• EM Lewis would like you to meet her monsters

    by John Moore | Apr 13, 2017
    Mark Collins in 'The Gun Show.' Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.
    Mark Collins in 'The Gun Show.' Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.


    By EM Lewis
    Playwright, The Gun Show
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    We have a tendency, us humans, to keep the ugliest parts of ourselves well-hidden. All our monsters locked in boxes, all our beasts closed up in castles.

    When we consider that something is ugly, we shut it away. And shutting it away makes us feel like it is something to be ashamed of. Even if it's not.

    EM Lewis QuoteDoes this sound familiar? Do you know this story?

    My play The Gun Show, which will be presented by And Toto Too starting April 13 at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, is about guns in America. More broadly, it is about the great political divide we find ourselves in today. But it's also about my deepest and most personal demon, which I carefully shut up in a box inside me for a decade. I taped it shut with strong, imaginary duct tape, and pushed it down deep, and carried it around inside me like a stone.

    Don't worry. The play is full of jokes and funny bits. I believe the darker you go, the funnier you better get. the play is about vulnerability ... and is there anything funnier than that? But it's also about taking that box of darkness out and opening it up and sharing it with strangers.

    The first time it was performed, three years ago in Chicago, I thought I was going to throw up. Vulnerability is terrifying, you know? And this is some pretty radical vulnerability I'm practicing here. Everything I am - even the ugly bits - everything I'm trying desperately to figure out - is on the page and on the stage.

    I've learned something between that first performance of The Gun Show, though, and this 14th production going up in Denver. I've learned that I'm not alone, with my closed-up beasts and monsters. I've realized that closing them up inside made me a very lonely person. And I've discovered that being brave enough to share my own story allows other people to share theirs, and makes us all feel less alone.

    Don't you love theater?

    It's not easy, this sort of sharing. This isn't an easy show. It is a messy wrestling with difficult subjects, both personal and political. But if we're brave enough to open up some of these boxes inside us, maybe there is understanding to be had on the other side. Maybe there is empathy. Maybe there is healing.

    Maybe.

    Come and see.

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

    In the Spotlife: Our previous look at actor Mark Collins

    About our Guest Columnist: EM Lewis
    EM Lewis is an award-winning playwright and librettist. Recipient of the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Steinberg Award (Song of Extinction) and Primus Prize (Heads) from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama. She was recently commissioned by the Kennedy Center to write a play for college students, called You Can See All the Stars. Her epic play Magellanica, which is set in Antarctica, will premiere at Artists Rep in Portland, and her intimate play Apple Season will premiere at New Jersey Rep next season. And she is taking the Portland production of The Gun Show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.  Lewis is published by Samuel French, and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.  She lives in Oregon. 

    The Gun Show: Tickets and information
    From a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York, The Gun Show features one actor (Mark Collins) sharing playwright EM Lewis' unique, middle-ground perspective on the issue with her true stories about America’s favorite and perhaps most dangerous pastime.

    • Presented by And Toto Too Theatre Company
    • Directed by Susan Lyles
    • April 13-29
    • At the The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.
    • Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays
    • Call 720-583-3975 or go to andtototoo.org

    About Next Stage NOW
    The Commons on Champa is a newly available performing space at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The Next Stage NOW is a public initiative with a mission to enliven, diversify and sustain the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Denver Arts & Venues has made $100,000 available to support public performances, programming and place making initiatives at the Denver Performing Arts Complex in 2017.

    About And Toto Too Theatre Company

    And Toto Too, founded by Susan Lyles, is Colorado's only theatre company dedicated exclusively to women's voices. The Gun Show marks its 12th season-opener. For information, email susanlyles@andtototoo.org

    Selected previous Guest Columns:
    Janice Sinden Eliminating the NEA would be bad for our economy
    Judy Craymer on the origins of Mamma Mia!
    Douglas Langworthy on 'translating' Shakespeare: First, do no harm
    David Nehls: Live theatre returns to Elitch Gardens after 24 years
    Gillian McNally: Colorado's oldest theatre celebrates Artistic Director Tom McNally
    Margie Lamb on the Henry Awards: Something doesn't add up
    Bryan VanDriel on Lloyd Norton: A name that will live on in Greeley
    Jessica Jackson on Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Susan Lyles on 10 years of staging plays for women in Denver

    More Colorade theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    EM Lewis. The Gun Show
    Playwright EM Lewis and her husband.

  • April: Here's what's coming this month in Colorado theatre

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


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

    Five intriguing titles for April:

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

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

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

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

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


    DCPA April theatre listings



    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

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

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

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

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

    Through April 8: DCPA Cabaret's An Act of God
    Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

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

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

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

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

    2017 Plays In Progress Series

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

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

    Special Table Reading

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

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

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

    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    • Saturday, April 8: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month, through May 13)
    • Saturday, April 9: Very Short Stories: International for Stories on Stage, at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
    • Tuesday, April 18: The Great Debate (monthly)
    • Wednesday, April 19: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
    • Friday, April 28: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum, monthly)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    THE CLOCKTOWER CABARET

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

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

    Concert Lone Treey 340

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

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

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

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


    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

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

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

    LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: BOULDER

    • Saturday, April 29: Giving Motherhood a Microphone

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

    LONE TREE ARTS CENTER

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

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

    PHAMALY THEATRE COMPANY
    • April 1-2: James and the Giant Peach
    At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or the dairy.org

    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret

    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

    STORIES ON STAGE
    • Saturday, April 9: Very Short Stories: International
    Flash fiction from around the world. Stories will be performed by Erin Rollman, Hannah Duggan, Erik Edborg and Brian Colonna of Buntport Theatre.
    1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

    SU TEATRO

    • April 18- 29: Wordfest

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

  • 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
  • In the Spotlife: Mark Collins of 'Lost Creatures'

    by John Moore | Nov 01, 2016
    Mark Collins. Lost Creatures
    Photo of Mark Collins by Sara Harris.

    (The DCPA NewsCenter regularly profiles actors performing in theatre productions throughout the state of Colorado.)

    MEET MARK COLLINS

    The former Boulder theatre critic is playing renowned theatre critic Kenneth Tynan in Melissa Lucero McCarl's 'Lost Creatures' for And Toto too Theatre Company

    • Lulu Mark Collins Lost CreaturesHometown: Reidsville, N.C.
    • Home now: Denver
    • High School: Boulder High School
    • College: I have a BFA in Acting from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an MFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    • What have you done for us lately? I played Michael in God of Carnage at Miners Alley Playhouse
    • What is Lost Creatures all about? In 1978, former British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan visited reclusive former silent-film star Louise Brooks in her dingy one-room apartment in Rochester, N.Y. Tynan, a fan of Brooks', was there to interview the 71-year-old for a profile he wrote that eventually ran in the New Yorker. Playwright Melissa Lucero McCarl imagines what happened when these two kindred spirits – two lost creatures – met and drank and talked and ...?
    • Tell us about your character: Kenneth Tynan was a foremost drama critic, and a notorious and purposefully provocative sexual deviant; he suffered from emphysema and had a life-long stammer. As an actor, though, the big stretch for me has been that Ken speaks in complete and often flourishing paragraphs. I, on the other hand, have trouble speaking in complete sentences. So that’s been a challenge.
    • Lost CreaturesWhat do you love most about this experience? First, to get to work with this dynamite team – the supportive and miracle-making duo of (producers) Susan Lyles and Darren Smith; our onion-peeler-of-a-director Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, our smokin’ hot writer Melissa McCarl, clever stage manager Lauren Myer, and the lovely tandem of Billie McBride and Annabel Reader - is a real treat. Billie will break hearts as Louise, I guarantee it. But one of the things I’m most looking forward to is how the audience responds to the character of Lulu, played by Annabel. She, as Louise Brooks’ iconic film character from the 1929 pre-talkie Pandora’s Box (you’ll recognize the hairstyle she made famous), is a silent character. She is (mostly) unseen by others on stage, yet Lulu is ever present and ever mischievous, and Annabel has created this fully realized character without words wonderfully.
    • From 2012: Moore & Collins: Two ex-theater critics having coffee

    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I think many people in the local theater scene know I was a theater critic for the Boulder Camera for several years. Many don’t realize that was a freelance position, and my full-time work for much of that period was as a sports editor/writer for the (University of Colorado) Buffalo Sports News. Truth be told, I’m much more fluent on the history of the Colorado Buffaloes football than I am on, say, Bertolt Brecht.
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? Um, so, as an audience member, my pet peeve is those increasingly present, but frustratingly intrusive post-curtain marketing speeches. Please don’t tell me to like you on Facebook when I’m absorbing and processing and feeling what’s just happened on your stage. Oh, but that’s a downer note to end on. So, I want to get this off my chest, too: Theater is filled with lost creatures, and I’m so grateful to be among that tribe here in Colorado!

    KennethTynan


    Lost Creatures: Ticket information

    • By Melissa Lucero McCarl
    • Directed by Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski
    • Nov. 3-19
    • Presented by And Toto too Theatre Company at 1245 Champa St. (In the brand new performance space called The Commons.)
    • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays 
    • Tickets $15-25
    • Info: 720-583-3975 or go to andtototoo.org 

    Cast List:
    • Mark Collins as Kenneth Tynan
    • Billie McBride as Louise Brooks
    • Annabel Reader as Lulu

    About the Next Stage NOW Project
    Lost Creatures is supported in part by Next Stage NOW, a public initiative with a mission to enliven and diversify the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Denver Arts & Venues in partnership with the Boettcher Foundation and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has made $200,000 available to support public performances, programming and place making initiatives at the Arts Complex in 2016.

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre'sThe Crucible
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2015 True West Award: Susan Lyles

    by John Moore | Dec 06, 2015
    True West Awards Susan Lyles
    James O’Hagan Murphy and Kate Poling in 'Smoke,' by Kim Davies. Photo credit:  Meghan Ralph, Soular Radiant Photography.


    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient:
    And Toto Too Theatre Company founder Susan Lyles

    Today’s presenter: DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore


    According to a recent sampling, just 22 percent of all plays produced on American stages between 2011-14 were written by women. Even though women historically average about 57 percent of the theatregoing audience.

    As the issue of gender disparity in American playwriting finally emerged as a major topic of national conversation in recent months, Denver’s only theatre company dedicated to exclusively presenting women’s voices was quietly celebrating its 10th anniversary.

    Susan Lyles QuoteAnd Toto Too Theatre Company came to life in 2005. Susan Lyles had given birth to her second son just five weeks before she went into rehearsals for her company's first production. As a longtime actor, costume designer and especially as both mother and role model to young boys, she said, enough was enough.

    “It was just time to take the leap,” said Lyles, who had moved to Colorado from Kansas with her husband, Darren Smith, in 1998. “I felt it was important for me to continue to be creative around my children. And as a woman, I realized how underrepresented we were, and how little control we had over our art form.

    “And also as a woman, I wanted to hear my own voice up there on the stage,” she added. And she wanted her boys to hear that voice as well.

    It has not been an easy or obvious go for Lyles. In the first 10 years, her not-for-profit company has fully staged 12 plays by women playwrights (all but one world premieres). The most recent was Kim Davies’ Smoke, a positively Mamet-like exploration of sexual power between a man and woman who hook up at a kink party in New York City.

    READ MORE: HOW THERESA REBECK IS GETTING EVEN

    And Toto Too is perhaps best known for its annual play crawl that takes place amid the funky Tennyson Street Art District in northwest Denver. Each summer, Lyles commissions 12 women to write two-minute plays all presented environmentally by some of the area’s top actors in galleries and shops stretching between 38th and 44th avenues. The Play Crawl, the company’s major annual fundraiser, has introduced more than 50 short new works since it began in 2011. And Toto Too also has launched a reading series that introduced seven new full-length works by women in 2015 alone.  

    Like most any other small theatre company in the metro area, finding a permanent home has proven to be an elusive goal. And Toto Too has had four homes, having most recently settled into the black box at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora.

    The lack of a permanent home and the economics of producing live theatre have made it impossible and impractical for Lyles to plan full seasons like bigger companies. Instead she produces a fully staged show whenever she can afford to do it. It costs an average of about $7,000 to produce a new play, depending on varying factors including venue, whether a union (Equity) actor is involved, and the cost of building the set.

    And Toto Too. Photo by John Moore.





    Artistic director Susan Lyles, right, had a cheap but reliable labor force at her disposal in 2013, meaning her two young sons, before this performance of the Dorothy Parker drama 'Pardon My Dust' at the former LIDA Project space. Photo by John Moore.


    Another complication: "All of our funding comes from individual donors and ticket sales – not from grants,” she said. “So without people truly wanting to see plays by women, we would have folded a long time ago.”  

    Lyles’ goals heading into 2016 include finding a permanent home, developing local women playwrights, and encouraging the expansion of other underrepresented voices, including transgendered and Native American writers.

    She is impressed that at about the same time she started And Toto Too, new DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Kent Thompson created the Women’s Voices Fund, which has raised more than $1 million to create opportunities for female playwrights and directors. Next month, the DCPA will stage world premieres by Tanya Saracho and Theresa Rebeck.

    “I think it is great that they are actually putting their money where their mouth is,” Lyles said.

    This all comes at a time when the drumbeat for gender parity has been rising from across the nation, both at industry conferences and on the internet. Lyles is encouraged, but skeptical. “I am hopeful that something comes of it,” she said. “But I seriously wonder how long the conversation is going to last because it is a subject that comes and goes.

    "The fact of the matter is I shouldn’t have to form a company just to have women’s voices represented on the stage. It should just be a given.”​

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

    The True West Awards began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. This year, 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 around the state over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore's daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    THE 2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS​
    Day 1: Rachel D. Graham
    Day 2: BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Day 4: Laurence Curry
    Day 5: Bernie Cardell
    Day 6: Susan Lyles
    Day 7: John Jurcheck​
    Day 8: Christopher L. Sheley
    Day 9: DCPA Education's 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot'
    Day 10: Man and Monster: Todd Debreceni and TJ Hogle
    Day 11: Shauna Johnson
    Day 12: Geoffrey Kent and Benjamin Bonenfant
    Day 13: Sesugh Solomon Tor-Agbidye
    Day 14: Keith Ewer
    Day 15: Allison Watrous
    Day 16: Jonathan Farwell
    Day 17: Bob, Wendy and Missy Moore
    Day 18: Emma Messenger
    Day 19: Shannon McKinney
    Day 20: Mary Louise Lee and Yasmine Hunter
    Day 21: Charlie Miller and Emily Tarquin
    Day 22: Scott Beyette
    Day 23: Augustus Truhn
    Day 24: Jimmy Bruenger
    Day 25: The Masters of Props: Rob Costigan, Peki Pineda and Becky Toma
    Day 26: Jalyn Courtenay Webb
    Day 27: Andre Rodriguez
    Day 28: Rebecca Remaly
    Day 29: Mark Collins
    Day 30: Phamaly Theatre Company's Cabaret
    Bonus: Donald R. Seawell

  • Susan Lyles' focus on women playwrights: From crawl to a sprint

    by NewsCenter Staff | Jun 08, 2015
    Susan Quote 800

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


    By Susan Lyles

    And Toto too Theatre Company Founder

    It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since And Toto too Theatre Company produced the world premiere play, Appliance, by Canadian playwright Lindsey Price. Ten years later, we are still the only theatre in Denver that focuses entirely on producing new plays by women playwrights, with stories told in our voices and reflecting our experiences.

    We have produced world and regional premieres, workshopped new plays and launched one of the most unique fundraising artistic events in the country, The Play Crawl. The Crawl, which returns Wednesday (June 10), brings together dozens of actors, directors and playwrights who volunteer their time to create an evening of environmentally performed 2-minute plays in the historic Tennyson Arts District.


    This amazing collaboration has been ongoing for the last five years. It not only highlights our local creative talent, but also this vital neighborhood of independently owned stores.  After soaking in the artistry and warm summer evenings, it's back to our silent auction and dancing at the Oriental Theatre.

    As we move into our second decade, we have some exciting new programming to look forward to in the form of a new reading series performed in cafés and clubs around Denver. This series will highlight the new work of some of the playwrights we have produced over the last few years. Our fall production will be the regional premiere of the provocative erotic power game, Smoke by Kim Davies.

    As we look back over the last 10 years, it has been a challenge. We lost two performance spaces to encroaching development in the Denver area. Through all of these transitions, we have stuck to our mission of supporting the new works of the woman playwright, in spite of advisers pushing for us to do more well-known plays to pull in an audience.  

    In staying faithful to our mission, we have built up a loyal fan base made up of both men and women with an age range that crosses generations and makes us even more determined to find a solid home base for And Toto too Theatre Company this year.

    Moving forward, it is exciting to see some really big players in the national community choosing to produce entire seasons of works by women. This bold move will cause a ripple effect and open the door to even more women playwrights across all levels of our community. Perhaps this door will open even wider to include more stories from our GLBT playwrights and playwrights of color, thus making our stages more truly reflective of the world in which we live.

    Play Crawl 2015
    Wednesday, June 10
    6-11 p.m.
    Tickets $35 ($8 after 9 p.m)
    Oriental Theatre, 4335 W. 44th St., Denver CO 80212
    Includes mixer, silent auction and DJ Savior Breath
    Featured playwrights: Linda Berry, Christie Brenner Winn, Lisa Wagner Erickson, Jennifer Faletto, Ellen K. Graham, Rebecca Gorman O'Neill, Leslie C. Lewis, Melissa Lucero McCarl, Nina Alice Miller, Carrie Printz, Carol Samson, and Sheila Traister.

    Tickets available online at www.andtototoo.org or by calling 720-583-3975.


    About Our Guest Columnist:
    Susan Lyles is an actor, designer, director and producer with shows in Chicago, Wichita and Denver to her credit. She has worked on stage, in film, TV, print and voiceover.  She has a BA in performing arts from Wichita State University and a certificate in Shakespeare from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She is also the mother of two boys, one of whom is an aspiring playwright/writer; the other an aspiring actor. She is wife to an amazing entrepreneur/artist, and mom to two monster-size furbabies. 

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

    And Toto Too Productions through the years.

    Photos by Darren Smith, Brian Landis Folkins and Sarah Roshan. Actors include Billie McBride, Emma Messenger, Paul Page, Rita Broderick, Adrienne Martin Fullwood, Steven Burge, Mark Collins, Lauren Cora Marsh and more.
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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.