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

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

     

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

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    A Lady Day Westword

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

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


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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Video: Mary Louise Lee sings with Million Dollar Quartet:

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

  • Henry Awards spreads love from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins

    by John Moore | Jul 17, 2017
    29 Outstanding Season



    Openstage, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, TheatreWorks and The Book of Will leave indelible marks

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2017 Henry Awards was a night of open arms and poignant remembrance, culminating with OpenStage Theatre and Company winning the Guild’s highest honor for the first time, for Outstanding Season. The 44-year-old Fort Collins tradition also swept both outstanding actor and actress awards: Sydney Parks Smith for August: Osage County and Steven P. Sickles for Le Bête,

    Henry Awards by YearUntil 2013, theatre companies outside the metro area were not eligible for Henry Awards, but on Monday night at the PACE Center in Parker, the Henrys rolled out the welcome mat for statewide companies.

    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks’ The Game of Love and Chance was named Outstanding Play. That was the final play directed by company founder Murray Ross, who died in January. Drew Martorella, Executive Director of UCCS Presents, dedicated the award to Ross' considerable legacy.

    The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, in its final year before merging with Colorado College, tied with the DCPA Theatre Company for most wins for the evening with five, all for The Man of La Mancha. The DCPA won Outstanding New Play and four other awards for its world premiere of The Book of Will. DCPA CEO Janice Sinden announced to the crowd that the play, written by Lauren Gunderson about the creation of Shakespeare's First Folio, already has four major stagings scheduled around the country. "Lauren Gunderson will be the first female playwright with an original play on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Elizabethan Stage in its 83-year history," Sinden said to raucous cheers.

    Thunder River Theatre Company of Carbondale won the first two Henrys in its history, both for four-time 2017 nominee Sean Jeffries. Carbondale is a mountain hamlet of 5,200 residents located between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. Jeffries won for both sound (The Tempest) and scenic (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) awards among Tier II companies.

    Just in: Check out all of our photos from the awards

    The Lone Tree Arts Center, which won its first Henry Award just last year, broke through with three wins on Monday for its production of Evita. The show, which re-cast the guerilla Che as more of a tormenting artist, was the surprise winner of the Outstanding Musical award. Even the Backstage Breckenridge Theatre got in on the act with its irreverent Toxic Avenger musical winning both the Outstanding Actress (Colby Dunn) and Supporting Actress (Megan Van De Hey) awards.

    Perhaps the emotional highlight of the evening was Tad Baierlein presenting the Life Achievement Award to his parents, Germinal Stage co-founders Ed Bairelein and Sallie Diamond Baierlein.

     

    2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new

    While the annual Henry Awards often turn into landslides, 2017 will go down as the most widely spread in the 12-year history of the awards. The 25 competitive awards were distributed among 10 member companies.

    That still left a number of the metro area's most prestigious companies on the sidelines this year, including Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Buntport Theater, Phamaly Theatre Company and the Town Hall Arts Center.

    The Catamounts, which earned nine nominations for its punk musical take on Beowulf, won none. The Aurora Fox, despite five nominations for a Porgy and Bess that in performance Monday brought the capacity crowd to its screaming feet, also went away empty-handed. Last year the Henry Awards' darlings were Theatre Aspen and Vintage Theatre, winners of 12 awards. This year? None.

    Despite 16 nominations, the Arvada Center, a perennial Henrys favorite, won only one award - and it was perhaps the most surprising of the night. Matt LaFontaine, who took on the role of Judas in the Arvada Center's Jesus Christ Superstar just days before opening, was named Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical. A grateful and humble LaFontaine dedicated the award to actor Napoleon Kaufman, who was originally cast as Judas but had to drop out due to illness, and Daniel Langhoff, who is continuing to battle cancer.

    "I shouldn’t be up here," LaFontaine told the crowd. 

    Curious Theatre Company, second only to the DCPA and Arvada Center in total Henry Awards received since 2006, pulled out of consideration last July after the company was shut out of the Henry Awards for the second straight year. Managing Director Katie Maltais cited what she called the judges' “limited knowledge of the theatre craft, especially with regard to technical design,” as well as the lack of diversity among last year’s winners. That complaint only stands to grow louder after last night, which produced only three apparent winners of color.

    Given the political climate, the evening was  remarkably civil in tone. Hosts Steven J.  Burge and GerRee Hinshaw teased the crowd at the top of the show to expect no holds barred political commentary throughout the evening, but it was all a ruse for keeping things light. The only variance came when Stephen Day accepted the Henry Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. Day, who plays the delusionally hopeful knight Cervantes in The Man of LaMancha, said, "I want to thank the current administration in Washington for giving me my subtext every night."  

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Henry Awards honor outstanding achievements by member companies, and the event serves as the Colorado Theatre Guild’s annual fundraiser. The awards are named for longtime local theatre producer Henry Lowenstein. Nominations are determined through a judging process conducted by more than 45 theatre journalists, blogger critics and adjudicators from the community.

    The Henry Awards split the four design categories into two tiers determined by member companies' annual overall operating budgets. Only six companies have annual budgets above the $1.2 million threshold and therefore are considered Tier I: The DCPA, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. The rest all compete in Tier II.

    The Guild made great strides in expanding the eligible pool this year to a record 190 productions. But it also reduced the number of judges required to make each show eligible from six to five, which likely accounts for some of the pronounced clustering of nominations around certain shows.

    It was announced at the show that Gloria Shanstrom, who has served the Colorado Theatre Guild for more than 20 years and has administered the Henry Awards since their inception, is retiring at the end of the month. Monday's ceremony, which has been directed for the past 11 years by Jim Hunt, were led this year by Jonathan D. Allsup.

    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.



    2017 Henry Awards video:


    Video by DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

    2016-17 HENRY AWARDS

    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    • OpenStage Theatre and Company, Fort Collins

    Also nominated:

    • Arvada Center
    • OpenStage Theatre and Company
    • Colorado Springs TheatreWorks
    • DCPA Theatre Company
    • Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Thunder River Theatre Company


    Outstanding Production of a Play

    16 GameLoveChanceGame of Love and Chance
    TheatreWorks
    Murray Ross, Director

    Also nominated:

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Dulcie Willis, Director
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company, Davis McCallum, Director
    • "Constellations," TheatreWorks, Joye Cook-Levy, Director
    • "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Wendy S. Moore, Director"
    • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company, Corey Simpson, Director
    • "Tartuffe," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director


    Outstanding Musical

    28 EVITA BM at the Lone Tree Arts Center credit Danny LamEvita

    Lone Tree Arts Center
    Gina Rattan, Director; Max Mamon, Musical Director

    Also nominated:

    • "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts, Meridith C. Grundei, Director; Gary Grundei, Musical Direction                         
    • "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, Scott RC Levy, Director; Sharon Skidgel, Musical Direction
    • "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative, Kelly McAllister, Director; Tanner Kelly, Musical Direction                                
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center, Kenny Moten, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center, Randal Myler, Director; Dan Wheetman, Musical Direction
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center, donnie l. betts, Director; Jodel Charles, Musical Direction


    Outstanding New Play

    10 New Play or Musical DCPA Theatre Company The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson Directed by Davis McCallum The Book of Will

    DCPA Theatre Company
    Written by Lauren Gunderson
    Directed by Davis McCallum

    Also nominated:

    • “The Firestorm,” by Meridith Friedman
    • "Full Code," by David Valdes Greenwood
    • "The History Room," by Charlie Thurston           
    • "I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Music and Lyrics by David Nehls, Book by Kenn McLaughlin
    • "Lost Creatures," by Melissa Lucero McCarl
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There,” by Randal Myler

    Direction of a Play
    23 Direction - Dulcie  Willis - August Osage CountyDulcie Willis
    August: Osage County

    OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Also nominated:

    • Lynne Collins, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Joye Cook-Levy, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Davis McCallum, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Matt Radcliffe, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Murray Ross, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Corey Simpson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company

    Direction of a Musical
    27 Direction - Man of La ManchaScott RC Levy
    Man of La Mancha

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • donnie l. betts, "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Meridith C. Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Kelly McAllister, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Randal Myler, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Gina Rattan, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Nick Sugar, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

    Outstanding Musical Direction
    25 Musical Direction EVITA at the Lone Tree Arts Center credit Danny LamMax Mamon
    Evita

    Lone Tree Arts Center

    Also nominated:

    • Neal Dunfee, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Gary Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Sharon Skidgel, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Jason Tyler Vaughn, “Murder Ballad,” The Edge Theater Company
    • Jalyn Courtenay Webb, "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • Dan Wheetman, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center


    Outstanding Actress in a Musical
    20 Toxic Avenger Colby DunnColby Dunn
    The Toxic Avenger

    Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

    Also nominated:

    • Jacquie Jo Billings, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Sarah Groeke, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Cecilia Iole, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Marissa Rudd, "Sister Act," Midtown Arts Center
    • Tracy Warren, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Danielle Hermon Wood, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative




    Outstanding Actor in a Musical

    21 Actor - Man of La ManchaStephen Day
    Man of La Mancha

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company 

    Also nominated:

    • Leonard E. Barrett Jr. , "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Joshua Blanchard, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Miles Jacoby, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • August Stoten, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Colin Summers, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Joe Von Bokern, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Actress in a Play
    14 Actress - Sydney Parks Smith - August Osage CountySydney Parks Smith
    August: Osage County

    OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Also nominated:   

    • LuAnn Buckstein, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
    • Carley Cornelius, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Denise Burson Freestone, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company      
    • Kathleen McCall, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Emma Messenger, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Caitlin Wise, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Actor in a Play
    15 Actor - Steven P. Sickles - La BeteSteven P. Sickles
    Le Bête

    OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Also nominated:

    • William Hahn, "Burn This," The Edge Theater Company 
    • Kevin Hart, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
    • Sammie Joe Kinnett, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Micah Speirs, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company               
    • Dan Tschirhart, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company        
    • Adam Verner, "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company                                                                                                         


    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

    03 Supporting Actress in a Play Miriam A. LaubeMiriam A. Laube
    The Book of Will

    DCPA Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Miriam A. Laube, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Carolyn Lohr, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre              
    • Leslie O’Carroll, "Silent Sky," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Amelia Pedlow, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Christina Sajous, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Linda Suttle, "A Time to Kill," Vintage Theatre Productions
    • Edith Weiss, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre



    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

    04 Supporting Actor in a Play Triney SandovalTriney Sandoval
    The Book of Will

    DCPA Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Nathan Cox, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Rodney Lizcano, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Wesley Mann, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Owen O’Farrell, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Hunter Ringsmith, "Equivocaton," Colorado Shakespeare Festival            
    • Corey Simpson, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company



    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

    07 Toxic Avenger MEGAN VAN DE HEYMegan Van De Hay
    The Toxic Avenger

    Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

    Also nominated:

    • Jenna Bainbridge, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Charlotte Campbell, “A Christmas Story,” Midtown Arts Center
    • Anna High, “Porgy and Bess,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Rebecca Hoodwin, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Carol Rose, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre


    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

    08 Supporting Actor in a Musical - Matt LaFontaine - Jesus Christ Superstar - Arvada CenterMatt LaFontaine
    Jesus Christ Superstar

    Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

    Also nominated:

    • Brandon Bill, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Ben Hilzer, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • John Jankow, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Bob Moore, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Nicholas Park, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Kyle Ashe Wilkinson, "Titanic," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre



    09 EnsembleOutstanding Ensemble Performance

    The Book of Will

    DCPA Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center



    Outstanding Choreography

    24 josephMatthew D. Peters
    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    BDT Stage

    Also nominated:

    • Mary Ripper Baker, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden & Amanda Berg Wilson, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Jeff Duke and Stephanie Hansen, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Kelly Kates, “The Robber Bridegroom,” Town Hall Arts Center
    • Michael Lasris, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Kate Vallee, "42nd Street," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse  


    DESIGN AWARDS

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1
    01 Sound Design - Man of La ManchaBenjamin Heston
    Man of La Mancha

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Jason Ducat, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks
    • Jason Ducat, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Morgan McCauley, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Stowe Nelson, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • David Thomas, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Zach Williamson, “The Secret Garden, “ DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2
    02 Sound-Tier2-Tempest-TRTCSean Jeffries
    The Tempest

    Thunder River Theatre Company 

    Also nominated:

    • Travis Duncan and Jeremiah Walter, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Carlos Flores, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Allen Noftall, “Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Allen Noftall, “Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You Theatre," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Jon Northridge, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Tom Quinn and Kenny Storms, "Murder Ballad," The Edge Theater Company

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1
    05 LightingDesign-Man of La ManchaHolly Anne Rawls
    Man of La Mancha

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Charles R. MacLeod, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company  
    • Shannon McKinney, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Jon Olson, “The Drowning Girls,” Arvada Center
    • Paul Toben, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Tovar, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company   
    • Mike Wood, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks


    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2

    06 Lighting Evita Danny LamJen Kiser
    Evita

    Lone Tree Arts Center

    Also nominated 

  • Seth Alison, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
  • Brandon Ingold, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
  • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Mallary, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
  • Brett Maughan, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage

  •  

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1
    12 Camille_AssafCamille Assaf
    The Book of Will

    DCPA Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Stephanie Bradley, "Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Janson J. Fangio, "Enchanted April," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sydney Gallas, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Clare Henkel, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Clare Henkel, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Lex Liang, “Shrek,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company



    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2

    13 Little Mermaid- RMRTJesus Perez
    The Little Mermaid

    Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

    Also nominated:

    • Kari Armstrong, "The Snow Queen," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    • Buntport Theater, "The Crud," Buntport Theater
    • Pamela Clifton, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre         
    • Judith Ernst, "The Wizard of Oz," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    • Tricia Music, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Annabel Reader, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts


    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1

    18 Scenic Design - Man of La ManchaChristopher L. Sheley
    Man of La Mancha

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Lisa Orzolek, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Mallgrave, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Brian Mallgrave, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Sandra Goldmark, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Paul Black, "Mamma Mia," Theatre Aspen
    • Jason Sherwood, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company


    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2

    19 Scenic-Tier2-Jekyll-and-Hyde-TRTCSean Jeffries
    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Thunder River Theatre Company

    Also nominated:

    • Shaun Albrechtson, "Steel Magnolias," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • James Brookman, “August: Osage County,” OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • M. Curtis Grittner, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
    • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Lori Rosedahl, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • Kyle Scoggins, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse


    SPECIAL AWARDS:

    Specials collage


    LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THEATRE
    Ed Baierlein and Sallie Diamond Baierlein, Germinal Stage Denver

    EXCELLENCE IN SPECIAL MAKEUP EFFECTS
    Todd Debreceni

    OUTSTANDING IMPROVISATIONAL THEATRE
    ScriptProv

    OUTSTANDING THEATRE BENEFACTORS
    Les Crispelle
    Glenn Tiedt

  • 2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new

    by John Moore | Jun 20, 2017
    Beowulf. Catamounts

    From left: Allison Caw, Amanda Berg Wilson and Joe Von Bokern in The Catmounts'  'Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage,' which tied for the most Henry Award nominations by a musical with nine. Photo by Michael Ensminger. 

    DCPA leads way as always wildly unpredictable nominations embrace companies from Carbondale to Colorado Springs

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Suffice it to say, a whole lot of people will be attending the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards for the very first time.

    While the DCPA Theatre Company led all Colorado companies for the fifth straight year with 21 nominations, followed by the Arvada Center with 16, a plethora of companies that have barely registered on the Henrys’ radar in the past have emphatically taken their place at the table this year – most from outside the Denver metro area.   

    Sean Jeffries. Henry Awards. Thunder RiverThunder River, a small theatre company in Carbondale, didn’t just receive its first Henry Award nominations - it received its first 11. Most of that can be attributed to a mind-boggling individual accomplishment: Sean Jeffries (pictured right) becomes the first person to ever receive five nominations in a single year for his lighting, scenic and sound designs. New Thunder River Executive Artistic Director Corey Simpson also picked up nominations as both a director (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and supporting actor (The Tempest).

    Lone Tree Arts Center, which mostly presents touring shows and concerts, earned 13 nominations for staging three of its own shows. The city of Colorado Springs steamrolled its way into the party with 12 nominations for TheatreWorks, 11 for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and even three for the tiny Springs Ensemble Theatre. The love for TheatreWorks could not have come at a more poignant time, following the January death of founder Murray Ross, who is nominated of Outstanding Direction of Marivaux’s romantic comedy The Game of Love and Chance.

    Denise FreestoneUp in Fort Collins, OpenStage & Company charted 12 nominations, followed by the Midtown Arts Center with seven. Other breakout years: Eight nominations each for the Backstage Breckenridge Theatre, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre of Grand Lake, and PACE Center/Inspire Creative. Those nine emerging companies garnered just 17 cumulative nominations last year. This year, they totaled 90.

    (Pictured right: Denise Burson Freestone and Sydney Parks Smith are both nominated as Outstanding Lead Actresses in OpenStage Theatre & Company's 'August: Osage County.') 

    The 12th annual Henry Awards will be presented July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker. The seven companies under consideration for Outstanding Season are the Arvada Center, DCPA Theatre Company, Lone Tree Arts Center, Openstage Theatre & Company, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks and Thunder River.

    Book of Will. Rodney Lizcano The most honored play of the season is the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, with 12 nominations, followed by OpenStage’s August: Osage County, with seven. The Book of Will tells how two obscure members of William Shakespeare’s acting company took it upon themselves to publish the first complete published collection of Shakespeare's plays. It already has been picked up for subsequent productions all around the country.

    (Pictured right: Rodney Lizcano is one of three of 'Book of Will' castmates nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actor.)

    The leading musicals of 2016-17 in a topsy-turvy Outstanding Musical field were Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Man of La Mancha and The Catamounts’ Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, with nine nominations. That was a blood-pumping, gypsy-punk musical based on the ninth-century epic poem with an original score by Dave Malloy, composer of Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre, And The Great Comet of 1812.

    That was followed by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s Man of La Mancha (9), the Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar (7), PACE Center and Inspire Creative’s collaborative staging of Monty Python’s Spamalot (6) and two Lone Tree Arts Center stagings, of Evita (6) and the world premiere of Randal Myler’s Muscle Shoals (6), which chronicled the music that came out of the famous recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala., in the 1960s.

    But all that emergence means a lot of traditional Henry Award favorites are taking a back seat this year. Last year, for example, Performance Now, Vintage, Buntport and Town Hall combined for 29 nominations. This year, the four scored a combined three. 

    The Henry Awards are a notoriously unpredictable affair from year to year, often heaping unexpected love on a breakout company one year and then all but forgetting it the next. Theatre Aspen, which earned a whopping 25 nominations and swept the 2016 Henrys with eight awards, received only one nomination this year.

    Among the ongoing Henry Awards mysteries is the continuing snub of the rock-solid Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which has now received only four nominations the past three years combined. Phamaly Theatre Company, which makes performance opportunities available to actors with disabilities, was shut out. For the second straight year, Cherry Creek Theatre received no nominations, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival received just one – for Hunter Ringsmith’s riveting performance as supporting actor in Equivocation.

    One of the most dramatic individual nominations of the year has to be Matt LaFontaine’ s recognition as an Outstanding Actor in a Musical. He assumed the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar just days before the opening because of an illness in the cast.

    Colorado Springs husband and wife Joye Cook-Levy and Scott RC Levy are both nominated as directors - Joye for TheatreWorks’ play Constellations and Scott for Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s musical Man of La Mancha. The married couple of Meridith C. Grundei and Gary Grundei are nominated as director and musical director, respectively, of The Catamounts’ Beowulf. And Joan Bruemmer-Holden is nominated as both a supporting actor and the choreographer of that show.

    Other multiple nominees this year include costumer Clare Henkel, scenic designer Brian Mallgrave, and sound designers Jason Ducat and Allen Noftall.

    A glaring omission from this year’s nominee slate is Curious Theatre Company, historically one of the Henrys’ favorite recipients - but also a prime example of the feast-or-famine nature of these awards. After winning a remarkable 20 Henry Awards over three years from 2012-14, Curious was shut out the past two seasons. Artistic Director Chip Walton later pulled his company out of consideration for this year’s awards, citing a profound lack of diversity among last year’s winners.

    Curious Theatre quote“Curious approached the Colorado Theatre Guild with concerns about the lack of diversity represented at the Henry Awards last year, as well as many judges' limited knowledge of the theatre craft, especially with regard to technical design,” said Managing Director Katie Maltais. “As the Guild chose not to change its practices or provide additional learning opportunities for judges, Curious left the Henry Awards. We hope that one day the Henry Awards will showcase the full richness of our theatre community, and our strong stance on equity and inclusion and firm commitment to artistic excellence demands we wait until that day to participate in the awards.” 

    Despite its 21 nominations, the DCPA slate also reflects the roller-coaster nature of the Henry Award nominations. While The Book of Will led all productions with 12 nominations, including three supporting actors, the critically acclaimed Disgraced, The Secret Garden and Frankenstein only managed five among them. The Glass Menagerie earned three.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild is a statewide advocacy group, and last year it expanded its nominations to spread more bounty to more companies throughout the state by now designating seven nominations for each category. This year nominations went to 29 different companies and 56 of 190 eligible shows. The expanded pool of nominees means each has just a 14 percent chance of actually winning.

    The Guild also splits the four design categories into two tiers determined by member companies' annual overall operating budgets. Only six companies have annual budgets above the $1.2 million threshold and therefore are considered Tier I: The DCPA, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. The rest all compete in Tier II.

    Established in 2006, the Henry Awards serve as the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual fundraising event. The awards are named for longtime local theatre producer Henry Lowenstein. Nominations are determined through a judging process conducted by more than 45 statewide theatre reporters, educators and assigned judges.

    2016-17 HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS

    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    • Arvada Center
    • Colorado Springs TheatreWorks
    • DCPA Theatre Company
    • Lone Tree Arts Center
    • OpenStage Theatre and Company
    • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Thunder River Theatre Company

    Outstanding Production of a Play

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Dulcie Willis, Director
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company, Davis McCallum, Director
    • "Constellations," TheatreWorks, Joye Cook-Levy, Director
    • "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Wendy S. Moore, Director
    • "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company, Corey Simpson, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks, Murray Ross, Director
    • "Tartuffe," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director

    Outstanding Production of a Musical

    • "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts, Meridith C. Grundei, Director; Gary Grundei, Musical Direction                                
    • "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center, Gina Rattan, Director; Max Mamon, Musical Direction                                
    • "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, Scott RC Levy, Director; Sharon Skidgel, Musical Direction
    • "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative, Kelly McAllister, Director; Tanner Kelly, Musical Direction                                
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center, Kenny Moten, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center, Randal Myler, Director; Dan Wheetman, Musical Direction
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center, donnie l. betts, Director; Jodel Charles, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Play

    • Lynne Collins, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Joye Cook-Levy, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Davis McCallum, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Matt Radcliffe, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Murray Ross, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Corey Simpson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Dulcie Willis, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical

    • donnie l. betts, "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Meridith C. Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Kelly McAllister, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Scott RC Levy, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Randal Myler, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Gina Rattan, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Nick Sugar, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

    Outstanding Musical Direction

    • Neal Dunfee, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Gary Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Max Mamon, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Sharon Skidgel, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Jason Tyler Vaughn, “Murder Ballad,” The Edge Theater Company
    • Jalyn Courtenay Webb, "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • Dan Wheetman, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center

    Outstanding Actor in a Play

    • William Hahn, "Burn This," The Edge Theater Company 
    • Kevin Hart, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre   
    • Sammie Joe Kinnett, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Steven P. Sickles, "Le Bete," OpenStage Theatre & Company     
    • Micah Speirs, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company               
    • Dan Tschirhart, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company        
    • Adam Verner, "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company                                                                                                         

    Outstanding Actress in a Play

    • LuAnn Buckstein, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre      
    • Carley Cornelius, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Denise Burson Freestone, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company      
    • Kathleen McCall, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company          
    • Emma Messenger, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Sydney Parks Smith, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company 
    • Caitlin Wise, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical

    • Leonard E. Barrett Jr. , "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Joshua Blanchard, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Stephen Day, “Man of La Mancha,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company                                                                
    • Miles Jacoby, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • August Stoten, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Colin Summers, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Joe Von Bokern, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical

    • Jacquie Jo Billings, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Colby Dunn, "The Toxic Avenger," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre        
    • Sarah Groeke, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Cecilia Iole, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Marissa Rudd, "Sister Act," Midtown Arts Center
    • Tracy Warren, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Danielle Hermon Wood, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

    • Nathan Cox, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Rodney Lizcano, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Wesley Mann, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Owen O’Farrell, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Hunter Ringsmith, "Equivocaton," Colorado Shakespeare Festival            
    • Triney Sandoval, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Corey Simpson, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

    • Miriam A. Laube, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Carolyn Lohr, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre              
    • Leslie O’Carroll, "Silent Sky," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Amelia Pedlow, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Christina Sajous, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Linda Suttle, "A Time to Kill," Vintage Theatre Productions
    • Edith Weiss, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

    • Brandon Bill, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Ben Hilzer, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • John Jankow, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Matt LaFontaine, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Bob Moore, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Nicholas Park, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Kyle Ashe Wilkinson, "Titanic," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

    • Jenna Bainbridge, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Charlotte Campbell, “A Christmas Story,” Midtown Arts Center
    • Anna High, “Porgy and Bess,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Rebecca Hoodwin, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Carol Rose, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Megan Van De Hey, "The Toxic Avenger," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre   

    DROWNING GIRLS

    Outstanding Ensemble Performance

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center

    Outstanding New Play or Musical

    • "The Book of Will," by Lauren Gunderson

      Directed by Davis McCallum; Produced by DCPA Theatre Company

    • “The Firestorm,” by Meridith Friedman

      Directed by Pesha Rudnick; Produced by LOCAL Theater Company

    • "Full Code," by David Valdes Greenwood

      Directed by Stephen Weitz; Produced by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

    • "The History Room," by Charlie Thurston

      Directed by Pesha Rudnick; Produced by Creede Repertory Theatre             

    • "I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Music and Lyrics by David Nehls, Book by Kenn McLaughlin

      Directed by Gavin Mayer; Produced by Arvada Center

    • "Lost Creatures," by Melissa Lucero McCarl

      Directed by Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski; Produced by And Toto too Theatre Company

    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There,” by Randal Myler

      Directed by Randal Myler; Produced by Lone Tree Arts Center

    Outstanding Choreography

    • Mary Ripper Baker, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden & Amanda Berg Wilson, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Jeff Duke and Stephanie Hansen, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Kelly Kates, “The Robber Bridegroom,” Town Hall Arts Center
    • Michael Lasris, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Matthew D. Peters, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage
    • Kate Vallee, "42nd Street," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse      

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1

    • Camille Assaf, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Stephanie Bradley, "Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Janson J. Fangio, "Enchanted April," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sydney Gallas, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Clare Henkel, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Clare Henkel, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Lex Liang, “Shrek,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2

    • Kari Armstrong, "The Snow Queen," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    • Buntport Theater, "The Crud," Buntport Theater
    • Pamela Clifton, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre         
    • Judith Ernst, "The Wizard of Oz," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    • Tricia Music, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Jesus Perez, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Annabel Reader, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1

    • Charles R. MacLeod, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company  
    • Shannon McKinney, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Jon Olson, “The Drowning Girls,” Arvada Center
    • Holly Anne Rawls, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Paul Toben, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Tovar, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company   
    • Mike Wood, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2

  • Seth Alison, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
  • Brandon Ingold, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
  • Jen Kiser, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
  • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Mallary, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
  • Brett Maughan, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage
  • Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1

    • Lisa Orzolek, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Mallgrave, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Brian Mallgrave, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Christopher L. Sheley, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sandra Goldmark, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Paul Black, "Mamma Mia," Theatre Aspen
    • Jason Sherwood, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2

    • Shaun Albrechtson, "Steel Magnolias," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • James Brookman, “August: Osage County,” OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • M. Curtis Grittner, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
    • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Lori Rosedahl, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • Kyle Scoggins, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1

    • Jason Ducat, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks
    • Jason Ducat, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Benjamin Heston, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Morgan McCauley, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Stowe Nelson, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • David Thomas, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Zach Williamson, “The Secret Garden, “ DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2

    • Travis Duncan and Jeremiah Walter, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Carlos Flores, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Allen Noftall, “Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Allen Noftall, “Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You Theatre," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Jon Northridge, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Tom Quinn and Kenny Storms, "Murder Ballad," The Edge Theater Company
      Additional Special Awards will be announced in July.

    2017 Henry Awards: Ticket information

    • Monday, July 17
    • 6 p.m. drinks; 7 p.m. awards
    • PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, MAP IT
    • Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets are available at parkerarts.org, or by calling 303-805-6800. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.
    • Ticket onsale date: June 30

    Nominations by Company:
    DCPA Theatre Company – 21
    Arvada Center – 16
    Lone Tree Arts Center – 13
    OpenStage & Company – 12
    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks – 12
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center – 11
    Thunder River Theatre Company – 11
    The Catamounts – 9
    Breckenridge Backstage Theatre – 8
    PACE Center/Inspire Creative - 8
    Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre – 7
    Midtown Arts Center – 7
    Lake Dillon Theatre Company – 6
    Aurora Fox – 5
    The Edge Theatre – 5
    BDT Stage – 3
    Springs Ensemble Theatre – 3
    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company – 2
    Candlelight Dinner Playhouse – 2
    Miners Alley Playhouse – 2
    And Toto too Theatre Company – 1
    Bas Bleu Theatre – 1
    Buntport Theater– 1
    Creede Repertory Theatre – 1
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival – 1
    Local Theatre Company – 1
    Theatre Aspen – 1
    Town Hall Arts Center – 1
    Vintage Theatre – 1

  • Community conversation on theatre criticism Monday at Denver Center

    by John Moore | Jun 17, 2017
    Rick Yaconis, Juliet Wittman and Michael J. Duran

    From left: Rick Yaconis, Juliet Wittman and Michael J. Duran.

    Everyone's a Critic ... Literally, will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 19, in the DCPA's Conservatory Theatre

    By Gloria Shanstrom
    Colorado Theatre Guild

    The Colorado Theatre Guild will launch its new series, called Community Conversations, this Monday night with a candid and constructive conversation about the changing face of arts journalism today. First up is Everyone’s a Critic: Literally.

    With the decline of full-time jobs at traditional media outlets throughout the country, there is growing concern among arts organizations about the future of theatrical criticism. This panel will discuss the state of criticism today, what the future might hold and offer proactive strategies arts groups might consider to get their own stories told.

    The conversation takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, June 19, at the Denver Center's Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education, located at 13th and Arapahoe streets.

    John MooreThe panel will be moderated by John Moore, former longtime theatre critic at The Denver Post and now editor of a 4-year-old media outlet launched by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts as a shared asset for the entire Colorado theatre community. 

    Current panelists include Westword theatre critic Juliet Wittman, longtime blogger critic Patrick Dorn, The Edge Theatre Company Executive and Artistic Director Rick Yaconis and BDT Stage Producing Artistic Director Michael J. Duran. (Panel subject to change.)

    This Colorado Theatre Guild's new workshop and panel-discussion series, initiated by new CTG President Deb Flomberg, is aimed at Colorado theater producers, actors, designers, patrons and anyone wishing to get better insight into the process of creating and producing live theatre in Colorado. Attendees are asked to come with questions for this lively discussion.

    "Community Conversations are about one thing: Opening up the discussion to bring together the theatrical community in Colorado," Flomberg said.

    Everyone’s a Critic: Literally
    Newman Building

    • 7 p.m. Monday, June 19
    • At the Denver Center's Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education
    • 13th and Arapahoe streets
    • 1101 13th Street, Denver, CO 80204
    • Free to Colorado Theatre Guild members, and $5 at the door for non-members

    Panelist bios
    John Moore
    is an award-winning arts journalist who was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. His online innovations for The Denver Post prompted the Chicago Tribune to suggest that The Denver Post‘s online theater coverage was the best in the nation. In 2013, he took a groundbreaking new position as an in-house journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. His ongoing coverage of the entire Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org. He also started the Denver Actors Fund as a way of organizing community-wide responsive efforts when members of the local theatre community find themselves in immediate medical need. In just more than three years, the Denver Actors Fund has distributed more than $100,000 in direct financial relief to members of the Colorado theatre community. Last year John's full-length play Waiting for Obama was performed by an all-Colorado cast at the New York International Fringe Festival.

    Juliet Wittman studied acting while growing up in London (where she was privileged to see such greats as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft onstage), and with Milton Katselas in New York. She has also worked in radio, off-off Broadway, summer-stock and repertory. As a graduate student in Colorado, she appeared at CU and the Nomad Playhouse and she also founded a feminist theatre company. For two years, she taught theater at the Colorado Women’s Correctional Facility: The inmates were allowed out of the prison several times to show their plays in Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver’s Changing Scene, where Al Brooks served them cappuccino in tiny, elegant cups. As a writer, she has had essays and short stories published in literary magazines and won several journalism awards. Her memoir, Breast Cancer Journal: A Century of Petals, received the Colorado Book Award and was named a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been reviewing theatre for Westword for more than 15 years, during which time she’s learned more about the art form than she can begin to express.

    Patrick DornPatrick Dorn abandoned his Actor’s Equity card and fled Los Angeles in 1980. He moved to Denver, where he earned a master’s degree in theatre from the University of Denver, with emphases in theatre history, dramatic theory and criticism, playwriting and children’s theatre. As an associate professor, he taught these subjects and more at Colorado Christian University for several years. Before becoming a critic, he was first reader and editor at Pioneer Drama Service, where he read and wrote rejection letters for thousands of play submissions. He served on the faculty and board of Colorado ACTS drama school, directing dozens of plays with children and teens, and a few shows for grownups. Patrick has more than 40 of his own plays published in the children’s and youth theatre market. Patrick has written play reviews for the Denver Catholic Register and the Intermountain Jewish News, and for seven years was the theatre critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, attending approximately 120 plays annually. He remembers liking more than 700 of them. After leaving the Daily Camera to become an Anglican priest and later a full-time chaplain, he is posting his reviews on various blogs.

    Michael J. Duran has been the Producing Artistic Director at BDT Stage (formerly Boulder’s Dinner Theatre) since 2003, following a successful 23-year career in NYC. His credits include: Broadway: The Music Man, Crazy For You, Me and My Girl, Into the Light, Annie 2 (Pre Broadway). London and National Tours: Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis, Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark, Bye Bye Birdie with Tommy Tune and Anne Reinking, Hello Dolly! with Carol Channing and On Your Toes directed by George Abbott. Television: Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Irving Berlin’s 100th Birthday Celebration at Carnegie Hall (CBS), and An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner for PBS Great Performances. He has worjed with Susan Stroman, Kathleen Marshall, Jack O’Brian, Jerry Mitchell, Mike Okrent, Gene Saks, George Abbott. During his tenure at BDT Stage, Michael has produced more than 53 shows and directed 17. He has received Denver Drama Critics Circle Awards, Top of the Rocky in 2005, Ovation and Henry Awards and was a 2015 recipient of The Dairy Center Honors for his contribution to the cultural life of Boulder through the arts.

    Rick Yaconis is the Executive and Artistic Director of The Edge Theater, which he founded seven years ago with his wife, Patty. Since then, he has produced nearly 50 shows and three new-play festivals. He has also directed 12 productions including The Nance and Murder Ballad in this past year and last year's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for which he was nominated for a CTG Henry award. Rick has acted in more than 10 Edge Theatre productions, most recently Misery and A View From the Bridge.

  • All our photos from the 2016 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016
    2016 Henry Awards
    Photos from the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2016 Henry Awards ceremony held July 18 at the PACE Center in Parker. To see more photos, click the arrow on the image above. All photos may be downloaded and shared for free, with proper credit. Click on any photo to download.

    Photos by John Moore and Brian Landis Folkins for the DCPA NewsCenter. To read our full report from the Henry Awards, click here.

    Watch our 2016 Memoriam video

    Recent NewsCenter coverage of the Henry Awards:
    2016 Henry Awards a triumph for Theatre Aspen, Rabbit Hole
    Our video coverage of the Henry Awards (more to come)
    Preview: Henry Awards welcome Theatre Aspen to the party
    DCPA leads hugely expanded pool of 2016 Henry Award nominees
    Paige Price: From Broadway to Sex With Strangers

    A Henry Awards co-host Steven J. Burge. Phto by Brian Landis Folkins, BLF Photography.
    Henry Awards co-host Steven J. Burge. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins, BLF Photography.
  • Video Playlist: Our 2016 Henry Awards coverage

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016


    The fifth in our series of videos from the 2016 Henry Awards brings you the names of every winner being called out, and highlights from their acceptance speeches.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards were held on July 18, 2016, at the PACE Center in Parker. More videos will be added to this special YouTube playlist.

    Videos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Watch our montage of performance highlights

    Watch Deborah Persoff accept the Lifetime Achievement Award

    Watch Melody Duggan accept the Theatre Educator Award

    Watch our 2016 Memoriam video


    Recent NewsCenter coverage of the Henry Awards:

    2016 Henry Awards a triumph for Theatre Aspen, Rabbit Hole
    Preview: Henry Awards welcome Theatre Aspen to the party
    DCPA leads hugely expanded pool of 2016 Henry Award nominees
    Paige Price: From Broadway to Sex With Strangers
    DCPA leads way with 11 2015 Henry Awards

    Our complete photo gallery from the Henry Awards:

    2016 Henry Awards

    Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click on the forward arrow above.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zaXig4EKD8I?list=PLexX4Wflzocm3436-lTxQoy5ppYZSH9Px" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>Kevin Copenhaver accepts his Henry Award for Outstanding Ciostume Design for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Sweeney Todd.' Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.
  • Henry Awards welcome Theatre Aspen to the party

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016
    theatre-aspen-cabaret-photo-by-jeremy-swanson3ae8c947b2b24071ace7b9cd8fccbff9

    Theatre Aspen's 'Cabaret' is the most-nominated musical of the year in Colorado theatre, with 11 Henry Award nods. The winners will be announced Monday night, July 18.  Photo by Jeremy Swanson.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild expanded in 2012 to make companies beyond the metro area eligible for its annual Henry Awards, which celebrate overall excellence by member companies. And ever since, Theatre Aspen Artistic Director Paige Price has crossed her fingers and hoped: “Maybe this will be our year.”

    2016 is looking like Theatre Aspen’s year. What with 25 nominations for three of its four offerings last summer: Cabaret, Other Desert Cites and Peter and the Starcatcher.  That’s second only to the 27 nominations for the DCPA Theatre Company.

    “I was in a board meeting when we got word of the nominations,” Price said. “I was sitting there counting them up and I couldn’t believe it. I felt like Sally Field. I definitely feel more welcome to the party now.”

    Theatre Aspen, located 160 miles southwest of Denver, has been presenting Broadway-quality summer repertory theatre in the idyllic setting of the Rio Grande Park for much of its 33 years, and with a roster of Broadway alumni including Tony Award nominee Beth Malone. But other than a special nod as the state’s outstanding regional theatre company of 2009, Theatre Aspen has yet to win an actual Henry Award.

    That seems all but certain to change tonight. The most-nominated musical of the year is Theatre Aspen's Cabaret, with 11, and the most-honored play is Other Desert Cities, with eight.

    “This acknowledgement is nothing short of huge for our entire organization,” Price said. “It’s fun to let people know that we are playing in the same ballpark with the Denver Center. And we have been saying that it in every curtain speech since the nominations came out.”

    That Theatre Aspen performs in a tented theatre in a park may give potential audiences the wrong impression about what kind of theatergoing experience they are in for there. “People hear we are in a park, and often they don’t even think we have a roof,” Price said. “But when they walk in, they see that it’s like walking into any studio theatre off-Broadway – except that the walls wobble with the wind.

    “What I tell people is that if you could take Broadway and shrink-wrap it - that’s the caliber of theatre we offer.”

    Sex With Strangers: Read our profile of Paige Price

    The Hurst Theatre, with a capacity of less than 200, makes for an unlikely home for Broadway musicals and intense dramas. Audiences experience stories in extreme close-up and with great emotional immediacy.

    “It’s really in-your-face theatre,” Price said, “and our audiences respond to that.”

    While Cabaret has been around for nearly 40 years, Theatre Aspen presented the recent Broadway revival that Price says is much darker and deeper than people remember. And Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities is a brutal family drama that centers on a daughter who returns home with news she is publishing a divisive family memoir focusing on the suicide of her late brother.

    “I think Other Desert Cities really spoke to the people of this community,” Price said. “It was both the polarity of political views here, combined with the very real problem of suicide in mountain towns. I know some of our patrons were uncomfortable – which is a good thing.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    2016 was not only a transformational year for Price as Theatre Aspen’s Artistic Director but also as an actor herself. Price has several Broadway credits but had not performed in eight years when she was cast in Curious Theatre’s Denver staging of Laura Eason’s Sex with Strangers. That’s a two-person play for which Price and Michael Kingsbaker earned a Henry Award nomination as Outstanding Ensemble. And Price has the DCPA Theatre Company’s production of Theresa Rebeck’s world-premiere play The Nest to thank for it.

    “While I was watching that play at the Denver Center, I had an epiphany,” she said. “I was seeing all those wonderful actors just going at it with all they had, and I said to myself, ‘This is exactly what I’ve been missing in my life.’ Sometimes you just have to jump off a new cliff, and after eight years of not doing that, it was important for me to tap into the part of me that makes me click as an artist.”


    theatre-aspen-other-desert-cities-photo-by-jeremy-swanson
    Theatre Aspen's 'Other Desert Cities' is the most-nominated play of the year, with eight  Henry Award nods. Photo by Jeremy Swanson.

    Here’s more of our conversation with Paige Price: 

    John Moore: When did you start to sense things were changing as far as the outside perception of Theatre Aspen?

    Paige Price: We didn’t really hit our stride until we decided to do Les Misérables in 2013. That was a seminal year for us. The Broadway cast was something like 28, and we were given the opportunity to explore how it might look in a much more intimate setting, with a cast of only 18. Until then, we had been doing the kind of shows you would expect for the size and scope of the theatre we are in. But with Les Misérables, the proximity to the actors delighted our audiences.

    John Moore: What impression do you hope your 25 Henry Award nominations will have, both on Denver actors and audiences?

    Paige Price: I hope the actors in Denver will be more interested in coming up here and working. And for potential audiences, we have added more matinees to make it easier for people in Denver to make a day trip and still get home at a reasonable hour.

    John Moore: So you also have been nominated for your performance in Sex with Strangers at Curious Theatre. It’s been an ongoing controversy within the Henrys as to whether two people should constitute a true ensemble. What are your thoughts on that issue?

    Paige Price: I thought it was an interesting and flattering way of looking at that show because I don’t think one person works without the other. I don’t know. I think you could make the case that every show is an ensemble effort. But that’s the judges’ perview.  

    John Moore: What does Theatre Aspen have in store for the audience at Monday’s Henry Awards?

    Paige Price: Jon Peterson will be performing a song from Cabaret. It will be a great way to underscore what we do here at Theatre Aspen, and give people a taste of the quality of the actors who come and perform for us. I am really looking forward to it. Feeling like we are part of the larger community is very important for us.

    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.


    Theatre Aspen's 2016 Henry Award nominations:
    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    Other Desert Cities
    Outstanding Production of a Play
    Outstanding Direction of a Play: Sarna Lapine
    Outstanding Ensemble Performance
    Outstanding Actress in a Play: Lori Wilner
    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Curran Connor, Jack Wetherall
    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Peggy J. Scott
    Outstanding Scenic Design: Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams

    Cabaret
    Outstanding Production of a Musical
    Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Mark Martino
    Outstanding Musical Direction: Eric Alsford
    Outstanding Choreography: Mark Martino
    Outstanding Ensemble Performance
    Outstanding Actor in a Musical: Jon Peterson
    Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Kirsten Wyatt
    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Richard Vida
    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Lori Wilner
    Outstanding Lighting Design: Paul Black
    Outstanding Sound Design: David Thomas

    Peter and the Starcatcher
    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Michelle Coben
    Outstanding Costume Design: Annabel Reader
    Outstanding Lighting Design: Paul Black
    Outstanding Scenic Design: Paul Black
    Outstanding Sound Design: David Thomas

    2016 Henry Awards: Ticket information
    6 p.m. Monday, July 18
    PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, MAP IT
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets are available at  parkerarts.org, or by calling 303-805-6800. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35

    Recent NewsCenter coverage of the Henry Awards: 
    DCPA leads hugely expanded pool of 2016 Henry Award nominees
    Paige Price: From Broadway to Sex With Strangers
    DCPA leads way with 11 2015 Henry Awards

  • DCPA leads hugely expanded pool of Henry Award nominees

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016


    Actors Andrew Pastides, Kate Finch and Tad Cooley are all nominated for Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Tribes.' Photo by Addams Visual Communications. 


    The guest list for the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual Henry Awards party just got a lot bigger. How much bigger? The list of nominations released this morning includes 175 honorees, up from 116 last year. That's an increase of 51 percent.
     
    This year there are seven nominees in every category. So while your chances of landing a Henry Award nomination just went way up ... your chances of winning just dropped to about 14 percent.

    For the third straight year, the DCPA Theatre Company leads all companies with 27 Henry Award nominations, including best season. Theatre Aspen follows with 25 - by far its greatest Henry Awards acknowledgement after years of presenting Broadway-quality productions in relative anonymity. The Arvada Center is next with 15, followed by the rising Edge Theatre with 10 and Vintage Theatre with nine. 

    The most-nominated musical of the year is Theatre Aspen's Cabaret, with 11, followed by the DCPA's DeVotchKa-infused take on Sweeney Todd with 10, and Performance Now's Ragtime with seven. Among plays, Theatre Aspen again led the way with eight nominations for Other Desert Cities, followed by Vintage Theatre's Rabbit Hole with seven and the DCPA's Tribes with six.

    Emma Messenger, winner of Outstanding Actress in a play two years running, will go for the Triple Crown after being nominated a third straight year for her True West Award-winning work in The Edge Theatre's world premiere of Exit Strategies.

    Maggy Stacy. Henry Awards
    Maggy Stacy in the Edge Theatre's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' Rachel D. Graham Photography.
     

    Maggy Stacy pulled off the rare feat of being nominated twice in the same acting category, for her daring supporting work in both the Edge Theatre's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Vintage Theatre's Rabbit Hole.

    The DCPA's acting nominations were spread out among several shows, with nods going to Andrew Pastides, Kate Finch and hard-of-hearing actor Tad Cooley for Tribes; Robert Petkoff and Linda Mugleston for Sweeney Todd, Carolyn Holding for As You Like It; and C. David Johnson for All The Way. Directing nods went to Kent Thompson (Sweeney Todd) and Anthony Powell (All the Way), as well as Gregg Coffin for Musical Direction (Sweeney Todd).

    The Colorado Theatre Guild is a statewide advocacy group, and the expansion of nominations is its announced intention to spread more bounty to more companies throughout the state. The strategy appears to have worked. The number of Colorado companies that received at least one nomination grew from 25 to 31, with honored companies ranging from Colorado Springs to Dillon to Aspen to Creede.

    But because the Guild already splits the four design categories into two tiers determined by companies' annual overall operating budgets, the expansion of nominees tends to benefit the state's largest theatre companies most. That's because only seven companies have annual budgets above the $1.2 million threshhold and therefore are considered Tier I: The DCPA, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. The expansion of the tiered pools from four to seven nominees in each category means only those seven companies were eligible for the 28 available nominations in the Tier I technical categories.

    This year's triple nominees are Theatre Aspen's multitalented Paul Black, who was cited for lighting Cabaret and Peter and the Starcatcher, as well as his Starcatcher scenic design. Lighting designer Shannon McKinney pulled off a rare feat, earning lighting nominations for three different companies: The Arvada Center's Death Takes a Holiday, the DCPA's Tribes and Local Theater Company's Faith.

    Double nominees from the DCPA include Scenic Designer Lisa Orzolek (Tribes and The Nest); Costume Designer Kevin Copenhaver (DCPA's Sweeney Todd and Lone Tree's The Explorer's Club); and Sound Designer Craig Breitenbach (DCPA's Tribes and Phamaly Theatre Company's Cabaret). 

    Other double nominees include double-dutying Directors and Choreographers Kelly Van Oosbree (Performance Now's Ragtime, The Musical) and Mark Martino (Theatre Aspen's Cabaret). Also: Director Gavin Mayer for the Arvada Center's musical Irving Berlin's White Christmas and play The Mountaintop; funnyman Dave Shirley's Voddville comedy landed him nominations for New Play and Sound Design; also Colorado Shakespeare Festival Costumer Hugh Hanson (Much Ado About Nothing and Wittenberg); perennial Costume Design honoree Linda Morken (Town Hall Arts Center's Violet and BDT Stage's Peter and the Starcatcher); Scenic Designer Amy Campion (BDT Stage's The Addams Family and Peter and the Starcatcher); and Theatre Aspen Sound Designer David Thomas (Peter and the Starcatcher and Cabaret).

    A fun little nomination battle bubbled up between two productions of Irving Berlin's White Christmas: The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center ultimately edged out the Arvada Center, five nods to four.

    Every year comes with its share of surprises and disappointments, and this year the expansion of nominations clearly did no favors to the Curious Theatre Company, which received only two nominations, both for Sex With Strangers. Denver's premier off-Broadway theatre company fully adopted the radical concept of ongoing serial storytelling last year (meaning trilogies), but only three Curious Theatre offerings have now landed Henry Award nominations over the past three seasons. Another apparent snub was to the rock-solid Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which has now only received two nominations in the past two years. This past season included the True West Award-winning Outside Mullingar and a critically praised Cyrano, but only Ideation was recognized this year, for Outstanding Play and Direction.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Established in 2006, the Henry Awards honor outstanding achievement in Colorado theatre, and also serve as the Guild's annual fundraising event. The awards are named for longtime local theatre producer Henry Lowenstein.

    To be eligible for Henry Awards consideration, a presenting company must be a dues-paying member of the Colorado Theatre Guild. Shows are adjudicated throughout the year by a team of about 45 statewide theatre reporters, educators and assigned judges who score each show in all categories using a 50-point scale. A show must have been seen by six adjudicators in order to be eligible. (Next year, that number will go down to five.) The total number of shows eligible for 2015-16 Henry Award consideration totaled 196, up from 172 two years ago.

    The 2016 Henry Awards, which will take place on Monday, July 18, are moving this year to the PACE Center, located in Parker, Colorado. Tickets are now onsale.

    Cabaret Theatre Aspen. Photo by Jeremy Swanson.
    Theatre Apen is the most-nominated Colorado production of 2015-16 with 11 Henry Award nods. Photo by Jeremy Swanson.


     2015-16 COLORADO THEATRE GUILD HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS:

    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company
    Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Buntport Theater
    DCPA Theatre Company
    The Edge Theater Company
    Theatre Aspen
    Vintage Theatre Productions

     Outstanding Production of a Play
    "All the Way," DCPA Theatre Company, Anthony Powell, Director
    "Equus," The Avenue Theater, Warren Sherrill, Director
    "Ideation," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Stephen Weitz, Director
    “Other Desert Cities,” Theatre Aspen, Sara Lapine, Director
    “Rabbit Hole,” Vintage Theatre Productions,  Bernie Cardell, Director
    "The Rembrandt Room," Buntport Theater, Buntport Theater, Director
    "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," The Edge Theater Company, Rick Yaconis, Director

    Outstanding Production of a Musical
    "The Big Bang," Spotlight Theatre Company, Katie Mangett, Director; Blake Nawa'a, Musical Direction
    "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen, Mark Martino, Director; Eric Alsford, Musical Direction
    "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Rod Lansberry, Director; David Nehls, Musical Direction
    "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre, Jessica Jackson, Director; Joe Montelione, Musical Direction
    "Jekyll and Hyde," Aurora Fox Arts Center, El Armstrong, Director; Martha Yordy, Musical Direction
    "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now Theatre Company & Lakewood Cultural Center, Kelly Van Oosbree, Director; Eric Weinstein, Musical Direction
    "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company, Kent Thompson, Director; Gregg Coffin, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Play
    Bernie Cardell, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Buntport Theater, "The Rembrandt Room," Buntport Theater
    Sarna Lapine, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Gavin Mayer, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Anthony Powell, "All the Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Stephen Weitz, "Ideation," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Rick Yaconis, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Edge Theater Company

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical
    Bryce Alexander, "Cabaret," Phamaly Theatre Company
    Nathan Halvorson, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Rod A. Lansberry, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Mark Martino, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Gavin Mayer, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Kent Thompson, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Kelly Van Oosbree, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now Theatre Company and Lakewood Cultural Center                                    

    Outstanding Musical Direction
    Eric Alsford, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Gregg Coffin, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Donna Kolpan Debreceni, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Jay Hahn, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Joe Montelione, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    David Nehls, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Eric Weinstein, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center                           

    Outstanding Choreography
    Piper Lindsay Arpan, "Catch Me If You Can," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Mary Ripper Baker and Nathan Halvorson, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Reace Daniel, "The Wild Party," Ignite Theatre
    Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Mark Martino, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Nick Sugar, "West Side Story," Town Hall Arts Center
    Kelly Van Oosbree, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center                  

    Outstanding Actor in a Play
    Benjamin Bonenfant, "Henry V," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Tad Cooley, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Jonathan Farwell, "The Outgoing Tide," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    C. David Johnson, "All The Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Andrew Pastides, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company     
    Ben Schrager, "Dancing Lessons," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    John Douglas Thompson, "Satchmo at the Waldorf," TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Actress in a Play
    Betty Hart, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Carolyn Holding, "As You Like It," DCPA Theatre Company
    Erin Rollman, "The Rembrandt Room," Buntport Theater
    Billie McBride, "The Velocity of Autumn," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    Emma Messenger, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Edge Theater Company
    Missy Moore, "Getting Out," The Edge Theater Company
    Lori Wilner, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical
    Daniel Langhoff, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center
    Jon Peterson, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Robert Petkoff, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Sean Thompson, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    Danny Vaccaro, "La Cage Aux Folles," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    Joe Von Bokern, "The Big Bang," Spotlight Theatre Company
    Markus Warren, "South Pacific," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical
    Mehry Eslaminia, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    Lindsey Falduto, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center
    Ellen Kaye, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Linda Mugleston, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Marcia Ragonetti, "Sunset Boulevard," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Lauren Shealy, "Jekyll and Hyde," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Kirsten Wyatt, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
    Spencer Althoff, "Equus," The Avenue Theater
    Emory John Collinson, "Lonesome Hollow," Springs Ensemble Theatre
    Curran Connor, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Steve Emily, "Lonesome Hollow," Springs Ensemble Theatre
    Rodney Lizcano, "Much Ado About Nothing," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Marc Stith, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Jack Wetherall, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
    Hannah Duggan, "Greetings from Camp Katabasis," Buntport Theater
    Kate Finch, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Emma Messenger, "Exit Strategies," The Edge Theater Company
    Deborah Persoff, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Peggy J. Scott, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Maggy Stacy, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Maggy Stacy, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Edge Theater Company

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
    Scott McLean, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Paul Page, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Mark Rubald, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Steven Sitzman, "The Addams Family," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    Colin Summers, "Ring of Fire," Midtown Arts Center
    Richard Vida, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Graham Ward, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
    Brittany Brook, "Ring of Fire," Midtown Arts Center
    Suzanne A. Champion, "The Addams Family," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    Michelle Coben, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    Annie Dwyer, "South Pacific," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    Sarah Philabaum, "The Addams Family," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    Sharon Kay White, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Lori Wilner, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Ensemble Performance
    "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen, Mark Martino, Director; Eric Alsford, Musical Direction                               
    "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen, Sarna Lapine, Director
    "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Miners Alley Playhouse, Brenda Worley Billings, Director; Mitch Samu, Musical Direction                                     
    "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions,  Bernie Cardell, Director
    "Sex with Strangers," Curious Theatre Company, Christy Montour-Larson, Director
    "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company, Kent Thompson, Director; Gregg Coffin, Musical Direction
    "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," The Edge Theater Company, Rick Yaconis, Director

    Outstanding New Play or Musical
    "Fade" by Tanya Saracho, Directed by Jerry Ruiz, DCPA Theatre Company
    "Exit Strategies" by Jeff Neuman, Directed by Kate Marie Folkins, The Edge Theater Company
    "The Nest" by Theresa Rebeck, Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, DCPA Theatre Company
    "The Rembrandt Room," by Buntport Theater, Directed by Buntport Theater
    "Reunion '85" by Susan Draus, David Larsen, and Cody Jamison Strand; Directed by David Larsen, Musical Direction by Chris Sargent; Lone Tree Arts Center
    "Uncle Jed's Barbershop" by Kenneth Grimes and David Wohl; Directed by Susan Einhorn, Musical Direction by Michael Williams; DreaMaker Productions           "Voddville" by Robert Dubac and Dave Shirley; Directed by Dave Shirley; The Avenue Theater                                                                                              

    (The Colorado Theatre Guild creates two categories for its technical awards, based upon production budgets.)

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1
    Denitsa Bliznakova, "As You Like It," DCPA Theatre Company
    Kevin Copenhaver, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Hugh Hanson, "Much Ado About Nothing," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Hugh Hanson, "Wittenberg," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Clare Henkel, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Lex Liang, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Annabel Reader, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2
    Cindy Franke, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center
    Kevin Copenhaver, "The Explorers Club," Lone Tree Arts Center
    Nikki Harrison, "Catch Me If You Can," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Laura High, "Little Women," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Laurie Klapperich, "Into the Woods," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    Linda Morken, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Linda Morken, "Peter and the Starcatcher," BDT Stage

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1

    Seth Alison, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Paul Black, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Paul Black, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    Charles MacLeod, "All The Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Shannon McKinney, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Shannon McKinney, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Kenton Yeager, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company          

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2

    Chad Bonaker, "Rock of Ages," Midtown Arts Center
    Shannon Johnson, "South Pacific," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    Andrew Killion, "The Outgoing Tide," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    Vance McKenzie, "The Big Bang," Spotlight Theater Company
    Shannon McKinney, "Faith," Local Theater Company
    Stephen D. Mazzeno, "Cabaret," Phamaly Theatre Company
    Brian Miller, "Outside Mullingar," OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1
    Paul Black, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    Jim Kronzer, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Brian Mallgrave, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Robert Mark Morgan, "All The Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Lisa Orzolek, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Lisa Orzolek, "The Nest," DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2

    Amy Campion, "The Addams Family," BDT Stage
    Amy Campion, "Peter and the Starcatcher," BDT Stage
    Douglas Clarke, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Michael R. Duran, "The Explorers Club," Lone Tree Arts Center
    Jared Grohs, "The Velocity of Autumn," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    Lori Rosedahl, "Outside Mullingar," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    Kyle Scoggins, "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Miners Alley Playhouse

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1
    Craig Breitenbach, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Grant Evenson, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Jake K. Harbour, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    Alex Ruhlin, "Sex with Strangers," Curious Theatre
    David Thomas, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    David Thomas, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Zach Williamson, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company       

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2

    Curt Behm, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Craig Breitenbach, "Cabaret," Phamaly Theatre Company
    Brian Freeland, "The Explorers Club," Lone Tree Arts Center
    Jonathan Scott-McKean, "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Miners Alley Playhouse
    Grant Putney, "The Outgoing Tide," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    Dave Shirley, "Voddville," Avenue Theater
    Wayne Kennedy, "Peter and the Starcatcher," BDT Stage

    SPECIAL AWARDS
    CTG Community Impact Award
    The Denver Actors Fund

    (Additional Special Awards including Lifetime Achievement will be announced in July.) 

    2016 Henry Awards: Ticket information
    6 p.m. Monday, July 18
    PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, MAP IT
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets are available at  parkerarts.org, or by calling 303-805-6800. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter
  • Directors talk tough with local actors: Get to class!

    by John Moore | Jan 19, 2016
    Continuing Classes Forum

    Photos from the recent communitywide forum on the need for continuing education among local theatre performers. To see more photos, hit the 'forward' button. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Local theatre directors and producers had a provocative message for Colorado’s teeming talent pool at a specially called forum last week: “Get to class.”

    Representatives from Colorado theatre companies large and small gathered at Cap City on Jan. 12 to light a fire under the creative community.

    “We’re good,” said longtime BDT Stage Artistic Director Michael J. Duran. “But good is not good enough.”

    Producers sense a complacency settling in over the acting community because, ironically enough, the local theatre ecology is so healthy. There are more than 50 theatre companies in the metro area, and more than 100 statewide, which means there are plenty of shows - and plenty of roles - to go around.

    But if you want the jobs that actually pay more than gas money, the actors were told in the complete absence of sugar-coating: They need to be continually honing their craft.

    “I think the problem is our community doesn’t think they have to work that hard because they are working all the time,” said choreographer Piper Arpan. “If I am working all the time, then there is a sense then that I must be good enough.’ ” 

    Doctors and attorneys are required to participate in continuing education to keep their licenses, but nothing obligates an actor to continue taking dance, voice or acting classes. "Why is that?" Duran said. "Athletes don’t stop practicing when they turn pro."

    But as long as actors continue to be cast in shows, why should they bother with the time, expense and inconvenience of classes?

    Read more: Audition advice from the experts

    Duran had a rather pointed response: Just because actors are working does not mean they are they are getting better by merely working. Worse, Duran said, many don’t even seem to want to get better. And that is being reflected in the quality of productions theatres are putting on local stages.

    “Every one of us (producers) makes concessions and lowers our expectations for our shows,” Duran said. “We dumb it down because we don’t have the dancers to make our shows what they could be. Listen, just because you are cast in a dance show does not make you a good dancer: It makes you a warm body.”

    Tim McCracken QuoteWell, if that doesn’t make a warm body hot … to trot … to class … what will? That is the question.

    “How do we find the competitive edge within ourselves?” Duran said. “How do we create the desire to improve just for the sake of getting better at what we do?”

    Arvada Center Artistic Director Rod Lansberry told the gathering of about 40 that every casting director goes into every audition hoping that any given actor will be amazing. After all, you would then be the solution to the director’s problem. But wishing doesn’t make it so.

    “We want you to have those skills that we need,” Lansberry said. “But you have to bring them to us. We can’t give them to you.”

    This was an uncommonly blunt forum presented by Duran in partnership with the Colorado Theatre Guild. Others who spoke either in person or by proxy included Charles Packard of the Aurora Fox; Chris Starkey from AXS Group; Gloria Shanstrom and Pat Payne of the Colorado Theatre Guild; Jalyn Courtenay Webb from the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins; Ali King of the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown; directors Nick Sugar (Town Hall Arts Center’s Violet”) and Spotlight's Bernie Cardell; Arvada Center choreographer Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck; BDT Stage's Matthew D. Peters, Jessica Hindsley and Scott Beyette; and other interested individuals.

    And the tough love didn’t get any less tough as the evening progressed. For example, Lansberry told attendees that the buzzword today is “triple threat.” As in, “If you want to work in this town, you have to be able to do all three well,” Lansberry said of acting, singing and dancing. “They don’t have shows coming out that are not for triple threats.”

    Starkey took that one step further. “Now you actually have to be a quadruple threat,” he said, “because more and more, shows are calling on performers who also can play their own musical instruments.”

    Once the ABC message got through – “Always Be Classing” – the conversation turned to practical matters, such as: Are there a variety of classes out there available to be taken (there are); how is a potential student to know where they are (read on); and who’s to say the investment will eventually pay off? (No one honestly can.)

    Tim McCracken, the new Head of Acting for DCPA Education, took the opportunity to introduce those in attendance to the breadth of year-round classes the Denver Center makes available to more than 68,000 every year, covering all disciplines, experience levels and age groups.

    “I think in the past there has been this notion that the DCPA is somehow separate from the rest of the theatre community, and that could not be further from the truth,” McCracken said, citing a whole host of the community’s most prominent performers who also work as Teaching Artists for the DCPA. As for any perceived cost barrier, McCracken spoke of scholarship opportunities that can bring the cost of classes down by as much as 75 percent.

    “We want more inclusion with the entire Denver theatre community,” McCracken said. “That’s our goal.”

    Michael J DuranArpan ran down a range of metro area dance companies that offer lessons for all abilities, and Hindsley and Peters spoke of continuing classes held at BDT Stage as well. By the end of the evening, a Facebook page (The Denver Area Actors Continuing Education Forum) had been created that is dedicated to informing potential students about class opportunities. There was also preliminary talk of a more organized repository, perhaps one to be taken on by the Colorado Theatre Guild’s web site.

    “So I would suggest this is not question of opportunity,” Arpan said in conclusion. “It is a question of motivation.”

    This is not a topic of conversation you can start within the local theatre community without opening up a Pandora's Box of ecology-related questions, such as: Why can’t more theatres afford to pay a living wage? Why do the biggest theatres feel they must cast from outside the metro talent pool? How can a mid-size market like Denver make it more attractive for our most talented performers not to leave for New York or Los Angeles? Each is worthy of its own forum.

    But as the discussion pertains to classes, Duran reiterated his staunch belief that the quality of theatre on our local stages would be much higher if every singer, dancer and actor took it upon themselves to continually work on their craft.

    “The thing I think we need to figure out,” Duran said, “is how to make people hungry to be better.”

    WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS TOPIC?
    Please enter your comments at the bottom of this story. 

  • Task force will explore changes to Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Aug 11, 2015



    The Colorado Theatre Guild today announced it will form a statewide task force to address ongoing questions and criticisms about the administration of its annual Henry Awards program.

    The 10-year-old Henrys celebrate achievement in Colorado theatre among its member companies. Under the present voting system, a team of about 45 volunteer judges evaluate shows in all creative categories using a 50-point scoring system. The top five in each category become the nominees, and the leading points-getter is the winner.

    If only it were that simple.

    Every awards show from the Oscars to the Tonys to the Westminster Dog Show engenders its share of carping. But as a small advocacy organization trying to administer a statewide awards program on a shoestring budget, the Henry Awards have long been vulnerable to vast communal grumbling. But by the time the awards ceremony takes place each July, the next judging season is already underway. That makes it nearly impossible to address and implement immediate changes.

    But CTG President Pat Payne said the Guild must act now.

    Pat Payne and Bill Wheeler“As an organization, we need to be listening to what is being said by our members,” Payne said. “We need to make sure we are doing whatever we can to present the most open and fair awards program we possibly can.”

    Payne has appointed self-starting local theatre reviewer Bill Wheeler of Colorado Springs to head the task force, which is expected to include 12 to 20 individuals from theatre companies large and small. The standing title on Wheeler’s home page, ironically enough, is “Reviews for Colorado stages … without all the drama.”

    Welcome to the Henry Awards, which is an annual emotional geyser. 

    (Photo: Pat Payne, left, and Bill Wheeler, right.)

    Much of the discontent stems from a basic lack of understanding about the process, more so than the process itself. Longstanding practical concerns have included how judges are chosen, how they are trained, and what are their qualifications and conflicts. Other lingering questions include how Guild staff determine the outcome of the prized “Outstanding Season” category, since judges don’t vote in that category.

    In the four design categories (costume, lighting, sound and scenic design), the Guild separates member companies into large and small tiers based on overall operating budgets. Questions include why budget was chosen as the prevailing criterion, and why $1.2 million was chosen as the dividing line between big and small. That leaves only four companies in the Tier I group, while the Guild has 115 member companies.

    Wheeler and his team will be asked to tackle these questions – and many more. And blowing up the present voting system and starting over is not off the table, Payne said.

    The task force’s recommendations will be expected in January, Payne said. “And the Board of Directors will then implement those they believe will take the Henry Awards to the next level,” said Wheeler, whose blog can be found at theatercolorado.blogspot.com. Payne said those recommendations that are adopted and can be immediately adoptable will be, while others will have to wait for the next awards cycle.

    “Our goal is to make the Henry Awards the best possible process for recognizing excellence in theater at all levels," Wheeler said. "We will be seeking input from all interested theater companies and individuals to help us accomplish that task.”

    Payne said Wheeler was chosen to lead the task force because he is an attorney, and because he is not affiliated with any one member company. "That makes him the wise, unbiased choice," Payne said.  

    At Payne’s direction, Wheeler is inviting targeted members of the theatre community to serve as full task-force members (including this writer). And the more contrarian, the better, Payne said. "We have to be willing to hear what the members of our community are really saying ... or what's the point?" That's why actor Margie Lamb, who spoke out about her concerns about the Henry Awards in a guest column for the DCPA NewsCenter ("Something here doesn't add up"), also has been invited. But Wheeler said any theatre company or individual who would like to contribute to the process will be welcome to do so, and can contact him at bilweeler@gmail.com.

    How is it done now?

    Under the present system, a show must be seen and evaluated by a minimum of six judges. The Guild succeeded in making a record 187 productions eligible for 2015 Henry Awards consideration, but the resulting nominations did nothing to stem longstanding questions about the system’s credibility. The Aurora Fox, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Creede Repertory Theatre were among those companies that did not garner a single nomination. That has some observers questioning how consistent the judges are as a body in their overall scoring. And the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s nearly inevitable annual exclusion from Henry Award nominations has had officials there asking for years whether judges are either biased against classical work, or, more bluntly, aren’t skilled enough in the form to fairly judge it.

    The Henry Awards’ elusive climb to true credibility has been slow, but it hasn’t been from lack of trying. General manager Gloria Shanstrom, who oversees the awards program year-round, has implemented major changes throughout the first decade.

    “It is my hope that with the formation of this (task force), the community will understand the Guild's sincere desire to look for ways to improve the award process,” Shanstrom said. “They will be doing a lot of work over the next several months, and I look forward to hearing the results.”

    When the Henrys began in 2006, the awards were decided by a group of about seven professional critics who voted for their five personal favorites in each category, much like an Oscar voter filling out an Academy Award ballot. But that system overwhelmingly favored those shows the most critics saw, because of the greater potential for points. (You can't vote for a show you didn't see.) That led to annual landslides that, head-scratchingly, continue to this day under a completely different voting system. 

    In 2009, the last year under the old voting system, 72 percent of all nominations went to just six companies. In 2012, under the new judging system, more than 80 percent of all nominations went to the top six. So while the system has changed drastically, the imbalances have not.

    The Guild also responded to member complaints by separating designers into budget categories in 2011. And despite overwhelming logistical challenges, it finally managed to expand eligibility statewide in 2013.

    Change does not always lead to peace and resolution, however. Responding to one repeated suggestion, the Guild implemented a residency rule in 2007 that required all nominees be Colorado residents for at least six months of the year. DCPA Artistic Director Kent Thompson pulled his company out of awards consideration that year in protest, arguing passionately that where actors sleep is inconsequential when they are creating art for Colorado audiences. The Guild rescinded the residency rule in 2008, and the DCPA returned to the fold.

    In the end, the Henry Awards exist primarily as the Guild’s annual fundraiser. But the biggest challenge the Guild has yet to face is the perception that the organization only exists to administer the Henry Awards. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center boss Scott RC Levy chose not to pay his dues last year, he said, “because I refuse to pay to play" - meaning he equates membership solely with Henry Awards eligibility. Earlier today, Levy said he has decided to pay the $80 membership fee for this season, but he remains cynical about the value of membership.

    New programming initiatives were announced at the most recent Henry Awards ceremony but, Levy said, until he sees them in action, "my concerns still remain."

    Payne, also artistic Director of the Cherry Creek Theatre Company, assumed the presidency in January 2014 acknowledging that the Guild had all but disappeared from public perception, with the exception of administering the Henry Awards. He knows the time is now to put up or shut up.

    "We are well aware of the feelings of many in the theatre community, and it is our responsibility to make sure we are serving our membership in the best way possible."

    THE 2015 AWARDS CEREMONY:


    Here are our photos from the Colorado Theatre Guild's 2015 Henry Awards ceremony held July 20 at the Arvada Center. Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, click on "View original Flickr" image and choose from a variety of download sizes.




    PEOPLE AND FACES:

    Here are our photos of people and faces at the Henry Awards. Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, click on "View original Flickr" image and choose from a variety of download sizes.


    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 acceptance speeches
    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


    Haly Johnson accepts the 2015 Henry Award for 'Night, Mother.' Photo by Brian Landis Folkins
    Haley Johnson accepts the 2015 Henry Award for 'Night, Mother" as Outstanding Play.  Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.
  • 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
  • Photos: Colorado Theatre Guild's 2015 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 24, 2015
    THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

    Here are our photos from the Colorado Theatre Guild's 2015 Henry Awards ceremony held July 20 at the Arvada Center. Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, click on "View original Flickr" image and choose from a variety of download sizes.




    PEOPLE AND FACES:

    Here are our photos of people and faces at the Henry Awards. Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, click on "View original Flickr" image and choose from a variety of download sizes.

    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: Performances from the 2015 Henry Awards ceremony
    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

    They're actors! Haley Johnson and castmate Emma Messenger pretend to fight over the Henry Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama. Photo by John Moore.
    They're actors! Haley Johnson and castmate Emma Messenger pretend to fight over the Henry Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama. They were both nominated for ' 'Night, Mother.' Messenger won. The staging was named Outstanding Play of 2014-15. Photo by John Moore. 
  • Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 20, 2015
    'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' won seven Henry Awards in Monday night. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' won seven Henry Awards on Monday night. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    The DCPA Theatre Company was rewarded for its commitment to developing new work for the American theatre by judges of the Colorado Theatre Guild's 10th annual Henry Awards on Monday night. The Theatre Company received 11 awards from among its 21 nominations, including Outstanding Season for the fifth time in the past eight years.

    "We count ourselves lucky to work in such a powerful and vibrant community of artists, where new and exciting work happens all across the state," new DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller said in accepting the award. "Thank you for this honor, for your warm welcome into this community, and for everything you do on a daily basis to support theatre in the Rocky Mountain Region."

    All of the DCPA's awards were for new works: The 12, Benediction and its newly refreshed take on Broadway'S quintessential Colorado  musical, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    Molly Brown
    won seven Henry Awards, making it the most honored production of the Colorado theatre season. The production featured a new book and a significantly revised score. Its awards on Monday included Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actress Beth Malone and Director Kathleen Marshall. 

    Malone, a Colorado native who recently was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Fun Home the Musical, brought new layers to the woman most people outside Colorado only know as a brassy survivor of the USS Titanic disaster. "Malone plays Molly with tremendous energy, intelligence and verve," Westword theatre critic Juliet Wittman wrote last fall. 

    Kathleen MarshallMarshall (pictured right) is a  three-time Tony Award nominee and, now, a three-time Henry Award winner. She also was singled out for her Molly Brown choreography.

    "Creating this show was a complete joy from beginning to end, and receiving an award on top of it is really an embarrassment of riches," Marshall said through DCPA Associate Artistic Director Bruce Sevy. "It was a challenge and responsibility to bring the story of Margaret and JJ Brown, two legendary and iconic Colorado residents, to life. Our cast and creative team had a blast here in Denver."

    She also credited her cast and creative team, including writer Dick Scanlan, "a man whose vision, passion and dedication brought this entire reimagining of Meredith Willson’s classic American musical into being. He has an indomitable spirit, a generous nature and an infectious energy – just like Molly Brown."

    The Theatre Company's staging of the world premiere rock musical The 12, written by Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg, was named Outstanding New Play or Musical. The 12 wonders what might have happened when Jesus' disciples went into hiding after his crucifixion.

    "In our 36-year history, we have presented 412 productions, of which 138 were world premieres, 159 were readings of new works in development and 27 were commissions," said Sevy. "When a world premiere wins an award, it makes us beyond proud."

    He read a message from Schenkkan, also the Puliter Prize-winning playwright of next season's All the Way, which read: "From the moment we arrived in Denver, we were knocked out by the professionalism, the passion and the strong sense of community. Plus, you have a pretty good ballteam."

    Billie McBrideBillie McBride (pictured right), who last year was presented with the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, came back with a monster year that was rewarded with three more Henrys on Monday. McBride, whose Broadway acting and stage-managing credits include Safe Sex and Torch Song Trilogy, made her DCPA Theatre Company debut in February playing straight-talking Willa in the world-premiere staging of Benediction.

    She also won a Henry Award Monday for directing the most honored play of the year: 'Night, Mother, for Vintage Theatre. McBride offered an unsympathetic and uncompromising take on Marsha Norman's tale of a middle-aged woman who calmly announces to her mother that she will commit suicide by night's end. Both of her actors were nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and as the mother, Emma Messenger won.

    It was the second straight win for Messenger in that prestigious category, after having won in 2014 for her portrayal of a cripplingly cruel Irish mum in The Edge Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

    Among the first-time Henry Award winners were Benjamin Cowhick and Annie Dwyer. Cowhick (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play)  was utterly raw as as a hyperactive meth addict in A&A Productions' Good Television at the Aurora Fox. Dwyer performed for more than 20 years as a comic actor for the Heritage Square Music Hall, which was not a Colorado Theatre Guild member and thus, its actors were never eligible for Henry Awards. Since that famed venue closed last year, a wider audience is witnessing Dwyer's comic gifts. Dwyer's hilarious portrayal of Frau Bleucher earned her first Henry Award nomination and win, as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical.

    In all, 10 local companies earned at least one Henry Award on Monday, with the Arvada Center, BDT Stage and Vintage Theatre winning three each.

    The awards ceremony was again held at the Arvada Center and hosted by GerRee Hinshaw and Steven Burge, and directed by previous Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jim Hunt. That award this year went to educator Jo Bunton Keel.

    The Henry Awards are named for legendary producer Henry Lowenstein, who brought more than 400 productions to the old Bonfils Theatre on East Colfax Avenue. This was the first year of the Henry Awards without Henry, and a video tribute was played to open the service featuring Cleo Parker Robinson, Bob Wells and John Ashton. Robinson told the story of how her father was hired as the theatre janitor over the objections of Bonfils patrons, and he went on to perform in dozens of shows, including a starring role in A Raisin in the Sun.

    It was a year of great loss in the theatre community, and a separate tribute video was played marking the passings of Shelly Bordas, Lloyd Norton, Kent Haruf, Bill Fancouer, Ray Viggiano, Michael (McKim) Daevid and DCPA President Randy Weeks. Those videos will be posted in the DCPA's NewsCenter in the coming days.

    The Henry Awards are a notoriously unpredictable affair from year to year. Last July, the DCPA Theatre Company earned a record 28 nominations and won three awards. This year's winners included Mike Hartman, who starred in all three chapters of the Theatre Company's adaptations of the Haruf's Plainsong Trilogy. He was named Outstanding Actor in a Play for his portrayal of a man dying with unfixable regrets in Benediction.

    “Thank you so much for this honor. I am incredibly blessed to have worked with Kent Haruf, (playwright) Eric Schmiedl, and Kent Thompson the cast and crew of all three of these wonderful rich Colorado stories," he said through the DCPA's Brianna Firestone.

    Two students from Durango High School represented The Bobby G Awards' 2014-15 Outstanding Musical by performing a medley from Les Misérables.

    More NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Photos: Our downloadable pictures from the Henry Awards ceremony
    Video: Performances from the 2015 Henry Awards ceremony
    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

    Still to come: Video showing acceptance speech highlights

    2014-2015 COLORADO THEATRE GUILD HENRY AWARDS

    DCPA Theatre CompanyOUTSTANDING SEASON FOR A THEATRE COMPANY
    Denver Center Theatre Company



    OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company
    Kathleen Marshall, Director; Michael Rafter, Musical Director



    OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
    'Night, Mother
    Vintage Theatre Productions
    Billie McBride, Director


    'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL
    The 12
    DCPA Theatre Company
    Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg



    OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
    Kathleen Marshall
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company


    OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION
    Michael Rafter
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company

     



    OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A PLAY
    Billie McBride
    'Night, Mother

    Vintage Theatre Productions



    Wayne Kennedy

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Wayne Kennedy
    Fiddler on the Roof
    BDT Stage



    Beth Malone

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Beth Malone
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    Mike Hartman

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Mike Hartman
    Benediction
    DCPA Theatre Company

     



    Emma Messenger

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Emma Messenger
    'Night, Mother
    Vintage Theatre Productions



    Annie Dwyer

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Annie Dwyer
    Young Frankenstein
    Town Hall Arts Center



    Michael Wordly

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Michael Wordly
    Memphis
    Midtown Arts Center, Fort Collins



    Benjamin CowhickOUTSTANDING

    SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Benjamin Cowhick
    Good TV
    A & A Productions



    Billie McBride

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Billie McBride
    Benediction
    DCPA Theatre Company



    Buntport ensemble.

    OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
    Middle Aged People Sitting in Boxes
    Buntport Theater Company



    OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY
    Kathleen Marshall
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    COSTUME DESIGN, TIER 1
    Paul Tazewell
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN, TIER 2
    Linda Morken
    Mary Poppins
    BDT Stage



    OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN, TIER 1
    Brian Mallgrave
    She Loves Me
    Arvada Center



    OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN, TIER 2
    Christopher Waller
    Jerusalem
    The Edge Theater



    OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN, TIER 1
    David Thomas
    Memphis
    Arvada Center



    OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN, TIER 2
    Ren Manley
    Jerusalem
    The Edge Theater



    OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN, TIER 1
    Don Holder
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN, TIER 2
    Brett Maughan
    Mary Poppins
    BDT Stage



    SPECIAL AWARDS:

    Jo Bunton Keel

    LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THEATRE
    Jo Bunton Keel



    Creede Repertory Theatre


    OUTSTANDING REGIONAL THEATRE
    Creede Repertory Theatre



    Lisa Cook


    OUTSTANDING STAGE MANAGEMENT
    Lisa Cook

  • Beth Malone, Colin Hanlon will perform at Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 13, 2015

    Tony Award nominee and Colorado native Beth Malone is scheduled to perform at the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards ceremony on Monday, July 20, at the Arvada Center, the DCPA NewsCenter has confirmed. And Colin Hanlon, who starred as the conflicted disciple Peter in the Theatre Company's world premiere staging of The 12, is also booked to perform.

    Malone is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for originating the titular role in the DCPA Theatre Company’s newly refreshed The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Malone then went on to earn a Tony Award nomination as Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Broadway’s newly crowned 2015 Best Musical, Fun Home.

    The Henry Awards honor achievement in Colorado theatre, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown leads all plays and musicals with 12 nominations for 2014-15. The DCPA Theatre Company earned two of the five nominations for best musical: Molly Brown and The 12. Each of the five nominated musicals are invited to perform during the Henry Awards.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Beth Malone and Colin Hanlon back to Denver,” said Scott Shiller, new President and CEO of the DCPA. “I am excited to experience my first Henry Awards, and for the DCPA to share this evening with such an incredible group of artists and theatre companies. I continue to be impressed with the dedication and passion for the theatre arts in Colorado. And we are honored to be part of this powerful and vibrant community that is contributing to the national landscape of theatre and driving the importance of the arts.”
     
    The Arvada Center homecoming promises to be an emotional one for Malone, who played the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on the Arvada Center stage during the holiday season for three years running, from 1999 to 2001. In the Talkin’ Broadway review of Joseph, critic T. Burnett likened Malone’s performance as the Narrator to the character of Ché in Evita. Bob Bows of ColoradoDrama.Com called Malone “a zesty and dynamic chanteuse.”

    "I am thrilled to be returning home to Colorado to perform at the Henrys," Malone said today. "I have so many wonderful memories at the Arvada Center, and I am really looking forward to being on that stage again."

    Beth Malone and Colin Hanlon. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Hanlon will perform a number from The 12, which examines issues of faith, courage and responsibility when a group of disciples lose their teacher. It is nominated for three Henry Awards, including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding New Play or Musical.

    "The second I left Denver, I thought, 'Please, teacher: When am I coming back?!' I never expected it would happen this quickly," Hanlon wrote in an email. Hanlon has an accomplished theatrical resume, but is perhaps best known for his guest-starring roles on TV’s Modern Family.

    "I'm honored and humbled to have been asked to represent The 12 at The Henry Awards," Hanlon said. "It will be bittersweet because I wish my entire cast and creative team could be here to celebrate our nominations. This town is filled with amazingly creative theater that's going on everywhere."

    (Photos: Beth Malone, left, and Colin Hanlon. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

    The only days off in Malone’s busy Broadway Fun Home schedule are Mondays. So she plans to fly home on Sunday, perform at the Henrys the next day, and then return to New York that night. For her, it will be very much worth it to spend a day back home celebrating her Molly Brown experience.

    "I have to say that doing Molly Brown, and have it be a success on the level that it was, really helped me walk into Fun Home knowing that I could lead a cast," said Malone. "Molly Brown and that whole experience at the Denver Center bolstered my confidence in my bones."

    Malone, a graduate of Douglas County High School and the University of Northern Colorado, grew up in Castle Rock and began working at the Country Dinner Playhouse at age 16. Two years later, she was starring there in Baby. She made her DCPA debut that same year at age 18 as the understudy to Mary Louise Lee — now the First Lady of Denver — in Beehive, produced by Rick Seeber in what is now the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    Malone made her debut with the Denver Center Theatre Company in 1993 in the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Bon Voyage, a musical adaptation of Noel Coward’s Sail Away directed by Bruce K. Sevy. She then spent several years performing in and around Snowmass at the Crystal Palace and Theatre Aspen before performing regularly at many Front Range theaters.




    Last year, Malone originated the role of cartoonist Alison Bechdel in Fun Home, which was then a Pulitzer-nominated, off-Broadway musical about a woman who was coming to terms with her sexuality at the same time her closeted father committed suicide.

    Malone returned to the DCPA last fall to play Molly Brown, winning the lead role even though no one from the creative team knew then that she, like Molly Brown, was a Colorado native. The staging was directed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall and written by three-time Tony nominee Dick Scanlan. That staging took place just before Fun Home transferred to Broadway and Malone earned the Tony Award nomination that will surely change the course of her professional life.

    Beth Malone, back, played the Narrator in three successive stagings of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' at the Arvada Center. She'll return to that stage on Monday, July 20, for the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards.
    Beth Malone with Charles Langely in the Arvada Center's 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.'Beth Malone, back, above, played the Narrator in three successive stagings of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' at the Arvada Center. She'll return to that stage on Monday, July 20, for the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards. At right, Malone with 'Joseph' star Charles Langely. File photos by P. Switzer.

    2014-15 Henry Awards
    6 p.m. Monday, July 20
    Arvada Center. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets go on sale July 6 through the Arvada Center website or by calling 720-898-7200. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    TO SEE THE COMPLETE LIST OF HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS, CLICK HERE

    The DCPA Theatre Company's 2015 Henry Award nominees:
    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    Outstanding Production of a Musical
    The 12, Richard Seyd, Director; Michael Mancini, Musical Direction
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Kathleen Marshall, Director; Michael Rafter, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical
    Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Musical Direction
    Michael Rafter, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Choreography
    Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Actor in a Play
    Mike Hartman, Benediction

    Outstanding Actress in a Play  
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical
    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play            
    Billie McBride, Benediction

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
    Constantine Germanacos, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Outstanding New Play or Musical
    The 12, book and lyrics by Robert Schenkkan; music and lyrics by Neil Berg; Richard Seyd, Director; Michael Mancini, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Costume Design
    Paul Tazewell, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Outstanding Lighting Design
    Lap Chi Chu, The 12
    Donald Holder, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Outstanding Scenic Design

    Derek McLane, The Unsinkable Molly Brown      

    Outstanding Sound Design
    Craig Breitenbach, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions
    Guest essay by Margie Lamb: Something about the Henry Award doesn't add up

    More NewsCenter coverage of Beth Malone and Colin Hanlon:

  • Guest columnist Margie Lamb on the Henry Awards: Something doesn't add up

    by John Moore | Jul 10, 2015

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


    By Margie Lamb
    Denver Actor

    Margie Lamb quoteI have been a part of Colorado’s theater community for almost 25 years. I trained for 10 of those years under the direction of Bill McHale, a well-known and respected director at the Country Dinner Playhouse. Bill taught me the basics of theater both on stage and off: How I should not question the outcome of auditions or the dreaded reviews that followed every opening weekend. So, out of respect, I never did. 

    I sat by and watched as actors, directors, designers and musicians were nominated for the coveted Denver Drama Critics Circle Awards – or, conversely, went unrecognized for their work. I never questioned the outcome because at the time, I felt deep down inside that the Critics Circle Awards were in good hands: The good hands of experts who were highly respected in the theater community. Although I didn’t always agree with the outcome, in the end I trusted their opinions because of their experience.

    But those awards went away in 1999. And now the closest thing we have left resembling a traditional awards program are the Colorado Theater Guild’s Henry Awards. On July 20, the Guild will host its 10th annual awards honoring the best in Colorado theatre among its member companies. But the outcome of these awards is not in the hands of the dwindling number of remaining legitimate theatre critics. Now, 46 Henry Award judges with a wide range of theater experience consider the participating shows. The judges are made up of former and current writers and reviewers, retired educators, artistic directors and, making up the largest group by far: Citizen judges whose primary qualification is that they are avid theatregoers.

    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Stupid F##king Bird' got a four-star review from The Denver Post - but was shut out of the Henry Award nominations. Pictured: Luke Sorge and Jaimie Morgan. Photo by Michael Ensminger. Now I watch the Henry Awards each year as productions that received outstanding reviews by respected critics are not even being nominated by the Henrys in any category. This year, that list includes Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s Stupid F##ing Bird, Grounded and The Aliens. The Aurora Fox’s She Kills Monsters and Beets. Creede Repertory Theatre’s The Last Romance. All My Sons by Cherry Creek Theatre. Ham McBeth by Square Product Theatre. Curious’ In the Red and Brown Water. Vintage’s Harold and Maude, and Mack and Mabel. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Colorado Springs TheatreWorks’ As You Like It. Equinox’s Bug. Mizel’s Kindertransport.

    All of these shows received 3½ or 4-star reviews from The Denver Post. None of them got a single Henry Award nomination.

    My question is this: Were the critics wrong … or the Henry Award judges?

    (Photo above: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's 'Stupid F##king Bird' got a four-star review from The Denver Post - but was shut out of the Henry Award nominations. Pictured: Luke Sorge and Jaimie Morgan. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    The cats of Town Hall Arts Center's 'Next to Normal' (clockwise from left): Jared Ming, Margie Lamb, Daniel Langhoff, Jacquie Jo Billings, Josh Bess and Ethan Knowles. Photo by Michael Ensminger. Last season, I was part of an ongoing passion of mine called Next to Normal, which I performed for a third different company: The Littleton Town Hall Arts Center. My work in this show has been recognized by the Ovation, Marlowe and Westword awards, so I consider myself abundantly blessed. But my heart breaks for the many other artists on and off stage whose work on those very special productions has never been acknowledged by the Henry Awards.

    I would and can accept this, if I knew for certain that all of the Henry Award judges have real and practical experience in the theater field. But I don’t. And I question how someone who simply has a history of merely sitting in an audience watching theatre has earned the credibility to be a judge. I don’t doubt that the judges all love theatre. But how can they possibly know the complexities of acting, or of executing a vocal track? How can they know the intricacies of sound and set design; of orchestration, direction or choreography?

    (Photo above: The cast of Town Hall Arts Center's 'Next to Normal' (clockwise from left): Jared Ming, Margie Lamb, Daniel Langhoff, Jacquie Jo Billings, Josh Bess and Ethan Knowles. The Director was Nick Sugar. Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    READ MORE: OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE HENRY AWARDS' GLORIA SHANSTROM

    The Next to Normal score is incredibly difficult. And I can’t help but wonder if that fact is easily recognizable to the untrained ear. A successful production should make it look easy. That doesn’t mean it was easy. Year after year, I see newer and cutting-edge musicals passed over by the Henry Awards, and I can’t help but think the judging pool might benefit from an infusion of younger (while still qualified) judges who might be more receptive to less traditional material.

    I’m also concerned at how the voting process actually occurs. In order for a show to qualify for awards consideration, six judges must attend the show during the course of the run. Judges are allowed to choose which shows they want to see, as long as they don’t go to the same venues every year. If only five judges make it during the run, the show does not qualify. If 12 judges attend, all completed ballots are then turned upside down on a table, and six are blindly selected as that show’s official scores. The other ballots, some of which might have been filled out by qualified, professional critics, simply don’t count. Luck of the draw.

    Perhaps the Guild should take the bull by the horns and simply assign a considered mix of six judges to every show – no more, no less. If there aren’t enough interested judges, reach out to our community of vocal and acting coaches, choreographers, sound designers and former music directors. They are out here, and they are more than willing to be a part of this process. They might just need to be found and asked.

    This is what has raised my eyebrows in the past. And after 10 years of sitting back and watching the Henry Awards process unfold, this is what now makes me want to speak out. 

    The Henry Awards wisely distinguish between large-budget and small-budget productions in considering the nominees for its design categories because, as the thinking goes, money matters in those areas of production. There is no distinction in the acting categories, because acting is acting. And I agree.

    But judging is not just judging. If the Colorado Theatre Guild wants the Henrys to be truly seen as “Colorado’s Tony Awards,” as it advertises, listen to our voices. Together let’s make a credible awards program we can all respect - whether an individual or a production is nominated or not.

    About Our Guest Columnist:
    Margie Lamb was most recently recognized by Westword as 2015 Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Next to Normal at Town Hall Arts Center. Her work has been seen across Colorado, including The Aurora Fox, Boulder’s Dinner Theater, The Arvada Center and Breckenridge Backstage Theater. She will be appearing at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Pump Boys and Dinettes from July 17-Aug. 23.

    Previous Guest Columns:
    Bryan VanDriel on Lloyd Norton: A name that will live on in Greeley
    Jessica Jackson on Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Susan Lyles on 10 years of staging plays for women in Denver
     
    Be Our Guest (Columnist)
    The DCPA NewsCenter offers a weekly guest column from a variety of local and national voices covering a wide range of theatre topics. To submit a proposed guest column, email your name and proposed topic to jmoore@dcpa.org.

    2014-15 Henry Awards
    6 p.m. Monday, July 20
    Arvada Center. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets go on sale July 6 through the Arvada Center website or by calling 720-898-7200. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions

  • Duck and Cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes on all your Henry Awards questions

    by John Moore | Jun 25, 2015

    Gloria Shanstrom speaking at the 2014 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, which return to the Arvada Center on July 20. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.

    Gloria Shanstrom speaking at the Colorado Theatre Guild's 2014 Henry Awards, which return to the Arvada Center on July 20. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.


    One day each June, Gloria Shanstrom releases the Colorado Theatre Guild’s annual Henry Awards nominations honoring outstanding achievement in Colorado theatre.

    And the next day, she says … “I duck and cover.”

    Shanstrom says that with the experienced laugh of an administrator who annually suffers the slings and arrows of outraged misfortune – namely, from whoever feels egregiously slighted by the latest Henry Awards nominations.

    “This year, the nominations came out on a Thursday,” said Shanstrom, the Guild’s General Manager, “and on Friday, I spent a fair amount of time having conversations with people who had concerns. Then I had more conversations over the course of the weekend ... and I still have a couple more phone calls to return.”

    Shanstrom, who runs her own publicity company called Full Court Press, is one of the few people dedicated full-time to the betterment of the Colorado theater community. Administering the Henry Awards is a year-round and largely thankless task. Soothing myriad hurt feelings and calming frayed nerves may be her single biggest job, Westword's Juliet Wittman once wrote.

    Shanstrom has nurtured the Henrys through several controversial voting iterations since the awards were started 10 years ago in honor of producer Henry Lowenstein, who died last November. The ceremony that goes along with the awards serves as the Colorado Theatre Guild’s annual fundraiser. It replaced a lightly attended annual gala the Guild called “Celebrate Colorado Theatre.”

    Turns out, if you want people to turn out for your fundraiser, you have to hand out some awards.

    Shanstrom has shepherded the expansion of the Henrys statewide and has quadrupled the number of eligible productions from the earliest days. When the 2015 awards are handed out on July 20 at the Arvada Center, the winners will come from a record-high field of 187 productions, up from 174 last year.

    But the Henry Awards remain a burr in many, many a bonnet in the Colorado theatre community, with most complaints fixed squarely on a capricious voting system that tends to heap disproportionate bounty on certain companies one year, and often ignores them the next.

    As an officer for a statewide theatre-advocacy organization, Shanstrom has no say in the results – with one major exception. She alone determines which five companies are nominated for Outstanding Season – and which one wins. She bases her decision on each company’s overall performance in the nominations, which she does not control.

    But with the absence of many of the state’s perceived top theatre companies from the nominations this year – namely the Aurora Fox, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Creede Repertory Theatre and The Catamounts – the barking sounds louder than ever.

    Some of the year’s best-reviewed shows, including Town Hall’s Next to Normal and Creede Repertory Theatre’s The Last Romance, were shut out. So, too the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s Grounded and Stupid F##ing Bird, both of which received four-star ratings from The Denver Post.

    What’s going on here?

    Shanstrom took on that and every other tough question we could think of about the Henrys Awards. Here are excerpts from our conversation:

    Gloria Shanstrom. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins. John Moore: What do you think is the overall greater good of the Henry Awards?

    Gloria Shanstrom:  The Henry Awards, although by no means perfect, is a way to bring our community together once a year to celebrate each other and to have a night that is our own. And when it comes time to write grants, those awards and nominations mean something. For me personally, it's a night to just be there with 600 of my favorite people.

    Moore: And it's a show.

    Shanstrom: It’s a great show. Thanks to (Director) Jim Hunt and our hosts (Steven J. Burge and GerRee Hinshaw) and the companies that come and perform. It's gotten more fun as we have expanded to welcome, say, the winners of the Denver Center’s high-school Bobby G Awards as performers. Those kids are going to be dancing on the Broadway boards next.

    Moore: For those who don’t already know, let’s explain who is eligible for the Henry Awards.

    Shanstrom: Your company has to be a member in good standing with the Colorado Theatre Guild. You have to let us know that you are willing and wanting to accept our judges at your shows. And with those two simple conditions met, I send judges to your theatre.

    Moore: And how many judges have to see a show for it to qualify for awards consideration?

    Shanstrom: Six. And here is something that is very important for people to know: The judges have to see the same cast. So if you have two people sharing a role, those actors are out of the running, because all six judges haven't seen the same cast.

    Moore: So what happens if only five judges make it to a show?

    Shanstrom: Then the show does not qualify.

    Moore: And what happens if 12 judges happen to score the same production?

    Shanstrom: Once we have all the ballots back, they are placed face-down on a table, and then a secondary person will pull six of them out at random. Those six ballots are eliminated, and the remaining six ballots are the ones we use. We keep the eliminated ballots in case we need one for a tiebreaker. We try to spread the judges out, though, so that we can get as many shows qualified as possible. This year, I think the most judges I had at any one show was nine.

    Moore: So say you have nine judges at one show. Why not just count them all by adding up their scores and then dividing by six?

    Shanstrom: That suggestion has come up many times. We looked at that, and one of our judges who is a statistician made a very passionate mathematical case for why that method is not as fair as simply using six ballots. It is also simpler for us to just have six ballots for every show, and eliminate anything that is not six.

    Moore: How many judges are there?

    Shanstrom: At the moment, I have 46.

    Moore: And who are these people?

    Shanstrom: These people are theatre professionals such as current and former writers and reviewers; they are current and retired theatre educators; they are artistic directors; and they are people who have been active in the theatre community for a long time as audience members. And there is a process by which they are chosen. The application asks questions that will give us key information about their backgrounds, and their tendency to look at the shows they are seeing.

    Moore: How do you avoid conflicts of interest?

    Shanstrom: It's very simple: They are not allowed to judge shows for companies they have worked for.

    Moore: And these judges are spread out throughout the state.

    Shanstrom: Yes, they are all over the place: Colorado Springs, Glenwood Springs, Fort Collins, Aspen, Kremmling and more. The biggest concentration of judges, course, is in the metro area.

    Moore: Is there any concern that a judge who is based in a remote region of the state might tend to favor their own hometown companies? 

    Shanstrom: That should always be a concern. But while there are a few judges that stick pretty close to home, the vast majority - 29 of my 46 judges - travel statewide to see shows. I also cycle the judges in my show-scheduling. I keep lists, and if a judge saw the most recent show produced by a company, I typically don’t send them back to judge the current show. But as for potential homerism, I keep an eye out for that sort of thing – as I do for any judge in the metro area who also might lean favorably toward any one individual company. I’m looking for a pattern. I am looking for those ballots that are out of line compared to the way other judges have scored the same show.

    Moore: What do you do when that happens? 

    Shanstrom: I have a check-in with that judge. I want to make sure they understand the scoring process, and that they have reviewed the criteria we provided them. If they have misunderstood something, or are unclear as to the voting guidelines, or simply have strayed from the prescribed method of scoring, we will talk through the ballot in question and then decide if the judges want to revisit their scores or stand by them. I have had judges do both.

    Moore: That's a touchy area, though, isn't it? If a judge goes off the rails either by scoring a show too high or too low, that kind of interjection on your part can be seen as a bit of untoward direction, can't it?

    Shanstrom: I had one judge submit a whole batch of ballots with scores that were out of line compared to the other judges. I simply picked up the phone and said, "This is what I am seeing," And I was told back, “I stand by my scores.”

    Moore: So what did you do?

    Shanstrom: I stood by his scores.

    Moore: People have often suggested over the years that you should simply eliminate the high and low scores.

    Shanstrom: That isn’t being done because, on many occasions, we only have six judges for a show - so all ballots must stand. Better to have the discussion, clarify and look at the reasons rather than discard the ballot.

    Moore: So as a representative of the Colorado Theatre Guild, you work for the advocacy of Colorado theatre as a whole. 

    Shanstrom: I think that's fair.

    Moore: So you have no dog in the fight when it comes to who gets nominated.

    Shanstrom: I have none whatsoever.

    Moore: So what is it like for you when the nominations finally do come out?

    Shanstrom: Usually after the nominations come out, I take the day off. Because usually by then, I am exhausted. Then people start calling. I always end every call with, "I am happy to have these conversations with you anytime."

    Moore: Is the number of people you have had to answer to this year higher than in previous years?

    Shanstrom: It doesn't feel like it. One thing that feels different this year is that we had more productions by out-of-town companies last summer whose ballots really stood the test of time and led to many nominations: Theatre Aspen and Springs Ensemble Theatre, for example.

    Moore: Well, it certainly did not work out that way for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

    Shanstrom: It did not work out that way for Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and it breaks my heart every year to see some of these wonderful companies shut out.

    Moore: Let's approach this with rose-colored glasses first. On the one hand, you have 25 Colorado companies that received at least one nomination. You see Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins on the list, along with Springs Ensemble Theatre in Colorado Springs, Lake Dillon Theatre Company in Dillon, and more. There is a wide geographical representation of the entire the state of Colorado, which is exactly what the Colorado Theatre Guild was hoping for when it went statewide three years ago. 

    Shanstrom: One of the big thrills for me each year is seeing a name appear on the list of nominees that hasn't been there before - be it an actor, be it a theatre company, be it a designer - because I can only imagine how thrilling it is on the other end. But as happy as I am for the nominees, it breaks my heart that I can't give an award to everybody. We all know that there are always more than five or six people who are deserving of recognition.

    (Photo at right: Laura Norman won a True West Award for 'Grounded,' but the show was shut out of Henry Awards consideration.) 

    Laura Norman won a True West Award for 'Grounded,' but the show was shut out of Henry Awards consideration.  Moore: For all of the carping about the Henry Award nominees over the years - much of it admittedly done by me - there can be no claim, from my estimation, of any built-in, institutional bias. There can be bias from an individual judge, but there can't be bias from the standpoint of the Colorado Theatre Guild. And yet, when you look at the list of nominees, some inequities stand out: You see nothing for the Aurora Fox, nothing for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, nothing for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, nothing for the Creede Repertory Theatre. These are generally presumed to be some of the finest theatre companies in the state - and they are all on the outside looking in this year. Again, you don't have any say in that, but surely you can see why that is going to rub some people the wrong way.

    Shanstrom: I do.

    Moore: So what do you tell those people?

    Shanstrom: Most of it seems to come from a misunderstanding of how the process works. Some people out there agree with us that we needed to put more Colorado in the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards by expanding outside the metro area. And there are those who think we should have kept it smaller, tighter … and less competitive. It's a double-edged sword. We either keep it small and have the same theatre companies being represented year after year, or we open it up and make it more embracing. One of my biggest complaints from our membership outside the metro area is that they don't feel like they are part of this. So there are times when I feel like the Lady Justice statue, where I am holding the scales in my hands, trying to balance those things that are good overall. But there is no perfect system, and we go into every year knowing we can't make everybody happy. But we can try to be as fair and balanced as we can.

    Moore: The way the nominees and winners have been determined has evolved over the first 10 years of the Henry Awards. As you say, this is not a perfect system, but why do you think this is the least imperfect system?

    Shanstrom: This is all done on a numerical system. The judges are given 50 points to work with in each category. We strongly suggest to them that when they walk into the theatre, they walk in with that midway, halfway point of 25 in mind and work up or down from that. The nice thing about that is there are no politics involved in this process. No one can take us to dinner and try to persuade us. No amount of advertising can change the voting system. No one can slip me money under the table to make things happen, because as I go through the process of verifying these scores, there is always someone in the room with me.
     
    Moore: What do you tell those companies that want to see their scores?

    Shanstrom: That I will happily do it. The names of the judges are simply removed from the ballots. That way, companies can see where they are falling on the 1-50 point scale. They can see where they need to improve or if they are showing consistency. If a company uses the same technical people and designers for every show, they can see if there is a pattern in the scoring. And if they hire a different designer for each show, they can see which of their designers are scoring best.

    Moore: What do you make of the fact that every year, one or two major companies in good standing with the Guild remove themselves from consideration? Over the years that has included the Denver Center Theatre Company, BDT Stage, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Germinal Stage-Denver and, this year, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which staged two of the best productions of the season in Mary Poppins and 4000 Miles. When the nominations come out, people can’t know that those shows weren't considered; they will just assume they were considered and rejected. So what is your response to a member company that removes itself from Henry Awards consideration?

    Shanstrom: It is usually the choice of artistic management to pull out of the awards. What makes my heart ache is that the actors and the technicians may not be aware that their work is not being judged for the Henrys. And audiences don't know. They just think that they got shut out. And that may not be so. 

    Moore: But for all of those nearly 200 shows under consideration, there often seems to be an unusual amount of grouping. Last year, for example, Curious Theatre won eight Henry Awards for The Whipping Man – that show won an award for every category it was eligible to win. For a reporter like me, it makes for a great story when, say, Billie McBride wins the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award - and then comes back to score three individual nominations the very next year. Every year we see both actors and technicians landing multiple nominations. But you would think with such a broad base of shows that there wouldn't be as much clustering anymore – and so many companies getting shut out. What do you make of that?

    Shanstrom: Nothing.

    Moore: Nothing?

    Shanstrom: I can't make anything of that. I find it to be an anomaly most years. I doubt seriously that this will happen again next year.

    Moore: Well it tends to happen every year - it's just different people.

    Shanstrom: It's just different people. But I can't make anything of it because it is what it is. I can't change it. I can't make it different. This is what the judges told me they saw, and this is how the tally ended up.

    Moore: Another area of great misunderstanding and ongoing confusion is the separation of your companies into large-budget and small budget tiers when considering the four technical categories: Scenic, Lighting, Sound and Costume Design. What is that budgetary dividing line now?

    Shanstrom: The cutoff between small and large companies is a $1.2 million annual budget. So in Tier I you have the Denver Center, Arvada Center, Curious Theatre and (Colorado Springs) TheatreWorks; and (everyone else) falls into the Tier II group. That gets a bit contentious because there is a heck of a lot of difference between a company with a $50,000 budget and a company with a $100,000 budget and a company with a $1.15 million budget. But this is where we came to with this. If there is an upside: It does give more designers the opportunity to be acknowledged with a nomination.

    Moore: Certainly, because you now have eight nominations for each category as opposed to five. But last year you had one lighting designer (Shannon McKinney) score a record five nominations - three for her work in large-budget shows, and two for her work in small-budget shows. It was all outstanding work, but that's not really spreading the booty around.

    Shanstrom: I think last year was another one of those anomalies.

    Arvada Center scenic designer Brian Mallgrave ilanded three of the four nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design: 'She Loves Me,' 'Harvey' and, pictured above, 'The Archbishop’s Ceiling.' Photo by P Switzer.  Arvada Center scenic designer Brian Mallgrave landed three of the four nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design (large budget): 'She Loves Me,' 'Harvey' and, pictured above, 'The Archbishop’s Ceiling.' Photo by P Switzer. 


    Moore: I think because there are so few companies that are designated as Tier I, the end result is far more multiple nominations for those few designers working in Tier I shows.

    Shanstrom: And this year that was not so true. 

    Moore: But this year you have Brian Mallgrave with three of the four nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design in Tier I shows. Again, all outstanding work, but …

    Shanstrom: But Brian was the only one. In the other three categories, there is a pretty good mix of nominees. As long as we are using this system, I don't see any way to fix that. Maybe after this year, that is something we should revisit. People have suggested taking the Equity (union) theatres and putting them into a separate category - but how do you do that with guest contracts? Or it’s been suggested that we take the Denver Center out and make it its own special category. For now, I have to stand by our system. It just gives more people the opportunity to be recognized, and that's what we want to do - especially in the design categories.

    Moore: What about the acting categories then?

    Shanstrom: We have looked at that and come to the conclusion that acting is acting.

    Moore: I completely agree with that.

    Shanstrom: Technical work is based not only on skill, but also on what you can do with tiny budgets or huge budgets. 

    Moore: Money matters.

    Shanstrom: Money does matter.

    Moore: And money shouldn't matter when it comes to good acting.

    Shanstrom: Exactly.

    Moore: I will say that those people acting in the Tier I shows presumably have had more training and experience - and that does cost money. 

    Shanstrom: That has been brought up.

    Moore: Still, I believe that anyone who walks on a stage, no matter how bare, has the power to transport the audience. 

    Shanstrom: Me, too.

    Moore: So the Henry Awards ceremony itself, coming up on July 20 - what's new this year in terms of the live ceremony? 

    Shanstrom: It hasn't all been determined yet, but the organizers have decided that any performances will have to be live. So there will be no B-roll or video used as a substitute for a live performance. We also have decided that we don't want more than a couple of the live pieces to be solos or duets. We'd like to do our standard five production numbers, and we would like very much for three or four of them to be big production numbers.

    Moore: So I know the Henry Awards are very personal to you, and administering them takes up a huge part of your professional life. Is there anything you think is a fixable problem that you haven't already considered?

    Shanstrom: I don't know that we have looked at everything. There is nothing so crazy that we won't hear you out. No, we don't have the best system, but we have the best system that we have. And we are always looking for ways to improve it.

    Moore: Is it going to be particularly meaningful for you going into your first Henry Awards since the death Henry Lowenstein?

    Shanstrom: Oh, yes. Not seeing him at the back of the theatre  … It's going to be really hard not having him there.

    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, where he is the editor of a new media outlet that covers the Colorado theatre community.

    2014-15 Henry Awards
    6 p.m. Monday, July 20
    Arvada Center. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets go on sale July 6 through the Arvada Center website or by calling the box office at 720-898-7200. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    DCPA, Arvada Center lead balanced Henry Awards field: The complete list of nominations

  • 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. 
    • Henry Awards: Big night for 'The Whipping Man,' Denver Center

      by John Moore | Jul 21, 2014

      This video gives you some of the sights and sounds from the year's 2014 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards ceremony on July 20, at the Arvada Center. Video by John Moore and Brian Landis Folkins. 
      .


      Curious Theatre Company’s staging of the remarkable Civil War drama
      The Whipping Man swept the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards on Monday, while the Denver Center Theatre Company was honored for Outstanding Season for the fourth time in the past seven years.

      The Denver Center’s Animal Crackers, the most nominated production in Henry Awards history (13), won three awards, including Outstanding Musical. It’s a lighthearted re-enactment of a famous 1928 Marx Brothers Broadway musical.

      image

      The Denver Center Theatre Company again was honored for Outstanding season. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


      Curious’ production not only was named Outstanding Production of a Play for 2013-14, Cajardo Lindsey was named Outstanding Actor despite joining the cast as a replacement just a few days before opening night. Lindsey also appeared last year in the Denver Center Theatre Company's Just Like Us.

      The Whipping Man also won Henry Awards for Direction (Kate Folkins and Chip Walton), Supporting Actor (Laurence Curry), Ensemble (Lindsey, Curry and Sean Scrutchins), Scenic Design (Markas Henry), Lighting (Shannon McKinney) and Sound (Brian Freeland).

      "The Whipping Man is an incredibly rich, complex, and surprising play, and this production was an exciting opportunity for Curious to illuminate an important chapter in American history while also exploring a fascinating intersection of religions and cultures," Walton said. “It is precisely the kind of provocative and adventurous play that Denver audiences have come to expect from Curious Theatre Company.”

      The Whipping Man was written by Matthew Lopez, who also penned the Denver Center Theatre Company’s world-premiere comedy, The Legend of Georgia McBride, which was named Outstanding New Play. It is the story of an Elvis impersonator who must conquer his fears and preconceptions by entering the vulnerable world of drag performance. It also won the Henry for Costuming (Dane Laffrey).

      image

      Curious Theatre's "The Whipping Man," with, from left, Laurence Curry, Cajardo Lindsey and Sean Scrutchins, won Outstanding Drama and Ensemble among its eight Henry Awards.  Photo by Michael Ensminger.

      The Whipping Man
      , set in the immediate aftermath of emancipation, focuses on an injured Jewish Confederate landowner who finds himself in desperate need of medical help from two of his family’s former slaves.

      The Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Billie McBride, whose seminal acting performances have spanned cancer patient Vivian Bearing in "Wit" to an illiterate old crank in "Grace and Glorie." Her directing credits include everything from the Arvada Center's "The House of Blue Leaves" to children's theater. McBride, a veteran of three soaps, appeared on Broadway in Safe Sex in 1987, and was Production Supervisor for Torch Song Trilogy, starring Harvey Fierstein.

      "I use her as an example to a lot of actors, actually, of somebody who did the right thing," Fierstein said of McBride. “She saw what her career and life would be in New York, which would be not getting to do enough of what gives her great joy. And so she went off to Denver, where she has been unbelievably busy ever since.  She acts, she directs, she does everything, and she has a very full life doing it.”

      In all, eight Colorado theatre companies and 11 productions won at least one Henry Award on Monday. The Aurora Fox won four, two each for Painted Bread (including Outstanding Actress Karen Slack, reprising her role as Frida Kahlo), and two for Metamorphoses, the retelling of Greek and Roman myths in an actual pool of water.

      The host Arvada Center won three awards, including Tari Kelly for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (End of the Rainbow) for her portrayal of Judy Garland in her final, drug-crazed days.

       The Denver Center Theatre Company earned a record 28 Henry Award nominations from the Colorado Theatre Guild. Christine Rowan was named Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Animal Crackers.

      image

      Emma Messenger, above, in The Edge’s "The Beauty Queen of Leenane." Photo by Rachel D Graham.

      It was a breakthrough year for Emma Messenger, who played Big Mamma in The Edge’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and won a True West Award for her comic performance in Illumination Theatre’s Sordid Lives. On Monday, she was named Outstanding Actress in a Play for her portrayal of a cripplingly cruel Irish mum in The Edge’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

      TJ Hogle was named Outstanding Actor in a musical for the evergreen musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, earning Breckenridge Backstage Theatre its first Henry Award.

      The Henrys last year expanded eligibility to statewide after seven years of limiting consideration to the seven-country metro area. This year, that push resulted in six nominations each for LPC and Midtown Arts Center’s remarkable Les Miserables in Fort Collins. Non-metro companies earned two Henry Awards on Monday – Hogle’s and Rebecca Spafford’s Outstanding Costuming nod for OpenStage’s Dangerous Liaisons in Fort Collins.

      The evening included performances from Phamaly Theatre's "Fiddler on the Roof," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" and Midtown Arts Center of Fort Collins' "Les Miserables" (including an assist from the Arvada Center's Javert, Stephen Day), along with a song from the Bobby G Awards' Outstanding Musical, "Joseph..." by Cherry Creek High School.

      For the second year, the Colorado Theatre Guild split its technical awards into two categories: Those of larger and smaller scale budgets. Shannon McKinney swept the lighting awards – for Curious’ The Whipping Man (larger scale) and the Aurora Fox’s Painted Bread (smaller scale).

       To be eligible for a Henry Award, a show must be presented by a Colorado Theatre Guild member company and be seen by at least six Henry Award judges. This year, there were 213 eligible shows, and 174 were seen by at least six judges and were therefore eligible. 

      Henry Award judges attend shows and complete a scorecard evaluating every facet of a production according to a point scale of 1 to 50. Ballots completed by judges who are considered professional critics automatically count. A team of about 40 “citizen judges” make up the difference. A total of six ballots are counted toward each show's scores. Any over that total are discarded.

       That system will change slightly for next year with the June 1 start of a new judging period. Going forward, there will no distinction between professional and citizen judges. If more than six scorecards are received, the six that make up each show's actual total will be chosen at random.

      The nominees and winner of Outstanding Season, the Henrys’ signature award, are not determined by judges but rather by the discretion of Colorado Theatre Guild staff.

      image

      Henry Award winner TJ Hogle recently appeared at a fundraiser for the Denver Actors Fund. Photo by John Moore.

       

      2013-14 COLORADO THEATRE GUILD HENRY AWARDS

      Click here for the complete list of all nominations

      OUTSTANDING SEASON FOR A THEATRE COMPANY
      Denver Center Theatre Company

       

      PLAY AND DIRECTOR CATEGORIES

      OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company
      Kate Folkins and Chip Walton, Directors

      OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A PLAY
      Kate Folkins and Chip Walton
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
      Animal Crackers
      Denver Center Theatre Company
      Bruce K. Sevy, Director; Gregg Coffin, Musical Director

      OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
      Bruce K. Sevy
      Animal Crackers
      Denver Center Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION
      David Nehls End of the Rainbow
      Arvada Center

      OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY
      Kelly Van Oosbree
      Hairspray
      Performance Now Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY
      The Legend of Georgia McBride
      Matthew Lopez
      Denver Center Theatre Company

       

      ACTING CATEGORIES

      image

      Cajardo Lindsey, The Whipping Man, Curious Theatre Company Photo by Michael Ensminger.

       

      OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
      TJ Hogle
      I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
      Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

      OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
      Tari Kelly
      End Of The Rainbow
      Arvada Center

      OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
      Cajardo Lindsey
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
      Karen Slack
      Painted Bread
      Aurora Fox Theatre

      OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
      Colin Alexander
      Curtains
      Arvada Center

      OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
      Christine Rowan
      Animal Crackers
      Denver Center Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY
      Laurence Curry
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
      Emma Messenger
      The Beauty Queen of Leenane
      Edge Theater Company

      OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company
      Kate Folkins and Chip Walton, Directors

       

      DESIGN CATEGORIES
      OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN. LARGER SCALE
      Dane Laffrey
      The Legend of Georgia McBride
      Denver Center Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN, SMALLER SCALE
      Rebecca Spafford
      Dangerous Liaisons
      Openstage Theatre & Company

      OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN, LARGER SCALE
      Shannon McKinney
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN, SMALLER SCALE
      Shannon McKinney
      Painted Bread
      Aurora Fox Theatre

      OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN. LARGER SCALE
      Markas Henry
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN, SMALLER SCALE
      Charles Dean Packard
      Metamorphoses
      Aurora Fox TheatrE

      OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN, LARGER SCALE
      Brian Freeland
      The Whipping Man
      Curious Theatre Company

      OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN, SMALLER SCALE
      William Burns
      Metamorphoses
      Aurora Fox Theatre

       

      SPECIAL AWARDS

      image

      Director and actor Billie McBride, shown in Miners Alley Playhouse's "Grace and Glorie" with  Kendra Crain, will be given the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award at tonight's Henry Awards at the Arvada Center. Photo by Sarah Roshan/Trulife Photography

       

      LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
      Billie McBride

      OUTSTANDING REGIONAL THEATRE
      Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre (Grand Lake)

      EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATIONAL THEATRE
      Rosey Waters/Imagination Makers

      PUPPET ARTISTRY
      Cory Gilstrap

       

      imageChristy Montour-Larson announces the Denver Center Theatre Company's selection for  Outstanding Season. Montour-Larson directed "Shadowlands."

       

    • Record 28 Henry Award nominations for Denver Center Theatre Company

      by John Moore | Jun 18, 2014

      imageFrom left: Ben Huber, Jamie Ann Romero and Nick Mills are all nominated for Henry Awards, as well as “The Legend of Georgia McBride” castmate Matt McGrath. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


      The Colorado Theatre Guild has just announced the nominees for its 9th annual Henry Awards, and the Denver Center Theatre Company has been honored with a record 28 nominations, including best season by a company.
      Death of a Salesman and The Legend of Georgia McBride are among the five productions nominated for best play. Three of the five nominated best new plays are Denver Center productions: black odyssey, The Legend of Georgia McBride and The Most Deserving.   

      Animal Crackers led all shows with 13 nominations, including nods for lead actors Jonathan Brody and Jim Ferris. All four actors in The Legend of Georgia McBride were nominated in lead or support roles: Ben Huber, Jamie Ann Romero, Matt McGrath and Nick Mills. In all, the show collected nine nods. Veteran actors Mike Hartman and Sam Gregory were nominated for their performances in Death of a Salesman and Hamlet, respectively.

      Celia Tackaberry, Stephanie Rothenberg and Christine Rowan were all nominated as supporting actresses for Animal Crackers. The complete list follows below.

      The Aurora Fox earned 16 nominations, followed by Curious Theatre with 15 and the Arvada Center with 10. The upstart Edge Theatre Company had its best showing to date with eight nominations, including best season by a company.

      The most nominated play was Curious Theatre Company's The Whipping Man, with 10, followed by Georgia McBride, with nine. One is a Civil War story; the other a contemporary drag comedy. The one thing the plays have in common is their playwright, Matthew Lopez. Next was the Aurora Fox's Metamorphoses, with six.

      After Animal Crackers, the most honored musical was the Arvada Center's Curtains, with six.

      Perhaps the most shocking omissions from the list were Kate Gleason and Chris Kendall for their highly praised performances in Annapurna for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which was shut out.

      The Henry Awards will take place Monday, July 21, at the Arvada Center.

      To be eligible for a Henry Award, a show must be presented by a Colorado Theatre Guild member company and be seen by at least six Henry Award judges. This year, there were 213 eligible shows, and 174 were seen by at least six judges and were therefore eligible. 

      For just the second year, Colorado companies outside the metro area were eligible for Henry Awards consideration. The Midtown Arts Center of Fort Collins pulled seven noms -- six for its outstanding presentation of Les Miserables, which was nominated for best musical. The Breckenridge Backstage Theatre earned a whopping six nominations for its staging of the oft-produced musical, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

      There were two prominent area productions of Venus in Fur, the most-produced professional play in America this year. The staging by TheatreWorks of Colorado Springs was nominated for best play and best actress (Carey Cornelius), while Curious Theatre's production was cited in three design categories -- lighting, scenic design and sound.

      Several individuals earned multiple nominations, led by lighting designer Shannon McKinney with four, scenic designer Charles Dean Packard (two) music director David Nehls (two) and costumer Linda Morken (two). Christine Rowan was cited as supporting actress and choreography for Animal Crackers. Jamie Ann Romero was nominated as lead actress in Sylvia as well as her supporting nod in Georgia McBride.

      Jalyn Courtenay Webb was the music director for two of the five best musical nominees: Les Miserables at Midtown and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change in Breckenridge. She was nominated in that category for Les Mis. She is also nominated as a supporting actress for her work as Bloody Mary in South Pacific at Midtown.     

      The pronounced repetition of nominees in the design categories reflects the Colorado Theatre Guild's effort for the second straight year to separate lighting, sound, scenic and costumes into "large scale" and "small scale" budget categories. What was intended to expand the pool of nominees in those categories seems instead only to be clustering them.

      This year features mother-daughter nominees: Wendy Moore for directing Lake Dillon's Scapin, and daughter Missy Moore, nominated for best actress in The Edge's The House of Blue Leaves.                            

      2013 COLORADO THEATRE GUILD HENRY AWARD NOMINEES

      Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

      Arvada Center

      Aurora Fox Theatre

      Curious Theatre Company

      Denver Center Theatre Company

      The Edge Theatre Company

      Outstanding Play

      "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," Edge Theater Company, Michael Stricker, Director

      "Death of a Salesman," Denver Center Theatre Company, Anthony Powell, Director

      "The Legend of Georgia McBride," Denver Center Theatre Company, Mike Donahue, Director

      "Metamorphoses," Aurora Fox Theatre, Geoffrey Kent, Director

      "Venus in Fur," TheatreWorks, Murray Ross, Director

      "The Whipping Man," Curious Theatre Company, Kate Folkins & Chip Walton, Directors

      Outstanding Musical

      "Animal Crackers," Denver Center Theatre Company, Bruce K. Sevy, Director; Gregg Coffin, Musical Direction

      "Curtains," Arvada Center, Gavin Mayer, Director; David Nehls, Musical Direction

      "Fiddler on the Roof," Phamaly Theatre Company, Steve Wilson, Director; Donna Debreceni, Musical Direction

      "Les Miserables," Midtown Arts Center, Kurt Terrio, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction                                

      "I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change" Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, Seth Caikowski, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction                                

      Outstanding Direction of a Play

      Christopher Alleman, “Other Desert Cities” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

      Kate Folkins & Chip Walton, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company

      Geoffrey Kent, “Metamorphoses” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Michael Stricker, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” The Edge Theater Company    

      Wendy Moore, “Scapin” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

      Outstanding Direction of a Musical

      Seth Caikowski, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

      Gavin Mayer, “Curtains,” Arvada Center

      Bruce K. Sevy, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company

      Nick Sugar, “Spring Awakening” Town Hall Arts Center

      Kurt Terrio “Les Miserables,” Midtown Arts Center

      Outstanding Musical Direction

      Gregg Coffin, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company          

      Donna K. Debreceni, “Spring Awakening” Town Hall Arts Center

      David Nehls, “Curtains” Arvada Center

      David Nehls, “End of the Rainbow” Arvada Center

      Jalyn Courtenay Webb, “Les Miserables” Midtown Arts Center

      Dan Wheetman, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Lone Tree Arts Center & Starkey Theatrix

      Outstanding Choreography

      Piper Lindsay Arpan, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, “Curtains” Arvada Center      

      Matthew D. Peters, “Shrek the Musical” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre          

      Christine Rowan, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company   

      Kelly Van Oosbree, “Hairspray” Performance Now

      Outstanding Actor in a Play

      Kevin Alan, “Scapin” Lake Dillon Theatre Company      

      Mike Hartman, “Death of a Salesman” Denver Center Theatre Company

      Ben Huber, “The Legend of Georgia McBride” Denver Center Theatre Company 

      Cajardo Lindsey, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company            

      Sean Scrutchins, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company            

      Outstanding Actress in a Play

      Carley Cornelius, “Venus in Fur” TheatreWorks

      Emily Paton Davies, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” The Edge Theater Company

      Missy Moore, “The House of Blue Leaves” The Edge Theater Company  

      Karen Slack, “Painted Bread” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Jamie Ann Romero, “Sylvia” Lone Tree Arts Center & Starkey Theatrix   

      Outstanding Actor in a Musical

      David Ambroson, “Les Miserables” Midtown Arts Center

      Jonathan Brody, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company     

      Jim Ferris, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company               

      TJ Hogle, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

      Mack Shirilla, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Lone Tree Arts Center & Starkey Theatrix

      Outstanding Actress in a Musical

      Lindsey Falduto, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

      Melanie Horton, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

      Tari Kelly, “End of the Rainbow” Arvada Center

      Sarah Rex, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” Aurora Fox Theatre       

      Megan Van De Hey, “John and Jen” Cherry Creek Theatre Company       

      Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

      Laurence Curry, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company

      Sam Gregory, “Hamlet” Denver Center Theatre Company          

      Matt McGrath, “The Legend of Georgia McBride” Denver Center Theatre Company           

      Nick Mills, “The Legend of Georgia McBride” Denver Center Theatre Company  

      Sean Scrutchins, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Colorado Shakespeare Festival                  

      Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

      Jenna Bainbridge, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Colorado Shakespeare Festival                  

      Rhonda Brown, “Steel Magnolias” Senior Housing Options

      Emma Messenger, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” The Edge Theater Company 

      Jamie Ann Romero, “The Legend of Georgia McBride” Denver Center Theatre Company   

      Kelly Uhlenhopp, “The House of Blue Leaves” The Edge Theater Company

      Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

      Colin Alexander, “Curtains” Arvada Center  

      Michael Bouchard, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Tyrell Rae, “Shrek the Musical” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre          

      Brandon Schrami, “Les Miserables” Midtown Arts Center

      Scott Severtson, “Shrek the Musical” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre               

      Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

      Stephanie Rothenberg, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company

      Celia Tackaberry, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company   

      Christine Rowan, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company   

      Megan Van De Hey, “Curtains” Arvada Center

      Jalyn Courtenay Webb, “South Pacific” Midtown Arts Center

      Outstanding Ensemble Performance

      "Animal Crackers" Denver Center Theatre Company, Bruce K. Sevy, Director

      "The Legend of Georgia McBride" Denver Center Theatre Company, Mike Donahue, Director

      I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, Seth Caikowski, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction                                

      "Metamorphoses" Aurora Fox Theatre, Geoffrey Kent, Director

      "The Whipping Man" Curious Theatre Company, Kate Folkins & Chip Walton, Directors

      Outstanding New Play

      "And the Sun Stood Still" by Dava Sobel. Directed by Stephen Weitz; Produced by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company                                                     

      "black odyssey" by Marcus Gardley. Directed by Chay Yew; Produced by Denver Center Theatre Company                                           

      "Electra Onion Eater" by Buntport Theater. Directed and Produced by Buntport Theater

      "The Legend of Georgia McBride" by Matthew Lopez. Directed by Mike Donahue; Produced by Denver Center Theatre Company                                           

      "The Most Deserving" by Catherine Trieschmann. Directed by Shelley Butler; Produced by Denver Center Theatre Company                                           

      NOTE: In recent years the theatre community reached out and asked that we consider ways that allow our larger and smaller companies to compete, more appropriately, with each other. The Colorado Theatre Guild has created two categories for our technical awards. The breakdown is for productions, of larger and smaller scale, based upon currently established production budgets.

      Outstanding Costume Design - large scale

      Kevin Copenhaver, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company

      Clare Henkel, “End of the Rainbow” Arvada Center     

      Markas Henry, “The Whipping man” Curious Theatre Company

      Dane Laffrey, “The Legend of Georgia McBride” Denver Center Theatre Company

      Outstanding Costume Design - small scale

      Cindy Franke, “Hairspray” Performance Now

      Linda Morken, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre     

      Linda Morken, “Fiddler on the Roof” Phamaly Theatre Company

      Rebecca Spafford, “Dangerous Liaisons” OpenStage Theatre & Company

      Outstanding Lighting Design - large scale

      Shannon McKinney, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company

      Shannon McKinney, “Venus in Fur” Curious Theatre Company

      Shannon McKinney, “End of the Rainbow” Arvada Center

      Jaymi Lee Smith, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company    

      Outstanding Lighting Design - small scale

      Stephen D. Mazzeno, “Fiddler on the Roof” Phamaly Theatre Company

      Vance McKenzie, “Hairspray” Performance Now

      Shannon McKinney, “Metamorphoses” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Shannon McKinney, “Painted Bread” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Outstanding Scenic Design - large scale

      Caitlin Ayer, “Good People” Curious Theatre Company                              

      Michael R. Duran, “Venus in Fur” Curious Theatre Company

      Markas Henry, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company

      Vicki Smith, “Animal Crackers” Denver Center Theatre Company             

      Outstanding Scenic Design - small scale

      Tina Anderson, “And the Sun Stood Still,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company                                                     

      Mark Hanluk, “Les Miserables” Midtown Arts Center

      Charles Dean Packard, “Metamorphoses” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Charles Dean Packard, “Painted Bread” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Outstanding Sound Design - large scale

      Jill BC DuBoff, “The Legend of Georgia McBride” Denver Center Theatre Company

      Jason Ducat, “Venus in Fur” Curious Theatre Company

      Brian Freeland, “The Whipping Man” Curious Theatre Company                              

      David Thomas, “End of the Rainbow” Arvada Center

      Outstanding Sound Design - small budget

      El Armstrong, “Painted Bread” Aurora Fox Theatre

      William Burns, “Metamorphoses” Aurora Fox Theatre

      Allen Noftal, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Lone Tree Arts Center & Starkey Theatrix

      Adam Stone, “Electra Onion Eater” Buntport Theater

      Kenny Storms, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” The Edge Theater Company        

       The Henry Awards will take place Monday, July 21, at the Arvada Center. Tickets are $23 for Colorado Theatre Guild members, $30 for non-members, and $50 for VIP. Tickets go on sale beginning July 1 by phone only through the Arvada Center Box Office by calling 720-898-7200. For more information go to www.coloradotheatreguild.org.

    • Art and Artist: Charles MacLeod on Colorado Theatre Guild lighting panel

      by John Moore | May 20, 2014

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      From left: Charles MacLeod, Jacob Welch, Karalyn Star Pytel and Vance McKenzie comprised the lighting panel at the Colorado Theatre Guild's panel on lighting design last night. Photo by John Moore.

       

      Charles R. MacLeod, an Aurora native and resident lighting designer at the Denver Center since 1987, was part of an educational and, yes, illuminating public forum on the art of lighting design held by the Colorado Theatre Guild on Monday night at the Ede Theatre in Lakewood. 

      MacLeod, who started at the Denver Center as a carpenter 31 years ago, designed four Denver Center Theatre Company shows last season and next will helm Lord of the Flies, opening Sept. 26. He was joined on the panel by Jacob Welch,  Associate Professor of Theatre at Metropolitan State and resident lighting designer for the Creede Repertory Theatre; Carbondale native Vance McKenzie, who designed the lights for the Arvada Center's current The Great Gatsby; and Karalyn Star Pytel, lighting designer for the Wonderbound Ballet Company. [[MORE]]

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      Charles MacLeod discusses how a spackled wood fence look was just a lighting effect beamed on top of metal in the Denver Center Theatre Company's "American Night."

       

      The panel addressed a wide range of topics, including the job description and ideal personality traits of a lighting designer, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by new multimedia technologies. They talked about working on a large budget versus a small budget, and how they feel about being judged in an art form where audiences make their determinations based more on an emotional than technical basis. Are we too swayed by big budgets? In some case, the panelists said, we are. There can be effective lighting designs using a single bulb. But MacLeod used The Legend of Geiorgia McBride as an example of a show that would not have reached its full potential without a full arsenal of lighting tools. Though he discounted the presumption that every show at the Denver Center is a big-budget show. He designed the latest Galleria Theatre offering, Dixie's Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I Learned While I was Drinking Last Thursday, he said, with $150.

      image

       

      The panel was the first in a series hosted by the Colorado Theatre Guild and President Pat Payne to shed light and cast a spotlight on the largely underappreciated technical arts. The next forum, at a date to be determined, will address scenic design.

      The Guild invited its general membership and also encouraged its  30-plus Henry Award judges to attend as a way to broaden their understanding of the art form. But in the end, the panelists said, they determine their performance more on the overall success of a show as opposed to their own individual accolades. For lighting design to work, they said, it must work within the whole. But they did have some suggestions for how a judge might consider the work of a lighting designer:

      • Did the lighting help establish time and place?
      • Did it help set an effective mood?
      • Did it reinforce the director's vision?
      • Did it focus the action and help the audience with where to be watching at any given time?
      • Did the lighting blend the visual elements on stage into a unified whole?
      • Did the lighting NOT pull focus away from the central action with a too-obvious effect?

      In the end, the panel suggested that both audiences and judges should go with their gut reaction. If the lighting helped them feel a deeper visceral response to the story, then the lighting designer did his or her job.  Several panelists said if audiences actually notice subtle changes in  lighting, then the lighting design was probably not subtle enough.

      MacLeod stayed late and took audience members though a Power Point presentation showing different lighting effects from Denver Center shows such as black odyssey and The Legend of Georgia McBride, explaining both the physical lighting at work and the philosophies behind why certain decisions were made. 

      MacLeod's recent credits include black odyssey, Shadowlands, Jackie & Me, Death of a Salesman. Other titles include I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women, The Taffetas, My Way, The World Goes ‘Round, Swingtime Canteen, The Last Five Years,  Always… Patsy Cline, Grace, or the Art of Climbing, The 39 Steps, Reckless, When Tang Met Laika, The Diary of Anne Frank, Lydia, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1001, Season’s Greetings, Gem of the Ocean, All My Sons, After Ashley, Dirty Story, Copenhagen, Behind the Broken Words, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, A Christmas Carol, Love, Janis, Lost Highway: The Music and Legend of Hank Williams.

      Welch won the True West Award from CultureWest and a Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for designing  Kiss of the Spiderwoman for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. Welch, who said he has designed as many as 36 shows a year, recently made his Off-Broadway debut with his lighting design of Ami Dayan's Conviction at the 59E59 Theatre. J

      McKenzie works throughout North America, having recently designed It’s a Wonderful Life for Colorado Springs TheatreWorks and the regional premier of Jane Eyre at the Lakewood Cultural Center.

      Pytel was an award-winning actor who found her home in lighting. Recent credits include A Gothic Folktale and LOVE for Wonderbound. She has previously designed for Cherry Creek Theatre, Miners Alley Playhouse, Victorian Playhouse, among others. She was nominated for a Denver Post Ovation Award three years running from 2008-2010. 

      The panel was moderated by Denver Center Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

      For information on the Colorado Theatre Guild's upcoming design forums, contact Gloria Shanstrom at 303-931-7241.

      imageCharles MacLeod discusses the challenge of lighting "Death of a Salesman" for the Denver Center  ... in the round ... without a house.

       

       

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      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.