shakes up Rachel and her partner Nadima’s orderly New York lifestyle. Monique is on the run from deep trouble and brings their family’s Southern roots with her, grabbing hold of Rachel’s life more ferociously than she could have ever imagined. Poetic, powerful and remarkably funny, Last Night and the Night Before play explores the struggle between the responsibilities that are expected of us and the choices we actually end up making.
    • Fun fact: This play was featured in the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit. Its original title was simply, Sam. The new title references a line from the children’s game "Last night and the night before, I met my baby at the candy store."
    • Take a deeper dive into Last Night and the Night Before


    Anna Karenina

    • TC-web-Season-Ann-400x3003By Kevin McKeon, adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy
    • Directed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman
    • Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2019 (Opens Feb. 1)
    • Stage Theatre
    • Glance: Love holds the power to bind us together or tear us apart, and no one knows better than Countess Anna Karenina. As a noblewoman and socialite, her glamorous lifestyle shrouds her unhappy marriage. But everything changes when she meets the dashing army officer Count Vronsky. She risks her social status, marriage, friends and family for the thrill of forbidden love. Anna Karenina uses the romantic backdrop of Tsarist Russia to tell a turbulent tale of passion and betrayal, dreams chased and lost, and the consequences of getting swept off your feet. Helmed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman, this lush, modern adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece brings the opulent setting and heart-wrenching story to life.
    • Fun fact: The play was made into a 2012 movie adapted by Tom Stoppard and featuring Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
    • Take a deeper dive into Anna Karenina


    The Whistleblower (world premiere)

    • itamarmoses whistleblowerBy Itamar Moses (pictured right)
    • Directed by TBA
    • Feb. 8-March 10, 2019 (Opens Feb. 15)
    • Space Theatre
    • Glance: For screenwriter Eli, an offer to finally create his own TV show should be the ultimate culmination of his goals, but instead shocks him into wondering why he had those dreams in the first place. Armed with a new sense of spiritual clarity, he sets out on a quest to serve up some hard truths to his coworkers, family, exes and friends. What could possibly go wrong? A lively world premiere about the lies we tell to protect ourselves  and how the tiniest gestures can have deep impact on those around us. Written by Itamar Moses, the award-winning author of the musical The Band’s Visit, currently on Broadway.
    • Fun facts: The Whistleblower was first introduced as a staged reading at South Coast Repertory’s 2015 Pacific Playwrights Festival in Costa Mesa, Calif. — alongside Vietgone. Also, Moses was an Executive Story Editor for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."
    • Take a deeper dive into The Whistleblower

    Sweat

    • TC-web-Season-Ann-400x3004By Lynn Nottage
    • Directed by Nataki Garrett
    • April 26-May 26, 2019 (Opens May 3)
    • Space Theatre
    • Glance: For the people of poverty-stricken Reading, Pa., work is so much more than a paycheck – it’s the glue that holds the town together. The floor of their central factory is where lifelong friendships are made, where love blossoms and where family members work side-by-side. But as layoffs become the new norm and a cheaper workforce threatens the viability of the local union, the threads that once kept the community together begin to fray. Sweat is an “extraordinarily moving drama,” said The New York Times, that powerfully contrasts life’s happiest highs with the heart-wrenching struggles of survival. Using warm humor and deep empathy, this 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner from Lynn Nottage (Ruined) paints a moving portrait of today’s working-class America in decline.
    • Fun fact: Nottage developed her play through interviews with actual former steelworkers in Reading.
    • Take a deeper dive into Sweat

    2018-19 OFF-CENTER SEASON: Title by title

    Mixed Taste: Tag team lectures on unrelated topics

    • Mixed Taste Aug 9Co-presentation with MCA Denver
    • July 11-Aug. 22, 2018 (Wednesdays only)
    • Seawell Ballroom
    • Glance: Returning for a second summer series, even mismatched subjects find common ground in this fun lecture forum that can go pretty much anywhere. Two speakers get 20 minutes each to enlighten you on unrelated topics, but can’t make any connections to each other. Ideas start to blend afterward, when audience members ask questions to both speakers and anything goes.
    • Fun fact: One clever example from last year’s series: “Wild West mail delivery and post-conceptual art.” Last year’s series emcee Suzi Q. Smith wrote a poem during each performance and read them at the end of every evening.
     

    Bite-Size: An evening of micro theatre

    • 2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS Gary Grundie Meridith C. GrundeiCreated and directed by Meridith Crosley Grundei
    • Oct. 23-Nov. 18, 2018
    • At BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St.
    • Glance:
    • Bite-Size brings you five short plays with bookish twists performed in and around BookBar, an independent bookstore and wine bar in the Tennyson Street Arts District. Grab tapas and drinks between the short performances of original works by Colorado-based artists. There is no better way to see a variety of local playwrights and performers in one place. Whether you’re a theatre geek, a bookworm or on the hunt for an off-beat night out, this evening will leave you eager to crack into a fresh hard-cover and dream up some tales of your own.
    • Fun fact: Director Meridith Grundei, a 2017 True West Award winner, packed up a used R.V. and hit the road with her husband and daughter in 2017 to travel the United States and Mexico for a year.


    The SantaLand Diaries

    • A Santaland Diaries Michael BouchardCo-presentation with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • By David Sedaris, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
    • Directed by Stephen Weitz
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2018 (Opens Nov. 25)
    • The Jones Theatre
    • Glance: This acclaimed one-man show is based on David Sedaris’ best-selling memoir about his curmudgeonly experience working as a Macy’s SantaLand elf, once again featuring Michael Bouchard and Luke Sorge as David, and his devilish Macy’s persona, Crumpet the Elf. Think holiday shopping is brutal? Try being on the receiving end of Macy’s SantaLand madness in a pair of pointy shoes. This twisted tale is the cure for the common Christmas show and the perfect excuse to take a break from it all.
    • Fun fact: 2018-19 will mark the 10th anniversary of BETC’s annual holiday staging, the last seven in partnership with Off-Center. That will equal The Bug Theatre’s run of 10 seasonal The SantaLand Diaries starring Gary Culig.

    Powered by Off-Center

    • March 2019
    • The Jones Theatre
    • Glance: Discover your next favorite Colorado performer as they debut new work at the Denver Center. Off-Center is offering the spotlight to local creators of all kinds as they get their projects off the ground with the support of our team. We’re giving our local artistic community a new place to play and a platform to experiment, engage and excite us all. Performance dates and participating artists to be announced.

    Untitled Immersive Hip-Hop Show

    • Idris Goodwin 160Written by Idris Goodwin
    • Directed by Jenny Koons
    • Glance: Following the hit experiential shows Sweet & Lucky and The Wild Party, Off-Center is cooking up its next large-scale immersive adventure. Off-Center has commissioned playwright Idris Goodwin and New York-based director Jenny Koons (Burn All Night at American Repertory Theatre) to create a one-of-a-kind new hip-hop-inspired event. Title, location, dates, and details to be announced.
    • Fun fact: Goodwin is the director and co-writer of This is Modern Art, currently playing through April 15 in The Jones Theatre.

    Note: Due to the nature of live performance, all productions, prices and dates are subject to change.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • BETC moves up in class with ambitious 'The Curious Incident...'

    by John Moore | Mar 20, 2018
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time The Broadway company of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Boulder company will be first in Colorado to stage celebrated plays The Curious Incident and The Wolves

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s 13th season will include its most ambitious undertaking ever: Staging an enormously challenging play that was once thought to be unstageable. For the first time in its history, BETC will stage a Tony Award-winning best play before anyone else in Colorado when it caps its wildly aspirational 2018-19 season with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the stage adaptation of Mark Haddon's 2003 best-selling novel.

    Stephen-Weitz- quoteIntroducing Tony-winning best plays to Colorado audiences is a distinction that for the past two decades has generally been traded between the DCPA Theatre Company (All the Way, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) and Curious Theatre (Red, Clybourne Park, next year’s The Humans). No one in Colorado has had the temerity to bite on Curious Incident since it won the Tony in 2015.

    BETC steps into that company this year with the story of a socially awkward British teen who is a mathematical savant but falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. The story follows his quest to clear his name after the neighbor’s dog is speared by a garden fork in the middle of the night.

    The National Theatre’s 2012 London production was a sensation for its ingenious technological advances that somehow helped communicate to its audiences what might be going on inside the young man’s mysterious and often short-circuiting head. The staging used lighting and sound innovations that made the boy's sensory overload both harrowing and eminently understandable.

    But the groundbreaking success of the play also seemed to confirm the presumed belief that it would be impossible to produce for small theatres around the country that, like BETC, do not have multimillion-dollar budgets. “Curious Incident is one of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway,” the New York Times said. “So be prepared to have all your emotional and sensory buttons pushed, including a few you may have not known existed.”

    Gene Gillette comes home in The Curious Incident tour

    BETC co-founder Stephen Weitz was not scared off. He believes any good story is a stageable story. Somehow.

    “At its heart, Curious Incident is a powerful story about a young boy,” Weitz said. “People who encountered the play in New York or during the national tour may be expecting a particular production style. Ours will feature plenty of ‘theatre magic,’ but it will be our own BETC vision guiding the aesthetic with that story at its core.”

    Sarah BETC’s season is also notable for The Wolves, an utterly original story that takes place on the sidelines of a high-school girls soccer team's games. It is not only Sarah DeLappe’s first play, it was presented at New York’s Lincoln Center — and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

    "I'm thrilled that The Wolves has found its Colorado home at the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company,” DeLappe told the DCPA NewsCenter. The playwright, who grew up playing youth soccer in Reno, Nev., was tutored at Brown University by none other than Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive). DeLappe’s characters are listed in the script not by their names but rather their jersey numbers. They are teammates, after all.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    They play, which has surprisingly little to do with soccer, takes place in nine scenes, each while the girls are warming up for a match. “I was attracted to the idea of a stage where we were watching young women whose bodies were active throughout,” DeLappe told the Lincoln Center’s media office. She said she is hungry for narratives with strong female protagonists, and that she sees The Wolves as a story about women warriors. “I was inspired to think of these characters as a pack preparing for battle,” she said.

    Weitz calls The Wolves “possibly the most honest depiction of the lives of young women I've ever encountered,” he said. “Not only is it a profound story, but if affords an incredible opportunity for nine young women in our acting community — part of our efforts to address equity in all facets of our art form.”

    Arvada Cebter Sense and Sensibility. Mall Gale PhotographyThe 13th BETC season is also notable for two Jane Austen adaptations — Pride and Prejudice (a rollicking new adaptation by Kate Hamill, who also wrote the Arvada Center's current Sense and Sensibility) and its modern sequel, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. This makes the third straight BETC season with a title by Gunderson (Silent Sky, The Revolutionists), currently the most produced playwright in the world not named Shakespeare.

    (Pictured at right: Zachary Andrews, Jessica Robblee, Emma Messenger, Abner Genece, Geoffrey Kent, Jessica Austgen, and Emelie O'Hara in the Arvada Center's 'Sense and Sensibility', running through May 6. BETC will stage a sequel penned by the same adaptor. Matt Gale Photography.)

    2018-19 will also mark the 10th anniversary of BETC’s holiday staging of David Sedaris’ The SantaLand Diaries, the last seven in partnership with Off-Center at the DCPA’s Jones Theatre.The complete season is listed below.

    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.

    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company 2018-19 at a glance

    • Sept. 13-Oct. 7, 2018: Pride and Prejudice
    • Oct. 25-Nov. 18, 2018: The Wolves
    • Dec. 8-24, 2018: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2018: The SantaLand Diaries
    • Feb. 7-March 3, 2019: The Rembrandt
    • April 25-May 19, 2019: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    A closer look at each play:

    (Descriptions provided by BETC)

    Pride and Prejudice
    Sept. 13-Oct. 7, 2018
    By Jane Austen, adapted by Kate Hamill
    This is a playful and unconventional update Jane Austen's classic romance set in Regency, England, where marriage is a must for women. This clever comedy offers a decidedly progressive take on the trials of Lizzie, Mr. Darcy and the Bennet family — with a few dance breaks thrown in for good measure. 

    The Wolves
    Oct. 25-Nov. 18, 2018
    By Sarah DeLappe
    In each scene of this stunning first play by Sarah DeLappe, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, nine girls warm up for their upcoming soccer game. But they must also tackle coming of age and all the confusion, awkwardness, joy and sorrow that comes with it.  Along the way, these unforgettable young women make fierce choices, face their own fragility and ultimately grow into a team. The New York Times said: “The scary, exhilarating brightness of raw adolescence emanates from every scene of The Wolves.”

    Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley
    Dec. 8-24, 2018
    By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
    In this sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the bookish middle child of the Bennett family is constantly overshadowed by her four sisters and longs for a large life.' As Mary searches for her identity, she unexpectedly discovers the possibility of true love.

    The SantaLand Diaries
    Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2018
    By David Sedaris, adapted by Joe Mantello
    For the 10th consecutive year, BETC returns to the Macys department store for this delightfully devilish holiday hit, produced in partnership with Off-Center at the Denver Center’s Jones Theatre. Michael Bouchard and Luke Sorge will again alternate as David, the desperate New Yorker who takes a job as a SantaLand elf named Crumpet.

    The Rembrandt
    Feb. 7-March 3, 2019
    By Jessica Dickey
    Inside a modern-day museum, two security guards and a painter find themselves compelled to touch a masterpiece.  But soon, we are skipping through time; watching Rembrandt at work and listening to Homer discuss the nature of art. Dickey’s play asks us to consider the longevity of art, and the brevity of life.  

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    Gene Gillete. Curious Joan MarcusApril 25-May 19, 2019
    By Simon Stephens, adapted by Mark Haddon
    Christopher Boone, a sweet 15-year-old Brit, has an extraordinary mind but is ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of everyday life.  When falsely accused of killing his neighbor's dog, he sets out to find the true culprit. His journey across London leads to an earth-shattering discovery that will change his life forever. Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.

    Pictured above and right: Colorado native Gene Gillette in the recent national touring production of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.' Photo by Joan Marcus.)

  • Cup of coffee with … Curious Theatre’s Lawrence Hecht

    by John Moore | Mar 15, 2018

    Lawrence Hecht quote. Photo by Michael Ensminger.
    Lawrence Hecht. Photo by Michael Ensminger.


    Denver Center favorite returns to tackle Kushner's beast of a play for audiences who are demanding more substance 

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Lawrence Hecht, who taught hundreds of students over 18 years as the Denver Center’s Head of Acting, is back in Denver to play the patriarch in Curious Theatre’s upcoming staging of the Tony Kushner opus The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.

    Hecht had a major role on the faculty of the Denver Center’s former National Theatre Conservatory master’s degree program. Of particular current pride to Hecht is the recent casting of NTC graduate Genesis Oliver in the Broadway revival of Kushner’s Angels in America. Oliver appeared in the same play for the NTC as a student in 2009.  

    As an actor, Hecht’s many DCPA Theatre Company credits have included A Skull in Connemara, The Pillowman, Glengarry Glen Ross and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also played Mark Rothko in Curious Theatre's multiple award-winning Red. Hecht last performed in Colorado for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in 2015, most notably as Doctor Faustus in Wittenberg.

    Hecht left Denver in 2015 and moved to California with wife Ashlee Temple — a former DCPA Teaching Artist and local director — but their dream of settling on the coast of San Francisco coast ended about 80 miles short, in Stockton. That’s where Temple was hired to run the theatre department at San Joaquin Delta College while Hecht taught adjunct theatre classes at Stanford. That was a joyful task but it came at the soul-crushing cost of a two-hour drive along I-580. “And there is never a good day on the 580,” said Hecht, who now lives with Temple in Livermore, 35 miles closer to San Francisco.

    Hecht Lawrence QUOTEIn his current play with the lumbering title that the Curious cast has affectionately shortened to “IHo,” Hecht plays Gus, a retired Italian-American longshoreman and patriarch of a family that is having an unusual weekend reunion in a Brooklyn brownstone.

    Hecht took some time this week to talk about his Colorado return, his mammoth present acting challenge and other random thoughts in this new feature we call: Having a Cup of Coffee with … (And in this case, the cup was poured at the Denver Diner.)

    John Moore: How did this role come about?

    Larry Hecht: All it took was a phone call. (Director) Chip Walton said: 'I've got this play. It's Kushner. There's a role for you. Do you want to do it?’ It took me all of 30 seconds to say, 'Sure.'

    John Moore: Why was it such a slam dunk?

    Larry Hecht: When you get the chance to do Kushner, there is every reason in the world to do it. I would do Kushner anywhere, anytime. Plus, it's Curious. When Chip calls, I answer.

    John Moore: After the death of Edward Albee, I surveyed a national panel of experts and, not surprisingly, it determined that Tony Kushner is the leading living voice among American playwrights. What is it about him?

    Larry Hecht: He is an incredible wordsmith and a great poet. But I think it really is the daring and sheer audacity of his writing that sets him apart. He makes the issues and the world we live in accessible to people who would perhaps otherwise be put off by the topics he writes about.

    From 2015: DCPA says farewell to Larry Hecht after 18 years

    John Moore: Such as homosexuality and AIDS and communism?

    Larry Hecht: Yes. But he writes in a way that generates incredible passion for the people watching his plays on both sides of an issue. We’ve talked about this in rehearsal: You may have different views, but you don't have different passion. He comes from a place that is pure in soul, heart and mind. He writes good, brainy stuff. And he doesn't treat you as if you couldn't possibly understand. You can.

    John Moore: Angels in America is essentially two separate, three-hour plays. IHo comes in at 3 hours and 45 minutes. Tell me about the epic nature of Kushner’s storytelling, especially at a time when most American playwrights are being told to write no longer than 90 minutes without an intermission.

    Lawrence Hecht Michael EnsmingerLarry Hecht: Kushner knows that certain stories can't be told in just 90 minutes. This is the story of an Italian-American family over the course of two days, and that story is bigger than a sound bite. Yes, he could touch on his main points in a 90-minute play, but that's not what it’s about for Kushner. For him, it's about settling into this world that the audience gets to inhabit for 3 or 4 hours —  if they have the guts and the determination to come along with us.

    John Moore: Curious will appreciate your use of the word "guts."

    Larry Hecht: Yes, that’s their company slogan: “No guts, no story.” Well … there you go.

    John Moore: I feel like this is a play that speaks to a different kind of theatregoer right now. Not the kind that demands a quick, drive-through kind of approach to live theatre. This is a play for audiences who are missing, seeking and demanding more substance. 

    Larry Hecht: Exactly.

    John Moore: But that requires a different kind of mindset going into a play like IHo. What would you say to audiences who are on the fence about coming to Curious and really settling in for an entire night?

    Larry Hecht: I would just remind them that people are lining up by the thousands every night to see an almost-three-hour musical that has changed the landscape of the American theatre itself. So … time is kind of a relative thing.

    John Moore: Speaking of time: The Broadway revival of Angels in America is about to open next week, 37 years after it was first performed. That play was such a statement about where we were as a country in 1991. But why should it matter to us now?

    Larry Hecht: When something is so deadly specific to a time and place as Angels in America, it becomes universal. The writing is so incredible. Those relationships. Those characters are so fully drawn that they have become part of the diorama of America. It has so much life beyond just the play itself. And to now see this uniquely American story as presented by the National Theatre of Britain should be really interesting.

    John Moore: I'm of the belief that tumultuous times demand a ferocious cultural response. But that didn’t happen after 9/11. The attack produced a generation of plays that were certainly informed by the terrorism, but that moment didn't necessarily produce a run of great plays. But when you look back at the 1980s — specifically the AIDS crisis and the government's lackadaisical response to it —  that inspired angry, intelligent, monumental plays like Angels in America and The Normal Heart and many others. Maybe that's why they are bringing Angels in America back now: It's time for theatre to get angry again.

    Larry Hecht: It is. And Angels is still a potent force in theatre. I mean, if you were going to name your top-five plays ever written, Angels is certainly going to be at or near the top.

    John Moore: So let's talk more specifically about IHo. It will be new to this audience. What do we need to know?

    Larry Hecht: This is Kushner's venture into Arthur Miller territory. It's his Death of a Salesman. Or Eugene O'Neill. It's his Long Day's Journey into Night. This is Kushner’s great American family drama.

    John Moore: You mention the nod to Miller and O'Neill but the title is actually a riff on George Bernard Shaw's 1928 nonfiction book called The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism and Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which delved into Marxism and socialist thought. How is this play informed by Shaw?

    Larry Hecht: I would say it’s the wit and wisdom of the words. But also the ideas are similar.

    John Moore: So set us up. What happens in this play?

    Larry Hecht: It's a fun-filled two days with a scattered Italian-American family going through a crisis situation having to do with the patriarch. And that crisis brings everybody's divergent ideologies to the fore. 

    John Moore: OK, now what would you say the play is about?

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Larry Hecht: I think it's Kushner’s look at a past that is not spoken of much anymore. It's a past that involves unions and revolution and the possibility of a violent change that is both necessary and inevitable. The idea of revolution has gone away in this country. Kushner’s play speaks to the danger of complacency in America and in the world. So it's really a play about revolution.

    John Moore: Why is this a relevant topic of conversation in 2018?


    Lawtence Hecht. Photo by Micharl EnsmingerLarry Hecht: Kushner is a political beast. His voice speaks about what is happening in the here and now, even in the things he wrote 10 years ago. But for all the issues he raises, this play is really about the necessity of family. Our families have started drifting away from each other, and this play is a call for families to come back together. That's the only way the revolution ever happens.

    John Moore: And what is your role in all of this?

    Larry Hecht: I play Gus, the patriarch. Gus is an old-time communist, union guy. He worked on the waterfront as an organizer. His mission in life was revolution. And now, at a more advanced age, other issues are coming into play.

    (Pictured above and right: Lawrence Hecht with Emily Paton Davies. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    John Moore: How does this work compare in style and structure to, say, Angels in America?

    Larry Hecht: For me, this is Angels in America: Middle Age. Angels was about young people. This is the middle-age version of that.

    John Moore: What questions do you want audiences to wrestle with after they see the play?

    Larry Hecht: I would want them to ask themselves, ‘What are the things that we have become complacent with, both in our society and in our families?’ Are you really with your family? This play calls that into question.

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

    The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures: Ticket information

    • March 17-April 14
    • Written by Tony Kushner
    • 1080 Acoma St.
    • Information: 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org 

    Cast:
    • Dee Covington
    • Brian Landis Folkins
    • Lawrence Hecht
    • Desirée Mee Jung
    • Lawrence Hecht
    • Kirkaldy Myers
    • Anne Oberbroeckling
    • Emily Paton Davies
    • Matthew Schneck
    • Karen Slack
    • Luke Sorge
    • Justin Walvoord

    Creatives:
    • Chip Walton, Director
    • Sabin Epstein, Creative Consultant
    • Markas Henry, Scenic Designer
    • Kevin Brainerd, Costume Designer
    • Shannon McKinney, Lightning Designer
    • Brian Freeland, Sound Designer
    • Danielle Light, Props Designer
    • Dane Torbenson, Fight Choreographer
    • A. Phoebe Sacks, Stage Manager
    • Heidi Schmidt, Dramaturg
    • Kristin Fernandez, Assistant Stage Manager

    Photo gallery: Lawrence Hecht's 2015 Denver farewell

    Larry Hecht's retirement

    Photos from the Denver Center's 2015 celebration of Lawrence Hecht's 18 years as Head of Acting. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

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

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

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


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

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ten intriguing titles for March:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fun Home: Third staging to open in Colorado Springs

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

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


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

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    EVERGREEN CHORALE. Company. Photo by Michael Ensminger

     

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
  • Ongoing productions
  • ARVADA CENTER

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

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

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

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


    BDT STAGE

    • March 5-6: The Glenn Miller Orchestra

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


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

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


    BUNTPORT THEATER

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


    THE 39 STEPSDENVER ACTORS FUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    At the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or tickets.thedairy.org

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


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

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

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 13: White Rabbit Red Rabbit

    Pipedream Productions, Denver
    Star Bar Players, Colorado Springs


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pipedream Productions' Denver lineup: 

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

    The Star Bar Players' Colorado Springs lineup:

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

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards

  • Banned Together: Theatres across country take stand against censorship

    by John Moore | Oct 11, 2017

    Video: Selections from "Banned Together." Caution: Some song lyrics contain profanity. Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Local actors present censored pieces to raise awareness around the ongoing issue of free expression in live theatre.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    GOLDEN — Miners Alley Playhouse joined a national coalition of theatres on Sept. 28 in presenting an informal evening of censored theatre pieces to raise awareness around the ongoing issue of free expression in live theatre.

    “Censorship of theatrical work is not some medieval practice that we’ve left behind,” Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement. “It continues to this day.”

    Banned Together. Photo by John MooreAn array of acclaimed local actors came together in Golden to present songs and scenes from controversial plays and musicals ranging from Cabaret to Fun Home to Rent to Spring Awakening to The Laramie Project to Angels in America to The Vagina Monologues. Seven of the nine featured titles have been banned from being performed in school and community theatres specifically because they address the issue of homosexuality.

    Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret was held in 16 cities from Seattle to Baltimore between Sept. 24-30, also known as Banned Books Week in America. Each city followed a 40-page script provided by the sponsoring Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization created by The Dramatists Guild to advocate for free expression in the dramatic arts. The script was compiled by the fund's president, John Weidman (Anything Goes, Assassins).

    “What is it that’s peculiar to a live performance onstage that drives reactionary, narrow-minded forces right around the bend, often at breakneck speed?” Weidman asks in his introduction. He quotes Edward Albee’s opinion that while movies are a passive theatregoing experience, live theatre is active, happening in the present tense — and that’s what makes it dangerous, depending on how people react to it.

    (Story continues below the photo gallery)

    Photo gallery: Banned Together in Golden

    Banned Together 2017

    Photos from 'Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret' Sept. 28 at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Downloadable photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Recent high-profile examples of theatrical censorship have included the election controversy in New York when Bank of America and Delta Airlines withdrew their funding to The Public Theatre for presenting a Julius Caesar who looked like Donald Trump. Soon after, 36 playwrights and other artists signed a petition demanding that the Lincoln Center cancel its production of To the End of the Land because the production received some funding from Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Lincoln Center refused to cancel the show.

    But by far, the most censorship of live theatre happens in schools across the country that try to tackle topics touching on sex, politics, race or religion.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Director and Emcee of the program in Golden was Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement winner Jim Hunt, who introduced each cutting with anecdotes covering how each piece has been challenged in various ways. For example, a church group in Maiden, N.C., lobbied the local school board to keep its high school thespians from staging John Cariani’s vignette comedy Almost, Maine, because it comically shows two men (literally) falling in love. (The students raised money to produce the play themselves off school grounds.)

    The actors who performed the challenged and challenging scenes in Golden were Jimmy Bruenger, Sophie Dotson, Josh Hartwell, Steph Holmbo, Jim Hunt, Curtiss Johns, Abigail Kochevar, Len Matheo, Kristen Samu, Suzie Scott, Luke Sorge and Jim Walker. The Music Director was Mitch Samu. The local producer of the event was Hartwell, on behalf of the Dramatists Guild.

    The program included two songs from the 2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home, which was a copacetic coincidence for the host theatre. Miners Alley Playhouse is one of three Colorado theatre companies that will be the first to present homegrown stagings of Alison Bechdel’s coming-of-age story next year. Cabaret exists as a warning against the dangers of Nazi-era propaganda and the death of individual thought, and the program also brought back to Miners Alley the star of its recent production to perform the pointed allegory “If You Could See Her.” The finale was an audience singalong of the Rent anthem, "Seasons of Love."

    Admission was free, with donations accepted for the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. About $500 was raised.

    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.

    Banned Together. Photo by John Moore



    Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret: Songs and Scenes

    • “Class” from Chicago, performed by Kristen Samu, Steph Holmbo and Mitch Samu
    • Scene from Almost, Maine, performed by Suzie Scott, Luke Sorge and Curtiss Johns
    • “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home, performed by Sophia Dotson and Mitch Samu
    • “Changing My Major” from Fun Home, performed by Abbey Kochevar and Mitch Samu
    • “Totally F*cked” from Spring Awakening, performed by Jimmy Bruenger and Mitch Samu
    • Scene from The Vagina Monologues, performed by Suzie Scott
    • Scene from The Laramie Project, performed by Luke Sorge and Josh Hartwell
    • “If You Could See Her” from Cabaret, performed by Jim Walker, Steph Holmbo and Mitch Samu
    • Scene from Angels in America, performed by Len Matheo and Josh Hartwell
    • “Seasons of Love” from Rent, performed by all
  • August theatre in Colorado: Run, 'Rabbit,' run!

    by John Moore | Aug 09, 2017

    White Rabbit Red Rabbit


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

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

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

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

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

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

    And ... go!

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

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

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

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

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

    The Denver lineup: 

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

    The Colorado Springs lineup:

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

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

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

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

    August DCPA 800


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

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

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

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

    NUMBER 5

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

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


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • In the Spotlife: Adriane Wilson of 'Cabaret'

    by John Moore | May 19, 2017
    Adriane Wilson
     


    MEET ADRIANE WILSON
    Sally Bowles in Miners Alley Playhouse's Cabaret, opening tonight and running through June 25.

  • Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Home now: Greeley
  • Adriane Wilson Quote 1High school: Aviano American High School in Aviano, Italy
  • College: BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Morticia Addams in The Addams Family for the Little Theatre of the Rockies in Greeley
  • Twitter-sized bio: I am a pit-bull rights activist, cheese-lover and 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. I am happiest when I am cooking, reading and playing with my two handsome puppies.
  • What's your handle? @little.adriane.leigh on Instagram
  • What was the role that changed your life? In all honesty, I think I am playing a life-changing role right now as Sally Bowles. She is such a complex and challenging role to tackle, and our director Len Matheo has truly helped me find a grounded and realized version of her. I have always doubted my abilities as an actor, but working with this cast and team, I have started to gain a new kind of confidence in myself as a performer that will most definitely fuel my performances in the future
  • steve-carell 300Ideal scene partner: Steve Carell. I am an enormous fan of his work. His range is so vast, and he seems like such a friendly person.
  • What is Cabaret all about? This musical explores the horrific reality of the Nazis’ rise to power in 1930s Berlin, and how varying groups of people were affected by the new regime. Some citizens remained blissfully naïve, while others had their lives turned upside down.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: Finding a believable balance between the showman’s persona she wears in public, and the deep, depressive state she regularly finds herself in. Sally also struggles with self-loathing, doubt and addiction. I want to stay far away from playing those traits in a caricatured fashion.   
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? Foremost, I want the audience to enjoy themselves, because the first act is truly a raucous time. The second act, however, should be a wake-up call. History has been known to repeat itself. And as a Jewish woman, that frightens me. This play is a reminder that politics affect us all, no matter how far from home the conflict is taking place.
  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I desperately want to join a Dungeons and Dragons campaign!
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I think it is absolutely outrageous that there is a ban on Pit Bulls in the city of Denver. I rescued a Pit Bull from a kill shelter three years ago, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. His name is Scott, and he is a total angel. He loves to snuggle, play with his big brother and give kisses. I would love to move to Denver as my career in theatre continues to blossom, but I cannot because of the ban, and I refuse to leave Scotty behind. There is no such thing as a “bad breed” - only people who do bad deeds. These creatures are naturally strong and smart, so cruel people taught them to fight because they were more likely to win, and they looked awfully tough on the end of a leash. The media has taken this image and blown it out of proportion, causing ill-informed people to believe it blindly. Educate yourselves, and adopt a Pit Bull today.

  • Adriane Wilson. Luke Sorge. Adriane Wilson. SARAH ROSHAN PHOTOGRAPHY
    Luke Sorge and Adriane Wilson in Miners Alley Playhouse's 'Cabaret.' Sarah Roshan Photography.

    Miners Alley Playhouse's Cabaret: Ticket information

    • Written by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics) and Joe Masteroff (Book)
    • Directed by Len Matheo and Mitch Samu (music)
    • Through June 25
    • 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden MAP IT
    • Tickets $18-28
    • For tickets or information, call 303-935-3044 or go to minersalley.com

    Performance schedule:
    • 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
    • 6 p.m. Sundays May 28, June 4, 11 and 18
    • 1 p.m. Sunday, May 21 and June 25

    Cast list:

    • Jim Walker as The Emcee
    • Adriane Wilson as Sally Bowles
    • Luke Sorge as Cliff Bradshaw
    • Tim Fishbaugh as Herr Schultz
    • Kristen Samu as Fräulein Schneider
    • Alaina Beth Reel as Fräulein Kost
    • Rory Pierce as Ernst Ludwig
    • Kit Kat Girls: Steph Holmbo, Kenzie Kilroy, Abbey Kochevar and Kayla Mally
    • Kit Kat Boys: Parker Fowler and Gabe Morales

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet the ensemble of Buntport Theater's The Crud
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet Emily K. Harrison of She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet 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 Heather Lacy of the Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Tamara Meneghini of The Last Testament of Mary
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Rebekah Ortiz of The Robber Bridegroom
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Lauren Shealy of Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
    Meet Jane Shirley of The Avenue's Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Marc Stith of Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
    Meet Peter Trinh of the Aurora Fox's Chinglish
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

  • Summit Spotlight: Robert Schenkkan on the danger of denial

    by John Moore | Feb 24, 2017

    Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.


    In this daily, five-part series for the DCPA NewsCenter, we will introduce you to the plays and playwrights featured at the Denver Center’s 2017 Colorado New Play Summit. Over the past 12 years, 27 plays introduced to the Summit have gone to be premiered on the DCPA Theatre Company mainstage season. Next up: Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle), author of the new history play Hanussen.

    Pulitzer-winning playwright speaks bluntly
    on the danger of denial in a time of authoritarianism

    In 1930s Berlin, the brilliant mentalist Erik Jan Hanussen captivates German audiences with his ability to read minds and his uncanny predictions of the future. His reputation brings him to the attention of avid occultist Adolf Hitler.

    John Moore: Let’s first review your recent history here at the Denver Center.

    Robert Schenkkan: Well here in Denver, you would know The 12, the musical that Neil Berg and I created a year and a half ago, which won the (Colorado Theatre Guild) Henry Award for best new work. Great production. It was very successful.

    John Moore: Well, there have been quite a few more awards since the Henrys. Emmys, most recently I believe a $10,000 Humanitas Prize for writing Hacksaw Ridge. (Note: Shenkkan donated his share of the prize to Doctors Without Borders). You are not exactly a late bloomer, but the last few years have been extraordinary for you, really starting with the 2014 Tony Award for All the Way.

    Robert Schenkkan: I have had a great run. On stage with All the Way and The Great Society, and then the HBO film version of All the Way starring Bryan Cranston that Steven Spielberg and I co-executive produced. Also here in Denver with The 12, and now Hanussen. And then with the movie Hacksaw Ridge, which I co-wrote with Andrew Knight that Mel Gibson directed and Andrew Garfield starred in, which is currently nominated for six Academy Awards. … Stay tuned!

    John Moore: We have gotten happily accustomed to seeing you on the awards circuit: The Emmys. Writers Guild of America. Screen Actors Guild. And coming Sunday:

    Robert Schenkkan: I have eaten a lot of rubber chicken lately, yes.

    Robert Schenkkan. Photo by John Moore

    John Moore: The Academy Awards are Sunday night, so let's talk briefly about Hacksaw Ridge, which manages to be a remarkable story of warfare and pacifism at once.

    Robert Schenkkan: It's an extraordinary story, and it has taken 10 years to get it on screen. It is the true story of the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor, Desmond Doss. A country boy from Virginia whose faith and principles insisted that he go to war, and that same faith and principles also insisted that he not take a life. He became a medic, and in one extraordinary engagement in the battle of Okinawa, he saved upward of 75 or more American and Japanese lives.  It's a mind-boggling story, really.

    John Moore: That's an fascinating transition into the war story you are writing here for the DCPA Theatre Company. Can you introduce us to the story of Hanussen?

    Robert Schenkkan: Hanussen is based on the true story of Erik Jan Hanussen, who was the leading headliner in 1931 in the last days of the Weimar Republic in Berlin. Hanussen was a mentalist. He had a mental act. He could red your mind. He had psychic powers. He could hypnotize and he claimed he could predict the future. He's fascinating character. Very contradictory in many ways. Kind of Shakespearean in his size. It is always hard to parse the truth here, but it is said that Hanussen coached Hitler on how to be a more effective public speaker, and that he cast Hitler's horoscope, that he was his astrologer, and that he had something to do with the Reichstag fire. Hanussen was also Jewish.

    Hanussen. Jamison Jones. Photo by John Moore


    John Moore: How does his religion play into the story?

    Robert Schenkkan: Well, it's something that he keeps on the down-low while he plays this extremely dangerous game with the Nazis. The play is very much about the human condition, in particular our tendency to avoid that which is unpleasant, or that which we don't want to see. It's about denial, and the dangers of denial.

    You have said very forebodingly that this is not the worst time for us to be revisiting the Weimar Republic. Why is this play that goes so far back into history the right play at the right time for what is going on in the world right now?

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Robert Schenkkan: Well, it's pretty fascinating. The playbook for authoritarianism is an old one. It's pretty well understood. I think one could make a very good claim that we are seeing that play out right now in American politics in this last election. JuRobert Schenkkan Quotest as in the Weimar Republic in Berlin, in the United States in 2017, I think it will be increasingly important for individuals to look to their own conscience and be careful in their decisions. This is not a time to stay silent. This is not a time for denial or avoidance. This is a time for action. 

    John Moore: Who are some of the other historical figures we meet in your play?

    Robert Schenkkan: Well, part of the pleasure of Hanussen is that it is a so-called history play; that it is set with events that actually happened and people we know, and in this case there are some very prominent people that we know. Count Wolfe Von Heldorf, Joseph Goebbles and, of course, Adolf Hitler. It's not often that you see these characters on stage, and of course there is so much baggage that they carry; it presents a unique challenge to the writer I think. What can you do with this that we haven't seen before? Or how can you play with our expectations - what we expect that we will see with this? I have had a lot of fun with this. I think I've gotten it right. I think it will be extremely entertaining and very thought-provoking.

    Robert Schenkkan. Richard Thieriot.John Moore: I don't know how much you have to do with casting, but we here at the Denver Center find it enjoyable that the actor who is playing Hitler (Richard Thieriot) we remember as a masters student who played the Jimmy Stewart role in Harvey (pictured at right by John Moore).

    Robert Schenkkan: That is kind of perfect. He's a wonderful actor, by the way.

    John Moore: This is your first Colorado New Play Summit as a featured playwright.

    Robert Schenkkan: Yes, I have been an observer at two Summits, and I am really very grateful to be here. The way Kent Thompson has structured this is really kind of brilliant. You have the first week of work, ending with a public reading, And then you get another week of work culminating in a second and final reading. That second week of work is absolutely unique. I don't know any other theatre festival in the United States that does anything like that. And it's a really critical for the writer because so often, you are just beginning to get your arms around it just as you near the end of that first week. You are just beginning to say, "Now I see what I need to do." … And then it's over. Well, that's not true here. You get to take the tings that you learned at the first reading and really thrash it out and take all of that complexity and nuance and additional richness back into the text, culminating in a second public reading.

    Sarah Schenkkan. Photo by Adams VisCom. John Moore: This is the first time you have ever gotten to work with your daughter, who is playing three roles in Hanussen (pictured at right by Adams Viscom).

    Robert Schenkkan: Yes, I am very proud to say that I will be working with my daughter, Sarah Schenkkan, who is a professional actress living in New York City. Obviously I have followed her career very closely, but this is the first opportunity we have had to work together. As proud as I am of my professional achievements, my greatest achievement is my children. So it's a real thrill to be here working side-by-side as a professional colleague with Sarah.

    John Moore: Total right turn here: Going back for a second to LBJ and All the Way, what did you think of the guy who played LBJ in the new Natalie Portman movie Jackie?

    Spotlight: Lauren Yee lays it all on the free-throw line

    Robert Schenkkan: I thought he did a very credible job. I thought that he brought a certain gravitas to it. I thought he avoided cliché. And he did not give us any of the more sensationalized - and to my way of thinking less interesting - aspects of LBJ.  

    John Moore: I ask that because the actor is John Carroll Lynch, and he is from Denver.

    Robert Schenkkan: Well, I thought it was a very dignified performance. It was very accurate.

    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.

    Hanussen
    Directed by Kent Thompson
    Dramaturgy by Liz Engelman
    Hanussen: Jamison Jones
    Hitler: Richard Thieriot
    Wolfe: Kevin Kilner
    Ernerst Juhn, Bruno Frei and Stage Manager: Andy Nagraj
    Fred Marion, Joseph Goebbles, Young Man and Manager: Robert Montano
    Fritzi, Katrina and Maria Paudler: Sarah Schenkkan
    Servant, Rudolf Steinle and Nobleman: Leigh Miller
    Businessman and Kurt Egger: Jason Delane
    Stage Directions: Luke Sorge

    Leigh Miller and the cast of Hanussen. Photo by Adams VisComLeigh Miller and the cast of 'Hanussen' in rehearsal. Photo by Adams VisCom.

    Building the Wall: A new Schenkkan play coming to Curious Theatre
    Note: Immediately after the presidential election, Robert Schenkkan wrote the play Building the Wall, which imagines the first six months of the Donald Trump presidency while invoking George Orwell’s 1984 and the Nazi regime. The play focuses on the frontman of the new administration, who loses his humanity amid chaos and martial law. It is, Schenkkan says, “a terrifying and gripping exploration of what happens if we let fear win.” The play, starring John Jurcheck and Brynn Tucker (who is appearing at the Colorado New Play Summit in Last Night and the Night Before) from April 4-19 at Curious Theatre, 1080 Acoma St., Call 303-623-0524.

    Selected previous coverage of the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit:
    2017 Summit welcomes dozens for opening rehearsal
    Summit Spotlight: Robert Schenkkan on the dangers of denial
    Summit Spotlight: Lauren Yee lays it all on the free-throw line
    Summit Spotlight: Rogelio Martinez on when world leaders collide
    Summit Spotlight: Donnetta Lavinia Grays on the aftermath of trauma
    Summit Spotlight: Eric Pfeffinger on the fertile comedy of a divided America
    Record four student writers to have plays read at Summit
    DCPA completes field of five 2017 Summit playwrights

    The 12th Annual Colorado New Play Summit
    Launch Weekend: Feb. 18-19
    Festival Weekend: Feb. 24-26
    More details: denvercenter.org/summit


    Hacksaw Ridge
    : The official trailer

  • Photos: 2017 Summit welcomes dozens for opening rehearsal

    by John Moore | Feb 14, 2017
    Colorado New Play Summit opening-day photo gallery:

    2017 Colorado New Play Summit
    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos may be downloaded simply free by clicking on them. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The DCPA Theatre Company today welcomed dozens of actors, playwrights, directors and crew for the first day of rehearsal for the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit. The 12th annual festival will feature readings of new works by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Rogelio Martinez, Eric Pfeffinger, Robert Schenkkan and Lauren Yee.

    The Colorado New Play Summit presents readings of new plays over two weeks as the playwrights continue to craft their developing works alongside a full, professional creative team. Audiences also are offered the opportunity to see two fully staged world premiere productions that emerged from the previous year's Summit: The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson and Two Degrees by Tira Palmquist. In addition, the DCPA Theatre Company is presenting the regional premiere of Lucas Hnath's The Christians. Most of the Summit actors are also appearing in one of those three mainstage plays.

    2017 Colorado New Play Summit "I always feel blessed at this time of year when we get to tell new stories that provide windows on the world," said DCPA Artistic Director Kent Thompson. "Our audiences can see how these playwrights and these artists are responding to the world around them today."

    (Pictured right: Olivia Sullivent in rehearsal for 'Last Night and the Night Before.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Tuesday's launch was bittersweet given that the 2017 Summit will be Thompson's last. Thompson, who founded the Summit upon his arrival in Denver in 2006, has announced his resignation effective March 3. 

    "We have workshopped 50 plays at the Summit," Thompson said. "We have had 44 playwrights, including 20 female playwrights. We have had 27 world premieres that began at the Summit, and we have launched two major musicals (The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Sense and Sensibility the Musical)."

    2017 Colorado New Play Summit. Kent ThompsonThree years ago, Thompson (pictured at right) expanded the Summit by a week so that once playwrights get their work in front of an audience, they can take feedback and come back for another round of rehearsals and readings.

    "These two weeks are really about the playwright," Thompson said. 

    The five 2017 Summit readings will take audiences from an American suburb to Brooklyn to China to Nazi Germany to the first meeting between Reagan and Gorbechev.

    New DCPA Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett said this is an important time in history for playwrights. "It's the playwright's responsibility to always have their ear not only to the present, but also to the future," she said. "What I am most most excited about the plays we are about to unpack at the Summit is that these playwrights have one foot in the present and one foot in the future. We will get to the other side."

    Here is a look at each featured Summit play, with an introduction from each of the playwrights:

    Last Night and the Night Before
    By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
    2017 Colorado New Play Summit Donetta GraysWhen Monique and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha show up unexpectedly on her sister’s Brooklyn doorstep, it’s the beginning of the end for Rachel and her partner Nadima’s orderly New York lifestyle. Monique is on the run from deep trouble, and her husband is nowhere to be seen. The family’s deep Southern roots have a long reach, and they grab hold of Rachel’s life stronger than she could have ever imagined.

    Says Grays: "It's fitting that today is Valentine's Day because I think this play is squarely about the power and dynamic of love. There are questions around motherhood, what defines motherhood, what defines being a woman, what makes a family, and what loss is as well."

    Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
    Dramaturgy by Lauren Whitehead
    Sam: Olivia Sullivent
    Monique: Brynn Tucker
    Reggie: Cajardo Lindsay
    Rachel: Jasmine Hughes
    Nadima: Valeka Holt
    Stage Directions: Tresha Farris   

    Blind Date
    By Rogelio Martinez

    A DCPA Theatre Company commission
    2017 Colorado New Play Summit Rogelio MartinezThis play centers on odd-couple Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev's first meeting in Geneva in an attempt to  open up channels between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Though members of their cabinets try to keep them on track, the leaders steer the conversation to pop culture and films. While the men chip away at the mistrust between their countries, Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev play out a passive-aggressive tango that mirrors their husbands’ negotiations. This play is the conclusion to Martinez’s Cold War trilogy. Martinez previously wrote the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere of When Tang Met Laika.

    Says Martinez: "At some point in their lives, both of these men took a huge pivot. They they were from completely different philosophies and had different ideas. But for a small moment in time they became idealists and they believed in something that no one else believed in. Ultimately the play is about trust: Can one person trust the other across the negotiating table?

    Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
    Dramaturgy by Douglas Langworthy
    George Shultz: Liam Craig                                                                                   
    Eduard Shevardnadze: Steve Brady
    Mikhail Gorbachev: Triney Sandavol
    Ronald Reagan: Victor Slezak
    Edmund Morris: Kurt Rhoads
    Raisa Gorbachev: Kathleen McCall
    Nancy Reagan: Nance Williamson
    Peter, Politburo Member, Dimitri Zarechnak: Rodney Lizcano
    Stage Directions: Mehry Eslaminia                            

    Human Error
    By Eric Pfeffinger

    2017 Colorado New Play Summit Eric PfeffingerMadelyn and Keenan are NPR-listening, latte-sipping, blue-state liberals, while Heather and Jim are NRA-cardholding, truck-driving, red-state conservatives. After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now the two couples face sharing a nine-month’s odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely friendships.

    Says Pfeffinger: "One couple's fertilized embryo has been mistakenly implanted in a stranger so, obviously, it's a comedy: One of those classic 'switched embryo' farces. What ensues is the two couples trying to come to understand a kind of people they have never had any interest in knowing before."

    Directed by Jane Page
    Dramaturgy by Amy Jensen
    Madelyn: Caitlin Wise
    Keenan: Robert Manning Jr.
    Jim: John DiAntonio
    Heather: Jennifer Le Blanc
    Dr. Hoskins: Wesley Mann
    Stage Directions: Drew Horwitz               

    Hanussen

    By Robert Schenkkan

    A DCPA Theatre Company commission
    2017 Colorado New Play Summit Robert SchenkkanIn 1930s Berlin, the brilliant mentalist Erik Jan Hanussen captivates German audiences with his ability to read minds and his uncanny predictions of the future. His reputation brings him to the attention of avid occultist Adolph Hitler. While his star seems to be on the rise, the consequences of his next major prediction (and his own true identity) may break his spell. Based on true events. Schenkkan is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (All the Way, The 12).

    Says Schenkkan: "The Weimar Republic seems like a good place to be visiting right now. It is said that Hanussen helped coach Hitler to improve his public speaking. That he cast Hitler's horoscope. And that he may or may not have had some part in the Black Flag Operation known as The Reichstag fire. Hanussen was Jewish. This is a play about denial and avoidance and individual responsibility."

    Directed by Kent Thompson
    Dramaturgy by Liz Engelman
    Hanussen: Jamison Jones
    Hitler: Richard Thieriot
    Wolfe: Kevin Kilner
    Ernerst Juhn, Bruno Frei and Stage Manager: Andy Nagraj
    Fred Marion, Joseph Goebbles, Young Man and Manager: Robert Montano
    Fritzi, Katrina and Maria Paudler: Sarah Schenkkan
    Servant, Rudolf Steinle and Nobleman: Leigh Miller
    Businessman and Kurt Egger: Jason Delane
    Stage Directions: Luke Sorge

    Manford From Half Court, or The Great Leap
    By Lauren Yee

    DCPA Theatre Company Commission
    2017 Colorado New Play Summit Lauren YeeWhen an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for a “friendship” game in the post-Cultural Revolution 1980s, both countries try to tease out the politics behind this newly popular sport. Cultures clash as the Chinese coach tries to pick up moves from the Americans and a Chinese-American player named Manford spies on his opponents.

    Says Yee: "What you need to know about The Great Leap is that my father is 6-foot-1. He grew up in San Francisco Chinatown, and before he had kids, the only thing he was good at was basketball. He was never going to the NBA, but he was good enough that even today in San Francisco, people stop us on the street and say, 'I used to play you in basketball.' And as they walk away, my dad is always like, 'Yeah ... and I kicked his ass.' In the 1980s, my father and his Chinese-American teammates went to China to play a series of exhibition games throughout the country. And he got completely demolished in almost every single game. Apparently in Beijing, they played against all these 7-foot-6, 300-pound gods - and remember, my dad was 6-foot-1. And he was the tallest guy on his team. 'We did not even know when they had the ball,' he said."

    Directed by Josh Brody
    Dramaturgy by Kristen Leahey
    Manford: Kevin Lin
    Saul: Brian Keane
    Wen Chang: Francis Jue
    Connie: Jo Mei
    Stage Directions: Samantha Long

    The 12th Annual Colorado New Play Summit
    Launch Weekend: Feb. 18-19
    Festival Weekend: Feb. 24-26
    More details: denvercenter.org/summit

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • October: Colorado theatre openings

    by John Moore | Sep 28, 2016

    Rhonda Brown. Photo courtesy Richard H. Pegg.


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


    Six intriguing titles for October:

    1 PerspectivesAward-winning actor Rhonda Brown, who relocated to Creede two years ago, returns to Denver for a three-night run of what has become her signature role: As the late, unapologetically left-leaning columnist Molly Ivins in Red-Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. Ivins, who had a bumpy spell with the New York Times, was a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist who was constantly telling us to “stop letting big money buy our elections” and to “raise more hell.” Oct. 7-9 at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, 16th and Arapahoe St. 303-293-0075 or lannies.com

    2 PerspectivesDenver First Lady Mary Louise Lee will return to her professional roots when she appears in a special workshop production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill from Oct. 28-30 in the Jones Theatre. Lee's performing career began at the Denver Center when she was 18 and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. Lady Day is a haunting look at Billie Holiday, a woman with a singular singing voice  — and a lethal heroin habit. During the performance, Lee tells the jazz legend's troubled life story through the songs that made her famous, including "God Bless the Child."

    3 Perspectives

    A October SpillSpill examines the massive Deepwater Horizon oil disaster that killed 11 workers off the coast of Louisiana and triggered the largest oil spill in history. For 87 days, millions of gallons of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico in what President Barack Obama called "the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” Spill was written by Leigh Fondakowski (pictured right), who was the Head Writer of the Denver-born The Laramie Project, and is based on more than 200 hours of interviews. Oct. 14-29 at Naropa University, 2130 Arapahoe Ave. in Boulder.

    4 PerspectivesThe Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Full Code, winner of the company's first "Generations" play competition. After a freak accident puts a man in a coma, he must decide which of two women he wants - if he wakes up, that is. David Valdes Greenwood's story has been described as "a gripping look inside the human mind." Featuring Casey Andree, Laura Norman, Karen Slack, Warren Sherrill, Devon James and Luke Sorge. Oct. 20-Nov. 13 at the Dairy Arts, Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org

    5 PerspectivesLocal Theater Company opens its fifth season with the world premiere of Firestorm, a raw look into the first year of a biracial marriage. Playwright Meridith Friedman focuses on the response of a white political candidate's African-American wife when the media discovers a racially charged prank from her husband's past. Friedman says her play is "a searing look at who we decide to spend our life with," and begs the question: How well do we really know our partner? Oct. 20-Nov. 13 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., in Boulder, localtheatercompany.org

    6 PerspectivesFirehouse Theater Company will undertake perhaps the largest production in its long history when it stages Arthur Miller's cautionary The Crucible, set during the Salem witch trials but really more of a commentary on the McCarthyism of the 1950s. Director Peter J. Hughes' large cast includes Jeff Jesmer, Lisa Kraai, Daniel Langhoff, Carolyn Lohr and David Fletcher. Oct. 8-Nov. 5 at the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehouse’s home page  

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    October DCPA openingsSept. 30-Nov. 6: Arvada Center’s Tartuffe
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

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

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

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

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

    Oct. 6-15: Buntport Theater's The Rembrandt Room
    At the Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or TICKET INFO

    Oct. 6-8: square product theatre company's This Aunt is Not a Cockroach
    At Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., 800-838-3006 or TICKET INFO

    Oct. 7-30: DCPA Theatre Company's Frankenstein
    Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 7-Nov. 6, 2016: Aurora Fox's Dracula
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org

    Oct. 7-29: Bug Theatre's Night of the Living Dead, Live (with Paper Cat Films)
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info

    Oct. 7-30: Cherry Creek Theatre's The Last Romance

    Shaver Ramsey Showroom, 2414 E. 3rd Ave., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org

    Oct 7-8: Off-Center's Cult Following
    Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 7-8: Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret's Red Hot Patriot - The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins
    D&F Clock Tower, 16th and Arapahoe streets, 303-293-0075 or lannies.com

    Oct. 7-Nov. 27: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Godspell
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Oct. 7-22: StageDoor Theatre's The Rocky Horror Show
    27357 Conifer Road, 303-886-2819 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Oct. 8-Nov. 5: Firehouse's Theatre's The Crucible
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehouse’s home page

    Oct. 8-Nov. 5, 2016: The Avenue Theater's Wait Until Dark
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Oct. 8-May 13, 2017: Buntport Theater for All Ages’ Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com
    (1 p.m. and 3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month through May)

    Oct. 13-Nov. 6: Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres, or The Sun That You Are
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org

    Oct. 13-29: OpenStage Theatre Company’s Ultimate Beauty Bible
    At the Center for Fine Art Photography, 400 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Oct. 13-30: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s The Elephant Man
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Oct. 14-Nov. 13, 2016: The Edge Theatre's Marie Antoinette
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Oct. 14-29, 2016: Naropa Universiity's Spill
    2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder MORE INFO

    Oct. 14-30: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Grounded
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Oct. 14-23, 2016: Town Hall Arts Center's Guys on Ice
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Oct. 15-March 12, 2017: DCPA Cabaret's An Act of God
    Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 16-Nov. 13: Local Theater Company’s The Firestorm
    Carsen Theater at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    Oct. 20-Nov. 13: Boulder Ensembe Theatre Company's Full Code
    Grace Gamm Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org

    Oct. 20-Nov. 6, 2016: TheatreWorks' Game of Love and Chance
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Oct. 21-Nov. 13: Ignite Theatre's Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
    2590 Washington St., 866-811-4111 or click here for tickets

    Oct. 21-Nov. 6: Evergren Players' Stepping Out
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreen players’ home page

    Oct. 21-29: Longmont Theatre Company's Bat Boy: The Musical
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Oct. 21-22: Phamaly Theatre Company's Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach
    At the Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-575-0005 or phamaly.org

    Oct. 21-30: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Sarah, Plain and Tall
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Oct. 21-Nov. 19 2016: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
    Second Stage, 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

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

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

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

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

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

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

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

    Through Oct. 2: Arvada Center’s Sister Act
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE
    Through Oct. 2: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Oklahoma
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

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

    Through Oct. 8: The Catamounts' The Taming
    At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826, 720-468-0487 or thecatamounts.org READ MORE

    Through Oct. 8: Wide Eyed West’s theMumblings
    At The Bakery, 2132 Market St., wideeyedproductions.com READ MORE

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

    Through Oct. 9: Evergreen Chorale’s My Fair Lady
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Through Nov. 13: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s Evita
    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

    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    Sept. 30: Untitled at the Denver Art Museum
    Oct. 8: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (monthly theatre for young audiences)
    Oct. 18: The Great Debate
    Oct. 19: The Narrators (a live storytelling show and podcast)
    Oct. 21-22: So You Think You Can Watch Us Dance!
    Oct. 28: Untitled at the Denver Art Museum
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS ...

    (Monthly film series in partnership with local theatre companies)
    Oct. 10: Night of the Living Dead
    Pre-screening entertainment by cast of Bug Theatre's current production.
    At the Alamo Drafthouse, Aspen Grove, 7301 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, 720-588-4107 or BUY TICKETS

    LONE TREE ARTS CENTER
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org
    Oct. 1: The Doo Wop Project
    Oct. 29: The Wonder Bread Years

    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
    Oct. 14 and 16: Things That Go Bump in the Night
    *Oct. 14: 7 p.m. at the Chautauqua Community House, 301 Morning Glory Drive, Boulder, 303-440-7666 or TICKETS
    *Oct. 16: 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or TICKETS
    Selections include “The October Game” by Ray Bradbury, read by John Arp; "The Open Window” by SakiPoor, read by Adrian Egolf; "The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link, read by Anne Penner



  • The guns come out in Moore's 'Waiting for Obama'

    by John Moore | Jul 29, 2016

    Waiting for Obama. Photo by John Moore
    From 'Waiting for Obama.' Photo by John Moore

    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore, former longtime theatre critic at The Denver Post, has written a play called Waiting for Obama that is an official selection for the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival. After two weeks of “open rehearsal run-throughs” at Buntport Theatre in Denver through Aug. 7 (and one-night only at the Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins on Aug. 1), Waiting for Obama will be presented five times at the Fringe Festival between Aug. 12-15 at New York’s 14th Street Y Theatre.

    The following is a Q&A with the playwright conducted by New York theatre journalist David Kennerley:

    David Kennerley: The Fringe has a tradition of tackling prickly, topical subjects well ahead of mainstream theater. In the past, plays have addressed terrorism, marriage equality, transgender issues, and this year it’s blacks and whites and cops and guns. What is it about the Fringe that makes this possible?

    John Moore: I often wrote about this very subject while I was the theatre critic at The Denver Post. In the mainstream theatre, it typically takes even a sure-fire new play at least two years to get read, liked, scheduled, developed and finally staged. As a result, live theatre can often seem, well ... two years behind the times. The Fringe encourages a different kind of creative process where artists can explore what is happening in the moment, go with it, and have it seen much more quickly. With the Fringe, there are only six months between submission and staging. And in that short time, repulsively, the issue of gun violence in America has grown only more numbingly timely and topical. I keep hoping I’m done keeping my script up-to-date, but the daily headlines keep sending me back to the keyboard. 

    Waitig for Obama David Kennerley: Can you briefly summarize Waiting for Obama?

    John Moore: Waiting for Obama is the story of one Colorado family that is convinced the President is coming for their guns. And in the world of this play, they just might be right. But while the story is propelled by one of the most divisive issues of our time, it focuses on a recognizable family that, like so many others, is deeply divided by polarizing political beliefs.

    David Kennerley: What inspired you to write the piece?

    John Moore: Brian Freeland, the leading maker of avant-garde theatre in Denver for the past 20 years, initially challenged me to write a piece exploring the gun culture in America. I come from a large Catholic family of eight kids, and I wanted to better understand one of my five brothers' deeply held beliefs. He is a Christian conservative and steadfast proponent of the Second Amendment - a viewpoint not often taken seriously in the theatre. He's also my longest, closest friend. We just don't agree on much of anything anymore. As a journalist by trade, I was not interested in writing a one-sided screed. I wanted a fair fight. So I made him my protagonist. He’s the one who is “Waiting for Obama.” The title came to me pretty easily. It is inspired both by Waiting for Godot, naturally, as well as the NRA’s battlecry since the day he first took office that “Obama is coming for your guns.” I hear that over and over. And so I just thought, “Well then … what if he did?”

    David Kennerley: What are the central themes of the piece?

    Waiting for Obama quoteJohn Moore: The easy answer to that question is: “What are the themes of Thornton Wilder?” We have a simple framing device that acknowledges that everyone who enters the 14th Street Y Theatre to see this show, or perform in it, is part of a community of humans who recognize that gun violence is a seriously troubling issue in this country, and we have to start somewhere. And so for 90 minutes, we are all of us just people getting together in a room trying to come to a better understanding about it all.  Because that’s just not happening anywhere else right now. Not on the radio. Not in bars. Not in our living rooms. 

    We have never been more evenly ideologically divided over such an extended period of time as we have over these past 30 years. Just look at the closeness of every presidential election since 1988. Neither party has earned a mandate, and so no losing party has fallen far enough to even consider capitulation or compromise. And we are seeing the consequences of obstinance play out in millions of fractured families every day. We aren’t talking to each other about the important issues that divide us anymore. We’re either shouting at each other - or, worse, not talking to each other at all. Not about abortion. Not about the death penalty. Not about guns. We are turning away from our blood families and cocooning ourselves instead around our “chosen families” – those who adhere to our same moral, social and political beliefs. That's consequential. And that makes for some seriously tense holiday dinners.
     

    David Kennerley: The tragic loss of lives at the hands of gunmen has been covered extensively in the media. What does your piece add to the conversation?

    John Moore: None of these ongoing gun sprees appears to be changing minds on the gun issue. Not a one. Instead, it is making both sides dig in. And if Sandy Hook didn’t change people’s minds on little issues like background checks, then why even bother to talk about the big stuff, like limiting semi-automatic gun sales? You have your beliefs, and I have mine. You have your facts, and I have mine. I believe if we can’t talk about these polarizing issues in our own living rooms for fear of a fight breaking out, then we have to be able to talk about them in a theatre. That’s why theatre exists. There’s this very meta moment in the play when the sweet grandma says: “It’s easier to make an audience think about a political issue when you let them develop a human connection with the characters.” I am a lifelong journalist, and I love stats. But one thing is for sure: No one gives a damn about statistics in a theatre.

    David Kennerley: What message do you hope others will take away after seeing the piece?

    John Moore: My hopes are very modest – otherwise I would be a hypocrite. None of us expects to change a single mind about gun ownership through the course of our little play. Instead, I’ll settle for starting a dialogue. If audiences go for a pint afterward and just talk about the play for 10 minutes – even if only to say they hated it, and that it was a waste of time, I’ll be totally OK with that.

    David Kennerley is a New York-based journalist specializing in theater for more than a decade. His work has been seen in outlets such as Metro New York, BravoTV.com, AfterElton.com, Genre Magazine and Gay City News.

    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.

    Waiting for Obama Cast

    From left: Brett Aune, Amelia Corrada, Laurence Curry, Chris Kendall, Jessical Robblee, Leslie O'Carroll and Luke Sorge.

    Waiting for Obama: "Open Rehearsal" runthroughs

    Presented by Wild Blindness Productions in partnership with the Bas Bleu Theatre

    • July 29-30 (Friday through Saturday), 7:30 p.m. start, Buntport Theatre, 717 Lipan St., Denver
    • July 31 (Sunday), 2 p.m. start, Buntport Theatre, 717 Lipan St., Denver
    • Aug. 1 (Monday), 7:30 p.m. start, Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins
    • Aug. 4-6 (Thursday through Saturday), 7:30 p.m. start, Buntport Theatre, 717 Lipan St., Denver
    • Aug. 7 (Sunday), 2 p.m. start, Buntport Theatre, 717 Lipan St., Denver

    Free. No reservation necessary ... but seating is limited.

    What are "Open Rehearsals"?

    Waiting for Obama is being developed in Denver for its opening at the New York Fringe on Aug. 12. In the meantime, the work is ongoing. But Denver audiences are welcome to drop in for free, scheduled runthroughs of the play. You should not expect polished, completed performances. Depending on which night you attend, actors may call for lines. Lights, sound and other technical elements may not yet be added. If necessary, the director may call for a stop to fix a problematic moment. Think of this as being let in on a window to the creative process.

    Waiting for Obama: New York Fringe Festival performances 

    • Friday, Aug. 12, 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, Aug. 13, 2 p.m.
    • Saturday, Aug. 13, 9:15 p.m.
    • Sunday, Aug. 14, 8:30 p.m.
    • Monday, Aug. 15, 6:45 p.m.

    All New York performances at the 14th Street Y Theatre.  TICKETS

  • Off-Center's 'Sweet & Lucky' extended through Aug. 7

    by NewsCenter Staff | Jun 08, 2016




    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Off-Center announced today that Sweet & Lucky has been extended through Aug. 7  to accommodate audience demand.

    Sweet and Lucky Colby Foss Sweet & Lucky, a commissioned work by Brooklyn-based Third Rail Projects, is the DCPA’s first foray into large-scale immersive theatre. The production has sold out all 48 of its originally scheduled performances. Tickets for the six-week extension are now available at SweetAndLuckyDenver.com.

     Off-Center is the DCPA's the newest and most unconventional programming arm, focusing on upending theatrical expectations and traditions. 

    Buy your Sweet & Lucky tickets here


    Sweet & Lucky is a “brave, lovely, original adventure," according to Juliet Wittman of Westword, and it constitutes the largest physical undertaking in the DCPA's nearly 40-year history. 

    (Pictured right: Colby Foss of 'Sweet and Lucky.' Photo by Adams Viisual Communications.)

    The two-hour mobile adventure takes place in a sprawling 16,000-square-foot warehouse (owned by Westfield Company) on Brighton Boulevard. Attendees step into a mysterious antique store and plunge into a labyrinth of dreamlike encounters.

    Audience members follow performers through intricately designed environments, into intimate engagements, and witness a series of seductive and haunting flashbacks. It's a 360-degree experience that uses all five senses to evoke the power and fragility of memories. Audiences also enjoy specialty cocktails before and after the show crafted by award-winning mixologist Sean Kenyon at a pop-up version of Kenyon’s Williams and Graham speakeasy.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Please note that each performance is limited to 72 audience members.

    Sweet & Lucky’s present ensemble of actors includes Denver-based performers Diana Dresser, Colby Foss, Ondine Geary, Meridith C. Grundei, Kevin Lowry, Leigh Miller, Patrick Mueller, Tara Rynders, Mackenzie Sherburne, Luke Sorge, Justin Walvoord, Edith Weiss, Ryan Wuestewald and Amanda Berg Wilson; and Lia Bonfilio (of Third Rail Projects).

    Sweet & Lucky: Ticket information
    Sweet & Lucky plays through Aug. 7 at 4120 E. Brighton Boulevard, with newly added performances. Only 72 audience members per performance. Wear comfortable shoes. Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Note: Sweet & Lucky has its own web site. You should check it out here. 


    Sweet & Lucky production photos:

    Sweet & Lucky
    To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams Visual Communications.


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweet & Lucky:
    Photos: Opening night coverage
    5 things we learned about Sweet & Lucky
    Zach Morris is home to seize the cultural moment
    Casting announced; tickets onsale
    DCPA to create new immersive theatre piece with Third Rail Projects
    Kickstarter campaign allows audience to dive deeper


    More photos: The making of Sweet & Lucky: 

    Making of 'Sweet & Lucky'
    To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

  • Video, photos: DCPA Holiday Cabaret Concert Highlights

    by John Moore | Dec 03, 2015
    Highlights video by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts partnered with the downtown Hard Rock Cafe for a night of holiday hits, rock songs and showtunes featuring cast members from all four current productions: Disney’s The Lion King, A Christmas Carol, Murder for Two and The Santaland Diaries.

    Ticket sales for the Nov. 23 event benefited The Denver Actors Fund and DCPA Education's "send a child to a Theatre Company student matinee" program.

    Disney's 'The Lion King' Cubs sing The Jackson 5. Photo by John Moore.
    Disney's 'The Lion King' Cubs sing The Jackson 5. Photo by John Moore.


    The performers included:
    From the DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol (playing through Dec. 27):
    Napoleon M. Douglas, "Merry Christmas Baby"
    James Michael Reilly, "Mr. Cellophane," from Chicago
    Daniel Langhoff and Jake Williamson: "You're What You Own," from Rent, and "Waiting for My Life to Start," an original song by Williamson
    Emma C. Martin, "Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife

    From Disney's The Lion King (just closed):
    Tre Jones, B.J. Covington, Savanna Fleisher and Mikari Tarpley, "I Want You Back," by The Jackson 5
    Tiffany Denise Hobbs, "I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," from Dreamgirls
    Tricia Hofacker and Scott Swallen, "Stud and Babe," from I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
    Gerald Ramsey, Traditional Polynesian dance
    Blaine Krauss, "Everything's Coming Up Roses," from Gypsy 

    From Murder for Two (playing through Feb. 21):
    Ian Lowe, "Welcome to Our Home," an original song by castmate Joe Kinosian
    John Wascavage, a one-man "One Day More" from Les Misérables

    From The SantaLand Diaries (playing through Dec. 17):
    Luke Sorge

    The live band included Neal Dunfee, Tag Worley, Jason Tyler Vaughn and Eli Acosta. The director of the DCPA Holiday Cabaret was Ronni Gallup. The Event Coordinators included Heidi Bosk and Hope Grandon of the DCPA, Aaron Quintana of Disney's The Lion King and John Lindsay of the Hard Rock Cafe Denver

    Video and photos by John Moore and Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter. Visit us at www.MyDenverCenter.Org.


    DCPA Holiday Cabaret To download any photo above for free, at a variety of sizes, click "View original Flickr image."
  • Guest columnist Margie Lamb on the Henry Awards: Something doesn't add up

    by John Moore | Jul 10, 2015

    Editor's Note: The DCPA NewsCenter offers a weekly guest column from a variety of local and national voices covering a wide range of theatre topics. To submit a proposed guest column, email your name and topic to jmoore@dcpa.org.


    By Margie Lamb
    Denver Actor

    Margie Lamb quoteI have been a part of Colorado’s theater community for almost 25 years. I trained for 10 of those years under the direction of Bill McHale, a well-known and respected director at the Country Dinner Playhouse. Bill taught me the basics of theater both on stage and off: How I should not question the outcome of auditions or the dreaded reviews that followed every opening weekend. So, out of respect, I never did. 

    I sat by and watched as actors, directors, designers and musicians were nominated for the coveted Denver Drama Critics Circle Awards – or, conversely, went unrecognized for their work. I never questioned the outcome because at the time, I felt deep down inside that the Critics Circle Awards were in good hands: The good hands of experts who were highly respected in the theater community. Although I didn’t always agree with the outcome, in the end I trusted their opinions because of their experience.

    But those awards went away in 1999. And now the closest thing we have left resembling a traditional awards program are the Colorado Theater Guild’s Henry Awards. On July 20, the Guild will host its 10th annual awards honoring the best in Colorado theatre among its member companies. But the outcome of these awards is not in the hands of the dwindling number of remaining legitimate theatre critics. Now, 46 Henry Award judges with a wide range of theater experience consider the participating shows. The judges are made up of former and current writers and reviewers, retired educators, artistic directors and, making up the largest group by far: Citizen judges whose primary qualification is that they are avid theatregoers.

    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Stupid F##king Bird' got a four-star review from The Denver Post - but was shut out of the Henry Award nominations. Pictured: Luke Sorge and Jaimie Morgan. Photo by Michael Ensminger. Now I watch the Henry Awards each year as productions that received outstanding reviews by respected critics are not even being nominated by the Henrys in any category. This year, that list includes Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s Stupid F##ing Bird, Grounded and The Aliens. The Aurora Fox’s She Kills Monsters and Beets. Creede Repertory Theatre’s The Last Romance. All My Sons by Cherry Creek Theatre. Ham McBeth by Square Product Theatre. Curious’ In the Red and Brown Water. Vintage’s Harold and Maude, and Mack and Mabel. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Colorado Springs TheatreWorks’ As You Like It. Equinox’s Bug. Mizel’s Kindertransport.

    All of these shows received 3½ or 4-star reviews from The Denver Post. None of them got a single Henry Award nomination.

    My question is this: Were the critics wrong … or the Henry Award judges?

    (Photo above: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Stupid F##king Bird' got a four-star review from The Denver Post - but was shut out of the Henry Award nominations. Pictured: Luke Sorge and Jaimie Morgan. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    The cats of Town Hall Arts Center's 'Next to Normal' (clockwise from left): Jared Ming, Margie Lamb, Daniel Langhoff, Jacquie Jo Billings, Josh Bess and Ethan Knowles. Photo by Michael Ensminger. Last season, I was part of an ongoing passion of mine called Next to Normal, which I performed for a third different company: The Littleton Town Hall Arts Center. My work in this show has been recognized by the Ovation, Marlowe and Westword awards, so I consider myself abundantly blessed. But my heart breaks for the many other artists on and off stage whose work on those very special productions has never been acknowledged by the Henry Awards.

    I would and can accept this, if I knew for certain that all of the Henry Award judges have real and practical experience in the theater field. But I don’t. And I question how someone who simply has a history of merely sitting in an audience watching theatre has earned the credibility to be a judge. I don’t doubt that the judges all love theatre. But how can they possibly know the complexities of acting, or of executing a vocal track? How can they know the intricacies of sound and set design; of orchestration, direction or choreography?

    (Photo above: The cast of Town Hall Arts Center's 'Next to Normal' (clockwise from left): Jared Ming, Margie Lamb, Daniel Langhoff, Jacquie Jo Billings, Josh Bess and Ethan Knowles. The Director was Nick Sugar. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    READ MORE: OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE HENRY AWARDS' GLORIA SHANSTROM

    The Next to Normal score is incredibly difficult. And I can’t help but wonder if that fact is easily recognizable to the untrained ear. A successful production should make it look easy. That doesn’t mean it was easy. Year after year, I see newer and cutting-edge musicals passed over by the Henry Awards, and I can’t help but think the judging pool might benefit from an infusion of younger (while still qualified) judges who might be more receptive to less traditional material.

    I’m also concerned at how the voting process actually occurs. In order for a show to qualify for awards consideration, six judges must attend the show during the course of the run. Judges are allowed to choose which shows they want to see, as long as they don’t go to the same venues every year. If only five judges make it during the run, the show does not qualify. If 12 judges attend, all completed ballots are then turned upside down on a table, and six are blindly selected as that show’s official scores. The other ballots, some of which might have been filled out by qualified, professional critics, simply don’t count. Luck of the draw.

    Perhaps the Guild should take the bull by the horns and simply assign a considered mix of six judges to every show – no more, no less. If there aren’t enough interested judges, reach out to our community of vocal and acting coaches, choreographers, sound designers and former music directors. They are out here, and they are more than willing to be a part of this process. They might just need to be found and asked.

    This is what has raised my eyebrows in the past. And after 10 years of sitting back and watching the Henry Awards process unfold, this is what now makes me want to speak out. 

    The Henry Awards wisely distinguish between large-budget and small-budget productions in considering the nominees for its design categories because, as the thinking goes, money matters in those areas of production. There is no distinction in the acting categories, because acting is acting. And I agree.

    But judging is not just judging. If the Colorado Theatre Guild wants the Henrys to be truly seen as “Colorado’s Tony Awards,” as it advertises, listen to our voices. Together let’s make a credible awards program we can all respect - whether an individual or a production is nominated or not.

    About Our Guest Columnist:
    Margie Lamb was most recently recognized by Westword as 2015 Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Next to Normal at Town Hall Arts Center. Her work has been seen across Colorado, including The Aurora Fox, Boulder’s Dinner Theater, The Arvada Center and Breckenridge Backstage Theater. She will be appearing at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Pump Boys and Dinettes from July 17-Aug. 23.

    Previous Guest Columns:
    Bryan VanDriel on Lloyd Norton: A name that will live on in Greeley
    Jessica Jackson on Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Susan Lyles on 10 years of staging plays for women in Denver
     
    Be Our Guest (Columnist)
    The DCPA NewsCenter offers a weekly guest column from a variety of local and national voices covering a wide range of theatre topics. To submit a proposed guest column, email your name and proposed topic to jmoore@dcpa.org.

    2014-15 Henry Awards
    6 p.m. Monday, July 20
    Arvada Center. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets go on sale July 6 through the Arvada Center website or by calling 720-898-7200. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions

  • POPULAR POSTS
     
    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.