• Phamaly's new era includes new Managing Director Sasha Hutchings

    by John Moore | Feb 15, 2018
    Ashley Kelashian_8004
    Phamaly's 2017 production of 'Annie' at the DCPA's Stage Theatre broke the company's all-time attendance record by 20 percent. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    'It is a privilege to join an organization that uses the magic of live theatre to create meaningful, lasting social change.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Denver’s Phamaly Theatre Company took another major step on its road back to solvency today when it named Sasha Hutchings to the newly created title of Managing Director. No, not the Broadway performer of that name. The self-described nerd and bookworm from Wyoming who owns a rescue dog. 

    Hutchings, Director of the Victim Services and Advocacy Network in the Denver District Attorney’s office, has served in the Denver nonprofit community since 2008 for organizations including the Seeds of Hope Charitable Trust and the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center.

    Sasha Hutchings. PhamalyHutchings, 38, is also co-founder of "The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary," a non-profit that promotes voices from underserved communities and diverse backgrounds — specifically those who have faced adversity and injustice — through literature.

     “One cannot overstate the power of story and art – of seeing yourself in characters, connecting to the experience of others, and bringing stories (alive) that speak to your life,” Hutchings said. “It is a privilege to be joining an organization that uses the magic and power of live theatre to create meaningful and lasting social change.”

    The appointment was announced today by Artistic and Executive Director Regan Linton, who was named the True West Awards’ 2017 Colorado’s Theatre Person of the Year in December after returning to Phamaly in October 2016 and leading the company back from a potentially catastrophic deficit of more than $200,000.  

    Hutchings’ hire signals “one more step,” Linton said, in the continuing comeback of the internationally acclaimed theatre company that for 29 years has produced professional plays and musicals exclusively for actors with disabilities.

    “I don’t think nonprofit arts organizations are ever good-to-go indefinitely,” Linton said, “but I think we’re on a better path of making thoughtful choices that are going to sustain us into the future.”

    Hutchings’ hire completes a reorganization of the company’s leadership structure. The main focus of the Managing Director be will fundraising, development, marketing and leadership — responsibilities that had previously been shared by Linton, former Executive Director Maureen Johnson Ediger, and former Director of Development and Marketing Tamara Arredondo.

    True West Award: How Regan Linton led Phamaly back

    “We’ve changed the title because we will be sharing leadership responsibilities between the Artistic Director and the Managing Director,” Linton said. “Moving forward, the artistic leadership will be equal in importance to the administrative leadership, which was not the case in the past.” Phamaly's Director of Production and Operations remains Paul Behrhorst, the other key figure in Phamaly's leadership team.

    Originally from Rock Springs, Wyo., Hutchings’ early life was spent between Denver and Arizona before heading east for college in Connecticut, where she said she developed a passion for social justice and serving disenfranchised communities.

    In her new job, she sees great opportunity for continuing Phamaly's artistic excellence while enhancing its impact on both individuals living with disabilities, she said, as well as those audiences who experience Phamaly programming.

    Hutchings’ appointment follows a five-month national search conducted by Phamaly’s board and staff. Linton said Hutchings’ salary will be commensurate with Managing Directors at comparably sized professional theatres across the nation.  

    “Our search committee devoted a great deal of time and energy to finding the optimal candidate to complement the current board and staff and help carry Phamaly into the future,” Linton said. “Sasha brings a wealth of nonprofit development experience to Phamaly, as well as vibrant energy and a passion for effecting meaningful impact. Phamaly is poised for great new chapter, and we are ecstatic to have her.”

    Hutchings earned her Master of Arts from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Religious Studies with a Minor in Sociology from Fairfield University in Connecticut.

    Each summer, Phamaly presents a Broadway-scale musical at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. In July, the company will stage Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Space Theatre under the direction of Christy Montour-Larson (DCPA Theatre Company’s Two Degrees) and Mac Merchant.

    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 about Phamaly Theatre Company

    Now in its 29th season, Phamaly Theatre Company is an award-winning Colorado-based nonprofit that produces professional plays and musicals that exclusively feature actors with all nature of disabilities: physical, cognitive, intellectual, and emotional. Phamaly has become a leader in the field with its approach to disability inclusion, access, and transforming social perceptions of disability. Phamaly is known for its innovative reinvention of conventional stories, creating what has become some of the most entertaining and moving experiences available to Denver audiences. Phamaly’s mission is to inspire people to re-envision disability through professional theatre.

    Coming up from Phamaly Theatre Company in 2018:

    Romeo and Juliet (workshop production)

    • By William Shakespeare
    • Directed by Regan Linton
    • April 14-22
    • Dairy Arts Center, Boulder
    • Tickets onsale at phamaly.org

    Into the Woods

    • By James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim
    • Directed by Christy Montour-Larson
    • Musical Direction by Mac Merchant
    • Choreography by Debbie Stark and Ronni Stark
    • July 12-Aug. 5
    • Space Theater at the Denver Performing Arts Complex


    • By Mary Chase
    • Directed by Rand Harmon
    • In partnership with Senior Housing Options
    • Oct. 18-Nov. 11
    • The historic Olin Hotel

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2017 True West Award: Colorado Theatre Person of the Year Regan Linton

    by John Moore | Dec 30, 2017
    2017 True West Award Regan Linton



    Regan Linton

    Colorado Theatre Person of the Year

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    We’ll never know whether Phamaly Theatre Company would have survived 2017 had Regan Linton not been here. She was here. And one of the nation's signature theatre companies is still here. And that's why Linton is the True West Awards' 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year.

    For 28 years, one of Denver’s crown jewels has produced professional plays and musicals exclusively for actors with disabilities. But at this time a year ago, it was in catastrophic financial trouble.

    Regan Linton True West Award Quote Photo by John MooreLinton, a former core company member who went on to become a shining national example of what begets opportunity, had just been named Phamaly’s interim Artistic and Executive Director to fill a short-term leadership vacuum.

    Linton’s appointment was a cause for celebration. Not only had the Denver East High School graduate helped elevate Phamaly’s game as an actor with wrenching performances in musicals such as Side Show and Man of La Mancha, she came home with serious cred. In 2012, she became the first paralyzed student ever to be enrolled into one of the nation's top master’s conservatory programs when she was accepted at the University of California San Diego. And in 2015, Linton became the first actor in a wheelchair ever to be hired into the venerable Oregon Shakespeare Festival's year-round repertory company since it was founded in 1935.

    Today, Linton is a highly respected actor, educator and prominent voice for disability inclusion in the national theatre community. And when she accepted the one-year Phamaly assignment last year at age 34, Linton became the first person in a wheelchair ever to lead a major U.S. theatre company as Artistic Director, according to Theatre Communications Group.

    Then came the sticker shock.

    “I immediately became aware that the company was not in as healthy a financial position as I had thought,” Linton said. Phamaly's annual operating budget had more than doubled over the previous seven years, to $850,000. But revenue had not grown proportionally. Just two months into the job, Linton realized Phamaly was facing an immediate $100,000 shortfall.

    (Story continues after the photo gallery below.)

    Photo gallery: A look back at Regan Linton's year (and years) with Phamaly:

    Regan Linton: 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year
    Photos from Regan Linton's first year as interim Artistic and Executive Director of Phamaly Theatre Company, followed by additional photos from years past. To see more images, just click on the image above to be taken to the full gallery. Photos by or compiled by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Linton attacked the problem swiftly, first by shaving the upcoming budget. She scrapped expensive plans to stage Peter Pan with wheelchairs flying over the DCPA’s Stage Theatre. A Shakespeare collaboration with a New York company was put off. And then, on March 28, Linton took a deep breath and released an uncommonly forthright public statement bluntly telling supporters that without an urgent cash infusion, Phamaly would be bankrupt by July 1. And that was just to make it to the summer. “We were really more like $250,000 in the hole,” she said.

    The most important thing to Linton was being open and honest about the situation. “If we were going to go down, then we were going to do it having been completely transparent with every one of our supporters,” she said.

    But, it turns out, It’s a Wonderful Life ain’t just a holiday movie.

    Phamaly’s “Sunny Tomorrow” campaign didn’t just raise $100,000. It raised $108,000, thanks to more than 325 individual donors. And that still takes Linton's breath away. “I feel like that wasn't just people saying, 'We love this theater company.’ It’s deeper than that. I feel like they were saying, ‘People with disabilities are valuable.’ And as a person who lives with a disability, that's really, powerfully meaningful to me.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Just a few weeks after the campaign ended, Phamaly netted an additional, record-obliterating $60,000 from its annual gala — up from $35,000 the year before. And then Annie, which Linton chose to present instead of Peter Pan, drew 6,700 to the Stage Theatre. That’s nearly 20 percent more than the previous Phamaly attendance record.

    Janice Sinden Regan Linton QuoteAll three of those things had to happen, Linton said, for Phamaly to fully climb out of the hole it was in. And all three did.

    But Phamaly didn’t get the backing it needed on sentiment alone. It got it because it was Linton who went out and asked for it, Denver Center President and CEO Janice Sinden said.

    “Regan is a determined, passionate woman who leads with her heart, but always with an outcome in mind,” Sinden said. “She was uniquely situated to lead this campaign because of who she is and what she means to the community. She leveraged smart relationships to drive this turnaround.”

    Boy, did she. The first call Linton made was to Sinden’s predecessor, Daniel L. Ritchie, a longtime Phamaly supporter who cut Linton a $10,000 check just 20 minutes after sitting down with her. The Harvey Family Foundation then agreed to match up to $35,000 in new donations, a goal that was reached in just 17 days.

    But Linton’s greatest fundraising achievement of 2017 came at the end of the year, after Sinden facilitated a visit with William Dean Singleton, retired chairman of The Denver Post and newly named Chairman of the Bonfils Foundation. They hit it off, Sinden said, because the two share a powerful commonality as former able-bodied persons now living with mobility challenges.

    Life changes in the ordinary instant

    Regan Linton HospitalLinton was a 20-year-old undergrad at the University of Southern California when her spine was wrecked in a fraction of an instant on a rainy Santa Monica Freeway. Linton was in the back seat of a car that was stopped for a vehicle that had been abandoned in the fast lane of the highway. The car behind Linton, filled with five sorority sisters, hit her at full speed.

    Linton no longer feels sensation below her chest. And yet, whenever she prepares to go on stage, she playfully says, “I can still feel butterflies.”

    Singleton is a newspaper magnate and cattle rancher who founded MediaNews Group, the fourth-largest newspaper company in the U.S. by circulation, with The Denver Post as its eventual flagship. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 30 years ago, which has slowly robbed him of his mobility, and today he gets around in a motorized chair.

    (Story continues after the video.)

    Video bonus: Regan Linton wins 2017 Spirit of Craig Award:

    The video above was played at the annual PUSH Gala for Craig Hospital in April with the announcement of Phamaly Theatre Company Executive and Artistic Director Regan Linton as its 2017 Dave and Gail Liniger Spirit of Craig Award winner. Video provided by Craig Hospital. To watch Linton’s acceptance speech, click here

    “They hit it off when they met,” Sinden said, "and Dean immediately saw an opportunity to help.”

    On Oct. 11, Singleton presented Linton with the Fourth Annual Dean Singleton Legacy Grant, a $50,000 gift made through the Denver Post Community Foundation. “It was very emotional for both of them,” Sinden said.

    A Regan Linton and Dean Singleton“I couldn’t be more proud of our grant recipient this year, for what Phamaly does to inspire people to re-envision disability through professional theatre,” said Singleton. “Phamaly provides such a benefit to the metro-Denver community.”

    Linton called the grant “an incredible honor for Phamaly.”

    In just six months, Linton implemented a campaign that moved Phamaly from the financial brink to something akin to stability. And that, said former Phamaly assistant stage manager Max Peterson, is an astonishing accomplishment.

    “I had both the pleasure and the anxiety of watching Regan and (Director of Production and Operations) Paul Behrhorst walk through that whole mess,” Peterson said. “It was inspiring to see their determination and persistence to bring that company all the way back. The blood, sweat and tears were real — and the stakes could not have been higher.”

    Meanwhile, back on the stage

    A Regan Linton Theatre Person of the Year Ytue West Awards Photo by John MooreLest we forget: While this was going on, Linton also had a company to run, both as Artistic and Executive Director.

    In February, Phamaly presented George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at the Aurora Fox, followed by the record-breaking run of Annie at the Denver Center and, last month, Phamaly’s annual original sketch comedy called Vox Phamilia at Community College of Aurora.

    (Pictured at right: Regan Linton backstage with the cast of 'Annie' on opening night. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Linton pushed herself to her physical and mental limits in 2017, in part because she also chose to direct Annie on the largest stage in Phamaly history. Linton began to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all as preparations for Annie approached. “The stress of even thinking of Phamaly going away was emotionally taxing for me,” she said. "It all finally caught up to me. I was a mess.”

    One of Linton’s smartest moves of the year was calling on former longtime Phamaly Artistic Director Steve Wilson to co-direct Annie with her. “Wilson knows to his bones what directing disabled actors entails: The difficulties many face, the need to work without sentimentality or condescension, and to treat his actors as the artists they are,” wrote Westword’s Juliet Wittman, who called the resulting production “Ready, willing … and very able.”  

    MacGregor Arney and Regan Linton Curious Incident Mixed Blood Photo by Rich Ryan Linton kept her own acting skills sharp in 2017 by performing in two major productions for the Mixed Blood Theatre Company in Minneapolis. In February, she played the governor of California in a site-specific immigration play called Safe at Home that was set and performed at a local baseball stadium. And just last month, she returned in one of the first regional stagings of the big-buzz play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Star-Tribune theatre critic Chris Hewitt said Linton was excellent as an autistic boy’s calm, compassionate teacher.

    (Pictured at right: MacGregor Arney and Regan Linton in 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' for the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. Photo by Rich Ryan.)

    As Linton reflects back on her year now, she won’t say she saved Phamaly Theatre Company. But Behrhorst will.

    “I say it because it is true,” Behrhorst said. “Of course Regan didn't do it single-handedly. But from the start, she gave the community, the actors, the board and the staff something to believe in. Regan didn't back away from the problem. She gave us new life."

    Sinden sides with Behrhorst.

    John Moore’s 2005 Denver Post feature on Regan Linton

    “Regan came home and she brought both thought leaders and community leaders to the table who invested in the future of this organization," Sinden said. "Regan put Phamaly on a trajectory for long-term success. And only she could have done that.”

    All of which is only part of the reason Linton has been named the 17th annual Colorado Theatre Person of the Year. She not only saved a theatre company. She not only preserved future performance opportunities for persons with disabilities that do not exist elsewhere. She saved something that is part of the city's soul.

    Regan Linton. Craig Hospital PUSH Gala Photo by John Moore“There's a lot of great theater that happens in Denver,” Linton said. “However, one-fifth of the population of the United States identifies as having a disability. So if you don't have that identity prominently represented in your local theater, then you are missing out on a whole subset of what it means to be human. And that's what I think people would have missed out on if Phamaly had gone away. They would've missed out on this unique experience that opens your eyes to something you just don’t see anywhere else.”

    Linton’s 2017 odyssey has changed her career itinerary in ways that are not yet clear, even to her. Her initial one-year appointment is now entering its 15th month. She says she is very close to hiring the company’s next Executive Director. So what does that mean for Linton, who officially lives in Montana now, while maintaining a second artistic home in Minneapolis?

    “It means I will be around for the near future, at least,” she said. “I feel committed to Phamaly, and I want to see Phamaly succeed. To me, that means following through with my commitment to make sure the company is in a good place if and when I move away. And I don't think that work is done yet.”

    Asked to assess where she is at as 2018 begins, compared to the start of the year, Linton laughs. “Well, I'm not nearly as much of a mess as I was,” she said. “But most of all, I will say I am proud to be part of Phamaly living on, and I'm proud to be part of leading Phamaly into its next chapter.”

    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 

    Regan Linton: 2017
    •  Artistic and Executive Director for Phamaly Theatre Company
    •  Winner, 2017 Spirit of Craig Award READ MORE
    •  Played the Governor of California in Mixed Blood Theatre's Safe at Home in Minneapolis
    •  Co-Directed Phamaly's mainstage production of Annie at the DCPA's Stage Theatre
    •  Played Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nght-Time for Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis

    The True West Awards' Theatre Person of the Year / A look back

    • 2016: Billie McBride: Actor and director
    • 2015: Donald R. Seawell: Denver Center for the Performing Arts founder
    • 2014: Steve Wilson: Phamaly Theatre Company and Mizel Center for Arts and Culture
    • 2013: Shelly Bordas: Actor, teacher, director and cancer warrior
    • 2012: Stephen Weitz: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company co-founder
    • 2011: Maurice LaMee: Creede Repertory Theatre artistic director
    • 2010: Anthony Garcia: Su Teatro artistic director
    • 2009: Kathleen M. Brady: DCPA Theatre Company actor
    • 2008: Wendy Ishii: Bas Bleu Theatre co-founder
    • 2007: Ed Baierlein: Germinal Stage-Denver founder
    • 2006: Bonnie Metzgar: Curious Theatre associate artistic director
    • 2005: Chip Walton, Curious Theatre founder
    • 2004: Michael R. Duran: Actor, set designer, director and playwright
    • 2003: Nagle Jackson, DCPA Theatre Company director and playwright
    • 2002: Chris Tabb: Actor and director

    Phamaly Theatre Company: Coming in 2018
    • April 14-22: Romeo & Juliet, at the Dairy Arts Center
    • July 12-Aug. 5: Into the Woods, at the DCPA's Space Theatre
    • Oct. 18-Nov. 11: Harvey, at the The Olin Hotel Apartment, in partnership with Senior Housing Options
    Information: 303-575-0005 or phamaly.org

    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of Phamaly:
    Photos: Phamaly Theatre Company's amazing opening-night tradition
    The triumph of Phamaly's not-so-horrible Hannigan
    Pop-culture Annie, from comics to Broadway to Jay-Z
    Phamaly gala, campaign raise $200K, ‘save the company’
    Phamaly launches emergency $100,000 fundraising campaign
    Regan Linton accepts Spirit of Craig Award
    Regan Linton returns to lead Phamaly in landmark appointment

    About The True West Awards: '30 Days, 30 Bouquets'

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards

  • Photos: Phamaly gala, campaign raise $200K, ‘save the company’

    by John Moore | Jun 12, 2017
    Phamaly 2017 gala
    Photos from Phamaly Theatre Company's annual gala on June 3 hosted by Kyle Dyer of Channel 9 and former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers (pictured below and right with Phamaly's Regan Linton). To see more photos, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewCenter.

    Phamaly's mission to transform the public perception of disability will continue with Annie at the Denver Center

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Phamaly Theatre Company's emergency "Sunny Tomorrow" fundraising campaign has reached its $100,000 goal, and the company's subsequent annual company gala at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum on June 3 raised a record $101,000 in addition, company officials announced. 

    "We are still blown away by the overwhelming energy that we felt in the room," said Phamaly Development and Marketing Manager Tamara Arrenado. "Phamaly has so much momentum and enthusiasm moving forward."

    Annie gala PhamalyPhamaly, a rare and internationally acclaimed theatre company that exclusively provides performance opportunities for actors with disabilities, faced the real prospect of bankruptcy before the fundraising initiatives were launched by Acting Executive Director Regan Linton. The company had undergone unprecedented recent expansion, "and this level of operation has unpredictably strained our organization," Linton wrote in an open letter to Phamaly supporters.

    At the gala, a moment was taken to thank Linton for her efforts. "You saved the company," Production Manager Paul Behrhorst said bluntly. 

    For 27 years, Phamaly's mission has been to produce professional plays and musicals that empower its performers and transforms the public's perception of disability.

    Phamaly's annual summer Broadway musical presentation will be Annie, opening July 15 at the Denver Center's Stage Theatre. Members of the cast performed at the gala. See the photos above.

    Annie: Ticket information
    annieAt a glance: You may know the story of Annie, but Phamaly's approach to this familiar story will be more raw and humanistic. "These are hardened orphans who have faced a lot of adversity in their lives, just like the actual young actors in our cast who are going to be playing these roles,” said co-director co-Director Regan Linton.

    Presented by Phamaly Theatre Company
    July 15-Aug. 6
    Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    Directed by Regan Linton and Steve Wilson
    Call 303-575-0005 or go to the Denver Center's web page

    Phamaly, Denver Actors Fund benefit screening of Annie film
    Glance: The Denver Actors Fund hosts a monthly film series at Alamo Drafthouse Denver showing a movie both inspired by a Broadway musical and is also currently  being presented by a local theatre company somewhere in the area. This month:  Get a sneak peek at Phamaly's upcoming production of Annie with a live performance by members of the cast before the classic 1982 Carol Burnett film is shown in TWO Alamo theatres simultaneously. All tickets $10. 

    Presented at Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake
    4255 W. Colfax Ave.
    6:30 p.m. live entertainment, 7 p.m. film
    Choose your preferred seating here.

    Note: Choose 6:30 start time to be in a fully accessible Theatre 4: The Phamaly performance will be interpreted, and the movie will be captioned on screen. This performance is also designated as public singalong. Choose the 6:35 p.m. screening if you want listen to the movie in quiet adulation in Theater 5. You won't miss the live performance by Phamaly. We will livestream the performance next door right onto the screen in Theater 5. This will be the screen with NO captions.

    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of Phamaly:
    Phamaly launches emergency $100,000 fundraising campaign
    Regan Linton accepts Spirit of Craig Award
    Regan Linton returns to lead Phamaly in landmark appointment
  • Lenne Klingaman to explore Hamlet's feminine side for Colorado Shakes

    by John Moore | Mar 02, 2017
    Lenne Klingaman

    The Colorado Shakespeare Festival has announced casting for its 60th anniversary season in the summer of 2017, and it includes not only a female Hamlet, but one familiar to DCPA Theatre Company audiences. Lenne Kingaman, who played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and two roles in Appoggiatura, will be mulling the meaning of her existence on the University of Colorado's intimate indoor stage. 

    And DCPA veteran Robert Sicular will be playing Julius Caesar. He’s performed in 11 Theatre Company productions from 1994-2012, most recently Heartbreak House, The Liar and The Taming of the Shrew. Anthony Powell (All the Way) directs.

    "I’m super excited about the cast we’ve put together,” Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr. “We worked really hard to assemble a group of local favorites — some of the best in Colorado — as well as actors from California and New York who we’ve been trying to get out here for several years.”

    Robert SicularCarolyn Howarth is directing a contemporary version of Hamlet in a fresh way that should unlock more of the enduring mysteries of the play, Klingaman said.

    “To be a woman sinking my teeth into a role that is so iconic, but from a female perspective, is going to allow us to open up the characters and the relationships in the story in a way that will help us find our way to an even more universal portrayal of the character and the play as a whole,” she said.

    For centuries, women have been going through the same juggernaut of earth-shattering experiences Hamlet went through, Klingaman said. Audiences just have not been allowed to see that play out on a stage until now.

    “To be a woman and to get to tackle those issues of power and mortality and duty and love will be extremely thrilling," Klingaman said. “But I am also excited about what it does to every relationship in the play" 

    It should be noted that Ophelia still will be played by a woman (Emelie O'Hara).

    “Our understanding of masculinity and femininity today is so different from Shakespeare’s time," she said. "Some of our ideas of what might be feminine today are now more in line with might have been considered masculine in Shakespeare’s time. I want to open up a more fluid conception of gender and masculinity and femininity. It's not just a question of one or the other."

    University of Northern Colorado theatre professor Shelly Gaza will make her Colorado Shakes debut as Kate in a New York-centric, post-war The Taming of the Shrew. Scott Coopwood, a Marin Shakespeare Company and Portland Center Stage regular, will play Petruchio.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Gaza’s Kate is a plucky Air Force pilot who’s just returned to New York City from a tour in World War II, and Coopwood’s Petruchio, older and wiser in this production, must grapple with the fact that he’s fallen in love with his strong, stubborn match.

    Michael Bouchard (The SantaLand Diaries) and DCPA Teaching Artist Sean Scrutchins will play the title characters in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, a comic retelling of Hamlet from the perspective of its two most minor characters. Most of the actors in Hamlet will play their same roles in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.

    “I can’t believe I get to work with Sean and Michael in the title roles,” said Orr, who will direct. “Comedically, these guys can tear the roof off a theatre.”

    Other familiar DCPA names include Sam Gregory (Scrooge in A Christmas Carol), Mare Trevathan (The Sweetest Swing in Baseball), Rodney Lizcano (The Book of Will) and Meridith C. Grundei (Frankenstein). Also well-known to Colorado Shakes audiences or around the metro area include Christopher Joel Onken, Casey Andree, Rachel Turner, Sam Sandoe, Anne Sandoe, Bob Buckley and Anne Penner. 

    The design teams include DCPA costumer Meghan Anderson Doyle (An Act of God, The Glass Menagerie), sound designer Jason Ducat (Two Degrees) and lighting designer Shannon McKinney (Tribes). Acclaimed New York scenic and lighting designer Stephen C. Jones will light both indoor plays (the other is a yet-to-be-cast Original Practices performance of Henry VI, Part 3.

    Additional reporting by Jill Kimball of CU Presents.

    HAMLET, indoors
    June 23-Aug. 13
    Shakespeare’s masterpiece, often considered the greatest play in the English language, returns for CSF’s 60th season. When Hamlet’s world is ripped apart by his father’s sudden death and his mother’s hasty remarriage, the young prince’s mind wrestles with his heart in a tormented quest to uncover the truth. Staged for the first time inside the intimate University Theatre, this is Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before.

    Gary Wright: Claudius
    Michael Bouchard: Rosencrantz
    Kristofer Buxton: Osric/Tragedian
    Elise Collins: Fortinbras/Tragedian
    Sam Gregory: The Player/Ghost
    Lenne Klingaman: Hamlet
    Ava Kostia: Laertes
    Rodney Lizcano: Polonius/Gravedigger
    Jihad Milhem: Horatio
    Emelie O'Hara: Ophelia
    Sean Scrutchins: Guildenstern
    Cindy Spitko: Voltemand/Tragedian
    Austin Terrell: Cornelius/Tragedian
    Mare Trevathan: Gertrude
    Blake Williams: Marcellus/Tragedian

    Carolyn Howarth: Director
    Paul Behrhorst: Stage Manager
    Whitney Brady: Assistant Lighting and Scenic Designer
    Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    Hugh Hanson: Costume Designer
    Stephen C. Jones: Scenic Designer, Lighting Designer
    Darion Ramos: Assistant Stage Manager

    JULIUS CAESAR, outdoors
    July 7-Aug. 12
    Benaiah Anderson: Cinna/Titinius/Ensemble
    Casey Andree: Casca/Strata/Ensemble
    Bob Buckley: Cobbler/Publius/Lepidus/Ensemble
    Michael Chen: Volumnious/Ensemble
    Scott Coopwood: Marcus Brutus
    David Derringer: Trebonius/Clitus/Ensemble
    Evan Ector: Young Cato/Ensemble
    Erik Fellenstein: Flavius/Anthony's Messenger/Octavius Caesar/Ensemble
    Ian Roy Fraser: Lucius
    Shelly Gaza: Calphurnia
    Christopher Joel Onken: Marc Anthony
    Anne Penner: Portia/Soothsayer
    Tony Ryan: Carpenter/Metellus Cimber/Lucilius/Ensemble
    Sam Sandoe: Caius Ligarius/Ensemble
    Matthew Schneck: Cassius
    Robert Sicular: Julius Caesar
    Ayla Sullivan: Artemidora/Ensemble
    Andy Walker Decius: Brutus/Pindarus/Ensemble
    Coleman Zeigen: Marullus/Populous/Lepidus/Ensemble

    Anthony Powell: Director
    Caitlin Ayer: Scenic Designer
    Jonathan D. Allsup: Assistant Stage Manager
    Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    Clare Henkel: Costume Designer
    Shannon McKinney: Lighting Designer
    Stacy Renee Norwood: Stage Manager

    June 11-Aug. 13
    CSF kicks off its 60th season with a zany comedy set in swinging 1940s New York City. Enter Kate, a plucky pilot who’s just returned from the fray of World War II, and her stubborn match, Petruchio. On the vibrant streets of Little Italy, the two duke it out in a battle of wits, dance the night away and discover, against all odds, a mutual respect that’s almost like being in love.

    Benaiah Anderson: Biondello
    Casey Andree: Hortensio
    Michael Chen: Ensemble
    Scott Coopwood: Petruchio
    David Derringer: Tailor / Ensemble
    Evan Ector: EnsembleIan
    Roy Fraser: Haberdasher/Ensemble
    Shelly Gaza: Kate
    Meredith C. Grundei: Curtis
    Christopher Joel Onken: Lucentio
    Tony Ryan: Tranio
    Anne Sandoe: Widow
    Sam Sandoe: Gremio
    Matthew Schneck: Grumio
    Robert Sicular: Baptista
    Ayla Sullivan: Ensemble
    Rachel Turner: Bianca
    Robert Wester: The Pedant
    Coleman Zeigen: Vincentio

    Christopher DuVal: Director
    Caitlin Ayer: Scenic Designer
    Jonathan D. Allsup: Assistant Stage Manager
    Meghan Anderson Doyle: Costume Designer
    Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    Shannon McKinney: Lighting Designer
    Stacy Renee Norwood: Stage Manager

    July 21-Aug. 13
    In this hilarious and mind-bending comedy by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Shakespeare in Love, Hamlet is brilliantly retold through the eyes of two minor characters. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two bewildered schoolmates sent to pull Prince Hamlet out of his descent into madness, grapple with fate, free will and the game of life. CSF’s production brings its full Hamlet cast on stage to inhabit Stoppard’s ingenious parallel universe of wit and wisdom.

    Gary Wright: Claudius
    Michael Bouchard: Rosencrantz
    Elise Collins: Tragedian
    Sam Gregory: The Player
    Lenne Klingaman: Hamlet
    Rodney Lizcano: Polonius
    Jihad Milhem: Horatio
    Emelie O'Hara: Ophelia
    Sean Scrutchins: Guildenstern
    Cindy Spitko: Tragedian
    Austin Terrell: Tragedian
    Mare Trevathan: Gertrude
    Blake Williams: Tragedian

    Timothy Orr: Director
    Paul Behrhorst: Stage Manager
    Whitney Brady: Assistant Lighting and Scenic Designer
    Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    Hugh Hanson: Costume Designer
    Stephen C. Jones: Scenic Designer, Lighting Designer
    Darion Ramos: Assistant Stage Manager

    Casting by Sylvia Gregory Casting
    Company Armorer: Benaiah Anderson
    Props Supervisor: Katie Hamilton
    Costume Shop Manager Adam M. Dill



  • Video: Phamaly says thanks to artistic director Steve Wilson

    by John Moore | Jan 28, 2015

    Steve Wilson. Photo by John Moore.On Dec. 31, Steve Wilson resigned as Artistic Director of Denver's nationally acclaimed Phamaly Theatre Company. Over 14 years, Wilson created countless professional performance opportunities for actors with disabilities - 200 in 2014 alone.

    Wilson is a graduate of the DCPA's National Theatre Conservatory masters program, and last month was named the True West 2014 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year.

    Friends gathered at the Garner-Galleria Theatre on Jan. 12, not to say goodbye, but to say thanks. It was particularly poignant when Lucy Roucis, who has advanced Parkinson's Disease, thanked Wilson for treating her like a peer.

    "Most important, you saw me as an actor," she says. "You treated me like someone who gave a (bleep)."

    Others featured in the video include Chris Silberman, Bryce Alexander, Maureen Ediger, Harper Ediger, Mark Dissette, Jeremy Palmer, Mickey Mauck, Kim Jackson, Laurice Quinn, James Sherman, Carol Kelly-Rohach, Paul Behrhorst and Kathi Gibbs Wood.

    Video by John Moore.

    Previous coverage of the Steve Wilson story:
    Wilson resigns from Phamaly Theatre Company after 14 years
    Wilson named 2014 Theatre Person of the Year
  • Paul and Jenna: Our Christmas Eve Proposal

    by John Moore | Dec 27, 2014
    Watch the proposal on video!


    DCPA Theatre Company Assistant Stage Manager Paul Behrhorst surprised his longtime girlfriend, actor Jenna Bainbridge, with a marriage proposal following the Christmas Eve performance of A Christmas Carol.

    He chose to do it in The Space Theatre, which is where the Phamaly Theatre Company presents its annual summer musical using only actors with disabilities. The two met working together on a Phamaly production in that theatre.

    Paul's recent DCPA Theatre Company credits include Lord of the Flies, Black Odyssey, Jackie & Me, Reckless and The Catch. He has also worked with Phamaly, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Arvada Center, The Avenue Theater, TheatreWorks, Curious Theatre and the Aurora Fox. He was presented with a Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for special achievement in stage management. He has a BFA in Applied Theatre Technology and Design from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

    Jenna  has been performing with Phamaly since she was 12 years old. She starred as Belle in Beauty and the Beast at The Space Theatre in 2010. This past June, Jenna graduated Magna Cum Laude from DU's Lamont School of Music with a BM in Vocal Performance. After graduating, Jenna started her own voice studio where she teaches people of all ages and abilities. She was nominated for a True West Award for best actress in a comic role for her performance as Hermia in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  She recently appeared in DCPA Academy's master class performances of Our Time, An Evening of Sondheim.

  • Video: How to turn scrap into a Superfly Convertible Coupe de Ville

    by John Moore | Feb 04, 2014

    How did they do

    It took a month and almost 300 crew hours for the Denver Center Theatre Company tech team to convert an oversized 1972 Cadillac into a modified Superfly Coupe de Ville -- that could fit into the Space Theatre for the world premiere of Marcus Gardley's black odyssey, playing through Feb. 16. And we saw it all. ... OK, most of it. Enjoy this fun peek into a part of the playmaking process you'd never expect.

    Video by John Moore, with Assistant Technical Director Josh Prues. Thanks: Louis Fernandez, Charlie Dallas, Jana Mitchell, Chay Yew, Bob Orzolek, Lisa Orzolek, Rachel Ducat, Paul Behrhorst and the entire Denver Center tech shop.

    Black odyssey plays daily except for Mondays in the Space Theatre, Call 303-893-4100 or go to the Denver Center ticketing page.



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.

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