• 2017 True West Award: Sammie Joe Kinnett

    by John Moore | Dec 10, 2017
    True West Award Sammie Joe Kinnett
    Photo at right by Zachary Andrews.

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 10: Sammie Joe Kinnett

    Arvada Center
    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Sammie Joe Kinnett is one of the hundreds who started 2017 adrift in grief over the death of Murray Ross.

    Ross founded TheatreWorks as part of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1975 and for the next 42 years, he built it into a fertile incubator of young hearts and minds. Some of them were not even his students. Kinnett, for one, was a teenage community-college dropout who, through Ross, found a mentor — and a home — on a campus he didn’t even attend.

    "Ross was a divining rod of talent," said frequent Colorado Springs Director Geoffrey Kent. When Ross met Kinnett, he didn’t see a dropout. He saw his next Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He saw his future co-writer and the co-star of an original piece they developed together called I Am Nikola Tesla.

    sammie joe-15-m242x323“Murray was able to see when there was something special in someone,” said Kinnett, "and he was able to bring it out in them just by sheer belief.” Ross certainly brought it out in Kinnett, who developed into one of the most intelligent and consistently working comic actors in theatres across Colorado Springs.

    And so when Ross died in January, Kinnett confronted his own profound sadness and honored his mentor by going out and making people laugh. First in a revelatory take on the title character in the warhorse comedy The Foreigner at the Arvada Center. Then by putting a more humane spin on The SantaLand Diaries, David Sedaris’ comic monologue about working as a Macy’s elf (playing through Dec. 23). Both plays were directed by Kent, who calls Kinnett “the ‘fire and forget’ missile of comedians.”

    When he says that, he’s invoking the military term for a projectile that never fails to hit its target. “Once launched in any given direction,” Kent elaborated, “Sammie rockets forward with 110 percent commitment.”  

    Audiences saw a whole different side of Kinnett's comic skills when he played Sancho to Stephen Day's Henry Award-winning Cervantes in Man of La Mancha for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Reviewer Bill Wheeler wrote the casting of Kinnett as Sancho was brilliant, and that "he’s the finest comedic actor working in Colorado Springs."

    True West Awards Sammie Joe Kinnett The Foreigner Arvada CenterThe Foreigner
    has been done and doner since playwright Larry Shue (M*A*S*H) debuted it in 1983. But everything about the tired old comedy felt fresh at the Arvada Center — even, sadly, its intentionally racist overtones that felt uncomfortably contemporary in the wake of the Charlottesville riots. Kinnett played a pathologically shy young Brit who pretends not to speak English to avoid interacting with the rubes visiting a fishing lodge in rural Georgia.

    The reason it felt so fresh, said Drew Martorella, Executive Director of UCCS Presents, is because everything seems to when filtered through Kinnett’s playful lens.

    “Sammie Joe has an innocence about him that allows you to see the world through his eyes — and that is a great vehicle to allow comedy to happen,” Martorella said.

    (Pictured at right: Sammie Joe Kinnett, center, with Jessica Robblee, left, Lance Rasmussen (back) and Edith Weiss in the Arvada Center's 'The Foreigner.' M. Gale Photography.)

    'Murray Ross put beauty and goodness out into this world'

    Kinnett is a great physical comedian who uses his body as a readily available tool just as a painter uses a paintbrush or a mechanic uses a tire iron — and that was on confident display in The Foreigner. This was not the first time on a Denver stage for Kinnett, who turned two memorable summer seasons at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder. But for many, The Foreigner was an introduction worthy of a classic comedy double-take. Take a gander at what the impressed critics had to say:

    • Joanne Ostrow, The Denver Post: “The Foreigner is a particular triumph for Sammie Joe Kinnett, who, through a mix of lithe physical antics, deft dialect work and spot-on timing, brings Charlie to life.”
    • Juliet Wittman, Westword: “Sammie Joe Kinnett sports a goofy, all-stops-out physicality and a gutsy, crazed creativity that lets him try anything and go anywhere for a laugh — the result being gales of laughter from the audience.”

    Ross would have loved seeing Kinnett in this exquisitely executed role, Kent said. Here was this now fully grown-up actor putting on a confident comedy clinic that was fully gained through hard knocks and hard experience. And yet it was infused with a joyful spirit of reminiscent of Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful). Kinnett's humanity even bleeds through his current take on Sedaris’ famously cynical SantaLand elf in Colorado Springs.

    "TheatreWorks made a bold choice," writes the (unnamed) critic for the website Springs on Stage:  "They gave Crumpet a soul.

    "Kinnett brings a wild energy and warmth to the show,” the reviewer goes on to say. “This Crumpet wants to care — he’s just waiting for something that’s worth caring about. It’s a touching blend of deviance and heart.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    And as most any comedian will tell you, successful comedy is often born through life’s rockiest transitions. Over their decade together, Ross watched Kinnett grow up, fall in love, get married, become a father — and then a single father.

    Ross did live to see that his former community-college dropout is now enrolled at UCCS studying for a degree in Performing Arts and Psychology. It seems the more complicated Kinnett’s life has become, the better he’s become as an actor who floats easily from screwball farce to Shakespeare (sometimes at the same time).

    Man-of-La-Mancha_3“We would rehearse for The SantaLand Diaries from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Colorado Springs, and then Sammie would drive to Arvada to perform in The Foreigner that night — all as a full-time student and single dad,” Kent said. “I don’t know how he did it.”

    Kent might not know how Kinnett did it, but he is certain Ross has had everything to do with Kinnett’s now more widely recognized statewide success.

    “Sammie Joe is now equipped with the deep pathos to pair with that classic spit take,” Kent said. “He’s the complete package.”

    (Pictured at right: Sammie Joe Kinnett as Sancho in 'Man of La Mancha' for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Photo by Jeff Kearney.)  

    Martorella believes Kinnett “may be the most generous, most humorous, most accommodating performer we have ever turned out here in Colorado Springs,” he said. “We’re proud that we still have him, and we’re glad he’s still making people laugh.”

    Whatever "that thing" Kinnett has may be indefinable. Martorella knows only one simple thing:

    “Sammie Joe just makes me smile.”

    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.

    Sammie Joe Kinnett: 2017

    • The Hairy Ape, Colorado Springs TheatreWorks (Assistant Director)
    • The Foreigner, Arvada Center
    • The SantaLand Diaries, Colorado Springs TheatreWorks (Actor)

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • What a wonderful world it was with Daniel Langhoff

    by John Moore | Nov 12, 2017

    Video above: Daniel Langhoff sings 'What a Wonderful World' at an April benefit concert for the Denver Actors Fund. Video provided by Eden Lane and Sleeping Dog Media.

    The busy actor, husband and father fought cancer like the errant knight he played in Man of La Mancha. He was 42.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    When award-winning Denver actor Daniel Langhoff was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2015, the first-time father dreamed what most every doctor told him was an impossible dream: To beat an unbeatable foe. And yet, over the next rocky and remarkable two and a half years, he reached star after unreachable star.

    Daniel LanghoffThe cancer was discovered just a few months after Langhoff and wife Rebecca Joseph welcomed daughter Clara into the world. Langhoff then fought the disease with the same earnest fortitude and blind optimism as Cervantes, the playwright who defends his life through storytelling in the classic Broadway musical Man of La Mancha. That's a bucket-list role Langhoff somehow found the mettle to play last year during a brief cease-fire with his disease, which would make a raging comeback only a few months later.

    In April, doctors discovered a second, more virulent form of cancer in Langhoff’s abdomen, and it was everywhere. The Langhoffs were told it would be a matter of months. Not that the diagnosis changed Langhoff’s attitude one bit. He fought on with grit, optimism and no small share of Quixotic delusion.

    “Dying never entered his mindset,” said Langhoff’s best friend, Brian Murray. “He always thought he would beat it.” It was only recently in the hospital, when Langhoff was no longer able to eat and fluid was filling his lungs that the impossible dreamer offered Murray this one slight concession to his adversary: “The prognosis is not good,” he told Murray.

    DanielLanghoffFacebook“Daniel fought the cancer by trivializing it — like it was just this little thing to be taken care of,” Murray said.

    Rebecca Joseph, known as R.J. to friends, gave birth to a second daughter, Naomi, on Nov. 2. It happened that day because Joseph made it happen that day. She had doctors induce labor to make certain Langhoff would be alive to see Naomi born. A few days later, Langhoff was admitted to Denver Hospice, where he again defied experts' expectations by fighting on for days until there was no fight left in him.  

    Langhoff died at precisely midnight today, peacefully and as his wife held his hand. He was 42.

    When he left, he was different from the man who married R.J. in 2015. During the ensuing years, as cancer gradually robbed his life, life in turn gave him everything to live for: A wife, two daughters, and the seminal roles of his acting career.

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    Daniel Langhoff Find an extensive gallery of Daniel Langhoff photos at the bottom of this report.


    A punctilious punster

    Langhoff was born in Denver on Nov. 8, 1975, and has been a performer since the third grade. He graduated from Cherry Creek High School and the University of Northern Colorado, and has been working steadily at theatres all over Colorado since 1999.

    He was known as a consummate actor with a quirky sense of humor; a way with a guitar, a song and a terrible pun; a geeky affinity for sci-fi films ...  and a massive collection of inappropriate T-Shirts.

    One of his favorites said: “When I die, I am going to haunt the (bleep) out of you.”

    "That was Daniel," his wife said.

    "Daniel was into weird science fiction, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, anything counter-culture and all manner of useless knowledge," said his frequent co-star and sometimes director, Robert Michael Sanders. "We had a shared love for underrated big-hair metal bands and Alien movies." 

    In the dressing room, Langhoff was a serial punster who was known for running exasperated castmates out of the room with his wit. But on stage, Sanders describes Langhoff as an intelligent, steady actor who could only be distracted from his task by perhaps, say … a random reference to Ridley Scott (maker of Alien).

    He was also one of the most dependable and pragmatic friends you could ever have, said Murray, who has been friends with Langhoff since appearing in Company together at the Town Hall Arts Center in 2008. 

    “I always called him my Vulcan,” said Murray, currently starring in Town Hall’s Seussical. “He was Spock, and I was Kirk. I was the emotional one, and he was the logical one."

    Ironically, Langhoff was the human being Murray turned to when he needed one most.

    "When I was going through a divorce in 2009, the only thing that helped me get by was playing video games with Daniel until 3 in the morning and telling him the same stories all over again," Murray said. "He would say to me, 'Brian, this thing happened. It was outside of your control. Now what you have to do is move through it and move on from that." 

    Perhaps the greatest testament to any man's character, Murray said: "Daniel was kind to everyone — even to the people who annoyed him." (Although, to be fair, Langhoff also loved to quote Tom Waits' life philosophy: "Champagne for my real friends ... and real pain for my sham friends.")

    Traci J. Kern was a real friend. For 22 years, Langhoff has been her constant. "Soon after our meeting, Daniel proclaimed himself the little brother I never wanted," she said. "Anytime I needed him, he was there. No questions asked, because it didn’t matter. Dan lived his life full of passion. Whether it was talking about music, theatre, movies, Stephen King novels, sports, his family, his babies or his wife — he spoke with such enthusiasm, you couldn’t help but be drawn in."

    A life on every stage

    Daniel Langhoff was, simply put, “the most consistent actor ever,” said Sanders. He was also just about the most consistently working Denver actor ever. The list of area theatre companies Langhoff has performed with reads essentially like the list of all area theatre companies. You would be hard-pressed to find a person or company whose path has not, at some point, crossed with Langhoff's on a Colorado stage.

    Dan Langhoff DCPA Love Perfect Change Shanna Steele Robert Michael Sanders Lauren Shealy“Once Daniel got it right, he went out and nailed it at that level every night," Sanders said. "You never had to worry what he was going to do, whether it was for one person or 100. Even for dumb stuff like Guys on Ice – he would find moments that mattered.”

    Langhoff made his Denver Center debut in 2010 in the musical comedy Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre, followed by a stint in a revival of the longest-running musical in Denver history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. He also performed in the DCPA Theatre Company’s seasonal stagings of A Christmas Carol in 2014 and 2015. The latter staging was right when Langhoff was starting his cancer fight. He had surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes – then immediately joined the cast, fitting rounds of chemo into 10-show weeks at the Stage Theatre.

    Langhoff’s substance and versatility put him in an elevated class among local performers: He was a nuanced dramatic actor with a rich singing voice — and an uncommon knack for comedy and children’s theatre. He could glide from playing the conflicted pastor fomenting the Salem witch trials in Firehouse’s The Crucible, to Coolroy in the Arvada Center’s children’s production of Schoolhouse Rock Live, to the long-suffering husband of a bipolar housewife in Town Hall’s Next to Normal.

    Langhoff’s breakout year was 2016, which began in triumph and ended in terror. It started with Performance Now's Ragtime. As Langhoff was continuing his initial chemotherapy, when he called Director Kelly Van Oosbree to express his interest in playing Tateh.

    “I remember thinking, ‘How in the hell is this going to happen?’ ” Van Oosbree said. “I couldn’t wrap my brain around it because if were in the same situation, I wonder how I would even cope. But Daniel did not let cancer stop him from doing anything.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Langhoff had strong sentimental and professional reasons for wanting to play Tateh. He had played the homegrown terrorist known as “Younger Brother” in a remarkable production of Ragtime for the Arvada Center in 2011, and he wanted to complete the circle by playing Tateh — also a dreamer, also a new father — for Performance Now. “Tateh was a role that spoke to him,” said Van Oosbree said.

    Dan Langhoff Sunglasses project. Photo by John MooreIn the summer of 2016, doctors declared Langhoff cancer-free. He celebrated by performing for the Arvada Center (40th anniversary concert), Firehouse (The Crucible) and Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (Every Christmas Story Ever Told). He began 2017 by reuniting with Van Oosbree to play the chivalrous and insistent dreamer in Man of La Mancha. These were perfect bookend roles, said Van Osbree: Both Tateh and Cervantes are kind, inventive men who see the world not as it is, but how it should — or could — be. “They are both Daniel,” she said.

    But just as Man of La Mancha was to begin rehearsals, Langhoff noticed another abnormality in his abdomen, and doctors soon discovered a new, more prevalent and more vicious strain of cancer in his abdominal walls. Langhoff began a second round of chemo just as he had been cast to perform in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Arvada Center, followed by Ring of Fire at Vintage Theatre. This time, he would not be well enough to play either role. And he again downplayed the challenge. “I am just more physically compromised than I was before,” he conceded at the time.

    The great work of helping others

    Langhoff was known for helping out any company or cause that needed a hand — or a voice. Back in 2010, he joined the volunteer cast of Magic Moments' The Child. That's an annual musical revue where up to 200 disabled and able-bodied performers perform together, many for the first time. Langhoff played a war veteran opposite a devil character played by Drew Frady, his castmate back in the Arvada Center's 2008 staging of Les Miserables. Langhoff had been recruited as a late replacement for another actor. On his first day, the stage manager ended her introduction of Langhoff by saying, to his horror, “He loves hugs.” And, he later said with a laugh, “I didn’t really have the heart to correct her.”

    Over the next few months, Langhoff said, he learned to love hugs.

    “This is the kind of place where you can still be 5 minutes late for rehearsal, even if you show up on time, because there is a 5-minute gantlet of hugs to navigate,” he said.

    Daniel Langhoff, Laura Mathew Siebert and Nate Siebert. Photo by John Moore. Throughout his cancer ordeal, Langhoff was both a beneficiary of, and great champion of, The Denver Actors Fund, which in three years has made $133,000 available to Colorado theatre artists in situational need. Between direct aid and targeted donations, the theatre community has so far made more than $14,000 available to help the Langhoff family with medical bills, along with practical volunteer assistance. And Langhoff has given back at every opportunity, performing at five DAF fundraising events over the past three years.

    In April, a weakening Langhoff made a galvanizing appearance at United in Love, a benefit concert staged by Ebner-Page Productions that raised $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund at the Lone Tree Arts Center. (See video at the top of this page.) 

    Dan Langhoff. Annaleigh Ashford. RDG PhotographyLanghoff sang a heart-rending version of What a Wonderful World to acknowledge the support and love he has received from the theatre community throughout his medical ordeal. “All of these performers, this stunning audience, all of these donors make me feel like my fight ahead is just a matter of logistics,” he said.

    (Photos at right, top: Photographer Laura Mathew Siebert, with son Nate Siebert, raised money for Langhoff's cancer fight in 2016 by taking portraits and donating the proceeds. Photo by John Moore. At right: Broadway's Annaleigh Ashford with Langhoff at Klint Rudolph at the April 'United in Love' concert for the Denver Actors Fund. RDG Photography.)

    His final performance was on Sept. 25 at Miscast, a popular annual fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund, and it was one for the ages. Langhoff, Jona Alonzo and Norrell Moore, all actors in the midst of their own cancer journeys, performed a variation of the song Tonight, from West Side Story, that was written by Langhoff and his (pregnant) wife, who also choreographed. It was essentially a rousing declaration of war against cancer, and it brought the Town Hall Arts Center audience to their feet. The trio were immediately dubbed "The Cancer Warriors."

    (Story continues below the video.)

    Daniel Langhoff, Jona Alonzo and Norrell Moore perform Sept. 25 at 'Miscast,' a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund, at the Town Hall Arts Center.


    The impact of family


    Everyone close to Langhoff says the courage and unyielding optimism he has shown since his diagnosis can be explained in three simple words: Rebecca, Clara and Naomi. "Those three were everything to him," Murray said. "They were his life."

    He met his R.J.  in a theatre, but Langhoff wasn't on the stage; he was a member of the audience. Joseph caught Langhoff's eye after a performance of Vintage Theatre’s Avenue Q. Langhoff noticed the assistant stage manager — usually one of the most invisible jobs in all of theatre. She eventually agreed to a late-night date at the Rock Bottom Brewery that almost didn’t happen because she was running late. Langhoff was appearing in, ironically, the dating comedy I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change at the Denver Center's Galleria Theatre. She was attending Red at the Curious Theatre, which ran longer than she was expecting. Luckily, he waited. Sanders later married the couple in a ceremony at the Town Hall Arts Center.

    Langhoff recently helped Sanders in a profound creative way when the singer-songwriter went into production on his second solo album (under the name Robert Michael). In 2013, Sanders was the victim of a botched shoulder surgery that partially paralyzed his arms and left him unable to play the guitar. Sanders now writes new music through the help of friends who act as his fingers. Langhoff co-wrote the lyrics and music to a track called Forever that Sanders says is informed in part by their own personal experiences:

    You found your forever. You put your hand in his.
    He pulled you close to him, gave you that forever kiss.
    You found your forever, now you'll wake up every day.

    With him smiling back at you, and you have no words to say.

    And that's OK.
    You found your forever. 

    (To listen to 'Forever' on Spotify, click here. Backing vocals by Daniel Langhoff and Norrell Moore.)

    As the theatre community struggles to process the news that Langhoff is gone, his friend Murray was asked what Langhoff himself might say to bring comfort to those he leaves behind. His response:

    "I think the Vulcan in Daniel would say to us exactly what he said to me: 'This thing happened. It was outside of everyone's control. I did everything I could to make it not happen, but it still happened. Now what you have to do is move through that and try to move on from that.' "

    In addition to his wife and daughters, Langhoff is survived by his parents, Jeannie and Charlie Langhoff, and his sister, Amy Langhoff Busch.

    After an intimate family service later this week, a larger celebration of Daniel Langhoff's life will be announced in the coming weeks.

    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.

    Here's how to help Daniel Langhoff's family:
    The Denver Actors Fund is accepting targeted donations that will go 100 percent to Rebecca Joseph to help with medical, funeral and expenses. Any eventual excess funds will go toward the future educational needs of daughters Clara and Naomi. Here's how it works: Click here. When prompted, "Where do you want your donation directed?" choose from the pulldown: "For the family of Daniel Langhoff." The Denver Actors Fund will absorb all transactional fees.) If you prefer to mail a check, the address is P.O. Box 11182, Denver , CO 80211. Separately, if you are motivated to start your own campaign to proactively raise additional funds for the Langhoffs, you can create your own personalized fundraising page on the Langhoffs' behalf. To do that, just click on this (different) link. Choose "Start a fundraiser." Follow the instructions from there.

    Photo gallery: A look back at the life of Daniel Langhoff

    Daniel LanghoffTo see more photos, click on the photo above to be taken to our full Flickr album.


    Daniel Langhoff/Selected shows and companies

    • High School: Cherry Creek
    • College: Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley
    • Denver Center for the Performing Arts: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre; A Christmas Carol for the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Arvada Center: A Man of No Importance (Breton Beret), Ragtime (Younger Brother), A Man for All Seasons, A Wonderful Life, The Crucible, Man of La Mancha, Miracle On 34th Street Les Miserables. Children's shows: Charlotte's Web, Lyle the Crocodile, Schoolhouse Rock
    • Town Hall Arts Center: Next To Normal (Dan), Annie (Daddy Warbucks), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Company, Batboy! The Musical
    • Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company: Every Christmas Story Ever Told
    • Firehouse Theatre Compay: The Crucible (Rev. Hale)
    • Miners Alley Playhouse: Pump Boys and Dinettes
    • Performance Now: Man of La Mancha (Cervantes), Ragtime (Tateh)
    • Aurora Fox: Spamalot (King Arthur)
    • Vintage Theatre: Hamlet, Prince of Pork, 18 Holes (Lyle)
    • Next Stage: Assassins (The Balladeer)
    • Magic Moments: The Child
    • Hunger Artists
    • Film: Bouquet of Consequence, Why There Are Rainbows

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

  • Video playlist: Our 2017 Henry Awards coverage

    by John Moore | Jul 27, 2017


    This, the third in our series of DCPA NewsCenter videos from the 2017 Henry Awards, offers part of the presentation of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Germinal Stage-Denver co-founders Denver Ed Baierlein and Sallie Diamond.

    Ed Baierlein. BLF Photography. Of her husband, Diamond said: "I don't think there is anybody I have ever seen who has brought me to the theatrical catharsis that you are supposed to have when you see someone on stage. He's very funny. He's very touching. He can make you cry. He can make me cry."

    The award was presented by their son, Tad Baierlein. Germinal Stage-Denver is currently presenting Seascape, by Edward Albee, through Aug. 20 in the black-box theatre at Westminster High School, 6933 Raleigh St. Call 303-455-7108.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild's 12th annual Henry Awards were held on July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker.

     

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. More videos will be added to this special YouTube playlist.

    Previous 2017 Henry Awards videos:
    2017 Henry Awards Outstanding Musicals in performance
    Watch our 2017 Memoriam video honoring those who have died

    Complete NewsCenter coverage of the 2017 Henry Awards:

    Our complete photo coverage of the 2017 awards
    2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new
    Nominations: Henry Awards spreads love from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins


    Our complete photo gallery from the 2017 Henry Awards:

    2017 Henry Awards Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click on the forward arrow above.

  • 2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new

    by John Moore | Jun 20, 2017
    Beowulf. Catamounts

    From left: Allison Caw, Amanda Berg Wilson and Joe Von Bokern in The Catmounts'  'Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage,' which tied for the most Henry Award nominations by a musical with nine. Photo by Michael Ensminger. 

    DCPA leads way as always wildly unpredictable nominations embrace companies from Carbondale to Colorado Springs

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Suffice it to say, a whole lot of people will be attending the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards for the very first time.

    While the DCPA Theatre Company led all Colorado companies for the fifth straight year with 21 nominations, followed by the Arvada Center with 16, a plethora of companies that have barely registered on the Henrys’ radar in the past have emphatically taken their place at the table this year – most from outside the Denver metro area.   

    Sean Jeffries. Henry Awards. Thunder RiverThunder River, a small theatre company in Carbondale, didn’t just receive its first Henry Award nominations - it received its first 11. Most of that can be attributed to a mind-boggling individual accomplishment: Sean Jeffries (pictured right) becomes the first person to ever receive five nominations in a single year for his lighting, scenic and sound designs. New Thunder River Executive Artistic Director Corey Simpson also picked up nominations as both a director (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and supporting actor (The Tempest).

    Lone Tree Arts Center, which mostly presents touring shows and concerts, earned 13 nominations for staging three of its own shows. The city of Colorado Springs steamrolled its way into the party with 12 nominations for TheatreWorks, 11 for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and even three for the tiny Springs Ensemble Theatre. The love for TheatreWorks could not have come at a more poignant time, following the January death of founder Murray Ross, who is nominated of Outstanding Direction of Marivaux’s romantic comedy The Game of Love and Chance.

    Denise FreestoneUp in Fort Collins, OpenStage & Company charted 12 nominations, followed by the Midtown Arts Center with seven. Other breakout years: Eight nominations each for the Backstage Breckenridge Theatre, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre of Grand Lake, and PACE Center/Inspire Creative. Those nine emerging companies garnered just 17 cumulative nominations last year. This year, they totaled 90.

    (Pictured right: Denise Burson Freestone and Sydney Parks Smith are both nominated as Outstanding Lead Actresses in OpenStage Theatre & Company's 'August: Osage County.') 

    The 12th annual Henry Awards will be presented July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker. The seven companies under consideration for Outstanding Season are the Arvada Center, DCPA Theatre Company, Lone Tree Arts Center, Openstage Theatre & Company, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks and Thunder River.

    Book of Will. Rodney Lizcano The most honored play of the season is the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, with 12 nominations, followed by OpenStage’s August: Osage County, with seven. The Book of Will tells how two obscure members of William Shakespeare’s acting company took it upon themselves to publish the first complete published collection of Shakespeare's plays. It already has been picked up for subsequent productions all around the country.

    (Pictured right: Rodney Lizcano is one of three of 'Book of Will' castmates nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actor.)

    The leading musicals of 2016-17 in a topsy-turvy Outstanding Musical field were Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Man of La Mancha and The Catamounts’ Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, with nine nominations. That was a blood-pumping, gypsy-punk musical based on the ninth-century epic poem with an original score by Dave Malloy, composer of Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre, And The Great Comet of 1812.

    That was followed by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s Man of La Mancha (9), the Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar (7), PACE Center and Inspire Creative’s collaborative staging of Monty Python’s Spamalot (6) and two Lone Tree Arts Center stagings, of Evita (6) and the world premiere of Randal Myler’s Muscle Shoals (6), which chronicled the music that came out of the famous recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala., in the 1960s.

    But all that emergence means a lot of traditional Henry Award favorites are taking a back seat this year. Last year, for example, Performance Now, Vintage, Buntport and Town Hall combined for 29 nominations. This year, the four scored a combined three. 

    The Henry Awards are a notoriously unpredictable affair from year to year, often heaping unexpected love on a breakout company one year and then all but forgetting it the next. Theatre Aspen, which earned a whopping 25 nominations and swept the 2016 Henrys with eight awards, received only one nomination this year.

    Among the ongoing Henry Awards mysteries is the continuing snub of the rock-solid Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which has now received only four nominations the past three years combined. Phamaly Theatre Company, which makes performance opportunities available to actors with disabilities, was shut out. For the second straight year, Cherry Creek Theatre received no nominations, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival received just one – for Hunter Ringsmith’s riveting performance as supporting actor in Equivocation.

    One of the most dramatic individual nominations of the year has to be Matt LaFontaine’ s recognition as an Outstanding Actor in a Musical. He assumed the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar just days before the opening because of an illness in the cast.

    Colorado Springs husband and wife Joye Cook-Levy and Scott RC Levy are both nominated as directors - Joye for TheatreWorks’ play Constellations and Scott for Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s musical Man of La Mancha. The married couple of Meridith C. Grundei and Gary Grundei are nominated as director and musical director, respectively, of The Catamounts’ Beowulf. And Joan Bruemmer-Holden is nominated as both a supporting actor and the choreographer of that show.

    Other multiple nominees this year include costumer Clare Henkel, scenic designer Brian Mallgrave, and sound designers Jason Ducat and Allen Noftall.

    A glaring omission from this year’s nominee slate is Curious Theatre Company, historically one of the Henrys’ favorite recipients - but also a prime example of the feast-or-famine nature of these awards. After winning a remarkable 20 Henry Awards over three years from 2012-14, Curious was shut out the past two seasons. Artistic Director Chip Walton later pulled his company out of consideration for this year’s awards, citing a profound lack of diversity among last year’s winners.

    Curious Theatre quote“Curious approached the Colorado Theatre Guild with concerns about the lack of diversity represented at the Henry Awards last year, as well as many judges' limited knowledge of the theatre craft, especially with regard to technical design,” said Managing Director Katie Maltais. “As the Guild chose not to change its practices or provide additional learning opportunities for judges, Curious left the Henry Awards. We hope that one day the Henry Awards will showcase the full richness of our theatre community, and our strong stance on equity and inclusion and firm commitment to artistic excellence demands we wait until that day to participate in the awards.” 

    Despite its 21 nominations, the DCPA slate also reflects the roller-coaster nature of the Henry Award nominations. While The Book of Will led all productions with 12 nominations, including three supporting actors, the critically acclaimed Disgraced, The Secret Garden and Frankenstein only managed five among them. The Glass Menagerie earned three.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild is a statewide advocacy group, and last year it expanded its nominations to spread more bounty to more companies throughout the state by now designating seven nominations for each category. This year nominations went to 29 different companies and 56 of 190 eligible shows. The expanded pool of nominees means each has just a 14 percent chance of actually winning.

    The Guild also splits the four design categories into two tiers determined by member companies' annual overall operating budgets. Only six companies have annual budgets above the $1.2 million threshold and therefore are considered Tier I: The DCPA, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. The rest all compete in Tier II.

    Established in 2006, the Henry Awards serve as the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual fundraising event. The awards are named for longtime local theatre producer Henry Lowenstein. Nominations are determined through a judging process conducted by more than 45 statewide theatre reporters, educators and assigned judges.

    2016-17 HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS

    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    • Arvada Center
    • Colorado Springs TheatreWorks
    • DCPA Theatre Company
    • Lone Tree Arts Center
    • OpenStage Theatre and Company
    • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Thunder River Theatre Company

    Outstanding Production of a Play

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Dulcie Willis, Director
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company, Davis McCallum, Director
    • "Constellations," TheatreWorks, Joye Cook-Levy, Director
    • "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Wendy S. Moore, Director
    • "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company, Corey Simpson, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks, Murray Ross, Director
    • "Tartuffe," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director

    Outstanding Production of a Musical

    • "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts, Meridith C. Grundei, Director; Gary Grundei, Musical Direction                                
    • "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center, Gina Rattan, Director; Max Mamon, Musical Direction                                
    • "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, Scott RC Levy, Director; Sharon Skidgel, Musical Direction
    • "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative, Kelly McAllister, Director; Tanner Kelly, Musical Direction                                
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center, Kenny Moten, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center, Randal Myler, Director; Dan Wheetman, Musical Direction
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center, donnie l. betts, Director; Jodel Charles, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Play

    • Lynne Collins, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Joye Cook-Levy, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Davis McCallum, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Matt Radcliffe, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Murray Ross, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Corey Simpson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Dulcie Willis, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical

    • donnie l. betts, "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Meridith C. Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Kelly McAllister, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Scott RC Levy, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Randal Myler, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Gina Rattan, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Nick Sugar, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

    Outstanding Musical Direction

    • Neal Dunfee, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Gary Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Max Mamon, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Sharon Skidgel, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Jason Tyler Vaughn, “Murder Ballad,” The Edge Theater Company
    • Jalyn Courtenay Webb, "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • Dan Wheetman, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center

    Outstanding Actor in a Play

    • William Hahn, "Burn This," The Edge Theater Company 
    • Kevin Hart, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre   
    • Sammie Joe Kinnett, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Steven P. Sickles, "Le Bete," OpenStage Theatre & Company     
    • Micah Speirs, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company               
    • Dan Tschirhart, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company        
    • Adam Verner, "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company                                                                                                         

    Outstanding Actress in a Play

    • LuAnn Buckstein, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre      
    • Carley Cornelius, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Denise Burson Freestone, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company      
    • Kathleen McCall, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company          
    • Emma Messenger, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Sydney Parks Smith, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company 
    • Caitlin Wise, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical

    • Leonard E. Barrett Jr. , "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Joshua Blanchard, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Stephen Day, “Man of La Mancha,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company                                                                
    • Miles Jacoby, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • August Stoten, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Colin Summers, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Joe Von Bokern, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical

    • Jacquie Jo Billings, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Colby Dunn, "The Toxic Avenger," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre        
    • Sarah Groeke, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Cecilia Iole, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Marissa Rudd, "Sister Act," Midtown Arts Center
    • Tracy Warren, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Danielle Hermon Wood, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

    • Nathan Cox, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Rodney Lizcano, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Wesley Mann, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Owen O’Farrell, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Hunter Ringsmith, "Equivocaton," Colorado Shakespeare Festival            
    • Triney Sandoval, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Corey Simpson, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

    • Miriam A. Laube, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Carolyn Lohr, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre              
    • Leslie O’Carroll, "Silent Sky," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Amelia Pedlow, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Christina Sajous, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Linda Suttle, "A Time to Kill," Vintage Theatre Productions
    • Edith Weiss, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

    • Brandon Bill, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Ben Hilzer, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • John Jankow, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Matt LaFontaine, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Bob Moore, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Nicholas Park, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Kyle Ashe Wilkinson, "Titanic," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

    • Jenna Bainbridge, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Charlotte Campbell, “A Christmas Story,” Midtown Arts Center
    • Anna High, “Porgy and Bess,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Rebecca Hoodwin, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Carol Rose, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Megan Van De Hey, "The Toxic Avenger," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre   

    DROWNING GIRLS

    Outstanding Ensemble Performance

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center

    Outstanding New Play or Musical

    • "The Book of Will," by Lauren Gunderson

      Directed by Davis McCallum; Produced by DCPA Theatre Company

    • “The Firestorm,” by Meridith Friedman

      Directed by Pesha Rudnick; Produced by LOCAL Theater Company

    • "Full Code," by David Valdes Greenwood

      Directed by Stephen Weitz; Produced by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

    • "The History Room," by Charlie Thurston

      Directed by Pesha Rudnick; Produced by Creede Repertory Theatre             

    • "I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Music and Lyrics by David Nehls, Book by Kenn McLaughlin

      Directed by Gavin Mayer; Produced by Arvada Center

    • "Lost Creatures," by Melissa Lucero McCarl

      Directed by Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski; Produced by And Toto too Theatre Company

    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There,” by Randal Myler

      Directed by Randal Myler; Produced by Lone Tree Arts Center

    Outstanding Choreography

    • Mary Ripper Baker, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden & Amanda Berg Wilson, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Jeff Duke and Stephanie Hansen, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Kelly Kates, “The Robber Bridegroom,” Town Hall Arts Center
    • Michael Lasris, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Matthew D. Peters, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage
    • Kate Vallee, "42nd Street," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse      

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1

    • Camille Assaf, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Stephanie Bradley, "Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Janson J. Fangio, "Enchanted April," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sydney Gallas, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Clare Henkel, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Clare Henkel, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Lex Liang, “Shrek,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2

    • Kari Armstrong, "The Snow Queen," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    • Buntport Theater, "The Crud," Buntport Theater
    • Pamela Clifton, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre         
    • Judith Ernst, "The Wizard of Oz," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    • Tricia Music, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Jesus Perez, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Annabel Reader, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1

    • Charles R. MacLeod, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company  
    • Shannon McKinney, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Jon Olson, “The Drowning Girls,” Arvada Center
    • Holly Anne Rawls, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Paul Toben, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Tovar, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company   
    • Mike Wood, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2

  • Seth Alison, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
  • Brandon Ingold, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
  • Jen Kiser, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
  • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Mallary, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
  • Brett Maughan, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage
  • Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1

    • Lisa Orzolek, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Mallgrave, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Brian Mallgrave, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Christopher L. Sheley, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sandra Goldmark, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Paul Black, "Mamma Mia," Theatre Aspen
    • Jason Sherwood, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2

    • Shaun Albrechtson, "Steel Magnolias," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • James Brookman, “August: Osage County,” OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • M. Curtis Grittner, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
    • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Lori Rosedahl, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • Kyle Scoggins, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1

    • Jason Ducat, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks
    • Jason Ducat, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Benjamin Heston, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Morgan McCauley, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Stowe Nelson, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • David Thomas, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Zach Williamson, “The Secret Garden, “ DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2

    • Travis Duncan and Jeremiah Walter, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Carlos Flores, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Allen Noftall, “Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Allen Noftall, “Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You Theatre," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Jon Northridge, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Tom Quinn and Kenny Storms, "Murder Ballad," The Edge Theater Company
      Additional Special Awards will be announced in July.

    2017 Henry Awards: Ticket information

    • Monday, July 17
    • 6 p.m. drinks; 7 p.m. awards
    • PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, MAP IT
    • Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets are available at parkerarts.org, or by calling 303-805-6800. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.
    • Ticket onsale date: June 30

    Nominations by Company:
    DCPA Theatre Company – 21
    Arvada Center – 16
    Lone Tree Arts Center – 13
    OpenStage & Company – 12
    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks – 12
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center – 11
    Thunder River Theatre Company – 11
    The Catamounts – 9
    Breckenridge Backstage Theatre – 8
    PACE Center/Inspire Creative - 8
    Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre – 7
    Midtown Arts Center – 7
    Lake Dillon Theatre Company – 6
    Aurora Fox – 5
    The Edge Theatre – 5
    BDT Stage – 3
    Springs Ensemble Theatre – 3
    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company – 2
    Candlelight Dinner Playhouse – 2
    Miners Alley Playhouse – 2
    And Toto too Theatre Company – 1
    Bas Bleu Theatre – 1
    Buntport Theater– 1
    Creede Repertory Theatre – 1
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival – 1
    Local Theatre Company – 1
    Theatre Aspen – 1
    Town Hall Arts Center – 1
    Vintage Theatre – 1

  • 2016 True West Award: Daniel Langhoff

    by John Moore | Dec 15, 2016
    Daniel Langhoff

     



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 16: Daniel Langhoff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Daniel Langhoff/At a glance

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


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

    The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

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

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

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

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