• Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons

    by John Moore | Apr 03, 2017

     

    Macbeth, The Who's Tommy, four world premieres and
    "a deep dive into some truly exciting collaborations"

    By John Moore
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company’s 39th season will include vast and visceral reimaginings of two distinct cutting-edge classics, a record-tying four world premieres and the company's 25th staging of perennial favorite A Christmas Carol.

    The season begins in September with visionary director Robert O'Hara’s Macbeth to reopen the newly renovated Space Theatre, and builds to The Who’s rock musical Tommy, directed by Sam Buntrock (Frankenstein). And both directors promise ambitious stagings unlike anything audiences have seen before.

    Nataki Garrett QuoteThe DCPA has worked its way to the forefront of new-play development in the American theatre, and next season’s slate will include the comedy Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by former Playwright in Residence Matthew Lopez; José Cruz González’s American Mariachi, the musical tale of an all-female 1970s mariachi band; Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, about an American college basketball team that travels to Beijing in 1989; and Eric Pfeffinger’s timely comedy Human Error, which raucously explores the great American ideological divide through two vastly different couples - and one wrongly implanted embryo.

    Zoey’s Perfect Wedding will reunite Lopez and Mike Donahue, writer and director from the DCPA’s endearing world premiere The Legend of Georgia McBride (which makes its West Coast debut tomorrow at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.)

    American Mariachi
    was a favorite from the Theatre Company's 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. "Women of course had many challenges trying to play in such a male-dominated musical form," González said. "We interviewed a number of amazing women who were able to help us enter into that world, and we found an amazing group of artists who will play and sing in the piece."

    The Great Leap and Human Error emerged from the recent 2017 Summit in February.  In The Great Leap, Yee explores sport as a metaphor for how countries rub up against each other in terms of strategy, styles and priorities. "If you think of all the sports out there, basketball is the one in which you can really lay the ideals of communism on top of it. Everyone gets to touch the ball. Everyone is equal in their position,” she says.

    Human Error will set a precedent as the first Theatre Company offering ever to be staged in the cabaret-style Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    “The 2017-18 DCPA Theatre Company season represents the microcosm at the heart of the American experiment,” said Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. “These writers, spanning across generations, cultures, and genders, are exploring the ways in which our commonalities are more meaningful than our differences."

    2017-18 Broadway season brings Hamilton to Denver

    For the first time, the DCPA simultaneously announced the upcoming year of its adventurous and ambitious Off-Center line of programming. Off-Center is known for creating experiences that challenge conventions and expand on the traditional definition of theatre. Next season will be the largest yet for Off-Center. It includes Mixed Taste, a summer-long partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; a 360-degree immersive staging of The Wild Party musical at the Stanley Marketplace. Also of great intrigue: Remote Denver, a  guided audio tour of the secret city; and This Is Modern Art, a controversial play by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval that explores graffiti as modern art ...  or urban terrorism.

    “The expansion of Off-Center is a result of the incredible response of the Denver community,” said Off-Center Curator (and Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director) Charlie Miller. “We have seen that audiences are hungry for a broad range of experiences, and are eager for the unexpected.”

    Miller calls the upcoming year "a deep dive into some truly exciting collaborations." A continuing one will be the return of The SantaLand Diaries, in partnership with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and again starring Michael Bouchard

    Combined, the DCPA today announced 14 upcoming new productions that will be presented across eight different venues at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and beyond.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “Theater has the opportunity and the ability to help bridge our differences by offering performances that inspire us to seek deeper connections with one another,” said Garrett, who will make her DCPA debut directing Lydia Diamond's acclaimed race comedy Smart People. “We are honored to provide a space for conversations and connections to the Denver community this year through this season's offerings.”

    Lisa Portes Robert O'HaraMacbeth will be directed by Robert O'Hara, a rising playwright, director and screenwriter who won the 2010 NAACP Best Director Award and the 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. He was a young prodigy of original Angels in America Director George C. Wolfe and is perhaps best-known as a writer for Insurrection, a time-traveling play exploring racial and sexual identity. 

    The Who's Tommy, the rock musical based on the classic 1969 concept album about the pinball prodigy, will reunite acclaimed British Frankenstein director Sam Buntrock and Scenic Designer Jason Sherwood (who also will create the world of Macbeth). Native Gardens will mark the DCPA return of playwright Karen Zacarias, who wrote Just Like Us in 2014. Zacarias has penned a very close-to-home border-war story: One that plays out between two neighboring couples in D.C. who have a dispute over their property line. The director is Chicago's Lisa Portes, who recently won the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's 2016 Zelda Fichandler Award, which recognizes an artist who is "transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in the theatre." She is head of the masters program in directing at DePaul University.

    Next year's A Christmas Carol will be the 25th season staging of Dickens' classic by the DCPA since 1990. Melissa Rain Anderson will return for her second turn at directing, and popular longtime DCPA actor Sam Gregory again will play Scrooge.

    DCPA THEATRE COMPANY SEASON AT A GLANCE:

    • Sept. 15-Oct. 29: Robert O’Hara’s Macbeth (Space Theatre Grand Reopening)
    • Oct. 13-Nov. 19: Smart People (Ricketson Theatre)
    • Nov. 24-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol (Stage Theatre)
    • Jan. 19-Feb. 25, 2018: Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (Space Theatre)
    • Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018: American Mariachi (Stage Theatre)
    • Feb. 2-March 11, 2018: The Great Leap (Ricketson Theatre)
    • April 6-May 6, 2018: Native Gardens (Space Theatre)
    • April 20-May 27, 2018: The Who's Tommy (Stage Theatre)
    • May 18-June 24, 2018: Human Error (Garner Galleria Theatre)

    DCPA OFF-CENTER 2017-18 SEASON AT A GLANCE:

    • July 5-Aug. 23 Mixed Taste, with MCA Denver (Seawell Grand Ballroom)
    • Oct. 12-31: The Wild Party (The Hangar at Stanley)
    • Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries, with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (Jones Theatre)
    • March 22-April 15, 2018: This Is Modern Art (Jones Theatre)
    • Spring/Summer 2018: Remote Denver (on the streets of Denver)

    TC 2017-18 800

    And here is a more detailed look at all 14 newly announced productions, in chronological order:

    MIXED TASTE (Off-Center)
    mixed-tasteTag team lectures on unrelated topic
    Presented by Off-Center with MCA Denver
    Wednesdays from July 5 through Aug 23
    Seawell Grand Ballroom
    Even mismatched subjects will find common ground in a lecture series that can go pretty much anywhere. Two speakers get twenty minutes each to enlighten you on unrelated topics, but can’t make any connections to each other. Ideas start to blend afterward when audience members ask questions to both speakers and anything goes. READ MORE ABOUT IT



    MACBETH
    macbethBy William Shakespeare
    Directed by Robert O’Hara
    Sept. 15-Oct. 29
    Space Theatre (Grand Reopening)
    To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others, the people of Scotland or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. Shakespeare’s compact, brutal tragedy kicks off the grand reopening of our theatre-in-the-round in a visceral re-imagining from visionary director Robert O’Hara, who is “shaking up the world, one audience at a time” (The New York Times). This ambitious reinvention of the classic tale reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses the dagger must suffer the consequences. 



    THE WILD PARTY
    (Off-Center)
    the-wild-partyMusic and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson
    Oct. 12-31
    The Hangar at Stanley
    You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and booze-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees. Dress up in your finest pearls, suits and sequins – encouraged but not required.



    SMART PEOPLE

    smart-peopleBy Lydia R. Diamond
    Directed by Nataki Garrett
    Oct. 13-Nov. 19
    Ricketson Theatre
    Intelligence can only get you so far when it comes to navigating love, success and identity in the modern age. This biting comedy follows a quartet of Harvard intellectuals struggling to understand why the lives of so many people – including their own – continue to be undermined by race. But no matter how hard they research, question and confront the issue, their own problems with self-awareness make it difficult to face the facts of life. Fiercely clever dialogue and energetic vignettes keep the laughs coming in a story that Variety calls “Sexy, serious and very, very funny.”



    A CHRISTMAS CAROL

    christmas-carolBy Charles Dickens
    Adapted by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    Stage Theatre
    Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol promises to “warm your heart and renew your holiday spirit” according to the Examiner. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. Denver favorite Sam Gregory returns as Scrooge. READ MORE ABOUT IT

    (Note: 'A Christmas Carol' is an added attraction, not part of the Theatre Company subscription season.)



    SantaLand Diaries 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisCom
    'The SantaLand Diaries,' 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisCom.

    THE SANTALAND DIARIES
    (Off-Center)
    By David Sedaris
    Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
    Presented by Off-Center with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Directed by Stephen Weitz
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    The Jones Theatre
    This disgruntled Macy's elf has the cure for the common Christmas show. Looking for a little more snark in your stocking? Crumpet the Elf returns for more hilarious hijinks in this acclaimed one-man show based on stories by David Sedaris. Crumpet’s twisted tales from his stint in Macy’s SantaLand are the cure for the common Christmas show. Release your holiday stress, get all of those obnoxious carols out of your head and check out even more late night options this year. READ MORE ABOUT IT



    ZOEY'S PERFECT WEDDING

    zoeys-perfect-wedding2By Matthew Lopez
    Directed by Mike Donahue
    Jan. 19-Feb. 25, 2018
    Space Theatre
    The blushing bride. The touching toast. The celebration of true love. These are the dreams of Zoey’s big day…and the opposite of what it’s turning out to be. Disaster after disaster follow her down the aisle, from brutally honest boozy speeches to a totally incompetent wedding planner. Even worse, her friends are too preoccupied with their own relationship woes to help with the wreckage around them. From the team that brought you, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Matthew Lopez’s wildly funny fiasco destroys expectations with the realities of commitment, fidelity and growing up. READ OUR 2015 INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW LOPEZ



    AMERICAN MARIACHI

    american-mariachi2By José Cruz González
    Director to be announced
    Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018
    The Stage Theatre
    Lucha and Bolie are ready to start their own all-female mariachi band in the 1970s. The only things standing in their way are a male-dominated music genre, patriarchal pressure from inside their families and finding the right women to fill out their sound. As they practice, perform and strive to earn the respect of their community, their music sparks a transformation in the lives of those around them – especially Lucha’s parents. This humorous, heartwarming story about music’s power to heal and connect includes gorgeous live mariachi music played on stage. González writes a passionate story about families and friendships that you should share with yours. READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH JOSÉ CRUZ GONZÁLEZ


     

    THE GREAT LEAP
    the-great-leap2By Lauren Yee
    Director to be announced
    Feb. 2-March 11, 2018
    Ricketson Theatre
    When an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989, the drama on the court goes deeper than the strain between their countries. For two men with a past and one teen with a future, it’s a chance to stake their moment in history and claim personal victories off the scoreboard. American coach Saul grapples with his relevance to the sport, Chinese coach Wen Chang must decide his role in his rapidly-changing country and Chinese American player Manford seeks a lost connection. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as history collides with the action in the stadium. Yee’s “acute ear for contemporary speech” and a “devilishly keen satiric eye” (San Francisco Chronicle) creates an unexpected and touching story inspired by events in her own father’s life. READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH LAUREN YEE


     

    THIS IS MODERN ART
    this-is-modern-artBy Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin
    Directed by Idris Goodwin
    March 22-April 15, 2018
    The Jones Theatre
    Graffiti crews are willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when one crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? This Is Modern Art gives a glimpse into the lives of anonymous graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art. READ MORE ABOUT IT


    NATIVE GARDENS
    native-gardensBy Karen Zacarias
    Directed by Lisa Portes
    April 6-May 6, 2018
    Space Theatre
    Dealing with neighbors can be thorny, especially for Pablo and Tania, a young Latino couple who have just moved into a well-established D.C. neighborhood. Though Frank and Virginia have the best intentions for making the new couple feel welcome next door, their newly budding friendship is tested when they realize their shared property line isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Frank is afraid of losing his prized garden, Pablo wants what is legally his, Tania has a pregnancy and a thesis she’d rather be worrying about, and Virginia just wants some peace. But until they address the real roots of their problems, it’s all-out war in this heartfelt comedy about the lines that divide us and those that connect us.



    Sam Buntock

    THE WHO'S TOMMY
    the-whos-tommyMusic and Lyrics by Pete Townshend
    Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
    Additional Music and Lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon
    Directed by Sam Buntrock
    April 20-May 27, 2018
    Stage Theatre
    Based on The Who’s iconic 1969 rock concept album, Tommy is an exhilarating musical about the challenges of self-discovery and the resilience of the human spirit. When young Tommy retreats into a world of darkness and silence after a deeply traumatic incident, he must navigate a harsh and unforgiving world with no hope of recovery. But when he discovers a newfound talent for pinball, he’s swept up in the fame and fortune of his success. Tommy and his family give new voice to The Who’s classic stadium rock as they navigate the troubles and joys of being alive. This production reunites director Sam Buntrock and scenic designer Jason Sherwood, the team behind last season’s audience favorite, Frankenstein.



    HUMAN ERROR

    human-error2By Eric Pfeffinger
    Director to be announced
    May 18-June 24, 2018
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Madelyn and Keenan are NPR-listening, latte-sipping, blue-state liberals, while Heather and Jim are NRA-cardholding, truck-driving, red-state conservatives. After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now the two couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month’s odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships. “Up-and-coming scribe Eric Pfeffinger has the vital nerve to explore the gaping communication gap between red America and blue America, liberal humanists and the conservative right” (Chicago Tribune). READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH ERIC PFEFFINGER


    REMOTE DENVER
    remote-denverBy Rimini Protokoll
    Concept, Script and Direction: Stefan Kaegi
    Research, Script and Direction Denver: Jörg Karrenbauer
    Spring/Summer 2018
    On the streets of Denver
    Join a group of 50 people swarming Denver on a guided audio tour that seems to follow you as much as you are following it. Experience a soundtrack to the streets, sights, and rooftops of The Mile High City as a computer-generated voice guides your group’s movements in real time. Discover a "secret Denver," exploring places like gathering spaces, back alleyways, dark hallways and public areas through a new lens. You’re not just audience members — you’re actors and spectators, observers and observed, individuals and hordes, all at the same time.

     

    TICKET INFORMATION:

    • Theatre Company: New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are available online at denvercenter.org/nextseason or by calling 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time. Note: Plans for the new season are subject to change and benefit restrictions may apply.
    • Off-Center: The single-ticket on-sale date for all Off-Center productions will be announced at a later time. Subscriptions are not available for Off-Center shows.

     

     

  • 2016 True West Award: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski

    by John Moore | Dec 06, 2016
    True West Awards Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski Lost Creatures


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 3:
    Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski

                      Presented by Henry Award-winning actor Maggy Stacy

     

    His name is Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski. But you can call him by his initials: PEZ. It just seems to fit. Like the classic candy, he’s sweet, colorful, spreads joy – and is seemingly dispensed all over the world. Or at least throughout the Denver Center and surrounding theatre community.

    The DCPA’s Associate Director of Education is a master teacher, educator and administrator who also found time this fall to direct And Toto Too Theatre Company’s world premiere of the play Lost Creatures. Local playwright Melissa Lucero McCarl imagined what might have happened in 1978 when eminent British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan interviewed reclusive silent-film star Louise Brooks in her dingy apartment for a profile he was writing for The New Yorker. North Denver Tribune critic Craig Williamson said Elkins-Zeglarski “took the roots of the concept and watered it, fed it, nurtured it, and let it grow and fully blossom.”

     

    True West Awards Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski SonderElkins-Zeglarski’s day job is helping DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous run every aspect of a massive program that has provided access to nearly 106,000 students in the past year, of which 84,000 were youth.

    Last summer, he directed Sonder (pictured right), the winning entry in the DCPA’s third annual statewide teen playwriting competition. This week, he is overseeing one of the entries in the DCPA’s Adult One-Act Festival. This winter, he will lead the DCPA’s highest-level adult acting masters class, which will culminate in a public performance of Born Yesterday. Next summer, he will direct advanced high-school students in a production of Our Town.

    Elkins-Zeglarski was born in Sacramento and began working at the DCPA as a Teaching Artist in 2000. He is as gentle with a beginning actor, Watrous says, as he is with a seasoned pro like Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement winner Billie McBride (DCPA Theatre Company's Benediction), who starred in Lost Creatures alongside 2015 True West Award winner Mark Collins and Annabel Reader.  

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Watrous said it is Elkins-Zeglarski’s authenticity that allows him to connect with artists of every experience level.

    “Truly, he leads with humor, grace and generosity,” Watrous said. “Our DCPA Education team is so joyful, and he is at the center of that joy. He provides an ear for every one of our teaching artists, and he is an example for how each of us can grow in our artistry. Everybody is better because PEZ is in the room.

    “Plus, he decorates our hallways for holidays. He brings that kind of joy to work with him every day. And, he owns more PEZ paraphernalia than anyone.”

    True West Awards Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski


    Elkins-Zeglarski's name was brought up for True West Award consideration by 2016 Henry Award-winning Denver actor Maggy Stacy. Elkins-Zeglarski directed Stacy in a short piece for And Toto Too Theatre Company’s fun annual play crawl along six blocks of Tennyson Street last summer. The event raised funds for one of the only theatre companies in the country that is fully dedicated to telling stories written by women. Elkins-Zeglarski also has furthered the cause of storytelling by women with his work on the Athena Project’s past three new-works festivals – in 2016, 41 performances by women playwrights over 38 days.

    “Patrick has been an artist, educator, director and mentor for many of us in Denver,” said Stacy. “His ethics are unwavering. His artistic approach is based on high values and quality standards. And his work supports and empowers his fellow artists and teaching artists.”

    Stacy nominated Elkins-Zeglarski for a True West Award, she said, “because Patrick rarely gets recognized for his commitment and efforts. But the impact of his contributions has had, and continues to have, a mighty rippling effect.”


    Our video report from the culminating performance of DCPA Education's statewide teen playwriting competition last summer. The winning entry was given a full performance directed by Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski.

    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
  • Nataki Garrett named DCPA Associate Artistic Director

    by John Moore | Nov 10, 2016
    Nataki Garrett Quote


    Nataki Garrett has been named the new Associate Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company, it was announced this morning. 

    Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson called Garrett "an exceptional theatre artist with a proven dedication to fostering new and diverse voices in the American theatre."

    Garrett, who was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Oakland, Calif. is the Associate Artistic Director of CalArts Center for New Performance, as well as Associate Dean and Co-Head of Undergraduate Acting for CalArts School of Theater. She is a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where she recently directed the critically acclaimed production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon.

    Kent Thompson Quote“Nataki is undoubtedly a rising star, both as a director and industry leader," Thompson said. She is brilliant, innovative and passionate and we are thrilled that she has chosen to make Denver her artistic home.”

    Garrett was highlighted in the November issue of American Theatre’s “Role Call: People To Watch.” In that feature, she was quoted as saying she’s attracted to “plays that seem impossible to stage, and to those which impact us in tremendous ways, chasing us out of our comfort zones. My mandate in the theatre is to give voice to the voiceless, and I am inspired by stories that expose the dark and discarded in the corners of our existence.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Garrett received a NAACP Theatre Award nomination in 2008 for Best Director for Black Women State of the Union: An Evening of Plays by Black Women. She serves as co-Artistic Director of Blank-the-Dog Productions, a Los Angeles and New York-based ensemble theater company that is dedicated to developing and fostering new work by emerging, adventurous and experimental artists.

    Garrett will begin in her new role at the DCPA in January 2017.

    (Photo above right: Kent Thompson announces hiring of Nataki Garrett as Associate Artistic Director to DCPA staff.)
  • Meet the cast: Mark Junek of 'Frankenstein'

    by John Moore | Oct 09, 2016



    MEET MARK JUNEK
    Alternating nightly as Victor and the Creature in Frankenstein


    At the Theatre Company: Debut. Elsewhere: The Performers on Broadway, The Forgotten Woman at Bay Street Theatre, after all the terrible things I do at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Vibrator Play at Syracuse Stage, Family Play at The New Ohio, Galileo and A Midsummer Night's Dream at New York’s Classic Stage Company, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Imaginary Invalid at Bard Summerscape, among others. Television credits include the second season of “The Outs,” “Blindspot,” “Forever,” “Smash” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

    • Mark Junek Hometown: Grove Heights, Minn.
    • College: BA in English from Columbia University; Juilliard School, Drama Division
    • What was the role that changed your life? Frankenstein! I played the Creature my sophomore year of high school, and it was the first time I was asked to really "transform" for a role. It was fun and weird - it totally hooked me.
    • Why are you an actor? Because I love pretending to be other people in different places and situations. And because I think as storytellers, actors have the ability to affect people and even heal them. 
    • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? I would be a woodworker because I love working with my hands. In my off-time, I'm always working on some D.I.Y. project. But I specifically love furniture and the intersection of simple forms and utilitarian function.hoffman
    • Ideal scene partner: Meryl Streep (of course), since apparently she's an incredibly generous scene partner. But also Phillip Seymour Hoffman because I think he would have scared me. He was always so deep in the scene work, he gets lost. It would have been a terrifying prospect to play opposite him because he seems so out of control, but I think he could have pushed me to go further, to sink deeper into the scene and the character.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    • Why does this production of Frankenstein matter? I think this play highlights the complicated relationship between parents and their children - mostly the disappointing realization that you can't control who your family is. Children can't pick who they are born to and parents can't control how their children will ultimately turn out. The bond of family is still so strong that even if you try to deny it, it'll come back to haunt you.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of seeing this play? I hope they're really scared in an entertaining way - like a great scary movie. But I also hope they're moved by our performances and it makes them think about their own lives in one way or another. You know a play is good when people are talking about their own lives in relation to the play rather than the play itself!
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "... for everyone to just chill out and eat ice-cream together. Or maybe doughnuts."
    Mark Junek

    Follow Mark Junek on Twitter @mark_junek or on his web site


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

    Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Meet Sullivan Jones of Franknstein
    Video series: Inside look at the making of Frankenstein
    Five things we learned about Frankenstein at Perspectives
    Photos, video: Your first look at the making of Frankenstein
    Frankenstein
    : On the making of a two-headed monster
    Frankenstein and race: It IS a matter of black and white
    Breathing life into the Frankenstein set: 'It's alive!'
    A Frankenstein 'that will make The Bible look subtle'
    How Danny Boyle infused new life into Frankenstein
    Casting set for Frankenstein and The Glass Menagerie
    Introducing DCPA Theatre Company's 2016-17 season artwork
    Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
    2016-17 season announcement

    More 2016-17 DCPA Theatre Company 'Meet the Cast' profiles:

    Aubrey Deeker, The Glass Menagerie
    Amelia Pedlow, The Glass Menagerie
    Jessica Robblee, Frankenstein
    John Skelley, The Glass Menagerie

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

  • Emily Tarquin accepts position with Actors Theatre of Louisville

    by John Moore | Sep 12, 2016

    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Artistic Producer Emily Tarquin will be leaving the Denver Center for the Performing Arts after seven years to take the same position with Actors Theatre of Louisville, which is home to the acclaimed Humana Festival of New Plays.

    Emily TarquinTarquin and Charlie Miller created and developed Off-Center, the DCPA Theatre Company's testing ground, building it from a small, experimental program through last season’s Sweet & Lucky. That was the company's head-long dive into the emerging world of immersive theatre that became the largest physical undertaking in the nearly 40-year history of the Denver Center. Almost every available audience slot was filled throughout the extended run of the play, held in a 16,000-square-foot warehouse north of downtown. It was also Tarquin's idea to pair the Theatre Company's critically hailed production of Sweeney Todd with Denver's beloved underground band DeVotchKa reimagining Stephen Sondheim's classic score.

    "Emily has been an incredibly productive, talented and collaborative coordinator, curator and then leader within the Theatre Company, as well as the entire Denver Center," said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. "It’s no surprise she would be sought out by another major theatre in the U.S. She will be sorely missed."

    Kent Thompson Emily TarquinTarquin started at the Denver Center in 2009 as a seasonal coordinator of the Colorado New Play Summit, casting assistant and assistant company manager - but quickly earned more and more responsibility.

    For Off-Center, Tarquin devised the original concept for the long-form improv show Cult Following, which starts its sixth year Oct. 7-8 at the Jones Theatre. She wrote the Lord of the Flies parody Lord of the Butterflies and co-created Drag Machine with Stuart Sanks. For their work programming the Off-Center series, Tarquin and Miller were honored with a 2015 True West Award.

    "I went to a school where almost all theater was non-traditional," said Tarquin, who grew up in upstate New York and graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Media and Performing Arts. "I got to experiment a lot. It was amazing to find a regional theater that was welcoming of that kind of experimental work. If I had graduated 10 years earlier, that wouldn’t have even been an option."

    For the Theatre Company, Tarquin was the Assistant Director for Sweeney Todd, The Most Deserving and the world premiere of Sense & Sensibility The Musical. She eventually became the Theatre Company's in-house casting director, which led to dozens of local actors getting their first opportunities to perform for the Denver Center - 16 through Sweet & Lucky alone. "It's been a passion of mine to connect with the local artistic community, whether that is working with local actors or bringing in non-traditional artists," she said.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    For 13 years, Tarquin has been producer of the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs, where many national theatre companies including the DCPA come each summer to workshop emerging works. She also was director of the theatre program there the past two summers.

    "I’ve been most inspired by new work and new plays and seeing the creative team in the room," Tarquin said. "Getting to see the creative process happening in front of you is part of what I get the most excited about. That can be in any form."

    Outside of the Denver Center, Tarquin last year directed Fuddy Meers for the Phamaly Theatre Company, which creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.


    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.


    Emily Tarquin: DCPA photo gallery

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


    Read more about Emily Tarquin in the NewsCenter:
    Tarquin directs Phamaly Theatre's comedy, Fuddy Meers
    2015 True West Awards: Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin
    Off-Center's exploration of online dating debuts at Avenue Theater
    10 Ways Georgia McBride is Going to Blow Your Theatregoing Mind
  • How DeVotchKa and a man named Coffin made murderous music mischief

    by John Moore | Apr 05, 2016
    Gregg Coffin Sweeney Todd. John Moore


    Gregg Coffin promises the unprecedented alchemy of esteemed Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim mixed with Grammy-nominated gypsy-punk band DeVotchKa ensures Sweeney Todd will be a theatrical experience unlike anything DCPA Theatre Company audiences have seen before.

    Sondheim, author of Into the Woods, Company and Sunday in the Park with George, also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy. Many feel his murderous masterpiece is Sweeney Todd, which first shocked Broadway audiences under the direction of Hal Prince in 1979. Since then, Sondheim has been uncommonly encouraging of young artists wanting to experiment with the score. When the Denver Center last year sought permission for a new collaboration with DeVotchKa, Sondheim said, "Bloody well."

    Denver's own DeVotchKa, named after a line in A Clockwork Orange, was deemed the local band most deserving of mainstream attention by The Denver Post all the way back in 2002. Since then, DeVotchka has reached international acclaim, landing in Billboard's Top 10 and opening for Muse before more than 80,000 in France.

    But how does anyone, much less an alternative rock band, even approach rearranging a complex Broadway score? Coffin, who has 30 years of experience as a theatrical Musical Director, had the joyful task of sheparding the band through the year-long process, which has resulted in a 943-page musical opus that three DeVotchKa members (Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King and Tom Hagerman) will perform live each night, along with Conductor Erik Daniells and six backing musicians.

    Coffin has essentially served as steward over DeVotchKa’s creative odyssey to revisit a score he calls the King Lear of the musical theatre. One that has been infused for this staging with an electric guitar, a drum set, toy piano and many other instruments original orchestrator Jonathan Tunick never imagined. For the record, there are 39 different instruments used in the Theatre Company's  new interpretation. It's too soon to say how it will all come out, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better match for a musical that leaves so much blood on the floor than a Music Director named Coffin and a band that penned beloved songs called Dearly Departed, Life is Short and How it Ends. Coffin, who has overseen many Theatre Company musicals including Animal Crackers, A Christmas Carol, White Christmas, talked with the DCPA NewsCenter about how it all went down:

    John Moore: What was your first exposure to Sweeney Todd?

    Gregg Coffin: I grew up in Maine, so my initial greeting came from hearing the cast album. Real musical theatre people get the cast album and then they run those grooves right into the wax.

    DeVotchka Sweeney Todd. John Moore


    John Moore: What did you think when you first heard that the Denver Center was not only doing Sweeney Todd, but with DeVotchKa?
     
    Gregg Coffin: I was incredibly excited because I know the wide musical berth Mr. Sondheim allows companies like ours in doing his productions. There was a production in Washington D.C. that used grunge guitars. Sondheim sent them a telegram that said: “Make it murderous.” He has a very open heart about these collaborations.

    John Moore: Has Mr. Sondheim asked to approve this new score?

    Gregg Coffin: We to have to present [the licenser] Music Theatre International with what we propose to do in the form of a printed score. But didn't know ourselves what this would really sound like until our first full orchestra rehearsal March 28.



    John Moore: What did you know of DeVotchKa then?

    Gregg Coffin: I knew they had done the music for the movie Little Miss Sunshine. That’s it. Then I met them, and we just dove in. 

    John Moore: DeVotchKa is known for collaborating with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, but they have never undertaken anything like this before. What is the one thing the DeVotchKa players most needed to know in transitioning to this musical world?

    Gregg Coffin: That the theatricality they connect with authentically in their own work is also present in what Tunick and Sondheim did originally in Sweeney Todd. It’s theatrical, and they are theatrical. Trust that authenticity.

    John Moore: What is the first thing you taught them about writing for the musical theatre?

    Gregg Coffin: The first thing we did was watch a recording from 1980 of the first national touring production under Hal Prince’s direction. It starred Angela Lansbury and George Hearn. We watched it in a conference room. I had the staff print off the piano vocal of the entire show and put it into binders for them. I think a lot of it was just them taking in what Sondheim and Tunick had done. I would tell them stuff like, “That person right there is going to be waiting for a ‘B’ to play, so someone in your nine-person pit is going to have to play it.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    John Moore: Did you get any blank stares?

    Gregg Coffin: No. They are all alarmingly good musicians, and all of them had been in high school theatre. So they speak the language. And they are having so much fun.

    John Moore: But people do need to understand that this is not DeVotchKa "rewriting" the score. The notes are the same. It’s more a question of choosing which instruments are playing them, correct?

    Gregg Coffin. Sweeney Todd. John Moore. Gregg Coffin: Correct. This is Sweeney Todd, after all, and it’s going to sound very much like what Sweeney Todd sounds like. It’s not as if they just say, “We’re going to do that part with 20 banjos!” Instead, something that was written for a string section might be played here on an accordion. Or an oboe part might be played on a toy piano. Like the song “Johanna”: When you hear the Tunick score, it’s French horns and cellos, and it’s beautiful. Here, we’ve got it on a nylon string guitar, and it’s going to be beautiful, too. In the original orchestration, there has never been a guitar. There has never been a drum set. We will have a drum set, and that will be a real person sitting at a kit playing it: [DeVotchKa drummer] Shawn King.

    John Moore: What do you think the experience will be like for DeVotchKa fans?

    Gregg Coffin: I think people who come from the DeVotchKa camp will recognize and experience this band that they know and love as they interpret this classical piece of musical theatre. And DeVotchKa fans are already used to that part of it, because they play every year with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and I think they are going to be used to that kind of idea.

    John Moore: But this is DeVotchKa, so people are going to expect something of a rock element.

    Gregg Coffin: There will be moments when it rocks out, absolutely. And there will be moments that promote a completely different feel.

    John Moore: What should traditional musical theatre audiences expect?

    Gregg Coffin: I think this production of Sweeney Todd will be as eye-opening and rib-cage-opening for them as it was for them to see the 2005 Broadway revival where all of the actors played their own instruments. When it’s just Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney singing, you hear things with a nine-piece pit that you can’t hear when it’s a big, 23-person orchestra and a whole chorus singing behind you. Here I think you will be allowed to see both a simplicity and an authenticity in the work.

    John Moore: You hand the music over to your conductor, Erik Daniells, on opening night. What is that performance going to be like for you?

    Gregg Coffin: It’s going to be hard for me to have my eyes on the score because I am going to be watching the DeVotchKa players the whole time. It’s a great gift that I get to see a group of really talented musicians dare to open themselves up to another art form and flex their muscles.

    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.

    No Small Parts: Gregg Coffin talks with DCPA CEO Scott Shiller:



    Sweeney Todd
    : Ticket information
  • 270x270-sweeney-toddMusic and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by High Wheeler (adapted by Christopher Bond); musical adaptation by DeVotchKa
  • April 8-May 15 (opens April 15)
  • StageTheatre
  • Grammy-nominated Denver band DeVotchKa takes on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a reinvention of Sondheim’s musical thriller. Hell-bent on revenge, Sweeney Todd takes up with his enterprising neighbor in a devilish plot to slice their way through London’s upper crust. Justice will be served — along with audacious humor and bloody good thrills.
  • Accessible performance 1:30 p.m. May 1
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweeney Todd:
    Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    DeVotchKa frontman promises a Sweeney Todd that's 'loud and proud'
    DCPA announces DeVotchka-infused Sweeney Todd casting
    ​Where the band meets the blade: Rehearsals open
    Co-stars on bringing DeVotchKa’s fresh blood to Sondheim
    Video sneak peek with DeVotchKa
    Meet the cast: Danny Rothman
  • 'Sweeney Todd' stars on bringing fresh blood to Sondheim

    by John Moore | Mar 17, 2016

    Robert Petkoff and Linda Mugleston gave attendees of a recent awards luncheon a sneak peek at their 'Sweeney Todd pairing.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    It didn’t take long for Broadway star Robert Petkoff to learn the DCPA Theatre Company would be performing his favorite musical, Sweeney Todd, with Colorado gypsy punk band DeVotchKa adding its own sanguine flavoring to Stephen Sondheim’s classic orchestrations.

    “DeVotchKa is my sister’s favorite band,” said Petkoff. “When she found out, she wrote me right away and said, ‘Oh my God, I have to get out to Denver and see this.’ ”

    Now Petkoff’s sister has two reasons come to Denver. Her brother, an award-winning veteran of six Broadway productions, is playing the title role of the barbarous barber.

    “But put DeVotchKa at the top of the list,” he said with a laugh. “I am reason No. 2.”

    The Petkoff siblings are not the only ones excited to see what happens when Sweeney Todd bleeds DeVotchKa’s Latin and Slavic-infused aural amalgam into Sondheim’s perhaps most powerful (and unquestionably most homicidal) score.

    “DeVotchKa will attract a completely different kind of audience,” Petkoff said. “And boy, anytime you can bring a whole new swath of people into the theatre who don’t normally come is a great, great thing.”

    Sweeney Todd Robert Petkoff Linda Mugleston Petkoff and DeVotchKa frontman Nick Urata have their own affinities for Sweeney Todd dating back to their very different childhoods. Petkoff remembers hearing the vinyl cast recording in 1979 when he was in high school and the record was hot off the presses. “I was blown away, both by how complex the story is,  and by how incredible the music is,” Petkoff said. “I just instantly fell in love. I knew I wanted to play that role one day.”

    (Pictured right are co-stars Linda Mugleston and Robert Petkoff hydrating, hydrating and hydrating some more to perform 'Sweeney Todd' at Denver's mile-high altitude. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    DeVotchKa has been blurring distinctions between art forms for more than 15 years, notably with its wildly popular annual concerts at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Music fans have been spellbound by the band’s theatricality dating all the way back to its earliest appearances at small Boulder music clubs when Urata and, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King and Tom Hagerman would enter from the back of a darkened house guided only by the string of lights that line Schroder’s sousaphone.

    “I can’t think of a more perfect platform for us than Sweeney Todd,” Urata said when the project was first announced, “being that we like coming from a dark and twisted place, and this is the ultimate dark and twisted musical opera.”

    Schroder, King and Hagerman have taken the lead with the reorchestration project from the start along with Music Director Gregg Coffin. All three are expected to play in the orchestra pit for all performances of Sweeney Todd when the production opens April 15, alongside conductor Erik Daniells and five local musicians.

    A Sweeney Quote 1

    Petkoff’s co-star is Linda Mugleston in the delicious role of Mrs. Lovett, maker of those curiously delicious meat pies. Petkoff and Mugleston have theatrical bloodlines that crisscross Denver and run deep down into Broadway’s sidewalk cracks. Petkoff appeared in the DCPA’s Tantalus, a 10-play epic Trojan War cycle in 2000 — nothing less than the largest theatre project in the 2,500-year history of the theatre. He returned in 2012 for the world premiere of Sense & Sensibility, The Musical and in the Broadway tour of Spamalot in 2007. Mugleston’s Theatre Company credits include The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Quilters and A Christmas Carol.
     
    When the Theatre Company forays into musicals, Mugleston said, they always have something in common with the company’s nationally-acclaimed world premiere plays: Even when telling  a familiar story, there is something new about them.

    “The Denver Center is always innovative, no matter what they are doing,” Mugleston said. “The creativity is always very high-end, and it never feels like run-of-the-mill, normal fare. It’s always exciting.”

    Sweeney Todd Devotchka. The Sweeney Todd stars appeared together briefly in the 2011 Broadway revival of Anything Goes, during which they swear no throats were slashed. Surprisingly, neither has ever before appeared in a production of Sweeney Todd.

    Sondheim, now 86, has been uncommonly encouraging of young artists wanting to experiment with Sweeney Todd, which first shocked Broadway audiences under the direction of Hal Prince in 1979. It has since been presented in forms ranging from opera to an intimate chamber piece. The musical was revived on Broadway in 2004 with only 10 actors all playing their own instruments. In 2014, Sondheim gave his permission for the Landless Theatre Company to concoct a “prog-metal” version in Washington D.C. That’s a form that blends classical music and jazz while using metal to highlight some of the darker elements of the story. Permission to let DeVotchKa envelop Sondheim’s score with DeVotchKa’s signature horns, accordion, violin and percussion was handed down by the master himself.

    (Pictured above right: Shawn King, Jeanie Shroder and Tom Hagerman of DeVotchKa are scheduled to play in the orchestra for all performances of 'Sweeney Todd.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.) 

    Urata’s stated goal for the piece is “to make it loud and proud.” And if that sounds too experimental for theatre purists, Urata said, consider that West Side Story was once considered experimental theatre.

    “If I know anything about Sondheim, it’s that he is very open-minded,” said Urata. “I think that’s why we all love him.” That’s because “first and foremost, Sondheim is an artist,” Mugleston added.

    Anytime you tell a story, Petkoff added, “who is telling the story changes that story. So people who come to see this show may have an idea what should be in their heads based on what they have seen before. But we have this great opportunity in Denver to tell our own version of the story, and adding DeVotchKa will make it a really unique version of that story. This is how theatre breathes and grows and evolves.”

    When you change the orchestrations, you are not changing the actual notes, Petkoff said, “you are changing how an audience hears them — the rhythm. The style. I get why a playwright might say, ‘Listen, you need to say every word that I wrote.’ But with a musician, you understand that while he wrote every one of those notes, there are so many different ways to play them. And yet, you are still playing the song."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Imagine, he said, what Broadway audiences who grew up on Camelot and My Fair Lady thought when they first sat watching Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971. “They were outraged,” he said. “’That’s not a musical!’ they said. But there was an influx of younger people who came and became lifelong lovers of theatre. The same thing is happening with Hamilton on Broadway today. There are people who have never been to a Broadway musical and they are standing and screaming in fits of ecstasy watching Hamilton. It’s wonderful for theatre because we need to change and we need new blood, and this is how you do it.”  

    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.

    A Sweeney Quote 2


    Photo gallery: Sweeney Todd in Denver:


    Sweeney Todd in Denver

    Our photo gallery to date from the making of 'Sweeney Todd.'  o see more, click the forward arrow on the photo above. To download any photo for free, click on it and follow instructions. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Sweeney Todd: Ticket information

  • 270x270-sweeney-toddMusic and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by High Wheeler (adapted by Christopher Bond); musical adaptation by DeVotchKa
  • April 8-May 15 (opens April 15)
  • StageTheatre
  • Grammy-nominated Denver band DeVotchKa takes on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a reinvention of Sondheim’s musical thriller. Hell-bent on revenge, Sweeney Todd takes up with his enterprising neighbor in a devilish plot to slice their way through London’s upper crust. Justice will be served — along with audacious humor, bloody good thrills, and DeVotchKa’s brand of lush gypsy punk.
  • Accessible performance 1:30 p.m. May 1
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweeney Todd:
    Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    DeVotchKa frontman promises a Sweeney Todd that's 'loud and proud'
    DCPA announces DeVotchka-infused Sweeney Todd casting
    ​Where the band meets the blade: Rehearsals open

  • Meet the cast: Mariana Fernández of 'FADE'

    by Olivia Jansen | Feb 12, 2016
    Mariana Fernandez in rehearsal for FADE. Photo by John Moore.
    Mariana Fernandez, shown in rehearsal for FADE: "I think we can all relate to how our choices in life determine where we are and where we go and who gets to tell our story." Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    MEET MARIANA FERN
    ÁNDEZ

    Lucía in FADE

    Mariana Fernandez QuoteAt the DCPA: Debut. New York credits include Disjointed Love Shorts (Ticket2Eternity.) Regional: Reasons to be Pretty (Phoenix Theatre Indianapolis) As Bees in Honey Drown (StageWest Fort Worth) Jason and Claire (San Diego Old Globe.)

    • Hometown: Born in Tampico, Mexico, and grew up in San Diego
    • Training: BFA from Texas Christian University and MFA from Purdue University
    • The role that changed your life: I was fortunate enough to be able to do the role of Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire as my thesis role in graduate school. Putting that amount of research and energy into a role that was so far from anything I ever thought I would play really taught me discipline and what it means to immerse yourself in a role. From the text to the accent to the complexity, the role was one of the most challenging and beautiful experiences I’ve ever had.
    • Why are you an actor? Theatre was never part of my childhood or extracurricular activities growing up. I knew that I loved to read, to explore, to delve into characters and how they function, so as soon as I took an acting class in high school, I knew it was what I wanted to pursue as a career.
    • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? Career-wise, I don’t see myself doing anything else. Nothing would be as fulfilling. There was a part of me that desired to be the host of “The Voice." Mostly because you were able to interact with this incredible amount of talent and you were able to hear the singers’ stories and got the chance to cheer them on with their families as they attempted to fulfill their dream. Otherwise, I hope to be a mother one day. That would be the only other passion that would be on par and beyond with doing theatre.
    • Meryl StreepIdeal scene partner: Meryl Streep is someone I deeply admire, so in a perfect world, I’d get to do a play with her. Not a movie - a play. She got her start in theatre and she is brilliant in everything she does. I feel like she would challenge and inspire me. Mark Rylance is also another actor who has just blown me away onstage. He is perfect. He gives so much to every actor that is onstage with him. These are just dreams, of course. I have just been blown away by their work.
    • Why does FADE matter? When I first read FADE, I was moved by how relatable it was. Not just because of how it dealt with class issues that are so prevalent in Latin-American cultures, but by the dynamic and relationship by the two characters. This play is so honest. Honest about how class works within the Mexican culture, honest about how it is still a struggle to be an educated woman in a man’s world, honest in how our generation is so programmed to succeed and move forward no matter what the price is. This play tackles all those issues and more. You don’t have to be Latino to identify with these characters. I think we can all relate to how our choices in life determine where we are and where we go and who gets to tell our story.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of it? I can only hope they get a deeper sense of how within a culture there are different worlds and personalities and that we don’t have to stereotype anyone. We are all complex beings, and in this day and age, there are so many things that bring you together, no matter what your background. This is the human experience. We can all relate to each other in different situations.  This is an extraordinary play that brings up issues about race, class and gender but also interpersonal relationships and how we relate to each other.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      ... for people to choose love. This was a lesson I learned in the theatre about exploring a scene and it translates into everything we do. I even wear this motto on a mantra bracelet on my wrist, 'Choose Love.' If your words and your actions come from a place of compassion and love … love toward the world, toward one another, I feel like we can all do and be better people.


    • FADE: Ticket information

    • By Tanya Saracho
    • Through March 13
    • Ricketson Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • TTY: 303-893-9582
    • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
    • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.

    Previous 2015-16 'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Meet
    Adeoye of Lookingglass Alice and All the Way
    Meet Kevin Berntson of The Nest
    Meet J. Paul Boehmer of As You Like It
    Meet Molly Brennan of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Courtney Capek of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Todd Cerveris of All the Way
    Meet Brian D. Coats of The Nest
    Meet Tad Cooley of Tribes
    Meet Paul DeBoy of All the Way
    Meet Allen Dorsey of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Kevin Douglas of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Napoleon M. Douglas of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Brian Dykstra of The Nest
    Meet Isabel Ellison of Tribes
    Meet Mariana Fernandez of FADE
    Meet Kate Finch of Tribes
    Meet Ella Galaty of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Mike Hartman of All the Way
    Meet Ben Heil of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Carolyn Holding of As You Like It
    Meet Drew Horwitz of As You Like It
    Meet Maurice Jones of As You Like It
    Meet Geoffrey Kent of As You Like It and All the Way
    Meet Emily Kron of As You Like It
    Meet Nick LaMedica of As You Like It
    Meet Victoria Mack of The Nest
    Meet Andrew Pastides of Tribes
    Meet Shannan Steele of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Carly Street of The Nest
    Meet Samuel Taylor of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Lindsey Noel Whiting of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Jake Williamson  of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Matt Zambrano of As You Like It

  • Meet the cast: Mike Hartman of 'All the Way'

    by John Moore | Jan 25, 2016
    Mike Hartman Benediction, Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.Mike Hartman last year completed the 'Plainsong Trilogy' of plays written by Eric Schmiedl from the books by Kent Haruf with 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    MEET MIKE HARTMAN
    Rep. Howard “Judge” Smith, Sen. Everett Dirkesen and Gov. Carl Sanders in All the Way

    Mike HartmanAt the DCPA Theatre Company: 17 seasons, including Benediction, Death of a Salesman, Other Desert Cities, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Great Wall Story, To Kill A Mockingbird, Superior Donuts, The Catch, Eventide, A Raisin in the Sun, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Richard III, Glengarry Glen Ross, Plainsong, You Can’t Take It With You, A Christmas Carol, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, King Lear, Season’s Greetings, All My Sons, Dirty Story, The Grapes of Wrath. Broadway: The Grapes of Wrath, The Kentucky Cycle, Sherlock Holmes. Other Theatres: cowboyily (Creede Rep), The People’s Temple (Guthrie), Cleveland Play House ( eight seasons), Cincinnati Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Center Stage, Kennedy Center, Geva Playhouse, Virginia Stage.

    • Mike Hartman quoteHometown: Dayton, Ohio, but I've lived in New York since 1975 and spent much of the past 17 years in Denver.
    • Training: Otterbein University
    • What was the role that changed your life: I played four roles, including one of the Narrators, in Steppenwolf Theatre's production of The Grapes of Wrath. The production won the Tony Award for best play. I got the part from an Equity open call. I was one of  600 actors who auditioned. That made me realize I had to do everything I could on  my end, and then let it go.
    • Why are you an actor? I became an actor after studying for the ministry. I started having more religious experiences in the theatre than in the church. Also: There were a lot of pretty girls.
    • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? I would be a forest ranger. I love the woods and nature. We have a place in the Catskills that I wander in the woods with my dog, Jack the wonder dog. 
    • Jimmy StewartIdeal scene partner: Jimmy Stewart. He's my favorite.
    • Why does All the Way matter? Because we know so little about history and how things happen to be the way they are.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of it? All the Way is an historical perspective of the lives of LBJ and MLK, the men. We are not perfect. We do the best we can. This is a play about ideals.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "... for all of us to be able to look at people with love in our hearts and see them for who they are. Not black, white, women, men, different religions, gay or straight. But humans struggling to survive. ... I also want another Baltimore Orioles World Series championship before I die." 

    All The Way: Ticket information
  • By Robert Schenkkan
  • Jan. 29-Feb. 28
  • Stage Theatre
  • Called a “jaw-dropping political drama” by Variety, this 2014 Best Play Tony-winner vividly portrays the groundbreaking steps taken by President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. – to pass the Civil Rights Act.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Here's a 'Meet the cast' video we did with Mike Hartman when he was appearing in 'Death of a Salesman.'


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of All the Way
    Video: Cast reads from Civil Rights Act
    Five ways you don't have to connect the dots 'All the Way' to today
    Full casting announced
    Official show page
    DCPA Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16

    Previous 2015-16 'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Meet Adeoye of Lookingglass Alice and All the Way
    Meet Kevin Berntson of The Nest
    Meet J. Paul Boehmer of As You Like It
    Meet Molly Brennan of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Courtney Capek of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Brian D. Coats of The Nest
    Meet Tad Cooley of Tribes
    Meet Paul DeBoy of All the Way
    Meet Allen Dorsey of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Kevin Douglas of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Napoleon M. Douglas of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Brian Dykstra of The Nest
    Meet Isabel Ellison of Tribes
    Meet Kate Finch of Tribes
    Meet Ella Galaty of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Ben Heil of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Carolyn Holding of As You Like It
    Meet Drew Horwitz of As You Like It
    Meet Maurice Jones of As You Like It
    Meet Geoffrey Kent of As You Like It and All the Way
    Meet Emily Kron of As You Like It
    Meet Nick LaMedica of As You Like It
    Meet Andrew Pastides of Tribes
    Meet Shannan Steele of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Carly Street of The Nest
    Meet Samuel Taylor of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Lindsey Noel Whiting of Lookingglass Alice
    Meet Jake Williamson  of A Christmas Carol
    Meet Matt Zambrano of As You Like It

  • 'Tribes' rehearsals begin: Anytime there is an 'us,' there is a 'them'

    by John Moore | Sep 17, 2015

    Photos from the first rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Tribes,' by Nina Raine. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, in a variety of available sizes, click "View original Flickr image." All photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.


    Any play can be distilled down to a soundbite. Nina Raines’ Tribes, for example, focuses on a fiercely intelligent and proudly politically incorrect British family who argue a lot - but don’t much actually communicate with their grown deaf son, Billy.

    That said, “This play is really difficult to distill down to a soundbite,” said Stephen Weitz, who will direct the acclaimed new play for the DCPA Theatre Company.

    Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson called Tribes "a fascinating, complicated, complex play about a world most of us have no idea about. Which is an important reason to do it.” 

    They were speaking at Friday’s gathering of cast, crew, staff, ambassadors and invited guests for the play's first day of rehearsal. Tribes opens Oct. 9 and runs through Nov. 15 in the Ricketson Theatre.

    All plays are about communication in some way, Weitz said. That is the inherent nature of the medium. But Tribes, he said, even more so.

    Tad Cooley (Billy) and Kate Finch (Silvia) in the first rehearsal for 'Tribes,' opening Oct. 9. Photo by John Moore“More than any other recent play, this one really focuses on the theme of communication,” Weitz said. “It talks about verbal vs. non-verbal communication – which is something we all experience in our everyday lives. We've all heard the saying that 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. But then this play introduces another middle ground, and that is signing as a nonverbal language.”  (Photo: Tad Cooley (Billy) and Kate Finch (Silvia) in the first rehearsal for 'Tribes,' opening Oct. 9. Photo by John Moore.)

    The play also talks about how we communicate with ourselves: “The voices in our head are our moral compass," Weitz said. “They guide us through life, or, in some cases, haunt us through life.”

    He said the play also addresses the inherent limitations of language, whether spoken or signed.

    'Tribes' director Stephen Weitz. Photo by John Moore.

    Tribes talks about barriers to communication - the passive kind that come from our own prejudices and preconceptions; as well as the active kind that stem from our blatant unwillingness to consider someone else's point of view,” he said.

    Weitz is also intrigued by the play's title, and what it implies. It is not called Families, after all. But rather, Tribes.

    There are those tribes we are assigned, such as our families, and there are those “sub-tribes” that we choose, such as mentors, lovers and friends, Weitz said. In Tribes, the character of Billy has been brought up isolated from the deaf community. So when he meets a young woman named Sylvia, he is exposed to the world of signing for the first time, and finds a new tribe.

    “The play is full of words like sect and cult and club and community and clique,” Weitz said. “And then we also hear about the exclusionary nature of tribes and communities.

    "After all: Anytime there is an 'us,' there is a 'them.' "  

    Weitz, co-founder of the award-winning Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, has both acted with the DCPA Theatre Company (King Lear, Richard III, Othello) and directed (Jackie & Me). His busy autumn will include directing The SantaLand Diaries for a sixth straight holiday season in cooperation with Off-Center @ The Jones.

    “Maybe the most amazing thing the playwright has done is that she has taken deafness - which is something many of us habitually think of as an impediment to communication - and used it as a gateway to open up all of these different themes and ideas," said Weitz.

    Ultimately, he said, what you try to find in your life is what the Tribes characters are trying to find in the play, and that is personal identity, he said.

    "Who are we, in our own skin? That question is at the root of any great drama. And I really think this is a great drama."

    And one, Thompson added, that is also quite funny.

    "Some American audiences may consider the way this family behaves to be just pure nastiness," Thompson said. "But I can tell you, the British actually talk that way to each other."

    Tribes: Cast list
    • Tad Cooley (Billy)
    • Isabel Ellison (Ruth)
    • Kate Finch (Silvia)
    • Stephen Paul Johnson (Christopher)
    • Kathleen McCall (Beth)
    • Andrew Pastides (Daniel) 
    Tribes: Ticket information
    Performances through Nov. 15
    Ricketson Theatre
    Performance schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday performances at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30 p.m. (No Saturday matinees during preview performances)
    ASL interpreted & Audio described performance: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 7
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
    Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at Denvercenter.org.

    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of 'Tribes.'

    From left: 'Tribes' interpreters Lynn Williams, Natalie Austin and Ronni Gallup. Photo by John Moore.'Tribes' features two characters with varying degrees of hearing loss, and so Weitz has hired some members of the cast who have varying degrees of hearing loss as well. A team of three local interpreters will be on hand daily to help both hearing and hard-of-hearing artists through the rehearsal process. From left: Lynn Williams, Natalie Austin and Ronni Gallup. Photo by John Moore.


    Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Go to the official Tribes show page
    Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    Casting announced for Theatre Company's fall shows
    Theatre Company introduces bold new artwork for 2015-16 season




  • Perspectives: 5 things we learned about 'Lookingglass Alice'

    by John Moore | Sep 15, 2015
    From left: Douglas Langworthy, choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi and director David Catlin at the 'Lookingglass Alice' Perspectives. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.  From left: Douglas Langworthy, choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi and director David Catlin at the 'Lookingglass Alice' Perspectives. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. 


    Perspectives
    is a series of free panel conversations moderated by DCPA Theatre Company Literary Manager Douglas Langworthy. They take place from 6 p.m. to 6:45 on the evening of each production's first preview performance. The next two Perspectives will be held Sept. 25 (As You Like It) and Oct. 9 (Tribes) in the Jones Theatre. No reservations necessary.

    Langworthy's guests for the Lookingglass Alice Perspectives on Sept. 11 were adaptor and director David Catlin, as well as choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi, who grew up in a circus family. 




    Alice1Mathematician and logician Charles Dodgson (otherwise known as author Lewis Carroll) based his heroine on a real girl named Alice Liddell who challenged him, along with her sisters, to tell them stories fantastic stories. “He was interested in bending and challenging ideas of logic,” Catlin said. “He would have notions, like, “If you fell through the center of the Earth, then, at a certain point, you wouldn't be falling down anymore - you would be falling up.” His stories celebrated nonsense. His stories asked people to believe in impossible things. Which you can do with a kid. Kids know how to play.”

    2Lookingglass Theatre was formed by a group of students at Northwestern University back in the late 1980s, one of whom was David Schwimmer (TV's Friends). “He had $500 sitting in a bank account that he had gotten for his Bar Mitzvah, and he didn't know what to do with it,” Catlin said. “So he decided to self-produce a version of Alice in Wonderland. It was a very physical production. Andre Gregory - you may be familiar with him from My Dinner With Andre - developed the script we used. It was stripped down. It was about ensemble. It was about physical storytelling.” 

    3The root word for “audience” is “audio,” so the word actually means “to hear” – which is kind of obvious when you stop to think about it. “Shakespeare is mostly an auditory experience,” Catlin said. “You wouldn't go see a play in Shakespeare's time; you would go hear a play.” Catlin was comparing other theatre experiences to seeing a Lookingglass production. “We were starting this company about the same time as the start of Cirque du Soleil,” he said. “We wanted to see if we could take the traditional auditory experience of a play and add these other physical, visual elements that would allow you to experience the story in new ways.”

    4None of the Lookingglass Alice actors had circus training before joining the company. “We create the shows based on the physicality of the performers,” Hernandez-Distasi said, “and then I come in and I push them to the edge of their limits of physicality. We get these very physical performers who have climbed ropes and we go a little further than they can naturally go.”

    5The DCPA’s Stage Theatre has been lowered by 2 feet to accommodate this production. “Part of the fun is that the whole team at the Denver Center has been like the White Knight," Catlin said. They are very inventive and very creative and very collaborative here. When we came in, they had already – and in an excited way - solved a lot of the things that were going to be different for us here. One of the issues was that the stage floor here was 18 feet to the (ceiling) grid. We have been accustomed to having 20 to 22 feet. So, normally, that would be a big problem. But here at the Denver Center they said, 'Well then, we will just lower the floor 2 feet.’ And that's … beautiful. That's 'believing in impossible things.' Because even if something is possible - that's a lot of work. But they believe in the show that much here."


    • Bonuses: Catlin developed Lookingglass Alice in part as a way of saying to his daughter - and to the kids we adults once were - “Let’s not be in such a hurry to grow up.” he said. "My daughter recently turned 13 and said to me, ‘Dad, do you think I could get my nose pierced?’ And I thought: ‘Oh, my goodness. We've got to keep doing this show, I guess.’ ”  
    • If you want to know how long most plays will be in performance, look at the script. Typically one written page means one minute of stage time. Not so with Lookingglass Alice. “This play is about 95 minutes in performance, but the text is only about 30 pages long,” Catlin said. “Two-thirds of the storytelling is visual, physical storytelling. Sylvia has been instrumental in writing the physical parts of the story."

    Lookingglass Alice: Ticket information
    Performances through Oct 11
    Stage Theatre
    ASL interpreted & Audio described performance: 1:30 p.m. Oct 3
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
    Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at Denvercenter.org.

    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of 'Lookingglass Alice.'

    David Catlin addresses the audience at the 'Lookingglass Alice' Perspectives. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.  From left: Douglas Langworthy, choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi and director David Catlin at the 'Lookingglass Alice' Perspectives. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. 
  • 'The 12' cast and creatives say their goodbyes today

    by John Moore | Apr 26, 2015


    As the world premiere rock musical The 12 closes its remarkable run with today's matinee performance by the DCPA Theatre Company, we have compiled some of the thoughts cast and creatives have sent us or posted on social media. The 12 imagines what happened when the disciples went into hiding for the three days following Jesus' crucifixion.

    Colin Hanlon as Peter in 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Colin Hanlon (Pete): I've never been more proud and more sad to close a show. I'll be honest when I say, I had no idea what I was getting myself into by playing Pete in The 12. Shows like this don't come around often enough. At least, not for me. Thank you, (writers) Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg for trusting me with your baby. You both are brilliant artists. Thank you (director) Richard Seyd for your patient direction and guidance.Thank you (choreographers) Connor Gallagher and Nancy Renee Burach for taking this show to a higher level. Thank you (music supervisor) Wendy Bobbitt Cavett for being incredible at what you do. Thank you Denver Center for the Performing Arts and (artistic director) Kent Thompson for creating a place of excellence and for doing new work. Thank you to our band! You keep us going every night. Thank you to everyone backstage who keeps our show flowing smoothly. Thank you Denver audiences. You have astounded me with your generosity and openness.  But most important ... Thank you to my incredible castmates. This is truly an ensemble piece. We are all up there the entire time (except those two beautiful ladies who steal the show from us every night). Getting to do The 12 with you has made me a better artist and more important, a better person. I love you all. Let's go out with a bang! (Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen)

    Christina Sajous (Mary Magdalene): I'm sad to be closing The 12 at the Denver Center, but I'm excited to take the courage and strength I found in Mary Magdalene and embrace it in my life. This journey, this cast, the creatives, and the crew have inspired me deeply to work stronger, to live happier, and to love harder. Thank you so much for this powerful experience, and here's hoping that we take The 12 above and beyond. I love you all!

    Anthony Fedorov (Andrew): There are not enough words for me to describe what this process has meant to me, how much I truly love this amazing cast, how much respect I have for our creative team, and how wonderful this whole experience has been here at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. This show is now a part of my soul along with all of you. I love you all dearly.

    Jordan Barbour (James):
    I am so proud of this company and this show. And so honored and humbled to be among such great talent, receiving such great acclaim. I hope this is just the beginning.

    John Iacovelli (Scenic designer
    ): It is rare to work on a show that has such a unified spirit. So much goes into any show, but rare for a show that is firing on all cylinders: music, book, lyrics, directing, cast, design and with the support of the creative leaders and staff of the Denver Center. The alchemy of the theatre hits fire only when all these things come together to strike fire. This  production will always remain a bright ember in my heart. I so loved working with this team, this cast, on this show. Few shows happen where you are now bonded with the others for all time, but we will always have Denver.

    Tony Vincent (Tom):
    Last chance today. Honestly, you don't want to miss this.

    Gregory Treco (Simon): Today we walk out of the upper room for the last time. Full of uncertainty yet full of hope for the future. I will miss every one of you. This experience has truly reminded me of who I am, and each of you have played a vital part in that. I love you my 12 family. Let's go out there and murder everyone today. (Even though Teacher would hate that.)


    The 12: Ticket information
    Final performance 1:30 p.m. today, April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Today is an ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance


    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Video: Cast members talk about what they've made in The 12
    Watch the cast of the 12 rock Elitch Gardens' roller coasters

    Photos: Opening night of The 12
    Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12

    Meet the cast videos: 
    Colin Hanlon as Peter
    Tony Vincent as Tom

    Christina Sajous as Mary Magdalene
    Gregory Treco as Simon

  • Video: Watch the cast of 'The 12' rock Elitch Gardens

    by John Moore | Apr 22, 2015
    Video by David Lenk, interviews by John Moore. Go-Pro video courtesy Elitch Gardens.

    The 12 plays through April 26 at The Stage Theatre. World-famous Elitch Gardens does not open for its 125th season until May 2. Something had to give.

    Elitch's, now in its 21st year downtown since relocating from northwest Denver, remains  one of Colorado's the most popular entertainment destinations. It now features a vast array of modern roller-coasters, and because many of The 12 cast members are thrill-ride aficionados, the staff at Elitch's invited cast members Tuesday to ride the famous Carousel, which dates back to 1927 - and two coaster rides: The Brain Drain and the Boomerang.

    The Brain Drain, which opened in 2014, is a seven-story steel looping ride that sends riders head-over-heels in a 360° revolution. And then back again.

    The Boomerang is a steel coaster that takes riders forward and backward through vertical loops, twists and turns at speeds of more than 50 mph. The ride reaches 125 in the air, making it the tallest roller coaster at Elitch Gardens.

    Luckily for us - and you - the Elitch staff turned a Go-Pro camera on the riders, and you can see the hilarious results in the video above.

    The 12 imagines what happened when the disciples went into hiding for the three days following Jesus' crucifixion. It plays through Sunday (April 26) in The Stage Theatre.

    Photos: The 12's day at Elitch Gardens

    All photos for John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Video bonus: Watch Colin Hanlon's full ride on The Boomerang:
    (Warning: Watching may force uncontrollable fits of laughter)



    The 12:
    Ticket information

    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Photos: Opening night of The 12
    Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12

    Meet the cast videos: 
    Colin Hanlon as Peter
    Tony Vincent as Tom

    Christina Sajous as Mary Magdalene
    Gregory Treco as Simon


    Colin Hanlon loves rollercoasters. Watch our video at the top of this page and see how much Colin Hanlon loves roller coasters. Photo by John Moore.

    Colin Hanlon loves roller coasters. Watch our video at the top of this page and see how much Colin Hanlon loves roller coasters. Photo by John Moore.
  • 'The 12' opens: Robert Schenkkan's Opening Night reflections

    by John Moore | Apr 03, 2015


    The 12 has been seven years in the making for its creative team, including composer Neil Berg (music and co-lyrics), writer Robert Schenkkan (book and co-lyrics) and director Robert Seyd. All that work culminates tonight with the opening of the world premiere musical by the DCPA Theatre Company.

    Schenkkan took a moment this morning to reflect on his opening-night thoughts, and he agreed to share them with DCPA NewsCenter readers:


    I thought writing plays was hard. And then I wrote a musical.

    The 12
    has been workshopped in Manhattan at the China Club (twice), B.B. King’s in Times Square, the Signature Theater, across the river at the Riverdale Performance Center, at St. Joe’s High School in New Jersey, and in Fort Lauderdale at the Broward Center. We were scheduled to have our premiere at the San Jose Rep and hired designers and begun casting when SJR suddenly announced they were bankrupt.

    At that point I gave the script to DCPA Literary Manager Doug Langworthy. He showed it to (Producing Artistic Director) Kent Thompson, who was looking for “something unusual…” And here we are.

    I have wrestled with my own ambivalence about this musical for many years mostly because it reflects my own profound spiritual ambivalence. Belief has always seemed to me to an intensely private issue, which is probably why I belong in the Groucho Marx category, “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

    And yet, here I’ve written a musical about it. If we have succeeded it’s because The 12 focuses on something everyone has shared at one time or another, the very human experience of a “Dark Night of the Soul” – that moment when the idea, movement, cause, or relationship into which you have put everything, fails completely. How do you go forward after that? There are no Big Miracles here. Just the small daily miracle where we rise up – flawed, flailing, failing – and determine, once again, to try to be more compassionate, a little braver about speaking up against injustice, and above all, more loving. That, it seems to me, is worth singing about.

    See you at the Opening.

    TO SEE OUR PRODUCTION PHOTOS FROM 'THE 12,' CLICK HERE

    The 12
    : Video montage:





    The 12
    : Ticket information

    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of The 12
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12

    The cast of 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
    The cast of 'The 12,' opening tonight at the DCPA. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

  • New DCPA CEO's first day is opening night of 'Motown'

    by John Moore | Apr 01, 2015



    Scott Shiller, newly appointed as just the second CEO in Denver Center for the Performing Arts history, had his first day on the job March 31. After a whirlwind day of greetings and meetings, he attended the opening performance  of the national touring production of Motown, the Musical, playing at the Buell Theatre through April 19.

    Shiller talks about his whirlwind day, which included meeting Denver First Lady and accomplished performer Mary Louise Lee, who made her professional stage debut at the Garner Galleria Theatre (then called StageWest) at the DCPA when she was just 18, and Motown star Allison Semmes (Diana Ross). Shiller also will attend the DCPA Theatre Company's One Night in Miami as well as Friday's world premiere of the new rock musical The 12, which imagines what happened to the disciples during the three days following their leader's death. Shiller begins his full-time duties as CEO on May 1.

    For information on any DCPA show, call 303-893-4100.


    Motown the Musical: Ticket information
    Through April 19
    The Buell Theatre
    ASL, Open Caption and Audio Described performance: April 18, 2 p.m.
    Tickets: 303-893.4100 | Click here to order tickets in Denver online
    800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups (10+): 303-446-4829
    Click here to go to the show's official web site

    Previous coverage of the Scott Shiller hiring:
    Scott Shiller has theatre in his bones

    Previous coverage of Motown, The Musical:
    How Berry Gordy turned a slogan into The Supremes
    Official show page
    Video: Montage of scenes


    DCPA CEO Scott Shiller with 'Motown' star Allison Semmes and Denver First Lady (and performer) Mary Louise Lee. Photo by Emily Lozow.
    DCPA CEO Scott Shiller with 'Motown' star Allison Semmes and Denver First Lady (and performer) Mary Louise Lee. Photo by Emily Lozow.
  • Meet the cast video series: York Walker

    by John Moore | Apr 01, 2015

    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 92: Meet York Walker, who is making his DCPA debut playing Jamaal, a young and impressionable member of the Nation of Islam, in the Theatre Company's "One Night in Miami."

    Walker grew up outside Chicago loving The Muppets, Disney on Ice and Viola Davis ("Every scene she is in, she is living those moments so honestly.") Walker believes the ongoing problem with racial relations in America can be traced to a lack of education and understanding about the African-American story.

    One Night in Miami
    is a powerful new play that imagines what occurred the night Cassius Clay spent with activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football player Jim Brown after Clay's historic win over heavyweight champ Sonny Liston in 1964.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes.

    One Night in Miami: Ticket information
    Performances through April 19 
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily except Monday
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    More One Night in Miami cast videos:
    Meet Colby Lewis
    Meet Morocco Omari
    Meet Nik Walker
    Meet Jason Delane
    Meet William Oliver Watkins


    York Walker in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'One Night in Miami.'  Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
    York Walker in rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'One Night in Miami.'  Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction
    Amelia Marie Corrada, Benediction
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Meet Adrian Egolf, Benediction
    Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
    Lenne Klingaman, Appoggiatura
    Darrie Lawrence
    , Appoggiatura
    Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Nick Mills Appoggiatura
    Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Rob Nagle, Appoggiatura
    James Newcomb, Benediction
    Leslie O'Carroll, A Christmas Carol, Benediction
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    Socorro Santiago, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies
    Nance Williamson, Benediction

  • Neil Berg and the rockin' roots of 'The 12'

    by NewsCenter Staff | Mar 31, 2015
    Neil Berg. Photo by John Moore.
    Neil Berg. Photo by John Moore.


    By Douglas Langworthy
    DCPA Literary Manager

    Composer and co-lyricist Neil Berg traces his interest in musicals to an unlikely origin: seeing Annie on Broadway as a boy. “While everyone else loved ‘Tomorrow,’ ” he remembers, “I loved ‘Maybe,’ her ‘I Want’ song.” In an “I Want” song, the protagonist expresses her dreams (e.g. "Annie wants parents"). It’s telling that the budding composer was interested in the song that sets the entire play in motion. Prologue spoke with Neil during rehearsals for The 12, the rock musical he created with book writer/co-lyricist Robert Schenkkan.

    Douglas Langworthy: When did you start writing musicals?

    Neil Berg: From the time I could play the piano, around 9 or 10. I was the youngest of three and rock 'n roll was what I grew up listening to. From my brother I got The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and classic rock. My sister was into folk — Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Peter, Paul and Mary. And my mother and father were into classical, jazz and opera. Being the youngest, it all trickled down. When I came into my own, I was into the classic rock movement. My favorite albums were all those rock operas — The Who’s "Quadrophenia" and Genesis’ "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," but my very favorite was probably Pink Floyd’s "The Wall."

    Front, from left: Anthony Federov, Terence Archie and Jordan Barbour with other cast members from 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. When I got to high school, I chose baseball, but I always loved the theatre. When I got to college my best friend bet me 20 bags of Oodles of Noodles that I wouldn’t audition for the musical. I got into Brigadoon; I was the fifth fellow from the left — I’m not a very good actor — but I loved it. When they found out I could play piano, someone asked me to write my first musical — Ghost Story. My life was changed. I got asked my senior year to compose for Cider Mill Playhouse where I wrote scores for Trelawny of the Wells and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

    I arrived in New York City a little behind because I wasn’t "that “Juilliard guy," but I forged my own path. I auditioned for the BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc. Musical Theater) workshop and got in. That’s how I started writing musical theatre.

    (Note: Photo above: Front, from left: Anthony Federov, Terence Archie and Jordan Barbour with other cast members from 'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)  

    Langworthy: Talk about how The 12 came about.

    Berg: I wrote a musical version of The Prince and the Pauper that ran Off-Broadway for two years at the Lamb’s Theatre in New York. Lamb’s Theatre was in a former church, so every day I was going to work in a church. Being Jewish from New York, I was always fascinated by religion; by these new televangelists.

    I was asked if I wanted to write a musical about the disciples, but that never got off the ground, so I came up with my original concept to write a rock song cycle. Christianity and rock ’n roll were both revolutions that changed the culture. With Christianity you have all these splinter groups, just as rock has all of its sub-genres.

    So my intention was to give each disciple his own rock style — one could be Elvis, then John Lennon and Bono. I was working with a producer, Adam Friedson, who had just produced Robert Schenkkan’s play By the Waters of Babylon. When I mentioned that I was interested in taking this into a book musical, he put Robert and me together.

    Langworthy: Once Robert came into the picture, how did the project change?

    Berg: Robert liked my parallel concept, but he felt a stricter focus would be more effective. So it was his idea to narrow it down to the story of the disciples in the room just after Jesus’ death. What happens when you have a revolution and the leader is suddenly cut off? What do the followers do? This became about having belief.

    Then we tried a few framing devices. What if this was a rock band on the verge of breaking up, but before they do they make this one last record. So all the different players in the band would come out and become a different disciple. It was cool, but we ultimately felt it was a near-miss. The device was more confusing than helpful, so we decided to simplify. And that’s where we are now, where the struggle of the disciples is the story.

    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through

    Langworthy: What musical influences are reflected in your music for The 12?

    Berg: This is my love letter to classic rock ’n roll. You’ll hear some of The Who, a little Led Zeppelin, a little Tom Waits. John Lennon’s in there in the song called “Why.” And of course the ending is very U2 — the hopefulness, everything Bono has stood for in his career.

    There’s a gospel song called “Rise Up” that I’m excited about because I was thinking about how the first gospel song ever would have been written. It could have been inspired by the first time anyone thought that their leader was risen.

    Langworthy: Do you have a sense of how this will play to theatre audiences and audiences of faith?

    Berg:  Absolutely. We’ve done a few different workshops in different places. One of them was in suburban New Jersey. A large part of that audience was suburban churchgoing Catholic. Their response to the reading was incredible. They felt this is a part of the story that’s not told. They felt that this story was theirs; they could wrap themselves around it and embrace it. And then we did it at B.B. King’s in Times Square, and they loved it too. If we’re telling the story the way we want to tell it, and everyone can bring their life history to it and celebrate it, that would be fantastic.


    The 12
    : Video montage:





    The 12
    : Ticket information

    Through April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26

    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Video montage: Your first look at The 12
    The 12: Three days that rocked the world
    Watch short video samples of 'The 12' songs from the first sing-through
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12

  • Four Westword Best of Denver Awards go to DCPA

    by John Moore | Mar 26, 2015
    Westword Best of Denver
    Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen and Terry Shapiro.


    The DCPA was singled out for four of Westword’s Best of Denver Awards for 2015, it was announced today. The alternative weekly produces an annual special edition with a wide swath of both traditional and quirky award categories. 

    Best Ensemble
    Animal Crackers

    Directed by Bruce Sevy Animal Crackers was a romp of a musical, a trifle, a bright, funny nothing full of bad puns, visual jokes and silly stunts. The cats included Michael Fitzpatrick, Celia Tackaberry, Christine Rowan, Jeremy Benton, Stephanie Rothenberg, M. Scott McLean, Jim Ferris, Jonathan Brody, Jonathan Randell Silver, Jeffrey Roark, Shannan Steele, Brett Ambler and Justin Walvoord. Read more

    Best Light Entertainment
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    The Garner Galleria is the place to sit back with a drink in hand, ease off your shoes under your seat and catch some laughs. Read more

    Best Page-to-Stage Adaptation
    Benediction

    Author Kent Haruf, author of luminous novels about life on Colorado's eastern plains, died last fall, and this year, the Denver Center presented Benediction, dramatized by Eric Schmiedl, the third of Haruf's novels the company has staged. Read more

    Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
    Amelia White,  Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

    Having dressed up for a costume party, Sonia, played by Amelia White, transforms from a down-at-the-heels, enraged and self-pitying nobody in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike into a magnificent sequin-clad dowager. Read more
  • Meet the cast video series: Nik Walker

    by John Moore | Mar 24, 2015


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 89: Meet Nik Walker, who is making his DCPA debut playing Sam Cooke in the Theatre Company's One Night in Miami. Nik talks about his appreciation for British actor Idris Elba, Motown Night at Denver's Beauty Bar and performing in the Flaming Lips' world premiere concept musical, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. "That's one of the best things I have ever worked on in my life," Walker said. One Night in Miami is a powerful new play that imagines what occurred the night Cassius Clay spent with activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football player Jim Brown after Clay's historic win over heavyweight champ Sonny Liston in 1964. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

    One Night in Miami: Ticket information
    Performances March 20 through April 19, 2015 
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily except Monday
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    More One Night in Miami cast videos:
    Meet Jason Delane
    Meet William Oliver Watkins


    Nik Walker in rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'One Night in Miami.' Photo by John Moore.
    Nik Walker in rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'One Night in Miami.' Photo by John Moore.


    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction
    Amelia Marie Corrada, Benediction
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    Meet Adrian Egolf, Benediction
    Donna English, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Charlie Franklin, Lord of the Flies

    Patty Goble,The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Sam Gregory, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Matthew Gumley, Lord of the Flies
    Lenne Klingaman, Appoggiatura
    Darrie Lawrence
    , Appoggiatura
    Eddie Lopez, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Nick Mills Appoggiatura
    Paolo Montalban, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Linda Mugleston, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Rob Nagle, Appoggiatura
    James Newcomb, Benediction
    Leslie O'Carroll, A Christmas Carol, Benediction
    Ben and Noah Radcliffe, Lord of the Flies
    James Michael Reilly, A Christmas Carol
    Socorro Santiago, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Lesley Shires, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Gregory Isaac Stone, Lord of the Flies
    Nance Williamson, Benediction

  • 'The 12': Three days that rocked the world

    by John Moore | Mar 23, 2015

    In the video above, Robert Schenkkan introduces 'The 12' to DCPA subscribers. Below right: Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan. Photo by John Moore.



    Robert Schenkkan quote


    They are perhaps the three most impactful days in the history of man, and remarkably little is known about them: the 72 hours between Jesus’ crucifixion and what Christians believe was his resurrection. It was the birth of what is now the world’s largest religion, with about 2.1 billion followers worldwide.

    The DCPA Theatre Company’s new rock musical The 12 imagines what those three days must have been like for his closest followers in the immediate, dangerous aftermath of the death of Jesus.

    Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan. Photo by John Moore. “It’s useful to remember how young these people were,” Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Schenkkan said of the disciples. “These are very blue-collar, gritty, uneducated men. Yet their passion and their ultimate commitment to this individual — and the ideas that he embodied — are so fierce that they all will ultimately give their lives for him. That’s a very powerful idea, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

    But The 12, opening in preview performances on Friday (March 27), is not a narrative play. Set against the backdrop of composer and co-lyricist Neil Berg’s classic rock ’n’ roll score, it is a big, loud, crank-it-up-to-10 musical.

    “The culmination of this event in history was, of course, a world-changing revolution of the most potent kind,” said Berg. “Rock ’n’ roll is the anthem of revolution, so that entirely supports this kind of passionate musical expression in our show.”

    What The 12 is not, both men said, is a treatise on religion. It is not a polemic. It does not take a stand on the certainty of the resurrection — although, Berg teases, “Everyone will have their own very clear idea of what happens at the end.”

    The 12  is instead an imagined, human story, Berg said, based on a real historical event. It is set to original music inspired by Berg’s love of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who. In addition to being a trained writer of musical theatre, Berg has a long history as a touring musician with groups like the still-active Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan. He has opened for Bruce Springsteen and The Doors, and has played at Red Rocks and McNichols Sports Arena.

    Neil Berg quoteThe score he has produced for The 12, he said, is a perfect match for the angst, the tension and the drive of Schenkkan’s story. “It is going to be authentic rock ’n’ roll, I can tell you that,” Berg said.

    The 12 has been described as picking up where Jesus Christ Superstar leaves off, and chronologically speaking, Berg said, that is accurate. However, he says his original musical score “is really an open love letter to classic rock ’n’ roll.”

    The 12 will now join a genre of popular Biblical rock musicals of widely different tones, including Superstar, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (coming to The Buell Theatre April 22-26) and Children of Eden.

    “I think The 12 is a different, great addition to that group,” Berg said. “Because the characters are all trapped in one room this story is intense from the beginning. You’re in it. And the music reflects that.”

    Christina Sajous, Tony Vincent and Colin Hanlon. Photo by John Moore.  Schenkkan, who also wrote the 2014 Tony-winning best play All the Way (which will be staged by the DCPA Theatre Company early next year), loves Superstar and Godspell, but those musicals are far more stylized than The 12, he said. “This is a more natural and thoughtful approach to the material,” he said. “Our approach is much less sensational. And, I think, more powerful because of it.” (Pictured: Christina Sajous, Tony Vincent and Colin Hanlon. Photo by John Moore.) 

    It was Schenkkan’s decision not to use Jesus’ name in The 12, and he did it for two reasons.

    "First, like so many details in the Jesus story, we can’t be sure about this but it is unlikely in Jewish society at that time that his followers would have addressed him using his name as that would have been considered disrespectful. More likely he would have been called an honorific like, 'teacher' or 'Rabbi.'  Second, it was done to remove a possible barrier between the story and its potential audience.

    “The phrase ‘Jesus the Lord’ is so loaded in terms of what it will later come to mean. By taking the name out of the equation, it puts the focus back on the immediacy of this very human story.

    “The tendency of the audience will be to look at this event with the weight of 2,000 years of bitterly contested doctrine, and everything that comes with that. We are trying to strip all of that away and say, ‘Wait a minute: What if you were one of these fishermen on the sea of Galilee, and this guy you might have heard something about comes up to you and says, ‘Follow me.’ And for reasons that are not clear even to you in that moment, you do, because there is something about him that compels you. What does that mean? It is kind of unfathomable.”

    To Berg, the central question is this: “When the head of this revolutionary group is suddenly killed, what makes these followers continue on?”

    Robert Schenkkan quote

    Still, Schenkkan understands why potential audiences may feel some trepidation about what is, for now, a theatrical unknown.

    “Oftentimes, unfortunately, when writers have dealt with issues of faith, it’s hard not to feel that there is some condescension there. Some smugness. Some superiority,” Schenkkan said. “That’s unacceptable, quite honestly. I think it’s prejudice.

     “We have tried very seriously to get at this fundamental question of belief and commitment to something which cannot ultimately be proved in rational, scientific terms. And to me, that is a very exciting, dramatic proposition: How does one get there? We have all experienced a dark night of the soul. A time where everything we have believed in whether it is a religious expression or an idea or a cause has failed us. And we have to find a way to go forward. To recover our faith and our belief. That’s at the heart of what we are trying to do here.

    "And it’s why I believe that all of our audience — including members of all various faith-based communities — will find this a story that is not only accessible and respectful, but also very compelling.”



    This video offers a sample of a song from 'The 12' called 'Do You Remember?' written by Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan.

    The 12: Ticket information
    March 27-April 26
    Stage Theatre
    Tickets: 303-893-4100 or buy online
    Toll-free: 800-641-1222 | TTY: 303-893-9582
    Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    ASL interpreted, audio described and open-captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. April 26


    Our previous coverage of The 12:
    Video: Robert Schenkkan introduces The 12
    The 12 opens rehearsals with a mandate to 'dig deep'
    Full casting announced for The 12
    Final offering of Theatre Company season: Rock musical The 12
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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.