• 'Smart People' opens rehearsals in full swing

    by John Moore | Sep 21, 2017
    Making of 'Smart People'

    Photos from the first day of rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Smart People,' which features Tatiana Williams, Timothy McCracken, Jason Veasey and Esther Chen. 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.

    Sharp comedy takes on the ways in which racism pervades American culture just as the national pendulum swings.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Smart People is a thought-provoking new comedy about all the ways in which racism pervades American culture. And it took playwright Lydia R. Diamond eight years to finish it.

    Imagine taking on that incendiary subject just as Barack Obama was about to assume the presidency, and completing it the same year he would cede it to Donald Trump.

    "She started the play at one time in our collective zeitgeist, and she finished it at a completely different time in our collective zeitgeist,” DCPA Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett said Tuesday at the opening rehearsal for Smart People, which marks her Denver directorial debut. 

    Smart PeopleThe collective national pendulum, as gravity seemingly demands, had fully swung. And Garrett believes the only way today’s highly polarized Americans are ever going to find common ground and genuine connection again is if they slow down and stop talking long enough to meet somewhere in the middle.

    "What's so awesome about something swinging wildly back and forth is the part that's in the middle," said Garrett. "Not the extremes where we all seemingly live now, but the space where we do come together and we are able to find intersection.”

    And that’s what Diamond butts up against in her critically acclaimed, four-person comedy that has its first performance Oct. 13 in the Ricketson Theatre.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Diamond’s story, set on the eve of Obama’s historic 2008 presidential election, centers on four "smart people" with Harvard connections: A surgeon, an actress, a psychologist and a neuro-psychiatrist who is studying how the brain responds to race. As their relationships evolve, the four discover that their motivations and interpretations are not as pure as their wealth of knowledge would have them believe.

    Diamond was inspired to write Smart People by a news report about an actual neuroscientist who was studying the potential link between bias and brain chemistry. He hypothesized that a person's chemical composition can cause him to be biased, prejudiced or racist.

    "For me, the play is kind of like going back to the scene of the crime: Going back to the beginning of something to try to figure out where we are now," said Garrett.

    “This play intersects with these four highly intellectual people who keep smacking up against each other like two rocks trying to make a spark. They are trying figure out, 'Well why don't you believe what I believe? Because if I believe that something is really important and true, then you should also have that belief.’

    “That's what sparks the comedy: You have these four sexy, crazy people who are almost too smart for their own good all colliding around these ideas. But if they could just stop talking and give in to each other's ideas, they might actually be able to hear something.

    “I think ultimately, Smart People is a call for people to listen."

    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.  

    Smart People: Ticket information
    SmartPeople_show_thumbnail_160x160Lydia R. Diamond. This acclaimed new play is a biting comedy that follows a quartet of Harvard intellectuals struggling to understand why the lives of so many people – including their own – continue to be undermined by race. No matter how hard they research, question and confront the issue, their own problems with self-awareness make it difficult to face the facts of life.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Oct. 13, through Nov. 19
    • Ricketson 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 Smart People:
    Cast announced for Smart People: Fresh and familiar
  • Meet Zak Reynolds of 'The Snowy Day': 'A fan of being happy'

    by John Moore | Sep 21, 2017
    Zak Reynolds, Rachel Kae Taylor and Robert Lee Hardy. Snowy Day.

    The cast of 'The Snowy Day Other Stories,' from left: Zak Reynolds, Rachel Kae Taylor and Robert Lee Hardy. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    MEET ZAK REYNOLDS
    Zak Reynolds is one of three ensemble members in DCPA Education's The Snowy Day and Other Stories, by Ezra Jack Keats, playing through Nov. 18 in the Conservatory Theatre, located in the Newman Center for Theatre Education. 

    At the Denver Center: Debut. National tours: A Year with Frog and Toad. Regional: World premiere of Bella: An American Tall Tale (Dallas Theater Center); Spamalot, Les Miserables, Schoolhouse Rock Live! (Casa Mañana), Go Dog, Go!, Skippy Jon Jones, A Wrinkle in Time (Dallas Children's Theater), Dogfight (WaterTower Theater), The Liar, Less Than Kind (Theatre 3). Named Best Actor 2014 by D Magazine.

    • Zak Reynolds. Snowy DayHometown: Fort Worth, Texas
    • Training: Circle in the Square Theatre School, New York
    • Twitter-sized bio: I am always psyched to be consistently moving and working on something new or innovative. Challenging myself keeps me on my toes. I’m a fan of forming new relationships. I love being happy, and I feel that I can be a role model for young actors looking to find their own light, whether in theater or any other lifestyle.
    • What was the role that changed your life? When I did Dogfight at the WaterTower Theater, it was a difficult time for me. I had just joined the union at the beginning of that year, and began to lose my hair due to Alopecia right before the production went into rehearsals. That role challenged me to stay patient with my aspirations because no matter what I looked like on stage, hair or no hair, I knew I still could be successful, even with mental barricades in the way. It took a while to be comfortable, but looking back on that time it is something that I will never forget, and I am now grateful for.
    • Why are you an actor? Acting is a way to be free for a few hours a day. It takes me out of whatever I may be facing in real life and lets me portray another set of challenges in someone else’s shoes. It’s so rewarding to expose theater to children. I grew up around a theatrical family. It is in my blood to make sure future generations are just as inspired by theatre as I was.
    • What do you be doing if you were not an actor? I’m always up for the service industry. As crazy as this might sound, I love the high-end restaurant world. Or I would be a nurse. A nurse would be neat.
    • Ideal scene partner? Alan Langdon. When I went to school at Circle in the Square, he was always the teacher I never understood completely but I feel like I didn’t free myself enough to the work as much as I wanted to at 18 years old. He questioned every single moment of my scene work, no matter the text. He was definitely a mentor who challenged all of my senses, and I thrived.
    • Why does The Snowy Day matter? Because even though a kid might be timid or a little less animated than others it’s totally OK to be that way - and also have tons of fun. Peter is a kid who wants to go on adventures and play all of the time, but he still has a quiet, thoughtful side to him. We can all connect with learning how to whistle or finding out who our first crush is. No matter how hard a journey may be, this is a story that shows everything ends up just fine.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of this play? I want them to feel chills leaving the theater, having seen something they might never have seen before. I hope they all feel connected by the notion of learning to whistle or dealing with mom making you put on your PJs. As long as they connect in some way, then we actors have done a great job.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      " ... for people to chill out, look on the bright side of life, and know that someone is always there for you when hard times arise."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Snowy Day and Other Stories

    First rehearsal photos: Forecast calls for a Snowy Day at DCPA
    DCPA Education to launch Theatre for Young Audiences

    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 9:30 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
  • Wonderbound 101: Where no one dances alone

    by John Moore | Sep 20, 2017

    Welcome back to the DCPA NewsCenter's continuing series called 'Get Arts Smart,' a fun introduction to a variety of cultural forms through the eyes of experts from local organizations. First up was Opera 101, with Central City Opera. Today: Wonderbound 101, which on Sept. 26 presents a preview of Garrett Ammon’s space-faring adventure, 'Celestial Navigation!' featuring live music by Ian Cooke Band. The full production will be presented Oct. 13-27.

    WONDERBOUND!

    'We must dream, we must work, we must be rigorous.
    Only then might we glimpse the true possibility that resides within us.’

    Evan Flood 800

    Look who's talking:
    Today's instructor is Wonderbound featured dancer Evan Flood, originally from Vineland, N.J. He has worked with LustigDanceTheatre in New Brunswick, N.J.. as well as Oakland Ballet Company, Molissa Fenley and Company and Zella Dance.


    So, what's your deal, Wonderbound? We are an American dance company that mingles very human dance with a live music element. One of our productions feels a little like a concert mixed with a musical mixed with raw emotion that will set your soul ablaze. Every Wonderbound performance features live music and collaborations with artists across Colorado. We have worked with illusionists, poets, actors, painters and more. We believe dance is for everyone and we believe in an open creation process. We invite anyone to join us for our free rehearsals - anytime.

    Read our Opera 101 primer from Central City

    Our productions offer something for everyone. Do you like magic? We have collaborated with illusionist Professor Phelyx in our circus themed A Gothic Folktale. If you’re a fan of spoken word, perhaps Gone West would interest you – it featured the beautiful poetry of Michael J. Henry from Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Would being immersed in a fairytale inspire you? Winter, which took place in our studio space in the heart of Denver, featured 3D projections by artist Kristopher Collins, scents by Michelle Roark of Phia Labs and food from restaurants around Denver. For those with varying musical tastes, we have also worked with bands across genres. Some examples include, Flobots (an alternative hip-hop band), Chimney Choir (gypsy folk-rock with an indie twist), Ian Cooke (pop + classical = popsical), Hal Aqua and the Lost Tribe (Klezmer) and the Colorado Symphony (classical).

     

    Video above: Wonderbound collaborated with Curious Theatre Company on an original live play with dance called 'Dust' in 2016.



    Origin of the species
    : Dance has always been there. As night fell around the cooking fires after a long day of hunting woolly mammoths and gathering herbs, we would let the magic of the stars above direct us in primal movements that bonded us as a community. As time went on, the art form evolved, gaining structure and pushing dancers into new feats of athleticism. Contemporary ballet as we know it is a mixture of classical ballet and modern dance. Originally danced only by men, classical ballet (something that every Wonderbound dancer has training in) really began to gain momentum with King Louis XIV of France who created, and starred in, several ballets, and formed one of the very first schools of dance. Contemporary ballet began to emerge on the scene when George Balanchine, the Father of American ballet, decided to start shaking things up and moving out of the neat boxes that classical ballet had put itself into. Today, Wonderbound ballets are visceral and powerful, focusing less on exact technique (although that is there) and more on raw emotions and fantastical storytelling. 


    Merce CunninghamYour greatest dead rock star: Merce Cunningham was a very talented American choreographer who died in 2009 at age 90. He was known for unique collaborations – something that really resonates with Wonderbound. Merce was one of the first to create ballets with with visual artists, architects, designers and musicians. His most famous collaborations were with musician John Cage and used chance in the creation process. Cunningham would flip a coin or roll a die with each side having a different meaning. For example, a six could mean six dancers, and a two could mean a certain series of pre-determined moves. At the same time, Cage would create a piece of music without seeing the dance. The first time the music and dance would come together would be on stage. This method was unique to Cunningham, who believed that music and dance did not have to be related.



    Crystal-PiteYour greatest living rock star: Crystal Pite is an insanely talented choreographer with Kidd Pivot in Canada. She’s done some amazing and weird things using different mediums. Dark Matters is a crazy piece that uses a marionette in the first act, and then has the dancers move in a similar manner in the second act. Her The Tempest Replica takes Shakespeare’s familiar story and tells it in two distinctly different ways using dance, projections and (in one act) strangely intense costuming. It’s a stunning way to shake things up while drawing audiences who know the play intimately.



    Up-and-comer:
    Justin Peck (see video above) is an amazingly inspirational human. He joined New York City Ballet in 2006 when he was 18 and was promoted to soloist in 2013, which is unheard of for someone so young. His performance career is already impressive, but in 2008 he choreographed his first ballet on the company and since then he's made 25 more. His work is bringing a new fresher, and younger voice to the New York City Ballet repertory. He is especially known for using unique and cutting-edge fashions in his ballets. He has collaborated with a lot of different designers and has worked with Vogue Magazine and Harpers Bazaar. In 2014, he was named Resident Choreographer at New York City Ballet, and is only the second person in the history of the organization to have that title. And he has done all this by the age of 30. Impressive.



    Garrett Ammon. Photo by Amanda Tipton.
    Photo of Garrett Ammon by Amanda Tipton.

    Who’s the biggest deal from Colorado?
    We may be biased, but we really think it is Wonderbound Artistic Director Garrett Ammon. His willingness to collaborate across art forms is gaining national attention, and his innovative productions are changing the way people see dance in Denver.


    CONTEMPORARY BALLET: A FIVE-WORD GLOSSARY

    PASDEDEUX

    Word 1The person who creates the dance moves you see on stage. Some ballet companies use multiple choreographers but at Wonderbound our ballets are either choreographed by Garrett Ammon or Sarah Tallman, who has been a member of the company for 13 years.

    Word 2Literally translates to an impolite way of saying “horse manure.” It’s what we say to each other before a show, and it takes the place of “break a leg,” which would be disastrous for a dancer. This originated back in the days of horse-drawn carriages. You knew it would be a great show if the piles of manure outside the theater were high, because that meant you had a full house.

    Word 3Our dancers rehearse eight hours a day, five days a week. And while we do perform contemporary ballet, our dancers take a classical ballet class each morning. The class is split into two parts. The first is barre, where the dancers stand at the long barres and do small foot exercises in place.

    Word 4This is the second half of the classical ballet class. This is the more exciting part of class, where the barres are moved out of the way and the dancers leap and spin across the floor in mind-boggling combinations.

    Bonus: Five Wonderbound phrases!

    • Mauve wall: One of Garrett Ammon’s signature dance moves, where a dancer will slide their straight arm up and in an arc as if they are standing next to a wall and their hand is brushing along it. It was originally created for Sarah Tallman, who got to pick the color.
    • Dawn Fay“PF!” (“Pelvis Forward!”): Ammon creates the ballets and then Wonderbound Producing Director Dawn Fay (pictured right) steps in and cleans everything up, making sure every move expresses exactly what they want it to say. You’ll often hear her shouting this to the dancers telling them to square their hips as they perform a certain dance phrase.
    • "Don’t be Extra”: Garrett says this to the dancers when he wants them to do something either very human or very simple, without any flourishes or fancy footwork.
    • “Take a risk" and "make a clear choice”: Garrett’s collaborative spirit extends to the dancers as well and he often gives them a lot of room to make a certain phrase of dance their own. The only thing he demands is that they are clear and deliberate about their choices. This is unique in choreographers but has the wonderful effect of letting you see a dancer’s personality come out on stage.
    • “Individuals, not Cookie Cutters”: Fay and Ammon use this phrase a lot when talking about the dancers. A lot of ballet companies are looking for a very specific body type. For example, Balanchine preferred dancers who were tall and thin. However, at Wonderbound, the dancers are all very different, and they bring unique skills to the table. The result is a stage filled with people of all different shapes and sizes who are good at drastically different things.



    What is the biggest stereotype about your field?
    We hear, “Dance isn’t for me,” or, “I don’t like dance,” far too often. Usually it is because the person has either never experienced dance or has only experienced only one performance in their lives. (Raise your hand if you’ve seen The Nutcracker.) Our productions are a world apart from what you think you know about dance. For anyone who is skeptical, I would encourage you to give it one more shot, come see a Wonderbound show. Or bring a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine (if you’re over 21) to our studio and check out one of our free live rehearsals. You won’t be disappointed.


    How is your dance different from other dance? While both Colorado Ballet and Wonderbound focus on excellence in dance, Wonderbound’s mission focuses more on deepening our human bond to dance, increasing accessibility to the art form and bringing together artistic disciplines throughout Colorado through our collaborations.



    A Wonderbound Ian Cooke 800

    Photo of Ian Cooke above by Amanda Tipton. 

    Wonderbound What would be my perfect introduction to Wonderbound? Two words: Sci-fi Ballet. Our season-opening production, Celestial Navigation, features all-new music from Ian Cooke and follows the adventures of our heroine, a space explorer who embarks on an Odyssey-like journey to the heavens in her trusty hot-air balloon. The costumes will be inspired by what people in the 1950s thought we would be wearing today. It’s going to be really fun. Celestial Navigation runs Oct. 13-27 at two Denver-area theaters. INFO


    Lastly, finish this sentence, Evan Flood: I love dance because … "Wonderbound productions have the ability to reach inside your chest and cause your heart to plummet or soar. They can make you cry like a baby or laugh uncontrollably all with little or no dialogue. The language of dance is visceral and beautiful and best of all, universal."

    SPECIAL THANKS TO WONDERBOUND
    COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AMBER BLAIS



    WONDERBOUND/Upcoming schedule

    • Celestial Navigation, with Ian Cooke Band, Oct. 13-15, at Pinnacle Charter School, 1001 W. 84th Ave.

    • Celestial Navigation, with Ian Cooke Band, Oct. 21-22, at PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker

    • Snow, with Jesse Manley and His Band, Dec. 12-21, at Wonderbound Studio, 1075 Park Avenue West, Denver

    • Aphrodite’s Switchboard, with Chimney Choir, Feb. 9-11, at Pinnacle Charter School, 1001 W. 84th Ave.

    • Aphrodite’s Switchboard, with Chimney Choir, Feb. 17-18, at PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker

    • Madness, Rack, and Honey, with the Colorado Symphony, April 27-29, at Wonderbound Studio, 1075 Park Avenue West, Denver

    • Madness, Rack, and Honey, with the Colorado Symphony, May 5-6, at PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker



    WONDERBOUND/Ticket information

    Address
    : 1075 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205 MAP IT GET DIRECTIONS
    Website
    : wonderbound.com
    Box office
    : 303-292-4700
    Twitter
    : @wonderbound_
    Instagram
    : @wonderboundco

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Video, photos: Your first look at DCPA's 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Sep 20, 2017



    Without changing a word of Shakespeare's text, DCPA Theatre Company Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into his raw reimagining of Macbeth, which will mark the grand reopening of the in-the-round Space Theatre. Video above by DCPA
    Video Producer David Lenk. 

    Production photos:

    Macbeth
    To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by Adams VisCom.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Macbeth: Ticket information
    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through Oct. 29
    • Space 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
    DCPA Macbeth. Adams Viscom. Scenie Design by Jason Sherwood.
    DCPA Theatre Company's 'Macbeth.' Scenic Design by Jason Sherwood. Photo by Adams Viscom.

    Macbeth
    : Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage

    Perspectives: Macbeth director's recommendation: 'Invest in yes'
    Video: Adam Poss on a man playing Lady Macbeth
    Video: Ariel Shafir on the young new warrior face of Macbeth
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting
    Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Backstage photo gallery

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. 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.
  • Perspectives: 'Macbeth' director's recommendation: 'Invest in yes'

    by John Moore | Sep 19, 2017
    Perspectives Macbeth. Robert O'Hara. Steven Cole Hughes'Perspectives' is a series of free panel discussions held just before the first public performance of each DCPA Theatre Company staging. The 'Macbeth' panel included director Robert O'Hara and actor Steven Cole Hughes, above, as well as actors Alec Hynes and Kim Fischer (pictured below right). The moderator was Literary Director Doug Langworthy. The next 'Perspectives' will be held before the first preview of 'Smart People' at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, in the Jones Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'The Curse,' the costumes and the king obsessed with witches are all fair game at season's first Perspectives

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Macbeth An audience member before Friday’s first performance of Macbeth wanted to know: Is “The Curse” real?

    He was talking about the most famous – and famously respected – superstition in all of theatre: Say the word "Macbeth" inside a theatre, and you invite disaster. Better to say “The Scottish Play” or “Mackers.” Shakespeare’s play gets its evil reputation in part because of the witches in the story, and of course the legendary tales of misfortune that have been associated with hundreds of Macbeth stagings going back to 1606.

    Macbeth. Perspectives. Photo by John Moore. Robert O’Hara, who is directing Macbeth for the DCPA Theatre Company, says so far – knock on wood! – there have been no incidents attributable to black magic lurking under the brand-new Space Theatre floorboards. But he said things got super weird before rehearsals even began.

    O'Hara invited the actors playing Macbeth and Lady M (Ariel Shafir and Adam Poss) to his home a few months ago to talk about the play. As they were diving into the play, O’Hara looked outside and noticed an inexplicable pack of wild kittens loitering underneath his tree. He says they didn’t live in the neighborhood, and they all disappeared by the next morning. But that day, Poss’ simple plane trip home from Cincinnati to Chicago ended up taking nearly 24 hours to complete.

    Weird, sisters.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Here are five more things we learned about 'Macbeth at Perspactives:

    Macbeth set design by Jason SherwoodTrue blue: NUMBER 1 Macbeth is O’Hara’s first Shakespeare production as a director. And while he brings a different sensibility to this staging that is evident from costumes to clothing to music to movement, he’s not rewriting a word of Shakespeare’s language. “Nothing you see will defame Shakespeare,” O'Hara said. “I didn't come here to do Shakespeare in order to not do Shakespeare. I am a playwright, too, so if I wanted to do an adaptation of Shakespeare, I would have just written my own play. But at the same time, I don't want the audience to see a museum piece. I want them to see something that shows how elastic Shakespeare is. I am not interested in how Shakespeare is ‘supposed’ to be done. I am interested in how I meet Shakespeare’s language today.”

    (Pictured above and right: A look at the 'Macbeth' set design by Jason Sherwood.)

    NUMBER 2About those costumes: "We don't wear many. You're welcome,” actor Steven Cole Hughes said to laughs. O’Hara said it makes perfect sense for warlocks to live their lives more unencumbered by inhibition (and clothing) than humans. “Our show is essentially warlocks putting on a play, and these warlocks have a different sense of their bodies. They have a different sense of nakedness,” O’Hara said. "But when it comes time for the warlocks to put on Shakespeare’s play, they add some Jacobean clothing. They’re costumes. But underneath, they are still who they are.”

    NUMBER 3 What the Hecate? There is a character in the play who usually gets cut in contemporary stagings. Her name is Hecate, queen of the witches. Hecate says: 'Bring Macbeth to the Pit of Acheron,” and that’s where O’Hara has chosen to set this production. It’s years after the real-life story of Macbeth, the witches are all male warlocks, and they are performing the play as a kind of historical ritual. And here, we will meet Hecate. “Robert did some research that said Hecate is a three-headed witch, so there are three of us actors paying her,” said Hughes. “We had the freedom to create both how we move and talk as a trio. Hecate has a monologue, and we split it up between the three of us." 

    NUMBER 4And as for the music: “It's going to start loud, and get louder,” says Hughes. O’Hara only asks of his audience what he asked of his cast on the first day of rehearsal: "Invest in yes," he said. And if you do, he added, "you will be rewarded at the end.” The play is performed as a ritual not unlike the Catholic Church’s Stations of the Cross. And each ritual is accompanied its own music, movement and lighting scheme. These are transitions that act as a bridge between the scenes that Shakespeare wrote, and the hybrid world these warlocks inhabit at the Pit of Acheron.

    NUMBER 5Back to those those witches: Scotland’s King James I – yes, namesake of the King James Bible – was obsessed with the subject of witchcraft. There were 247 witch trials during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James, and he was a frequent instigator of them. Belief in witches was common at the time. James, who became the first king of both England and Scotland in 1603, even wrote a book on supernatural creatures and demons. James was also a big fan of live theatre, and he hired Shakespeare to write plays for him. The Bard wrote Macbeth specifically to please King James. In the play, quintessential good-guy Banquo is meant to represent James. And to please His Majesty, Shakespeare inserted more biblical imagery than in any of his other plays.

    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.

    Macbeth. Perspectives. Photo by John Moore.

    Actors Steven Cole Hughes and Kim Fischer demonstrate some of the choreography in 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.


    Macbeth: Ticket information
    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space 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
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Video: Adam Poss on a man playing Lady Macbeth
    Video: Ariel Shafir on the young new warrior face of Macbeth
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting
    Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. 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.
  • Cast announced for DCPA's 'Smart People': Fresh and familiar

    by John Moore | Sep 19, 2017

    Smart People
    From left: Tatiana Williams, Timothy McCracken, Jason Veasey and Esther Chen.


    The DCPA Theatre Company has announced the full cast and creative team for its upcoming production of Lydia R. Diamond's Smart People, featuring the Denver directorial debut of Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. The production includes:

    • Esther Chen as Ginny Yang
    • Timothy McCracken as Brian White
    • Jason Veasey as Jackson Moore
    • Tatiana Williams as Valerie Johnston

    McCracken, a graduate of the DCPA's National Theatre Conservatory and now the Head of Acting for DCPA Education, has previously appeared in Theatre Company productions of A Christmas Carol, Jackie and Me, The Giver and others.

    A Smart People 360 Jaso VeasayVeasey, a native of Colorado Springs, graduated from Coronado High School and the University of Northern Colorado. His local credits include playing Jesus in Town Hall Arts Center's Godspell in 2003 (pictured right), and the ensemble in the Arvada Center's Ragtime. Last year, he performed in the Henry Award-nominated Best Musical Motones vs. Jerseys at the Lone Tree Arts Center. He made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of The Lion King.

    Garrett was profiled in American Theatre as “One to Watch,” saying she is attracted to “plays that impact us in tremendous ways, chasing us out of our comfort zones.”

    Veasay, Chen and Williams will be making their DCPA Theatre Company debuts in Diamond's acclaimed new play, a biting comedy that follows a quartet of Harvard intellectuals struggling to understand why the lives of so many people – including their own – continue to be undermined by race. No matter how hard they research, question and confront the issue, their own problems with self-awareness make it difficult to face the facts of life. Fiercely clever dialogue and energetic vignettes keep the laughs coming in a story that Variety calls “Sexy, serious and very, very funny.”

    Diamond’s award-winning plays have been produced throughout the country, including the 2011 Tony Award-nominated Broadway production Stick Fly.

    The creative team for Smart People will include:
    • Efren Delgadillo Jr. (Scenic Designer)
    • Lex Liang (Costume Designer, DCPA's Disgraced)
    • Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (Lighting Designer)
    • Curtis Craig (Sound Designer)
    • Kaitlyn Pietras (Projection Designer)
    • Lyle Raper (returning longtime Theatre Company Stage Manager)
    • Corin Ferris (Assistant Stage Manager).
     

    Smart People: Ticket information

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Oct. 13, through Nov. 19
    • Ricketson 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
  • A man among women: My night at 'Girls Only'

    by John Moore | Sep 18, 2017

    image

    I am not afraid of the alternate uses for this feminine product as suggested to me by the women of "Girls Only." Looking forward to it, in fact. Photobombing: Carla Kaiser Kotrc.

     

    What happens when a man ignores the writing on the wall?

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    (Note: This essay was originally published in 2014. Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women' returns to the Galleria Theatre from Sept. 21-Oct. 22, 2017.)

    This doesn’t happen every night at the theatre: At intermission, a kindly female usher came up to me at my seat and asked if I intended to use the men’s room during the break. I did a quick mental bladder assessment and determined … OK, pretty sure I'm good. … Why?

     “Well, then – with your permission – we are going to open up the men’s room for the ladies to use,” she said.

    I never thought I would ever hold such power.  But I was raised by a good woman. I knew what was good for me. I gave my blessing.

    Girls OnlyThat’s just sensible strategy, I thought. After all, in a room with more than 200 audience members, I was the only one – presumably – sporting the anatomical equivalent of a caveman’s club.

    Sunday night was my first time seeing Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women. That makes me no different from almost every other man in the world. But for the longest time, this fact has separated me from the more than 110,000 women who have seen Girls Only since 2008.

    That made this a theatregoing night six years in the making.

    You have to understand that I was the theatre critic at The Denver Post when noted local improv comedians Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein debuted their modest little slumber-party comedy at The Avenue Theater. At the time, I tried to see just about every local production I could fit into my schedule, and certainly any original work created by local actors. It was an immediate hit that ran for an extended seven-week run. But, like feminine wiles, Girls Only remained largely a mystery to me.

    The exclusionary nature of the title aside, I did want to go. And I would have, but, in those early days at The Avenue, they weren’t kidding with that title. I was not allowed in. No guy was. Once again, here I was: A middle-aged white man on the wrong end of the discrimination and exclusion propagated by the women who have long controlled this country.

    But I relented.  I didn’t even try to dress up and sneak in. We sent a female staff writer to review the show for The Denver Post instead. Soon the show was building so much momentum, it was picked up for a run here at the Denver Center’s Garner-Galleria Theatre. That was a history-making moment. The Denver Center's Broadway division had never before optioned a locally grown play for a full production in the big house. Or in this case … the big cabaret house. Girls Only ran continuously in The Garner-Galleria for more than two years. Additional productions have sprung up in Des Moines, Charlotte, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Houston and others. The show has grossed more than $2.5 million in ticket sales.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Now, I’m not the kind of guy who likes being kept in the dark. My brothers did that to me enough times as a kid whenever they got bored and locked me in a closet. I did due diligence by writing with regularity about the show and its progress. But still, I had not seen it for myself. Later on, I learned that the Denver Center, being much more mindful of, you know – the law – than my friends at The Avenue Theater, never actually forbid men from seeing the show. Some men, I hear told, have come back to see it several times.

    image

    Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein singing 'Up With Puberty' from 'Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women.' Photo by Terry Shapiro.

     

    Fast forward to the recent re-opening night of Girls Only at the Galleria Theatre. By now, I was long gone from The Denver Post. Last August, I was scooped up by the Denver Center, where my job is that of an in-house journalist. My delicious duties now include snapping photographs backstage before every Denver Center opening.

    Which brings us to “The Night of Jan. 16.” (That’s also the name of a play, you may know. I played the judge in a high-school production. The audience jury decides if the femme fatale is guilty of murder. But no matter how they voted, I got to scold the jury for making an obviously idiotic decision. That training well-prepared me for my future life as a theatre critic. But I digress …)

    So here I was in the cramped backstage dressing room with my camera and my Girls (Only). I was trying to be a proper gentlemen despite the, shall we say … “casual nature” of my photo subjects. When Barbara and Linda began to undress right in front of me, I, of course, excused myself. They said they would call me back in when they were changed into their proper costumes. And they did just that. I walked back in to the sight of two women wearing nothing but bright, colorful bras and panties (with carefully hidden mic pacs!) … and grins from ear to ear. They snickered. I was blood in the water. My face was hot-pinker than Barbara’s bra.

    “OK, you got me,” I said. “Now call me back in when you put some clothes on.”

    But no, it was not a put-on. It was a take-off. “This is what we really wear to start the show,” Linda insisted.

    And it was!

    I promised to come back soon, see the show and write this manly first-person essay about the experience. They made me promise to bring women along. Lots of them. “You’ll need them for protection,” Barbara teased. Made sense. I didn’t want any women coming to the theatre to giggle about all things girly with their girlfriends to be made in any way self-conscious by the creepy old man sitting alone in the corner. I have my front porch for that.

    Which brings us to Sunday night.

    “Be afraid,” my friend Amy Board said on our way into the theatre, along with the rest of my distaff “Gaggle of Girls,” Carla Kaiser Kotrc and Sharon Kay White. I also had actor Amie MacKenzie, who understudies both of the women who act in the play, one row behind us, watching my back.

    To this point, I really didn’t know what the big deal was. Sure, the evening comes with a warning: “This show contains feminine subject matter including teenage diaries, breast feeding, tampons, shadow puppets, pantyhose, menstrual cycles, slumber parties, menopause and maxi pads.”

    What was on that list for ME to worry about?

    Turns out, not much. Because I think a few of the actual ladies in the house were more uncomfortable than I was with the prospect of using the sticky side of your maxi pad as the equivalent of a waxing agent.

    But man, were those women giggling from the first line to the final bow, both for the evident comic agility on display by these two actors, but for the rabbit hole they sent the audience down, right back into their own girlyhoods.

    The night begins with the aforementioned bra-clad Gehring and Klein revisiting one of their childhood bedrooms. The women read for a bit from their actual journals, comically revealing the universal gawky, geekiness of being a teenager. Who can’t relate to a girl who formed her own one-woman club, but only had enough self-esteem to elect herself  vice-president? I once formed my own political party. I called it the Antisocial Party – “No Other Members Allowed” – but, jeez, at least I elected myself president.

    image

    Audience members are encouraged to leave their thoughts in a diary kept at the Galleria Theatre.

     

    The night soon turns into a series of relatable comedy sketches very much in league with Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy’s Parallel Lives, or a guy-less I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change  These included sweet, sentimental and, occasionally taste-boundary-pushing revelations that were not just for the women in the house. When Linda pulled out her childhood Walkie Talkies, I was right back patrolling my home street of Dudley Court.

    The audience loved a bit called The History of Women, as told by shadow puppets, and recoiled with a reminder of the way women were depicted in 1950s TV commercials. There was some soft political humor. While discussing our societal obsession with boobs, Barbara says, “We even elected one once.” To which, as if on cue, pretty much the entire audience answered back with incredulous spontaneity … “ONCE???”

    The ex-theatre critic in me appreciated Girls Only most for the truly improvised moments. In one sketch, the women snag the purses of two unsuspecting women in the audience, and then build an original story out of whatever objects they find inside. They also make up parody songs on the spot. I can tell you that of all the performing arts, there is nothing more painful to sit through than improv comedy that is tentative, unsure or unclever. Girls Only makes plain that these two actors are among the best you will ever see at thinking on their feet.

    As the only man, I was occasionally called out for not comprehending the meaning of the words Girls Only. But, it turns out, I was not alone. Not really. After all, there was a poster of Shaun Cassidy on the bedroom wall staring back at us like a little lost lamb. 

    Read our Q&A with Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein

    Girls Only strikes me as gateway theatre. Not the kind of show that attracts a regular theatregoing crowd. But the kind of show that might help turn them into more regular theatregoers.

    I see about 160 plays a year, and I can tell you that I feel comfortable in any theater where people are laughing, engaged and having a good time. So rest assured, my dangling caveman club aside, I was one guy who felt right at home at Girls Only.

    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.

    Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women: Ticket information
    At a glance: Girls Only is an original comedy that celebrates the honor, truth, humor and silliness of being female with a two-woman cast and a mix of sketch comedy, improvisation, audience participation, and hilarious songs and videos.

    • Presented by DCPA Cabaret
    • Playing Sept. 21-Oct. 22
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre at the Denver Performing Ats Complex
    • Tickets start at $39
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    • For more, go to the Girls Only website

    image

    My Gaggle of only 'Girls': Carla Kaiser-Kotrc (back), Sharon Kay White (left) and Amy Board. Photo by Randy Dodd.

     

     

     

  • Video: Adam Poss on a man playing Lady Macbeth

    by John Moore | Sep 17, 2017

    'I think a lot of women (who play Lady Macbeth) have to bring this masculine energy to it. But because I am a man with that masculine energy (my job is) to find what that feminine energy is," Adam Poss says of his role as Lady M  for the DCPA Theatre Company. Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'When you see someone like me playing Macbeth, already you are getting a different energy, look and feel.'


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    In one way, Director Robert O’Hara is telling the tale of Macbeth just as Shakespeare did — with an all-male cast. Not that anyone will mistake O’Hara’s staging with anything resembling Shakespeare as it was presented in Jacobean times.

    O'Hara is telling the tale for the DCPA Theatre Company from the point of view of a coven of shamanic warlocks. In his world, these warlocks are getting together years after the actual story and are now performing Macbeth as a kind of passion play. So the storytellers are all necessarily male.

    Adam Poss. Macbeth. But Adam Poss, the acclaimed Chicago actor playing Lady Macbeth, believes the female voice will come through loud and clear through this unusual telling, which he says is at once both historic and futuristic. "It's a great combination of old and new, and we're going to freak people out a little bit," he said with a laugh. 

    The strongest women of the time were polar opposites and deadly rivals, Poss said: "You have Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots and they both represented very different ideas of who women were. Queen Elizabeth was the virgin and Mary Queen of Scots was  bloodthirsty." Lady Macbeth was more of the latter, clawing her way to a place of power in the only way a woman could: Through her husband. "She could not be out there fighting, and taking on a kinship on her own," Poss said, "But she can make  things happen in her own way behind the scenes."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Poss said it will be both useful and relevant for a contemporary audience to see the story with women and witches who have facial hair. 

    "I think as we move forward, things are less binary in terms of what it means to be a man and a woman," he said. "Just because this is a company of men does not mean that there cannot be intimacy between men.

    "At its heart, yes, Macbeth  is a play about ambition and being bloodthirsty and taking people on to achieve what you want. But it’s also about a marriage, and a husband and wife doesn’t necessarily have to be a man and a woman. There can be partnerships between men that have love and care and tenderness but also violence and aggression and manipulation. That’s just human."  

    Adam Poss. Macbeth. Photo by John Moore.
    Adam Poss with his castmates at the first rehearsal for 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter


    Adam Poss: At a glance

    At the Denver Center: Debut. Other regional credits: Macbeth (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), 2666, Teddy Ferrara, A Christmas Carol, The Magic Play, The Solid Sand Below (Goodman Theatre), Lot’s Wife (Kansas City Rep), The North Pool, The Lake Effect (TheatreWorks, Palo Alto) Other credits: 1984, Animals Out of Paper (Steppenwolf Theatre), The History Boys (Studio Theatre, D.C.). Oedipus el Rey, Queen (Victory Gardens Theater); The Lake Effect, Scorched (Silk Road Rising); The Beats (16th Street Theater). Television: Shameless, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Crisis, The Chicago Code, The Mob Doctor. Film: The Middle Distance, The Drunk, The King of URLS, Speed Dating.

    Macbeth: Ticket information
    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space 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
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Video: Ariel Shafir on the young new warrior face of Macbeth
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. 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.
  • Colorado's connection to Harry Dean Stanton's final film

    by John Moore | Sep 16, 2017
    Harry Dean Stanton. LuckyPhoto from 'Lucky,' starring Harry Dean Stanton, which will be released in Denver on Oct. 6 at the Chez Artiste.

     

    Director John Carroll Lynch allows actor Harry Dean Stanton, who died Friday, to go out fully seen and heard

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Harry Dean Stanton does not go gentle into that good night. Rather, he goes thoughtfully, spiritually and with unflinching honesty, thanks to a triumphant capstone film called Lucky directed by Colorado native John Carroll Lynch.

    Stanton, who died Friday of natural causes at age 91, was nothing if not lucky, said Lynch, who also considers himself among the charmed for having had the opportunity to direct the iconic American actor in his final leading role. Stanton plays an ornery 90-year-atheist who drifts toward terms with his mortality in an off-the-grid desert town. The supporting cast includes Ron Livingston, Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant, James Darren, David Lynch — no relation but yes, that David Lynch — and Ed Begley Jr. "There went a great one," David Lynch wrote in a statement earlier today.

    Harry Dean Stanton 400Lucky is a film, John Carroll Lynch says, that allows the indelibly gaunt character actor whose face “was etched with loneliness,” one critic wrote, to go out fully seen and heard.

    “This is a performance you can only get to when you get there,” Lynch told the DCPA NewsCenter today. “And I think the role successfully encapsulates his particular world view.”

    Stanton’s breakthrough came decades into his film career in Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas. He was also known for Twin Peaks, Pretty in Pink, Repo Man and most recently a high-profile role as a manipulative cult leader in the HBO polygamy drama Big Love.

    This morning, Denver’s Alamo Drafthouse announced it will screen Repo Man in Stanton's honor on Saturday, Sept. 23, and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Denver Actors Fund, which provides financial and practical relief to members of the Colorado theatre community facing situational medical need. Last year, Lynch made an appearance at his hometown Alamo to discuss his role in Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation.

    Lynch, a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School and a former member of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, is himself a veteran actor of more than 100 films and TV shows, most recently The Founder, Jackie and The Architect. He makes his directing debut with Lucky, which was rapturously received at the recent South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The film, written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, will be showcased on Art House Theatre Day on Sept. 24 on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, and will be released in Denver on Oct. 6 at Landmark’s Chez Artiste movie theatre.

    “How lucky, no pun intended, we have this charming — with an edge — movie that has a terrific and humane performance from Harry Dean Stanton but is also infused with his view of the world, including his atheism,” contributing Denver Post film critic Lisa Kennedy told the NewsCenter today.  “It’s a gift, melancholy and affirming. It was that before news of his passing and even more so now.”

    Stanton’s character is the core of Lucky. He’s described as a lifelong smoker who is shaken by accident into tackling his inevitable death head-on. He searches for enlightenment against the backdrop of the desolate desert town, interacting and learning from those he encounters. Lynch said the character in the film was as much Stanton himself wrestling with his impending fate.

    “When you get older, you know you have fewer days, so you have no time to waste,” Lynch said. “Harry did not waste his days."

    Lynch said Stanton’s performance is no less than “(bleeping) awesome — and it is so vulnerably and humanly him. I hope people give it its due.”

    Harry Dean Stanton: In theatres

    • Alamo Drafthouse will screen Repo Man in Stanton's honor at 7:20 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. BUY TICKETS
    • Lucky will be showcased on Art House Theatre Day at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24, in the Muenzinger Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. BUY TICKETS
    • Lucky opens in full release Oct. 6 at Denver’s Chez Artiste movie theatre.


    Lucky: The official film trailer

    Video above: The trailer for 'Lucky,' starring Harry Dean Stanton, which will be released in Denver on Oct. 6 at the Chez Artiste.

    Lucky: What RogerEbert.Com had to say:
    "Let’s start at the top of the pile with the fantastic directorial debut of John Carroll Lynch, an actor who always struck me as someone who cared about who he worked with and clearly was paying attention to former collaborators like Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Joel Coen. Lynch knows how to frame a shot and tell a story that actually feels like the recent work of a filmmaker with whom he has yet to work, Jim Jarmusch. There’s a similar, shambling, everyday poetry to Lynch’s Lucky, a beautiful showcase for the 90-year-old Harry Dean Stanton, giving one of the best performances of his remarkable career. With supporting work from other icons as diverse as David Lynch and Tom Skerritt (Alien reunion!), Lucky is a film about both not much at all and, well, pretty much everything." — Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

     

  • 'The Wild Party': Five things we learned at first rehearsal

    by John Moore | Sep 15, 2017
    Making of 'The Wild Party'

    Photos from the first rehearsal for Off-Center's upcoming off-site, immersive production of 'The Wild Party.' 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 audience will become, like the characters in the play,
    'a roomful of strangers who call themselves friends.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Denver Center is preparing to present the Jazz Age musical The Wild Party as a 360-degree immersive theatregoing experience where the 208 audience members are guests at a corker of a gin-soaked Big Apple soiree, right alongside the 14 professional actors in the ensemble. It will be staged in what was once an airline hangar at the new Stanley Marketplace in the Stapleton neighborhood.

    And that is not at all how composer Michael John LaChiusa originally imagined his piece to be staged. Like most musicals, The Wild Party was first presented in front of an audience separated from the stage by theatre’s nearly ubiquitous, invisible “fourth wall.”

    There’s no wall here.

    “Our production is going to put our audience directly in the Jazz Age,” two-time True West Award-winning Director Amanda Berg Wilson said Tuesday at the company’s first rehearsal for the show opening Oct. 11.

    The Wild Party. Amanda Berg Wilson. Photo by John MooreThe DCPA’s adventurous Off-Center wing is known for creating original nontraditional work in nontraditional spaces, most notably last year’s sprawling Sweet & Lucky, which played out in a huge warehouse north of downtown. The Wild Party will be its first musical, and first scripted work.

    The musical is based on a scandalous, book-length poem written by Robert Frost protege Joseph Moncure March in 1926. It was described as “a kind of obscene, more destructive take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Scott Miller, Artistic Director of St. Louis’ New Line Theatre. The poem paints a vivid and decadent picture of Manhattan just before the market crash. It centers on the damaged, reckless relationship between a dancer named Queenie and a vaudeville clown named Burrs. The audience here will witness many personal dramas unfold up close and in three dimensions.

    The Wild Party. Allison Caw, Marco Robinson, Katie Drinkard and Jenna Moll Reyes. Photo by John Moore.“The audience is not going to be passive witnesses to the party,” said Wilson. “They are going to be integral components of the party – and its conspirators. So we are going to encourage them to help mix the bathtub gin; to console the coke-snorting wannabe starlet; to read love letters; to be pulled into boiler rooms for intimate moments; to see things they are not supposed to see.” In the end, the audience will become, like the characters in the play, "a roomful of strangers who call themselves friends." 

    Which helps explains why this is a 21-and-over evening. It’s a party, after all. And apparently a wild one.

    “Our goal with each audience member is that they are going to experience a kind of release that you only have when you have had a really wild night," Wilson said.

    Here are five more things we learned about 'The Wild Party' at the first rehearsal:

    NUMBER 1A Wild Party PoemThe source poem, which went virtually unread for two years because no publisher would touch it, inspired iconic beat writer William Burroughs to become a writer. “It is a witty and risqué poem about two vaudeville performers who fight, make up, throw a party and flirt with danger,” Wilson said. “It name-drops Martha Graham and Langston Hughes, and the book for the musical is by George C. Wolfe (the Public Theatre icon who first directed Angels in America). The story is set at a time when America was waking up to its identity as a wild and creative nation that was emerging into its own sense of self separate from Europe. That sense of self was really born in vaudeville and speakeasies and the avant-garde of the 1920s when jazz, arguably the most American of art forms, was being born. These are people who are not only trying to figure out who they love but who they are and who they will present as. Ambisextrous, Jewish, uptown, downtown, black and white identities are all explored in these jazz-soaked numbers.”

    NUMBER 2The audience will be encouraged (but not required) to dress up for the party. Says Costume Designer Meghan Anderson Doyle: “I think we get the best of the 1920s in this piece because we get the glitz and glamour of beaded dresses and tuxedos and dinner jackets and champagne, and then we get the soft sensuality and the vulnerability of stockings and garter belts and bathtub gin.”

    NUMBER 3The Wild Party. David Nehls. Photo by John Moore.The Music Director is David Nehls (pictured right),  who has helmed the music for most every musical at the Arvada Center for more than a decade. "I am very excited that we have an amazing, seven-piece live band," Nehls said. One of those players is Trent Hines, himself an active Music Director in the local theatre community. For this production, Hines is also being integrated into the story as an actor.

    NUMBER 4The cast is made up entirely of local actors. Wilson, also the founder of a Boulder theatre company called The Catamounts, performed in Sweet & Lucky alongside Diana Dresser, Jenna Moll Reyes and The Wild Party choreographer Patrick Mueller. “Having an all-local cast is evidence that we really do have the talent right here to pull off a show like this,” said Wilson. “And I think it is great that as the Denver Center continues to experiment with immersive theatre, we are developing a base of talent right here in Denver with an increasing set of tools and vocabulary so that we can keep making this kind of work. And we are discovering that audiences are really hungry for it.”

    NUMBER 5The man charged with turning the airplane hangar at Stanley Marketplace into a New York apartment is Jason Sherwood, who first came to the Denver Center in 2014 as an assistant on The Unsinkable Molly Brown and returned last year as the lead Scenic Designer for Frankenstein. This season, he will create the worlds for the Denver Center’s The Wild Party, Macbeth and The Who's Tommy.

    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.



    The Wild Party: Cast list

    • Brett Ambler: Gold
    • Leonard Barrett Jr.: Oscar D’Armano
    • Allison Caw: Sally
    • Laurence Curry: Black
    • Diana Dresser: Miss Madelaine True
    • Katie Drinkard: Mae
    • Trent Hines: Phil D’Armano
    • Drew Horwitz: Burrs
    • Wayne Kennedy: Goldberg
    • Sheryl McCallum: Dolores
    • Jenna Moll Reyes: Nadine
    • Marco Robinson: Eddie Mackrel
    • Emily Van Fleet: Queenie
    • Aaron Vega: Jackie
    • Erin Willis: Kate


    The Wild Party:
    Ticket information

    The Wild PartyAt  a glance: You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind as you join a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties, brought to you by the producers of Sweet & Lucky. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and gin-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees.

    • Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    • Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    • Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    • Oct. 11-31, 2017
    • At The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St.
    • Visit the official Wild Party web site
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of 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
    Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons announced

    About the Stanley Marketplace
    The Stanley Marketplace, which opened last year near the Stapleton neighborhood just east of Denver, is a community of like-minded businesses and residents who believe sustainable retail and community development. The more than 22-acre space, which occupies 140,000 square feet, was once Stanley Aviation headquarters, where airplane ejector seats were engineered and manufactured. Today it is an adaptive re-use community hub, home to a park, beer hall and an urban marketplace. All businesses are local and independent. The address is 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora. MAP IT
  • 'Frozen': Your first look at production photos

    by John Moore | Sep 14, 2017
    The video above captures the excitement from Opening Night of the pre-Broadway engagement of 'Frozen; in Denver on Sept. 14, 2017. The run continues at the Buell Theatre through Oct. 1 before the moving to Broadway in February 2018. 


    Your first look at Opening Night and production photos from the Denver debut of the upcoming Broadway musical

    The first production photos of Disney Theatrical’s new Broadway musical Frozen were released this morning. The pre-Broadway engagement at the Buell Theatre opens tonight (Sept. 14)  and continues through Oct. 1. Photos by Deen van Meer.
     

    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Patti Murin (Anna) in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van Meer
    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Patti Murin (Anna) in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.



    Patti Murin (Anna) and John Riddle (Hans) in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van MeerPatti Murin (Anna) and John Riddle (Hans) in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.


    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Andrew Pirozzi (Sven) in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van MeerJelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Andrew Pirozzi (Sven) in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.


    Patti Murin (Anna) and Caissie Levy (Elsa) with Jacob Smith in FROZEN. Photo by Deen van Meer

    Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), Patti Murin (Anna) and Caissie Levy (Elsa) with Jacob Smith in 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.

    The Company of FROZEN. Photo by Deen van MeerThe Company of 'Frozen.' Photo by Deen van Meer.


    Video: Our interviews with stars, creative team:

    Video above: Our series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team from the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen, which continues in Denver through Oct. 1. Videos by David Lenk. Interviews by John Moore.

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Through Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Following its pre-Broadway engagement, Frozen will join Disney Theatrical hits Aladdin and The Lion King on Broadway, beginning performances at the St. James Theatre on Feb. 22, 2018, and opening March 22. Tickets for Broadway performances are on sale now through Aug. 12, 2018. Visit FrozenTheMusical.com for more information.

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


     

  • Sir Peter Hall turned global theatre spotlight on Denver with 'Tantalus'

    by John Moore | Sep 13, 2017
    Tantalus

    Photos from the DCPA Theatre Company's historic 2000 co-production of 'Tantalus.' To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that
    appears. Photos by P. Switzer. 

    The co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company was 'an extraordinary, landmark event in world culture.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Sir Peter Hall, who co-starred in the greatest off-stage drama in the history of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, "was one of the pillars of postwar British theatre," Charles McNulty wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

    Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, made theatre history in 2000 when he directed the massive, 10-play epic Trojan War cycle Tantalus at the Denver Center. RSC artistic director Adrian Noble called his co-production with the DCPA "an extraordinary, landmark event in world culture." Hall died Monday at age 86.

    After Hall failed to woo European investors to premiere Tantalus in London, DCPA founder Donald R. Seawell not only came forward offering the services of the Denver Center, he seeded the endeavor with his own money, which some reports put as high as $8 million.

    Peter Hall. David Zalubowski“I call Donald Seawell my deus ex-machina,” Hall said at the time. “When I had failed to raise the money we needed, Donald came along with that rare mixture of madness and shrewdness which marks all good impresarios and said, ‘I’ll do it.’ He allowed us to dream our dream.”

    The subsequent play – which had been written by John Barton over 17 years, is still to this day billed as the largest undertaking in the 2,500-year history of theatre. “Nothing has come along like it, and it probably won’t ever happen again,” Seawell said before his death in 2015. “It brought more attention to the Denver Center than anything else we have ever done. It brought critics from all over the world. It brought people to Colorado from 38 states and more than 40 countries.”

    Tantalus, directed by Peter Hall and his son, Edward, and created by an international ensemble of artists, was an epic spectacle on-stage and off. The six-month rehearsal process and subsequent British tour is a tale of artistic squabbles, clashing egos, mounting tension, hurdles of time and money – and spectacular artistic achievement culminating in a standing-room only run at London’s Barbican Theatre.

    Tantalus chronicled the follies of war and mankind and for a short time placed Denver at the very heart of world theatre. But the creative process destroyed the friendship between Barton and Hall, who demanded rewrites. Instead Barton returned to London, where he sat as the Denver marathon was being rapturously received. Meanwhile, as opening approached, frustrated co-director Mick Gordon disappeared without a trace. The cast and crew told a documentary filmmaking team that Gordon’s flight was "no less than a ruthless, demoralizing act of abandonment.“

    Robert Petkoff TantalusActor Robert Petkoff, who appeared in Tantalus and returned in 2015 to star in the DCPA Theatre Company’s production of Sweeney Todd, said working on Tantalus "helped me understand the opening line in A Tale of Two Cities: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ ” he said. “There were moments that felt like agony and betrayal, and more moments that were sheer ecstasy and filled with the joy of storytelling in an exciting and original way.”

    Read The Los Angeles Times’ tribute to Sir Peter Hall

    Journalists from leading publications around the world covered the opening, including The London Times, The Independent, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The London Observer, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Reuters, Toronto’s National Post, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News.

    Sandra Dillard of The Denver Post called the staging, which was presented in three parts, “a triumph for all involved.” Mike Pierson of the Rocky Mountain News called ita play that must be seen to be believed.” Michael Kuchwara of The Associated Press called Tantalus “a corker of a tale.” And Time magazine listed the production among the top 10 best theatrical events of the year 2000.

    “With its sheer scope, size and level of ambition, Tantalus fulfilled The DCPA’s stated mission to present the best theatre in the finest facilities to the widest possible audience,” wrote former Los Angeles Times critic Sylvie Drake, then the DCPA's Director of Publications. "It was The Denver Center’s millennial gift to the city, and the crown jewel in its 22-year time-honored tradition of presenting award-winning theatre in the heart of downtown Denver.”

    Hall was born Nov. 22, 1930, and attended Cambridge University, where his classmates included eventual longtime DCPA Theatre Company member and teacher Tony Church. ("Well, that didn't harm my career a bit then, did it?" Church later joked.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    At age 29, Hall introduced Samuel Beckett to the English-speaking world with the British premiere of Waiting for Godot. “Nothing would be the same after his 1955 London production of Godot,” McNulty wrote. Leading Drama critic Kenneth Tynan said the production forced him “to re-examine the rules which have hitherto governed the drama; and having done so, to pronounce them not elastic enough.” Next, Hall set off “another revolution in dramatic possibility,” McNulty wrote, with Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming.

    Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 and went on to build an international reputation in theatre, opera, film and television. He was director of the National Theatre (1973-88) and artistic director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera (1984-90). He formed the Peter Hall Company (1998–2011) and became founding director of the Rose Theatre, Kingston in 2003. Throughout his career, Hall was a vociferous champion of public funding for the arts. He remained active as a director through 2011, when he was diagnosed with dementia.
    Sir Peter Hall NATIONAL THEATRE

    Many tributes have been paid to Hall since his death, among them:

    • Peter Brook: “Peter was a man for all seasons – he could play any part that was needed."
    • Elaine Paige: "Peter Hall had absolute authority and, as a heavyweight of the theatre, real presence."
    • Griff Rhys Jones: "Peter was an absolute smoothie, the most charming and diplomatic man.”
    • Samuel West: "Peter was an extraordinarily energetic, imaginative director – if you left him in the corner of a room he’d direct a play – but he was also a great campaigner. He never stopped arguing for the role of subsidized art in a civilized society and its ability to change people’s lives.”

    Hall was married four times, including for 10 years to actress Leslie Caron. He was married to Nicola Frei since 1990, He fathered four children: Christopher, Jennifer, Edward (one of the Tantalus directors), Lucy, Rebecca and Emma.

    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.

    This report was compiled from archives, original reporting and current news reports

    Sir Peter Hall’s Tantalus program bio in 2000:

    Born in Bury St. Edmunds in 1930, Peter Hall was educated at the Perse School, Cambridge, and St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge. After University, a debut at Windsor as director of the Oxford Playhouse, Peter Hall ran the Arts Theatre in London where productions included the world premiere of the English-language version of Waiting for Godot.

    Peter Hall first worked at Stratford in 1956, returning in ’57, ’58, and ’59, when productions included Cymbeline with Peggy Ashcroft, Coriolanus with Laurence Olivier and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Charles Laughton.

    In 1960 he founded the Royal Shakespeare Company, directing 18 plays at Stratford for the RSC, including The Wars of the Roses; David Warner’s Hamlet and premieres of plays by Harold Pinter, Edward Albee and John Whiting, establishing the London home of the RSC at the Aldwych Theatre.

    In 1973, Peter hall was appointed Director of the Royal National Theatre, a post he held for 15 years and during which he moved the company to the new premises on the South Bank. Productions for the RNT included John Gabriel Borkman, Happy Days, Hamlet, Tamburlaine the Great, Bedroom Farce, Amadeus, No Man’s Land, Volpone, The Oresteia, Antony and Cleopatra, Animal Farm, The Tempest, Betrayal, Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale. He returned to the RNT to direct The Oedipus Plays by Sophocles which opened in Epidaurus as part of the Athens Festival.

    On leaving the RNT, he launched The Peter Hall Company with productions of Orpheus Descending with Vanessa Redgrave and The Merchant of Venice with Dustin Hoffman. Eighteen other productions followed including An Ideal Husband, The Master Builder, the Stephen Dillane Hamlet, Lysistrata, School for Wives, An Absolute Turkey and A Streetcar Named Desire with Jessica Lange playing in the West End, the regions, Broadway and Europe.

    The season of 13 plays at the Old Vic in 1997 was a landmark. In 1998 the company moved to the Piccadilly Theatre where Hall staged productions of Waiting for Godot, The Misanthrope, Major Barbara, Filumena and Kafka’s Dick. In the summer of 1999 he directed Measure for Measure and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson in Los Angeles where he also brought his remounting of Amadeus, a hit on Broadway in 2000.

    Since his debut in 1957 with The Rope Dancers, Peter Hall has worked frequently on Broadway, winning Tony Awards for The Homecoming and Amadeus. In February 1992 he directed the world premiere of John Guare’s Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. His production of An Ideal Husband transferred to Broadway in 1996. He received Tony nominations as Best Director for both of these productions.

    Peter Hall also has directed more than 40 operas all over the world including Glyndebourne Festival Opera (where he was Artistic Director, 1984-90), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Geneva, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, The Metropolitan Opera House, New York and Bayreuth, where he directed a celebrated Ring Cycle.

    For television he has directed She’s Been Away, The Camomile Law (Channel 4) and Jacob for Turner TV/Lux. In 1996 he directed and produced The Final Passage a two-part series based on the award-winning book by Caryl Phillips.

    Films include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Three Into Two Won’t Go, The Homecoming, Akenfield and Orpheus Descending.

    His diaries about the opening of the new National Theatre were published in 1983 and his autobiography, Making An Exhibition of Myself, was published in 1993.

     

     

     

  • Video: Ariel Shafir on the new warrior face of 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Sep 12, 2017

    'We're getting a taste of where theatre has evolved, and Robert O'Hara is at the finger's edge of all this," Ariel Shafir says of his 'Macbeth' director. Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'When you see someone like me playing Macbeth, already you are getting a different energy, look and feel.'


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Actor Ariel Shafir is well aware that when most people imagine the face of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, they likely conjure a face like, say, Patrick Stewart’s or Kelsey Grammer’s as the great killer Scot. “It’s usually some 60-year-old, very WASPy looking guy,” Shafir said with a laugh.

    Ariel ShafirBut nevertheless, the decidedly younger Shafir is preparing to play the iconic embodiment of bloodthirsty ambition for the DCPA Theatre Company. And he thinks he’s just right for the role.

    “Macbeth is not one of these old generals in some back room,” Shafir said. “He’s on the battlefield. He’s the greatest warrior they have. So when you see someone like me playing Macbeth, you can see how far we are veering from the typical playbook. Already you are getting a different energy, a different look, a different feel for Macbeth.”

    Director Robert O’Hara is telling the tale of Macbeth from the point of view of a coven of shamanic warlocks. In his world, these warlocks are getting together years later and performing the story of Macbeth as a kind of passion play.

    There are purists who believe Shakespeare should not be tinkered with, even in concept. Shafir challenges that notion. “It is important to note that this is going to be the exact text Shakespeare wrote,” Shafir said. “But instead of relying on the template of productions past, I think Robert is actually probing deeper into the script and striking much closer to the heart of Shakespeare’s actual play.

     “We are delving into some of the darkest shadows of human psychology, and I think I directors sometimes tiptoe that line. But not Robert. There are so many things in our production that many others don’t ever deal with. There are just so many things about our own shadow selves that we need to embrace, and I think we do.”

    Ariel Shafir. Photo by John MooreThere’s a reason Macbeth remains a popular story after 400 years. Shafir says it’s the same reason we love Halloween and horror movies.

    “What is this darkness in ourselves that we need to embrace in the nighttime so that we can go out and be productive in the daylight hours?” he said.

    “This play is reaching forward in time and, at the same time, reaching back. There will be an interesting tension between the classic Jacobean style, while also having this completely futuristic feel as well. There are so many parts of this play that I think will be illuminated for the first time for people.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Ariel Shafir: At a glance
    At the Denver Center: Debut. Other regional credits: John Proctor in The Crucible (Playmakers Rep), Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare), Axel Fersen in Marie Antoinette (Steppenwolf), Uzi in Captors (Huntington), John in A Life in the Theater (Alliance), among many others including most recently Isaac in the China Tour of Disgraced. TV/Film: "Orange is the New Black," "30 Rock," "Army Wives," I Love You ... but I Lied," "M'Larky," "What Happens in Vegas" "Bride Wars" "Don Peyote," "What Happens Next," "Hysterical Psycho." Winner of a Suzi Bass Award, Jeff Award and Barrymore Award.

    Macbeth: Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space 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
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. 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.
  • Fall theatre in Colorado: Time to confront issue of racism

    by John Moore | Sep 10, 2017

    Video playlist: Check out our "10 Most Intriguing Plays and Musicals" for fall 2017, in the words of featured actors from each production.


    The most divisive social issue of the summer has unified the local theatre community going into the fall.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    If nothing else, the white supremacists in Virginia last month moved the conversation about the festering racial divide in America from the margins to the mainstream. And this fall, Colorado theatres are moving it from the margins to the mainstage.

    Curious Theatre. Appropriate. Sean Scrutchins. Photo by Michael Ensminger. It seems the most polarizing social issue of the summer has unified the local theatre community. Area companies are confronting the issue this fall the only way they can: By telling stories that will instigate the kind of conversations that hopefully lead to new understanding.

    Jamil Jude, director of Curious Theatre's Appropriate - the story of a contemporary Arkansas family that discovers racist artifacts in their patriarch's possessions - said he hopes the play "can push audiences, especially white audiences, into difficult conversations.

    "We name systemic injustice and white privilege as institutions that have profited many and disenfranchised many more. We hope white allies will empower themselves to speak to their families to work to eradicate these systems and further advance equity." (Read our full interview)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    As about 55 Colorado theatre companies prepare to open their 2017-18 seasons, at least 12 this fall will be tackling issues relating to racial, gender, economic or social inequities in America, past or present. That's about one in every five companies. Here's a sample, with links to more information:

    Below, we offer the upcoming theatre schedules for every company in the state. But first, here's a rundown (with links) to our choices for the 10 most intriguing plays and musicals of the upcoming fall season. Each includes a selfie video provided by a featured actor from each production: 

    Our 10 Most Intriguing Plays and Musicals for Fall 2017:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s Company
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    2017-18 COLORADO THEATRE SCHEDULES

    (All rights reserved. Send updates or additions to jmoore@dcpa.org.)

    5th WALL PRODUCTIONS
    Mostly at The Bakery, 2132 Market St., ticketleap.com
    January 2018: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
    September 2018: The Last Five Years

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    Presented by Marne Interactive Productions, 2406 Federal Blvd., 303-455-1848 or adams’ home page
    Ongoing events and rotating shows

    AND TOTO TOO
    At The Commons on Champa in the Studio @ 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org
    Nov. 2-18: Flowers in the Desert

    ARVADA CENTER
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org
    Sept. 12-Oct. 1: A Chorus Line READ MORE
    Oct. 13-Nov. 18: The Foreigner
    Nov. 17-Dec. 23: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    Jan. 26-May 6, 2018: Sense and Sensibility
    Feb. 9-May 4, 2018: The Electric Baby
    March 2-May 3, 2018: All My Sons
    April 17- May 6, 2018: Sunday in the Park with George

    AURORA FOX ARTS CENTER
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org
    Sept. 22-Oct. 22: Company READ MORE
    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Hi-Hat Hattie READ MORE
    Jan. 19-Feb. 10, 2018: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    Feb. 23-March 18, 2018: Real Women Have Curves
    April 13-May 13, 2018: Passing Strange

    THE AVENUE THEATER
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page
    Sept. 8-Oct. 15: My Brilliant Divorce READ MORE
    Opening Oct. 20: Comedy Sportz
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: Santa’s Big Red Sack

    BAS BLEU THEATRE

    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org
    Through Oct. 8: Elephant’s Graveyard READ MORE
    Nov. 18-Dec.17: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Feb. 3-March 4, 2018: Waiting for the Parade
    April 7-May 6, 2018: Dirt! A Terra Nova Expedition
    June 2-July 1, 2018: Equus

    BENCHMARK THEATRE
    At 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, benchmarktheatre.com
    Feb. 16-March 25, 2018: A Kid Like Jake
    June 22-July 21, 2018: The Arsonists
    Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2018: Uncanny Valley
    Oct. 19-28, 2018: Fever Dream Festival
    TBA: What You Will

    BOULDER ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., 303-440-7826 or betc’s home page
    Sept. 14-Oct. 8: The Revolutionists READ MORE
    Oct. 19-Nov. 12: Birds of North America
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries, at the Jones Theatre (Denver Center)
    Dec. 7-24: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)
    Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 2018: Guards at the Taj
    April 12-May 6, 2018: Going to a Place Where You Already Are

    BDT STAGE
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdt’s home page
    Aug. 25-Nov. 11: Rock of Ages READ MORE
    Nov. 18-Feb. 24: Annie
    Dec. 10, 2017-Jan. 23, 2018: Motones vs. Jerseys
    March 3-May 26, 2018: Always … Patsy Cline
    March 5-6, 2018: The Glenn Miller Orchestra
    June 2-Sept. 8, 2018: The Little Mermaid

    BRECKENRIDGE BACKSTAGE THEATRE
    121 S. Ridge St., 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org
    No shows scheduled

    BUG THEATRE
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or www.bugtheatre.info
    Sept. 16: The Bug’s Best (highlights from the past 20 years)

    BUNTPORT THEATER

    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com
    Third Tuesdays: The Great Debate
    Third Wednesdays: The Narrators
    Opening Oct. 14: Siren Song (young audiences; second Saturdays through May 2018)

    CANDLELIGHT DINNER PLAYHOUSE
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970) 744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com
    Sept. 7-Nov. 5: The Music Man
    Nov. 16, 2017-Feb. 14, 2018: Beauty and the Beast
    Feb. 23-April 15, 2018: Kiss Me Kate
    April 26-June 17, 2018: Man of La Mancha
    June 28-Aug. 26, 2018: Newsies

    THE CATAMOUNTS
    At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thecatamounts.org
    Sept. 8-30: You On the Moors Now READ MORE
    Oct. 27-28: FEED: Los Muertos (Longmont)
    Feb. 9-11, 2018: FEED: Love (TBD)
    May 25-June 17, 2018: Rausch (with Control Group Productions, TBD)

    CHERRY CREEK THEATRE
    At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheater.org
    Nov. 9-Dec. 10: Beau Jest
    Feb. 1-25, 2018: Respect: A Musical Journey of Women
    April 5-29, 2018: A Picasso
    Oct. 18-Nov. 11, 2018: My Name is Asher Lev

    COAL CREEK THEATRE OF LOUISVILLE
    Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org
    Oct. 20-Nov. 4: Shining City

    COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or www.csfineartscenter.org
    Through Oct. 1: Parallel Lives
    Sept. 16: An Evening with Jim Breuer
    Oct. 5-Oct. 29: Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
    Oct. 13-Nov. 12: Bunnicula
    Dec. 7, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018: Annie                              
    Feb. 8-Feb. 25, 2018: Intimate Apparel
    March 20-April 1, 2018: Androcles and the Lion
    March 29-April 22, 2018: Fun Home
    April 27-May 20, 2018: Fully Committed
    May 24-June 17, 2018: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
    June 29-July 21, 2018: Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind

    CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE
    124 Main St., 719-658-2540 or creederep.org
    Through Sept. 15: Talley’s Folley
    Through Sept. 14: General Store

    CURIOUS THEATRE
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curious’ home page 
    Through Oct. 14: Appropriate READ MORE
    Nov. 4-Dec. 9: Body of an American
    Jan. 13-Feb. 24, 2018: Detroit 67
    March 17-April 14, 2018: The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
    May 5-June 16, 2018: Your Best One

    DENVER ACTORS FUND
    Various locations, denveractordfund@gmail.com or denveractorsfund.org
    Sept. 25: Miscast 2017, at Littleton Town Hall Arts Center
    Oct. 8: 13 The Musical, at the Mizel Center
    Oct 15: Denver Actors Fund Presents: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (at the Sloans’ Lake Alamo Drafthouse, with live entertainment from OpenStage’s Spamalot)

    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS THEATRE COMPANY
    Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or the denver center’s home page
    Fall Theatre Preview. MacbethSept. 22-Oct. 29: Macbeth, Space Theatre READ MORE
    Oct. 20-Nov. 19: Smart People, Ricketson Theatre
    Dec. 1-24: A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018: Zoey’s Perfect Wedding, Space Theatre
    Feb. 2-25, 2018: American Mariachi, Stage Theatre
    Feb. 9-March 11, 2018: The Great Leap, Ricketson Theatre
    April 13-May 6, 2018: Native Gardens, Space Theatre
    April 27-May 27, 2018: The Who's Tommy, Stage Theatre
    May 25-June 24, 2018: Human Error, Garner Galleria Theatre

    Our video interview with 'Frozen' stars Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna).


    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS BROADWAY

    Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or the denver center’s home page
    Through Oct. 1: Frozen, Ellie Caulkins Opera House READ MORE
    Sept. 21-Oct. 22: Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women, Garner Galleria
    Oct. 17-29: Something Rotten!, Buell Theatre
    Nov 4-5: Breakin’ Convention, Buell Theatre
    Nov. 11, 2017-April 22, 2018: First Date, Garner Galleria
    Nov. 14-19: Rent 20th Anniversary Tour, Buell Theatre
    Nov. 28-Dec. 3: Chicago, Buell Theatre
    Dec. 9-10: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Buell Theatre
    Dec. 13-17: Elf The Musical, Buell Theatre
    Dec. 19-31: Waitress, Buell Theatre
    Jan. 2-14, 2018: Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I, Buell Theatre
    Feb. 13-18, 2018: Stomp, Buell Theatre
    Feb. 27-Apr 1, 2018: Hamilton, Buell Theatre
    April 6-28, 2018: Disney’s Aladdin, Buell Theatre
    May 29-June 10, 2018: School of Rock, Buell Theatre
    June 13-July 1, 2018: The Book of Mormon, The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
    July 25-Aug 5, 2018: Les Misérables, Buell Theatre
    Aug. 8-19, 2018: On Your Feet! Buell Theatre


    Cast of The Wild Party. Photo by Adams VisCom
    From left: 'The Wild Party' castmates Emily Van Fleet, Laurence Curry, Sheryl McCallum and Drew Horwitz. Photos by Adams VisCom.


    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS OFF-CENTER

    Various locations, 303-893-4100 or the denver center’s home page
    Oct. 12-31: The Wild Party, at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace READ MORE
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries, with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Jones Theatre
    March 22-April 15, 2018: This Is Modern Art, Jones Theatre
    Spring/Summer 2018: Remote Denver, on the streets of Denver

    THE EDGE THEATER
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com
    Aug. 25-Sept. 17: Dinner
    Oct. 6-Nov. 5: A Delicate Balance
    Dec. 1-31: Resolutions

    EQUINOX THEATRE COMPANY
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com
    Nov. 10-Dec. 2: Disaster!

    EVERGREEN CHORALE

    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org
    Sept. 15-Oct. 8: Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame READ MORE

    EVERGREEN PLAYERS
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org
    Oct. 20-Nov. 1: The Explorers Club

    FIREHOUSE THEATER COMPANY
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com 
    Through Oct. 7: The Mystery of Love and Sex READ MORE
    Feb. 17-March 17, 2018: Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde

    FUNKY LITTLE THEATER COMPANY
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org
    Sept. 15-30: Maid to Order

    GERMINAL STAGE-DENVER
    At Westminster High School, 69th Avenue and Raleigh Street
    303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com
    Sept. 22-Oct.15: Absurdio

    INSPIRE CREATIVE
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303-805-6800 or Inspirecreative.org
    Sept. 29-Oct. 15: South Pacific
    Jan. 19-Feb 11, 2018: The Little Mermaid
    March 16-25, 2018: Laughter on the 23rd Floor
    July 13-Aug. 5, 2018: The Full Monty

    JESTERS DINNER THEATRE

    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com
    Through Oct. 1: Anything Goes

    LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org
    Through Sept. 17: Noises Off
    Sept. 15-24: Pretty Fire READ MORE
    Nov. 24-Dec. 17: Murder for Two

    Rape of the Sabine Women. Local Theater Company. Photo by George Lange.
    Erik Fellenstein in Local Theater Company's 'The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias.' Photo by George Lange. 

    LOCAL THEATER COMPANY

    Carsen Theater at The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org
    Oct. 27-Nov. 19: The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias READ MORE
    Feb. 28-March 26, 2018: Wisdom From Everything
    March 16-18, 2018: Local Lab 2018: New Play Festival

    LONE TREE ARTS CENTER
    10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, lonetreeartscenter.org
    Nov. 9-19: Love Letters

    LONGMONT THEATRE COMPANY
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page
    Sept. 15-24: The Outgoing Tide
    Oct. 13-28: The Rocky Horror Show
    Nov. 10-19: Becky’s New Car
    Dec. 8-17: Harry Connick Jr’s The Happy Elf
    Feb. 2-18, 2018: Steel Magnolias
    March 16-25, 2018: Leaving Iowa
    May 4-20, 2018: Gypsy

    LOWRY SPOTLIGHT THEATER COMPANY
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com
    Oct. 14-Nov. 11: Buyer & Cellar (co-production with Theatre Or)
    Jan. 6-Feb. 3, 2018: Rumors
    Feb. 9-March 18, 2018: Sleuth (co-production at Vintage Theatre at 1468 Dayton St., Aurora)
    March 31-April 28, 2018: The Diary of Anne Frank
    June 23-July 22, 2018: The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged

    MIDTOWN ARTS CENTER
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com
    Through Sept. 1-Nov. 11: Once READ MORE
    Nov. 17-Dec. 31: A Christmas Story
    Jan. 5-March 25, 2018: Always Patsy Cline
    Jan. 18-March 17, 2018: Fun Home
    March 23-May 26, 2018: Ragtime
    June 1-Aug. 25, 2018: Grease

    Curtiss Johns and Lisa DeCaro. Miners Alley Playhouse.
    Curtiss Johns and Lisa DeCaro in Miners Alley Playhouse's 'Les Liasons Dangereuses.'


    MINERS ALLEY PLAYHOUSE

    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or map’s home page
    Through Oct. 15: Les Liasons Dangereuses
    Sept. 16-Oct. 28: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (children’s)
    Nov. 24-Dec. 23: A Christmas Carol
    Jan. 26-March 4, 2018: Fun Home
    March 23-April 29, 2018: Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps
    May 18-June 24, 2018: District Merchants
    July 13-Aug. 19, 2018: Lend Me a Tenor
    Sept. 7-Oct. 14, 2018: Lungs
    Nov. 24-Dec. 23, 2018: A Christmas Carol

    OPENSTAGE & COMPANY
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org        
    Sept. 21-Oct. 14: Ideation (At ArtLab, 239 Linden St., Fort Collins)
    Oct. 28-Nov. 25: Monty Python's Spamalot
    Dec. 1-23: Christmas Chaos: Ralphie Gets Scrooged (at ArtLab, 239 Linden St.) 
    Jan. 20-Feb. 17, 2018: The Crucible
    March 31-April 28, 2018: And Then There Were None
    June 2-30, 2018: The Comedy of Errors (at The Park at Columbine Health Systems)

    PERFORMANCE NOW
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performancenow.org
    Through Sept. 24: The Marvelous Wonderettes
    Jan. 5-21, 2018: Into the Woods
    March 23-April 8, 2018: The Producers
    June 15-July 1, 2018: The Secret Garden

    PHAMALY THEATRE COMPANY
    At various locations, 303-575-0005 or phamaly,org
    Oct. 28-Nov. 4: Vox Phamilia: Under Construction, at Community College of Aurora, 16000 E, Centretech Parkway

    PLATTE VALLEY PLAYERS
    At The Armory at the Brighton Cultural Center, 300 Strong St., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org
    Oct. 13-21 2017: To Kill a Mockingbird

    PROGRESSIVE THEATRE
    Sept. 16-17: Belleville, at John Hand Theatre (benefiting Lowry’s Spotlight Theatre and Firehouse Theatre)

    ROCKY MOUNTAIN REPERTORY THEATRE

    800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com
    Through Sept. 30: Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver READ MORE

    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org
    Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret

    SPRINGS ENSEMBLE THEATRE
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org
    Oct. 12-29: Afterlife: A Ghost Story

    STAGEDOOR THEATRE
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoor’s home page
    Sept. 15-Oct. 1: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
    Oct. 6-22: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged
    Dec. 1-9: Cinderella
    Jan 26-Feb 11, 2018: Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps
    April 13-28, 2018: Fame
    May 11-20, 2018: Once Upon a Mattress
    July 13-29, 2018: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    STORIES ON STAGE
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, or
    At Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
    Sept. 17: A Little Help from My Friends (at Su Teatro)
    Oct. 7: The Year of Magical Thinking(at Dairy Arts Center, Boulder)
    Oct. 15: The Year of Magical Thinking (at Su Teatro)
    Nov. 11: On the Couch (at Su Teatro)
    Dec. 16: Making Merry (at Dairy Arts Center, Boulder)
    Dec. 17: Making Merry (at the King Center, Auraria campus)
    Jan. 13, 2018: The Penny Savers: A Buntport Collaboration (at Su Teatro)
    Feb. 11, 2018: Love & Marriage (Su Teatro)
    March 18, 2018: Wild Women (at Su Teatro)
    March 24, 2018: Wild Women (at Dairy Arts Center, Boulder)
    April 14, 2018: Course Correction (at Su Teatro)
    May 6, 2018: Thrilling Tales (at Su Teatro)

    SU TEATRO
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org
    Oct. 12-28: La Carpa Aztlan presents: I Don’t Speak English Only
    Dec. 7-23: The Miracle at Tepeyac

    THEATRE ASPEN
    The Hurst Theatre  470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org
    Sept. 12-16: The Mad Show (at the Wheeler Opera House, 320 E. Hyman Ave.)

    THEATRE COMPANY OF LAFAYETTE
    Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org
    No productions scheduled

    THEATRE ESPRIT ASIA
    At ACAD Gallery, 1400 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-492-9479, or teatheatre.org
    Oct. 7-29: Hearts of Palm

    THEATREWORKS
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org
    Sept. 7-24: Heisenberg, at the Bon Vivant Theatre
    Oct. 19-Nov. 5: Wild Honey at the Bon Vivant Theatre
    Nov. 30-Dec. 23: The Santaland Diaries, at the Bon Vivant Theatre
    Feb. 15-March 11, 2018: Oklahoma!, at the Ent Center for the Arts
    April 26-May 13, 2018: Amadeus, at the Ent Center for the Arts
    Feb. 22-March 4, 2018: Trouble in Tahiti, at the Ent Center for the Arts

    THIN AIR THEATRE COMPANY
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com
    Sept. 1-23: The Nerd
    Sept. 29-Oct. 28: The Toxic Avenger Musical READ MORE
    Nov. 24-Dec. 30: Angel of the Christmas Mine

    THUNDER RIVER
    67 Promenade, Carbondale, 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com
    Sept. 28-Oct. 14: Dead Man's Cell Phone
    Dec. 7-17: Constellations
    Feb. 22-March 10, 2018: The Price
    June 14-30, 2018: Bat Boy: The Musical

    In the Heights. Town Hall Arts Center. Photo by Becky Toma. TOWN HALL ARTS CENTER
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or town hall’s home page
    Sept. 8-Oct. 8: In the Heights READ MORE
    Nov. 10-Dec. 30: Seussical
    Jan. 12-Feb. 4, 2018: Peter and the Starcatcher
    Feb. 23-March 25, 2018: Something’s Afoot
    April 6-May 6, 2018: Sisters of Swing
    May 17-June 18, 2018: Aint Misbehavin’

    THE UPSTART CROW
    Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org
    Oct. 12-22: Richard III
    Dec. 7-17: Dear Brutus
    March 29-April 8, 2018: Playboy of the Western World
    May 24 - June 3, 2018: Under Milk Wood

    VINTAGE THEATRE
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com
    Sept. 1-Oct. 15: August: Osage County READ MORE
    Sept. 8-22: The Little Dog Laughed
    Nov. 3-Dec. 17: Honeymoon In Vegas
    Dec. 22-Dec. 31: I’ll Eat You Last: A Conversation with Sue Mengers
    Nov. 25-Jan. 14, 2018: Red
    Jan. 26-March 4, 2018: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    Feb. 9-March 25, 2018: Sleuth (co-production with Lowry Spotlight)
    Feb. 14, 2018: Same Time, Next Year (reading)
    March 30-May 13, 2018: The Audience
    April 13-May 27, 2018: Bullets Over Broadway
    June 1-July 8, 2018: Agnes of God
    June 22-Aug. 5, 2018: The Bridges of Madison County
    Aug. 3-Sept. 9, 2018: The Sunshine Boys
    Sept. 7-Oct. 21, 2018: The Kentucky Cycle, Parts 1 and 2
    Oct. 5-Nov. 11, 2018: Boston Marriage
    Nov. 23-Jan. 6, 2018: Mary Poppins
    Nov. 30-Dec. 31, 2018: A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show

  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'The Rape of the Sabine Women' and 'The Toxic Avenger Musical'

    by John Moore | Sep 09, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter has offered not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we expanded our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 10.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias


    Featured actor in the video above: Mare Trevathan, who says of 'The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias': 'The play explores consent and campus assault and rape culture, particularly as it relates to football. And yet it is very funny – until it’s not.’


    • Oct. 27-Nov. 19
    • Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    • Rape of the Sabine Women Mare Trevathan303-440-7826, or go to localtheaterco.org
    • Playwright: Michael Yates Crowley
    • Director: Christy Montour-Larson

    The story: Jeff and Bobby are stars of the gridiron, ready to lead the Springfield High Romans to Homecoming victory. But standing in front of the end zone is Grace B. Matthias, who has accused the two football heroes of rape. A story about truth and deception using the myths of the Roman Empire to explore what it means to love — and turn your back on — someone.

    But what is it about? This fast-paced comedy (until it isn’t) examines rape culture and sexual assault in America. Perhaps there is no better time to address these issues in Boulder, particularly with new allegations that a former assistant football coach at the University of Colorado abused a woman, and his boss did nothing about it. Theater is an opportunity to address of-the-moment issues and can be a catalyst for action, and for change. (Provided by Local Theater Company.)

    Note: As part of this production, Local Theater Company will be hosting a series of conversations with community experts around rape culture and sexual assault.

    Cast list:

    • Peter Henry Bussian
    • Erik Fellenstein
    • Cajardo Lindsey
    • Rodney Lizcano
    • Adeline Mann
    • Matt Schneck
    • Mare Trevathan
    • Brynn Tucker

    Rape of the Sabine Women Clockwise from lower left: Adeline Mann (twice), Erik Fellenstein and Cajardo Lindsey. Photos by George Lange.    


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical


    Featured actor in the video above: Kevin Pierce. Will you like 'The Toxic Avenger Musical’? Pierce says to ask yourself: ‘Do you like love stories? Do you like scrawny superheroes? Do you like stories about toxic waste?’


    • Sept. 29-Oct. 28
    • Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek
    Toxic Avenger Kevin PierceCall 719-689-3247 or go to thinairtheatre.com
    Written by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and David Bryan (keyboardist for Bon Jovi)
    • Director: Chris Armbrister
    • Music Director: James Mablin

    • The story:
    The Toxic Avenger Musical takes place in the recent past in Tromaville, N.J., a toxic-waste dump just off the Jersey Turnpike. When a well-meaning geek named Melvin Ferd III is dropped into a barrel of toxic waste by the town bullies, he vows to get his revenge  - and the girl - by cleaning up the town. Melvin is out to save N.J., end global warming and woo the prettiest blind librarian in town. Five actors play a multitude of characters in this PG-13 rock-musical comedy based on the 1985 cult classic film. (Provided by the Thin Air Theatre Company.)

    • What's the big deal? The Toxic Avenger became the talk of the 2017 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards when a production by the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre pulled a coup by winning both the Outstanding Actress (Colby Dunn) and Supporting Actress (Megan Van De Hey) awards. While this is a completely independent staging, the summer accolades left a lot of Henry Award wondering what all the mountain buzz was about. Thin Air Theatre Company's upcoming production provides audiences another opportunity to see the musical for themselves.  

    Cast list:
    Melvin Ferd III: Kevin Pierce
    Mayor" Sarah Brittany Ambler
    Babs Belgoody and Ma Ferd: Kelly Hackett
    White Dude: Nick Madson
    Black Dude: Vincent Hooper

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview was compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • First rehearsal: Forecast calls for 'A Snowy Day' at DCPA

    by John Moore | Sep 08, 2017
    Making of 'The Snowy Day'

    Photos from the first day of rehearsal for 'The Snowy Day Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats‬‬‬‬‬,' featuring a cast of, from left: Zak Reynolds, Rachel Kae Taylor and Robert Lee Hardy. To see more photos, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Up to 20,000 area children will experience what Director Allison
    Watrous calls 'the largest pop-up book ever.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    DCPA Education is fully launching its new Theatre for Young Audiences program on Sept. 21 with the opening of The Snowy Day and Other Stories in the Conservatory Theatre. It is estimated that 20,000 children from around the metro area will see the fully interactive production sometime this fall. 

    The Snowy Day, written in 1962 by Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, tells the simple story of a boy named Peter and the wonder of his first encounter with snow. The stage production also will include Keats' Whistle for Willie, Goggles and A Letter to Amy, each representing one season of the year.

    The Denver Center production, staged in full partnership with the design team from the DCPA Theatre Company, will include multimedia, puppets, projections and, of course ... lots of snow. "We are approaching this as the largest pop-up book ever," said Allison Watrous, both the DCPA's Director of Education and the Director of The Snowy Day. Added Scenic Designer Lisa M. Orzolek: "We're excited for this opportunity to bring the same quality of theatre to little people that we regularly offer on our main stages."

    The cast, which gathered for the first time Tuesday, will feature Robert Lee Hardy as Peter, along with Zak Reynolds and Rachel Kae Taylor in ensemble roles. Hardy played Carl Lee Hailey in Vintage Theatre's recent production of A Time to Kill. Taylor, who also will assist in designing shadow puppets for the play, is a DCPA Teaching Artist and At-Risk Coordinator.

    "I am excited for students to walk into the Conservatory Theatre and say to themselves, 'I can see myself as the hero of a story. I can see myself inside a story. And I can create my own story,' " Watrous said. "What Ezra Jack Keats is saying to them is, 'Yes, you absolutely can create a story.' And we want to help them to discover their authentic voice in that process."

    Story continues after the photo:

    The Snowy Day. Photo by John Moore.


    Watrous promises a brightly colored world that will depict the simple beauty of discovery in singular childhood moments such as learning how to whistle, discovering snow and the art of the first jump-rope. Keats' series was considered revolutionary for its time because he chose to make a black child his protagonist. Keats' stories also address the challenges of growing up, from social interactions to bullying to how to properly ask a girl to a second-grader's birthday party.

    School groups will be invited to stay after each performance and participate in complementary (and complimentary!) 45-minute workshops presented by DCPA Teaching Artists. "That will give them the opportunity to really dive into the tactile world of the show inside our studio classrooms," Watrous said.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The creative team includes many family connections, including Stage Manager Rachel Ducat and her husband, award-winning Sound Designer Jason Ducat. "We have 3-year-old twins and we are excited to expose them to theatre," said Rachel Ducat.

    The goal of the Theatre for Young Audiences program is not only to expose children to theatre at a young age, but to give them an boost in their overall childhood development as well. According to the Denver Great Kids Head Start Community Assessment 2016, early exposure to the arts reduces dropout rates, improves standardized test scores, increases graduation rates and increases the likelihood of a student receiving a college degree (the latter by 165 percent).

    The Snowy Day. Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, Photo by John Moore. “If you cultivate the wonder of the arts at an early age, then that becomes part of the fabric of the learner - and the human being,” Watrous said. “Theatre makes you a stronger reader. Theatre makes you more collaborative. Theatre makes connections in your mind that can change how you look at a book, how you look at a painting, how you look at a sculpture and how you look at difficult issues in our world. Of all the beautiful transferable skills you can develop through live theatre, perhaps the most important is that it can make you more empathetic in how you view the world."

    (Pictured right: The DCPA's Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski has developed the classroom curriculum that accompanies the 'Snowy Day' experience. Photo by John Moore.)

    Most of the 100 performances will be held on weekdays for schools taking field trips to the Denver Center. Saturday performances will be open to the public. Tickets are $10, but the DCPA will make 9,000 “scholarships” (free tickets) available to teachers whose students need financial assistance to attend.

    "I am just beyond excited for our community," said Denver Center President and CEO Janice Sinden. "This is why we are here. It's all about the children. This is our future." 


    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.

    Cast and creative team:

    • Actors: Robert Lee Hardy, Zak Reynolds and Rachel Kae Taylor
    • Director: Allison Watrous
    • Music Direction: Robyn Yamada
    • Scenic Design: Lisa M. Orzolek
    • Costume and Puppet Design: Kevin Copenhaver
    • Projection Design: Matthew Plamp
    • Composer: Victor Zupanc
    • Lighting Design: Shannon McKinney
    • Stage Manager: Rachel Ducat
    • Sound Design: Jason Ducat

    The Snowy Day and Other Stories: Ticket information

    • Written by Ezra Jack Keats; adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston
    • Sept. 21-Nov. 18
    • School performances: Weekdays 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. (except Thursdays are at 9:30 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

    DCPA Education to launch Theatre for Young Audiences

    The Snowy Day. Allsion Watrous. Photo by John Moore. Director Allison Watrous, with her cast behind her, at the first rehearsal for 'The Snowy Day.' Photo by John Moore.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'A Delicate Balance' and 'Once'

    by John Moore | Sep 08, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 9.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: The Edge Theater Company’s A Delicate Balance


    Featured actor in the video above: The inimitable Martha Harmon Pardee introduces Edward Albee in a way only she can. "It's just another little peek at a highly functional, loving American family," she says. 

    • Oct. 6-Nov. 5
    • 1560 Teller St., Lakewood
    Martha Harmon Pardee. A Delicate Balance. Edge Theatre303-232-0363 or go to theedgetheater.com
    • Playwright: Edward Albee
    • Director: Warren Sherrill

    The story: Set in the mid-1960s, Agnes and Tobias, a wealthy, middle-aged couple, are visited by their good friends and neighbors who bring an unclear threat with them to the already precarious household. Emotions are painfully stifled because the agenda is to keep up appearances to ward off the madness.

    But what is it about? In the current socio-political atmosphere, it is more important than ever to not be stale or mediocre. A Delicate Balance explores what happens when we choose to live a life of suppressed emotion and false happiness. A cosmetic wall of politeness can hide the terror of nothingness behind it. (Provided by The Edge Theater Company.)

    Cast list:

    • Agnes Martha Harmon Pardee
    • Tobias: Kevin Hart
    • Claire: Emma Messenger
    • Julia: Maggy Stacy
    • Edna: Abby Apple Boes
    • Harry: Steve Emily


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Midtown Arts Center's Once


    Featured in the video above: Actor, musician and co-Musical Director Barry DeBois. It's different from other musicals because all of the actors on the stage are playing instruments. They are the orchestra."

    • Through  Nov. 11
    • 3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins
    Barry DeBoisCall 970-225-2555 or go to midtownartscenter.com
    Written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (music and lyrics); Enda Walsh (book)
    • Director: Kurt Terrio
    • Music Director: Barry DeBois and Kurt Terrio

    • The story:
    Once features an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, telling the moving tale of a contemporary Dublin street musician who is about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young Czech woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs.

    • But what is it about? Once is a celebration of life and love. It is a romance centering around two individuals who, while culturally different, find that love can blossom in different ways for each of them. It speaks to the power of music to bring divergent world views together. (Provided by the Midtown Arts Center.)

    Cast list:
    Barry DeBois: Guy
    Elena Juliano: Girl
    John Jankow: Da
    John Seaberry: Bank Manager
    Charity Haskins: Reza
    Rebecca Monk: Baruska
    Carl Pariso: Eamon
    Dan Middleditch: Andrej
    Cody Craven: Svec
    Zoe Manloas: Ex-Girlfriend
    Nick Stokes: Billy
    Stella Seaman and Cassidy Terrio: Ivonka

    More creatives:
    Stage Manager: Kyle Dill
    Choreographer: Michael Lasris
    Production Manager and Scenic Design: Mickey Burdick
    Lighting Design: Nicole Kramer
    Sound Design: Corey Hatch
    Costume design: Anthony Mattevi

    Barry DeBois Once Midtown
    The actor/musicians who make up the cast of Midtown Arts Center's Colorado premiere staging of the Broadway musical 'Once.'

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 'Appropriate' a call for America to clean out its bigoted closet

    by John Moore | Sep 07, 2017

    Jamil Jude. Appropriate.


    Curious Theatre's season-opening family drama unearths nation's freshly dug racial skeletons

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Charlottesville didn’t rip open a deep American scab last month. For a scab to be ripped open, it would have had to have time to heal.

    “This is not new. Not to me, anyway,” said DCPA Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett, an African-American woman. “The marching you saw in Charlottesville has been happening every single day of my life. It is only new to eyes that have been willfully blind to it.”

    Appropriate. Curious Theatre. Michael Ensminger. But the festering racial divide that was exposed on the streets of Virginia was given a horrifyingly modern face by the dozens of white supremacists who did not even feel the compunction to cover their heads, as their forebears often did decades before while burning crosses and lynching African-Americans under anonymous hoods and cloaks.

    Jamil Jude, the Associate Artistic Director at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, was in Denver the day James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly plowed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of Virginia pedestrians, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Jude was here rehearsing Curious Theatre Company’s incendiary new family drama Appropriate, which introduces Colorado theatre audiences to rising young playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

    (Pictured above right, from left: Dee Covington, Sean Scrutchins and Erik Sandvold in Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    No one in Colorado knows the MacArthur Genius better than Jude and Garrett, who have a broad range of separate and shared experiences directing his work at theatres around the country.

    Jacobs-Jenkins’ six published plays all address race relations in some way, Garrett said. Neighbors, for example, from a strictly black perspective. An Octoroon from the lens of American history. And Appropriate, which plays at Curious through Oct. 14, from an entirely white lens. And while the three plays do not constitute a trilogy, Jude says, they could serve as one.

    Story continues after the video:

    Featured actor in the video above: Sean Scrutchins of Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.'

    In Appropriate, three adult, estranged siblings descend on a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate. He was a powerful man who graduated at the top of his Harvard law class and was on his way to becoming a Supreme Court justice when he died. But when his children find gruesome Southern artifacts among his belongings, they are forced to question who this man was, and the bigotry they have descended from.

    “This family’s legacy is exactly what marched down the street in Charlottesville, and in Berkeley, and tried to do the same in San Francisco and Boston,” Garrett said.

    Jamil Jude Nataki Garrett Appropriate. Enter, into Denver, the work of Jacobs-Jenkins, whose Neighbors is a scathing satire of black entertainment though an uncouth family of black actors named the Crows who perform in blackface. He rose to national prominence with An Octoroon, a modern riff on Dion Boucicault’s 1859 classic melodrama that makes for a subversive take on race in America then and now.

    (Pictured right: Nataki Garrett and Jamil Jude.)

    “The throughline with all three plays is that in the American zeitgeist, there is this need to have conversations around race in which ‘The Other’ does not exist,” said Garrett, who will be directing Lydia R. Diamond’s racially charged Smart People for the DCPA Theatre Company in October. “So when you say, ‘I am not a racist,’ or, ‘I don't see color,’ that requires ‘The Other’ to not exist. What Branden's plays all suggest is that you can't have one without the other. You cannot live outside of that.”

    To theatre audiences, Appropriate might seem to be a racial incongruity. Jacobs-Jenkins has been hailed as one of the essential new African-American voices in the American theatre. But you won’t see an African-American actor on stage at Curious Theatre. And that, said Jude, is by design. Garrett, who has directed both An Octoroon and Neighbors from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, says that in a metro area like Denver where the population is only 10 percent African-American, it just makes practical sense to introduce audiences to Jacobs-Jenkins’ work with Appropriate.

    Our 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Appropriate

    Garrett recalls a recent evening attending a local theatre production accompanied by Denver Center CEO Janice Sinden, who is white. “A very nice white woman approached me and asked, ‘How did you get here?’ ” Garrett said. “She didn’t ask Janice that question. She asked me. I didn’t know how to answer her, so I just said, ‘I got into my car and drove here.

    “So you can't just start all the way over there,” Garrett added. “You have to condition all of your audience to be able to sit in that room together. And that means you need a few more plays before you get there.”

    Jude believes Jacobs-Jenkins has plenty to say about race from the perspective of white characters, but he said there is an elephant in the room, and it is most definitely white. “Appropriate will be one of the most-produced plays in America over the next two to three years, and that is absolutely by his design,” he said, “because it is a play that talks about race - and you don't have to hire any people of color to do it.”

    That is not the case at Curious though. Jude said it was important to the company that it hire an African-American to direct the play. And it was important for Jude to bring more people of color inside the creative process. His assistant director is acclaimed area actor Jada Dixon (who will be appearing in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s upcoming The Revolutionists), and he invited in several recent college graduates to assist and learn in various ways.

    Jude assumes and accepts that the majority of his audiences for Appropriate will be white. And given the freshness of Jacobs-Jenkins’ voice, they might be surprised, he said, by just how traditional Appropriate will seem to them, at least in form. This is a classic living-room family drama that Jacobs-Jenkins says he gleefully ripped off in style from Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard and Tracy Letts. Academics call the living-room drama “an inherited form," and borrowing from that form, Jude said, is also by design.

    “When you look at some of the great plays of the past century, the issue of race is so deeply rooted into these characters, even though it is never discussed that way,” he said. “We never go out of our way to say, 'Oh this is a white Southern experience,’ or, ‘This is a white Northern experience.’ We just assume that it is. I think this is Branden’s way of saying, 'I am going to appropriate this form, and I am going to use it to have a deeper conversation with you about race. We're bringing all of that to the table, so you can't circumvent it. You have to embrace it. You have to investigate it.”

    And there is that key word: Appropriate.

    The title of the play is very much a double entendre. There is “appropriate,” as in, “suitable for a given occasion.” And there is the alternately pronounced take on the word meaning “borrowing (or stealing) from a particular person or culture.”

    “This play is definitely, intentionally both,” said Jude. “He's very much saying, ‘This is the conversation I want to have. You all have identified me as a black playwright, and anytime I write something, you say that it is racially charged. Well, then, I am going to use the most American of play forms - the living-room drama - and I am going to have a conversation about whiteness and race using that very form.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    But if a familiarity with the form momentarily lulls the audience into a false sense of comfort, Jude says, just you wait. “He challenges that (bleep) right away," he said. Like two pages into the script.

    "Even as the lights start to go down, you are immediately made to feel slight discomfort that will grow throughout the play, regardless of who you are. I don't know if we ever get comfortable.”  

    Those white supremacists were certainly marching comfortably in Charlottesville last month, “and that’s because Donald Trump has allowed them to feel comfortable,” Jude said. “What needs to be unmasked now are not the names of individual protesters but rather those people who are in positions of real power, especially in the judicial system, who hold these personal prejudices and apply their power in ways that are abusive and unjust. It is the system that is the problem, not the people inside of it.

    “In this play, we see a family that is wrestling with the question, ‘What do I do with the legacy that has been passed down to me?’ And we see them constantly fail to eradicate the system they come from.”

    Jacobs-Jenkins’ plays are a gift to his audiences, Jude said. “He gives audiences a chance to investigate their own family origins and then hopefully inspire them to do something about it,” he said.

    Mare Trevathan and Audrey Graves in Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)“I hope people walk out of this play and then ask their parents deep questions about where they came from and how they were raised,” he said. “I don't feel like we can actually address issues around systemic injustice, police brutality and inequality until we start to clean up our own houses. You have to clean your own closets before you can go somewhere else and start to address it.

    “I hope when people walk out of this play, they really question what is happening in their own families. I hope they say, ‘Uncle Frank says some really sexist stuff. How can I challenge my own sexist ideologies so that I can then challenge Uncle Frank? Then, when my kids see Uncle Frank being sexist, they might not think that's funny.' ”

    Little frustrates Jude more than white friends telling him they just can’t talk to their conservative family members at the holidays.

    “Listen, you are not my ally if you can't talk to your own family member about me at your dinner table,” Jude said. “Because if your family member is racist, or if your family member believes in building a wall on our Southern border, then they are never going to let my black (butt) at their dinner table so that I can try to challenge their notions myself. So, don't tell me you are my ally when you don't fight for me in my stead. If you don't fight for people who look like me, and you choose to pass the buck and hope that somehow, through osmosis, your family members can change, then we are not friends.”

    And until we can engage in those deeper conversations, Garrett said, “We are kind of screwed as a nation.”

    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.

    (Pictured above and right: Mare Trevathan, Rhianna DeVries and Audrey Graves in Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    Appropriate: Ticket information

    • Presented by Curious Theatre Company
    • Sept. 2-Oct. 14
    • 1080 Acoma St.
    • 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org
    • Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

    Cast list:

    • Dee Covington: Toni
    • Erik Sandvold: Bo
    • Mare Trevathan: Rachel
    • Sean Scrutchins: Frank
    • Alec Sarché: Rhys
    • Rhianna DeVries: River
    • Audrey Graves: Cassidy
    • Harrison Lyles-Smith: Ainsley

     Creatives:
    • Jamil Jude: Director
    • Markas Henry: Scenic Designer
    • Kevin Brainerd: Costume Designer
    • Richard Devin: Lightning Designer
    • Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    • Kristin MacFarlane: Props Designer
    • Dane Torbenson: Fight Choreographer
    • Jada Suzanne Dixon: Assistant Director
    • A. Phoebe Sacks: Stage Manager

  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'Pretty Fire' and 'Hi-Hat Hattie'

    by John Moore | Sep 07, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 8.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s Pretty Fire


    Featured actor in the video above: Nina Waters

    • Sept. 15-24
    • At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center
    A Nina Waters Pretty Fire 400970-513-9386 or go to lakedillontheatre.org
    • Playwright: Charlayne Woodard
    • Director: Joshua Blanchard

    The story: Two young sisters navigate life in the 1950s shifting between the dual landscapes of New York and Rosignol Hill, Ga. More than a dozen memorable characters weave together one family’s story forever informed by soulful jazz melodies, integrated classrooms, sizzling smoked sausages and the flickering flames of one burning cross.

    But what is it about? Pretty Fire explores African-American life in the mid-20th century, touching on issues that remain topical in today’s America: Class inequity, individual and institutional racism, and violence against women. Pretty Fire is also an uplifting tale of courage, family and faith that delivers a positive message for anyone struggling with today’s pervading social unrest. (Provided by Lake Dillon Theatre Company.)

    Note: Pretty Fire is part of Lake Dillon's Lab Solo Series and will be performed in its most intimate setting, with a capacity of about 30. Click here to read our coverage of the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center's recent opening.)

    Cast list:

    • Nina Waters as all characters

    Nina Waters Pretty Fire. Lake Dillon.Nina Waters in rehearsal for Lake Dillon Theatre Company's 'Pretty Fire.'


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie


    Featured actor in the video above: Anna Maria High. 'She was a trailblazer for black women in the arts, and in life,’ High says. ‘She overcame gender, racial and appearance discrimination, and left behind an epic legacy that will inspire many for generations to come.'


    • Nov. 24-Dec. 23
    • Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave.
    Anna Maria High. Hi-Hat Hattie. Aurora Fox. Call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org
    Written by Larry Parr
    • Director: To be announced
    • Music Director: Jodel Charles

    • The story:
    Hi-Hat Hattie is the thought-provoking, one-woman musical biography of the first African-American to win an Academy Award. Of her iconic and controversial role as a maid in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel famously said, “Hell, I’d rather play a maid that be one.” The story traces McDaniel’s transformation from a stunned young woman twice widowed into the graceful and forceful artist who never buckled under the restraints of appearance, gender or race.

    • But what is it about? Family, love, loss, race and prejudice are all in the spotlight in this moving portrayal of an entertainment legend. (Provided by the Aurora Fox.)

    Cast list:
    Anna Maria High as Hattie McDaniel

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • Performer lineup for 'Miscast 2017' is announced

    by John Moore | Sep 06, 2017
    Miscast 2016

    Photos from 'Miscast 2016,' which raised more than $7,000 for the Denver Actors Fund.  To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and press the forward arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Many of those appearing are giving back to the local nonprofit that was there for them in their time of need

    Miscast 2017, the fourth annual fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund, returns Sept. 25 to the Town Hall Arts Center with funnymen Eric Mather and Steven J. Burge as this year's hosts, it was announced today.

    Mather is the host of the Clocktower Cabaret's weekly BLUSH: A Burlesque Fantasy, while Burge just played God in the DCPA's extended hit comedy An Act of God and soon will return to the Galleria Theatre in the new relationship musical First Date.

    Miscast 2017 hosts Eric Mather and Steven J. BurgeMiscast is an opportunity for some of the local theatre community’s top performers to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever … get cast to perform on a legitimate stage. The program includes audience-participation games and general silliness.

    Last year's Miscast
    raised $7,067 for the Denver Actors Fund, which provides financial and practical relief for members of the Colorado theatre community facing situational medical need. In just four years, this grassroots nonprofit has distributed more than $120,000 in direct aid to help local artists, along with neighborly assistance from a group of 60 volunteers.

    One of the more than 70 artists who have been helped by The Denver Actors Fund is Mather, who received financial and other volunteer support when his son was born last year at just 1 pound, 9 ounces.

    "We are thankful to the Denver Actors Fund and the local theatre community for helping us in our time of financial need," Mather said. "It really does take a village.”

    Actors from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs submitted proposed songs along with their  "Miscast concepts" for judges to consider, and once again, Miscast Director Robert Michael Sanders said he received far more submissions than he had performance slots.

    "This year's turnout was completely overwhelming," said Sanders. All applications were considered by a special selection committee based on variety and cleverness, among other factors. A premium, Sanders said, is placed on submissions that extend beyond simple race- or gender-swapping.

    "We made the choices we think best suit this year's show," said Sanders, who called the resulting list "the best cross-section of talent from many different theaters, types and styles of performances."

    2017 Miscast


    Sanders has announced the following lineup of actors who will either perform or appear at this year's Miscast. But he's keeping their planned songs secret until their performances. The list includes Hope Grandon, PR and Events Manager for the DCPA Theatre Company (and former Chicago performer). Several of those listed have received prior assistance from The Denver Actors Fund, most recently Norrell Moore of the Arvada Center's upcoming A Chorus Line. Moore was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 and has received $3,900 from The Denver Actors Fund to help her through it. The full list (in alphabetical order) is subject to change:

    • Jona Alonzo
    • Avery Anderson
    • Miscast 2016. Photo by John Moore. Randy Chalmers
    • Reace Daniel
    • Jackson Garske
    • Abner Genece
    • Hope Grandon
    • Nick Johnson
    • Margie Lamb
    • Daniel Langhoff
    • Norrell Moore
    • Kenny Moten
    • Jose David Reynoza
    • Jeremy Rill
    • Andrew Uhlenhopp
    • Destiny Walsh
    • Jalyn Courtenay Webb

    And featuring the return of the Killer Kids of Miscast:

    • Kaden Hinkle
    • Hannah Katz
    • Darrow Klein
    • Evan Gibley
    • Rylee Vogel
    • Hannah Meg Weinraub

    Creative team:

    • Director: Robert Michael Sanders
    • Musical Director: Donna Debreceni
    • Stage Manager: Maegan Burnell
    • Assistant to the Director: Jessica Swanson

    (Pictured above right: Anna High, Suzanne Connors Nepi, Tim Howard and Barret Harper in 'Miscast 2016.')

    This year's event will include several special performance twists, such as a series of games a la Jimmy Fallon and other late night TV hosts. Many area merchants and theatre companies, including the Denver Center, are contributing more than $1,000 in prizes for the event.

    Miscast 2017: Ticket information

    • Monday, Sept. 25
    • Doors open at 6 p.m.; show starts at 7 p.m.
    • At the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, CO, 80120
    • $20 (plus fees if ordered online)
    • Call 303-794-2787 or order online at townhallartscenter.org
    • Cash bar available

    Learn more about DAF at www.denveractorsfund.org. Follow DAF at Denver Actors Fund on Facebook or on Twitter at @DenverActorsFun.


    Video: The Killer Kids of Miscast 2016

    Watch the video that has been viewed nearly half a million times on social media since last September's 'Miscast 2016.' The so-called 'Killer Kids of Miscast' will be back this year with a new number. The 2016 lineup was Sydney Fairbairn, Evan Gibley, Kaden Hinkle, Hanna Katz, Darrow Klein and Hannah Meg Weinraub.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.