• Rodney Lizcano leads 2018 Colorado Shakes lineup as Richard III

    by John Moore | Feb 08, 2018
    American Mariachi Rodney Lizcano. Adams Viscom

    Rodney Lizcano, currently playing several roles in the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere of 'American Mariachi,' will headline the 2018 Colorado Shakespeare Festival season in the title role of 'Richard III.' Photo by Adams Viscom.

    A flood of familiar faces this summer will join what the festival is calling the most diverse lineup in its history

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Rodney Lizcano, an award-winning comic and dramatic actor now performing in the DCPA’s American Mariachi, is a character actor no more.

    Rodney LizcanoThe Colorado Shakespeare Festival announced today that Lizcano, a graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory long known for his supporting roles, will play Shakespeare’s most murderous and malicious king in Richard III  this summer.

    “Rodney can slip chameleon-like in and out of different roles with such skill and charisma,” said Colorado Shakes Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr. “He is thrilling to watch on stage, and we can’t wait for him to sink his teeth into Richard III.”

    Lizcano was nominated for a 2016 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for his comic portrayal of Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, and again last year for playing a more somber Ralph Crane in the Denver Center’s world-premiere The Book of Will.

    As part of the Denver Center’s world-premiere cast of American Mariachi now performing in the Stage Theatre, Lizcano will travel with the production to San Diego for a run at the Old Globe Theatre opening March 28 before Colorado Shakespeare Festival rehearsals begin.

    Lizcano’s extensive Denver Center credits include Frankenstein, Hamlet, American Night, The Merchant of Venice, Gross Indecency, The Rivals, A Christmas Carol and more. His Colorado Shakes titles have included Hamlet, Equivocation, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Henry V, Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor and both parts of Henry IV. He has also performed with Theatre Aspen and the Arvada Center, among others.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Orr said the Colorado Shakespeare’s 61st season will again consist of two separate repertory companies: One to perform Love’s Labour’s Lost and Cyrano de Bergerac on the Mary Rippon outdoor stage, and another to perform Richard III and You Can’t Take it With You on the indoor stage.

    Orr also said 2018 promises to be its most diverse season in company history, with one third of all roles going to actors of color.

    Berry HartAmong those making their Colorado Shakes debuts is Betty Hart (pictured right), a new Colorado Theatre Guild board member who is directing DCPA Cabaret’s upcoming presentation of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, starring Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee and playing Mondays at the Galleria Theatre from March 5-April 23. She will play Queen Elizabeth in Richard III and Mrs. Kirby in You Can’t Take it With You.

    Anthony Adu, from Off-Center’s Drag On, will play Moth in Love’s Labour’s Lost. And Brynn Tucker (DCPA’s Frankenstein and Last Night and the Night Before, will play Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac.

    Brynn Tucker Summit. Photo by John Moore“Historically, there haven’t been many opportunities for minority actors in classical theatre, and we’re committed to changing that,” Orr said. “Our aim is for the CSF stage to reflect the strengths and talents of the diverse communities in which we live.”

    Other returning Colorado Shakespeare Festival favorites include Sam Gregory and Leslie O’Carroll as Grandpa Vanderhof and Penelope Sycamore in You Can’t Take it With You, the classic 1930s screwball comedy about a young couple whose two very different families meet at a disastrous dinner.  

    Gregory, who plays Scrooge in the Theatre Company’s seasonal stagings of A Christmas Carol, appeared last summer in Colorado Shakes’ Hamlet and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. He is about to star in All My Sons at the Arvada Center, opening March 2. O’Carroll’s history with the Theatre Company goes back nearly 30 years, most recently as Mrs. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol.

    Seth DhonauSeth Dhonau, currently starring in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date, and University of Northern Colorado alumna Desiree Mee Jung will play the quick-witted couple Rosaline and Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Marco Robinson, who just performed in Off-Center’s The Wild Party and is currently featured in Miners Alley Playhouse’s Fun Home, will star as King Ferdinand. DCPA Teaching Artist Chloe McLeod, who plays Joan in that same Fun Home, will play Essie Carmichael in You Can't Take it With You.

    Starring as Cyrano will be Scott Coopwood, who played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Brutus in Julius Caesar last year. Anastasia Davidson, currently appearing in Curious Theatre’s Detroit ’67, will play Jaquenetta in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Young Augie Reichert, who has been appearing in the DCPA Theatre Company’s annual stagings of A Christmas Carol since 2014, will play Little Richard in Richard III.

    Returning favorites include Michael Bouchard, Off-Center’s longtime Crumpet in The SantaLand Diaries, along with Sean Scrutchins, with whom he won a 2017 a True West Award for last season’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Also: Sam Sandoe, Anne Sandoe, Bob Buckley, Benaiah Anderson, Matthew Schneck, Mare Trevathan, Casey Andree, Brian Kusic, Sam Sandoe, Jihad Milhem, Emelie O'Hara, Austin Terrell and more.

    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.

    LL_Image4Love's Labour's Lost

    • By William Shakespeare
    • Outdoor stage
    • June 8-Aug. 12
    • Directed by Brendon Fox

    In the bucolic Kingdom of Navarre, four attractive young men make a pact to swear off romance and focus on academia — just minutes before the four loves of their lives wander by. Shakespeare’s comedy about the struggle to balance heart and head is the perfect ode to the festival's academic surroundings.

    • Marco Robinson: King Ferdinand of Navarre
    • Desirée Mee Jung: Princess of France
    • Seth Dhonau: Berowne
    • Scott Coopwood: Boyet
    • Rafael Untalan: Don Adriano de Armado
    • Matthew Schneck: Holofernes
    • Michael Bouchard: Costard
    • Grant Bowman: Anthony Dull
    • Anthony Adu: Moth
    • Brynn Tucker: Rosaline
    • Benaiah Anderson: Forrester/Mercade
    • Aziza Gharib: Maria
    • Amber Scales: Katherine
    • Casey Andree: Sir Nathaniel
    • Anastasia Davidson: Jaquenetta
    • David Derringer: Dumaine
    • AJ Voliton: Longaville

    richard. III

    • By William Shakespeare
    • Indoor stage
    • June 22-Aug. 11
    • Directed by Wendy Franz

    Richard, Edward IV’s deformed and embittered younger brother, will do anything to take the crown for himself — but once he has the throne, everything falls apart. Four centuries later, the masterful conclusion of Shakespeare’s Henriad history cycle still speaks volumes about lies, honor and the dark side of ambition.(Pictured: Richard III in 2012.)

    • Sam Gregory: Hastings
    • Leslie O'Carroll: Duchess of York
    • Betty Hart: Queen Elizabeth
    • Brian Kusic: Richmond/Grey/Alderman
    • Coleman Zeigen: Stanley
    • Sam Sandoe: Catesby/First Murderer
    • Christian Ray: Dorset/Second Murderer/Messenger/Alderman/Soldier
    • Jihad Milhem: Clarence/Earl of Oxford/Mayor of London
    • Lindsay Ryan: Lady Anne
    • Rodney Lizcano: Richard III
    • Sean Scrutchins: Buckingham
    • Austin Terrell: Brackenbury/Ratcliffe
    • Leraldo Anzaldua: King Edward IV/Bishop of Ely/Alderman/Soldier/Faceless Ghost/Fight Choreographer
    • Anne Penner: Margaret
    • Mike Largent: Rivers/Soldier/Alderman/Faceless Ghost
    • Kyle Chesney: Ensemble/Alderman/Soldier
    • Elena Sayeedi: Ensemble/Lady in Waiting/Alderman/Soldier
    • Alex RosenthalEnsemble/Alderman/Soldier
    • Luka Teodoru: Prince Edward
    • Augie Reichert: Little Richard, Duke of York
    • Kaiyane Arabian: Little Lady

    Cyrano de Bergerac

    • By Edmond Rostand
    • Outdoor stage
    • July 6-Aug. 11
    • Directed by Christopher DuVal

    In Rostand’s timeless romantic comedy, Cyrano is witty and proud but crippled by insecurity. He secretly pines for Roxanne — but she has her eyes on handsome, empty-headed Christian.

    • Marco Robinson: Christian de Neuvillette
    • Desirée Mee Jung: Sister Claire/Lady/Lise/Precieuse/Ensemble
    • Seth Dhonau: Brissaille/Cavalryman/Capuchin/Another Actor/Cadet 2/Cook 2 and Apprentice/Nun/Ensemble
    • Scott Coopwood: Cyrano de Bergerac
    • Rafael Untalan: Comte de Guiche
    • Matthew Schneck: Le Bret
    • Michael Bouchard: Ragueneau
    • Janae Burris: Bellerose/Doorkeeper/Actress/Poet 2/Nun/Ensemble
    • Anthony Adu: Jodelet/Cadet 3/Poet 1/Guard/Actor/Nun/Ensemble
    • Brynn Tucker: Roxanne+Read Bio for Brynn Tucker
    • AJ Voliton: Musketeer/Spanish Officer/Cadet 5
    • Benaiah Anderson: Vicomte de Valvert/Cadet 1/Cadet 6/Ensemble
    • Aziza Gharib: Flower girl/Nun/Poet 3/Pickpocket/Foodseller/Ensemble
    • Amber Scales: Sister Marthe/Duenna/A Lady/Ensemble
    • Casey Andree: Cuigy/Citizen/Cooks 1 and 4/Cadet 8/Ensemble
    • David Derringer: Ligniere/Nun/Cadet 4/Ensemble
    • Anne Sandoe: Mother Marguerite de Jesus/1st Marquis/Poet 4/Ensemble
    • Bob Buckley: Montfleury/Carbon de Castel-Jaloux/Cadet 7/Ensemble
    • Robert Wester: Cook 3/Bertrandous/Cadet

    You Can't Take It With You

    • By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
    • Indoor stage
    • July 20-Aug. 12
    • Directed by Carolyn Howarth

    When Alice brings her boyfriend’s traditional, straight-laced family to dine with her household of freethinking eccentrics, fights break out and fireworks erupt. Kaufman and Hart’s 1930s classic pays homage to those who march to the beat of their own drum and reminds us all to choose dreams over drudgery.

    • Sam Gregory: Martin (Grandpa) Vanderhof
    • Leslie O'Carroll: Penelope Vanderhof Sycamore
    • Betty Hart: Mrs. Kirby
    • Mare Trevathan: Olga/Gay
    • Coleman Zeigen: Mr. Kirby
    • Sam Sandoe: Mr. De Pinna
    • Lauren Dennis: Rheba
    • Christian Ray: Tony Kirby
    • Jihad Milhem: Ed Carmichael
    • Lindsay Ryan: Alice
    • Rodney Lizcano: Boris Kolenhkov
    • Sean Scrutchins: Henderson
    • Chloe McLeod: Essie Carmichael
    • Leraldo Anzaldua: Paul Sycamore/Fight Choreographer
    • Mike Largent: Donald
    • Kyle Chesney: The Man
    • Elena Sayeedi: G-man photographer

    Edward III

    • By William Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd
    • Outdoor stage
    • Aug. 5
    • Directed by Kevin Rich

    Colorado Shakes’ “Original Practices” tradition continues with a history play that’s been mired in mystery for hundreds of years. England’s king is out to capture the crown of France and the heart of a married countess. The cost of his lust? Personal humiliation and 150 years of English battle and bloodshed. This is a one-night-only performance, inspired by the stage practices of Shakespeare’s own time.

    • Michael Bouchard: Earl Douglas/Charles
    • Marco Robinson: Lorraine/Villers/Esquire 1/Calais Citizen 1
    • Desirée Mee Jung: Countess of Salisbury/Frenchman 2/Calais Citizen 2
    • Seth Dhonau: John of France
    • Scott Coopwood: Edward III
    • Benaiah Anderson: Prince Edward/Fight Choreographer
    • Aziza Gharib: Frenchman 4/French Herald 3/French Captain/Esquire 2/Herald
    • Emelie O'Hara: Lodwick/French Woman/Queen Phillipa
    • Leslie O'Carroll: Audley
    • Betty Hart: Artois
    • Sam Sandoe: Warwick/Frenchman 3/French Herald 1/Copland
    • Christian Ray: Messenger/Percy/Philip
    • Jihad Milhem: Mountague/French Mariner/Salisbury
    • Leraldo Anzaldua: David of Scotland/Gobin de Grey/Frenchman 1/Montford/French Herald 2
    • Kevin Rich: Derby

    *Play descriptions provided by Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    Casting by Sylvia Gregory Casting

    Ticket information
    The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 2018 season runs through June 8-1Aug. 12 in Boulder on the campus of the University of Colorado. Tickets are available by calling 303-492-8008 or going to www.coloradoshakes.org

    Video bonus: Rodney Lizcano's Old Joe transformation:

  • Vintage, Denver Center collaborate to bring 'Lady Day,' Mary Louise Lee, to stage

    by John Moore | Nov 20, 2017
    Lady Day Mary Louise Lee Adams Viscom Mary Louise Lee in the 2016 DCPA Theatre Company workshop of 'Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.' Photo by  AdamsVisCom.


    From First Lady to Lady Day: Billie Holiday musical to open at Vintage, then move to Denver Center's Galleria Theatre

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Mary Louise LeeWhen Mary Louise Lee revisited her signature role as Billie Holiday
    in a special workshop production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill last year, she dedicated the performance to Shadow Theatre Company founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Nickelson. Lee considers having played the jazz legend in 2002 to be the most meaningful performance of her storied career.

    It couldn't be more fitting, then, that when Vintage Theatre Productions brings the story to full stage life again this January with Lee in the title role, she will be be performing in the Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium. 

    Nickelson, who died in 2009, was a graduate of the DCPA’s National Theatre Conservatory masters program. In 1997, he founded Shadow Theatre to present “stories from the heart of the African-American community,” as he liked to say. And the biggest hit in Shadow’s history was that 2002 production of Lady Day, with Nickelson directing and Lee starring as Holiday.

    Lady DayFor her haunting portrayal of a woman with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit  — Lee won a Westword Best of Denver Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The review said: “A stunning evening of theatre. Lee's singing is absolutely radiant. Her voice is smooth as glass. At times she sounds uncannily like Holiday, at others entirely like her full-throated self." She reprised the role for a special three-day workshop engagement in 2016 at the Denver Center's Jones Theatre. 

    After Nickelsen died of a heart attack in 2009, the theatre he opened at 1468 Dayton St. in Aurora was renamed the Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium. Vintage took over operations there in 2011. 

    Berry HartToday, Vintage and the Denver Center announced an unprecedented collaboration. Vintage will introduce its new production of Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, starring Lee and directed by Betty Hart (pictured right), from Jan. 12 through Feb. 18. The production will then move to the Denver Center's Garner-Galleria Theatre on March 5 and perform there on Monday nights through April 23 — while the Denver Center's ongoing musical comedy First Date continues its run for the rest of the week.

    Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill tells Holiday's troubled life story through the songs that made her famous, including "God Bless the Child," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Strange Fruit" and "Taint Nobody's Biz-ness." Set in Philadelphia in 1959, Holiday's performance at Emerson's Bar & Grill was one of her last, and Lady Day is not just a memorable tribute to the singer, but also a moving portrait of her struggles with addiction, racism, and loss.

    "We're thrilled, of course," said Vintage Theatre Artistic Director Bernie Cardell. "This is an exciting event for Vintage and for the theatre community overall. If we are to thrive, collaboration is the key. While we certainly can survive on our own, we can reach bigger heights together. My hope is this is just the start of a new way of producing quality theatre for our community."

     Lady Day Mary Louise Lee. 2002Lee's performing career began at the Denver Center when she appeared in Beehive at what is now the Garner Galleria Theatre while only 18 years old and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. In 2011, Lady Day also became the First Lady of Denver when her husband, Michael B. Hancock, was elected Mayor.

    (Pictured right: Mary Louise Lee in rehearsal for her award-winning turn in 'Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill' for Shadow Theatre in 2002.)

    Lee has performing at many high profile events over the past two decades, including the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions. She performed with the Colorado Symphony at the 911 Remembrance Ceremony, and in the First Ladies of Jazz concert. She has sung the national anthem before 78,000 Denver Broncos fans, was featured vocalist at the grand opening of Union Station was a Season 9 contestant on America's Got Talent.  She has toured internationally performing for the troops of the U.S. Department of Defense. She returned to the DCPA in 2014 to sing with the cast of the national touring production of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet onstage at the Buell Theatre. And last December, Lee won a 2015 True West Award for her performance in the new musical, Uncle Jed's Barbershop.  

    Read John Moore's Denver Post profile of Mary Louise Lee

    Mary Louise Lee The Wiz. AfterthoughtSome of Lee's other notable local theatre performances have included Vogue Theatre’s A Brief History of White Music, the Arvada Center’s The 1940s Radio Hour, Country Dinner Playhouse’s Ain’t Misbehavin', Denver Civic’s Menopause the Musical and Afterthought Theatre Company's The Wiz, as Glinda the Good Witch (pictured right). She took on that role just after Hancock was elected in 2011.

    From students to senior citizens, Lee is committed to being an ambassador for the arts to help expose and expand access to Denver’s vibrant arts and cultural communities. She is choir director at the New Hope Baptist Church and founder of “Bringin’ Back the Arts," a foundation that encourages arts education in the public schools.

    Betty Hart, the director, recently moved to Denver from Atlanta, where she was a Teaching Artist at the Alliance Theatre. She is the Special Projects Coordinator for Kaiser Permanente Arts Integrated Resources program and recently joined the board of directors for the Colorado Theatre Guild.

    The Music Director will be Trent Hines. He was most recently the conductor and pianist for The Wild Party at the Stanley Marketplace, and he also performed in the show.

    A Lady Day Westword

    Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill: At Vintage Theatre

  • Jan. 12-Feb 18, 2018 (Note: The Feb. 3 show will be performed by Shandra Duncan)
  • 1468 Dayton St., Aurora
  • Tickets $15-$34
  • Call 303-856-7830 or BUY ONLINE

  • Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill: At the Garner-Galleria Theatre

  • March 5-April 23, 2018
  • Denver Performing Arts Complex
  • Tickets start at $42
  • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • The show runs approximately 90 minutes without intermission
  • Adult language and content
  • Age Recommendation: 17 and over

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Video: Mary Louise Lee sings with Million Dollar Quartet:

    Video: Watch Mary Louise Lee sing 'Fools Fall in Love' with the cast of  the national touring production of 'Million Dollar Quartet' at the Buell Theatre in 2014.

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

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