• Curious' 'The Body of An American' a snapshot into Coleman's vision

    by John Moore | Nov 17, 2017
    A Body of an American Michael Ensminger Sean Scrutchins, left, as playwright Dan O'Brien, and Michael McNeill as war photographer Paul Watson in Curious Theatre's 'The Body of an American,' playing through Dec. 9. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    DCPA Theatre Company's new Artistic Director gave searing new war play its first life in Portland

    Playwright Dan O'Brien and celebrated war photographer Paul Watson are in Denver this weekend talking about how their friendship became the basis for a play.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The list of rising and established American playwrights new DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman has nurtured over the years is long and eclectic, but one name jumped out at his introduction this week for its current proximity to Denver: Dan O’Brien.  

    O’Brien (pictured at right) is the author of The Body of An American, a searing look at the psychological impact of post-traumatic stress currently being staged in its regional premiere by the Curious Theatre Company. And he is in town this weekend to talk about it.  

    A Dan OBrien Playwright 160 fullFor 17 years, Coleman was the Artistic Director at Portland Center Stage, which is known for its incubation of new American plays. Among the many rising playwrights Coleman has nurtured along their paths are Matthew Lopez and Lauren Yee, whose latest plays Zoey’s Perfect Wedding and The Great Leap, respectively, will be on the DCPA Theatre Company’s stages this winter. Coleman's roster also spans Jason Grote (DCPA’s 1001), Ntozake Shange, Luis Alfaro, Melanie Marnich, Constance Congdon, Dael Orlandersmith and many more.

    But Coleman cites developing and premiering The Body of An American as among his favorite accomplishments. And after arriving in Denver this week, he was tickled to learn the play is getting its regional premiere less than a mile from his new place of work.

    The Body of an American is a play that I love and I am very, very proud that we premiered,” Coleman said of the script, which won the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama and the Horton Foote Prize for New American Plays.

    This true story tells how one stark photograph in 1993 reshaped the course of global events. It shows the body of Staff Sergeant William David Cleveland as he was dragged from the wreckage of a Blackhawk helicopter and through the streets of Mogadishu. The famous image won celebrated Canadian war photographer Paul Watson the Pulitzer Prize. But Watson was haunted, not only by that single shutter click, but from bearing witness to 30 years of devastating scenes around the world. And in Somalia, the ghosts of all those accumulated tragedies were bearing down on him.

    “Just as he was taking that picture, Paul heard a voice say, ‘If you do this, I will own you forever,’ ” O’Brien said. “And he believes it was the voice of this dead soldier.”

    O’Brien, who was struggling with personal ghosts of his own at the time, reached out to Watson after hearing his story on NPR. In the unlikely friendship they forged, the two men found a way to reckon with the traumas consuming their lives. And that is what O’Brien’s intimate play is really all about, he says: “True friendship.”

    Coleman introduced the play at Portland Center Stage’s 2011 new-play festival and gave it a full production the next year as part of the company’s 25th anniversary season. It was soon snatched up by the Gate Theatre in London, Hartford Stage and Primary Stages in New York City.

    “That play has been successful all across the country now, but I will tell you, we had a hell of a time finding an audience for it at first,” Coleman said. “It’s brilliant writing, but it is tough subject matter, especially when you describe the premise to someone.”

    Coleman said one of his hardest jobs in developing topical, resonant and relevant stories is also navigating the audience’s capacity to absorb it. “It’s a fine line,” Coleman said, “especially in the moment we are living in politically today.”

    In her review of Curious Theatre’s new production, Denver Post Theatre Critic Joanne Ostrow said current events make this the perfect time to be staging The Body of an American, which she says is being given a "muscular and thoroughly haunting" staging by director Chip Walton and actors Sean Scrutchins and Michael McNeill. It continues through Dec. 9.

    The Body of an American: Weekend events with Dan O’Brien and Paul Watson

    • Performances at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, at Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma St.
    • Playwright Dan O’Brien and photographer Paul Watson will participate in the audience talkback following tonight’s (Nov. 17) performance.
    • Inside the Artists’ Mind: Director Chip Walton will interview O’Brien and Watson at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 18) at Venue 221, 221 Detroit St., in Cherry Creek. Tickets $25. Click here.
    • Note: The Body of an American continues in performance through Dec. 9. Call 303-623-0524 or go to curioustheatre.org

     A Body of an American Chris Coleman 800 John Moore


  • Video, photos: Your first look at 'First Date'

    by John Moore | Nov 16, 2017

    Video by David Lenk.

    Here is your first chance to see video and photos from the new musical comedy opening Friday at the Galleria Theatre

    Here is your first look in video (above) and photos (below) at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' new staging of First Date, opening Friday, Nov. 17,  and running through April 22, 2018, in The Garner Galleria Theatre.

    When blind-date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a comically high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this unpredictable evening.

    The director is Ray Roderick, and the all-local cast includes Adriane Leigh Robinson, Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge, Aaron Vega, Jordan Leigh, Lauren Shealy, Barret Harper and Cashelle Butler. (Vega plays the "Man 2" role from Nov. 11-Dec. 3. Leigh plays Man 2 from Dec. 5-April 22.)

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced that it is dedicating the opening performance and the entire run of First Date, opening Friday, as well as the entire run of A Christmas Carol, to Daniel Langhoff, who died last week from cancer. Read more here.

    Meet the cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!

    Full photo gallery: First Date production photos

    First Date

    Photos from the making of 'First Date.' To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    First Date: Ticket information
    First DateNov. 11, 2017, through through April 22, 2018
    Tickets : Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    Garner Galleria Theatre

    The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Local theatres respond to actor's death with challenges, collections, dedications

    by John Moore | Nov 16, 2017
    Daniel Langhoff Ragtime. Performance Now
    Daniel Langhoff recently starred as Tateh in Performance Now's 'Ragtime,' above. The company has unanimously voted to donate 2 percent of all net profits from every show in the 2017-18 season to the Denver Actors Fund in Langhoff's name.

    Performance Now issues an extraordinary challenge as others announce creative ways to support Langhoff family

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    This week's death of beloved local actor Daniel Langhoff has galvanized the Colorado theatre community and beyond, with targeted donations to Langhoff's wife and two infant daughters through the Denver Actors Fund already reaching $23,578 in four days. READ MORE HERE

    Daniel Langhoff NaomiPerhaps most immediate and most remarkable: Performance Now Theatre Company has not only made a substantial donation of $1,000 to the Langhoff family, the company's Board of Directors on Monday unanimously agreed to donate 2 percent of all net profits from every show in the 2017-18 season to the Denver Actors Fund to be used at its discretion.

    "We challenge all Denver-area theatre companies to do the same," Performance Now Executive Producer Ken Goodwin and Artistic Director Alisa Metcalf said in a joint statement. "Imagine how much more the DAF could help others if the companies themselves got involved and the DAF would not have to rely as heavily on individual donations."

    (Pictured above and right: Daniel Langhoff with second daughter Naomi, who was born Nov. 2, just 10 days before he died from cancer.)

    Performance Now even made the initiative retroactive, sending a separate contribution of $386 for its recent production of The Marvelous Wonderettes. Coming up next: Into the Woods opening Jan. 5 at the Lakewood Cultural Center.

    Langhoff has been a major player with Performance Now, having recently starred in both Ragtime and Man of La Mancha at the Lakewood Cultural Center. The challenge is all the more remarkable given that when Performance Now lost longtime Artistic Director Nancy Goodwin (Ken's wife) to breast cancer in 2007, it established a scholarship fund in her name to aid and reward young college students who are working toward a degree in the performing arts.

    "All performing-arts nonprofits face extraordinary funding challenges as a matter of course," said Denver Actors Fund President Will Barnette. "When nonprofits with already stretched resources still find a way to support other nonprofits, that is kind of remarkable, when you think of it." 

    Donate to the Denver Actors Fund's Langhoff collection


    Barnette added that The Denver Actors Fund does have a modest, ongoing giving campaign in collaboration with area companies called the Tap Shoe Initiative, in which participating companies choose one night per run of a show to collect spare change for the DAF. To date, the initiative has raised about $20,000. Companies interested in participating are encouraged to email Debbie Weinstein Minter at sk8bug77@yahoo.com.

    Elsewhere, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has announced that it is dedicating the opening performance and the entire run of First Date, opening Friday, as well as the entire run of A Christmas Carol, to Langhoff.

    Langhoff made his Denver Center debut in 2010 in the musical comedy Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre, followed by a stint in a revival of the longest-running musical in Denver history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. He also performed in the DCPA Theatre Company’s seasonal stagings of A Christmas Carol in 2014 and 2015.

    “Daniel was a brilliant actor and comedian who loved to laugh almost as much as he loved to hear others laugh," said First Date director Ray Roderick.

    Through curtain speeches, information in the show programs and DCPA NewsCenter, the DCPA will be directing audiences to make targeted donations to the Langhoff family.

    Immediate efforts to add to the Langhoff fund:

    Many other individuals and theatre companies have responded with creative entrepreneurial efforts to add to the total over the coming days and months. Here is a roundup:

    • A November Denver Dolls 400The Aurora Fox's new monthly cabaret series this weekend (Nov. 17-18) features The Denver Dolls presenting their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls, presented by YearRound Sound, are led by frequent DCPA performer and Langhoff castmate Heather Lacy, who will lead a collection as audiences leave the studio theatre at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora. 303-739-1970 or BUY TICKETS
    • BDT Stage opens its new production of Annie this weekend and will make an audience appeal for donations to the Langhoff fund at performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 17-19). 5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com
    • Local actor, choreographer and certified fitness instructor Adrianne Hampton is holding a benefit "Broadway Boot Camp" at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, with all proceeds and donations going to Langhoff's family. What is a Broadway Boot Camp? Well, it's a workout, with showtunes. "It’s a place where theaA Daniel Langhoff Vintage. Honemoon in Vegas RDG Photographytre people can come to hone their skills and support each other," Hampton said. "Just come, bring your dancing shoes and have fun dancing. If you don't want to be part of the class, you can come and watch or just come and make a donation." $15. Littleton Ballet Academy 1169 W. Littleton Blvd.
    • Vintage Theatre has announced that all proceeds from the industry-night performance of its new musical Honeymoon in Vegas on Monday, Nov. 27, will go to Langhoff's family, including, remarkably, box office. The DAF's Sue Leiser will lead a collection brigade. All tickets are $15 for this performance only. At 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or BUY TICKETS
    • Daniel Langhoff Community BETCThe Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company will also donate 100 percent of the proceeds from its official opening performance of Every Christmas Story Every Told on Dec. 13 to the DAF's Langhoff Fund. Langhoff was a cast member of this very same show at this time last year. "Daniel Langhoff will be deeply missed by all the artists who had the opportunity to work with him...and there were so many," said BETC Managing Director Rebecca Remaly Weitz. "He touched so many of us with his wit, optimism, persistence, kindness and humor. Our hearts go out to his family." Additional donations will be accepted at the door on Dec. 13. At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or BUY TICKETS

    Details on a life celebration for Daniel Langhoff are expected to be announced soon.

    Pictures above, from top: The Denver Dolls; James Thompson and the cast of A Daniel Vintage Theatre's Honeymoon in Vegas (RDG Photograph and Daniel Langhoff in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Every Christmas Story Every Told (Michael Ensminger). 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'RENT' and more: No day like Tuesday at the Denver Center

    by John Moore | Nov 15, 2017
    Rent Cast Denver Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore
    Original 'RENT' cast member Rodney Hicks, front, joins the ensemble performing the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour playing at the Buell Theatre through Tuesday, Nov. 21. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Original cast member meets the newest crop of stage squatters, capping a Tuesday that's one to remember

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    “No day but today,” the cast sings at the finale of RENT, which opened in Denver on Tuesday night. But there was no day quite like Tuesday at the Denver Center in recent memory.

    The day began early with the morning introduction to employees of Chris Coleman as the DCPA Theatre Company’s fourth Artistic Director. Coleman, who has led Portland Center Stage for 17 years, was accompanied by husband Rodney Hicks, who originated the role of Paul and others when RENT debuted on Broadway in 1996.

    Tuesday was a homecoming for Hicks, who played Edmund in the DCPA Theatre Company’s King Lear in 2007. Coleman said Hicks was encouraging about the potential new job in Denver based on his brief experience here. "He told me, ‘What’s possible in that performing-arts complex is very unique in the American theatre,’ ” said Coleman.

    Chris Coleman Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore. Coleman also told the gathered company members a personal story that elucidates why storytelling means so much to him. It happened when his sister died quickly and unexpectedly, he said, from a burst clot that stopped her heart.

    “What that solidified for me is that we know not the hour or the day,” Coleman said. “We do know that the universe calls to each of us to carve out meaning in the time that we have together on this planet.”

    (Pictured right: Chris Coleman and his husband, Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    At the same time Coleman was being introduced, DCPA Education was staging a morning performance of its inaugural Theatre for Young Audiences offering, The Snowy Day, in the Conservatory Theatre.

    That evening, as RENT was opening its 20th Anniversary touring production to screaming fans in the Buell Theatre, the the Garner Galleria Theatre was hosting a preview performance of the homegrown musical First Date, featuring a cast of all-local actors. Over in the Ricketson Theatre, the Theatre Company's smart comedy Smart People was playing out. It's the story of four young Harvard intellectuals who collide over race and sexual politics.

    Breaking: Coleman DCPA Theatre Company's new leader 

    Following RENT, Hicks and Coleman were taken backstage along with DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden and Broadway Division Executive Director John Ekeberg. The cast and crew gathered in the green room to meet Hicks, trade some stories and take a group photo.  

    Hicks told the newest RENT squatters their performance transported him right back into his 21-year-old shoes, and that at intermission, he texted superstar Anthony Rapp (the original Mark Cohen) to tell him all about it. Hicks, who has several other Broadway credits, most recently Come from Away, returned to the RENT family in 2007 to play Benny, the conformed ex-roommate who is now evicting his penniless old bohemian friends “for their own good.” Hick spoke to the cast of the ongoing influence the late RENT composer Jonathan Larson has on his life.

    Back in the Buell, four cast members regaled a few hundred audience members who stayed for a post-show Q&A — and some in the crowd returned the favor. One woman told the story of having been in attendance at RENT’s first pre-Broadway performance (and that this touring cast compared quite favorably). Another thanked the cast for bringing the show back to life with this touring production, and revealed a RENT shoulder tattoo that takes its inspiration from the show.

    A Rent Lyndie Moe 400The audience was also delighted to learn that actor Lyndie Moe, who plays the demonstrative performance artist Maureen in RENT, is a Colorado native and granddaughter of beloved former Denver Nuggets coach Doug Moe. She was asked how the loveable, legendary old coach liked seeing her perform the evocative role created by Idina Menzel. “I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about that — but he actually really liked it, thank God,” said Lyndie, whose sport of choice was volleyball through high school and college.

    (Here is a video of Lyndie Moe performing the national anthem at a Nuggets game at McNichols Sports Arena in 2006. Photo at right.)

    One young audience member asked what advice the cast has for aspiring performers such as herself.

    “Well, RENT was my first audition in New York — and I got it,” said Moe. “So my advice is to just go for everything, because you can never know what you are going to get.”  

    All in all, “today” was one very full day at the Denver Center, one that was unique in many ways but at the same time representative of the non-stop activity that both surrounds and fuels the Denver Performing Arts Complexon a daily basis. 

    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.

    RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour: Ticket information200x200-rent
    At a glance: This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters.

    • National touring production
    • Performances Nov. 14-21
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more CLICK HERE
    Previous NewsCenter coverage of RENT:
    Two decades later, RENT still comes in on time
    RENT announces daily Denver lottery for $20 orchestra seats
  • Chris Coleman promises a DCPA Theatre Company that's robust and resonant

    by John Moore | Nov 14, 2017
    Chris Coleman named A.D.
    Photos from today's announcement of Chris Coleman as just the fourth Artistic Director in the nearly 40-year history of the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full Flickr gallery. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The longtime Portland leader champions a range of voices from George Bernard Shaw to Lauren Gunderson, who says: 'Denver is so lucky to get him.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Chris ColemanWhen the Managing Director at Portland Center Stage learned that longtime Artistic Director Chris Coleman was being hired away by the DCPA Theatre Company, she shook her head and said, “Denver, I hope you know you just won the lottery.”

    “Chris Coleman is not only a gifted theater artist, he's one of the best community connectors I've ever worked with,” a resigned Cynthia Fuhrman added from Portland. “That is a rare combination.”

    Coleman was introduced this morning as only the fourth Artistic Director in the nearly 40-year history of the DCPA Theatre Company. For the past 17 years, the Atlanta native has led a company with many of the same sensibilities as his new one. Portland Center Stage offers up to 12 offerings each season ranging from classics to contemporary works to homegrown musicals on two stages while also hosting an annual new-play festival, education programs and an array of community events. All of which sounds a lot like the mission of the DCPA Theatre Company. With one big difference: Twice as many performance spaces, and more financial resources. 

    “There is not another theatre in the country with the same administrative and physical infrastructure inside one organization,” said Coleman, who also will oversee the company’s burgeoning line of Off-Center programming — the kind that takes place in non-traditional performance spaces ranging fro the Stanley Marketplace to the streets of Denver.

    Asked to name one dream offering that might help elucidate his artistic sensibilities, Coleman mulled the possibilities before offering this tantalizing prospect: “One of my fantasies would be to go back to the beginnings of the company and remount The Caucasian Chalk Circle and engage DeVotchKa to write a score for it,” he said. “I just think that would be so cool.”

    Coleman clearly has studied up on his Denver Center history. The Theatre Company launched on New Year’s Eve 1979 with Bertolt Brecht’s modernist masterpiece, starring Tyne Daly. And just last year, Colorado’s own Grammy-nominated gypsy-punk band DeVotchKa not only experimented with Stephen Sondheim’s beloved Sweeney Todd score, but the band members got their necks at every performance.

    Shawn King Devotchke Sweeney Todd. Photo by John MooreColeman lists Brecht as among his favorite playwrights — and it is a wildly eclectic list that includes William Shakespeare, Luis Alfaro, Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel and the playwright Coleman has directed more than any other: George Bernard Shaw. Under Coleman, 52 of the new plays Center Stage helped in their gestation have been performed at 115 theatres around the country. One he is most proud of is Dan O’Brien’s Body of an American, about how a photograph of an American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu haunted the photographer who took it. (It is currently being presented by Denver’s Curious Theatre).

    Among the many rising playwrights Coleman has nurtured along their paths are Matthew Lopez and Lauren Yee, whose latest plays Zoey’s Perfect Wedding and The Great Leap, respectively, are coming up soon on the Theatre Company’s current season.

    (Pictured above and right: Shawn King of DeVotchka in 'Sweeney Todd' in 2016. Photo by John Moore.)

    In announcing the appointment, DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden cited Coleman’s “commitment to artistic excellence, community engagement, new-play development, crowd-pleasing musicals and discovery of new voices” — all of which she said will resonate throughout the region, and will further the DCPA’s efforts to diversify its audience. Coleman said his priorities also include local storytelling, giving voice to underserved communities and building a robust collaboration with the DCPA’s Education division.

    Chris Coleman and husband Rodney Hicks. Photo by John Moore.  “I am super-interested in figuring out how we put the most resonant work on stage we can,” Coleman said. “And by that I don’t necessarily think every play has to be topical to be resonant. I mean work that really lands emotionally for people. So much so that audiences feel compelled to reach out and let us know that we affected them, and that the work has stayed with them.”

    (Pictured at right: New Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Coleman with his husband, Rodney Hicks, at today's announcement. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Coleman says he is not only a fan of the Theatre Company's annual Colorado New Play Summit, one of the signature programs launched by his predecessor, Kent Thompson, he sees it as the company’s greatest drawing card, along with the $1.4 million Women’s Voices Fund, which supports plays written and directed by women. “I am eager to connect great artists with the larger conversation Denver is having about its future right now,” he said. “I am interested in telling big stories — both from cultures that haven’t found their way onto our stages yet, and those that are waiting to burst out of the mind of the young playwright down the street.

    “I don't think there is any reason we shouldn't be one of the top institutions for producing new work in the country.”

    ‘He sure can pick em’

    At Portland Center Stage’s 2002 equivalent of the Colorado New Play Summit, Coleman had a hunch about a submission from a budding 18-year-old playwright. So he took the extraordinary step of giving the young woman a featured slot in the festival alongside, among others, a comparatively grizzled 25-year-old named Itamar Moses. His latest play, The Band’s Visit, opened on Broadway just this past Thursday.

    Chris Coleman quote 8 LAUREN GUNDERSONThe teenager’s play was called Parts They Call Deep, about three Southern women in a Winnebago. Now for the kicker: The playwright was Lauren Gunderson, who, fast-forward 14 years, wrote the Denver Center’s red-hot world-premiere The Book of Will and is now the most-produced playwright in America for the second year running. “It has been amazing to watch her rise,” Coleman said. 

    “Yeah, he sure can pick ’em,” Gunderson said with a laugh.

    Gunderson calls Coleman a mentor who helped her to visualize a possible life in the theatre for herself – when she was 12. Her hometown is also Atlanta, where in 1988 Coleman founded Actor’s Express, dubbed Atlanta's "gutsiest and most vital theatre."

    In those tender years, Gunderson fancied herself an actor, and she was cast as the kid in two mainstage productions there — The Philadelphia Story and Approaching Zanzibar — and she absorbed everything. “That’s the first time I realized that people actually sit down and write plays,” Gunderson said. “By just watching Chris, I started to see all of these other avenues for a life in the theatre for me.”

    Coleman, whose family's Atlanta roots go back to 1804 ("But we were poor dirt farmers," he says), was a bit of a star of the stage himself in those days. How big of a fan was Gunderson of his work? “My 14th birthday party was taking my girlfriends to see Chris Coleman play Hamlet,” she said. “I loved it, and I will never forget it.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    While at Portland, Coleman also produced or directed plays by Sophocles, Molière, Anton Chekhov, Edward Albee, August Wilson, Tennessee Williams, Ntozake Shange, Dael Orlandersmith, David Henry Hwang, John Patrick Shanley, Naomi Wallace, Sam Shepard, Douglas Carter Beane, Martin McDonaugh and Amy Freed — among others.

    “He just has such a knack for championing a remarkably wide variety of voices in the new-play world,” Gunderson said. “I think that’s because he has such a variety of experiences himself as a director, playwright, actor and artistic leader. What makes him a genius is that he knows every aspect of the creation of art first-hand. He has nonstop incredible ideas.” 

    Chris Coleman Introduction PhotoColeman is something of a renaissance man. Before he leaves Portland, he will direct a two-part epic he adapted himself called Astoria, featuring a cast of 16. Based on the best-selling book by Peter Stark, it tells of the harrowing but little-known journeys west undertaken by President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor that served as turning points in the conquest of the North American continent. It’s a story Coleman imagines might be of interest to Denver Center audiences because it taps directly into the spirit of the west.

    (Pictured at above and right: Chris Coleman with husband Rodney Hickst o his right and, to his left: DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden, and Chairman Martin Semple. Photo by Brittany Gutierrez for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    But his acting days are likely behind him, he says. These days, he is far more interested in ballot measures and fundraising and other administrative duties (he swears). He led the design and construction of Portland Center Stage’s new home in the 122-year-old Historic Portland Armory. That experience will be critical as the DCPA prepares to renovate both its Stage and Ricketson theatres within the next four years.

    Under Coleman, who earned his BFA from Baylor University and his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, annual attendance at Portland Center Stage increased from 77,000 to 139,000. The average age of the audience dropped from 64 to 48. The company brings in about 7,600 students a year to see its plays.

    Coleman will direct his two-part adaptation of Astoria, followed by Major Barbara at Portland Center Stage before moving to Denver with his husband, Rodney Hicks, in May. In the meantime, he will work with DCPA Managing Director Charles Varin and Associate Artistic Directors Nataki Garrett and Charlie Miller to finalize the 2018-19 season selection.

    “I just think he is a great voice for the American theatre as a whole, and I can’t wait to see what he does to continue Kent’s legacy," Gunderson, said. “Oh my God, Denver is so lucky to get him.”  

    Video above: A 2015 interview with Portland Center Stage Artistic Director Chris Coleman.


    NUMBER 1Rodney Hicks King Lear Terry ShapiroHey, we already know your husband here in Denver: Rodney Hicks played bad-boy Edmund here in Kent Thompson’s 2007 production of King Lear. He was in the original Broadway cast of Rent and Come from Away. Is it safe to say he will be an active member of our acting community? It is not safe to say that. Rodney is totally excited about coming to Denver, and he wants to figure out what engaging with the artistic community here might look like for him. But his focus right now is primarily on film and television and his budding writing career. Rodney had a big career before we met, and there’s every reason to believe he will have a big career for the rest of his life. So while I think you will see him around Denver a lot, I am not sure you are ever going to see him onstage at the Denver Center.

    Pictured above right: Rodney Hicks as Edmund and Markus Potter as Edgar in the DCPA Theatre Company's 2007 production of 'King Lear.' Photo by Terry Shapiro.)

    NUMBER 2What was your introduction to theatre as a kid? It was my mom, who was trained as an actor. She started a drama ministry at our Southern Baptist church in the 1970s. So literally from the time I can remember, I was dragging angel wings around or operating a dimmer board or giving the actors their lines. So it's always been a part of my life. During my senior year in high school, it became clear that's what I wanted to pursue. And when I got to Baylor University I very quickly realized, 'This is what I want to do. This is the room I want to be in. This is my tribe of people.' 

    NUMBER 3How do you plan to move the dial when it comes to the national problem of equity, diversity and inclusion in the American theatre? As a gay man, I am on the bandwagon. I absolutely agree with the movement, and I believe it is high time for there to be opportunities for lots of different kinds of people in leadership roles. And I think there is a lot that any artistic leader can do to make positive changes, no matter that leader's gender and skin color. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who is more passionate and committed to move us forward on that front. That certainly was the case in Portland, and I expect that only to increase in Denver.

    NUMBER 4You may have heard that Denver Center audiences are passionate about their Shakespeare. Will there be a continuing commitment to Shakespeare? And if so — what kind of Shakespeare? There absolutely will be a continuing commitment to Shakespeare. Now, over the years, I have done every kind of radical Shakespeare reinvention you can possibly imagine. But then about four years ago, I thought: 'You know what would be really radical? To do a Shakespeare play in the period when it was actually written. That would be radical.’ I expect that I am probably more of a centrist when it comes to Shakespeare at this point in my life. What I value most is truthfulness, authenticity and the ability for an audience to engage emotionally. I just want audiences to take the whole ride and not sit back.

    NUMBER 5Should the DCPA Theatre Company be actively responding to the political polarization of the country right now? I think if you are doing interesting new plays, then that happens, whether you want it to or not. Politics tends to show up whenever you are talking about the things that are happening in our world. For example, when we programmed a new play we are staging right now called Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, we already knew of course that immigration is a big issue in this country. But we had no idea how searingly hot it was going to be by the time we opened the play. It is delightful that Luis Alfaro’s play engages with the issues of the current moment, but that’s not why we did it. We did it because we liked the play. But the issue allowed us to build community partnerships around the play that are absolutely conscious of engaging with the conversation of the moment. For example, we have two symposiums in partnership with Catholic Charities that will include our attorney general, a leading immigration attorney, the deputy director of I.C.E. and two Dreamers. That kind of thing is totally in our zone. It’s not just pushing one point of view. It’s bringing together many sides and deepening the conversation you just experienced on the stage.

    NUMBER 6george-bernard-shaw-9480925-1-402So what’s with your love for George Bernard Shaw? I will tell you: The play we are doing this season that most directly engages the executive leadership of this country is Major Barbara — which of course never refers to America or our current president because it was written in 1907. But the themes are uncannily resonant.

    NUMBER 7Is there a place for current DCPA Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett on your team? I have actually known Nataki Garrett for 20 years because she stage-managed a show I acted in back in Atlanta. I have enormous respect and fondness for her, and I was delighted when she was hired to be the Associate Artistic Director here. I anticipate that she will continue in that role until she decides she doesn’t want it anymore. I also know there are a lot of people around the country who have noted Nataki's leadership capabilities, so I suspect there are people knocking at her door.

    NUMBER 8DCPA Education just launched its Theatre for Young Audiences program with a production of The Snowy Day that is directed at pre-kindergarten through third graders, and it was made in full collaboration with the Theatre Company's design staff. How important is it for the Theatre Company to have a strong relationship with the Education division? It's critical to me. One, because we have to prepare future audiences. It is so easy today to walk through life without any real cultural participation of some kind. So I think it's critical that we create, invent and provide as many on-ramps as we can. So education, outreach, and using every opportunity we can to build community relationships with people is just huge.

    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.

  • What a wonderful world it was with Daniel Langhoff

    by John Moore | Nov 12, 2017

    Video above: Daniel Langhoff sings 'What a Wonderful World' at an April benefit concert for the Denver Actors Fund. Video provided by Eden Lane and Sleeping Dog Media.

    The busy actor, husband and father fought cancer like the errant knight he played in Man of La Mancha. He was 42.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    When award-winning Denver actor Daniel Langhoff was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2015, the first-time father dreamed what most every doctor told him was an impossible dream: To beat an unbeatable foe. And yet, over the next rocky and remarkable two and a half years, he reached star after unreachable star.

    Daniel LanghoffThe cancer was discovered just a few months after Langhoff and wife Rebecca Joseph welcomed daughter Clara into the world. Langhoff then fought the disease with the same earnest fortitude and blind optimism as Cervantes, the playwright who defends his life through storytelling in the classic Broadway musical Man of La Mancha. That's a bucket-list role Langhoff somehow found the mettle to play last year during a brief cease-fire with his disease, which would make a raging comeback only a few months later.

    In April, doctors discovered a second, more virulent form of cancer in Langhoff’s abdomen, and it was everywhere. The Langhoffs were told it would be a matter of months. Not that the diagnosis changed Langhoff’s attitude one bit. He fought on with grit, optimism and no small share of Quixotic delusion.

    “Dying never entered his mindset,” said Langhoff’s best friend, Brian Murray. “He always thought he would beat it.” It was only recently in the hospital, when Langhoff was no longer able to eat and fluid was filling his lungs that the impossible dreamer offered Murray this one slight concession to his adversary: “The prognosis is not good,” he told Murray.

    DanielLanghoffFacebook“Daniel fought the cancer by trivializing it — like it was just this little thing to be taken care of,” Murray said.

    Rebecca Joseph, known as R.J. to friends, gave birth to a second daughter, Naomi, on Nov. 2. It happened that day because Joseph made it happen that day. She had doctors induce labor to make certain Langhoff would be alive to see Naomi born. A few days later, Langhoff was admitted to Denver Hospice, where he again defied experts' expectations by fighting on for days until there was no fight left in him.  

    Langhoff died at precisely midnight today, peacefully and as his wife held his hand. He was 42.

    When he left, he was different from the man who married R.J. in 2015. During the ensuing years, as cancer gradually robbed his life, life in turn gave him everything to live for: A wife, two daughters, and the seminal roles of his acting career.

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    Daniel Langhoff Find an extensive gallery of Daniel Langhoff photos at the bottom of this report.

    A punctilious punster

    Langhoff was born in Denver on Nov. 8, 1975, and has been a performer since the third grade. He graduated from Cherry Creek High School and the University of Northern Colorado, and has been working steadily at theatres all over Colorado since 1999.

    He was known as a consummate actor with a quirky sense of humor; a way with a guitar, a song and a terrible pun; a geeky affinity for sci-fi films ...  and a massive collection of inappropriate T-Shirts.

    One of his favorites said: “When I die, I am going to haunt the (bleep) out of you.”

    "That was Daniel," his wife said.

    "Daniel was into weird science fiction, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, anything counter-culture and all manner of useless knowledge," said his frequent co-star and sometimes director, Robert Michael Sanders. "We had a shared love for underrated big-hair metal bands and Alien movies." 

    In the dressing room, Langhoff was a serial punster who was known for running exasperated castmates out of the room with his wit. But on stage, Sanders describes Langhoff as an intelligent, steady actor who could only be distracted from his task by perhaps, say … a random reference to Ridley Scott (maker of Alien).

    He was also one of the most dependable and pragmatic friends you could ever have, said Murray, who has been friends with Langhoff since appearing in Company together at the Town Hall Arts Center in 2008. 

    “I always called him my Vulcan,” said Murray, currently starring in Town Hall’s Seussical. “He was Spock, and I was Kirk. I was the emotional one, and he was the logical one."

    Ironically, Langhoff was the human being Murray turned to when he needed one most.

    "When I was going through a divorce in 2009, the only thing that helped me get by was playing video games with Daniel until 3 in the morning and telling him the same stories all over again," Murray said. "He would say to me, 'Brian, this thing happened. It was outside of your control. Now what you have to do is move through it and move on from that." 

    Perhaps the greatest testament to any man's character, Murray said: "Daniel was kind to everyone — even to the people who annoyed him." (Although, to be fair, Langhoff also loved to quote Tom Waits' life philosophy: "Champagne for my real friends ... and real pain for my sham friends.")

    Traci J. Kern was a real friend. For 22 years, Langhoff has been her constant. "Soon after our meeting, Daniel proclaimed himself the little brother I never wanted," she said. "Anytime I needed him, he was there. No questions asked, because it didn’t matter. Dan lived his life full of passion. Whether it was talking about music, theatre, movies, Stephen King novels, sports, his family, his babies or his wife — he spoke with such enthusiasm, you couldn’t help but be drawn in."

    A life on every stage

    Daniel Langhoff was, simply put, “the most consistent actor ever,” said Sanders. He was also just about the most consistently working Denver actor ever. The list of area theatre companies Langhoff has performed with reads essentially like the list of all area theatre companies. You would be hard-pressed to find a person or company whose path has not, at some point, crossed with Langhoff's on a Colorado stage.

    Dan Langhoff DCPA Love Perfect Change Shanna Steele Robert Michael Sanders Lauren Shealy“Once Daniel got it right, he went out and nailed it at that level every night," Sanders said. "You never had to worry what he was going to do, whether it was for one person or 100. Even for dumb stuff like Guys on Ice – he would find moments that mattered.”

    Langhoff made his Denver Center debut in 2010 in the musical comedy Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre, followed by a stint in a revival of the longest-running musical in Denver history, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. He also performed in the DCPA Theatre Company’s seasonal stagings of A Christmas Carol in 2014 and 2015. The latter staging was right when Langhoff was starting his cancer fight. He had surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes – then immediately joined the cast, fitting rounds of chemo into 10-show weeks at the Stage Theatre.

    Langhoff’s substance and versatility put him in an elevated class among local performers: He was a nuanced dramatic actor with a rich singing voice — and an uncommon knack for comedy and children’s theatre. He could glide from playing the conflicted pastor fomenting the Salem witch trials in Firehouse’s The Crucible, to Coolroy in the Arvada Center’s children’s production of Schoolhouse Rock Live, to the long-suffering husband of a bipolar housewife in Town Hall’s Next to Normal.

    Langhoff’s breakout year was 2016, which began in triumph and ended in terror. It started with Performance Now's Ragtime. As Langhoff was continuing his initial chemotherapy, when he called Director Kelly Van Oosbree to express his interest in playing Tateh.

    “I remember thinking, ‘How in the hell is this going to happen?’ ” Van Oosbree said. “I couldn’t wrap my brain around it because if were in the same situation, I wonder how I would even cope. But Daniel did not let cancer stop him from doing anything.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Langhoff had strong sentimental and professional reasons for wanting to play Tateh. He had played the homegrown terrorist known as “Younger Brother” in a remarkable production of Ragtime for the Arvada Center in 2011, and he wanted to complete the circle by playing Tateh — also a dreamer, also a new father — for Performance Now. “Tateh was a role that spoke to him,” said Van Oosbree said.

    Dan Langhoff Sunglasses project. Photo by John MooreIn the summer of 2016, doctors declared Langhoff cancer-free. He celebrated by performing for the Arvada Center (40th anniversary concert), Firehouse (The Crucible) and Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (Every Christmas Story Ever Told). He began 2017 by reuniting with Van Oosbree to play the chivalrous and insistent dreamer in Man of La Mancha. These were perfect bookend roles, said Van Osbree: Both Tateh and Cervantes are kind, inventive men who see the world not as it is, but how it should — or could — be. “They are both Daniel,” she said.

    But just as Man of La Mancha was to begin rehearsals, Langhoff noticed another abnormality in his abdomen, and doctors soon discovered a new, more prevalent and more vicious strain of cancer in his abdominal walls. Langhoff began a second round of chemo just as he had been cast to perform in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Arvada Center, followed by Ring of Fire at Vintage Theatre. This time, he would not be well enough to play either role. And he again downplayed the challenge. “I am just more physically compromised than I was before,” he conceded at the time.

    The great work of helping others

    Langhoff was known for helping out any company or cause that needed a hand — or a voice. Back in 2010, he joined the volunteer cast of Magic Moments' The Child. That's an annual musical revue where up to 200 disabled and able-bodied performers perform together, many for the first time. Langhoff played a war veteran opposite a devil character played by Drew Frady, his castmate back in the Arvada Center's 2008 staging of Les Miserables. Langhoff had been recruited as a late replacement for another actor. On his first day, the stage manager ended her introduction of Langhoff by saying, to his horror, “He loves hugs.” And, he later said with a laugh, “I didn’t really have the heart to correct her.”

    Over the next few months, Langhoff said, he learned to love hugs.

    “This is the kind of place where you can still be 5 minutes late for rehearsal, even if you show up on time, because there is a 5-minute gantlet of hugs to navigate,” he said.

    Daniel Langhoff, Laura Mathew Siebert and Nate Siebert. Photo by John Moore. Throughout his cancer ordeal, Langhoff was both a beneficiary of, and great champion of, The Denver Actors Fund, which in three years has made $133,000 available to Colorado theatre artists in situational need. Between direct aid and targeted donations, the theatre community has so far made more than $14,000 available to help the Langhoff family with medical bills, along with practical volunteer assistance. And Langhoff has given back at every opportunity, performing at five DAF fundraising events over the past three years.

    In April, a weakening Langhoff made a galvanizing appearance at United in Love, a benefit concert staged by Ebner-Page Productions that raised $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund at the Lone Tree Arts Center. (See video at the top of this page.) 

    Dan Langhoff. Annaleigh Ashford. RDG PhotographyLanghoff sang a heart-rending version of What a Wonderful World to acknowledge the support and love he has received from the theatre community throughout his medical ordeal. “All of these performers, this stunning audience, all of these donors make me feel like my fight ahead is just a matter of logistics,” he said.

    (Photos at right, top: Photographer Laura Mathew Siebert, with son Nate Siebert, raised money for Langhoff's cancer fight in 2016 by taking portraits and donating the proceeds. Photo by John Moore. At right: Broadway's Annaleigh Ashford with Langhoff at Klint Rudolph at the April 'United in Love' concert for the Denver Actors Fund. RDG Photography.)

    His final performance was on Sept. 25 at Miscast, a popular annual fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund, and it was one for the ages. Langhoff, Jona Alonzo and Norrell Moore, all actors in the midst of their own cancer journeys, performed a variation of the song Tonight, from West Side Story, that was written by Langhoff and his (pregnant) wife, who also choreographed. It was essentially a rousing declaration of war against cancer, and it brought the Town Hall Arts Center audience to their feet. The trio were immediately dubbed "The Cancer Warriors."

    (Story continues below the video.)

    Daniel Langhoff, Jona Alonzo and Norrell Moore perform Sept. 25 at 'Miscast,' a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund, at the Town Hall Arts Center.

    The impact of family

    Everyone close to Langhoff says the courage and unyielding optimism he has shown since his diagnosis can be explained in three simple words: Rebecca, Clara and Naomi. "Those three were everything to him," Murray said. "They were his life."

    He met his R.J.  in a theatre, but Langhoff wasn't on the stage; he was a member of the audience. Joseph caught Langhoff's eye after a performance of Vintage Theatre’s Avenue Q. Langhoff noticed the assistant stage manager — usually one of the most invisible jobs in all of theatre. She eventually agreed to a late-night date at the Rock Bottom Brewery that almost didn’t happen because she was running late. Langhoff was appearing in, ironically, the dating comedy I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change at the Denver Center's Galleria Theatre. She was attending Red at the Curious Theatre, which ran longer than she was expecting. Luckily, he waited. Sanders later married the couple in a ceremony at the Town Hall Arts Center.

    Langhoff recently helped Sanders in a profound creative way when the singer-songwriter went into production on his second solo album (under the name Robert Michael). In 2013, Sanders was the victim of a botched shoulder surgery that partially paralyzed his arms and left him unable to play the guitar. Sanders now writes new music through the help of friends who act as his fingers. Langhoff co-wrote the lyrics and music to a track called Forever that Sanders says is informed in part by their own personal experiences:

    You found your forever. You put your hand in his.
    He pulled you close to him, gave you that forever kiss.
    You found your forever, now you'll wake up every day.

    With him smiling back at you, and you have no words to say.

    And that's OK.
    You found your forever. 

    (To listen to 'Forever' on Spotify, click here. Backing vocals by Daniel Langhoff and Norrell Moore.)

    As the theatre community struggles to process the news that Langhoff is gone, his friend Murray was asked what Langhoff himself might say to bring comfort to those he leaves behind. His response:

    "I think the Vulcan in Daniel would say to us exactly what he said to me: 'This thing happened. It was outside of everyone's control. I did everything I could to make it not happen, but it still happened. Now what you have to do is move through that and try to move on from that.' "

    In addition to his wife and daughters, Langhoff is survived by his parents, Jeannie and Charlie Langhoff, and his sister, Amy Langhoff Busch.

    After an intimate family service later this week, a larger celebration of Daniel Langhoff's life will be announced in the coming weeks.

    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.

    Here's how to help Daniel Langhoff's family:
    The Denver Actors Fund is accepting targeted donations that will go 100 percent to Rebecca Joseph to help with medical, funeral and expenses. Any eventual excess funds will go toward the future educational needs of daughters Clara and Naomi. Here's how it works: Click here. When prompted, "Where do you want your donation directed?" choose from the pulldown: "For the family of Daniel Langhoff." The Denver Actors Fund will absorb all transactional fees.) If you prefer to mail a check, the address is P.O. Box 11182, Denver , CO 80211. Separately, if you are motivated to start your own campaign to proactively raise additional funds for the Langhoffs, you can create your own personalized fundraising page on the Langhoffs' behalf. To do that, just click on this (different) link. Choose "Start a fundraiser." Follow the instructions from there.

    Photo gallery: A look back at the life of Daniel Langhoff

    Daniel LanghoffTo see more photos, click on the photo above to be taken to our full Flickr album.

    Daniel Langhoff/Selected shows and companies

    • High School: Cherry Creek
    • College: Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley
    • Denver Center for the Performing Arts: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Five Course Love at the Galleria Theatre; A Christmas Carol for the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Arvada Center: A Man of No Importance (Breton Beret), Ragtime (Younger Brother), A Man for All Seasons, A Wonderful Life, The Crucible, Man of La Mancha, Miracle On 34th Street Les Miserables. Children's shows: Charlotte's Web, Lyle the Crocodile, Schoolhouse Rock
    • Town Hall Arts Center: Next To Normal (Dan), Annie (Daddy Warbucks), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Company, Batboy! The Musical
    • Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company: Every Christmas Story Ever Told
    • Firehouse Theatre Compay: The Crucible (Rev. Hale)
    • Miners Alley Playhouse: Pump Boys and Dinettes
    • Performance Now: Man of La Mancha (Cervantes), Ragtime (Tateh)
    • Aurora Fox: Spamalot (King Arthur)
    • Vintage Theatre: Hamlet, Prince of Pork, 18 Holes (Lyle)
    • Next Stage: Assassins (The Balladeer)
    • Magic Moments: The Child
    • Hunger Artists
    • Film: Bouquet of Consequence, Why There Are Rainbows

    Video: Daniel Langhoff presents Community Impact Award to Denver Actors Fund:

  • 'RENT' announces daily Denver lottery for $20 orchestra seats

    by John Moore | Nov 10, 2017
    RENT Carol-Rosegg
    Kaleb Wells and Sammy Ferber of the Denver-bound 'RENT 20th Anniversary Tour' playing at the Buell Theatre from Nov. 14-21.

    Hopefuls may enter their names in a drum starting
    2½ hours before each performance in Denver

    Seats in the first two rows of the orchestra section will be available for $20 for every Denver performance of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical playing at the Buell Theatre from Nov. 14-21.

    The $20 tickets are available for in-person purchases at The Buell Box Office on the day of each performance only. Starting 2½ hours before each performance, everyone who presents themselves at the Buell Theatre box office will have their names placed in a lottery drum. Thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for seats in the first two rows of the orchestra at $20 each.

    This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery participants must have a valid photo I.D. when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.

    The tradition of the $20 Rent tickets began in New York in 1996 when the show moved to Broadway after a sold-out run in a small downtown theatre. The producers of the show are committed to continuing the tradition of offering orchestra seats for $20 in every city the show will play.

    RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour: Ticket information200x200-rent
    At a glance: This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters.

    • National touring production
    • Performances Nov. 14-21
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more CLICK HERE


    More about RENT

    In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. Now, RENT returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. 

    A re-imagining of Puccini's  La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters — love.   The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on Feb. 13, 1996, and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996.

    RENT is winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is one of only five musicals to win both awards. Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Evan Ensign will restage this 20th anniversary tour. Marlies Yearby (Tony nomination) will serve as choreographer.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of RENT:
    Two decades later, RENT still comes in on time
  • Two decades later, 'RENT' still comes in on time

    by John Moore | Nov 09, 2017
    RENT Carol-Rosegg
    The 20th Anniversary Tour of 'RENT' visits the Buell Theatre from Nov. 14-21. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

    When we think of RENT, we think of the ’90s. Yet it hasn’t become a period piece. Audiences are still coming.

    By Dan Sullivan
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    Musicals are time capsules. Oklahoma! recalls what we were fighting for in ’43; Hair shows what we were fighting for in ’67; A Chorus Line mirrors the anxieties of the ’70s; The Phantom of the Opera captures the gilded ’80s.

    When we think of RENT, we think of the ’90s. Yet it hasn’t become a period piece. The music still sounds like today and the story sounds like a storm warning. The burning question, “How we gonna pay the rent?” echoes the not too distant past.   

    It was a question that was true of New York in the ’90s and one that Jonathan Larson, RENT’s young composer-lyricist, often asked himself while waiting on tables in SoHo. When somebody proposed he write a campy uptown version of La Bohème, Larson decided instead to set it in the East Village and to take his characters as seriously as Puccini had.

    To see who's in the 20th Anniversary Tour cast, click here

    The result was the megahit that every Broadway composer dreams of. Tragically, Larson died of an aortic aneurysm just before previews were to begin, as severe a shock as Kevin McCollum, RENT’s co-producer, ever hopes to sustain.

     RENT Carol-Rosegg Quote Kaleb Wells Skyler Volpe“Jonathan’s death was a tragedy,” McCollum said. “But it’s a mistake to see him as a character in his own story. It never occurred to him that he wasn’t going to be the new voice in the American musical theatre.”

    Like La Bohème, Rent concerns a band of would-be superstars, not all of them geniuses, toughing out the winter in an unheated loft in the East Village. As members of Generation X, they speak the musical language they were brought up on: rock, pop, soul, salsa, disco, country.

    Although hard to track, their adventures on Avenue B are both exuberant and alarming. And Rent shows why today’s parents agonize even more than their parents did when a child takes off to a roach-ridden apartment in the big city in order to “find out who I am.”
    “Can’t you do that around here?” Mom and Dad want to say. Instead they murmur, “Don’t forget to call.” Which the kid never does. So the parents do, and get voicemail.

    Mom’s fake-cheery voice from Scarsdale gets a laugh in RENT, but not a mean one: Larson, a White Plains boy, shares her concern. La vie bohème on Avenue B is hard-core and high-risk. Where Hair once glossed over the penalties of freaking out, Rent deals with them. A music video for “the life,” it’s not.

    Human, it is. One’s heart goes out to Mimi, the clueless cat-dancer, and to Roger, the out-of-tune guitarist, struggling to come up with his one great song (which keeps turning into Musetta’s waltz from Bohème).

    Yet hope keeps breaking in. Plus a certain amount of self-dramatization. (I said these were young people.) And true love, of course. (I said it was an American musical.) And a terrific score.

    RENT may not have been the first big step that the rock musical had taken since Hair — we can’t forget Jesus Christ Superstar — but it was the most propulsive musical to surface in a long while, fired not only by the energy of the young, but by their desperate need to make their lives happen before they ran out of time.

    The intensity of the emotion does not swamp the ship. “Mindless,” the usual synonym for rock musicals, won’t work for this one. If Larson’s tunes sound like the Top 40 fare his kids grew up on, he wrote them as a theatre composer, with careful attention to character and situation. Meanwhile his lyrics have an ironic edge that keeps the show from whining.

    “Jonathan did write a song about what victims his characters were; he took it out,” said McCollum, whose partner, Jeffrey Seller, had been tracking Larson’s career. RENT’s first workshop in ’93 hadn’t knocked Seller out. The next winter, Seller said to McCollum: “Remember that thing I saw a year ago? They’re doing another workshop tonight.”
    McCollum wasn’t interested.

    “I’d been doing deals all day and just wanted to go home and read a book. But Jeffrey says it’ll be good for me to go out. We walk into the New York Theatre Workshop. We see this huge stage with three metal tables set up. Jeffrey says, ‘This is either gonna be brilliant or a total mess.’

    “The show starts; I don’t know what’s going on. A girl called Mimi comes out and sings, ‘Light my candle’ and I start to cry. And the next song, and the next, and it’s some of the best writing I’ve ever heard. At the end of the first act I turn to Jeffrey and say, ‘Get out the checkbook.’ ”

    It wasn’t that simple, of course. It got very complicated after Larson’s sudden death just as the show started previews in the winter of 1996. It left McCollum and Seller with an unfinished show. Larson’s score was amazing, his characters alive, but the story still needed sorting out.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A solution was proposed: Incorporate Larson’s stage directions into the dialogue. The device helped to clarify what the characters wanted — not perfectly, but well enough — and McCollum wasn’t about to apologize for it.

    “We didn’t change Jonathan’s show. We made it clearer by using the clues he left us. We didn’t go with the cliché, ‘What would Jonathan have wanted?’ He would have wanted people to come to his musical.”

    Thousands of performances later, they’re still coming.

    The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour visits the Buell Theatre in Denver from Nov. 14-21.

    Dan Sullivan directed the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute and reviewed for the Los Angeles Times.

    RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour: Ticket information200x200-rent

    At a glance: This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters.

    • National touring production
    • Performances Dec. 19-31
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    RENT. Jasmine Easler, Lyndie Moe. Photo by Carol Rosegg.  Jasmine Easler, left, and Lyndie Moe. Photo by Carol Rosegg. 
  • Tony winner on Denver playwright Max Posner: 'I want him to be heard'

    by John Moore | Nov 08, 2017
    Max Posner. Deanna Dunagan. The Treasurer. Photo by John Moore
    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    'I did it because I believe in Max,' says Deanna Dunagan, creator of Violet Weston in August: Osage County

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Denver native Max Posner's new off-Broadway play The Treasurer closed on Sunday after an extended run, full houses and great critical acclaim. 

    Max Posner. The Treasurer. Playwrights HorizonsAnd the 29-year-old Denver School of the Arts grad is the first to admit that all of that was in large part due to the play being directed by David Cromer, presented by New York’s esteemed Playwrights Horizons, and starring Tony Award winner Deanna Dunagan and Peter Friedman, who played Tateh in Broadway's Ragtime.

    But Dunagan, whose life and career are based in Chicago, said on closing weekend there was only one reason she accepted the role: Max Posner.

    "It was because I believe in Max, and I wanted to help him get started," said Dunagan, who previously originated the epic, acidic role of Violet Weston in Tracy Letts' August: Osage County in both Chicago and on Broadway.

    "He is going to be an important playwright in the American theatre, you mark my words," Dunagan told the DCPA NewsCenter. "I want him to be heard."

    (Pictured above: Peter Friedman and Deanna Dunagan in 'The Treasurer,' courtesy Playwrights Horizons.)

    The Treasurer, which opened Sept. 22, is a darkly funny portrait of an elderly mother and her aging son. Ida Armstrong, who abandoned her husband and three sons when they were teenagers, is now broke, lonely and facing encroaching dementia in Albany, N.Y. Her 60-something son (who goes without a specific name but lives at a Denver address that matches Posner's childhood home), is then forced into the unfair and unwanted role of “The Treasurer."

    New York Magazine called The Treasurer "an invaluable new play." Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it tender and unforgiving. "Mr. Posner has a precocious feeling for the harshness with which people often judge themselves as they approach the midpoint of their lives," Brantley wrote. "His writing is often effectively double-edged, an amalgam of 21st-century casualness and cadenced lyricism. Mr. Posner has a sharp and original ear for the tension between what is spoken and what is not." 

    Our interview with Max Posner about The Treasurer

    Max Posner. The Treasurer. Curious New VoicesAnd to think he started out as a teenager in the inaugural class of young writers in the first Curious New Voices summer playwriting program started by Dee Covington of Curious Theatre Company in 2004. Posner's play was called Counting to Infinity. And it turns out that the director of that play (Laura Tesman Gillette) and one of his actors (Gary Culig) were at the final Saturday matinee performance of The Treasurer in New York (pictured right).

    Posner said of his overall experience with The Treasurer: “It’s a total fantasy realized." 

    The Treasurer also featured Marinda Anderson and Pun Bandhu, who starred in the DCPA Theatre Company's The Catch in 2011. Bandhu was also one of the original producers of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening

    Posner had his first New York production in 2015 with Judy, which is set in the winter of 2040. Posner called Judy “a subterranean comedy about family life when technology fails and communication breaks down."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Critics were not as kind to Judy. So what did it feel like to be understood and championed by New York critics this time around?

    "It was the feeling of not being murdered," he said with a laugh.

    Moving in next to the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre just vacated by The Treasurer is Mankind, written by Robert O'Hara and featuring Ariel Shafir. O'Hara directed just directed a rousing reimagining of Macbeth for the DCPA Theatre Company. Shafir played the title role.   

    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.

    Max Posner. The Treasurer. Photo by John Moore.
    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    From the video archive: Our 2015 interview with Max Posner

    Watch our video interview with Max Posner from May 2015 in New York City. Video by John Moore.

    Selected previous coverage of Denver's Posner family:
    Max Posner's The Treasurer to be staged at Playwrights Horizons
    Denver playwright Max Posner scores first New York production
    Jessica Posner's triumphant tale is a world-changer and a page-turner
    Jessica Posner: Changing lives in a hell on Earth
    From 2006: Max Posner one of Colorado's "Can't Miss Kids"

    Max Posner/At a glance
    Max Posner’s play Judy premiered Off-Broadway in 2015 (Page 73, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll). Recent productions include Snore (Juilliard, directed by Knud Adams), Sisters on the Ground (Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll), and Gun Logistics (Drama League, directed by Knud Adams). He is the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, the Heideman Award from Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, the P73 Fellowship, and two Lecomte du Nouy awards from Lincoln Center. Max is a Sundance Institute Theatre Fellow, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow, and was the Writer-In-Residence at Williamstown. He's an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Ars Nova's Playgroup, The Working Farm at Space on Ryder Farm, and I-73. He contributed to John Early's episode of The Characters (Netflix) and is working on a libretto for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with composer Ellis Ludwig Leone. Max's plays have been developed by Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Page 73, Clubbed Thumb, Williamstown, The Atlantic, Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, NYTW, American Theater Co., The Juilliard School, and Space on Ryder Farm. He is a frequent volunteer at Manhattan's 52nd Street Project. He studied writing as an undergrad at Brown, and recently completed a two-year Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Max was born and raised in Denver and lives in Brooklyn. 

    David Cromer/At a glance
    Recent credits include: Man from Nebraska (Second Stage Theater); The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company); The Effect (Barrow Street Theatre); Come Back, Little Sheba (Huntington Theatre); Angels in America (Kansas City Rep); and Our Town at the Almeida Theatre in London. New York Credits include: Women or Nothing at Atlantic Theater Company, Really Really at MCC, The House of Blue Leaves and Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway, When the Rain Stops Falling and Nikolai and the Others at Lincoln Center Theater. Also at the Barrow Street Theatre he has directed Tribes, Our Town, and Orson’s Shadow as well as Adding Machine, which was a BST production at the Minetta Lane. Originally from Chicago, his credits there include Sweet Bird of Youth (The Goodman); A Streetcar Named Desire, Picnic, and The Price (Writers Theatre); Cherrywood, Mojo, and The Hot l Baltimore (Mary-Arrchie); The Cider House Rules (co-directed with Marc Grapey at Famous Door); and Angels in America (The Journeymen); among others. For Michael Ira Cromer (1966-2015). 

  • In the Spotlife: Candy Brown of 'Love Letters'

    by John Moore | Nov 08, 2017
    Candy Brown and Mark Rubald. Lone Tree Arts Center.

    Candy Brown and Mark Rubald in 'Love Letters' at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Photo by Danny Lam.

    Pippin_Candy_Brown_Manson_800Candy Brown is playing Melissa opposite Mark Rubald in Love Letters from Nov. 9-19 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Broadway credits include Grind, Chicago, Pippin, Hello Dolly and several Shirley MacLaine concert performances. She has an indelible place in Broadway history indelible for being part of the first Manson Trio, a signature Bob Fosse moment in the original Broadway production of Pippin. Brown can be seen in famous photographs stepping alongside Pamela Sousa with top hats and canes wearing white faces and exaggerated smiles just behind their Leading Player, Ben Vereen.

    • Candy Brown Quote Hometown: Northern California
    • Home now: Denver
    • High school: Hermantown High School in Duluth, Minn.
    • College: St. Mary’s College of Moraga, Calif.
    • One recent role? The “role” I love most is being a guest artist in the theatre department at the Denver School of the Arts.
    • Twitter-sized bio: With any luck, I am rarely what I seem to be.
    • The role that changed your life: Performing as a Player and understudying Fastrada in the original Broadway cast of Pippin. While I had done three Broadway musicals, this was the first time I had worked on a Broadway show from the ground up. It was an eye-opening experience, and working with Mr. Fosse made me aware that I also needed to be a better actor to be a competent dancer. I had had some acting classes, but it made me want to study the craft more seriously ... which I did. READ MORE
    • Ideal scene partner: Meryl Streep and/or Viola Davis (pictured below right). Having never met either, I imagine they are both not only brilliant actors, but grounded and giving human beings.
    • What is Love Letters all about? It’s a relationship between a man and a woman spanning decades revealed in the letters they wrote to one another.
    • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: Melissa is a very wealthy free spirit. ... I am neither. But I certainly understand the moral, emotional and intellectual elements of her character. My favorite characters are those seemingly different from me — until the human connection is discovered. viola-davis-fences
    • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your play? Theatre’s task is to illuminate the human condition. I will honor my contract to the audience to do that to the best of my ability.
    • What's one thing we don't know about you? This is painful to admit, but: I am quite boring.
    • What do you want to get off your chest? I am passionate about empowering the young people with whom I come in contact in an educational platform. I am passionate to encourage them to be beacons going forth with confidence, and armed with passion and compassion wherever their paths lead.

    Check out all your November theatregoing opportunities

    Love Letters: Ticket information
    At a glance: Two actors, one stage and a love story spanning 50 years. Andrew Makepeace Ladd III wrote his first letter to Melissa Gardner to tell her she looked like a lost princess. They were both 7 years old. For the next five decades, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out the secrets of their hearts to each other — in letters.

    • Written by A.R. Gurney
    • Directed by Bruce K. Sevy
    • Featuring Candy Brown and Marl Rubald
    • Nov. 9-19
    • 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue,
    • Tickets: $35-$45
    • For tickets, call 720-509-1000, or go to lone tree’s home page


    • Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

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    • Friday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m.

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    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

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    • Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Thursday, Nov. 16, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.

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    • Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 18, 1:30 p.m.

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    • Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.

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    • Sunday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.

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    More 2017-18 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep's Arsenic and Old Lace
    Meet Deb Persoff of Vintage Theatre's August: Osage County
    Meet Monica Joyce Thompson of Inspire Creative’s South Pacific
    Meet Hugo Jon Sayles of I Don't Speak English Only
    Meet Marialuisa Burgos of I Don't Speak English Only

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Voters say emphatically improvements to DCPA and elsewhere are 2B

    by John Moore | Nov 07, 2017

    Denver Election 2017. Photo by John MooreCultural partners who will benefit from the passage of 2B gathered with Mayor Michael B. Hancock tonight in celebration. From left: Tamra Ward (Denver Zoo), Kristy Bassuener (Denver Art Museum), Andrew Rowan (Denver Zoo), Marie Revenew (Denver Zoo), Andrea Kalivas Fulton (Denver Art Museum) and Janice Sinden (Denver Center for the Performing Arts). Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Results mean renovations to Stage and Ricketson theatres, but will benefit an array of area cultural institutions as well

    By John More
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Denver residents overwhelmingly approved a bond initiative tonight that will make funds available for 460 projects valued at $937 million, including $19 million to renovate the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Stage and Ricketson theatres — without a tax increase.

    The proposed improvements were presented to voters as seven separate spending packages. The referendum that includes the DCPA and other cultural institutions, designated as 2B, passed with 71 percent approval. Votes in favor of 2B numbered 98,640, with 40,536 against. All seven ballot measures passed by similar margins.

    Denver Election 2017 Mayor Hancock. Photo by John MooreMayor Michael B. Hancock called the initiative "a thoughtful, balanced and responsible investment package created by and for the people of Denver." He credited the relatively easy victory to the voters themselves.

    "This is the people's bond," Hancock told the DCPA NewsCenter at a gathering in the Seawell Ballroom. "You led us to these investments. We heard you loud and clear. Tonight, the voters responded appropriately and now, because of you, we are able to go forward."

    DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden said improvements to the Stage and Ricketson theatres are now 40 years in coming. In full, 2B represents about $116 million that will benefit six other are facilities as well: The Denver Zoo, Buell Theatre, Red Rocks, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

    "If voters had not supported 2B tonight, I think our arts and cultural institutions would have needed a lot more time to really engage the community to make these substantial improvements," Sinden said. "It would have taken an extraordinary effort to raise more than $100 million without 2B."

    Hancock, similarly, said what the city would have lost most tonight without these victories is time.

    "It would have taken a lot more time to get where we need to go as a city," he said.  Instead, the outcome represents an unparalleled opportunity for the city. 

    Roughly half of the total bond program will go toward road maintenance, sidewalk connections, intersection improvements and transit infrastructure. The slate includes library renovations; new recreation centers and playgrounds; and upgrades to police and fire stations, cultural institutions and enhancements to Denver Health Medical Center.

    The seven separate ballot questions included:

    • $431 million for transportation and mobility projects
    • $116.9 million for city-owned cultural facility improvements (including the Stage and Ricketon theatres)
    • $75 million for a new outpatient care center at Denver Health Medical Center
    • $77 million for safety facility projects
    • $69.3 million for Denver Public Library improvements
    • $151.6 million for parks and recreation
    • $16.5 million for city-owned facility improvements
  • The wait is over to find Denver's two little Lulus for 'Waitress'

    by John Moore | Nov 07, 2017
    Waitress in Denver 2017
    Photos from today's announcement of Molly Scotto, left, and Hazel Thompson as the the two young Denver actors who will perform the role of Lulu in 'Waitress' for the duration of the hit Broadway musical's upcoming Denver engagement. To see more, click anywhere on the photo above. Photos by Emily Lozow and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Two local girls win the thrill of their very young lifetimes when hit Broadway musical visits Denver in December

    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced today that young Molly Scotto and Hazel Thompson will perform the role of Lulu in Waitress for the duration of the hit Broadway musical's upcoming Denver engagement. Each young actress will perform four shows per week through the show, which runs Dec. 19-31 at the Buell Theatre.

    A Waitress 400The character of Lulu is a sweet and carefree young girl aged 4 or 5 who appears in the production’s finale. The role will be cast locally in every city Waitress visits — and the auditions and casting decisions were conducted entirely by Waitress' Broadway creative team. Local auditions were held Oct. 5.

    Thompson, of Denver (pictured on the left), and Scotto, of Boulder (right), had the opportunity to step onto the Buell stage for the first time today at a press gathering to announce their selections. The young actors were presented with their very own “Congratulations Molly” and “Congratulations Hazel” pies from Centerplate to coincide with the unique names of the pies in the show.

    Watch the announcement as it played out on Facebook live

    Scotto is 4½ and has experience in yoga and ballet. She performed on the field for a University of Colorado football game through their Cheer Camp. She also plays soccer. 

    Thompson is 5 and has ballet and tap experience from the Dance Institute of Denver as well as participating in DCPA Education classes. She also does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and speaks a little Japanese.

    Waitress is the new Broadway musical inspired by Adrienne Shelly's 2007 motion picture. Brought to life by a groundbreaking, all-female creative team, Waitress features original music and lyrics by six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Finding Neverland). Paulus launched the national tour of Pippin in Denver. (Finding Neverland, Pippin, Hair).

    Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county, and the town's new doctor, may offer her a chance at a fresh start as her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life. 

    Waitress cast includes local favorite Lenne Klingamann

    "It's an empowering musical of the highest order," said the Chicago Tribune.

    The national tour of Waitress premieres in Cleveland, on Oct. 17. It visits Denver's Buell Theatre from Dec. 19-31. Single tickets are on sale at denvercenter.org.

    Waitress in Denver: Ticket information

    • National touring production
    • Performances Dec. 19-31
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Waitress. Lulu. Denver Center. Photo by Emily Lozow. Photo by Emily Lozow.


    Video: Watch the announcement live

    Video above: Watch as DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg announces Molly Scotto and Hazel Thompson as the two young Denver actors who will perform the role of Lulu in 'Waitress' for the duration of the hit Broadway musical's upcoming Denver engagement. Check back soon for our interviews with the girls and their families.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Robert Lee Hardy of 'The Snowy Day' on living with joyous goodwill

    by John Moore | Nov 07, 2017
    Cast of The Snowy Day. Adams Viscom

    The cast of DCPA Education's 'The Snowy Day Other Stories,' from left: Rachel Kae Taylor, Robert Lee Hardy and Zak Reynolds. Age recommendation: Pre-school to 3rd grade, with adult supervision. Photo by Adams VisCom for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Robert Lee Hardy QuotePeter in The Snowy Day, playing through Nov. 18 in the Conservatory Theatre. Recent stage credits include A Time To Kill at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora; Flyin’ West, The Three Sisters and Home. TV and film credits include Jazz in the Diamond District, Jamesy Boy and HBO’s The Wire.

    • Hometown: Baltimore
    • Home now: Denver
    • Training: I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film
    • What's your handle? @RobertLeeHardy on Twitter and Instagram
    • What was the role that changed your life? The role was Cephus Miles from the play Home by Samm-Art Williams. I had to learn eight monologues, the production only had three characters — and it was over two hours long with no intermission! I understood Cephus. He was my grandfather, my uncle and my father. Cephus lost his home, was thrown in jail for not wanting to fight in the Vietnam War and became addicted to drugs. During the run of the show, I was going through a really rough point in my life, and Cephus inspired me. Despite all, he never lost his joyous goodwill or his indomitable spirit. He held onto to his faith in himself and ended up with a life filled with love and happiness.
    • Why are you an actor? I love suspending reality. I have the power to use this gift bestowed upon me, to take people's level of consciousness to a higher level.
    • What do you be doing if you were not an actor? I would be a news anchor. I love the words, I love the camera and I love storytelling.
    • RobertLeeHardyJeffreyWrightIdeal scene partner: Jeffrey Wright (pictured right) and Heath Ledger. They literally know how to put on someone else's shoes, and walk in them.
    • Why does The Snowy Day matter? When I was a child I didn't often see people who looked like me onstage, film or TV. The Snowy Day allows children to see that actors and artists come in all colors, shapes and sizes.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of this play? I want them to leave the show feeling inspired. Whether you can't whistle or write well. If you believe in yourself, the possibilities are endless.
    • Complete this sentence: “All I want is … “
      "... for the world to know that a career as an artist is realistic and ideal.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Robert Lee Hardy A Time to Kill. Vintage

    Robert Lee Hardy, right, starred as Carl Lee Hailey with Drew Hirschboeck as Jake Brigance in Vintage Theatre's regional premiere production of 'A Time to Kill' in April. He has since joined DCPA Education's 'The Snowy Day.'   

    The Snowy Day and Other Stories: Ticket information
    Snowy DayFrom the joys of a first snowfall and learning how to whistle to thrilling encounters delivering a precious invitation, the delightful moments of childhood are perfectly captured in this medley of simple, sweet stories.

    • Written by Ezra Jack Keats; adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston
    • Performances through Nov. 18
    • School performances: Weekdays 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. (except Thursdays are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
    • Public performances: 1:30 p.m. Saturdays
    • Conservatory Theatre, located in the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education, 1101 13th St.
    • Tickets $10 (discounts and scholarships available)
    • Best suited for: Pre-K through third grade
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Teachers: Inquire by clicking here or calling 303-446-4829
    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Snowy Day and Other Stories

  • DCPA's 25th 'A Christmas Carol' brims with mistletoe and milestones

    by John Moore | Nov 06, 2017
    Making of 'A Christmas Carol' 2017

    Above: Photos from the first day of rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'A Christmas Carol' last week. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Favorite Sam Gregory is back as Scrooge and, for the first time in Denver, a young girl has been cast to play Tiny Tim.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    When the DCPA Theatre Company presents the seasonal favorite A Christmas Carol later this month, it will be an offering filled with mistletoe and milestones. Check out the five things we learned at first rehearsal below.

    A Christmas Carol. Sam Gregory. The cast is again headed by Sam Gregory in his second season playing the miserly Scrooge. The most veteran member of the cast is Leslie O'Carroll, who has appeared in 19 of the Denver Center's 25 stagings, most as Mrs. Fezziwig.

    Back for her second year as director is Melissa Rain Anderson. She will again be staging the version adapted by Richard Hellesen, with music by the late David de Berry, as has been the DCPA tradition since 2006. "This is by far my favorite version," said Anderson, who has herself performed in this version of the story four times as an actor at theatres around the country. "I think it's the most Dickensian." Music Director Gregg Coffin has helmed this version of the show 22 times around the country.

    NUMBER 1LOOK WHO'S TWENTY-FIVE! A Christmas Carol is, no surprise, far and away the DCPA Theatre Company's most-produced show. This holiday season marks the company’s 25th presentation of the story dating to 1990 — having taken two years off along the way in favor of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. "That is a huge milestone," Anderson said. "It's a privilege to be a part of that legacy here at the Denver Center. With everything that is happening in the world, I am so happy to be in this room with all of these people and to be a part of telling this tale again as a true ensemble."

    NUMBER 2 A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim. Melissa Rain Anderson. Peyton Goosen.GOD BLESS THE GIRL. There have been 18 young Tiny Tims over the DCPA's first 24 years of A Christmas Carols. This year, for the first time, the role of the feeble boy whose death is imminent if Scrooge doesn't break down and finally offer his employee some health insurance, will be played by a girl. Anderson she credits DCPA Artistic Associate Grady Soapes with the idea to cast young Peyton Goosen. "I am always open to more females on the stage, so I was very for it," Anderson said. "Peyton is really smart, she is absolutely adorable and she is precocious. But most important, she was the best actor for the role."

    NUMBER 3KNOCK KNOCK. WHO'S THERE? A Christmas Carol has drawn 820,000 audience members since 1990, so if you live in Denver, chances are, you have seen it. But with 10,000 new residents moving into the city every month, it's become clear that thousands of audience members each year are experiencing A Christmas Carol for the first time "So many people love this production and count on it as a family tradition, but 40 percent of our A Christmas Carol audiences are new every year," said DCPA Associate Artistic Director Charlie Miller.

    NUMBER 4 SHE'S MIXING THINGS UP. Anderson introduced several changes last year, including, for example, introducing a grander sleigh for the Ghost of Christmas Present to ride in on. This year, she says audiences should keep an eye on the phantoms. "Their costumes are a little sleeker this year," Anderson said. "We are going to be able to see their bodies a little more, which I really like, because we have a really good dancers in our cast. I would like for people to see that they were once human."

    NUMBER 5WHO KNEW? Speaking of the creative vision, one of the most reliable aspects of the DCPA's production from year to year is the look of the set, originally designed by veteran Vicki Smith. We learned at first rehearsal that Smith's original inspiration was a Victorian Christmas card she came across.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A Christmas Carol: Cast list

    • Hadley Brown (DCPA debut) as Belinda Cratchit/Ensemble
    • Latoya Cameron (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Mrs. Cratchit/Ghost of Christmas Past
    • Kevin Curtis (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd, A Christmas Carol) as Dick Wilkins/Peter Cratchit/Ensemble
    • Michael Fitzpatrick (DCPA’s Animal Crackers, A Christmas Carol) as Mr. Fezziwig/Ensemble
    • Peyton Goosen (DCPA debut) as Tiny Tim/Ensemble
    • Sam Gregory (DCPA’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Hamlet, All The Way, A Christmas Carol) as Ebenezer Scrooge
    • Darrell T. Joe (DCPA debut) as Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come/Ensemble
    • Chas Lederer (DCPA debut) as Swing
    • Kyra Lindsay (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Martha Cratchit/Ensemble
    • Brody Lineweaver (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Ensemble
    • Chloe McLeod (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Swing
    • Timothy McCracken (DCPA’s Smart People, A Christmas Carol) as Ebenezer Scrooge understudy
    • Chris Mixon (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Old Joe/Ensemble
    • Grace Morgan (The Phantom of the Opera, DCPA A Christmas Carol) as Belle/Fred’s Wife/Ensemble
    • Leslie O’Carroll (DCPA’s Benediction, A Christmas Carol) as Mrs. Fezziwig/Ensemble
    • Erik Pinnick (DCPA debut) as Ghost of Christmas Present/Ensemble
    • Daniel Plimpton (DCPA’s The Secret Garden) as Ensemble
    • Jim Poulos (Broadway’s Rent, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, DCPA A Christmas Carol) as Fred/Young Ebenezer/Ensemble
    • Max Raabe (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Ensemble
    • Tristan Champion Regini (DCPA debut) as Boy Ebeneezer/ Ensemble.
    • Augie Reichert (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Ensemble
    • Helen Reichert (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Fan/Ensemble
    • Jeffrey Roark (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd, All The Way, A Christmas Carol) as Jacob Marley/Ensemble
    • Marco Robinson (Off-Center’s The Wild Party) as Ensemble
    • Christine Rowan (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd, Animal Crackers, A Christmas Carol) as Ensemble
    • Shannan Steele (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd, A Christmas Carol) as Ensemble
    • Jackie Vanderbeck (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Charwoman/Ensemble
    • Brian Vaughn (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Bob Cratchit/Ensemble
    • Owen Zitek (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Edward Cratchit/Ensemble
    A Christmas Carol. Photo by John Moore.

    A Christmas Carol:
    Ticket information
    A Christmas CarolAt a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    • Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    The SantaLand Diaries:
    Back for Year 9

    SantaLand Diaries 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisComAround the corner in the Jones Theatre, Off-Center’s seasonal co-production of The SantaLand Diaries again will be staged in partnership with the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. The production will be essentially unchanged for 2017, with Michael Bouchard again donning the caustic candy-striped socks for a third time in David Sedaris’ comic monologue recounting his real-life experience working as a Macy’s Department store elf.

    Bouchard is a Denver Post Ovation Award-winning actor best-known to Colorado audiences from his time at the Arvada Center, the Creede Repertory Theatre and the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. Luke Sorge will again serve as "Other David."

    This will be Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's ninth annual holiday staging of The SantaLand Diaries, and the fourth since it moved to the DCPA's Jones Theatre. The director is again Stephen Weitz, who directed the DCPA Theatre Company's Tribes.

    The SantaLand Diaries: Ticket information
    The SantaLand DiariesAt a glance: David Sedaris' off-beat tales from his stint as a Macy's elf in New York City is the sure cure for the common Christmas show.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    • Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
  • How a local film crew moved Walden Pond to the Colorado mountains

    by John Moore | Nov 05, 2017

    Video trailer above: Shot on location in Colorado, 'Walden: Life in the Woods' is a radical Western re-imagining of Thoreau’s eponymous classic that interlaces three narratives that take place over 24 hours and explore the trappings of modern life. 

    Thoreau's revered if not all that actually read screed helps Colorado natives reconcile their pasts in the wilderness.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    In a witty 2015 essay titled Pond Scum, The New Yorker went there: It called out Henry David Thoreau’s sanctified, centuries-old essay Walden, or Life in the Woods, as “more revered than read.” Hashtag #TranscendentalBurn.

    Denver filmmaker Alex Harvey has been there. No really, he was right there in 2009. Not at that infamous pond in Concord, Mass. At Watercourse, Denver’s original vegan restaurant, passing bottles of wine with the homeboys he’s kept since kindergarten at Denver’s Graland Country Day School. His lifetime posse via Denver East High School includes comic actor T.J. Miller (Cloverfield), screenwriter Adam Chanzit (3 Nights in the Desert) and actor Erik Hellman, who has worked at all the biggest theatres in Chicago. On this night, the 303 pals were tossing back vino while tossing around ideas for their next creative project.

    A Walden Denver Film Festival. Photo by James DiMagibaSomebody said, ‘How about Walden — set in Colorado?” Harvey said. “And we were like, ‘OK, that’s interesting — but have any of us actually read it?’ And the answer wasn’t just ‘No.’ It was ‘No (bleeping) way!’ We had all read maybe one chapter.”

    But the one chapter Harvey remembered reading rang a bell that harked back to when, appropriately enough, Thoreau wrote of hearing a church bell ring — “and it just transforms him in amazing ways,” said Harvey. The sodden buds committed to reading Thoreau’s book — all of it this time. And over the next week, many more bells would ring.

    When they regathered a week later to talk about it, Harvey said, “We were all amazed that the first 100 pages of Walden are not about trees or lakes or transcendentalism. They are about debt. All these farmers had drawn-out mortgages they couldn’t afford. It was literally the sub-prime mortgage crisis of the 1830s that spurred Thoreau to write this damn book. And mind you, we were in 2009, when the world around us was in financial crisis. It was immediately clear to us that this book was the most relevant piece of writing for what was going on at that time, and no one was making the connection. Suddenly, we all felt like this winsome idea was something we really had to dedicate ourselves to.”

    Little did the director know it would be eight years before his similarly titled film odyssey Walden: Life in the Woods would culminate in its premiere last night at the 2017 Denver Film Festival. That Harvey went into the making of it with an admittedly meager working knowledge of his source material didn’t faze him one bit. Speaking of Odysseys, Harvey pointed out that it didn't occur to the famed Coen Brothers that neither of them had actually read Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey until long after they wrapped shooting their celebrated 2000 screen adaptation, O Brother, Where Art Thou.

    (Story continues below the photo.)

    Pictured: Demián Bichir in Walden: 'Life in the Woods.'

    “When I adapt stories for film, they usually turn out very radical and very departure-oriented,” Harvey said. “I take the essences of things and I try to open them out in a prismatic way.”

    Walden took its filmic structure from screenwriter Adam Chanzit, who brought Harvey a revealing quote from the source book. “Thoreau says: ‘I have three chairs in my cabin: One for solitude, two for friendship and three for society,’ ” Harvey said. And three more bells clanged.

    “I knew right then we were going to do a three-part narrative that follows one day in the lives of three Colorado residents. And our three chapters would be called Solitude, Friendship and Society.”

    Harvey had in mind a contemporary re-imagining that would not romanticize jerky Thoreau’s Unabomber-like hermitic lifestyle. (Seriously ... The New Yorker calls his book “The Original Cabin Porn”). Rather, a cinematic rumination that would focus on the trappings of 21st century life and those who dream of escape.

    Click here for more coverage of the Colorado theatre community

    Solitude is about a widow trying to break free from the walls of encroaching dementia — and her nursing home. Friendship explores the relationship between two boys struggling to confront their inner wild in the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Society shows a desperate family man who dreams of freeing himself from the constraints of his mortgage, health insurance and failing home appliances.

    Harvey not only was inspired by the sub-prime mortgage crisis of the 1830s but rather by a quest to reconcile his own past relationship with the state of Colorado — and why that even still matters to him 20 years later.

    “I wanted to talk about why it is that so many people from Colorado have complicated relationships with the fact that they don’t live there anymore,” said Harvey, whose parents went west, as so many did, during the great suburban land rush of the 1960s. Harvey moved out around 1995 and returns very much a stranger in his native land.

    “All of my friends who are originally from Colorado feel kind of weird about not living here anymore, and that just isn’t true of my friends who are from Chicago or Toledo or Topeka,” he said. “So I was trying to put it together what it was about our state that has this kind of magnetic quality that seems qualitatively different from other places. And I find that is only true of people who are from communities like Denver that sit on the edge between civilization and the great American wilderness. It was interesting for me to explore how that affects the way people relate to each other, and to the society around them.”

    What’s funny to Harvey is that all of this stems from Thoreau’s epic journey to … a pond in Massachusetts, an adventure that should not be mistaken for, say, Chris McCandless (Into the Wild) literally walking into his frozen death in the Alaskan winter. Thoreau was born in Concord. He journeyed to the other side of town.

    “Only someone who has never experienced true remoteness could ever mistake Walden for the wilderness,” the New Yorker snarked. Thoreau's associates loved him, but didn't particularly like him. "As for taking his arm, I should as soon think of taking the arm of an elm-tree," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote for The Atlantic in 1862 — and he was Thoreau's best friend. That's because, quite anachronistically, "Henry delighted to entertain, as he only could, with the varied and endless anecdotes of his experiences by field and river," Emerson wrote. And for the time, that was mysterious and new.

    Alex Harvey Walden “Before Thoreau, nobody believed that going outside was something healthy,” Harvey said. “You only went outside to work. The outdoors was thought of as full of dangerous things. But after Thoreau — with some help from Emerson, Walt Whitman and, on the other side of the Atlantic, William Wordsworth — suddenly you have these guys saying something new about the outdoors. And I think you can connect this new kind of thinking straight to the start of the national parks system, straight to John Muir and the founding of the Sierra Club, and straight to the front door of the Confluence Park REI in Denver. Seriously, I would argue that the idea of Colorado being served to you at that REI is the heritage of Thoreau. I was able to make a palpable connection to this romantic idea that the wilderness is still alive in these frontier places that abut the geographical line between wilderness and civilization.”

    Harvey soon hooked up with some of the biggest names in the Colorado film community. He called Oscar winner Daniel Junge for advice. “He told me, ‘Colorado production is two words: Mitch Dickman,’ ” Harvey said. Dickman, who founded Listen Productions, is the director of the prize-winning Colorado-centric documentaries Hanna Ranch and Rolling Papers, and he quickly signed on as a Walden producer. It turns out Dickman and his mother have been reading Walden together for two decades, go figure. “It was serious serendipity and synchronicity,” said Harvey.

    So was receiving more than $210,000 in incentives from Governor John Hickenlooper’s Colorado Economic Development Commission, as well as support from many of Denver’s toniest philanthropists. The result is a $1.5 million epic that was filmed in 48 Colorado locations, but primarily in Ridgway and the San Juan Mountains on a ranch made available to Harvey by Daniel Wolf and his wife, Maya Lin. Walden employed a crew of more than 40 and a cast of 32 that includes recognizable names from near and afar.

    Go to the Walden: A Life in the Woods official web site

    Headlining the effort is Mexican star Demián Bichir, best known for The Hateful Eight (also filmed in Colorado) and also a surprise 2012 Oscar nominee for A Better Life, about an East Los Angles gardener who struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents. Here he plays the maxed-out family man struggling through the morass of everyday bureaucracy trying to keep his household afloat.

    The dementia chapter focuses on a woman named Alice with early onset Alzheimer’s and played by the great Lynn Cohen, perhaps best known as Mags in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and as Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg’s Munich. The cast list is loaded with familiar names from the local theatre community as well, including longtime DCPA favorites Jamie Horton and Leslie O’Carroll, Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement winner Joey Wishnia, Chris Kendall, Karen Slack, Daniel Traylor, Jaime Lujan, Sarah Kirwin, Heather Nicolson and Anthony J. Garcia. There are also fun appearances by well-known Denver journalists Mike Littwin and Bill Husted, as well as local musicians including Macon Terry (formerly of the band Paper Bird) and jazz great Purnell Steen.

    A Jamie+Horton+HeadshotHorton, who was for years the DCPA Theatre Company’s longest-tenured actor until he was hired as a professor at Dartmouth College in 2006, was back for Saturday's first two of Walden’s four Denver Film Festival screenings.

    “It was a thrill to be a part of this film and to witness firsthand the talented director Alex has become,” said Horton, who plays a not-so-very sympathetic bank rep in Society. “It was a joy to work with so many familiar faces in the cast and crew.
    It was marvelous to work with Demián Bichir. And to be able to come back to Colorado to celebrate the film's opening — what I can tell you? Pretty damn great.” 

    The final creative piece of the puzzle was yet another Graland grad, renaissance woman Laura Goldhamer, who is beloved in local-music circles as a singer-songwriter, but many people might not know is also an expert charcoal, stop-action film animator. And that seemed to Harvey the perfect engine for telling the Alzheimer’s chapter.

    “I was sick of dementia stories being told from the outside in,” Harvey said. “It’s always about the patient’s family or caregiver. It’s never a subjective view of dementia from the inside. So we used the choppy, discontinuous style of stop-motion animation to try to create the kind of interrupted continuity of thought that Alice has going on in her mind. I tell you, Laura’s vision is unique, and no one knows about it. But she is an amazing asset to this state.”

    Harvey’s roots in the Colorado theatre community go back to the 1990s, when he performed in dozens of productions for Christopher Selby’s Compass Theatre in the new Denver Civic Theatre (now the Su Teatro Preforming Arts Center). He has since engaged himself in a variety of capacities ranging from Dixieland musician to film composer to teacher at New York University’s esteemed Tisch School of the Arts to, believe it or not, a stint as an artistic neuroscientist. If you’ve seen him on screen, you’ve most likely seen him playing his mandolin in a fortuitous series of nationally televised Geico ads, the windfall from which helped move Walden from the wine-talking stage to Harvey finally calling “action” in the Colorado mountains.

    The calendar helped spur things along in another way. "By 2016, we had been talking about this film for seven years, and it occurred to us that 2017 would be the 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth,” Harvey said. “We felt like we had to shoot it in 2016 and release it in 2017. It had become a piss-or-get-off-the-pot situation."

    They did not get off the pot.

    Our guide to all Colorado films in the Denver Film Festival

    What Harvey unveiled on Saturday at two sold-out Denver Film Festival screenings might surprise those who vaguely recall Walden, the book.Walden, the film, is not the romantic ode to simple living in natural surroundings that some mistakenly think the book they never read is probably about. Harvey's brief trilogy does not champion self-imposed isolationism as some sort of noble contemporary pursuit. Instead, he presents protagonists who are desperately fighting to hold on to some sort of fraying connection with other human beings.

    “I think Thoreau is really advocating the letting-go of something," Harvey said. "But in our movie, each chapter explores a different way in which people give something up. And sometimes, what one person is giving up is the opposite of what somebody is giving up in the next storyline. And we embrace the contradiction.”  

    Harvey thinks the film he's ultimately created “is a kind bacchanal.”  

    Hold on there. This quiet, deeply personal, rumination on disconnection can be equated to a crazed party with drunken revelry, ecstatic sexual experimentation and wild music?

    In four words, Harvey says: Well, sure. Why not?

    “If you try to read Walden, there are parts that are as complicated as reading Zen poetry from the 12th century,” he said. “Our film is a party. Some people have called it The Beasts of the Southern Wild for Colorado in that within this admittedly poetic piece is really a portrait of an entire community.

    "If you love Thoreau, you are going to have an amazing time thinking about the relationship between the movie and the book. And if you have never heard of Thoreau, we have made a movie that is also meant to be ingested fully independent of Thoreau.

    “But one thing is the same: We are speaking the truth to power, just as Thoreau  was trying to do."

    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.

    Walden: Life in the Woods: Remaining Denver Film Festival screenings
    Directed by Alex Harvey
    Length: 104 minutes

    • Monday, Nov. 6, 1:45 p.m., Sie FilmCenter TICKETS
    • Friday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m., Sie FilmCenter TICKETS

    Photo gallery: World premiere screening of Walden at Denver Film Festival:

    2017 Denver Film Festival
    Photos from the world premiere screening of 'Walden: Life in the Woods,' at the Denver Film Festival at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Nov. 4, 2017. To see, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow. Photos by James Dimagiba, Ann Vargas and Sean Marquantte, courtesy of Denver Film Festival.

    Walden: Life in the Woods: Cast list

    Guy: Erik Hellman
    Luke: Anthony LoVerde
    Ramirez: Demián Bichir
    Alice: Lynn Cohen
    Nurse Bubilo: Sofiya Akilova
    Gloria Ramirez: Gabriella Coleman
    Isabelle Ramirez: Noella Wong
    Melinda Ramirez: Amber Gray
    Lead Surveyor: Purnell Steen
    Surveyor: Dave Slack
    Jack: Mike Littwin
    Ben: Chris Kendall
    Larry: Joey Wishnia
    Chloe: Bonita Vaden
    Tony: Chris Sullivan
    Charlie: T.J. Miller
    Bank Teller: Karen Slack
    Edelberg: Jamie Horton
    Pharmacist: Effi Hugo
    Male Clerk: Daniel Traylor
    Shopper: Jaime Lujan
    NewsCaster: Bill Husted 
    All Health Representative: Sathya Sridharan
    Hank: Ron Cohen
    Hunched Shushing Woman:  Sarah Kirwin
    Patty: Leslie O’Carroll
    Buddy: Kareem Lucas
    One Mother: Heather Nicolson
    One Child: Birdie Hughes
    Bank Security Guard: Anthony J. Garcia 
    Les: Les Sunde
    Mr. Mustache: Macon Terry
    Laura: Laura Goldhamer

    Related NewsCenter coverage of the 2017 Denver Film Festival
    Here are the films that put the Denver in the 2017 Denver Film Festival
    Denver Film Festival: Spotlight on Liyana


  • Breakin' Convention workshop spreads message of hip-hop and hope

    by John Moore | Nov 03, 2017
    Breakin' Convention in Denver

    To see more photos, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter

    Breakin' Convention's French hip-hop stars work up a sweat with local breakers at Denver's Bboy Factory

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The aptly named French hip-hop star Salah stood before two dozen breathless breakdancers on Wednesday night practicing what he preaches: Joy. Taking just a one-minute break from an aerobic 90-minute workout worthy of a gleeful boot camp, Salah smiled widely through his sweat.

    The featured performer at this weekend's Breakin' Convention international festival of hip-hop dance theatre at the Buell Theatre told the assembled dancers of widely varying ages, genders and skin colors that, yes, technique and precision are just as important in hip-hop dancing as they are in Broadway or ballet. But hip-hop not only allows for a dancer's individuality to make itself known, he said — it demands it. 

    "You know what makes you a memorable dancer is having fun moments while you are also showing your abilities," he told the dancers who flocked to Denver's Bboy Factory dance studio in Globeville for a first hand-look at the longtime French star of Moroccan and Algerian descent whose last U.S. appearance was eight years ago. His name means "Muslim prayer," but not just any prayer — Salah refers to a physical, mental and spiritual act of worship. Not unlike his dancing.

    "I am an Arab man," said Salah, who won the fourth season of a hit TV show in France literally called Arabs Got Talent. He says letting his infectious joy for dance shine through has helped him to eradicate preconceived ideas some people might have about Muslims.

    (Story continues below the photo)

    Breakin Convention. Lisa Engelken. Photo by John Moore.

    That point hit home with workshop dancer Lisa Engelken, who has been studying Saleh's dancing for many years. "Now I get it," she said. "He's goofy. And he's really being himself when he dances. From now on, when I watch him dance, I'll know exactly why he dances like that."

    Salah. Breakin Convention. Photo by John Moore. Though Engelken proudly rocked her "Ladies of Hip-Hop" T-Shirt, she grew up taking classes at Denver's internationally renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, where she now teaches. And while relatively new to what she calls the world of street dance, she's part of two crews that will be featured this weekend at Breakin' Convention, the world's biggest annual festival of hip-hop dance theatre.

    She's appearing with Nasty Kidz at Saturday's 303 Jam — a full afternoon of free performances and activities in and around the Buell Theatre featuring live DJs, workshops and demonstrations. Then on Sunday, Engelken will take to the Buell Theatre mainstage with Malika — three women whose like-minded intention "is to bring good energy to the masses."

    Salah's workput was followed by another 90-minute aerobic whirlwind led by Bee D, co-founder of France's multidisciplinary dance group Yeah Yellow, another Breakin' Convention headliner along with Protocol (U.K.), Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) and Popin’ Pete (U.S). In all, five members of Yeah Yellow burned through Bee D's workout, right alongside Bboy Factory's breakers in training.

    Click here for more coverage of the Colorado theatre community

    Teaching dance combinations to the students made Wednesday's calorie-incinerating master classes look not all that different from a Broadway rehearsal, with two key differences: The fashion — and the individuality. "The thing I really like about hip-hop is you can create your own moves," Bee D told his dancers. "It's not like classic dance. In hip-hop, it's very important that you NOT look like the person next to you. You have to be you."

    Ian Flaws has hosted many of hip-hop's greatest icons since opening  Bboy Factory in 2012 with a stated mission of preserving traditional hip-hop culture. He said other forms of dance, from Broadway to ballet to modern, could stand to take a cue from hip-hop, which is much less constricted in its rules. "Hip-hop allows for so much range of movement and expression and exploration and creativity," said Flaws, whose clientele ranges from children to adults, from beginners to high-level artists,who come from as far away as Boulder and Aurora.

    He said Breakin' Convention is a unique opportunity for the larger metro population to get a taste of what hip-hop is all about — especially if for the first time.
    "It will be a great introduction to hip-hop," said Flaws. "And when I say hip-hop, that usually brings an automatic assumption that we are only talking about rap music. Hip-hop is really a big, vibrant culture that includes dance, art, food and music. And this weekend, all of that is going to be represented on one of Denver's biggest stages. Hip-hop is a culture that comes from the street, and I think Breakin' Convention will be a beautiful introduction to everything that is positive in hip-hop culture."

    Engelken first saw Breakin' Convention at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem, and she still can't quite believe Denver was chosen to be just the fifth North American city to host it. So she feels it is especially important for a wide swath of Denverites to come out and represent.

    "I hope people just come out and experience the true spirit of hip-hop, which is childlike play and just having fun," she said. "I think Breakin' Convention will be a good tool to demystify some stereotypes. I think people will be happily surprised. Just come and try it out."

    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.

    Breakin’ Convention 2017 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre

    Breakin' Convention: Ticket Information

    • Nov. 4-5
    • The Buell Theatre and surrounding areas
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    • Special student performance at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3
    • Breakin’ Convention officially kicks off with the free 303 Jam from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov 4 at The Buell Theatre. Enjoy free activities and performances including live DJs, workshops, free demonstrations and performances by DJ Cavem, The Reminders and more. Free fun for the whole family.

    Breakin' Convention: The international lineup

    • Yeah Yellow (France) - An explosive b-boy crew from France, YY brings agility, creativity and invention to the BC stage. Bodies create orifices to dive through, and reform physical shapes with muscular alchemy. Recently performed at BOTY16.
    • Protocol (U.K.) - Lanre Malouda directs as well as performs in this duet that explores racial dynamics. Popping and tutting techniques, as well as text and physical theatre is used to present ideas that reflect the tensions in our community today.
    • Salah (France) - A living legend in the world of hip-hop dance, Salah returns to the Breakin’ Convention stage after an eight year hiatus. This consummate performer is a master popper, locker, b-boy, clown and all around entertainer. Known for his amazing battle abilities, Salah will present his theatre piece The Sickness.
    • Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) - From the most notorious township on the African continent comes the Soweto Skeleton Movers. The audience highlight of Breakin’ Convention 2016 returns with a brand new show. Experts in a particular form of pantsula dance developed by Skeleton Mover pioneer Jabulani, the crew use comedic contortionism, frenetic footwork, and magical hat tricks. 
    • Popin’ Pete (U.S.) - Also known as Timothy Earl Solomon, Popin' Pete is an American dancer, choreographer, innovator, one of the originators of the "popping" dance style and member of the Electric Boogaloos. His career has spanned 30 years developing funk culture as a whole.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Breakin' Convention:

    • Breakin' Convention to bring largest festival of hip-hop dance theatre to Denver
    • Breakin' Convention promises to bring authenticity, local artists to DCPA
    • Video: Our talk with the one and only Jonzi D of Breakin' Convention
    • Denver's DJ CaveM: Saving lives one healthy beat, and bite, at a time
    • Video: Denver Arts Week is off to a hip-hop start
  • Video: Denver Arts Week is off to a hip-hop start

    by John Moore | Nov 02, 2017

    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

    The annual nine-day celebration of Denver’s creative community begins with the mayor getting hip-hop happy

    French hip-hop dancer Salah, who is in town for Breakin' Convention this weekend at the Buell Theatre, appeared with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden today to launch the city's 11th annual Denver Arts Week, which will celebrate the Mile High City’s vibrant arts scene this year from Nov. 3-11.

    Breakin Convention Salah Photo by Btrent AndeckSalah (pictured at right), who is considered a living legend in the world of hip-hop dance, taught the dignitaries a few dance moves as part of the fun. Salah is a master popper, locker, b-boy, clown and all-around entertainer who is returning to the Breakin’ Convention stage after an eight-year hiatus.

    Breakin' Convention is the world’s largest festival of hip-hop dance theatre, and Denver is only the fifth North American city to host it. Salah will perform at the Buell Theatre along with international acts Yeah Yellow (France), Protocol (U.K.), Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) and Popin’ Pete (U.S.), as well as a number of Denver hip-hop crews.

    Click here for more coverage of the Colorado theatre community

    For more than a decade, Denver Arts Week has been a nine-day citywide celebration of  Denver’s creative community. It consists of hundreds of events that involve thousands of people each year. Signature events this year will include the 40th annual Denver Film Festival; Breakin' Convention; Know Your Arts First Friday; free nights at area museums, and more than 400 events at galleries, museums and arts districts throughout the city. Denver Arts Week is presented by Visit Denver and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Breakin’ Convention officially kicks off with the free "303 Jam" from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4 at The Buell Theatre. Enjoy free activities and performances including live DJs, workshops, free demonstrations and performances by DJ CaveM, The Reminders and more.

    Photo gallery: Denver Arts Week launches

    Denver Arts Week 2017

    To see more photos, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. All photos © Brent Andeck Photography, LLC.

    Breakin’ Convention 2017 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre

    Breakin' Convention: Ticket Information

    • Nov. 4-5
    • The Buell Theatre and surrounding areas
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    • Special student performance at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Breakin' Convention:

    Breakin' Convention to bring largest festival of hip-hop dance theatre to Denver
    Breakin' Convention
    promises to bring authenticity, local artists to DCPA
    Video: Our talk with the one and only Jonzi D of Breakin' Convention
    Denver's DJ CaveM: Saving lives one healthy beat, and bite, at a time


  • Here are the films that put the Denver in the 2017 Denver Film Festival

    by John Moore | Nov 02, 2017

    The trailer for Andrew Novick's now full-length film, JonBenét's Tricycle.

    The films that put the Denver in the Denver Film Fest span the globe from Boulder to Swaziland to Trinidad and Tobago

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The 40th Denver Film Festival opened Wednesday with a star-studded lineup of major films on the schedule, including Peter Fonda and Bill Pullman in The Ballad of Lefty Brown; Frances McDormand in bad-boy Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Stanley Tucci and Kyra Sedgwick in Submission, and Tony winner Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird.

    But there are also many films with local ties generating buzz at this year’s fest. Andrew Novick, the cereal-infused brains behind the city’s hipster Denver County Fair, will present an expanded version of his off-beat documentary JonBenét's Tricycle, which was shown as a 20-minute short at last year's fest and is now a full-length film.

    DFF MollyAnd Colorado films are not without their own star power. Perhaps the biggest-buzz film of the entire festival is Molly's Game, featuring Oscar winner Jessica Chastain (The Help) as Colorado skier Molly Bloom, who is also said to have run the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested. She is the sister of University of Colorado football star Jeremy Bloom, the only athlete in history to ever ski in the Winter Olympics and also be drafted into the National Football League. The film marks Aaron Sorkin's film directorial debut.

    Walden: A Life in the Woods, filmed entirely in Colorado, is a series of three related stories inspired by Thoreau and featuring 2012 Oscar nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Denver East graduate T.J. Miller (Deadpool, Cloverfield), former longtime DCPA actor Jamie Horton and more. The director is Alex Harvey, and one of the producers is Mitch Dickman (Hanna Ranch, Rolling Papers) of Listen Productions.

    The featured short Mrs. Drake is nominated for the Denver Film Festival's True Grit Award. Actors Rachel Fowler and Gabra Zackman cornered playwright Kyle Warren at Local Theatre Company's annual Local Lab Festival in 2015 and told him they really wanted to do a short film together, and Warren (who, ironically, is also the author of his own play called Thoreau, and Other Assholes), offered to write it for them. Mrs. Drake is about a mom struggling to raise a difficult son. The film has been making the rounds on the festival circuit and has won several awards. "We are working on a couple of feature scripts now, and hope to get more movies made in Colorado that focus on getting more women at the helm," said Fowler, known at the DCPA for All My Sons and at Curious Theatre for Rabbit Hole

    There is also one fun bit of theatre-themed programming. Shakespearean Star Wars will be a live performance of the original film as The Bard himself might have imagined it. Performs at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Nov. 11, at the McNichols Building in Denver Civic Center Park. It's 60 minutes, and free. The cast includes Denver Film Society Education Director Neil Truglio and Denver Center master's graduate Dan O'Neill, with Andrew Ray, Parker Jenkins, Derek Nason, Daevon Robinson and Coleman Sisk.

    Here is a complete list of homegrown feature-length films and shorts being shown at the Denver Film Festival, which runs through Nov. 12 at the Sie FilmCenter, Ellie Caulkins Opera House and United Artists' Denver Pavilions. 


    DFF AmyAmy & Sophia
    Directed by Denver resident Adam Lipsius
    89 minutes
    An unlikely friendship forms when two troubled girls haunted by their pasts forge a shared future by using art as an escape from the present in this magical-realist drama filmed in Cardiff and London. Cast: Julian Glover, Isla Blair, Denise van Outen, Joseph Millson, Ali Rodney and Emma Raine Walker
    • Friday, Nov. 10, 6:15 p.m., UA Pavilions
    • Sunday,  Nov. 12, 3:30 p.m., UA Pavilions

    DFF GnawGnaw
    Directed by Colorado filmmaker Haylar Garcia
    88 minutes
    Fleeing her past, small-town girl Jennifer is starting over in the big city. But becoming whole again is hard to do when something is eating at you while you sleep — literally. This horror flick delves with equal gusto into paranormal and psychological phenomena.
    • Monday, Nov. 6, 9:30 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Wednesday, Nov. 8, 9 p.m., Sie FilmCenter

    Home Truth

    DFF Home TruthDirected by April Hayes and Katia Maguire
    72 minutes
    In 1999, Jessica Gonzales' three young daughters were killed after being abducted by their father. Determined to make sure their deaths were not in vain, the Castle Rock mother sought justice and became an advocate for domestic-violence victims in the process. This is her story.

    • Saturday, Nov. 4, 1:45 p.m., UA Pavilions
    • Sunday, Nov. 5, 4:30 p.m., UA Pavilions
    • Wednesday, Nov. 11, 4 p.m., UA Pavilions

    A DFF HondrosHondros
    Directed by Fort Collins journalist Greg Campbell
    93 minutes
    War photographer Chris Hondros spent a decade documenting conflict around the globe — until he was killed while on assignment in 2011. Directed by his friend and colleague Greg Campbell, this eloquent documentary pays tribute to the late photojournalist's courage and compassion. The editor is Denver's Davis Coombe.

    • Friday, Nov. 10, 4:15 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 11:30 a.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 4:30 p.m., Sie FilmCenter

    DFF JonBenetJonBenét's Tricycle

    Directed by Andrew Novick
    88 minutes
    Obsessive collector and Mile High City cultural icon Andrew Novick (Denver County Fair) forges deep emotional connections to the objects he acquires, many of which represent the darker side of humanity. He was living in Boulder 20 years ago when JonBenet Ramsey's tricycle fell into his hands after her notorious murder took place. Recently compelled to tackle the unsolved mystery in his own way, Novick took the tricycle on a journey into the realm of psychic phenomena — or did it take him? This quirky autobiographical documentary is also an investigation into the impact pop culture and the media have on our experience of tragedy. The original soundtrack was created by Denver's Adam Stone, best known for creating some seriously freaky stage stuff for a company called Screw Tooth, as well his one-man performance-art band The Indestructible North. The producer is Theresa Mercado.
    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 4 p.m., UA Pavilions (post-screening discussion)
    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 2 p.m., UA Pavilions (post-screening discussion)

    A DFF LiyanaLiyana
    Directed by Amanda and Aaron Koop
    77 minutes
    Meet Liyana, a brave girl who embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers — and who happens to be the invention of five orphaned children in Swaziland. Drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams, the narrative these kids create in a storytelling workshop is an account as much of their own perseverance as of their heroine's journey. By the same token, Liyana alternates between an animated version of Liyana's tale and footage of the young artists coming to terms with their traumatic pasts as they embrace daily life in the orphanage. This enchanting documentary comes from Colorado filmmakers Aaron and Amanda Kopp and is produced by yet another local, Oscar winner Daniel Junge (Saving Face). The executive producer is TV and film star Thandie Newton. READ OUR FULL STORY ON LIYANA

    • Friday, Nov. 10, 6 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Saturday, Nov. 11, 4 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 11 a.m., Sie FilmCenter  

    Molly's Game

    Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin
    140 minutes
    This drama is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, a Colorado-bred Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents. Jessica Chastain stars as Bloom, whose dreams of an athletic career were cut short by a back injury. So she took another route to glory, albeit clandestine, as a gambling impresario, catering to Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, members of the Russian mob. When glory turned to ignominy, she found an ally in criminal-defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey — played by Idris Elba. Supporting players Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd and others are supporting players in Sorkin’s debut as a feature director.

    • Thursday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m., Ellie Caulkins Opera House

    (Note: Tickets are $40. This screening is a benefit for Wish of a Lifetime)

    Moving Parts

    DFF Moving PartsWritten and directed by Boulder native Emilie Upczak
    77 minutes
    In this unique personal drama of human trafficking, Zhenzhen follows her brother to Trinidad and Tobago with the help of a smuggler. When her new restaurant job proves dangerous, a local art-gallery owner helps her fight to secure her future.

    • Friday, Nov. 3, 6:45 p.m., UA Pavilions
    • Sunday, Nov. 5, 4:15 p.m., UA Pavilions

    DFF BrakhageUnder Childhood: The Films of Stan Brakhage and Jane Wodening
    120 minutes
    Writer Jane Wodening's 30-year marriage to, and creative collaboration with, the late filmmaker Stan Brakhage produced some of the most beautiful and poetic “home movies” ever made. Wodening will present three of these films and discuss her recent book, Brakhage’s Childhood.

    • Sunday, Nov. 12, 2 p.m., Sie FilmCenter (post-screening discussion with Brock DeShane)

    Walden: Life in the Woods

    DFF WaldenDirected by Alex Harvey
    104 minutes
    Shot on location in Colorado, this radical Western re-imagining of Thoreau’s eponymous classic interlaces three narratives that take place over 24 hours to consider the trappings of modern life and the unlikely heroes who dream of escape. Cast: Demian Bichir, Lynn Cohen, Anthony LoVerde, Erik Hellman, Chris Sullivan, TJ Miller and Jamie Horton

    • Saturday, Nov. 4, 6:15 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Saturday, Nov. 4, 6:45 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Monday, Nov. 6, 1:45 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Friday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m., Sie FilmCenter


    The following films all screen together at these times:

    • Sunday, Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m., UA Pavilions
    • Tuesday, Nov. 7, 7:15 p.m., UA Pavilions
    • Wednesday, Nov. 8, 9:30 p.m., UA Pavilions

    Chocolate Spokes
    Directed by Brendan Leonard
    5 minutes
    Gregory Crichlow left his architecture job in 2011 to start a bicycle shop in Five Points, a traditionally African-American and Latino neighborhood in Denver. Servicing residents’ bikes keeps the doors open, but hand-building steel frames is what inspires him.


    Directed by Travis Lindner and Justin Tyrrell
    12 minutes
    Before opening his new restaurant, a desperate chef seeks constructive feedback from his friends. Cast: Nathan Lund, Timmi Lasley, Natalie Kilkenny, Nate Gust and Evan Sheppard

    The Day Before
    Directed by Geoff Marslett
    14 minutes
    In this outlandish romantic tragicomedy, the losses are literal when a pre-wedding hunting trip in the Colorado mountains spins out of control. Now the happy couple must struggle to make everything right again. Cast: Jennifer Prediger, Frank Mosley, Kira Pearson, Paul Gordon, Jesse Wardak, Geoff Marslett

    Fed to Fire
    Directed by Joseph Dasteel
    5 minutes
    This visually stimulating profile of Colorado sculptor Jordan Wilbanks explores his relationship to the medium and material of metal sculpture.

    Final Four
    Directed by Dario Ortega
    20 minutes
    An assassin with a near-perfect NCAA basketball-playoffs bracket deals with the burdens of her job and the distractions of being a sports fanatic. Cast: Maya Ortega, Nick Holland, Shayn Herndon, James Benton and Geoff Marslett.

    Mrs. Drake
    Directed by Caitlin FitzGerald
    15 minutes
    Laura is a single mother struggling to maintain her own equilibrium while raising her frequently difficult son Jack. When Jack comes home from school one day with a story of his teacher, Mrs. Drake, locking him in a closet, Laura is thrown into a spiral of confusion and guilt. Cast: Rachel Fowler and Gabra Zackman.

    Oh, Ophelia
    Directed by Dakota Nanton
    4 minutes
    In his dreams, Hamlet is visited by the ghosts of the dead in this beautiful piece of hand-painted and digital animation.

    The Outsider
    Directed by Scott Takeda
    18 minutes
    As the black sheep in her own family, a young woman hopes meeting her boyfriend’s family will fill her need to belong. Then she learns about his 100-plus relatives and their confusing cultural traditions. Cast: Kate Cook, Scott Takeda, Mike Ostroski, Kristen Rakes, Tomiko Takeda, Catherine McGuire, Yoshimi Watada, Alley Watada, Alan Shackelford, Bill Watada, Kathy Watada, Sherry Watada and Justin Watada.

    The Romantic Method

    Directed by Maggie Hart
    5 nibutes
    After a breakup, a young woman decides to take the emotional stress out of dating and find her soulmate using nothing but science, logic and The Romantic Method. Cast: Lauren Yormack, Anthony Cubba and Ryan Gunnarson.

    Kaleb Kohart
    6 minutes
    Forced into a situation beyond his control, Truman must let go of his convictions and open his eyes to the truth. Cast: Jason Knauf, Kellie Fox, Steve Agyei and Meredith Winfield.


    Diving Monkeys
    Directed by Elizabeth Henry
    4 minutes
    Decaying 16mm footage of monkeys in a zoo provides a poetic meditation on our relationship to caged animals — at once voyeuristic and compassionate.
    Playing with ... The Last Animals:
    • Friday, Nov. 3, 6:45 p.m., UA Pavilions
    • Saturday, Nov. 4, 11:30 a.m., UA Pavilions
    • Monday, Nov. 6, 4:30 p.m., UA Pavilions
    Dreamspook - Fear in Love
    Directed by Joseph Kolean
    4 minutes
    Two women carry out a bizarre relationship in a suburban setting. Cast: Steph Holmbo and McKenna Skroggs.
    Playing with ... Music Video Mixtape
    • Thursday, Nov. 9, 6:45 p.m., Sie FilmCenter
    • Friday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m., UA Pavilions

    Check out our Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • November promises to be a 'Disaster' on at least one area stage

    by John Moore | Nov 01, 2017

    From left: Peter Henry Bussian, Adeline Mann and Erik Fellenstein in Local Theater Company's 'The Rape of the Sabine Women,' playing through Nov. 19 in Boulder. Photo by George Lange.

    Curious goes to war over a photograph, monthly cabaret at the Aurora Fox, and The Edge makes a final Resolution

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

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Five intriguing titles for November:

    NUMBER 1November Disaster Disaster! The Musical! This silly new Broadway musical farce has adventurous fun at the expense of disaster films such as Earthquake, Jaws and The Poseidon Adventure. It's 1979, and New York's A-listers are lining up for the opening of a floating casino and discotheque. B-listers include a fading disco star, a nightclub singer with 11-year-old twins, a pair of wild and crazy guys and a nun with a gambling addiction.The score includes familiar pop tunes of the era including "Knock on Wood," "Hooked on a Feeling" and "I Am Woman." Written by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick. The evening grows more giddily ridiculous with every scene. Presented Nov. 10-Dec. 2 by Equinox Theatre Company at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    NUMBER 2Body of an American. Dan O'Brien's provocative new play, presented by Curious Theatre Company, speaks to a moment in recent history when the single, stark photograph of the body of an American being dragged from the wreck of a Blackhawk through the streets of Mogadishu reshaped the course of global events. O’Brien explores the ethical and personal consequences of this lone image and how it shines a light on deeply personal issues that are relevant to our time and culture. Nov. 4-Dec. 9: at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    NUMBER 3Flowers in the Desert. And Toto Too, the only Colorado company dedicated exclusively to presenting new works by female playwrights, next presents Donna Hoke's story of a married couple who call it quits after 14 years. Cheater Joe is surprised when, three years later, Britt asks him to try again. But he goes along — until he realizes his ex-wife has a very specific agenda. Starring Libby Arnold and Michael Kennedy. Produced in partnership with the Denver Center at  The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org.

    NUMBER 4Denver DollsAurora Fox monthly cabaret series. The Aurora Fox's continuing series of monthly cabaret offerings in its smaller studio theatre continues with The Denver Dolls presenting their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls are led by frequent DCPA performer Heather Lacy. Nov. 17-18 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    NUMBER 5Resolutions. It's the end of an era for The Edge Theatre Company, which is going into a period of hibernation after the presentation of this world-premiere holiday play by Denver playwright Josh Hartwell, described as  "unique, hilarious, edgy, and terrifying." For the past eight years, three middle-aged couples have gathered, post-Christmas, at a plush, cozy Vail cabin. They exchange white-elephant gifts, make resolutions for the upcoming year and. of course, down a few cocktails.  But this year, something has changed.  Relationships have evolved, and an unexpected guest is an all-too familiar face. Resolutions plays Dec. 1-31 at 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com. Benchmark Theatre will continue to present programming in The Edge's boutique theatre starting in 2018.

    Breakin Convention


    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Cline and WynetteNov. 2-18: And Toto Too 's Flowers in the Desert
    At The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org

    Nov. 3-Dec. 17: Vintage Theatre Productions' Honeymoon In Vegas
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 3-18: Cline and Wynette: One More For the Road featuring Chris Whyde and Darren Bell
    At Gladys: The Nosy Neighbor, 500 Santa Fe Drive, 303-893-6112 (tickets available at the door only)

    Nov 4-5: DCPA Broadway’s Breakin’ Convention 2017
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 4-Dec. 9: Curious Theatre's Body of an American (see video above)
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org 

    Nov. 9-Dec. 10: Cherry Creek Theatre's Beau Jest
    At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    November DCPA. RentNov. 9-19: Lone Tree Arts Center's Love Letters starring Candy Brown and Mark Rubald
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, lone tree’s home page

    Nov. 9-26: Millibo Art Theatre's The Accidental Death of an Anarchist
    1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org

    Nov. 10-Dec. 2: Equinox Theatre Company's Disaster!
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Nov. 10-19: Longmont Theatre Comany's Becky’s New Car
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    Nov. 10-Dec. 30: Town Hall Arts Center's Seussical
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.com

    Nov. 11, 2017-April 22, 2018: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Nov. 14-19: National touring production of Rent 20th Anniversary Tour
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 14-19: Fivers Inc.'s Dinner at Five
    PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

    Candlelight Beauty Best Nov. 16-Feb. 14: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Beauty and the Beast
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Nov. 17-Dec. 23: Arvada Center's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Nov. 17-Dec. 31: Midtown Arts Center's A Christmas Story
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Nov. 18-Dec.17: Bas Bleu Theatre's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Nov. 18-Feb. 24: BDT Stage's Annie
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and DCPA Off-Center's The SantaLand Diaries
    Jones Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: DCPA Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie (see video above)
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org READ MORE

    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The Avenue Theater's Santa’s Big Red Sack
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 24-Dec. 17: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Murder for Two
    Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Nov. 24-Dec. 30: Thin Air Theatre Company's Angel of the Christmas Mine
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23: Miners Alley Playhouse's The Story of the Nutcracker (children’s)
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Nov. 25, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018: Vintage Theatre Productions' Red
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 2017: Firehouse Theater Company’s The Miracle Worker
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com 

    Nov. 28-Dec. 3: National touring production of Chicago
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Nov. 30-Dec. 23: TheatreWorks' The SantaLand Diaries
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Dec. 1-31: Edge Theatre Company's Resolutions
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Dec. 1-9: StageDoor Theatre's Cinderella
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Dec. 1-30: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Scrooge, Bah Humbug!
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com


    Through Nov. 4: Coal Creek Theatre's Shining City
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Through Nov. 4: Phamaly Theatre Company's Vox Phamilia
    At Community College of Aurora, Fine Arts Building, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, 303-340-7529 or brownpapertickets.com

    Through Nov. 4: Iron Springs Chateau's Rocky Horror Picture Show
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

    Through Nov. 5: The Edge Theater Company's A Delicate Balance (see video above)
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 5: TheatreWorks' Wild Honey
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through Nov. 5: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's The Music Man
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through Nov. 10: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's The Vagrant 2011 REVIEW
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com

    John Hauser. SpotlightThrough Nov. 11: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages (see video above)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 11: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre and Theatre Or's Buyer & Cellar

    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Through Nov. 11: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's Medea
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com


    Through Nov. 11: Midtown Arts Center's Once
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com READ MORE

    Through Nov. 12: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Birds of North America
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 12: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Bunnicula  (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Explorers ClubThrough Nov. 12: Evergreen Players' The Explorers Club
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    Through Nov. 18: Arvada Center's The Foreigner (black-box theatre)
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Nov 18: DCPA Educaton and Theatre Company's The Snowy Day (children's) Conservatory Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 18: Buntport Theater's Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Through Nov. 18: Theater Company of Lafayette’s Return to the Twilight Zone, a Parody
    At the Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

    Through Nov. 19: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 19: DCPA Theatre Company's Smart People
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through Nov. 25: OpenStage's Monty Python's Spamalot
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Through Nov. 26: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Legally Blonde, The Musical
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Through Dec. 17: Anansi: The Itsy BiTSY Spider Stories
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Through Dec. 29: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad (children’s) 
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Dec. 31: Avenue Theater's Comedy Sportz (late nights through December)
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com READ MORE

    Through May 2018: Buntport Theater's Siren Song (ongoing children's series, second Saturdays of every month)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Edgar Allan Poe. Buntport
    Photo courtesy Buntport Theater.




    • Nov. 17-18: The Denver Dolls’ USO/Andrews Sisters tribute

    Studio Theatre, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org


    • Nov. 24 and 25: Wine and Song: A Broadway Cabaret

    Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    • Wednesday, Nov. 15: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
    • Tuesday, Nov. 21: The Great Debate (monthly)
    • Nov 17: O, Beautiful, with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra
    At the Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St., 303-800-6578 or cherry creek theatre’s home page

    • Nov. 3: An Evening with Tom Papa
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    • Sunday, Nov. 19: Screening of the film Gone With the Wind, with live pre-screening entertainment from Anna Maria High, star of the Aurora Fox's upcoming  upcoming stage production of the stage musical Hi-Hat Hattie. Entertainment 5:30 p.m.; film at 6.
    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake. drafthouse.com


    • Nov. 10-11: Cabaret Series: Broadway Now and Then
      Featuring Kelly Renoux, Belen Moyano, Andrew Tebo and Jeffery Hyman. Musical Director: Drew Nichols
    Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org
    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org 

    • Saturday, Nov. 11: On the Couch (1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
    Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month, Betty Hart reads from The Whole Truth, by Stephen McCauley; Jim Hunt reads from Steve Almond's Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched; Emily Paton Davies reads from Amy Bloom's Psychoanalysis.
  • Video: Take a deeper visual dive into Off-Center's 'The Wild Party'

    by John Moore | Nov 01, 2017


    We didn't want to give away too much of the visual surprise while the show was going on, but now that The Wild Party has ended, here's a closer video look at Off-Center's deep dive into immersive theatre at Stanley Marketplace.

    Much like last year's Sweet & Lucky, The Wild Party transported audience members to a different era as guests at a decadent, 360-degree party set in the Roaring Twenties. There they mingled with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Amid all that, a scripted musical played out in which the debauchery turned disastrous as the alcohol set in, the evening wore on and the drama bubbled to the surface.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    This unusual, jazz- and gin-soaked gathering afforded a completely new kind of experience for visitors to the former airplane hangar Stanley Marketplace, which was completely transformed by the Denver Center's creative teams.

    The Wild Party was directed by Amanda Berg Wilson. The all-local ensemble included Brett Ambler, Leonard Barrett Jr., Allison Caw, Laurence Curry, Diana Dresser, Katie Drinkard, Trent Hines, Drew Horwitz, Wayne Kennedy, Sheryl McCallum, Jenna Moll Reyes, Marco Robinson, Emily Van Fleet, Aaron Vega and Erin Willis. To explore more about the show, go wildpartydenver.com.

    Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Wild Party:
    Meet the cast: Katie Drinkard

    First look at photos from The Wild Party
    2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Meet Emily Van Fleet
    Cast list: Look who's been invited to The Wild Party
    Off-Center throwing a Wild Party at Stanley Marketplace this fall
    The Wild Party: Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons announced


    Making of 'The Wild Party'

    (New photos added!) Photos from the making of Off-Center's 'The Wild Party,' from the Opening Night party back to the first day of rehearsal. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The Wild Party
    The official production photos for 'The Wild Party.' To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by Adams VisCom.

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.