• In the Spotlife: Carla Kaiser Kotrc of 'A Skull in Connemara'

    by John Moore | Mar 24, 2017
    Carla Kaiser Kotrc. Cody Schuyler Photography. Cody Schuyler Photography.


    MEET CARLA KAISER KOTRC

    Carla Kaiser Kotrc plays the lovely MaryJohnny Rafferty in Martin McDonagh's dark Irish comedy, 'A Skull in Connemara,' through April 30 at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. Cody Schuyler Photography

  • Home: Arvada
  • High school: Manual High School
  • College: Western State Colorado University
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Mae Peterson (Mama) in Bye, Bye, Birdie for Performance Now
  • Carla Kaiser Kotrc. The Last Session.Twitter-sized bio: I am a graphic artist by day, actor by night, grateful wife, extracurricular creativity enthusiast, horrifying cook, devoted procrastinator, passionate adventurer and loyal friend. 
  • Instagram handle: @foruaprincess
  • What was the role that changed your life? Playing Vicki in The Last Session (pictured at right). I’ve had the great honor to have played the role twice. The first time was in 1999, directed by John Mandes at The Shop in Denver. I was in the midst of getting divorce from my best friend.  After seven years of marriage, my then-husband told me he was gay. In The Last Session, Vicki's husband revealed his homosexuality during their marriage.  Going through all the emotions of that character’s journey really helped me come to terms with my own failed marriage. And how to let go of the dream of wedded bliss, while still retaining the original friendship. My ex-husband remains a very special person to me, and I so admire his strength and honesty in living a full and meaningful life true to himself.  Like me, he has found his forever partner, and my pilgrimage through The Last Session both times allowed me to discover more of myself. I will always be grateful.
  • Meryl StreepIdeal scene partner: I would simply adore an afternoon with Meryl Streep. I have always admired her unparalleled talent, unapologetic outspoken nature and masterful ability to become someone else so completely. I would speak with her about her process when researching a role, and just bask in the glow of her. Of course, I will have probably peed my pants upon meeting her, so the first few moments will probably be awkward.
  • What is A Skull in Connemara all about? This play is the second chapter in Martin McDonagh's Leenane Trilogy (along with The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West). He gleefully mock sentimental Irish stereotypes with bleak tales filled with hilarious miscreants, misfits and misanthropes. A Skull in Connemara introduces us to Mick Dowd, who for one week each autumn is hired to dis-inter bones in crowded sections of the local cemetery to make way for new arrivals. But as the time approaches for him to dig up the bones of his own late wife, rumors about his possible involvement in her sudden death seven years before resurface. This play is a blasphemously funny whodunit complete with flying skulls and bloody hatchets.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing Maryjohnny Rafferty: She is a cantankerous, bingo-obsessed nag, town gossip, and poteen (moonshine) mooch who is comfortable with her lot in life. It’s a challenge to be held in the boundaries of a different place and time, and of someone so completely opposite of myself. But that’s acting, right? In the end, I’m a dedicated ball of nerves who is always grateful for the journey.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? I hope they laugh – it’s absurd, dark, dramatic, and feckin’ funny! And I hope they admire, as I do, the incredible talent of my castmates, as well as the production team. Billie McBride, our director and the True West Awards' 2016 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year, doesn’t miss a thing. Her eye is keen and her instincts are masterful. And a special shout-out to Jonathan Scott-McKean, whose set, light and sound designs for this production send you immediately into the exact environment for our story. It is absolute perfection from the mossy cemetery to the small cottage where Mick resides.
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? Actor Tim Fishbaugh and I drive through downtown Denver once a month distributing sandwiches, bottles of water and new socks to the homeless and needy. We are approaching our third year of service.  Actually many people do know this about me, but what most people don’t is that I do not have a uvula. Yep, uvula-less – that’s me!
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I am a devoted viewer of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. Therefore I would like to answer his famous 10 final questions:
    1. A Carla Kaiser Kotrc 160What is your favorite word? Grateful.
    2. What is your least favorite word? Hate.
    3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Something I’ve never seen, eaten, or done before. 
    4. What turns you off? Misinformed tweets by people of great responsibility who should be the most informed. It’s childish and divisive.
    5. What is your favorite curse word? Well since my parents-in-law are probably going to be reading this I’ll say, FECK! (Which is really just the sassy, Irish version of my real favorite curse word.) 
    6. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of my husband’s laughter. It’s so full of life and utter joy.
    7. What sound or noise do you hate? An animal in pain.
    8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Standup comedian, writer for Saturday Night Live or wildlife photographer.
    9. What profession would you not like to do?  White House Press Secretary.
    10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?: “We cleared your browser history.” (Rim shot.)

  • Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara: Ticket information

    • Written by Martin McDonagh
    • Directed by Billie McBride
    • March 24 through April 16
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. most Sundays (1 p.m. March 26 and April 30)
    • 1224 Washington St., Golden
    • Tickets $17-$27
    • Info: 303-935-3044 or minersalleyplayhouse.org

    Cast list:
    •  Logan Ernstthal as Mick Dowd
    •  Carla Kaiser Kotrc: MaryJohnny Rafferty
    •  John Hauser: Mairtin
    •  John Jankow: Tommy

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport's The Zeus Probem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre'sThe Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Jane Shirley of Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas
  • 2016 True West Award: Theatre Person of the Year Billie McBride

    by John Moore | Dec 31, 2016
    True West Awards Billie McBride 800 2



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    2016 Theatre Person of the Year: Billie McBride

    When Billie McBride won the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, she was convinced she would never work again. “My first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, they think I am that old?'” she said with a caustic laugh. 

    Pshaw. McBride has barely taken a day off since. One rather wonders how she possibly found time in 2016 to have played seven leading roles and direct three productions from Fort Collins to Dillon to Colorado Springs. That’s 10 productions – for 10 different theatre companies – in 12 months.

    True West Awards Billie McBride Quote“She is, quite simply, the best around,” said Rebecca Remaly Weitz, who directed McBride in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s Ripcord. And that, quite simply, is why she is the True West Awards’ 2016 Theatre Person of the Year: She’s the best around.

    McBride, who has Broadway credits on and off stage, has now reached a certain age where she gets asked to play, well, “a lot of old ladies,” as she bluntly puts it. A lot of them. But in 2016, that meant bringing a dizzying array of women to life ranging in age from 70 to 91.

    OK, so McBride’s characters often share a few consistent personality traits. They tend to be a bit prickly, terse, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, feisty, annoying, bracing, nasty, sour, volcanic, difficult, acerbic and irascible. (Those are all words critics used to describe McBride’s characters in 2016 – “cantankerous” twice, that I could find).

    But it is important to note that she is not being typecast. “Billie is a genuinely loving, giving, wonderful person,” said Christopher Alleman, who directed McBride in The Velocity of Autumn for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. She’s just really good at acting cranky.

    Still, McBride’s 2016 portrayals represented a vast breadth of life experiences that informed every aspect of her fully fleshed characters. I mean, she did everything this year from jumping out of a plane to nearly blowing up her own son with a Molotov cocktail. Consider:

    • Driving Miss Daisy, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center: Daisy is a 72-year-old Jewish widow who embodies oblivious Old South racism in 1948 Atlanta.
    • 4000 Miles, Cherry Creek Theatre: Vera is a no-nonsense, 91-year-old New York grandmother, widow … and member of the Communist Party.
    • The Velocity of Autumn, Lake Dillon Theatre Company: Alexandra is an 80-year-old artist who has barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough explosives to take out a city block.
    • Outside Mullingar, Little Theatre of the Rockies: Aiofe is a tremulous, 70-year-old Irish widow trying to keep a leash on her admittedly “cracked” and obstinately single daughter.
    • The Last Romance, Senior Housing Options at The Barth Hotel: Carol is a prim, 79-year-old retired executive secretary who is slowly coaxed into a joyful awakening by a stranger in a park.
    • Ripcord, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company: Abby is an acidic, 80-year-old patrician whose boast that she is not afraid of anything is put to the comic test.
    • Lost Creatures, And Toto Too Theatre: Silent-film star Louise Brooks was a 72-year-old shut-in when British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan invaded her dingy little apartment, and somehow a love story ensued.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    In a recent essay about David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord – perhaps the slightest story among McBride’s 2016 catalog, Ellen Mareneck found unexpected depth in this Odd Couple meets Grumpy Old Men tale of two opposite women forced to share a room in a senior living residence. “Under the docile exterior of age, there is a ruthless drive to retain relevance and power,” Mareneck wrote of the play. But no words could better describe McBride’s ongoing importance to the Colorado theatre ecology.

    By simply doing what she does best year after year in a profession that doesn’t often value women, and in a society that typically renders older people obsolete, McBride stands in towering, empowering opposition to the norm.

    Perhaps the greatest achievement of McBride’s year was her unexpectedly gritty performance in Eric Coble’s The Velocity of Autumn. There was nothing even slightly adorable about McBride’s portrayal of a declining woman locked in a bitter showdown with her family over where she will spend her remaining years. As soon as her estranged son arrives, the emotional bombs start detonating. The play has been praised for “touching a nerve that is exposed in many no-win debates across America over what’s best for a relative no longer at her sharpest.” McBride unflinchingly embraced her role as essentially a domestic terrorist with a profound absence of sentiment.

    "We knew as soon as we chose the play that we had to have Billie play the role,” said Alleman. “There wasn't any more thought put into it. Billie is incredibly talented, and she brought fierceness to the role.”

    True West Awards Billie McBride

    Top row, from left: Lost Creatures, Outside Mullingar.
    Second row: Driving Miss Daisy, 4000 Miles, The Velocity of Autumn.
    Third row: The Last Romance, Ripcord.


    Somehow McBride also managed to direct Lost in Yonkers for the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins, Hello Dolly! for middle- and high-school actors at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, and the workshop production of a new play called The Closet by Siegmund Fuchs for the Historic Elitch Theatre.

    As a director, McBride is known for asking you to leave your toolbox at the door when you arrive at the theatre. Not the crewmembers building the set – the actors. Just like carpenters, all actors have go-to tactics they go back to again and again. McBride has a reputation for breaking actors of those safe habits like so many wild horses.

    “She is tough and yet incredibly kind,” said Jalyn Courtenay Webb, who hired McBride to direct Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers in Fort Collins. McBride, who has a long history directing for the Denver Children’s Theatre, has a special way with younger actors, said Webb, whose 11-year-old nephew won the role of young Arty. “She was really great at talking to him at his level,” she said. “She didn’t treat him like a kid or like an adult. She treated him like the actor he needed to be in that show.”

    BILLIE McBRIDE/At a glance:

    • Grew up in Le Roy, Ill.
    • College: Illinois Wesleyan University
    • Broadway credits: A Kurt Weill Cabaret, Production Supervisor, 1979; Torch Song Trilogy, Assistant Stage Manager, 1982; played June in Safe Sex with Harvey Fierstein, 1987
    • Made DCPA Theatre Company debut in 2015 playing straight-talking Willa in world premiere of Benediction
    • Selected local credits not mentioned above: The Arvada Center (The Women, Cabaret), TheatreWorks (The Lying Kind), The Barth Hotel (On Golden Pond), Miners Alley Playhouse (Grace and Glorie)
    • Currently a company member with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

    Video: Our 2015 'Meet the Cast' profile of Billie McBride:



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

    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
  • 'Lost Creatures': Love finds its voice in the ruins of Rochester

    by John Moore | Nov 05, 2016

    Watch the trailer for Louise Brooks' 1929 silent film, 'Pandora's Box.'


    By McKenzie Kielman

    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    Louise Brooks was an iconic American silent-film star from the 1920s and ’30s, the flapper who immortalized the bobbed hairstyle 50 years before Dorothy Hamill skated her way into America’s hearts. Kenneth Tynan was a highly regarded English theatre critic who so idolized Brooks that he tracked her down in 1978 to profile her in The New Yorker. By then, Brooks was a forgotten recluse living in a dingy apartment in Rochester, N.Y.

    Lost Creatures. And Toto Too. Billie McBride and Annabel ReaderAnd yet, despite their 20-year age gap, an unlikely love story unfolded in the course of their marathon dialogue about sex, philosophy, art and criticism.

    Acclaimed local playwright Melissa Lucero McCarl (Painted Bread) imagines what might have happened during that fateful encounter in Lost Creatures, the final play in the 11th season for And Toto Too, the only Colorado theatre company dedicated exclusively to new works by women playwrights. The fan and the idol identify one another as kindred spirits despite the May-December age difference. 

    Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, the DCPA’s Associate Director of Education, directed the play starring Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement Award winner Billie McBride and former local theatre critic Mark Collins, along with Annabel Reader as Lulu, the famous character Brooks played in the 1929 silent film Pandora’s Box. Appropriately enough, Lulu does not speak during the play, either.

    Read Kenneth Tynan's New Yorker profile on Louise Brooks

    “I’m very intrigued to see how audiences respond to this third character, who is somewhat spectral and never clearly defined - on purpose - as if she’s not really there, or a product of imagination,” said Elkins-Zeglarski.

    Patrick Elkins Zeglarski. Lost Creatures. Although film is a fundamental basis for the dialogue, no clips from the 24 films Brooks appeared in have been incorporated into the play. “Oh, the horror,” Tynan jokes. But the absence is intentional, Elkins-Zeglarski said.

    “Ken even starts the evening by saying there are no film clips, because this is a play about language and ideas,” he said. “We will be talking about film, but we will not be looking at film.”

    McCarl’s resulting play, he said, is smart. “It’s just an exceptional evening to sit in the company of these two great minds as they delight and challenge each other.”

    Some audience members may come in with a vast knowledge of Brooks and Tynan, while others may never have heard of either one. Elkins-Zeglarski said the conversation stands on its own. But he finds it inconceivable that these two renowned figures in film history might otherwise be lost in the sands of time. Pop culture loses a Louise Brooks and gains a Kardashian. "I don’t think the play judges that, but I do think that the play says, ‘Hey, there are other options out there,' " Elkins-Zeglarski said. “We are spending time with two of those options.”

    And while everyone knows Kim, Kylie, Klohé, Kourtney and Kendall, we call all relate to Brooks, Elkins-Zeglarski said, “Whether you are also someone who wants to create, or are someone who is also managing addiction, or if you identify with being labeled or pigeonholed but not succumbing to those people. I think this is a very modern and contemporary conversation, even if it takes place in the late 1970s.

    Meet Mark Collins, the critic who plays the critic Kenneth Tynan

    “That’s a benefit of this play. You get to spend an intimate evening with these two people and walk away wondering, ‘How did these lives touch me in this theatrical journey?’”

    Lost Creatures. Kenneth Tynan. Louise Brooks. The city is helping bring McCarl's world-premiere staging to the Denver Performing Arts Complex in a new performance space called The Commons, located at 1245 Champa St. It’s part of the city’s Next Stage Now program - a public initiative to enliven and diversify the downtown arts complex. A new partnership between the city’s department of Arts & Venues, 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. 

    McKenzie Kielman is a sophomore at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and is an intern this semester for the DCPA NewsCenter. Contact her at cintern@dcpa.org

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Lost Creatures: Ticket information
    Nov. 9-13
    At The Commons, 1245 Champa St.
    Performances 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays
    Tickets $25
    Call 720-583-3975 or go to and-toto-too-theatre-company.org

     

     

  • 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

  • November: Colorado theatre openings

    by John Moore | Oct 27, 2016
    November openings DCPA


    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of all upcoming Colorado theatre openings. 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 November:

    Theatregoers have a dizzying array of options in November, with more special events and activities offered than in any other month. All told, you have 81 productions or events to choose from, including a whopping nine from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts alone. Statewide, you can choose between two stage adaptations of Night of the Living Dead, two musicalized versions of the holiday family film A Christmas Story, two It's a Wonderful Lifes, two The Crucibles and four variations of A Christmas Carol.

    At the Denver Center, you will find everything from three nights of David Sedaris to Jersey Boys to Hip Hop Nutcracker to the ongoing irreverent comedy An Act of God. And that doesn't even include two of Denver's most popular November activities: The Denver International Film Festival (Nov. 2-13) and the Denver Improv Festival (Nov. 10-12). Here are five (of many) intriguing titles or events to check out:

    1 PerspectivesJohn Hauser Young John Hauser is on a roll. His latest coup is landing the role of a troubled Texas teen named Jason in Hand to God, presented by Curious Theatre Company. Not to be confused with the DCPA's An Act of God, Robert Askins' ruthlessly profane comedy is about a God-fearing boy coping with his father’s recent death who is forced to join his mother’s Church-led puppet group. When Jason discovers that his foul-mouthed sock puppet has a demonic life all its own, all hell breaks loose. Literally. Hauser is part of the DCPA's Frankenstein company and stars as Romeo in the Education Department's traveling Shakespeare in the Parking Lot program. He also recently starred as Eugene in Miners Alley Playhouse's Biloxi Blues. Hand to God runs Nov. 5-Dec. 17 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    2 Perspectives

    The world premiere of Lost Creatures, written by Denver native Melissa Lucero McCarl, follows the evening British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan met his longtime cinematic obsession, actress Louise Brooks. It's May 1978 and she has sequestered herself for many years, but they discover they are kindred spirits. Starring local big-shots Billie McBride and Mark Collins, and directed by DCPA Education's Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski. Presented by And Toto Too Theatre Company from Nov. 3-19 at 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org 

    3 PerspectivesGerminal Stage-Denver is presenting a limited engagement of Dalton Trumbo's 1939 anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun. It's the story of a World War I soldier who wakes up in a hospital bed and gradually realizes he has lost his arms, legs and all of his face in an artillery blast. Now through Nov. 6 at the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com.

    4 PerspectivesEquinox Theatre Company is launching a world-premiere comedy by local actor (and writer) Christian Munck called One Death, Please? It's about a young pop-star named Olive Warren who seems to have it all. But she doesn't, and now she's determined to to take her own life with the help of an assisted suicide clinic. This new play is said to "shine a harsh spotlight on the brutality of the popular media." Nov. 11-Dec. 3 at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    5 PerspectivesThe DCPA’s Tony-winning Theatre Company is helping the community celebrate Denver Arts Week with a special, free evening on Nov. 7 titled Magic of Theatre.
    Ever wonder how it rains on stage? Snows inside? Or how many recipes there are for fake blood? Come explore the secrets of the trade with expert craftspeople. Activities may range from a light show and multimedia display to painting through a bamboo shoot to an exercise in stage combat. Guests also will be treated to scenes from current productions. Details are still being finalized. 6:30 p.m. at the Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    And that's just the start of things. Here are all your options in one handy list:  

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Oct. 28-30: DCPA's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
    JonesTheatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 28-Nov. 12: Coal Creek Theater of Louisville and Theater Company of Lafayette's Absurd Person Singular
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant Ave., Louisville, 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org 

    Oct. 28-Nov. 27: Vintage Theatre Productions' Stella and Lou
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Oct. 28-Nov. 6: Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun

    At the 73rd Avenue Playhouse, 7287 Lowell Blvd., 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

    Oct. 28-Nov. 12: Funky Little Theatre Company's The Bold, the Young & the Murdered
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    Nov. 3-19: And Toto too Theatre Company’s Lost Creatures
    At The Commons on Champa,1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org 

    Nov. 3-13: Upstart Crow's The Crucible
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or upstart’s home page

     

    Nov. 5-Dec. 17: Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    Nov. 5-Dec. 3: OpenStage Theatre & Company’s The Flick
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or www.openstagetheatre.org

     

    Nov. 5-Dec. 18: The Bitsy Stage's Sadko's Song: A Russian Tale
    1137 S. Huron St. Free, but reservations are required by calling 720-328-5294 or  emailing patti@BitsyStage.com

    Nov. 9-Nov. 13: DCPA Broadway's Jersey Boys
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 10-12: Control Group Productions' Alone with Todd
    At Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., controlgroupproductions.org

    Nov. 11-Dec. 30: Town Hall Arts Center's A Christmas Story, The Musical
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Nov. 11-Dec. 31: Midtown Arts Center's A Christmas Story, The Musical
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Equinox One Death Please. Photo by Christine Fisk. Nov. 11-Dec. 3: Equinox Theatre Company's One Death, Please?
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Nov. 11-20: Inspire Creative's The Diary of Anne Frank
    19650 E. Mainstreet, Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    Nov. 17-Dec. 4: Maya Productions' Conviction
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-7328 or thedairy.org

    Nov. 18-Dec. 24: Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 18-Dec. 18: Two live radio plays: It's A Wonderful Life in repertory with A Christmas Carol
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Nov. 19-Feb. 25, 2017: BDT Stage's Thoroughly Modern Millie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Nov. 19-Dec. 23: Bas Bleu Theatre Company's The Snow Queen
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Nov. 11-20: Longmont Theatre Company's Tuesdays with Morrie
    513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Nov 20: DCPA Broadway's The Hip Hop Nutcracker
    Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 24: DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    At the Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 24: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Off-Center's The SantaLand Diaries
    At the Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 25-Jan. 8: Vintage Theatre Productions' Beauty and the Beast
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2016: The Avenue Theater's Santa’s Big Red Sack
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page

    Nov. 25-Dec. 18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Bad Jews
    At the Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 30, 2016: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's She Loves Me
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Nov. 25-Dec. 31: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s A Wonderful Life
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 31: Thin Air Theatre Company's A Cripple Creek Christmas Carol
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Dec. 1-18: Boys Hair Club's A Krumpus Story
    Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St. TICKET INFO

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Bat Boy. Longmont Theatre. Through Oct. 29: Longmont Theatre Company's Bat Boy: The Musical
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Through Oct. 29, 2016: Naropa Universiity's Spill
    2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder MORE INFO

    Through Oct. 29: OpenStage Theatre Company’s Ultimate Beauty Bible
    At the Center for Fine Art Photography, 400 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

     

    Through Oct. 29: Bug Theatre's Night of the Living Dead, Live (with Paper Cat Films)
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info

    Through Oct. 30: DCPA Theatre Company's Frankenstein
    Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Oct. 30: Cherry Creek Theatre's The Last Romance
    Shaver Ramsey Showroom, 2414 E. 3rd Ave., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org

    Through Oct. 30: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s The Elephant Man
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Through Oct. 30: Thingamajig Theatre Company's Grounded
    At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    Through Oct. 30: Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre’s Sarah, Plain and Tall
    Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

    Through Oct. 30: Vintage Theatre's Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, The Musical
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through Oct. 30: 5280 Artists Coop's Colorism

    1400 Dallas Street, Aurora, 5280artistcoop.ticketspice.com

    Through Oct. 30: Star Bar Players' Night of the Living Dead, Live
    At the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado. 719-520-1899 or starbarplayers.org

    Through Oct. 30: Thin Air Theatre Company's Cripple Creep Show
    139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Oct. 30: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
    Second Stage, 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Through Nov. 5: Midtown Arts Center's Motones vs. Jerseys
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through Nov. 5: Firehouse's Theatre's The Crucible
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehouse’s home page READ MORE

    Through Nov. 5: The Avenue Theater's Wait Until Dark
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Through Nov. 6: Arvada Center’s Tartuffe
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 6: Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres, or The Sun That You Are
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 6: Aurora Fox's Dracula
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org

    Through Nov. 6: TheatreWorks' Game of Love and Chance
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through Nov. 6: Evergren Players' Stepping Out
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreen players’ home page

    Through Nov. 12: BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2! (#WhatDidIComeInHereFor)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com READ MORE

    Through March 12, 2017: 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 Nov. 13: The Edge Theatre's Marie Antoinette
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Through Nov. 13: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s Evita
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Nov. 13: Local Theater Company’s The Firestorm
    Carsen Theater at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org READ MORE

     

    Through Nov. 13: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Full Code
    Grace Gamm Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org

    Through Nov. 13: Ignite Theatre's Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
    2590 Washington St., 866-811-4111 or click here for tickets

    Through Nov. 19: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
    Second Stage, 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Through Nov. 27: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Godspell
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

     

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

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

    ATHENA PROJECT
    Nov. 19: Staged reading of Sheltered, a play by local playwright Catherine Wiley
    7 p.m.  $20 ticket includes donation to The Gathering Place.
    At Red Line Contemporary Art Gallery, 2350 Arapahoe St. or tickets

    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    Sept. 30: Untitled at the Denver Art Museum
    Nov. 12: 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)
    Nov. 15: The Great Debate
    Nov. 16: The Narrators (a live storytelling show and podcast)
    Nov. 18-19: Stratus Chamber Orchestra with Buntport Theater at Augustana Lutheran Church
    Nov. 19: TRUNKS: a live comic book is back! (2-4 p.m.)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    THE CATAMOUNTS
    Nov. 5-6: FEED: Los Muertos
    Celebrating stories and rituals honoring the departed, including a three-course meal, live music and performance.
    Firehouse Arts Center, 667 4th Ave., Longmont, 720-468-0487 or brownpapertickets.com

    DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS ...

    (Monthly film series in partnership with local theatre companies)
    Nov. 15: A Christmas Story
    Pre-screening entertainment by cast of Town Hall Arts Center's current production.
    At the Alamo Drafthouse, Aspen Grove, 7301 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, 720-588-4107 or BUY TICKETS

    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
    Nov. 2-4: DCPA Broadway's An Evening with David Sedaris
    At the Seawell Grand Ballroom, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    DENVER IMPROV FESTIVAL

    Nov. 10-12: The Denver Improv Festival features the top improv performers from across Colorado as well as teams from all over the country. BUY TICKETS
    Venues:
    The Bovine Metropolis Theater, Voodoo Comedy Playhouse and Backstage at Beryl's.

    LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY
    Nov. 4-5: Tim and Ben
    The Outlets at Silverthorne. Dillon, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    LAKEWOOD CULTURAL CENTER
    Nov. 18: Aquila Theatre's Much Ado About Nothing
    Nov. 19: Aquila Theatre's Agatha Christie's Murder on the Nile
    470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or Lakewood.org

    LANNIES CLOCKTOWER CABARET
    Nov. 2: Drag Decades with Hostess Shirley Delta Blow
    Nov. 4 and 11: The Jerseys Sing the Four Seasons
    Nov. 5-26: Unforgettable, an R&B tribute starring Mary Louise Lee and Michael C

    Nov. 25: Revenge of the Misfit Toys, holiday improv comedy 
    D&F Clock Tower, 16th and Arapahoe streets, 303-293-0075 or Clocktowercabaret.com

    November openings. Einstein Mizel. MIZEL ARTS AND CULTURE CENTER
    Nov. 20: Einstein!, a solo play by Jack Fry, 4 p.m.
    Elaine Wolf Theatre, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 or maccjcc.org

    PACE CENTER
    Oct. 27: Rock the Presidents
    This high-energy musical revue spans 223 years of American presidents.
    20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, parkerarts.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
    Nov. 12: Born Funny
    1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or TICKETS
    Selections include:
    "Attempting Normal," by Marc Maron, performed by Drew Horwitz
    “Confessions of a Juggler,” by Tina Fey, performed by MareTrevathan
    “The Long Epiphany,” by George Carlin, performed by Bob Buckley

    November openings. Aquila Lakewood Cultural Center
  • In the Spotlife: Anne Oberbroeckling of 'Ripcord'

    by John Moore | Sep 17, 2016
    Anne Oberbroeckling and Billie McBride star in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Ripcord,' by David Lindsay-Abaire. Photo by Michael Ensminger.


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

    MEET ANNE OBERBROECKLING

    Marilyn Dunne in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord

    • Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
    • Home now: Denver
    • College: Degree in theatre and English from Clark College in Dubuque, Iowa
    • What have you done for us lately? Amanda in the Cherry Creek Theatre Company's The Glass Menagerie
    • What is Ripcord all about? Well, it is written by David Lindsay-Abaire, so while it can be about one thing, on the surface, it is really about so very much more. But the
      essence is the story of two old gals in an assisted living facility in New Jersey who are polar opposites. They make a bet where one of them wins the room for herself. One is trying to make one angry and the other is trying scare the first one. The bets
      become more complicated and intricate and crazy.
    • Most challenging aspect for you as an actor: Marilyn is a mother, grandmother and widow. She is one of the most positive and energetic women I may have ever played. That is a challenge right there. The bets are going to require some technological challenges (so I guess that is the crew, not me, whew.) l have also been basing her on an old friend who passed away from ALS last year. She is my spirit animal on this one.
    • What do you love most about this play? I love David Lindsay-Abaire's outlook on life. It is sweet and funny and slightly off-kilter.
    • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I want to write, and I continue to make attempts at it Just wait.
    • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I wish to heck there were much more gender-blind, age-blind and color-blind casting. We are all so darn afraid to take chances with things like that in the U.S. There is so much more of that done in other countries. I remember this quote from an actor who said: "I  want to play the parts that weren't written for me." Isn't that great?

      Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord: Ticket information
      • Directed by Rebecca Remaly (read her interview with the Daily Camera)
      • Through Oct. 9
      • At the new Grace Gamm Theater in the renovated Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
      • Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays, plus 7:30 p.m. Thursdays Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. Also: "Tech Tuesday," 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27. (Includes pre-show happy hour and post-show conversation for $40).
      • Tickets $20-$35
      • 303-440-7826 or BUY ONLINE


    Cast list:

    Abby Binder: Billie McBride
    Marilyn Dunne: Anne Oberbroeckling
    Scotty: Michael Bouchard
    Benjamin/Lewis: Josh Hartwell
    Colleen: Lindsey Pierce
    Derek: Kevin Lowry

    Please Note: Ripcord contains some profane language and adult situations, so may not be suitable for patrons under high-school age. Parental discretion advised.

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage

  • Workshop: Agent Patty Kingsbaker on teaching actors about business

    by John Moore | Apr 13, 2016

    Patty Kingsbaker
    Patty Kingsbaker with her actor son, Michael Kingsbaker, at the Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards. Michael Kingsbaker just starred in "Sex With Strangers" at Curious Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    As a longtime casting director, producer and talent agent, it is Patty Kingsbaker’s job to find work for Colorado actors. If they don’t get paid, she is fond of saying, “then I don’t get paid."

    Kingsbaker, co-owner of Radical Artists Agency, has seen an astonishing array of talent in the Colorado acting community over the past 30 years. That’s why she is continually surprised to see how ill-prepared actors both young and veteran can be for the scarier, business side of the industry.

    “As a whole, most actors never think about the business of acting, or what they are doing to sabotage themselves,” said Kingsbaker, who, appropriately enough for her career path, grew up around the boxing rings of Miami.

    Eliminating common mistakes is one theme of a three-hour seminar Kingsbaker will be conducting April 27 through DCPA Education called “The Business of Acting: How to Build Your Opportunities and Career.” Topics will include resumés, networking, agent, and where you can improve your chances at being seen for a role.

    We talked to Kingsbaker about her career, and her upcoming workshop at the Denver Center.

    Register for Patty Kingsbaker's April 27 workshop at the DCPA

    John Moore: Tell us about the origin of Radical Artists Agency

    Patty Kingsbaker: I returned to Denver in 1995 after three years in L.A. and a yearlong sabbatical in Crested Butte. The plan was to head back to L.A. and join forces with a friend who had just opened his own agency. Someone from the DCPA heard I was in town and asked if I would sit on a panel for them. Kathey True, who was with another agency at the time, was also on the panel. After the panel a group of us went out, and that is when Kathey asked me if I would ever come back to Denver as an agent and I said no; not unless it was my own agency. Three months later, we opened Radical Artists Agency.

    John Moore: Give us an overview of what your company does.

    Patty Kingsbaker: We represent actors and voice talent for work in film, television, commercials and industrials.

    Patty Kingsbaker 1

    Clockwise from top left: Patty Kingsbaker clients Billie McBride, Melissa Benoist, Leslie O'Carroll and John Ashton.

    John Moore: Tell us a few success stories.

    Patty Kingsbaker: We’ve had actors on all the major shows out of New Mexico. Kathleen M. Brady, Leslie O’Carroll, John Ashton, Jefferson Arca and Kurt Soderstrum were all on Breaking Bad at a time when actors out of L.A. couldn’t even get an audition. But I’m probably most proud of Billie McBride being cast in three separate film and television projects when they originally wanted a male for the roles, and I fought to get her seen. (Honestly: Why does a judge or school principal have to be male?) I also helped Melissa Benoist (CBS’ Supergirl) get her first film role in the Lee Daniels’ film Tennessee. And I facilitated a meeting with her first agent in New York.

    John Moore: So explain how this works: A client company that is filming, say, a TV commercial calls you up and gives you a character breakdown, and says you can send three of your actors to the audition. Pick up the story from there: How do you choose your three clients? And what do you say to your clients who don’t get chosen? And do you get paid if your actor doesn’t get picked?

    Patty Kingsbaker: I can spend days setting up an audition between e-mails, phone calls, distributing scripts, answering questions, rearranging call times and more. I’m usually working on multiple jobs at the same time. I have to make some tough calls about who gets the audition, but I’m going to send in the actors I believe have the best shot at that project, and I feel completely justified making that call. It’s a business decision, and that is what this seminar is all about: The business of acting.

    John Moore: You find screen work for actors, many of whom you discover performing in local live theatre productions. What do you look for in an actor you want to sign?

    Patty Kingsbaker: I look for different things. Talent goes without saying, but sometimes it’s just a great commercial vibe. This is a commercial market, so some of my best actors don’t work a lot because they don’t fit into a commercial or corporate world.

    Patty Kingsbaker quoteJohn Moore: What is the biggest mistake actors make when trying to land an agent?

    Patty Kingsbaker: Not being prepared with the right tools for their trade. I’m going to cover this in the seminar.

    John Moore: What is the biggest mistake actors make when trying to keep an agent?

    Patty Kingsbaker: When we sign an actor, we commit to the relationship for the long haul. I have dropped actors because they did something unprofessional, or they haven’t provided me with the tools I need to market them. The other issue I have is that they don’t get back to me in a timely manner. I don’t have time to chase after actors and I made a decision when we opened Radical that I wouldn’t work harder for an actor than they are willing to work for themselves.

    John Moore: What makes an actor better-suited for the stage as opposed to the screen? And do you try to steer them into a specialty?

    Patty Kingsbaker: I personally don’t believe actors are better suited for stage or screen. Years ago, when I was building my business with theatre actors, producers would tell me they didn’t want to see theatre actors because they were too “big” in their acting. I explained that they had been seeing bad actors, not theatre actors. A good actor can adjust to the medium, an inexperienced actor cannot - and I stand behind that to this day.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    John Moore: Everyone wants to be a star. What do you find actors are least likely to do in order to make that happen?

    Patty Kingsbaker: If they tell me they want to be a star, I tell them to find another career. If an actor can’t imagine anything else in this life that would make them happy; if they need to perform and they’re always working on their craft - which is a lifelong pursuit for an actor - they might have a shot at making a living. Then, if they get a break and get to make big money, it’s about doing what they love - not being a star.

    John Moore: For some actors, the goal is to get to New York or L.A. As an agent based in Denver, is your job to help them to get there? Or to convince them to stay? 

    Patty Kingsbaker: The big opportunities are in New York and Los Angeles. Some are ready for that leap and some are not. I’ve pushed some actors out of this market and I’ve told others they aren’t ready - and they usually go anyway. I’m always trying to prepare younger actors for bigger markets. But they need to be grounded in who they are, what they want and understand that this is a business.

    John Moore: For other actors, the goal is to stay in Denver, raise a family and do as much fulfilling professional work as an actor as they can along the way. But is there enough film, TV and commercial work for an actor to make a living in Denver? 

    Patty Kingsbaker: I have actors who make a living here - some who make an extremely good living. Most of them do multiple things like theatre, teach, voiceover work and on-camera work. But they’re committed to this business and have arranged their lives so that they don’t miss opportunities when they come up. Others have full-time jobs and aren’t always available, but they understand that is the choice they’ve made. Our top-grossing guy was in radio, but he decided to make the leap into full-time voice work. He started Skyping with Los Angeles and then New York coaches. It put him into a whole other category, and he is now doing national work on a daily basis. The biggest problem with Denver actors is they stop studying their craft.

    John Moore: Give us a brief overview of what you will be covering during your three-hour seminar at the Denver Center on April 27?

    Patty Kingsbaker: I’ll be speaking about training, headshots and resumes. These are an actor’s biggest marketing tools, and most fail at getting them right. I will also discuss casting websites - what to avoid and why. I’ll touch on what you need before to go to a larger market, and of course how to get and keep an agent here in Colorado. I will also discuss industry etiquette, which should be common sense, but unfortunately from my experience, is not. And I’ll probably throw in a few war stories along the way.


    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.

     

    Patty Kingsbaker: Career at a glance

    • Began as a casting director in Denver
    • In the late ‘80s, became a producer for Grad Films in Phoenix
    • Returned to Denver in 1991 and began career as a Talent Agent, building one of the strongest talent divisions in Colorado over the next 10 years
    • In 2001, became Talent Producer for Wild Jams Productions at FOX Television in Los Angeles
    • Returned to Denver in 2005 and opened Radical Artists Agency, where she currently represents the top echelon of Denver actors and voice talent for work in film, television, voice-over, corporate industrials and commercials
     

    The Business of Acting: How to Build your Opportunities and Career

    One session • $60 • Three-hour class time
    Wednesday, April 27 • 6:30-9:30 p.m. • Conducted by Patty Kingsbaker

    Information: 303-893-4100 or REGISTER


    Course description
    : Becoming a successful actor takes a serious review of your approach to the business side of your career. You’ll take a look at your resumé, networking, agent, and how immersed you are in the market to determine where you can improve your chances at being seen for a role and landing your next job. Patty Kingsbaker, Partner and Agent at Radical Artists Agency, will share her knowledge and insights stemming from a 30-year career as a casting director, producer and talent agent. Topics will include getting prepared for the business side of acting, finding an agent, how to choose casting sites, and how to build your career as a working actor. If you plan to stay in this market or move to a larger one, this evening is a must.

  • 2015 True West Awards: Rebecca Remaly

    by John Moore | Dec 28, 2015
    True West Award Rebecca Remaly

    Timothy McCracken and Emily Paton Davies of 'Outside Mullingar.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient:
    Rebecca Remaly
    Managing Director, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

    Today’s award presenter:
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore


    Stephen Weitz has been on a pretty public roll these past few years. The co-founder of the 10-year-old Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company just directed Tribes and The SantaLand Diaries back-to-back at his second artistic home, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Meanwhile, his own rising company back in Boulder has been picking up four-star reviews like so many coins in a fountain, most recently for the Chekhov variation Stupid F***ing Bird and, last month, for John Patrick Shanley’s Irish romance Outside Mullingar.

    Rebecca Remaly quote 2In 2012, Weitz was named the True West Theatre Person of the Year. But he would be the first to insist that the driving force behind his theatre company, his family and pretty much his whole life is his wife, Rebecca Remaly.

    When the pair started BETC (colloquially known as “Betsy”) in 2006, their artistic plan was noble. The mission: “To present profound theatrical stories that inspire our audiences and enrich our community.” And in 2009, Remaly figured out a foolproof, slightly ignoble way to pay for it: By staging an annual production of The SantaLand Diaries, which just completed its sixth sold-out holiday run and third as co-production with the DCPA. Remaly directed the inaugural production that started it all.

    Remaly is also an accomplished director who has been authoritatively delivering one solid regional premiere after another for BETC. She has helmed 17 titles over the past decade, and two in 2015: The Aliens and Outside Mullingar. One is a deliberately slow-motion tale following two wayward young men who spend their days in the alley behind a coffee shop talking music and Bukowski. The other is the old-fashioned romantic tale of a pair of stubborn, middle-aged Irish introverts who decide to take a chance on late love.

    Broadway reviewers were largely ambivalent about Shanley’s unexpectedly sentimental turn after his searing Doubt, but Remaly’s staging of Mullingar struck a deep chord with audiences and critics alike. If it’s true that directing is about 90 percent casting, then Remaly hit Mullingar about 90 percent out of the ballpark when she cast Chris Kendall, Emily Paton Davies, DCPA Head of Acting Timothy McCracken and Colorado Theatre Guild Life Achievement winner Billie McBride. The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow called what that foursome presented “spellbinding.”

    But of perhaps even greater importance to BETC’s success has been Remaly’s contributions as Managing Director. With Remaly managing the business side of the operation, BETC’s annual operating budget has steadily climbed over the past three seasons from $285,000 to $350,000 to $420,000. Back in 2006, it was $12,000. That represents a growth of 3,400 percent.

    “She's incredible with numbers, and I give her a ton of credit for the financial health and success that the company has achieved over the years,” said Weitz. “At the same time, she's a hell of a good artist. Many of our most successful shows have been under her direction. I would go so far as to say she's possibly the most underrated director in the area.”

    Westword’s Juliet Wittman has certainly seen the light. Remaly’s An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf in 2014 “announced emphatically that BETC was at the top of its game, both in choice of material and in terms of performances.”

    If Remaly weren’t so busy behind the scenes, you’d likely be seeing more of her on the stage as well. Her acting resume includes Doubt (Sister James), Stop Kiss (Sara), The Glass Menagerie (Laura) and Antigone (Ismene) for BETC. She also played Hannah in Curious Theatre Company’s world premiere of Collapse. And then there is young Jamison, the son she and Weitz welcomed to the family in 2012.

    Remaly is part of a remarkable organic trend that is underway in Boulder: With the exception of Michael J. Duran of the venerable BDT Stage, all of Boulder’s present theatre companies are managed by women: Pesha Rudnick (Local Theatre Company), Amanda Berg Wilson (The Catamounts), Emily K. Harrison (the lower-cased square product theatre company) and Remaly (BETC).

    Weitz knows one thing for sure:

    “In all honesty, BETC would be nothing without her," he said. "There's no way we would have ever gotten this far without her leadership.”

    Stephen Weitz with son Jamison at a 2013 opening that happened to be his son's first bithday. Photo by John Moore.
    Stephen Weitz with son Jamison at a 2013 opening that happened to be his son's first birthday. Photo by John Moore.

    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
  • 2015 True West Award: Christopher L. Sheley

    by John Moore | Dec 08, 2015
    Christopher L. Sheley, 4000 Miles, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Photo by Jeff Kearney.
    Photo by Jeff Kearney for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.


    2015 TRUE WEST AWARDS: 30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    ​Today’s recipient: Scenic Designer Christopher L. Sheley,
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company’s 4000 Miles


    Today’s presenter: DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore


    How detail-oriented is Christopher L. Sheley? The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company’s Resident Set Designer placed dead bugs inside the hanging light fixtures in the Greenwich Village apartment he created for 4000 Miles, one of the most fully realized productions on any Colorado stage this year.

    In Amy Herzog’s play, this apartment belongs to 91-year-old New Yorker named Vera, inspired by the playwright's own grandmother. The level of detail Sheley achieved in re-creating it in Colorado Springs was so meticulous, audiences came early and stayed late to take it all in: The parquet floors, the massive shelves of books, the fade around the wall art, the hanging hints of the owner's radical past. It all bore artful consideration.

    Sheley and the Fine Arts Center are a perfect match: A theatre company housed within an art museum and, for a decade now, a scenic designer who creates worlds on stage that are themselves works of art. 

    Scott RC Levy QuoteNext to a wall phone in the kitchen, Sheley posted a sheet listing the names and phone numbers Grandma Vera might actually call – written in actor Billie McBride’s own handwriting. Sheley even mixed dirt into the wall paint to indicate age and sun-weathering. The apartment looked – and even smelled – like it was lifted right out of the Village. That’s because that was a real coffee maker brewing up the grounds in that kitchen.

    Sheley is a master of hyperrealism, which was necessary to help the four actors tell this story with authenticity. Levy and Sheley were also acutely aware that the playwright had spent a lot of time in the real New York apartment that inspired it. “We wanted to honor that, and to get it right," Levy said.

    They got it right, all right. And a big reason the apartment looked so jarringly real was because Sheley shrank the actual dimension of The SaGaJi Theatre’s proscenium – and added an actual apartment ceiling. You almost never see room ceilings in plays performed at theatres. Ceilings are mostly implied because they have to allow for the stage lighting hanging from above to get through. Not here.

    Sheley got the inspiration - and the confidence – that he could pull off the concept from having seen the Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2012 production of The Whale, designed by Jason Simms.

    Benjamin Bonenfant and Billie McBride in '4000 Miles,' Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Photo by Jeff Kearney.“When we saw The Whale, we realized it was possible to pluck out a legitimate-looking apartment in all the right measurements and transfer them right onto the stage,” Levy said. It helped that Sheley's work was perfectly complemented by Holly Anne Rawls’ lighting design, right down to the hallway bleed under Vera’s front door. The set was also recently honored with a Pikes Peak Arts Council Award.

    Sheley, a native of St. Louis, came to the Fine Arts Center in 2005 and quickly established himself as among the most gifted scenic designers in Colorado. He won 2006 and 2010 Denver Post Ovation Awards for designing Pirates of Penzance and Sweeney Todd, respectively. Levy says Sheley's greatest strengths are collaboration, detail and tirelessness.

    (Photo above right: Benjamin Bonenfant and Billie McBride in '4000 Miles.' Both appeared in the DCPA Theatre Company's recent world-premiere staging of 'Benediction.' Bonenfant is currently appearing in the DCPA's 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Jeff Kearney for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.)

    And Sheley is apparently not without a sense of humor. In a wink to the Fine Arts Center faithful, he hung an original Lew Tilley painting on Vera's wall. Tilley was a beloved local painter, poet and actor. He was also Sheley’s predecessor as the Fine Arts Center’s resident scenic designer before his death in 2005. Also hidden among the books dominating Vera’s shelves, Sheley slipped in an unseeable copy of a 2011 American Theatre Magazine that spotlighted 4000 Miles’ off-Broadway debut on its cover. That production starred Denver native Gabe Ebert in the role of the wayward cyclist grandson who has shown up on his grandma’s apartment with both bike and baggage in tow.

    Levy’s staging of 4000 Miles was a real treasure in the Colorado theatre season, in large part because os the nuanced performances by McBride, Benjamin Bonenfant, Rachel Baker and Erica Erickson. But Sheley gave them a 4,000-mile head start by depositing them, and the audience, immediately into the literal world of the play.

    (Note: ‘4000 Miles’ will be staged next from Jan. 29-March 6 by Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. Click here for information.)

    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

  • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 10 shows to watch

    by John Moore | Sep 04, 2015
    Town Hall Arts Center's 'West Side Story.'

    Town Hall Arts Center's 'West Side Story' opens Sept. 11.



    Theatre never takes a rest in the busy Colorado theatre community, but September is always considered the traditional launch of the theatre season. The NEA recently ranked Colorado first in the nation in per-capita theatre attendance, and while the Denver Center for the Performing Arts plays a major part in that success, so does the work of the approximately 100 theatre companies of all sizes throughout Colorado, as new President and CEO Scott Shiller acknowledged at a local theatre forum on Monday.

    Continuing a September tradition that goes back 16 years, DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore will help mark the opening of the theatre season by offering a quick overview of all DCPA fall shows, as well as 10 intriguing titles on the upcoming theatre calendar outside the arches of the DCPA. These are not the 10 “best"; just 10 intriguing titles that have caught John’s eye as a former Denver Post theatre critic.

    OUR COMPLETE LIST OF SEPTEMBER THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO

    Before we dig in, the 10 fall DCPA offerings (with links to more information on each):

    Through Sept. 13: The Book of Mormon, Buell Theatre
    After record-breaking engagements in 2012 and 2013, the hilariously profane Denver-born tour is back by popular demand for a limited engagement.

    Through Oct. 11: Defending the Caveman, Garner Galleria Theatre

    Enduring,insightful comedy about the ways men and women relate to each other in the  ongoing battle for understanding between the sexes.

    Sept. 9-20: Matilda The Musical, Buell Theatre
    An extraordinary girl, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her destiny.

    Sept. 11-Oct 11: Lookingglass Alice, Stage Theatre
    Imagination soars and laughter and awe abound in this Chicago-born, gravity-defying hit inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.

    Sept. 25-Nov 1: As You Like It, Space Theatre
    Banished lovers Orlando and Rosalind become entangled in a beguiling game of mistaken identity when Rosalind disguises herself as a man.

    Oct. 9-Nov. 15: Tribes, Ricketson Theatre
    Meeting Sylvia causes Billy, deaf since birth, to question what it means to be understood.

    Oct. 13-25, 2015: If/Then, Buell Theatre
    In this tour launch, Broadway superstar Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent, Frozen) will reprise her acclaimed role alongside other original cast members

    Oct. 21-Feb 13, 2016: Cult Following, The Jones
    Off-Center’s signature night of unrehearsed, unscripted theatre features the  quick-thinking talents of some of Denver’s best improv performers.

    Oct. 27, 2015-Feb 21, 2016: Murder For Two, Garner Galleria Theatre
     A musical murder mystery comedy with a twist: One actor investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects - and they both play the piano.

    Nov. 4-29, 2015: Disney's The Lion King, Buell Theatre​
    More than 70 million people have now experienced the Julie Taymor phenomenon. The national tour debuted in Denver a decade ago.



    Any Given Monday

    Vintage Theatre
    Sept. 4-Oct. 25
    Directed by Sam Gilstrap (pictured)
    Sam GilstrapOn the surface, this play sounds like it could be a trifle – it’s described as “a comedy for the men who love football and the women who despise it.” Yet it’s written by Bruce Graham – the same guy who wrote one of the most unsettling plays of the past 20 years in Coyote on a Fence, which was about a racist death-row inmate. So maybe this football romp has some bite. It’s about a good guy whose life is shattered when his wife leaves him for a smooth-talking lothario. A development that doesn’t sit well with his best friend, who takes matters into his own hands.

    More Bruce Graham: Graham’s biggest success outside Coyote on a Fence has been The Outgoing Tide, a “death with dignity” dramedy about a man who wants to ensure his family’s security before his mind is consumed by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s playing Sept. 11-Oct. 12 at the Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins. 



    American Girls
    The Edge Theatre
    Sept. 4-27
    Directed by Angela Astle
    Edge Theatre In a very celebrity-driven culture, two God-fearing teenage girls have their sights set on much bigger things. They want fame, even if it means selling their souls to the devil in the name of the Bible. Their naiveté leads them down a dark and seedy path, forcing them to grow up much too soon. A regional premiere written by Hilary Bettis

    (Photo: Bethany Richardson and Alexis Robbins.) 



    The Flick

    Curious Theatre Company
    Sept. 5-Oct. 17
    Directed by Chip Walton
    John Jurcheck, left, and Laura Jo Trexler. Photo by Michael Ensminger. Polarizing playwright Annie Baker has been called everything from America’s next “it” playwright to the world’s next Harold Pinter. Which means she writes a lot of pauses. The Flick, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, is a short play – on paper – that lasts 3 hours in performance. That’s because Baker is known for writing giant intentional silences into her scripts that seem bent on forcing audiences to confront their discomfort with silence. But is that entertainment … or a psychological experiment? You decide as you follow three sad sacks who work at a run-down old movie house in Massachusetts. This play has been hailed as “an hilarious and heart-rending cry for authenticity in a fast-changing world.” Featuring Christopher Hayes, John Jurcheck, Royce Roeswood and Laura Jo Trexler.
    (Pictured: John Jurcheck, left, and Laura Jo Trexler. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)


    Lonny (Sean Riley) and Dennis (Joel Adam Chavez) in 'Rock of Ages' at the Midtown Arts Center.
    Lonny (Sean Riley) and Dennis (Joel Adam Chavez) in "Rock of Ages" at the Midtown Arts Center.

    Rock of Ages
    Midtown Arts Center, Fort Collins
    Sept. 10-Nov. 29
    Directed by Kurt Terrio
    Midtown is well-known for being first to locally stage some of Broadway’s most popular musicals. In this jukebox musical lark, Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor freely flow in 1987 at one of the Sunset Strip’s last legendary rock venues. A small-town girl (natch) and a big-city rocker fall in love to rock legends of the ’80s such as Styx, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Journey and more.



    Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
    BDT Stage
    Sept. 11-Nov. 14
    Directed by Wayne Kennedy
    Brett AmblerThis easygoing bio-musical Starring Brett Ambler (pictured) tells the true and tragic story of the bespectacled Buddy’s rise to fame, from the 1957 day when “That’ll Be The Day!” hit the airwaves, through his tragic death less than two years later – a moment forever immortalized by Don McLean as “The Day The Music Died.” The score includes 20 Holly hits including: “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “Rave On” and “Raining in My Heart.”




    Saturday Night Fever
    Arvada Center
    Sept. 11-Oct. 4
    Director: Rod Lansberry
    Shannan SteeleThe end of the Arvada Center’s summer musical tradition was an unsettling development, but Broadway spectacle – along with big hair, bell-bottoms and platform shoes – make a big comeback with the regional premiere of the stage adaptation of the classic John Travolta film. Featuring the music of the Bee-Gees, Saturday Night Fever brings back the zeitgeist and volatility of American pop-culture in the 1970s. Starring Ian Campayno and McKayla Marso as Tony ‘n Stephanie Mangano, and featuring local favorites including Emma Martin, Damon Guerrasio, Steven Burge, Tom Borrillo, Sharon Kay White, Adam Estes, Michael Bouchard, RJ Wagner, Shannan Steele (pictured right), Heather Doris, Sarah Rex, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Jenna Moll Reyes and more. Costume design by Mondo Guerra.

    West Side Story
    Littleton Town Hall Arts Center
    Sept. 11-Oct. 11
    ​Directed by Nick Sugar
    Nick SugarTown Hall is revisiting Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece 10 years after a staging that launched Elizabeth Welch (Maria) on her way to The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. This production stars Carolyn Lohr and Jared Ming as the fated lovers, and brings back from 2005 director Nick Sugar, Ronni Gallup (Anita), Kent Randell (Bernardo) and Tim Howard (Riff).

    Northside West Side: The Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is also presenting West Side Story in Johnstown, about 45 miles north of Denver, from Sept. 24 through Nov. 15.

    Still more Sondheim: The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center becomes just the second Colorado company to ever stage Putting It Together (Sept. 10-27), and the Cherry Creek Theatre Company presents Sondheim on Sondheim from Oct. 2-25.


    Emily Paton Davies and DCPA Head of Acting Tim McCracken will star in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Copmpanys 'Outside Mullingar' opening Sept. 17. Photo by Michael Ensminger
    Emily Paton Davies and DCPA Head of Acting Tim McCracken will star in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Outside Mullingar' opening Sept. 17. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    Outside Mullingar
    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Sept. 17-Oct. 11
    Directed by Rebecca Remaly Weitz
    Timothy McCrackenBetsy (the colloquial name for BETC) is the first of what is sure to many companies staging John Patrick Shanley’s latest comedy, which has been described as an Irish Moonstruck. It’s about two stubborn, feuding neighbors who put down their pitchforks and take a chance on later love. Featuring a stellar cast of Emily Paton Davies, DCPA Head of Acting Tim McCracken (pictured right), three-time 2015 Henry Award winner Billie McBride (DCPA's Benediction) and Chris Kendall.  

    More Mullingar: OpenStage & Company of Fort Collins will also stage Outside Mullingar in January.



    Baby with the Bathwater
    Phamaly Theatre Company
    Oct. 8-25 at the Avenue Theater
    Directed by Warren Sherrill
     Trenton SchindeleChristopher Durang’s 1983 absurdist comedy is about parents who are so clueless about even the most basic parenting skills, they think it’s a good idea to give their baby Nyquil. These two are too polite to check the child’s sex (it’s a boy) so they name him Daisy - which leads to all manner of future emotional and personality problems. Phamaly exists to provide performance opportunities to persons with disabilities. The cast includes Micayla Smith, Trenton Schindele, Daniel Traylor, Kimberlee Nanda and Kenzie Kilroy.


    The Explorers Club
    Lone Tree Arts Center
    Oct. 15-24
    Directed by Randal Myler
    photo of Sam GregoryNeil Benjamin’s wildly funny comedy features the madcap adventures of eccentric London-based explorers who are members of a prestigious club. And the looming possibility of a woman assuming the presidency of this club threatens to shake the foundations of the British Empire. This Colorado premiere features a notable cast filled with DCPA favorites including Brad Bellamy, Stephanie Cozart, Sam Gregory, Mark Rubald, Colin Alexander, Randy Moore, Director Randal Myler and Costumer Kevin Copenhaver.  

    OUR COMPLETE LIST OF SEPTEMBER THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO
  • Video: 2015 Henry Award Acceptance Speeches

    by John Moore | Jul 28, 2015



    Here are short excerpts from acceptance speeches by recipients of the Colorado Theatre Guild's 2015 Henry Awards. The ceremony was held July 20 at the Arvada Center.

    It was a huge night for the DCPA's Billie McBride, who won three Henry Awards and presented another. She was honored for directing Vintage Theatre's 'Night Mother, which also won Outstanding Production of a Play. And she was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for her work in the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere play, Benediction. "Kent Thompson is a gentle and loving director," she says, "and it's just a beautiful play."

    In accepting the DCPA Theatre Company's Outstanding Season by a Company Award, DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller told those attending the ceremony: "The work that you are creating day in and day out is the envy of the nation. The fact that the NEA has just said that 52 percent of everybody who lives in the state of Colorado comes to attend live theatrical events, compared to 36 or 38 percent everywhere else in the country, is remarkable. And it doesn't happen by accident. It happens because of the incredible storytellers who are here in this room. The DCPA is so honored to be a part of this theatrical community."

    You'll also see Beth Malone accept the Outstanding Actress in a Musical Award for her work in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Colin Hanlon accept The 12's award as Outstanding New Play or Musical. 

    To see performance highlights from the Henry Awards, click here.

    The director of the awards ceremony was Jim Hunt.

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller accepts the Theatre Company's Henry Award for Outstanding Season. Photo by John Moore.  DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller accepts the Theatre Company's Henry Award for Outstanding Season by a Company. Photo by John Moore. 


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Video: 2015 Henry Award performance highlights
    Videos: Our memorial tributes to departed artists in 2014-15
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions
    Beth Malone, Colin Hanlon will perform at Henry Awards
    Guest essay by Margie Lamb: Something about the Henry Award doesn't add up
  • DCPA will adapt Haruf's final novel for the stage

    by John Moore | Jun 11, 2015
    Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from 'Our Souls at Night' at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore.

    Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from 'Our Souls at Night' at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore.


    The DCPA Theatre Company will adapt the late Colorado author Kent Haruf's final book, Our Souls at Night, for the theatrical stage, it was announced tonight at an event related to the release of the book at the Colfax Tattered Cover Book Store.

    Cathy Haruf. Associate Artistic Director Bruce K. Sevy delivered the news at a public taping of Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters. Sevy told an overflow crowd that, for the fourth time, playwright Eric Schmiedl will be commissioned to adapt a Haruf novel for the DCPA, following Plainsong, Eventide and Benediction.

    A commission is not a guarantee that the play will receive a full production on the Theatre Company's season. But, Sevy said, that would be the eventual goal. "We always approach them as if they will be produced," he said.

    (Photographed: Above right: Cathy Haruf. Below left: Bruce K. Sevy makes the announcement at the Tattered Cover. Photos by John Moore.)

    Bruce K. Sevy makes the announcement at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore. The time between a commission and a fully staged production is typically a minimum of three years. Any future staging would again be directed by DCPA Artistic Director Kent Thompson.

    The DCPA Theatre Company adapted and staged Haruf's Plainsong Trilogy as three live theatrical world premieres over the past decade, culminating with Benediction in February. Our Souls at Night, the story of a man and  woman grappling with their advanced age, is not a part of the Plainsong series, although it is set in the same fictional town of Holt, Colorado.

    At tonight's Tattered Cover event, DCPA actors Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from Our Souls at Night. Colorado Public Radio's Ryan Warner then led a discussion with Haruf's wife, Cathy, and editor, Gary Fisketjon.

    Fisketjon referenced a chapter in the book where the primary couple, Addie Moore and Louis Waters, are lying in bed and talking about their fellow Holt neighbor - Kent Haruf. And how his Benediction was about to be staged at the Denver Center. It is a meta moment in which Haruf for the first time essentially establishes himself as a longtime neighbor to his fictional characters living the town he made up.

    Sevy already was imagining how that exchange might play out if Our Souls at Night is eventually staged at the Denver Center.

    "I love it," Sevy said. "That moment is going to play like gangbusters. Can you imagine sitting in the theatre and watching these characters talk about seeing Benediction?"

    Cathy Haruf said she imagines her husband would be nothing short of delighted to know that his final novel might join his previous works as DCPA Theatre productions.

    "He didn't write any of them to be plays," she said, "but he was always really pleased with the other productions that they have done. He wanted so badly to make it long enough to see Benediction." 

    Haruf finished Our Souls at Night just days before he passed away in November 2014. Cathy Haruf told the Tattered Cover audience of about 100 that "Kent lost his fear of dying" in writing his final book after he had received a terminal diagnosis for lung disease. "What greater gift could anybody ask for?"

    Schmiedl is one of 38 playwrights who have been commissioned by Thompson to write new plays since 2006. A commission essentially gives the DCPA the right of first refusal when it comes to possibly staging the work.

    The DCPA NewsCenter interviewed Kent Haruf just five days before he died. You can read the transcript here.

    About Our Souls at Night
    (Description provided by publisher Alfred Knopf)
    To buy the book, click here

    A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

    In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

    Their brave adventures — their pleasures and their difficulties — are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

    Selected previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage of Kent Haruf:
    DCPA actors to read from Kent Haruf's final book
    Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
    Video, photos: DCPA celebrates life of Colorado novelist Kent Haruf
    Benediction opens as a celebration of the 'Precious Ordinary'
    DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7
    Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
    Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71

  • DCPA actors to read from Kent Haruf's final book on Thursday

    by John Moore | Jun 10, 2015
    Mike Hartman, Cathy Haruf and Lauren Klein at the Kent Haruf celebration on Feb. 7. Photo by John Moore.
    Cathy Haruf, center, will appear Thursday at the Tattered Cover with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio. Photo by John Moore.


    Denver Center Theatre Company actors Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall will read from the late Colorado author Kent Haruf's final book, Our Souls at Night, at a live radio event starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at the Colfax Tattered Cover Book Store (2526 E. Colfax Ave.)

    270x270-kent-haruf-in-some-ways-it-felt-as-if-it-was-what-was-keeping-me-aliveIn addition, Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters will lead a discussion with the author’s wife, Cathy Haruf, and editor, Gary Fisketjon.

    Haruf was the author of the Plainsong Trilogy, which the DCPA adapted and staged as three live theatrical world premieres over a decade, He finished Our Souls at Night just days before he passed away in November 2014. Two months later, the DCPA staged the world premiere of Benediction.

    The DCPA NewsCenter interviewed Kent Haruf just five days before he died. You can read the transcript here.

    Haruf, a native of Pueblo and resident of Salida, published six works of fiction — including the best-selling Plainsong in 1999. While all of those books took place in the fictional eastern Colorado town of Holt, Haruf expressed an ongoing annoyance that  when people claimed Holt was based on Yuma.

    "They're not (Yuma stories)," Haruf told the DCPA's John Moore. "I chose the look of that country as a specific place that I knew very well, and that I could use as the background setting for the stories I wanted to tell. But if you think about it, these stories could happen essentially anywhere."

    Our Souls at Night is again set in Holt, but it is unlike any book he has written before. It is inspired by his relationship with his wife. Haruf set out to write one short chapter every day for two months after he was diagnosed as terminal.

    "In some ways, it felt as if that was what was keeping me alive," he said. "It was something significant for me to get up for every day."

    Haruf joins a a number of other local authors who write about Western issues featured in the “Colorado Matters at the Tattered” series.

    Seating for the event is limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis. Hear more about it here.

    Selected previous coverage of Kent Haruf:
    Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
    Video, photos: DCPA celebrates life of Colorado novelist Kent Haruf
    Benediction opens as a celebration of the 'Precious Ordinary'
    DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7
    Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
    Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71
  • Meet the cast video series: Billie McBride

    by John Moore | Feb 26, 2015



    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 87: Meet Billie McBride, recent recipient of the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award. ("The first thought was: 'Oh my God, they think I am that old?' ") After several understudy gigs, Billie is making her DCPA Theatre Company debut playing straight-talking Willa in the world-premiere staging of "Benediction." Billie talks about her illicit Broadway past with Harvey Fierstein, Angela Lansbury, and why it is she still calls Denver home ("The people").

    The Theatre Company's world premiere of Benediction is a powerful drama made up of three interwoven family stories set on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

    Benediction: Ticket information
    Performances run through March 1
    Space Theatre
    Performances daily
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    More Benediction videos:
    Meet Joyce Cohen
    Meet Mike Hartman
    Meet Nance Williamson
    Meet Leslie O'Carroll
    Meet Adrian Egolf
    Meet James Newcomb
    Meet Amelia Marie Corrada

    Previous 2014-15 "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    Leslie Alexander, A Christmas Carol
    Allen Dorsey, A Christmas Carol
    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
    Leslie O'Carroll,A Christmas Carol
    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

      Billie McBride. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
      Nance Williamson, Billie McBride and Zoe Delaney Stahlhut in 'Benediction.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 
    • Photos: Opening night 'Benediction' festivities

      by John Moore | Feb 14, 2015


      Check out our photos from opening night of the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere staging of Benediction on Feb. 6, 2015. Benediction completes the DCPA's theatrical adaptation of late novelist Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy. Photos by John Moore.

      Benediction is a powerful drama about three souls searching for meaningful connections despite separation, loneliness and the race against time on the high plains of Colorado. 

      Benediction: Cast list
      Playwright: Eric Schmiedl
      Director: Kent Thompson
      Dad Lewis: Mike Hartman
      Mary Lewis: Joyce Cohen
      Reverend Robert Lyle: Ed Martin
      Beverly Lyle: Nancy Lemenager
      John Wesley Lyle: Nick Lamedica
      Alene Johnson: Nance Williamson
      Willa Johnson: Billie McBride
      Lorraine Lewis: Kathleen McCall
      Berta May: Leslie O'Carroll
      Alice: Zoe Delaney Stahlhut
      Genevieve Larson/Waitress/Young Woman: Amelia Marie Corrada
      Rudy/Ensemble: James Newcomb
      Bob/Policeman/Ed: Lawrence Hecht
      Laurie Wheeler/Marlene/Young Woman: Adrian Egolf
      Ronald Dean Walker: Benjamin Bonenfant
      Richard/Frank/Ensemble: Jonathan Crombie
      Luann/Marlene/Janine: Tracy Shaffer

      Benediction: Ticket information
      Performances run Jan. 30 through March 1
      Space Theatre
      Performances daily except Mondays
      Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

      Our previous coverage of Benediction:

      Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
      For two inaugural DCPA company actors, you can come home again
      Video, photos: DCPA celebrates life of Colorado novelist Kent Haruf
      'Benediction' opens as a celebration of ‘The Precious Ordinary’
      Video: Your first look at Benediction
      Doris Duke Foundation awards $125,000 for Benediction
      Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
      Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71
      Kent Thompson on the 2014-15 season, play by play
      2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete 'Plainsong' trilogy
      Video: 'Benediction' reading at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit

      Benediction Opening Night. Photo by John Moore.

      From left: Joyce Cohen, Ed Martin, Nance Williamson, Billie McBride and a photo-bombing Amelia Marie Corrada. Photo by John Moore.

    • 'Benediction' opens as a celebration of ‘The Precious Ordinary’

      by John Moore | Feb 06, 2015
      Benediction: Billie McBride, Nance Williamson, Kathleen McCall and Leslie O'Carroll. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
      From 'Benediction': Billie McBride, Nance Williamson, Kathleen McCall and Leslie O'Carroll. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


      Note: A public celebration of Kent Haruf’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at The Stage Theatre. Click here for details.

      Tonight’s opening of Benediction completes the DCPA Theatre Company's remarkable, eight-year process of adapting esteemed Colorado novelist Kent Haruf’s Plainsong Trilogy for the stage.

      Benediction: Actors Billie McBride and Nance Williamson at Perspectives conversation. Photo by John Moore.“It’s been incredibly rewarding to do all three because they all represent a different kind of unsentimental honesty and truthfulness,” said DCPA Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. “They are kind of a contemporary Our Town, only it's set on the Eastern Plains of Colorado instead of in New England. “

      Plainsong, Eventide and Benediction are all set in a mythical town called Holt. There are three basic storyline in Benediction:

      “The major arc would be Dad Lewis, who is the owner of the local hardware store, and he is dying of cancer,” said Eric Schmiedl, the playwright who has adapted all three novels for their world-premiere stagings at the DCPA.

      “At the beginning of the play, Dad is told that he will probably not live through the summer. Part of his journey is to come to terms with his life, and the different things that have happened, specifically his relationships with his two children, Lorraine and Frank.

      “The second storyline follows a young girl who moves next door named Alice. She is 8 years old and her mother has died of breast cancer, so she is taken in by her grandmother, Berta May. Through the course of the play, she is unofficially adopted by surrogate women in the community.

      “The third storyline covers a minister who has been reassigned to the main church in Holt after some controversy in Denver. And he has some issues going on with his family as well. In that true Kent Haruf style, all of these stories merge together, and all of the characters eventually create a unique kind of 21st Century family that’s not the traditional American family.

      Thompson and Schmiedl were guests of DCPA Literary Manager Douglas Langworthy on Feb. 3 for Perspectives, an ongoing, free series of conversations in The Jones Theatre with cast and creatives just before the first preview performance of every new show. They were joined by actors Leslie O'Carroll (Berta May), Nance Williamson (Alene) and Billie McBride (Willa).

      Benediction


      Here are selected excerpts from their conversation:

      Douglas Langworthy: Eric, how does this novel differ from the other two novels?

      Eric Schmiedl: This play is really set in the city of Holt, as opposed to the outskirts, like the other two. One of the more captivating parts in Plainsong deals with the McPheron brothers, who live way out east of Holt on their ranch. This is much more about the people in the city.

      Kent Thompson: I would say the people in the "town." It's an incredibly small city. (Laughter.)

      Nance Williamson: About 3,000 people.

      Audience member: One streetlight.

      Eric Schmiedl: It is a small town -- and that is one of the issues for the Reverend and his family.

      Douglas Langworthy: I know Kent Haruf was very involved in the adaptations of Plainsong and Eventide. He passed away midway through this process. So what was it like to complete this trilogy without him?

      Eric Schmiedl: It’s heartbreaking that he wasn’t able to be with us as we were blessed with the opportunity to bring this to the stage. But what a great opportunity we’ve been given by the Denver Center and Kent Thompson to explore and celebrate Kent’s life and his work on the stage. All these plays are a wonderful testament to the vision and support the Denver Center and Kent Thompson have given us, because very few theatres invest in an artistic process that would last eight years. It's a real testament to the vision of this theater.

      Benediction Perspectives conversation. Photo by John Moore.


      Douglas Langworthy: What’s different about Benediction?

      Eric Schmiedl: In each one of the productions, the vernacular and the way that we told the story changed. It became richer and deeper. And the process was then that much more enriching, I think. This one in particular is a little bit different because it has a different kind of storytelling process. When I approached Kent (Haruf) - and Kent (Thompson) - I said, ‘Maybe we should try a different vernacular with this.’ And because we had all worked together and trusted each other so well, Kent Haruf fully embraced that process.

      Douglas Langworthy: Kent, what does it mean for you as the artistic director to complete this eight-year project?

      Kent Thompson: I’m an outsider to Colorado, as is Eric. But I grew up in the South, so a lot of my relatives lived on farms not too different from the Eastern Plains. But my in-laws actually grew up in Yuma, with Kent Haruf and his siblings. And one of my wife’s uncles, Richard, was Kent Haruf's best friend. They are loosely the basis of the two boys in Plainsong. So it was kind of meant to be that we would do Plainsong. I just love that novel. I recognized many of these people from people I’ve met. There a lot of things that seem so true about it. And then a kind of serendipity happened. I brought in Eric because I had worked with him before, and I think he is remarkable at channeling somebody else's voice.

      Douglas Langworthy: Why did you choose to set this production in The Space Theatre instead of in the Stage Theatre, where the other two were performed?

      Kent Thompson: I think this story is more intimate. There is only one scene, in the church, that has lots of people in it. So it seemed like the right place emotionally.  Because if we are going to go through the decline of Dad, it seems to me like we should be sitting in the room with them.

      Eric Schmiedl: The inspiration also comes from the individual novels. A lot of Plainsong is really about the full breadth of the physical landscape of the Eastern Plains, and that sense of vastness. When we first talked about adapting Plainsong, I came up with two different ways we could go: We could go micro, and just tear the story down and do it very small. Or we could go macro, and try to cover all the different storylines and the whole vista. And bless his heart, Kent Thompson said, ‘I think we really should go macro, and we will find the resources to make that happen.' That's why The Stage Theatre worked so well for Plainsong: It was big and broad, and we had that beautiful set with the vista of the plains. But Benediction is much more about the people and less about the physical landscape of the plains.





      Douglas Langworthy: Leslie, you have played different characters in all three of these adaptations.

      Leslie O’Carroll: Yes. In Plainsong, I played Russell's mom – the unfriendly person in the town. I called her the Mother Bear. She would have been up and ready to defend Russell, no matter how horrible a bully he was. I loved playing that character because I feel like we all know those people. Then when you move to Eventide, I played a character you don't see a lot. Betty June is a bit challenged in terms if I.Q. Those are the people who are kind of hidden back in the trailer park. In your career, you have maybe four roles that change your life. That was one for me. And then with Benediction, I get to play this grandmother who has another child to rear after already having raised her own daughter, who is now gone. And they did not have the best relationship. Having this new relationship is kind of like coming full circle for her, She is starting again as a mother. But everybody is starting again with this little girl. As Dad is declining and Alice comes in, it's about forming a new family. I love that about all of Kent Haruf’s books: Just because someone is in your family, they may not be the person you are closest to. It might be someone outside your family, and so you create a new kind of family. In this day and age, there are millions of different kinds of families.

      Douglas Langworthy: Billie and Nance, you play mother and daughter, and you both develop an interest in this young girl that Berta May is raising. Why?

      Nance Williamson: I play Alene, who is a retired schoolteacher. She has taught in another small town for 41 years, and now has come back home. She had a relationship with a married man that ended badly. So when she comes back home to mom, she doesn't know what she is going to do. She feels like she had one chance at love, and she lost it. And her mother is bluntly telling her, 'Well, that really wasn't that much of a chance.' (Laughter.) So she’s done with teaching, and there's not that much left for her. But she's not in that retirement mindset yet. So when we meet this little girl who has lost her mother to cancer … there is no father … and she is living with her grandmother … something sparks in Alene. She comes to life. She blooms a little bit in the course of the play. So while it is about helping this little girl, Alene receives so much in return. There are a lot of women in this play, and a lot of women with some time under our belts. You don't get that very often in many plays.


      Billie McBride: Willa has been living in the town for a long time. She was married to a man, and they had a ranch, and they were pretty well-to-do. But he passed away and she has been alone for quite a while now. So it is a great joy when her daughter moves back. But the thing that is the most troubling is the darkness that surrounds this young lady. There is a joy I feel - me, Billie and me, Willa - in watching her shift all of that weight with this little girl. It is a treat to watch all of that.

      Douglas Langworthy: What is the line Berta May has about giving and receiving?

      Nance Williamson: The little girl says, 'I thought you said it was better to give than receive.'

      Leslie O'Carroll: And then I say, 'Well, now you are letting them give. You’re giving by letting them (give).’

      Nance Williamson: There is a line that kind of thematically encapsulates that idea: It's called ‘the precious ordinary,’ and it goes back to the Our Town idea that these lives are simple, ordinary … and so precious. 

      Note: Join us for Page to Stage, a free noontime conversation with Benediction cast members on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at the Colfax Tattered Cover, 2526 E. Colfax Ave.





      Benediction
      : Ticket information

      Performances run Jan. 30 through March 1
      Space Theatre
      Performances daily except Mondays
      Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

      Our previous coverage of Benediction:

      Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
      Video: Your first look at Benediction
      Doris Duke Foundation awards $125,000 for Benediction
      DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7
      Bittersweet opening for 'Benediction' rehearsals
      Kent Haruf, author of 'Plainsong' Trilogy, dies at age 71
      Kent Thompson on the 2014-15 season, play by play
      2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete 'Plainsong' trilogy
      Video: 'Benediction' reading at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit

      Benediction Perspectives conversation: Billie McBride, Nance Williamson, Leslie O'Carroll, Eric Schmiedl, Kent Thompson and Douglas Langworthy. Photo by John Moore.'Benediction' Perspectives conversation: Billie McBride, Nance Williamson, Leslie O'Carroll, Eric Schmiedl, Kent Thompson and Douglas Langworthy. Photo by John Moore.
    • Art and Artist: The Golden age of Larry Hecht

      by John Moore | Aug 01, 2014

      image

      Larry Hecht and Billie McBride as Norman and Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond,' now playing at the Barth Hotel through Aug. 30. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

      For Larry Hecht, there isn't another acting experience in the world like performing in the lobby of the Barth Hotel -- which isn't a hotel at all. It's an assisted-living residence in downtown Denver for low-income seniors with physical and mental disabilities.

      Every summer, a professional play is staged in the lobby of the Barth as a fundraiser for Senior Housing Options, the nonprofit that cares for its 62 residents – and 450 more in 14 residences across the state. And as any actor who has performed there can tell you … anything can happen at the Barth.

      image

       

      In 2011, while Hecht was performing in Chasing Manet, he had a line that had him berating at a nurse. “I was standing by the elevator door when I had to yell, “Are you blind?” said Hecht. “Right then, the door opened up, and a blind lady who lives at the Barth walked out, with cane in hand, right into the middle of the performance.

      “The audience was gone. The actors were gone. It was truly one of those moments where later, you go, ‘I don't believe that actually happened.’ But it did.”

      And it may happen again in this summer’s production of On Golden Pond, Ernest Thompson’s enduring dramedy about an elderly couple making their final visit to the family’s summer retreat. Hecht stars as Norman Thayer, the role immortalized on film by Henry Fonda, along with Billie McBride, the Colorado Theatre Guild’s recent Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and Tara Falk (Curious Theatre’s Time Stands Still).

      Hecht's director, for the first time, is his wife, Ashlee Temple.

      Hecht has been teaching with the Denver Center Theatre Academy for 17 years, including a major role on the faculty of the now-closed National Theatre Conservatory. As Head of Acting for the Academy, Hecht coordinates the curriculum for the adult education programs. He serves, in essence, as a bridge for serious acting students who want to make the leap from the classroom onto legit area stages. His major initiative is his popular Master Class Project. Recently, Hecht led 15 students into the wonderful, intimidating world of Stephen Sondheim. Next up: a six-actor version of Macbeth.

      Hecht, who was born in Salt Lake City, is himself an acclaimed actor with Denver Center Theatre Company credits including A Skull in Connemara, The Pillowman and Glengarry Glen Ross. He won a 2013 True West Award as Puck in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He and Benjamin Bonenfant (Denver Center’s Hamlet) won Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards for best play and best ensemble for Red.

      We talked with Hecht about On Golden Pond, his life at the Denver Center … and working for his wife:
       
      John Moore: How did you first come to be here?
      Larry Hecht: I moved to Denver 17 years ago and was offered a chance to teach a class by Daniel Renner. I was offered a full-time position 12 years ago.

      John Moore: What's impressed me most about observing your master classes is how they draw serious actors from the local community who are  trying to better themselves. Specifically those from the handicapped Phamaly Theatre Company.
      Larry Hecht: Yes, I believe in a universal approach to our training; that it should be for people of every age, ability or disability. We have struck up this really great relationship with Phamaly, and as part of that, we invite their actors to take any of our classes they want. Integration is my ultimate aim.

      John Moore: You have to take some prerequisites to qualify for your master class.
      Larry Hecht: Yes, if you do any of those master projects, we ask that you have done two to three classes first. It's just a commitment issue, because we are asking people to spend a whole lot of time working on these projects.

      John Moore: You always hear that number that the Academy serves 50,000 people a year with its programs, but you kind of have to be down here during the summer and see it in action to fully appreciate the scope of the programming here.
      Larry Hecht: Every day you see thousands roaming the halls from tots to teenagers. When you see that many kids involved, you know you must be doing something right. With the adult programming, you get the same sort of feeling. Our vision is to tell stories, and to train people to tell stories. That's what we do.

      image

       

       

      John Moore: But you are also building the next generation of theatre audiences -- and practitioners.
      Larry Hecht: If that happens, that's beautiful. But as an educator, what I do is train actors to tell stories.

      John Moore: So tell me about performing for Senior Housing Options.
      Larry Hecht: This will be my third show at the Barth Hotel. It started for me in 2010, when (Director) Terry Dodd he asked me if I wanted to play Picasso in Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

      John Moore: And now your wife is back to direct at the Barth for the third straight summer.
      Larry Hecht: Yes, she is. I've directed her before (in Crimes of the Heart), but this is the first time I’ve ever worked for her.

      John Moore: And, so … what's it like to be directed by your wife?
      Larry Hecht: It's pretty terrific. I mean, she is a really good director. She is a better director than I am, which is kind of ... "toasty." She's got an impeccable visual eye because she is also an incredible artist. She's a collagist, so she has an amazing eye for any kind of detail. When she drops something in, you listen, because that kind of vision is few and far between.

      John Moore: What do you think she brings to On Golden Pond?
      Larry Hecht:  More than anything, she talks to actors in such a simple, straightforward way that you never feel you are being directed. The ideas that come out are so smart. She gives you the freedom to play and do your work. And you know, directors are not my favorite people, so ...

      John Moore: Do you include yourself in that?
      Larry Hecht:  Oh, I don't direct.

      John Moore: But I've seen you direct!
      Larry Hecht:  I'm a facilitator. I help out along the way. I would rather run lights than direct anything.

      John Moore: But you do it.
      Larry Hecht: But I despise it.

      John Moore: Would you have pursued a role like Norman in On Golden Pond if it weren't a fundraiser for Senior Housing Options, and working with your wife?
      Larry Hecht:  I probably wouldn't … because I'm so young for it!

      image

      'On Golden Pond': Back row from left: Drew Horwitz, Shem Brown and John Fortmiller. Front row, Tara Falk, Larry Hecht and Billie McBride. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

       

      John Moore: Norman is 80, after all.
      Larry Hecht: Then again, as I continue to do it, I realize -- I'm not that young for it anymore.

      John Moore: You're no Henry Fonda in the age department.
      Larry Hecht: I was talking to Billie McBride about this last night. I said it kind of feels like the first time I played King Lear. When you play your first Lear, you think, ‘Well, you have three or four more of those in you.’ So I'm treating this like it's my ‘First Norman Thayer.’

      John Moore: On Golden Pond is by now, of course, a very well-known story. It's been done by theatre companies all over town. What do you think is going to be special about this staging?
      Larry Hecht: For me, besides working with Ashlee, it's getting back over to the lobby of the Barth. It's like nothing in the world in terms of theatre. There's only one Barth Hotel. It's an event that you will never, ever really get to do in another theatre.

      John Moore: But this is your third go-round at the Barth. What keeps you coming back?
      Larry Hecht: Maybe it’s because of the mission of the place. We are raising money. You feel you are part of something special. I mean, incredible people run that place. Incredible. Such angels, I would call them. And then, you also get that same feeling you get when you put on a show in your garage: It's not being performed in the confines of a place that was constructed for theatre. It has an element all its own that is fresh and new.

      John Moore: It’s not that often that an actor gets the satisfaction of putting on a show that will tangibly improve the quality of life for some folks.
      Larry Hecht: They have been able to do some really amazing things with the money they have raised. I think every actor in town wouldn't mind working over there.

      John Moore: So you are co-starring with the recent recipient of the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, Billie McBride.
      Larry Hecht:  Oh, man, yes. I bow to her every night. And as long as I keep bowing to her, we’ll be able to work. (Laughing.)

      John Moore: So what is it really like working with Ms. McBride?
      Larry Hecht: Billie and I have known each other for a good number of years. She has directed me before, so we are old hands at this. But this is the first time we have really been able to work one-on-one. She's the best. Pretty extraordinary.
         image

       

      John Moore: For those who have never been, what makes seeing a show at The Barth a wonderful theatregoing experience?
      Larry Hecht: It’s because of being able to turn any place into a real theatre. That's what it’s all about. When you are storytelling, you can tell a story anywhere, which turns anywhere into a theatre, if you put the effort into it. And they certainly put the effort into it over there.

      John Moore: Looking forward to seeing some of your Denver Center colleagues in attendance at the Barth?
      Larry Hecht:  I would love for people to get over there and see it. It's a marvelous script, and we know that because it keeps getting done all over the place. It’s an extraordinary story, and it is great fun to do.

      On Golden Pond

      • Where: Lobby of the Barth Hotel, 1514 17th St.
      • When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 30. (Note: No show Thursday, Aug. 14.)
      • Cost: Tickets $25 for general admission; $35 for preferred seating
      • Info: www.seniorhousingoptions.org or call 303-595-4464, ext. 10

       

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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.