• Game on: Ten things we learned at 'Tommy' first rehearsal

    by John Moore | Mar 20, 2018
    The making of 'The Who's Tommy'


    Photos from the first rehearsal of the DCPA Theatre Company's production of 'The Who's Tommy.' To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full Flickr photo gallery Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The appeal of Tommy: The Who's adapted rock opus proves musical theatre can be both dangerous and entertaining

    By John Moore
    SenIor Arts Journalist

    Staging The Who’s Tommy has been a dream of Director Sam Buntrock’s since 1995, when the wiry young Brit saw one of the first performances of The Who's theatricalized tale of the deaf, dumb and blind kid at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. And Buntrock doesn't even like musicals.

    But this wasn't any musical. It was The Who. And it wasn't a musical — not really. It was an unprecedented rock opera directed by the legendary Des McAnuff. "That extraordinary production showed me that musical theatre could be dangerous as well as entertaining," Buntrock said on the first day of rehearsal for his own upcoming DCPA Theatre Company production. "And I have harbored a desire to approach it myself ever since."

    Kevin Copenhaver. Tommy. Photo by John MooreSince is now, 23 years later.

    Tommy — the record and the stage adaptation — is Pete Townshend's psychedelic trip down memory lane. It tells the story of a boy who retreats into a world of darkness and silence after witnessing a traumatic incident and emerges as a rock-star pinball wizard. It is based largely on Townshend’s boyhood story, when he was sent away by his parents because London had become unsafe during the second world war. “He went to live with a grandmother who was severely mentally ill, and a number of terrible things happened to him,” Buntrock said. “He wrote this piece from the heart.”

    The Who had released three records by 1969, and by then Townshend was wanting to progress beyond the standard three-minute pop-single. So he wrote the trippy pinball opus that changed rock forever.

    (Pictured above and right: Costume Designer Kevin Copenhaver.)

    "I want to tell Pete’s story as authentically as possible," Buntrock said. "I want to tell the story of the repercussions of a moment of violence on this family, and how that cascades down over time and lasts for decades.”

    The Who's Tommy cast list includes Broadway stars

    Buntrock says The Who’s Tommy is about parents failing. “It's about growing up and realizing parents are just people. They are not gods anymore,” he said. “What Pete tapped into, as all geniuses do, was taking something deeply personal and finding a way to explode it into this fantastical story.”

    And, Buntrock added, “No one else in the world will be able to tell that story like we are telling it — and that is a testament to how great Denver is. This is a phenomenal theatre. This particular building is magical to me."

    Here are 10 more things we learned at first rehearsal of The Who’s Tommy:

    Sam Buntrock. Tommy. Photo by John Moore

    NUMBER 1I’m a sensation. There should be a moratorium on saying this, Buntrock admitted, “but Tommy was a sensation,” he said. “It became something more than itself.” He recalled a great story about when the band performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1971. “At the end of that concert,” Buntrock said, “Leonard Bernstein ran up to Pete Townshend, grabbed him by the lapels and said, 'Do you know what you have done?' That's Tommy. That album caused a huge shift in how rock music was considered.”

    NUMBER 2

    Throw the book at them. Buntrock has encouraged every member of his creative team to read Townshend's autobiography Who I Am. (The title is a variation on the band's anthem “Who Are You?”). At age 50, Townshend wrote an undelivered letter to his 8-year-old son. In it, the father advises the son to be a pessimist. “It is the safest, most pragmatic way to be,” Townshend wrote. “Being an optimist may enrich the lives of others … but it leads you unaware to danger.” Says Buntrock: “It’s one hell of a read. It's so generous and open and profound.”

    NUMBER 3The watered-down truth. Many of Buntrock’s out-of-town cast members are still adjusting to life — and singing — at a mile high. Music Director Gregg Coffin has encouraged them to drink plenty of water. But how much is enough? "Take your weight and divide it by two,” he said. “That’s how many ounces of water you should drink every day. "

    NUMBER 4

    See me … at age 4. Expect to see more of 4-year-old Tommy in Buntrock’s show than you ever have before, he said. The whole point is for us to see the story of Tommy’s parents through the 4-year-old’s eyes, Buntrock said. But in most stage productions, you only see the 4-year-old for about a minute before he’s gone for good. Not here. “We get to live in the 4-year-old’s head for about 15 minutes, right up until the moment of violence and everything gets taken away,” Buntrock said. “This approach will allow us to see the world the way he sees it until he literally hands the story over to his adult self. That way, when we get to the end, we know how extraordinary the journey has been — because we have been inside the mind of the 4-year-old. We know how beautiful that is. How untouched that is. How pure and how limitless that is. And hopefully, you know, everyone will be in tears by then.”

    NUMBER 5Clap on, clap off. This will make pretty much anyone who grew up with The Who’s music feel old, but here it is: The Who’s Tommy is a period piece. Hard as that might be for anyone still breathing to accept that, it’s true. The story begins when Tommy is a child in the 1940s and runs through the 1960s. Period piece.

    Mientus scheduled to appear at Alamo screening March 26

    NUMBER 6Well, that’s Smash-ing. Young Broadway and screen star Andy Mientus (Smash, Spring Awakening, The Flash) is starring as Tommy at age 18. And he has agreed to spend his only day off over a 13-day span entertaining the audience before Monday’s (March 26) screening of the film Tommy at the Alamo Drafthouse near Sloan’s Lake. The screening raises money for The Denver Actors Fund, which has made $218,000 in medical relief available to Colorado theatre artists over four years. Mientus will sing at least one song from the show, take questions, and help with trivia and ticket giveaways before the Alamo screens the movie that inspired the stage adaptation. Tickets are $20. Choose your preferred seats here.

    Andy Mientus and Charlie Korman. Photo by John Moore
    Charlie Korman and Andy Mientus. Photo by John Moore

    NUMBER 7Intimacy issues. As the legacy of The Who has grown larger over the years, the stage musical has continued to get smaller. Music Director Gregg Coffin (A Christmas Carol, Sweeney Todd with DeVotchKa) said that when The Who’s Tommy bowed on Broadway in 1995, the principal adult cast was 18 people. “It was down to 10 when it toured, and we're taking it down to eight,” he said. “I’m really excited about that because we are bringing it back to that 1969 sound when it was just the four guys in the band performing it. We are going to get small and iconic and authentic very, very quickly.” 

    NUMBER 8David Hess as Sweeney TossWho are you? David Hess, who plays three roles including the minister, was playing Sweeney Todd at the late Country Dinner Playhouse in south Denver (pictured right) long before he played the Demon Barber on Broadway. Hess had many triumphant moments at the beloved dinner theatre from 1991-93, but one of his favorite memories was playing Curly in Oklahoma. “I was supposed to throw a rope over this hook, but one night I kept missing it,” he told me in a previous interview. “The audience roared with laughter, so I told them, ‘Hey, it’s not as easy as it looks.’ I only found out later that the whole house had been bought out that night — they were all cowboys and cattlemen.”

    NUMBER 9Sound? Check. The sound designer for The Who’s Tommy is former rock engineer Ken Travis (Disney’s Aladdin, coming to Denver April 7) and he will be introducing sound techniques in Tommy that have not yet been heard on any stage before. “He’s a genius,” Buntrock said. “He invented a sound system for Aladdin I'll never understand. This machine physically knows where an actor is onstage at any time, so it can pan the sound. When it was confirmed that I would be doing Tommy, I said to myself, ‘I have to ask Ken to do sound’ — but it got announced right away, and I immediately got an email from Ken saying, 'I am doing this without you even asking me.’ Ken has developed this sound system in Germany that is capable of things that are really rather extraordinary, and we are going to be the first to use it in this production. I’ll just say you are going to feel like you are inside the music — without it being too much. So, that will be fun."

    NUMBER 10Jason Sherwood 160Where's Jason? The Scenic Designer of record is the uber-hot Jason Sherwood, who has designed Macbeth, The Wild Party and now The Who’s Tommy for the Denver Center this season alone. He also designed the sets for The Chainsmokers and Sam Smith’s appearances on Saturday Night Live. Sherwood was not present at Tommy’s first rehearsal, Buntrock said, because he is in Wakefield (in the U.K.), designing the set for Sam Smith's upcoming world tour (Which stops in Denver on Aug. 21). But Buntrock and Sherwood are in lockstep on Tommy. “He's the yin to my yang,” Buntrock said. “He augments how I think. He makes everything I do better, and what he has done for this show is remarkable.”

    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 Who's Tommy: Ticket information

    Tommy_show_thumbnail_160x160Based on The Who’s iconic 1969 rock concept album, Tommy is an exhilarating musical about the challenges of self-discovery and the resilience of the human spirit. When young Tommy retreats into a world of darkness and silence after a deeply traumatic incident, he must navigate a harsh and unforgiving world with no hope of recovery. But when he discovers a newfound talent for pinball, he’s swept up in the fame and fortune of his success. Tommy and his family give new voice to The Who’s classic stadium rock as they navigate the troubles and joys of being alive.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances Apr 20-May 27
    • Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Who's Tommy:
    Tommy to star Andy Mientus and other Broadway stars in Denver
  • Abner Genece: An actor survives, and the son also rises

    by John Moore | Mar 18, 2018
    Abner Genece. Matthew Gale Photography. Arvada Center.


    When the actor took one small step onto the Arvada Center stage, it was one giant leap back from near-fatal tragedy

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    When actor Abner Genece woke up days after the accident with as many tubes in his body as broken bones, he wasn’t thinking of whether he might ever perform again. He was thinking of his son, Jayden, who had been airlifted from the highway carnage to a pediatric trauma center in another state.

    “I was confused and upset,” said Genece, whose body was being held together by nine permanent titanium plates — and held down by physical restraints.

    But then he remembered hearing Jayden’s voice cut through the cacophony of fear in those terrifying initial moments after impact: “I’m OK, Daddy. I love you, Daddy.”

    Abner Genece Selfie with Jayden“As soon as I was able to think more clearly, I was assured by the trauma staff and my brother and sister that Jayden was indeed alive,” Genece said this week, eight months after he and Jayden were struck from behind by a semi-truck traveling at nearly 70 mph. Days later, he said, “what could have happened to Jayden dawned on me in its full clarity.”

    Father and son were driving to Oregon to visit cousins for the holiday weekend. They were stopped on a Wyoming highway by police because of an accident ahead. Genece remembers stopping at a rest stop a few minutes before to fuel up and buy some snacks. “We even took a selfie,” he said (pictured above and right). Genece doesn’t remember getting back into the car. “I only remember waking up several days later in a Salt Lake City intensive-care unit.”

    Genece and his son both sustained multiple, life-threatening injuries. Abner required several surgeries on his ribs and spine. Jayden, who was 11 at the time, had to wear a neck brace for several months. Both needed dental surgery to repair their teeth.

    Genece’s spirits were high that day. He had been recently featured in Curious Theatre’s Water by the Spoonful, and just the day before had participated as a director and performer in Curious’ National Collective Festival, a week-long intensive for promising young playwrights. Genece was preparing to perform in a play that September in Jackson, Wyo. And he had just received word days before that he was one of 11 actors chosen as full members of the Arvada Center’s Black Box Theatre Company for the 2017-18 season. That not only meant he would be performing in three plays in repertory — he had guaranteed employment for a year. It is considered one of the best jobs any actor in Denver can get.   

    Lynne Collins, artistic director of the Arvada Center’s repertory company, chose Genece to play Sir John in Sense and Sensibility, Jim Bayless in All My Sons and Ambimbola in The Electric Baby. So when she got the call days later that Genece was now fighting for his life in a Utah hospital, Collins couldn’t wrap her head around the sadness of it all — and the heavy irony.

    Abner Genece Sense and Sensibility“Just a week before, Abner was auditioning to play a Nigerian man who spends 90 percent of the play in a hospital bed wondering if he will ever walk again,” Collins said of The Electric Baby. That’s a play about a woman who causes a car accident that kills a young man and brings together a group of fractured souls who connect around a mysterious dying baby who glows like the moon.

    “When I cast him in the role, Abner told me, ‘I understand this character’s background. I know I can do the dialect. But you know what? I have never spent any time in a hospital,’ ” Collins said. He thought maybe he should spend some time in a hospital to better prepare for the role. And a week later … “

    A week later, Genece was facing a long road toward recovery that would be difficult, painful, expensive and presumably quite slow. His new daily regimen would now include ongoing physical, occupational and mental therapies.

    But one thing he never had to worry about was whether he still had a job at the Arvada Center at the end of October. In fact, the Arvada Center sent bouquet of flowers to the I.C.U. the very next day.

    Photos: NewsCenter coverage of All My Sons opening night

    “It never occurred to me not to stick with Abner,” Collins said. “Just as a general rule, you should try very hard not to punish people on the heels of a very horrible tragedy in their lives. The idea of making Abner’s situation worse by abandoning him was simply not an option.”

    Genece said support from Collins and Arvada Center Executive Director Philip Sneed was steadfast and clear from the beginning. “What was unclear was whether I would be physically able to return by the time rehearsals for Sense and Sensibility began,” said Genece.

    “The decision would be mine,” he added. “I would return only if I felt that I could perform at the level that I had set for myself."

    (Story continues below the video.)

    Video: Abner Genece speaks at Miscast 2017:


     

    But Genece, needless to say, was highly motivated to recover both fast and fully. That job for the Wyoming theatre in September was out of the question. Instead, the goal became walking into rehearsals for Sense and Sensibility not quite three months after the accident.

    Back in July, the end of October seemed both just around the corner and a lifetime away. While Genece went to work on his recovery, an army of friends, relatives and strangers mobilized to help. The Denver Actors Fund provided Genece with more than $6,300 in medical relief as well as volunteers who provided meals, groceries, housekeeping and transportation.  

     “Simply put, I would not be here without the Denver Actors Fund,” Genece said. “During some of the toughest times, they helped provide food, shelter, financial aid, a caring ear and a diligent hand.”

    Abner Genece Electric BabyBut during that time Genece, who is divorced, still had basic living expenses and obligations to meet. His supplemental streams of income were impacted directly. “My work as a teaching artist, a workshop facilitator and a Lyft driver stopped immediately,” he said. His family started an online fund that raised naother $23,000. Genece singled out local directors Betty Hart and Robert Michael Sanders for their help in the months after the accident, as well as Pastor Brad Richardson of Crossroads Church Northglenn and Genece's brothers, Richard and Daryl. “I was both humbled and inspired,” he said.

    Collins was hopeful Genece would be able to handle the demands of The Electric Baby from his character’s hospital bed. But this adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is a rollicking one, and very demanding on the actors. “It was scary for all of us in the rehearsal room because it is a very physical play, and on certain days we could really tell that Abner was hurting and pushing himself too hard, so we made him sit down and rest," Collins said. "But he did not want any special treatment, so whatever pain he was dealing with, he was keeping very private.”

    Genece describes the support he received from his fellow artists as both "thoughtful and proactive." Arrangements were made for his dressing room to be located as close to the stage as possible. He was ordered not to do any heavy lifting. “Costume fittings were scheduled and executed with special care,” he said. “The stage managers were especially attentive to my need for frequent breaks as my spine, shoulder blades and ribs were all very much still healing. These and other considerations made it so much easier for me to focus on the task at hand.”

    Another constant source of support was his son, Jayden. Professional theatre companies don’t typically allow the actors to bring their children to rehearsals because of the potential distraction. But for Genece, Jayden’s presence was another form of medicine.

    “It definitely helped Abner to have Jayden literally in his corner,” Collins said. “He’s a good theatre kid and he was so quiet. But you could tell that just having Jayden there made Abner feel better. The love they share is really palpable, and I imagine this has only bonded them even more.”

    Castmate Emma Messenger describes Genece as both a gentleman and a gentle man. "We are all very protective of him," actor Kate Gleason added. But perhaps none more so than Regina Fernandez, who remembers working with Genece on a schools touring production for Kaiser Permanente — and in particular one early morning drive to Greeley two years ago. 

    "We talked that day about how our ultimate goal was the same — to be hired into the Arvada Center's Black Box Theatre Company," Fernandez said. They achieved that goal together, but the triumph was nearly taken away from Genece as quickly as he got it. And that, Fernandez said, made seeing Genece walk onstage on opening night of Sense and Sensibility on Jan. 26 all the more of a miracle.

    "But no more so than any other night," Fernandez said, "because now I think that every night with Abner is a miracle."

    Genece says he has been blessed to work with many wonderful people over the years. "However, this repertory company holds a special place in my spirit," he said, "particularly when one considers the mountain I had to climb, and am still climbing. In so many ways, great and small, these talented artists made me feel welcomed, like a valued member of the team. And perhaps most of all, like I was being encouraged to bring my personal truth and creativity to the fore. That has had everything to do with the quality of my recovery.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Collins said she teared up when she saw Genece make his opening-night entrance. She said she saw an actor who was funny and adorable and, in her words, “a big ball of love" on the stage.

    Abner Genece All My Sons“Abner is a lovely and humble man,” she said. “I was just so grateful for him — and for us —  that we were all able to make this happen. Abner has earned a karma point.”

    Genece said Sense and Sensibility is such a physically robust production that on opening night, "I didn’t have much time to reflect during the show, thankfully,” he said. “But afterward, while celebrating with Jayden at the party, I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and triumph.”

    Gratitude for the opportunity to realize what Genece says every actor aspires to achieve: “Those brief onstage moments in the dark, when I can feel the audience gasp and my spirit expand,” he said. "When magic is possible — if only for an instant.”

    Now that all three plays are open (and will run through the first week of May), Genece has had an opportunity to reflect on his journey from being left broken on a Wyoming highway to whole and performing on the Arvada Center stage.

    “I’ve learned that we will be tested in our lives,” he said. “We will suffer. There will be pain. But it’s how we choose to deal with those events that ultimately determines the quality of our lives. It’s a long road. Trust that there are good people in the world; there are angels. And trust that you are enough.

    “And in those dark moments: Double down on yourself.”

    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. He is also the founder of the Denver Actors Fund.

    Abner Gence: My Three Characters

    • “In Sense and Sensibility, I play Sir John Middleton, a male gossip, a female gossip, an old servant, a furniture mover and the doctor. In Kate Hamill’s adaptation, the physical and vocal demands are considerable. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to play characters at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum.”
    • “In The Electric Baby, I play Ambimbola, an immigrant from Nigeria who works as a cab driver. One of my challenges in this production was to embrace the irony of playing a man who spends the bulk of the play suffering in a hospital bed.”
    • In All My Sons, I play Dr. Jim Bayliss, a loyal friend of the Keller family who goes to great lengths to tend to their well-being. Among the challenges in this play was exploring the natures of loyalty and loss, two themes that I am familiar with in my own life.”

    Abner Genece: At a glance
    Abner Genece is making is Arvada Center debut. Other local credits: Water By The Spoonful (Curious Theatre Company); The Arabian Nights (Aurora Fox Center); Off Broadway: Othello, Hamlet, Tartuffe and Waiting For Godot (Jean Cocteau Repertory); Regional: The Bluest Eye (Moxie Theatre), The Meeting (Stella Adler Theatre), For The Love of Freedom (Greenway Arts Alliance), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum); Film and Television: Unrest, A-List, Harry’s Law, Zeke and Luther and Law & Order

    Arvada Center: Ticket information:

    Black Box Theatre Company repertory season:

    • All My Sons, written by Arthur Miller and directed by Lynne Collins, runs through May 3
    • The Electric Baby, written by Stefanie Zadravec and directed By Rick Barbour, runs through May 4
    • Sense and Sensibility, adapted from the Jane Austen by Kate Hamill and directed by Lynne Collins, runs through May 6
    • 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    • 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org
    • The Arvada Center's 2017-18 Back Box Theatre Company ensemble members are 

      Zachary Andrews, Jessica Austgen, Regina Fernandez, Abner Genece, Kate Gleason, Geoffrey Kent, Emma Messenger, Emelie O'Hara, Lance Rasmussen, Jessica Robblee and Greg Ungar

    Abner Genece All My Sons. Matt Gale PhotographyThe cast of 'All My Sons.' Matt Gale Photography.
  • Denver's 'Tommy' to star Andy Mientus and other Broadway stars

    by John Moore | Mar 13, 2018

    TOMMYCASTING

    From left: Charl Brown, Betsy Morgan, Owen Zitek, Carson Elrod and Charlie Korman.

    'Smash' star: 'I’m excited for the challenge and opportunity to show audiences who I am as a musician and an actor.'

    By John Moore
    Senor Arts Journalist

    Andy Mientus is known around the world for two iconic, music-infused projects — Broadway’s Spring Awakening and TV’s Smash. And he says the bloodline for both absolutely run straight  through The Who. Which makes it all the more perfect for Mientus to be coming to Denver to play Tommy in the DCPA Theatre Company’s star-studded production of The Who’s Tommy, based on the band’s 1969 concept album about a boy who retreats into a world of darkness and silence after witnessing a traumatic incident and emerges as a pinball wizard.

    AndyMeintusQUOTE“You can bet that The Who’s album, and then the original cast recording of Tommy, was in the library of all of the contemporary musical-theater writers you love,” Mientus told the DCPA NewsCenter today in the announcement of his first return to Denver since playing Hanschen in the 2009 national touring production of Spring Awakening.

    “That album was an absolute phenomenon when all of our current songwriting greats were coming up, and I think any fan of the contemporary musical canon will absolutely freak out for this score if they don’t know it yet.”

    Tommy will be directed by visionary British director Sam Buntrock, who last year directed the Denver Center’s U.S. premiere of Nick Dear's Frankenstein. Buntrock has been nominated for Tony, Olivier and Drama Desk awards for his innovative work in theatre, film and animation, including Broadway’s 2008 revival of Sunday In The Park With George. He also directed Ed, Downloaded for the Denver Center in 2012.

    Mientus will be joined by a cast that includes big-name Broadway veterans Betsy Morgan (The King and I) as Mrs. Walker, Tony Award-nominated Charl Brown (Motown the Musical) as Captain Walker, and Carson Elrod (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Uncle Ernie. Colorado Shakespeare Festival audiences may remember Elrod from the 1999 season, when he played Dromio of Syracuse in A Comedy of Errors, among other roles.

    Mientus called Buntock’s lineup “a visionary creative team and incredible company,” and called Tommy his dream role.

    “Growing up, my house was full of music but strangely, not musicals,” Mientus said. “I’m not sure where I caught that bug. Instead, my earliest musical influences were classic rockers, soul singers and folk balladeers. I was aware of The Who’s album long before I was aware of Tommy as a stage show. So, it’s a bit of connective tissue between my two worlds, and something my dad would have absolutely loved to see. I haven’t sung so much in a musical since Les Miserables in 2015, but the score of Tommy is much more in my wheelhouse, vocally, so I’m excited for the challenge and the opportunity to show audiences who I am as a musician as well as an actor.”

    Tommy is a musical about the challenges of self-discovery and the resilience of a boy who must navigate a harsh and unforgiving world with no hope of recovery. But when he discovers a newfound talent for pinball, he’s swept up in the fame and fortune of his success. The story was made into a trippy film in 1975 starring Roger Daltrey, and in 1993 debuted as a Broadway musical under the direction of Des McAnuff.

    “I think Tommy is, at its heart, a parable about feeling alien in your own family and community,” Mientus said. “Tommy escapes into the serenity of his own mind after a traumatic event and is treated terribly by almost everyone around him. I think we have all felt that way at some point.”

    Mientus scheduled to appear at Alamo screening March 26

    Four actors will play Tommy at different ages — two rotating local children will play Tommy at age 4. Owen Zitek (of DCPA Theare Company’s A Christmas Carol) will play him at 10, and Mientus at 18. In an unusual twist, Buntrock will also have Cousin Kevin age over the course of the story with age-appropriate actors. He will be played as a boy by Denver Center favorite Charlie Korman (Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol), who is now a high-school student at Denver School of the Arts but has been appearing on DCPA stages since he was 5. Kevin will be played as an adult by big-time Australian actor Gareth Keegan (TV’s The Good Fight.)

    Cast:

    • Andy Mientus (Broadway’s Les Misérables, Spring Awakening, NBC’s “Smash”) as Tommy
    • Joe Beauregard (Kinky Boots first national tour) as Ensemble
    • Charl Brown (Broadway’s Motown The Musical) as Captain Walker
    • Katie Drinkard (DCPA’s The Wild Party) as Swing
    • Carson Elrod (Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher, Noise’s Off) as Uncle Ernie
    • Lulu Fall (Broadway’s Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Hair) as Acid Queen/Ensemble
    • David Hess (Broadway’s Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd) as Minister/Specialist/Judge/Ensemble
    • Sara Kapner (Broadway’s Hollywood Arms) as Sally Simpson/Ensemble
    • Gareth Keegan (CBS’ Instinct) as Cousin Kevin/Lover
    • Charlie Korman (DCPA’s Frankenstein) as Young Cousin Kevin/Ensemble
    • Betsy Morgan (Broadway’s The King and I) as Mrs. Walker
    • Corbin Payne (The Arvada Center’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) as Swing
    • Terence Reddick (Broadway’s Les Miserables) as Ensemble
    • Tristan Champion Regini (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Youth Understudy
    • Timothy John Smith (NBC’s “The Blacklist”) as Hawker/Ensemble
    • Olivia Sullivent (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Ensemble
    • Erin Willis (Off-Center’s The Wild Party) as Ensemble
    • Owen Zitek (DCPA’s A Christmas Carol) as Youth Tommy.
    • Samuel Bird and Radley Wright will share the role of Young Tommy at age 4
     

    Creatives

    • Music and Lyrics by Pete Townshend
    • Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
    • Additional Music and Lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon
    • Directed by Sam Buntrock
    • Choreography by Katie Spelman (Oklahoma at Goodspeed Opera House)
    • Musical direction by Gregg Coffin (DCPA’s Sweeney Todd)
    • Scenic design by Jason Sherwood (DCPA’s Frankenstein, Off-Center’s The Wild Party)
    • Costume design by Kevin Copenhaver (DCPA’s Frankenstein)
    • Lighting design by David Weiner (Stephen King’s Misery on Broadway)
    • Sound design by Ken Travis (Broadway’s Aladdin)
    • Projection design by Alex Basco Koch (Broadway’s Irena's Vow)
    • Fight direction by Geoffrey Kent (DCPA’s This Is Modern Art)
    • Vocal and dialect coaching by Kathryn G. Maes Ph.D (DCPA’s The Secret Garden)
    • Stage Management by Kurt Van Raden
    • Assistant Stage Management by Corin Ferris and Michael Morales.

    Even the house band will be filled with big names and local talent. DeVotchKa drummer Shawn King had so much fun playing (and having his throat sliced) each night during Sweeney Todd, he is coming back to play in the pit for Tommy. Other local rockers will include Jason Tyler Vaughn, David Devine, Dan Graber, Matthew Scheffelman, Daniel Schwindt and Angela Steiner.

    Mientus said he is especially happy for the chance to return to Denver since the Spring Awakening tour did not afford him much time to explore. “I loved the energy of the city, but it was too brief and too cold," he said. "This time, I’m going to do it all.”

    The first public preview performance of The Who’s Tommy is April 20, a fluke of the calendar that has not escaped Mientus. “If I may be so cheeky,” he said, “it’s not lost on me that we’re doing our first performance a psychedelic rock show in Denver on 4/20. I expect we may get a few audience members in who do not usually see live theater, and I think that is always something worth celebrating.”

    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 Who's Tommy: Ticket information

    Tommy_show_thumbnail_160x160Based on The Who’s iconic 1969 rock concept album, Tommy is an exhilarating musical about the challenges of self-discovery and the resilience of the human spirit. When young Tommy retreats into a world of darkness and silence after a deeply traumatic incident, he must navigate a harsh and unforgiving world with no hope of recovery. But when he discovers a newfound talent for pinball, he’s swept up in the fame and fortune of his success. Tommy and his family give new voice to The Who’s classic stadium rock as they navigate the troubles and joys of being alive.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances Apr 20-May 27
    • Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Photos: Opening night of Arvada Center's 'All My Sons'

    by John Moore | Mar 06, 2018
    Arvada Center's 'All My Sons'
    Full photo gallery from the opening performance of the Arvada Center's 'All My Sons,' directed by Lynne Collins. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full, downloadable Flickr gallery.  Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter at MyDenverCenter.Org.


    Photos: Opening night of Arvada Center's All My Sons

    Arthur Miller's breakthrough play All My Sons is based on the true story of an Ohio manufacturer who sold faulty parts to the U.S. military during World War II. Joe Keller, played by Sam Gregory, is made to face the true cost of his business choices and their devastating impact on his family.

    The big-name cast features some of Denver's top actors, many with deep connections to the Denver Center, including:

    • All My Sons. Arvada Center. Sam Gregory: Joe Keller (More than 40 DCPA productions including Scrooge in A Christmas Carol)
    • Emma Messenger: Kate Keller
    • Lance Rasmussen: Chris Keller
    • Regina Fernandez: Ann Deever (DCPA's The Secret Garden)
    • Geoffrey Kent: George Deever (Acted in many DCPA productions, resident fight director, DCPA Education Teaching Artist and director of An Act of God)
    • Abner Genece: Dr. Jim Bayliss
    • Kate Gleason: Sue Bayliss (DCPA’s Don Quixote, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Love's Labour's Lost and more, DCPA Education Teaching Arts)
    • Zachary Andrews: Frank Lubey (DCPA’s Romeo and Juliet, The Three Musketeers and more)
    • Jessica Austgen: Lydia Lubey (former DCPA Education Teaching Artist, member of Off-Center’s Cult Following and writer of Drag On)
    • Harrison Hauptman: Bert
    • August Reichert: Bert (DCPA's A Christmas Carol)
    This is the final opening of the Arvada Center's second Black Box Theatre Company season. All My Sons, directed by Lynne Collins, runs through May 3 in repertory with Sense and Sensibility and The Electric Baby at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org.


    Production photos:

    All My Sons at the Arvada Center, 2018

    Emma Messenger and Sam Gregory. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to a full Flickr gallery. Matt Gale Photography 2018.
  • March openings: Athena rises as 'All My Sons' leaves American Dream in ruins

    by John Moore | Mar 02, 2018
    All My Sons. Emma Messenger. Sam Gregory. Matt Gale Photography

    Emma Messenger and DCPA Theatre Company favorite Sam Gregory (Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol') are currently starring in the Arvada Center's 'All My Sons.' Matt Gale Photography 2018.


    Month-long Athena Project Festival turns March theatre spotlight to women in fields of theatre, music and dance

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company's newly completed Colorado New Play Summit serves as something of a kickoff to a series of Colorado festivals celebrating new work for the American Theatre. Throughout March, the spotlight shifts to the 6th annual Athena Project Arts Festival, which has grown into a massive, citywide celebration of women's voices in theatre, dance, music, comedy and fashion.

    Athena Project 2013The festival's signature program is its Plays In Progress series. Organizers have selected three promising scripts from among 150 submissions for development during the festival: The Buddha’s Wife by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin, Mama’s Eggnog by Angela Stern, and The Golden Hour by Elizabeth Nelson. Each script will get two public workshop readings between March 22 and March 31. In addition, Claire Caviglia's The Inside Child will receive a table read on March 22, and Philana Omorotionmwan's Strong Face will have a concert reading on March 29. Most theatre events will be held at the University of Denver.

    Music highlights will include an open-mic night for female singers on March 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall; and a concert headlined by Megan Burtt and emerging artist Nina de Freitas on March 10. New this year is Cross Pollinations, in which artists from different disciplines are paired together to create a live, original work of art to be presented March 9. Dance events will be held March 17 and 18.

    Tickets range from free to a $35 series pass that gets you into to all three plays, panel discussions and more. Full schedule and more information at AthenaProjectArts.org.

    The Athena Festival, founded by Angela Astle, will be followed by Local Theater Company's Local Lab new-play festival from April 20-22 in Boulder.

    Here are a few more highlights for the coming month in Colorado theatre, followed by a comprehensive list of all your statewide theatregoing options for March. 

    Ten intriguing titles for March:

    NUMBER 1All My Sons. It not only won the first-ever Best Play Tony Award, All My Sons may be Arthur Miller's best play, period. This classic tale is based on the true story of an Ohio manufacturer who sold faulty parts to the U.S. military during World War II. Joe Keller, played by DCPA Theatre Company favorite Sam Gregory, is made to face the true cost of his business choices and their devastating impact on his family. This is the last opening of the Arvada Center's second Black Box Theatre Company season. The big-name cast also includes Emma Messenger, Geoffrey Kent, Kate Gleason, Regina Fernandez, Abner Genece, Zachary Andrews, Jessica Austgen, Lance Rasmussen and youngsters Harrison Hauptman and August Reichert. Runs through May 3 in repertory with Sense and Sensibility and The Electric Baby at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    NUMBER 2Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. Monday, March 5, promises to be an emotional night when Mary Louise Lee revisits her signature role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at the Galleria Theatre. Lee's performing career began in the Galleria (then called StageWest) when she appeared in Beehive at only 18 years old and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. Lee first portrayed the jazz legend with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit — for Shadow Theatre in 2002. She returned to the role in January for this unique co-production with Vintage Theatre that now transfers to the Denver Center. This new production, directed by Betty Hart, will perform on Monday nights only through April 23. Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    NUMBER 3Wisdom from Everything. The latest provocative offering from Boulder's Local Theater Company asks: What you would sacrifice to escape a war? Chicago playwright Mia McCullough's story presents a 19-year-old Syrian who finds herself educating girls in the largest refugee camp in the world — until an older Jordanian doctor offers her an education in exchange for marriage. The primo cast includes Amy Carle (known for her work on "Chicago MED" and for the Goodman and Steppenwolf theatres) and Mehry Eslaminia, who performed in the DCPA Theatre Company's world-premiere play Appoggiatura. March 4-26 at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    NUMBER 4The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. With his trademark mix of soaring intellect and searing emotion, legendary playwright Tony Kushner unfurls an epic tale of love, family, sex, money and politics — all set under the hard-earned roof of an Italian family in Brooklyn. When former longshoreman and Marxist union activist Gus decides to die, his kids come home with a raucous parade of lovers and spouses to find that even the house keeps secrets. Curious Theatre presents the regional premiere of Kushner's 2009 opus with an all-star cast including the return of former DCPA Head of Acting Larry Hecht alongside Dee Covington, Karen Slack, Desirée Mee Jung, Kirkaldy Myers, Anne Oberbroeckling, Emily Paton Davies, Matthew Schneck, Luke Sorge and Brian Landis Folkins. March 17-April 14 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    NUMBER 5 Idris Goodwin 160This is Modern Art. Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval recount the true story of the biggest graffiti bomb in Chicago history. In less than 20 minutes, and in a snowstorm, a stealthy crew spray-painted a 50-foot graffiti piece along the exterior wall of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. The tagging began with the words “modern art” and ended with the phrase “made you look.” The work was sandblasted off the next day, but because the artists had chosen such a high-profile target, the consequences got serious. “They were putting out a challenge,” Goodwin said. “What is modern art? Who gets to decide who a real artist is? And where does art belong?” The all-local cast includes John Jurcheck, Brynn Tucker, Jake Mendes, Robert Lee Hardy, Chloe McLeod and Marco Robinson/ Presented by Off-Center from March 22-April 15 at the Jones Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    NUMBER 6Ugly Lies the Bone. When a newly discharged veteran returns to her native Florida hometown after a disabling third tour in Afghanistan, she discovers that readjusting can be painful and disorienting. Through virtual reality video-game therapy, Lindsey Ferrentino's brave and bracing drama, featuring Missy Moore, examines the restoration of one soldier’s life, relationships and self. Through March 18 at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    NUMBER 7Totally Awesome '80s Ski Town, USA. It's rare to see a fully staged, locally written and produced musical, and this silly new party tuner spoofs goofball ski movies of the '80s and early '90s. The story follows Billy Tanner, a hilariously tortured drifter who wanders into a seemingly quiet ski burg and gets mixed up in saving the town from a greedy oil tycoon while slaloming his way through house parties, Norse gods and strange foreign-exchange students. Writers Charlie Schmidt and Cory Wendling draw from films such as Ski Patrol, Better Off Dead, Hot Dog The Movie and even Footloose. Through March 31 at Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, 121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    NUMBER 8Company. On his 35th birthday, perpetual bachelor Bobby contemplates his unmarried state. Through a series of comical outings with pals and an especially anxious wedding, his friends explain the pros and cons of marriage and relationships. Bobby is forced to examine his adamant retention of bachelorhood during these hilarious arrays of social interactions. The humor is sharp and the music is legendary, written by Stephen Sondheim. Presented by the Evergreen Chorale through March 11 at 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen. 303-674-4002 or EvergreenChorale.org. A portion of ticket sales for the weekend of March 2-4 will benefit the Denver Actors Fund.

    Fun Home: Third staging to open in Colorado Springs

    NUMBER 9Jessica Robblee. Waiting for Obama. Waiting for Obama. Heeding the call from Florida high-school students for a national day of dialogue, marches and protest, the Bas Bleu Theatre will present a community conversation on the prevalence of gun violence in America, followed by a reading of John Moore's play Waiting for Obama about one Colorado family that, like so many others, is deeply divided by polarizing political beliefs. Waiting for Obama was praised at the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival as “a powerful and timely play that depicts the problem of gun violence in the United States in an emotional but often humorous light.” The cast will include Laurence Curry, Chris Kendall, Leslie O’Carroll, Drew Horwitz, Maggy Stacy, John Hauser and Jenna Moll Reyes. Panel at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24, with the reading to follow at 7:30. p.m. Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St. in Fort Collins, CO 80524. Admission is free but donations to the Denver Actors Fund will be accepted. Reservations are strongly encouraged by calling 970-498-8949 or emailing basbleu@basbleu.org.

    NUMBER 10The River Bride. The northern Brazilian locals say the river dolphin found in the Amazon River can transform into human beings in search of their destined life mate. Surely you don't believe that, but ... what if it were true? In this folk tale set alongside the mightiest river in the world, Marisela Treviño Orta's heartrending storytelling blends love, grudges and transformation. Directed Hugo Jon Sayles. March 8-25 at the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org


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

    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    DCPA March Mary Louise Lee. Lady Day. Photo by Adams VisComMarch 1-31: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Totally Awesome 80's Ski Town USA
    121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    March 2-May 3: Arvada Center's All My Sons
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    March 2-18: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Ugly Lies the Bone
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    March 2-11: Evergreen Chorale's Company
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org

    March 3-31: Athena Project Arts Festival
    Various locations, 303-219-0882 or athenaprojectfestival.org

    March 2-11: Vintage Theatre's Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    March 3-26: BDT Stage's Always … Patsy Cline
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    March 4-24: Local Theatre Company's Wisdom From Everything
    The Carsen Theater at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    March 5-April 23: DCPA Cabaret's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    March 8-25: Su Teatro's The River Bride
    721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org

    March 8-25: Millibo Art Theatre's The Blow Up
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, themat.org

    Briar-Rose-Ilasiea-L.-Gray-pricks-her-finger-with-Prince-Owain-Austin-Lazek-SLEEPING-BEAUTY-MACC-2018-RDG-Photography-1440x810March 8-May 4: Denver Children's Theatre's Sleeping Beauty
    Public performances 1 p.m. Sundays
    Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 www.maccjcc.org

    March 9-April 1: Theatre Esprit Asia's Coping With America
    At ACAD Gallery, 1400 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-492-9479, or theatre-esprit-asia.org

    March 9-24: Theatrix USA's The Baptism
    At Blanc, 3150 Walnut St., wellattended.com

    March 16-April 8: Evergreen Players’ Love/Sick
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

    March 16-25: Inspire Creative's Laughter on the 23rd Floor
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    March 16-25: Longmont Theatre Company's Leaving Iowa
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    March 17-April 14: Curious Theatre's The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

    Benjamin Cowhick RDG PhotographyMarch 20-April 1: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Androcles and the Lion (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    March 22-April 15: Off-Center's This Is Modern Art
    Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    March 22-25: Magic Moments' In the Same Boat
    Anschutz Family Theatre at Kent Denver School, 4000 East Quincy Ave, Englewood, 303-575-1005 or magicmomentsinc.org

    March 23-April 8: Performance Now's The Producers
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performancenow.org

    March 23-April 29: Miners Alley Playhouse's The 39 Steps
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    March 23-May 26: Midtown Arts Center's Ragtime
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    March 29-April 22: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Fun Home
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org READ MORE

    March 29-April 8: The Upstart Crow's Playboy of the Western World
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    March 30-May 13: Vintage Theatre's The Audience
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    March 31-April 28: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's The Diary of Anne Frank
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    March 31-April 28: OpenStage's And Then There Were None
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Local Theater. Mehry Eslaminia. Naseem Etemad. Photo by Michael Ensminger
    Naseem Etemad and Regis Jesuit High School graduate Mehry Eslaminia (DCPA Theatre Company's 'Appoggiatura') in Local Theatre's upcoming 'Wisdom from Everything.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through March 3: Grapefruit Lab's JANE/EYRE
    The Bakery, 2132 Market St., eventbrite.com

    Through March 3: Miners Alley Children's Theatre’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through March 4: Miners Alley Playhouse's Fun Home
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com READ MORE

    Through March 4: Bas Bleu Theatre's Waiting for the Parade
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    Through March 4: Springs Ensemble Theatre's The Totalitarians
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 80909, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Through March 4: Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Trouble in Tahiti
    At the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through March 10: Coal Creek Theater of Louisville’s Becky Shaw
    Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Through March 10: Thunder River Theatre Company's The Price
    67 Promenade, Carbondale, 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com

    Through March 11: Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Oklahoma
    At the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through March 11: Vintage Theatre's Sleuth (with Lowry's Spotlight Theatre)
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through March 17: Midtown Arts Center's Fun Home
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com READ MORE

    Through March 17: Buntport Theater's The Book Handlers
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Through March 17: Firehouse Theatre's Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com  

    Through March 18: DCPA Theatre Company’s The Great Leap
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through March 18: Aurora Fox's Real Women Have Curves
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    Through March 25: Benchmark Theatre's A Kid Like Jake
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, benchmarktheatre.com

    Through March 25: Town Hall Arts Center's Something’s Afoot
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Through March 25: Midtown Arts Center's Always ... Patsy Cline
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through March 26: Local Theater Company's Wisdom from Everything
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

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

    Through April 1: National touring production of Hamilton
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Through April 8: Jester’s Dinner Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Through April 8: The BiTSY Stage’s Jotunheim: A Legend of Thor and His Hammer
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Through April 15: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Kiss Me Kate
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through May 4: Arvada Center's The Electric Baby
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 6: Arvada Center's Sense and Sensibility
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 25: Arvada Center Children's Theatre's Seussical
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through Aug. 11: Iron Springs Chateau’s A Precious Bit of the West, or: She Was Simply a Delight!
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

    EVERGREEN CHORALE. Company. Photo by Michael Ensminger

     

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
  • Ongoing productions
  • ARVADA CENTER

  • Wednesday, March 14: The conflicted voices of America's World War I poets will spring to life in this performance written by Colorado Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison and presented by members of the Arvada Center Black Box Repertory Company. This event is part of “Where Do We Go From Here?” a multifaceted statewide event marking the 100th anniversary of World War I. 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $15.
  • AVENUE THEATER

  • Weekends: Comedy Sportz
  • leonard-barrett-jrAURORA FOX ARTS CENTER

    • March 23-24: True West Award-winning performer Leonard E. Barrett Jr. is the featured artist this month in the Aurora Fox's ongoing cabaret series in its studio theatre. Barrett will perform Unforgettable: The Songs of Nat King Cole, a tribute to Cole through story and song.

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


    BDT STAGE

    • March 5-6: The Glenn Miller Orchestra

    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com


    BUG THEATRE
    • Thursday, March 15: The Emerging Filmmakers Project, showcasing Denver's indie film scene on the third Thursday of every month.
    • Monday, March 26: Freak Train: Open-mic variety show hosted by GerRee Hinshaw on the final Monday of every month

    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info


    BUNTPORT THEATER

    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com


    THE 39 STEPSDENVER ACTORS FUND

    • Sunday, March 4: Watch the biggest night of the year for movies on the big screen with Denver7 at Alamo Drafthouse Denver. Arrive around 5 p.m. in BarFly for your own red carpet, paparazzi, and more before for food, drinks and fun for everyone i the theatre. Your ticket includes a glass of champagne (or sparkling cider) and a donation to the Denver Actors Fund. Choose your preferred seating

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com

    • Sunday, March 11: Screening of the film The 39 Steps with live entertainment from Miners Alley Playhouse's s upcoming comical stage adaptation of the Hitchcock classic. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7. Choose your preferred seating

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com

    • Saturday, March 24: Waiting for Obama. Community conversation on the prevalence of gun violence in America, followed by a reading of John Moore's play about a Colorado family deeply divided by polarizing political beliefs. Panel at 6:30 p.m. with the reading to follow at 7:30. p.m. Admission is free but donations to the Denver Actors Fund will be accepted. 
    At Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins. Reservations are strongly encouraged by calling 970-498-8949 or emailing basbleu@basbleu.org

    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
  • Tuesday, March 20: The Magic of Adam Trent
      At the Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

  • LOCAL THEATER COMPANY
  • Sunday, March 18: LocalREADS encourages a community-wide reading of a book with complementary themes to Local Theater Company's current production. First up: Helen Thorpe’s The Newcomers as a companion to Local's world premiere production of Wisdom From Everything. Read the book, see the play at 4 p.m. and stay for the conversation after the show.

    At the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or tickets.thedairy.org

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


    STORIES ON STAGE
    • Sunday, March 18: Wild Women. Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month: Rhonda Lee Brown, Allison Watrous and Betty Hart perform stories by and about women - unconstrained, fun-loving and living large. 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive,  303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
    (Program repeats on Saturday, March 24 at the Dairy Center in Boulder)
  • January openings: Make way for 'Lady Day,' 'Fun Home' and 'Hedwig'

    by John Moore | Jan 05, 2018
    Lady Day Mary Louise Lee Adams Viscom

    Mary Louise Lee in 'Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill,' opening Jan. 12 at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora before a spring transfer t the DCPA's Galleria Theatre. Photo by Adams Viscom

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


    Showcase month in Colorado theatre spotlights Mary Louise Lee, world premieres and Boulder artists

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    January will usher in the new theatrical year with a showcase vehicle for the First Lady of Denver, the state's first two homegrown productions of the groundbreaking 2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home, and what promises to be an electrifying staging of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Aurora Fox. January is also when the DCPA Theatre Company begins its rollout of three consecutive world-premiere plays — Zoey's Perfect Wedding, American Mariachi and The Great Leap. With such an eclectic mix of material, this month we will kick off the winter theatre season with a brief look at 10 intriguing titles to watch, followed by complete list of all your Colorado theatregoing options for January:

    Ten intriguing titles for January:

    NUMBER 1Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. January 12 promises to be an emotional night when Mary Louise Lee revisits her signature role as Billie Holiday in Vintage Theatre's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She will be performing in Vintage's Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium, named after the late founder of the Shadow Theatre Company who directed Lee back in 2002. Lee's haunting portrayal of the jazz legend woman with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit — was the biggest hit in Shadow’s history. This new production, directed by Betty Hart, will play weekends at Vintage through Feb. 18 (except Feb. 3), then move to the DCPA's Galleria Theatre on Monday nights from March 5 through April 23. Lee's performing career began in the Galleria Theatre (then called StageWest) when she appeared in Beehive at only 18 years old and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. In 2011, Lee also became the First Lady of Denver when her husband, Michael B. Hancock, was elected Mayor. 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com READ MORE

    NUMBER 2A JANUARY JAKE MendesHedwig and the Angry Inch. It's impossible to overstate the impact John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's underground rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch has had on generations of misfits over the past 24 years. The show is essentially a rock concert featuring a genderqueer singer who was born a boy in communist East Germany and underwent a botched sex-change operation to marry an American soldier who then abandoned her. It's an incredibly powerful, literate and raunchy beacon of hope for anyone who has felt ever felt divided. And Jake Mendes and Norrell Moore promise to infuse the new Aurora Fox production, the first by a Denver theatre company in eight years, with fresh vitality. Jan. 19-Feb. 10 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    NUMBER 3A Banned Together 800 1Fun Home. In 2015, Fun Home became the first Broadway musical to feature a lesbian protagonist. Now the the rights to perform it at theatres across the country, it speaks well of the Colorado theatre community that different companies in Fort Collins, Golden and Colorado Springs have jumped at the chance to stage it. Based on Alison Bechdel's graphic novel, Fun Home recounts one women's unique childhood as she grows to understanding her own sexuality and looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.The first to open will be Midtown Arts Center (Jan. 18-March 17) at 3750 S. Mason St. in Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com. The Miners Alley Playhouse production runs  Jan. 26-March 4 at 1224 Washington St. in Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com. And the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College follows from March 29 through April 22 at 30 W. Dale St., 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org. (Pictured: Sophie Dotson of the Golden cast performs "Ring of Keys" at an anti-censorship event this past fall. Photo by John Moore.)

    NUMBER 4Detroit 67. Curious Theatre continues its most provocative season in years with playwright Dominque Morisseau's incendiary look back at the sizzling summer of 1967, a moment in history rife with police brutality, immense racial divide, and a violent uprising, all through the eyes of one family. Featuring Jada Suzanne Dixon and Cajardo Lindsey under the direction of hip hop artist, writer and educator Idris Goodwin, whose own play This is Modern Art opens March 22 at the DCPA's Jones Theatre. Jan. 13 through Feb. 24 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org.  

    NUMBER 5Trump Lear. David Carl, known for mixing Shakespeare with timely political satire, returns not to bury the president but to skewer him in this one-man comedy in which he plays an actor who evokes the wrath of thechief executive as he creates a solo version of King Lear – Shakespeare’s tragic play of a ruler whose vanity tears his country apart. At Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    NUMBER 6Disney's The Little Mermaid. The DCPA hosted the Broadway company on its way to the Great White Way in 2006, and now this Inspire Creative effort will be the first homegrown, Denver-area staging of the underwater musical. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved love stories, The Little Mermaid features music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, including familiar songs like "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl" and "Part of Your World." Jan. 19-Feb 11 at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    NUMBER 7Guards at the Taj. This dark comedy, set in India in 1648, introduces audiences to two lifelong friends standing watch on the night before the first unveiling of the Taj Mahal. As the action unfolds, these two must take part in an act of unfathomable cruelty, one that will shatter their lives and their relationship. Written by Rajiv Joseph and staged by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. Jan. 25-Feb. 18 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    NUMBER 8Fermata. Denver's Theatre Esprit Asia partners with Theater Company of Lafayette to present three generations of Chinese westernized women, two of whom two are world-class musicians and one who became a neurosurgeon. In playwright Maria Cheng’s sixth full-length play, she explores the burden of virtuosity, the politics of art making and the purpose of music. Jan. 12-28 at the Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson St., 720-209-2154 or www.tclstage.org

    NUMBER 9Abner GeneceSense and Sensibility. The Arvada Center's uber-hip repertory company returns with an all-new new adaptation of the Jane Austen classic (by Kate Hamill) that follows the Dashwood sisters as they pursue their quest for love and happiness. This cast is loaded with big names like Kate Gleason, Geoffrey Kent, Emma Messenger and Jessica Austgen (for starters), but the whole community should be cheering the return to the stage of Abner Genece as Sir John Middleton) six months after a devastating car accident nearly killed him and his son. Jan. 26-May 6 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    NUMBER 10Theatre Made in Boulder. This new festival running Jan. 18 through Feb. 10 will include a robust selection of staged readings, low-tech productions and free public workshops from a diverse group of local artists. (Full schedule below.) The featured, fully staged presentation will be How To Screw Up Your Life!, written specifically for the festival by reliable Boulder playwright Ami Dayan. Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

    First Date Photo by Emily Lozow


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Jan. 5-21: Performance Now's Into the Woods
    Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performance now’s home page

    Jan. 5-March 25: Midtown Arts Center's Always ... Patsy Cline
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Jan. 6-Feb. 3: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's Rumors
    John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Jan. 12-Feb. 18: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com READ MORE

    Jan. 12-Feb. 4, 2018: Town Hall Arts Center's Peter and the Starcatcher
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org

    Jan. 12-28: Theater Company of Lafayette's Fermata (with Theatre Esprit Asia)
    Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

    Jan. 12-27: 5th Wall Productions' Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
    At The Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market St., 5th-wall-productions.com

    Jan. 13-Feb. 24: Curious Theatre's Detroit 67
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org  

    Jan. 18-March 17: Midtown Arts Center's Fun Home
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Jan. 18-20: David Carl's Trump Lear
    Millibo Arts Center, 1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    Jan. 18-Feb. 10: How To Screw Up Your Life!
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

    Jan. 19-Feb. 4: Theatrix USA's Kiss
    At Dobrin Studios, 931 Santa Fe Drive, theatrixdenver.com

    Jan. 29-Feb. 11: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Building the Wall
    At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne,  970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

    Jan. 19-Feb. 10: Aurora Fox's Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    Jan. 19-Feb 11: Inspire Creative's The Little Mermaid
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or inspirecreative.org

    Jan. 19-Feb. 3: Funky Little Theatre Company's The Bigot
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    Jan. 20-Feb. 17, 2018: OpenStage Theatre Company's The Crucible
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    Jan. 25-Feb. 18: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Guards at the Taj
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    Jan. 26-Feb. 25: DCPA Theatre Company’s Zoey’s Perfect Wedding
    Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Jan. 26-March 4: Miners Alley Playhouse's Fun Home
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Jan. 26-May 6: Arvada Center's Sense and Sensibility
    Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Jan. 26-Feb. 17: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre's Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits
    At  121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Jan. 26-Feb. 17: Equinox Theatre Company's Evil Dead: The Musical
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

    Jan 26-Feb 11: StageDoor Theatre's The 39 Steps
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Feb. 2-25: DCPA Theatre Company’s American Mariachi
    Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    Evil Dead
    From left: Emily Ebertz, Derek Helsing and Chelsea O'Grady from Equinox Theatre's 'Evil Dead The Musical.'

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Jan. 6: Oddville and Stand Up Smart (Dave Shirley and Bob Dubac)
    At  121 S. Ridge St. 970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

    Through Jan. 7: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Annie
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Through Jan. 14: National tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King & I
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

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

    Through Jan. 30: BDT Stage's Motones vs. Jerseys
    (Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays only)
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

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

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

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

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    BOULDER ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY

    • Jan. 11-21: P3M5: Privacy in the Digital Age, a transatlantic theatre project presented in a series of 5-minute films and live plays. 

    Boedecker Cinema at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or dairyartscenter.org


    BUG THEATRE

    • Jan. 6: Fourth annual 50 First Jokes festival (50 of Denver's best comedians tell their first joke of the new year), benefiting The Gathering Place
    • Jan. 18 The Emerging Filmmakers Project, showcasing Denver's indie film scene on the third Thursday of every month.
    • Jan. 29: Freak Train: Open-mic variety show hosted by GerRee Hinshaw on the final Monday of every month
    • Jan. 30: Open Screen Night: Make a video of at least 2 minutes in length about this month's theme (16-bit) and include the phrase "All your base are belong to us." Info:  openscreennight.com

    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info


    BUNTPORT THEATRE

    • Saturday, Jan. 13: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m.)
    • Saturday, Jan. 13: The Penny Savers, for Stories on Stage, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive (303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
    500DAYSOFSUMMERDENVER ACTORS FUND
    • Monday, Jan. 22: Screening of the film 500 Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel with live pre-screening entertainment from DCPA Cabaret's First Date. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com


    EVERGREEN PLAYERS

    • Jan. 20 and Feb. 9: EPiC Returns (improv comedy featuring Evergreen High School's state-champion improv team
    At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

     

    MILLIBO ART THEATRE
    • Jan. 6: RiP (improv comedy)
    • Jan 12-13: Vintage Glamour Burlesque
    • Jan 26-27: Cabaret Voltaire (variety performance art) 
    1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org


    THEATRE MADE IN BOULDER FESTIVAL
    • Jan. 18-Feb. 10: Staged readings, low-tech productions and free public workshops from local artists. Featured production: How To Screw Up Your Life!, by Ami Dayan
    • Jan. 21: Afropuff Lederhosen: A Critically Comical Investigation of Race, by Vanessa Roberts
    • Jan. 24: Strange Grace, by Jane Shepard
    • Jan. 28: Mud Season, by Felice Locker
    • Jan. 31: An Evening of Shorts: Terrember (Four Choose Two), by Mike Eisenberg; Kosmic Joke: Killing Time, by Buck Lee; and Bloodlines, by Ashley Rice
    • Feb. 4: Trans/Actions, by K. Woodzick and Ayla Sullivan
    • Feb. 4: What Happens in the Dark, by Kristofer Buxton
    • Feb. 11: Rooted, by Joy Barber
    • Feb. 11: Laura and Ibsen, by Susan Flakes
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

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


    STORIES ON STAGE
    • Saturday, Jan. 13: The Penny Savers, with members of Buntport Theater, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive

       

    303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

    Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater.

  • 2017 True West Awards: Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill

    by John Moore | Dec 30, 2017
    2017 True West Awards The Breakouts  Jeremy Rill Steven J. Burge

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 30: The Breakouts

    Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Steven J. Burge and Jeremy Rill are very different performers. Think Sean Hayes and Frank Sinatra. Burge will shock you into gut-busting laughter, while Rill will make you swoon. If Burge is the flamboyant life of the party, then Rill is more, say … sunset on the beach.

    “If there is a spectrum,” said director and actor Robert Michael Sanders, "those two are on the opposite ends of it.”

    The comedian and the crooner.

    Steven J Burge and Jeremy Rill But these two emerging actors have far more in common than you might think. Both had big-time breakout years on Denver stages in 2017 — and both were separately described as “the nicest guy in Denver theatre” in interviews for this very story.

    Something's gotta give.

    Steven Cole Hughes, Burge’s castmate in the Denver Center’s extended hit comedy An Act of God, goes so far as to declare with dead-on eye contact that “Steven Burge is the nicest guy working in the American theatre today. Period.”

    Even Hughes’ 2-year-old daughter, Birdie, backed her father up.

    “Hey Birdie, who is this?” Hughes said, pointing to a poster for An Act of God. The child’s face immediately lit up. She pointed to a photo of Burge playing no less than God Himself, and she declared enthusiastically: “Steven!”

    “She’s 2,” Hughes reiterated. “Even the 2-year-olds love Steve Burge.”

    That’s high praise (or short praise, come to think of it) for Burge, who has been working his way up to this moment with one joyful performance after another since moving from Iowa in 2003, most often in extroverted comic roles. Highlights have included playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and conquering the epic challenge of playing 40 roles in the one-man comedy Fully Committed. In 2012, Westword’s Juliet Wittman flatly declared, “Steve Burge is one of the funniest actors anywhere.”

    Says his friend and fellow actor Shannan Steele: “I love watching him delight in making others happy.”

    But Burge’s body of work has revealed far greater range and uncommon emotional honesty in stagings such as Dog Sees God at The Avenue Theater (I called him "triumphant" in The Denver Post) and Curious Theatre’s Speech and Debate. No matter how big the character Burge is called upon to play, “you always know there's a real and very interesting person underneath," Wittman wrote.

    (Story continues after the photo.)

    Steven J. Burge United in Love Photo by John Moore
    Steven J. Burge co-hosted the 'United in Love' benefit concert with Eden Lane that raised $40,000 for The Denver Actors Fund.  Photo by John Moore.


    But Burge’s steady career trajectory took a turn for the skyward late last year when he was hired by Director Geoffrey Kent to be the understudy for An Act of God, a pointed social comedy in which God comes down to Earth in human form to set the record straight about the misguided ways in which we sometimes act in God’s name. When Broadway and TV star Wesley Taylor’s contract expired, the Denver Center did not seek out a similarly big-named national replacement. It already had Burge, who smoothly ascended to Almighty status for what turned into an extended run at the Galleria Theatre. The role called on all of Burge’s comic skills, as well as his uncommon gift to make people listen and laugh, even when they might not like what he is telling them. Burge had An Act of God audiences eating out of his holy goblet.

    To say that Burge made an impression in his Denver Center debut would be an understatement.

    “Steven has spot-on comic timing, a fantastic voice and the best rehearsal attitude and esprit de corps I know of,” said Kent. “He improves the quality of everything he touches.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A few months later, Director Ray Roderick punched Burge's ticket for an immediate return trip to the Galleria Theatre in the musical comedy First Date. Gigs at the Galleria are considered jackpot jobs among local actors because they generally come with a minimum six-month contract.

    Burge plays many characters in First Date, most notably the quintessential gay best friend of a young woman who’s just starting to brave the dating pool. The reason Burge succeeds at taking such a stock character and making him meaningfully connect with an audience, says Steele, is his willingness to bring his authentic self to all his roles.

    “The thing you need to know about Steven is that just beneath his hilarious and charming exterior is a beautifully tender, vulnerable, compassionate and generous person,” she said.

    “Steven is the opposite of an old soul. He is brand new to his world ... and his childlike wonder and joy are palpable.”

    800 Red Hot and Cole Cherry Creek Theatre Jeremy Rill Phot by Olga LopezHe’s now being rewarded for paying his many dues, and everyone agrees — it could not be happening to a nicer guy. For years, Burge has been known for saying yes to anyone who asks for his time and talents. This year, he co-hosted a benefit concert at the Lone Tree Arts Center that netted $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund, and Miscast 2017 at the Town Hall Arts Center, which raised $7,000 more. He also has kept the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards buzzing along since 2012 with his unpredictable comic energy as co-host with GerRee Hinshaw.

    "To me, Burge encapsulates the heart and soul of the Denver theatre community,” Kent said. “He volunteers for almost every arts organization I can list. If Denver were to elect a ‘Theatre Ambassador,’ he would have my vote.”

    Also receiving votes for Nicest Guy in Denver Theatre would be Jeremy Rill, an Arkansas native who already was a big deal in the lofty Chicago theatre scene when he moved to Colorado for love. And it didn’t take long for people to notice.

    “It's that voice,” said his frequent director, Kelly Van Oosbree. “The richness and his absolute control of it is remarkable. The first time I heard Jeremy open his mouth, I said, ‘This guy is going to be big.’ You just can’t deny that voice.”

    Coming Sunday: 2017 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year

    The Performance Now Theatre Company in Lakewood was the first Colorado company to catch wise, casting Rill in the regional premiere of Jane Eyre (Edward Rochester), Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson) and Ragtime (Younger Brother). By then it was becoming pretty obvious to anyone within earshot that Rill was going to be a man in demand this year.

    Jeremy Rill Miscast Photo by John MooreA lot more people know “that voice” after it opened up and sang for the first time on four different metro stages this year. Rill started out playing no less than Cole Porter himself in the Cherry Creek Theatre Company’s Red, Hot and Cole at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, landing quite cozily among a star-filled cast that included Steele alongside local big-shots Seth Dhonau and Lauren Shealy (both now co-starring with Burge in First Date), Damon Guerasio, Stephen Day, Matt LaFontaine, Sharon Kay White and several others.

    Rill then earned karma points for life when he was asked to join the ensemble of the Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar after the actor playing Judas had to leave the show for medical reasons. That set off casting dominoes that ended with Rill stepping onto one of the biggest theatre stages in the state a mere four hours before the first performance in front of an audience.

    There’s a reason Arvada Center director Rod Lansberry turned to Rill, whom he had never before cast, when the chips were down, Van Oosbree said. It’s that Sinatra cool.

    “If someone ever asked me to do something like that, I would have said, ‘No, thanks,’ ” Van Oosbree said. “But Rod knew Jeremy could handle the pressure. And he did.”

    That may be one reason karma has smiled back on Rill, who will return to Performance Now to play Cinderella’s prince in Into the Woods opening Jan. 5 at the Lakewood Cultural Center. He then joins the cast of the Arvada Center’s Sunday in the Park with George — and on the first day of rehearsal this time. Rill will play Louis, fiancé of the model who attracts the eye of an artist based on Georges Seurat.

    Superstar led to the 2017 performance that will put Rill on every director’s radar – and wish list — for years to come. Van Oosbree tapped Rill to head another dauntingly loaded ensemble in Stephen Sondheim’s Company for the Aurora Fox that included Shealy, Heather Lacy, Lindsey Falduto, Carolyn Lohr, Rebekah Ortiz, Heather Doris and many others.

    (Story continues below the video.)


    Video bonus: Jeremy Rill performs 'Everybody's Girl' at Miscast 2017:




    You knew going in that Rill would bring any production of Company to a thunderous finish with his take on the forceful ballad “Being Alive.” But what separates a good Company from a great one is an actor who understands that Bobby’s journey is a serious rumination on the relative pros and cons of choosing a married or solitary life. Rill allowed himself to get fully lost in his journey — which at times meant going inside and checking out from the Aurora Fox audience altogether.

    Turns out, as Van Oosbree plainly puts it: Jeremy Rill is not just another pretty voice.

    “He’s also a really good actor,” she said. “He found the vulnerable in Bobby and the underlying pain that I think sometimes goes missing in other performances. The easy thing would be to make Bobby a fun, jovial bachelor, but that’s just not who this man is. Jeremy was clever and he was sexy and he was charming and he was cynical and he was sad. He was all the things. He just killed it.”

    Wrote Ramsey Scott for the Aurora Sentinel: “Jeremy Rill nails the mix of aloofness and emotional despair that plagues his character throughout the show and matches it with a voice that deserves to be the center of attention.”  Added Wittman for Westword: "Jeremy Rill has a richly melodious and supple voice that’s sheer pleasure to listen to."

    Norell Moore by Jeremy RillAnd Rill’s artistry, by the way, is not limited to the stage. He’s also a disarmingly effective portrait photographer who is known for bringing out an astonishing clarity of character in a single frame. Look no further than his revealing portrait of fellow actor Norrell Moore (right) soon after she started chemotherapy for breast cancer.

    “I mean this as no disrespect to any other photographer,” said Sanders. “But if you put 100 random actor headshots in a pile in front of me, I could easily pick out the ones taken by Jeremy because he has such a distinctive style behind the camera. He just has a way of making actors look their best. Maybe it’s because he’s one of them. But somehow he manages to put a sparkle in the eye of every single person he photographs.”

    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 

    Steven J. Burge: 2017
    • The Almighty in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
    • Co-Host, United in Love benefit concert
    • Co-Host, Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards
    • Co-Host, Miscast 2017
    • Multiple roles in DCPA Cabaret’s First Date

    Jeremy Rill: 2017
    • Man 1 (Cole Porter) in Cherry Creek Theatre’s Red, Hot and Cole
    • Ensemble in Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar
    • Aurora Fox’s Company
    • Emile de Becque in Platte Valley Players' South Pacific (concert version)
    • Performed in Miscast 2017 for the Denver Actors Fund

    Steven J Burge GerRee Hinshaw 2017 Henry Awards BLF Photography
    Steven J. Burge and GerRee Hinshaw co-hosting the 2017 Henry Awards. BLF Photography.


    About The True West Awards: '30 Days, 30 Bouquets'

    The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore's daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

     

  • 2017 True West Award: Sammie Joe Kinnett

    by John Moore | Dec 10, 2017
    True West Award Sammie Joe Kinnett
    Photo at right by Zachary Andrews.

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 10: Sammie Joe Kinnett

    Arvada Center
    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Sammie Joe Kinnett is one of the hundreds who started 2017 adrift in grief over the death of Murray Ross.

    Ross founded TheatreWorks as part of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1975 and for the next 42 years, he built it into a fertile incubator of young hearts and minds. Some of them were not even his students. Kinnett, for one, was a teenage community-college dropout who, through Ross, found a mentor — and a home — on a campus he didn’t even attend.

    "Ross was a divining rod of talent," said frequent Colorado Springs Director Geoffrey Kent. When Ross met Kinnett, he didn’t see a dropout. He saw his next Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He saw his future co-writer and the co-star of an original piece they developed together called I Am Nikola Tesla.

    sammie joe-15-m242x323“Murray was able to see when there was something special in someone,” said Kinnett, "and he was able to bring it out in them just by sheer belief.” Ross certainly brought it out in Kinnett, who developed into one of the most intelligent and consistently working comic actors in theatres across Colorado Springs.

    And so when Ross died in January, Kinnett confronted his own profound sadness and honored his mentor by going out and making people laugh. First in a revelatory take on the title character in the warhorse comedy The Foreigner at the Arvada Center. Then by putting a more humane spin on The SantaLand Diaries, David Sedaris’ comic monologue about working as a Macy’s elf (playing through Dec. 23). Both plays were directed by Kent, who calls Kinnett “the ‘fire and forget’ missile of comedians.”

    When he says that, he’s invoking the military term for a projectile that never fails to hit its target. “Once launched in any given direction,” Kent elaborated, “Sammie rockets forward with 110 percent commitment.”  

    Audiences saw a whole different side of Kinnett's comic skills when he played Sancho to Stephen Day's Henry Award-winning Cervantes in Man of La Mancha for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Reviewer Bill Wheeler wrote the casting of Kinnett as Sancho was brilliant, and that "he’s the finest comedic actor working in Colorado Springs."

    True West Awards Sammie Joe Kinnett The Foreigner Arvada CenterThe Foreigner
    has been done and doner since playwright Larry Shue (M*A*S*H) debuted it in 1983. But everything about the tired old comedy felt fresh at the Arvada Center — even, sadly, its intentionally racist overtones that felt uncomfortably contemporary in the wake of the Charlottesville riots. Kinnett played a pathologically shy young Brit who pretends not to speak English to avoid interacting with the rubes visiting a fishing lodge in rural Georgia.

    The reason it felt so fresh, said Drew Martorella, Executive Director of UCCS Presents, is because everything seems to when filtered through Kinnett’s playful lens.

    “Sammie Joe has an innocence about him that allows you to see the world through his eyes — and that is a great vehicle to allow comedy to happen,” Martorella said.

    (Pictured at right: Sammie Joe Kinnett, center, with Jessica Robblee, left, Lance Rasmussen (back) and Edith Weiss in the Arvada Center's 'The Foreigner.' M. Gale Photography.)

    'Murray Ross put beauty and goodness out into this world'

    Kinnett is a great physical comedian who uses his body as a readily available tool just as a painter uses a paintbrush or a mechanic uses a tire iron — and that was on confident display in The Foreigner. This was not the first time on a Denver stage for Kinnett, who turned two memorable summer seasons at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder. But for many, The Foreigner was an introduction worthy of a classic comedy double-take. Take a gander at what the impressed critics had to say:

    • Joanne Ostrow, The Denver Post: “The Foreigner is a particular triumph for Sammie Joe Kinnett, who, through a mix of lithe physical antics, deft dialect work and spot-on timing, brings Charlie to life.”
    • Juliet Wittman, Westword: “Sammie Joe Kinnett sports a goofy, all-stops-out physicality and a gutsy, crazed creativity that lets him try anything and go anywhere for a laugh — the result being gales of laughter from the audience.”

    Ross would have loved seeing Kinnett in this exquisitely executed role, Kent said. Here was this now fully grown-up actor putting on a confident comedy clinic that was fully gained through hard knocks and hard experience. And yet it was infused with a joyful spirit of reminiscent of Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful). Kinnett's humanity even bleeds through his current take on Sedaris’ famously cynical SantaLand elf in Colorado Springs.

    "TheatreWorks made a bold choice," writes the (unnamed) critic for the website Springs on Stage:  "They gave Crumpet a soul.

    "Kinnett brings a wild energy and warmth to the show,” the reviewer goes on to say. “This Crumpet wants to care — he’s just waiting for something that’s worth caring about. It’s a touching blend of deviance and heart.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    And as most any comedian will tell you, successful comedy is often born through life’s rockiest transitions. Over their decade together, Ross watched Kinnett grow up, fall in love, get married, become a father — and then a single father.

    Ross did live to see that his former community-college dropout is now enrolled at UCCS studying for a degree in Performing Arts and Psychology. It seems the more complicated Kinnett’s life has become, the better he’s become as an actor who floats easily from screwball farce to Shakespeare (sometimes at the same time).

    Man-of-La-Mancha_3“We would rehearse for The SantaLand Diaries from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Colorado Springs, and then Sammie would drive to Arvada to perform in The Foreigner that night — all as a full-time student and single dad,” Kent said. “I don’t know how he did it.”

    Kent might not know how Kinnett did it, but he is certain Ross has had everything to do with Kinnett’s now more widely recognized statewide success.

    “Sammie Joe is now equipped with the deep pathos to pair with that classic spit take,” Kent said. “He’s the complete package.”

    (Pictured at right: Sammie Joe Kinnett as Sancho in 'Man of La Mancha' for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Photo by Jeff Kearney.)  

    Martorella believes Kinnett “may be the most generous, most humorous, most accommodating performer we have ever turned out here in Colorado Springs,” he said. “We’re proud that we still have him, and we’re glad he’s still making people laugh.”

    Whatever "that thing" Kinnett has may be indefinable. Martorella knows only one simple thing:

    “Sammie Joe just makes me smile.”

    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.

    Sammie Joe Kinnett: 2017

    • The Hairy Ape, Colorado Springs TheatreWorks (Assistant Director)
    • The Foreigner, Arvada Center
    • The SantaLand Diaries, Colorado Springs TheatreWorks (Actor)

    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS: '30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS'
    The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards

  • October: Here's what's coming this month in Colorado theatre

    by John Moore | Oct 05, 2017
    A October 610


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


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Five intriguing titles for October:

    NUMBER 1DCPA October. Something RottenEdgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat. The newest creation from the all-original Buntport Theater Company ensemble will open the company's 17th season of toying with theatrical conventions in absurd, playful and often hilarious ways. Despite the title, this new comedy is unlikely to be spooky. A guy lives in his sister's basement, recording podcast episodes dedicated to his hero, the Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe. Much to his sister's dismay, he takes very little interest in anything else. But change is on the way, coming in the unlikely form of a thrift-store suit. Oct. 27-Nov. 18 at 717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    NUMBER 213, The Musical. What do most kids do when they want to raise money for charity? Set up a lemonade stand, or organize a car wash? This group of 13 Denver-based teenagers who have grown up on professional stages throughout the metro area are putting on this musical that Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) wrote specifically for and about teenagers in transition. The cast is fully self-producing the production with help from some of the local theatre community’s biggest names, including Robert Michael Sanders, Piper Arpan and Paul Dwyer.  All proceeds go to The Denver Actors Fund. Two performances only: 2 and 7 p.m. this Sunday (Oct. 8) at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., ticketor.com/13themusicalforthedenveractorsfund

    NUMBER 3La Carpa Aztlán presents: I Don't Speak English Only. Su Teatro brings back its homegrown classic dystopian comedy that rises from the past to imagine a future world where all diversity is prohibited and any expression of 'the other' has been forced underground. The play with music, written by Artistic Director Anthony J. Garcia, is based on the Mexican "tent-show tradition," which emerged during the 1920s in small towns across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Carpas were looked at as lower-class entertainment, but some of Mexico's greatest performers came out of the carpa tradition, including the man Charlie Chaplin called the world's greatest comedian: Mario Moreno, better known as Cantinflas. Oct. 12-28 at 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org.

    NUMBER 4A Kenny MotenAurora Fox Cabaret series. The local theatre scene has long been lacking a late-night, New York-style cabaret component, but not for lack of trying. The Aurora Fox is giving it its best shot by committing to an entire year of cabaret in its smaller studio theatre, with featured local luminaries who will get up close and personal enough to tickle your ivories. Each featured performer will present an evening of songs curated by the artists themselves. Kicking off the new series is Denver and Fort Collins favorite Kenny Moten (Oct. 27-28) with his show 12 O’Clock Tales: An Evening of Songs and Stories. It's comprised of jazz and musical theatre classics, with a sprinkling of poems and personal stories. The Denver Dolls will follow with their USO/Andrews Sisters tribute, performed in the style of The Manhattan Transfer. The Dolls are led by frequent DCPA performer Heather Lacy, currently starring as Joanne in the Aurora Fox's production of Company.  9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    NUMBER 5Arvada Center The Foreigner. Matthew GaleThe Foreigner. Denver audiences might not know that Colorado Springs actor Sammie Joe Kinnett is one of the funniest comic performers in the state. They will after they see him in Larry Shue's reliable comedy The Foreigner, which launches the Arvada Center's second season of repertory plays performed by a resident company of actors. It's the story of a painfully shy Brit who pretends not to speak English awhile visiting a rural Georgia hunting lodge and soon knows way more about his fellow travelers than is good for his health. The cast includes  Edith Weiss, Greg Ungar, Lance Rasmussen, Jessica Robblee (DCPA's Frankenstein), Josh Robinson (DCPA's All the Way) and Zachary Andrews. The director is Geoffrey Kent (DCPA's An Act of God). Oct. 13-Nov. 18 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    Oct. 5-Oct. 29: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Oct. 6-28: The Bug Theatre and Paper Cat Films’ Night of the Living Dead…Live! On Stage!
    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info

    Oct. 6-22: StageDoor Theatre's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged
    27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819 or stagedoortheatre.org

    Oct. 6-Nov. 5: The Edge Theater Company's A Delicate Balance
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

    Oct. 6-Nov. 10: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's The Vagrant 2011 REVIEW
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com

    Oct. 6-Nov. 26: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Legally Blonde, The Musical
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

    Oct. 7-29: Theatre Esprit Asia's Hearts of Palm
    At ACAD Gallery, 1400 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-492-9479, or theatre-esprit-asia.org

    Oct. 7-22: PopUp Theatre's On Golden Pond
    At The Masonic Temple, Blue Room, 225 W. Oak St., Fort Collins, eventbrite.com

    Oct. 7-Nov. 11: Denver's Dangerous Theatre's Medea
    2620 W. 2nd Ave, No. 1, Denver, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com



    Oct. 12-31: Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    At The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St. Aurora, 303-893-4100 or wildpartydenver.com READ MORE

    Oct. 12-28: La Carpa Aztlan presents: I Don’t Speak English Only
    At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org

    Oct. 12-22: The Upstart Crow's Richard III
    Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    Oct. 12-29: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s Afterlife: A Ghost Story
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    Oct. 12-21: Fountain Community Theatre's A Night of Dark Intent
    Dean Fleischauer Activities Center, 326 Alabama Ave., Fountain, CO, fountaintheater.org

    Oct. 13-Nov. 18: Arvada Center's The Foreigner (black-box theatre)
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Oct. 13-21: Platte Valley Players' To Kill a Mockingbird
    At The Armory at the Brighton Cultural Center, 300 Strong St., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org

    Oct. 13-22: Town Hall Arts Center's The Lannie Garrett Revues
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.com

    Oct. 13-28: Longmont Theatre Company's The Rocky Horror Show
    513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org

    A October Night of the Living DeadOct. 13-Dec. 29: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad (children’s) 
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Oct. 13-Nov. 12: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College's Bunnicula  (children's)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Oct. 13-31: Theatrix USA's Taking Tea with the Ripper
    Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa St., bovinemetropolis.com

    Oct. 14-Nov. 11: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre and Theatre Or present Buyer & Cellar
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    Opening Oct. 14: Buntport Theater's Siren Song (ongoing children's series, second Saturdays through May 2018)
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Oct. 17-29: National touring production of Something Rotten!
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    A 800 BIRDS BOULDER ENSEMBLEOct. 19-Nov. 12: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Birds of North America
    Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

    Oct. 19-Nov. 5: TheatreWorks' Wild Honey
    At the Bon Vivant Theatre, 3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Oct. 19-21: Millibo Art Theatre's The Long Way
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321, www.themat.org

    Oct. 20-Nov. 19: DCPA Theatre Company's Smart People
    Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Oct. 20-Dec. 31: Avenue Theater's Comedy Sportz
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Oct. 20-29: Counterweight Theatre's Macbeth (cast of four)
    Oct. 20-22 at Switchback Coffee Roasters, 330 N. Institute St., Colorado Springs
    Oct. 27-29: at The Modbo, 17C E. Bijou St., Colorado Springs https://www.counterweighttheatre.com

    Oct. 20-Nov. 4: Iron Springs Chateau's Rocky Horror Picture Show
    444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

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

    Oct. 20-Nov. 4: Coal Creek Theatre's Shining City
    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    Oct. 26-Nov. 4: Phamaly Theatre Company's Vox Phamilia
    At Community College of Aurora, Fine Arts Building, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, 303-340-7529 or brownpapertickets.com




    Oct. 27-Nov. 19: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias
    At The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

    Oct. 27-Nov. 18: Buntport Theater's Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    Oct. 27-28: Aurora Fox presents Kenny Moten’s 12 O’Clock Tales: An Evening of Songs and Stories (studio theatre)
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org

    Oct. 27-28: The Catamounts' FEED: Los Muertos
    At the Firehouse Art Center, 667 4th Ave., Longmont, 720-468-0487 or thecatamounts.org

    Oct. 27-Nov. 18: Theater Company of Lafayette’s Return to the Twilight Zone, a Parody
    Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

    Oct. 27-Dec. 17: Anansi: The Itsy BiTSY Spider Stories
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    Oct. 28-Nov. 25: Openstage's Monty Python's Spamalot
    Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

     

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through Oct. 22: DCPA Cabaret's Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women
    Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE



    Through Oct. 22: Aurora Fox's Company
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurora fox.org



    Through Oct. 28: Thin Air Theatre Company's The Toxic Avenger Musical
    Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719-689-3247 or thinairtheatre.com

    Through Oct. 28: Miners Alley Playhouse's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (children’s)
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

    Through Oct. 29: DCPA Theatre Company's Macbeth
    Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

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




    Through Nov. 11: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Sept. 1-Nov. 11: Midtown Arts Center's Once
    3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE

    BAS BLEU THEATRE COMPANY
    • Oct. 14: The Unpresidented Parodies with Sandy and Richard Riccardi
      401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

    • BDT STAGE

    • Oct. 17: An Evening with the 17th Avenue All-Stars
      5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    • BUNTPORT THEATRE

      • Saturday, Oct. 14: Season opener  of Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m.)
      • Tuesday, Oct. 17: The Great Debate (monthly)
      • Wednesday, Oct. 18: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
      • Friday, Oct. 27: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum, monthly)
      717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

      DENVER ACTORS FUND
      • Sunday, Oct, 8: 13 The Musical, self-produced by a group of 13 young, Denver-based performers, at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture. ticketor.com/13themusicalforthedenveractorsfund
      • Sunday, Oct. 15: Screening of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with live pre-screening entertainment for the cast of OpenStage of Fort Collins; upcoming stage production of the stage musical Spamalot. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7. At Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake. drafthouse.com

      LAKEWOOD CULTURAL CENTER
      • Sunday, Oct. 22: Childsplay presents Go, Dog. Go!
      • 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or Lakewood.org

         

      THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

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

      STORIES ON STAGE
      • Saturday, Oct 7: The Year of Magical Thinking (7:30 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
      • Sunday, Oct. 15: The Year of Magical Thinking (1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org)
      Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month, actor Anne Penner reads Joan Didion's acclaimed memoir about the death of her husband.

      TRI-LAKES CENTER FOR THE ARTS
      • Saturday, Oct. 28: An Evening with C.S. Lewis
        Shows at 3 and 7 p.m.; 5:15 p.m. High Tea and meet-and-greet between shows

      304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, 719-481-0475 or trilakesarts.org

    • April: Here's what's coming this month in Colorado theatre

      by John Moore | Mar 30, 2017
      April Listings Baby Dance


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

      Five intriguing titles for April:

      NUMBER 1The Nether. The new Benchmark Theatre debuts March 31 with the regional premiere of Jennifer Haley’s serpentine crime drama at Buntport Theater. This haunting sci-fi thriller is described as a virtual wonderland where one can simply log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment in this world, she triggers an interrogation into the darker corners of the imagination. The cast features Haley Johnson, Jim Hunt, Marc Stith, Cameron Varner and Ella Madison. Directed by Rachel Bouchard. Performances 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays through April 23 at 717 Lipan St. Tickets at the door or online at benchmarktheatre.com.

      NUMBER 2The Gun Show. Playwright EM Lewis takes aim at her own relationship with firearms in And Toto Too Productions' 12th-season opener at The Commons on Champa, a newly available performing space at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. From a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York, The Gun Show features one actor (Mark Collins) sharing Lewis' unique, middle-ground perspective on the issue with her true stories about America’s favorite and perhaps most dangerous pastime. And Toto Too is Colorado's only theatre company dedicated exclusively to women's voices. The Commons on Champa is subsidized in part by the city's The Next Stage NOW, a public initiative with a mission to enliven, diversify and sustain the downtown arts complex. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays from April 13-29 at 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org.

      NUMBER 3Waiting for Godot. When Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece opens April 21, the Arvada Center's first repertory season will be in full swing, joining The Drowning Girls and Bus Stop in the studio theatre. (And Jesus Christ Superstar continues on the mainstage through April 16.) Waiting for Godot, the story of a couple of patient hobos, their hats, boots and a tree, is directed by the Denver Center's Geoffrey Kent (An Act of God) and features DCPA Education Head of Acting Tim McCracken, Sam Gregory (A Christmas Carol), Josh Robinson and Sam Gilstrap. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

      NUMBER 4Robert SchenkkanBuilding The Wall. Denver Center commissioned playwright Robert Schenkkan wrote this dystopian play as an immediate and angry response to the presidential election. In it, he imagines us six months into the Donald Trump presidency by invoking George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the Nazi regime. The play focuses on the frontman of the new administration, who loses his humanity amid chaos and martial law. His policies have  resulted in the mass roundup of millions of illegal aliens, with their incarceration overflowing into private prisons and camps reminiscent of another century. Building the Wall, Schenkkan told the DCPA NewsCenter, “is a terrifying and gripping exploration of what happens if we let fear win.” The play is being presented from April 4-19 by Denver's Curious Theatre, featuring John Jurcheck and Brynn Tucker, at 1080 Acoma St. 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

      NUMBER 5Lauren ShealyEvita. Argentina's controversial First Lady is the subject of Andrew Lloyd Webber's enduring musical masterpiece, which features Denver actor Lauren Shealy (DCPA's Forbidden Broadway) in the starring role alongside Broadway actors Miles Jacoby (Che) and Jesse Sharp (Perón). As an illegitimate 15-year-old, Eva escaped her dirt-poor existence for the bright lights of Buenos Aires. Driven by ambition and blessed with charisma, she was a starlet at 22, the president's mistress at 24, the First Lady at 27, and dead at 33. The director is Gina Rattan, who helmed the recent national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Runs April 13-29 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org


      DCPA April theatre listings



      THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

      (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

      March 30-April 23: Cherry Creek Theatre Company’s The Baby Dance
      Pluss Theatre at the the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org

      April Listings Blue KitchenMarch 30-April 31: Bas Bleu Theatre's The Blue Kitchen
      401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949or basbleu.org

      March 31-May 7: DCPA Theatre Company's Disgraced
      Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

      March 31-April 30: Town Hall Arts Center's The Robber Bridegroom
      2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or town hallartscenter.org READ MORE

      March 31-April 23: Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
      At Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., benchmarktheatre.com READ MORE

      March 31-April 23: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Bye Bye Birdie
      30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

      March 31-May 21: Vintage Theatre’s The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow
      1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

      March 31-April 16: Star Bar Players' Tape
      The Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado, Colorado Springs
      Info: Email tickets@starbarplayers.org or call 719-357-5228

      March 31-April 30: Dangerous Theatre's Dogmai (world premiere)
      2620 W. 2nd Ave #1, 720-989-1764 or dangeroustheatre.com

      April 1-April 29: OpenStage's Don't Dress for Dinner
      Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

      April Listings Crimes of the HeartApril 1-29: Firehouse Theater Company's Crimes of the Heart
      John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehouse’s home page 

       

      April 1-29: Miners Alley Children's Theatre's Peter and the Wolf
      1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

      April 4-19: Curious Theatre's Building the Wall
      1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

      April 6-30: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Silent Sky
      Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc.org READ MORE

      April 6-22: 5th Wall Productions' Life Lessons
      At The Bakery, 2132 Market St., 5th-wall-productions.com

      April 7-May 21Vintage Theatre’s A Time to Kill
      1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page

      April 7-30: Germinal Stage-Denver's Arms and the Man
      At Westminster High School, 69th Avenue and Raleigh Street, 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

      April 7-15: Theatre Company of Lafayette’s The X-Files: The Spoof is Out There
      Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org

      April 7-8: PACE Center and Inspire Creative's Mr. Popper's Penguins
      20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker,  303-805-6800 or parkerarts.org

      April 11-16: National touring production of Mamma Mia!
      Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

      April 13-29: Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
      10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

      April 13-29: And Toto too Theatre Company’s The Gun Show (world premiere)
      The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org 

      April 14-30: Funky Little Theatre Company’s Sylvia
      2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

      April 14-22: Robert Dubac’s The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?
      At the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

      April 14-29: StageDoor Theatre's Footloose, The Musical
      27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoor’s home page

      April 21-May 28: DCPA Theare Company's The Secret Garden
      Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

      April 21-May 21: The Edge Theatre's Misery
      1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheatre.com

      April 21-May 20: Arvada Center's Waiting for Godot
      6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

      April 21-May 28: Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
      9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

      April 22-May 7: TheatreWorks' Pride and Prejudice
      3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

      April 23-May 13: square product’s She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange (world premiere)
      At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or the dairy.org

      April 27-May 7: Upstart Crow's Dark of the Moon
      At the Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

      April 27-May 13: Dairy Arts Center's The Testament of Mary
      2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or tickets.thedairy.org

      April 28-May 21: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins (Second Stage)
      30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

      CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

      Through March 31: Vintage Theatre Productions’ Stella & Lou
      At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or vintagetheatre.com

      Through April 2: The Edge Theatre's The Nance
      1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheatre.com

      Through April 2: Millibo Art Theatre's The Crucible
      1626 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org

      Through April 2: BiTSY Stage's The Lass Who Went Out With The Cry Of Dawn: A Celtic Yarn
      1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

      Through April 8: DCPA Cabaret's An Act of God
      Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

      Through April 8: Athena Project Arts Festival's The Wave That Set the Fire
      At the Byron Theatre in Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave., AthenaProjectFestival.org

       

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Through April 9: Aurora Fox's Chinglish
      9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org


      Through April 9: Performance Now's Hello, Dolly!
      Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performancenow.org

      Through April 9: The Avenue Theater's Oddville
      417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

      Through April 15: Evergreen Players' Enchanted April
      At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.com

      Through April 15: Equinox Theatre Company’s Stage Kiss
      At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com

      Through April 15: Curious Theatre's Constellations
      1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org READ MORE

      Through April 16: Arvada Center's Jesus Christ Superstar
      6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org



      Through April 30: Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
      1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com READ MORE

      Through April 30: Denver Children's Theatre's The Jungle Book
      Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 or maccjcc.org

      Through May 6: BDT Stage's Disenchanted
      5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

       

      Through May 14: Arvada Center's Bus Stop
      6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

      Through May 19: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad
      6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

      Through May 21: Off-Center's Travelers of the Lost Dimension, with A.C.E.
      At the Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

      Through May 21: Arvada Center's The Drowning Girls
      6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

      Through May 27: Midtown Arts Center's Sister Act
      3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

      Through June 4: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s 42nd Street
      4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com


      ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

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

      THE ATHENA PROJECT ARTS FESTIVAL
      Through April 8: World-premiere play The Wave That Set the Fire
      At the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave. INFO

      2017 Plays In Progress Series

      • April 1 at 1 p.m. and April 8 at 4 p.m.: Beating a Dead Horse by Jennifer Stafford
      • April 1 at  4 p.m. and April 2 at 7 p.m.: Famous Last Words by Katherine Millett
      • April 8 at 1 p.m. and April 9 at 7 p.m.: Handcrafted Healing by Nancy Beverly

      At the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave. ticket info

      Special Table Reading

      • April 2 at 9:30 a.m. and April 3 at 7 p.m.: Honor Killing by Sarah Bierstock

      At the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of Denver, 2344 E Iliff Ave. ticket info

      BENNETT COMMUNITY CENTER
      April 8-9: Vintage Theatre presents RFK – A Portrait of Robert Kennedy
      Starring James O’Hagan Murphy at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, and at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9.
      1100 E. Colfax Ave., Bennett (35 miles east of Denver). 303-856-7830 or vintagetheatre.com

      BUNTPORT THEATRE

      • Saturday, April 8: Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month, through May 13)
      • Saturday, April 9: Very Short Stories: International for Stories on Stage, at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
      • Tuesday, April 18: The Great Debate (monthly)
      • Wednesday, April 19: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
      • Friday, April 28: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum, monthly)
      717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

      THE CLOCKTOWER CABARET

      • Saturdays in April: 1980s Burlesque Tribute: Ladies of the '80s

      D&F Clocktower, 16th and Arapahoe streets, 303-293-0075 or clocktowercabaret.com

      Concert Lone Treey 340

      DENVER ACTORS FUND
      • Sunday, April 9: Screening of the film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, with live pre-screening entertainment for the cast of the Aurora Fox's upcoming stage production of the stage musical. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7.

      Alamo Drafthouse Littleton, 7301 S Santa Fe Drive, drafthouse.com

      • Sunday, April 30: United in Love: A benefit concert starring Broadway's Annaleigh Ashford, Andy Kelso and Mara Davi. Featuring Mary Louise Lee, Jodie Langel and Denise Gentilini. Hosted by Eden Lane and Steven J. Burge.

      At the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org READ MORE


      DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

      • BethMalone-SO FAR-artApril 1: Hal Holbrook: Mark Twain Tonight!, Buell Theatre READ MORE INFO
      • April 15: Beth Malone: So Far, Galleria Theatre INFO READ MORE
      • April 28 and May 12: Cult Following & SCRIPTprov™, Jones Theatre INFO
      • April 29 and May 13: Cult Following: Rated G, Jones Theatre INFO

      Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

      LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: BOULDER

      • Saturday, April 29: Giving Motherhood a Microphone

      One-day live staged-reading event where local writers share their stories of motherhood. At Unity of Boulder, 2855 Folsom, Boulder, listentoyourmothershow

      LONE TREE ARTS CENTER

      • Sunday, April 30: United in Love: A concert benefiting the Denver Actors Fund

      Starring BROADWAY'S Annaleigh Ashford, Andy Kelso and Mara Davi. Featuring Mary Louise Lee, Jodie Langel and Denise Gentilini. Hosted by Eden Lane and Steven J. Burge.
      10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

      PHAMALY THEATRE COMPANY
      • April 1-2: James and the Giant Peach
      At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or the dairy.org

      THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

      • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret

      At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

      STORIES ON STAGE
      • Saturday, April 9: Very Short Stories: International
      Flash fiction from around the world. Stories will be performed by Erin Rollman, Hannah Duggan, Erik Edborg and Brian Colonna of Buntport Theatre.
      1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

      SU TEATRO

      • April 18- 29: Wordfest

      Su Teatro's third annual festival of readings of new work, presentations and performances
      721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or su teatro’s home page

    • 'An Act of God' extends; Burge ascends to Almighty status

      by John Moore | Jan 24, 2017
      Steven J. Burge An Act of God
      Steven J. Burge in the title role of the hit comedy An Act of God. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      Steven J. Burge will assume the role of God in An Act of God starting tonight, and today the Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced that the hit comedy is being extended through April 8 at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

      An Act of God is directed by Geoffrey Kent and also includes Steven Cole Hughes as Michael and Erik Sandvold as Gabriel. Jamie Grayson joins the cast as understudy for God and Michael. 

      A Steven J. BurgeGod takes human form in An Act of God, the acclaimed new play direct from Broadway that opens with the Almighty tackling His greatest challenge yet: The Mile High City. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight about the commandments and other quotes that have been attributed to Him over time ... and He’s not holding back. The script is based on the critically acclaimed book written by God (otherwise known as "The Bible") and transcribed by David Javerbaum, a 13-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

      The play premiered on Broadway on May 7, 2015, and ran for a limited run with God occupying the body of Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"). The play returned to Broadway June 6, 2016, for another limited engagement starring Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace"). This production in Denver is one of the first regional productions of the hit comedy.

      Since making his Colorado debut in 2003 as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Burge has appeared on stages throughout the Denver metro area including the Denver Center, Curious Theatre, Arvada Center, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and many others. He is also the co-host of the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual Henry Awards.

      The role of God was was originated by Broadway star Wesley Taylor, whose contract ran through Jan. 22. Burge has been serving as understudy in the roles of God and Michael.

      The Denver creative team includes the DCPA's Lisa M. Orzolek (scenic design), Meghan Anderson Doyle (costume design) and Charles R. MacLeod (lighting design). Making his DCPA Broadway/Cabaret sound design debut is Anson Nicholson.

      Steven J. Burge, Erik Sandvold, Steven Cole Hughes, An Act of God. Photo by John Moore.
      From left: Erik Sandvold, Steven J. Burge and Steven Cole Hughes in 'An Act of God.' Photo by John Moore.


      An Act of God
      : Ticket information

      An Act of GodThe story: God takes human form in this critically acclaimed new comedy direct from Broadway. He's finally arrived to set the record straight.
      • Through April 8, 2017
      • Garner-Galleria Theatre
      • Tickets start at $47: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

      Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage:
      Steven J. Burge is following in God's footsteps
      Meet the cast: Steven J. Burge
      Meet the cast: Erik Sandvold
      Meet the cast: Steven Cole Hughes
      Video, photos: DCPA, Macy's help 'Make-A-Wish' come true
      Casting announced for An Act of God
      A day in the busy life of Director Geoffrey Kent
      Interview: Geoffrey Kent on a laugh-a-minute God
      Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award
    • Thanks pour in for DCPA Theatre Company's Kent Thompson

      by John Moore | Jan 06, 2017

      Sense and Sensibility
      Marcia Milgrom Dodge‎, Director of Sense & Sensibility The Musical (above) was among the many offering Kent Thompson their well wishes today. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen


      Kent Thompson, only the third Producing Artistic Director in the nearly 40-year history of the DCPA Theatre Company, announced his resignation Thursday, effective March 3. Here is a sampling of the well-wishes that have been sent in or posted on social media since the news broke:

      Kent Thompson QuoteOn the morning Kent Thompson announced the creation of the Women’s Voices Fund for the DCPA Theatre Company, I remember thinking that this man just counted up all the shows before his arrival in Denver and figured out fewer than 10 were written or directed by women in all those years. And he said, "Enough is enough. Let's change that." Kent was the first leader I met who worked on gender inequities in the field. Also, while we're at it, he said, “Let's launch a huge new-play program.” The Denver Center has been a major artistic home for me. Many shows. Many workshops. Many birthdays. Many problems with altitude. Many, many years of great theatremaking. I feel privileged to have been part of the Thompson years, and I have so much respect for the work he has done.
      Wendy C. Goldberg, Director (Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner), Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

      I've worked with Kent Thompson off and on for almost 20 years. Nothing I can say will begin to describe what that has meant to me. He already knows I'm grateful. I've told him many times. I wish him all the best in whatever new adventures come his way.
      Sam Gregory, Actor (A Christmas Carol)

      Robert Petkoff Sweeney ToddI will forever be grateful for the opportunity you gave me to play one of my dream roles. Robert Petkoff, Actor (Sweeney Todd)

      Kent Thompson is a damn fine human being. Kent's work for the theatre company and Denver at large will be felt for years to come.
      Geoffrey Kent, Fight Director and Actor

      220px-Marcia_Milgrom_DodgeBest of luck to you, dear Kent. I am grateful for the spectacular Sense & Sensibility The Musical experience with the DCPA Theatre Company. Here's hoping your next chapter brings you great success and much happiness.
      Marcia Milgrom Dodge‎, Director (Sense & Sensibility The Musical)

      I so enjoyed working with you and getting to know you, and was looking forward to much more of that. I hope our paths cross again soon in the world. Many congrats on your huge accomplishments at the DCPA.
      Melissa Rain Anderson, Director (A Christmas Carol)

      I have admired your leadership not only in Denver, but the ambition many of your ideas have fueled the national conversations about important issues and initiatives we ignore at our peril.
      Edgar Dobie

      A Kent Thompson Matt ZambranoI owe so much to Kent Thompson. He took a chance on me while I was still in school and cast me in The Liar, which was my first show at the Denver Center. As a kid growing up in Denver theater, that was a big deal. It's also because of him that I got to play Sylvester in Scapin at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where I met friends I will cherish for the rest of my life. He did so much for the DCPA and for the Denver theater community, and I wish him the best in all his new endeavors.
      Matt Zambrano, Actor (The Liar)

      Kent Thompson is a true visionary. I admire him so.
      Elaine Romero, Playwright

      Kent Thompson will be missed ... and that's an understatement.
      Tina Walls, DCPA Trustee

      A Midsummer Night's DreamKent Thompson, thanks to you, I played a sassy wench from Cyprus with epic red hair and an ethereal green-haired lady and her feisty granddaughter. But best of all, I had the privilege of running around an Athenian forest with these wonderful people and a gaggle of mechanicals and fairies, to boot. I am so grateful to you, sir, for taking a chance on an overzealous grad student. I would dunk myself in a freezing pool of water in Denver in February for you anytime.
      Allison Pistorius, Actor (A Midsummer Nights Dream)

      Thompson's legacy: Giving sound to unheard voices

      It was a great honor and pleasure working with you. I wish you all the best as you transition into the next chapter of your life. I know beautiful experiences and adventures await you.
      Lauren Shealy, actor (A Christmas Carol)

      Kent is a kind and wonderful human being and a generous collaborator who is leaving very large shoes to be filled.
      David M. Barber, Scenic Designer (The Most Deserving)

      I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had under Kent’s leadership and proud of the work we have created together. He leaves behind an incredible legacy, and I'm excited to see what artistic adventures await him.
      Charlie Miller, DCPA Associate Artistic Director for Strategy and Innovation

      Kent, I so value our artistic collaboration and friendship. Thank you for everything.
      Karen Zacarias, Playwright (Just Like Us)

      Thank you for your talent and creativity.  It has been wonderful to see your productions,  and your footprint is apparent. Best wishes for you next endeavors. We will be watching.
      Karen Garcia

      I've had the honor of working on two shows with Kent Thompson, and he will be missed greatly in the Denver theatre community. Kent's work with the DCPA has impacted my life so much, which is why I think of Denver as a second home.
      Erik Daniells. Conductor (Sweeney Todd)

      Kent Thompson’s groundbreaking achievements here are not likely to be matched in the near future.
      Alan Gass

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Fred Vaugeois and I of the Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre in Trinidad want you to know how pleased we've been with the many new programs and quality productions you brought to us as theatregoers and the increased focus on live theatre you generated for all of us in Colorado. We met briefly one day in your office when you were kind enough to share insights and suggestions for our work in southern Colorado.  You also facilitated a playwriting workshop for our youth interns, which was a great success for our kids.
      Harriet Vaugeois, Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre

      Your creativity, drive and excellent spirit made each story the best quality in storyline, character development and being able to pull it all together with grace. Judith Babcock

      Many thanks for your leadership of the Denver Center. My spouse and I have admired your work and your loyalty to the Denver Center.
      Ed and Patty McAuliffe, ushers and patrons

      I have enjoyed your tenure at the DCPA. You have helped keep things relevant while pushing boundaries and preserving excellence.
      Andy Frazier

      You have brought excitement and joy to me with the wonderful plays you've produced in Denver. We have been blessed with your creativity, vision, sensitivity and so many more of your talents to our theater here in Denver.  I'm grateful I was able to participate in the experience.
      Kathleen Anderson

      We followed you from Alabama Shakespeare Festival and were feeling a bit isolated until we got to our first play at the Denver Center. When we first realized that you and several "friends" from Alabama were here in Denver, we began to feel at home in Denver. Thank you.
      Samera and Bill Baird

      We have been season-ticket holders since the DCPA was formed, and you have been such a marvelous addition to the organization.  We think the plays get better each year and we credit you with the many wonderful experiences you have given us.
      Ann and Gary Polumbus

      We have been subscribers since 1990 and have missed only one production during that time.  Kent Thompson’s contribution and leadership have been felt and appreciated. Richard and Christine Hall, Colorado Springs

      Selected previous NewsCenter coverage:
      The Thompson legacy: Giving sound to unheard voices
      The Christians
      : Five things we learned at first rehearsal
      Where the blade meets the band: Kent Thompson on Sweeney Todd
      Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
      2016-17 season: Two world premieres and a return to classics
      Westminster High School tackles immigration with DCPA's Just Like Us
      How Thompson turned questions into exclamation points

      Photo gallery: A retrospective of Kent Thompson's years in Denver

      Kent Thompson: A retrospectiveTo see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    • 2016 True West Award: Charles R. MacLeod

      by John Moore | Dec 14, 2016
      True West Charles MacLeod

       



      30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

      Day 14:
      Lighting Designer Charles R. MacLeod

                               Presented by Director Geoffrey Kent

      Charles R. MacLeod has been the DCPA Theatre Company’s resident lighting designer for 34 seasons, but 2016 offered new challenges and new spaces. He created the lighting effects for the epic political drama All the Way in the Stage Theatre. He achieved a dreamy new look for The Glass Menagerie in the Ricketson Theatre. And like The Almighty Himself, he created light for the cabaret comedy An Act of God at the Garner-Galleria Theatre. All big, but manageable challenges for the easygoing Aurora native.

      Charles MacLeod Quote But then there was Sweet & Lucky, Off-Center’s deep-dive into off-site adventure theatre. Off-Center is home to the DCPA’s more adventurous homegrown programming. Sweet & Lucky was the largest physical undertaking in the Denver Center’s nearly 40-year history – a peripatetic tale that took place in a 16,000-square-foot converted warehouse on Brighton Boulevard.

      And just how big is 16,000 square feet? Big enough to hold five Space Theatres.

      “This was a massive undertaking unlike anything we have ever attempted here before at the DCPA,” MacLeod said.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      The story, created in collaboration with Brooklyn’s Third Rail Projects, was a treatise on memory set in a speakeasy antique shop. Audiences were greeted with a cocktail, then led to a funeral in the rain. As they travelled from room to room, from a swimming hole to a drive-in theatre and beyond, they were really venturing into a labyrinth of unreliable fragments of time.

      True West Charles MacLeod All the WayIt was MacLeod’s job to help create an ethereal and yet nostalgic and somehow familiar world with his lighting, working in close concert with an accomplished creative team that included Lisa Orzolek’s magnificent scenic design, Meghan Anderson Doyle’s costumes, Sean Hagerty’s sound and Charlie I. Miller’s video. The show was written, choreographed and directed by Colorado native Zach Morris and performed by an almost entirely local cast.

      MacLeod then infused The Glass Menagerie with a modern visual twist: The stage floor was made up of 81 milky tiles on top of individually lit boxes. The effect made the claustrophobic Wingfield living room feel suspended in air, as if floating like a cloud. But MacLeod’s crowning achievement had to be his lighting of the titular menagerie itself. In most other stagings of the play, Laura’s precious glass figurines are often small and sequestered to a stationary table. “Our menagerie was pretty unconventional,” MacLeod said. “It was made up of nearly 30 individually suspended glass pieces that Laura could walk in and out of as if surrounded by a floating cloud of memory.”

       True West Charles MacLeod MacLeod also took pains to ensure that not a single set piece cast a shadow of any kind, heightening the sense that the story was playing out in an unreliable reality.

      “Charles is just so (bleeping) good. I love him for his whole body of work,” said Geoffrey Kent, who put MacLeod’s name up for True West Award consideration. And it’s a big body of work, encompassing more than 310 productions since MacLeod was named the DCPA’s resident lighting designer in 1987. Kent is the director of his most recent (and ongoing) effort, An Act of God - a clever comedy in which God returns to Earth to set the record straight about what he really meant when He laid down His often misinterpreted Ten Commandments.

      Art and Artist: A profile of Charles MacLeod

      True West Charles MacLeod Kent said he especially appreciates MacLeod’s acumen and humor during “tech rehearsals,” which are important but tedious exercises in fine-tuning every last technical detail of a production.

      “Charles makes tech better for everyone,” Kent said. “He has the unparalleled combination of skillful eye, dedication to minutiae and a razor-sharp wit that keeps the room positive and active. He's the first to arrive and the last to leave, and he fixes problems before I've even seen them.” 

      Photos, from top: All the Way (Photo by Adams VisCom); Charles R. MacLeod makes for an illuminating presenter at the 2015 Bobby G Awards (Photo by John Moore); The Glass Menagerie (Photo by Adams VisCom).


      Video bonus: An inside look at the making of The Glass Menagerie



      ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

      The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

      THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS
      Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
      Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
      Day 3: After Orlando
      Day 4: Michael Morgan
      Day 5: Beth Beyer
      Day 6: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski
      Day 7: donnie l. betts
      Day 8: Night of the Living Dead
      Day 9: The Killer Kids of Miscast
      Day 10: Jason Sherwood
      Day 11: Leslie O'Carroll and Steve Wilson
      Day 12: Jonathan Scott-McKean
      Day 13: Jake Mendes
      Day 14: Charles R. MacLeod
      Day 15: Patty Yaconis
      Day 16: Daniel Langhoff
      Day 17: Colorado Shakespeare Festival costumers
      Day 18: Miriam Suzanne
      Day 19: Yolanda Ortega
      Day 20: Diana Ben-Kiki
      Day 21: Jeff Neuman
      Day 22: Gabriella Cavallero
      Day 23: Matthew Campbell
      Day 24: Sharon Kay White
      Day 25: John Hauser
      Day 26: Lon Winston
      Day 27: Jason Ducat
      Day 28: Sam Gregory
      Day 29: Warren Sherrill
      Day 30: The Women Who Run Theatre in Boulder
      Theatre Person of the Year Billie McBride
    • Statera Conference in Denver: Theatre has a problem. Women are the solution.

      by John Moore | Oct 15, 2016
      2016 Statera National ConferenceTo see more images from the opening day of the 2016 Statera Conference at the Denver Center, press the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      The American theatre has a big, systemic problem. And those attending the 2016 Statera Conference for gender equity in the American theatre have a simple, systemic solution:

      More women. On stage. Off stage. Writing. Directing. And, perhaps most important: In leadership positions.

      It is not new information that while females make up 68 percent of the average theatre audience, fewer than 25 percent of the stories they see are written by women. But Friday’s opening keynote address at the Denver Center laid bare some deeper statistical atrocities. For example:

      In 2013-14, 73 percent of the Artistic Directors and 62 percent of Executive Directors at leading U.S. theatres were white men. That’s unsurprising. But tellingly - and some might say “damningly” - 65 percent of those working in jobs just below leadership positions were women or persons of color. That means a majority of women already are in place for executive advancement - they just aren’t being rewarded for their experience when leadership jobs become available.

      In other words, said one woman in the conference crowd: “Women do all the work – and men get promoted.”


      A video look at Tira Palmquist's upcoming world premiere of 'Two Degrees' in Denver.



      Tira Palmquist, writer of the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere production of Two Degrees, acknowledged there are employment opportunities out there for women. “But it would be better to have better employment opportunities for women,” she said.

      “There is a clear glass ceiling,” said Sumru Erkut, Senior Research Scientist for the Wellesley Centers for Women. “And it’s not getting better. We have come to the conclusion that for a woman to lead a theatre, she has to start one. That's how she gets to be a leader.”

      Statera ConferenceBut Friday’s featured speaker Carey Elizabeth Perloff, who has been the artistic director of the esteemed American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco for 24 years, dared to imagine another kind of future for women in the American theatre.  

      “If we could change the gender balance across the board in the theatre from leadership to playwrights to directors to what is happening backstage, I truly think we would be telling more inclusive, more complex and more richly imagined stories,” Perloff said via Skype. “Therefore we would start to cast our net much wider in terms of audiences who are passionate about the theatre.”

      Perloff addressed more than 200 women (and a few men) who have gathered in Denver this weekend to strategize, commune, commiserate, network, workshop and rally for the cause of gender equity. Guests include playwrights, directors, actors, teachers, students and administrators from organizations as varied as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Playwright’s Festival, Shakespeare Detroit, the Arvada Center, Athena Project, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Center Group of Los Angeles.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      “We believe the answer to gender parity in the American theatre lies in the philosophy of ‘top-down and bottom-up,’ ” said Statera Foundation co-founder Shelly Gaza of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “Yes, we work to affect change at the top tiers of American theatres. But we are also working from the bottom up so that we, in a sense, meet in the middle to achieve parity.”

      Statera, by the way, is a Latin word for “balance.”

      Statera quoteThe DCPA makes a perfect host for Statera’s second national conference, Gaza said, because the Denver Center not only acknowledges the prevailing gender disparity in the American theatre, it is actively working to eradicate it.

      DCPA Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson drew applause when he announced that the Denver Center has recently changed one of its stated core company values to equity, diversity and inclusion. “I feel my most profound job as an Artistic Director is to offer windows on the world to audiences - and those windows have to reflect women in our society,” Thompson said.

      He introduced to conference attendees the now 11-year-old Women's Voices Fund, the Denver Center's $1 million endowment that makes directing and playwriting opportunities available to women.  Thompson pointed out that only about 15 of the company’s first 250 productions over 26 seasons were directed by women - and fewer than a dozen had been written by women. But in the 11 years since Thompson’s arrival, the Theatre Company has presented 26 plays by women - nine of them world premieres.


      Here are more key findings and killer quotes from Day 1 of the 2016 Statera Conference, which runs through Sunday at the DCPA:

      • “Until gender parity and gender equity are the norm, there will be a need for all of our passion and purpose and action,” said Statera CEO Melinda Vaughn, who is working for the day “when equal space and equal pay and equal opportunity are not ideals for which you have to fight or create - they are the expectation. That shift in expectation is powerful.”
      • Lucy Roucis, a longtime actor with Denver’s acclaimed Phamaly Theatre Company, which exists to create performance opportunities for actors with disabilities, acknowledged the loss just the day before of prominent Denver director and playwright Terry Dodd. “I saw Terry just last week, and we were talking about this very subject,” Roucis said. “Terry he told me, ‘Lucy, there will be equality in the theatre when there are more women producers. Women have to do it themselves.’ ”       
      • Jane Page, an original member of the DCPA Theatre Company in 1979 and most recently director of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer here in 2011, flew to Denver from Cairo to attend the conference, she said, ”because I feel very strongly about the issue of parity for women in theatre.” Page was accompanied by a college student from Yale she is mentoring at the conference. “After 40 years in the business, I think it's important for me to be a part of this conversation,” said Page. “But I also think it's important to hear from those young women who are just entering into the profession.” Page had been in Cairo directing a contemporary version of Tartuffe set in modern-day Orange County.
      • Carey Perloff tried to do everything right when she arrived at ACT in 1992, “but I did everything wrong instead," she said. She was convinced she would be fired after her first season in San Francisco - which makes her not uncommon among women, she said. “I felt how I think every woman leader feels, which is, 'When you fail, you fail for all women – and that when we succeed, it's luck,’ ” Perloff said. ”People told me, 'You have to stop saying that.' Because women always say they got lucky when they get a job. But men never do that. The fact is, men are hired on their potential, and women are hired on their resumes. And that makes our challenge that much greater.”
      • The beauty of being a leader in the American theatre, Perloff said, “is you get to choose the kind of plays you want to promote. I always said, 'It’s such a hard job, but at least you don't have to do Sylvia - that play where the woman plays a dog. When it's your own theatre, you get to say no. We are not going to do plays where women are tangential all the time. We're not going to do plays where women are demeaned. We are not going to do plays where women are two-dimensional. We are going to choose plays where there are women directors involved. And there are vigorous roles for women. And we are going to make sure that the backstage life has women.”
      • A priority of the Statera Foundation, Perloff said, is embracing the role of motherhood that often goes with artistic leadership. “Being a parent is like being in perpetual tech rehearsal,” Perloff said. “But you have to remember that while the days are long – the years are short. If you are a leader, you have more control over your own time and destiny, so it's all the more important for women to claim these leadership positions."
      • Sumru Erkut, the research scientist, said no woman needs to be told how difficult it is to maintain a work-life balance – especially in the arts. “I have to tell you - there is no conversation going on about the work-life balance in the American theatre,” Erkut said. “But it's a reality we have to confront. This is not just a women's issue. It's a human-being issue. We have to make it possible for the next generation to both work and be a parent.“
      • Among the more than 50 speakers and workshop leaders presenting this weekend are Actor’s Equity Association Executive Director Mary McColl and American social justice activist Chris Crass. Locally, speakers include DCPA Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson; Directors Christy Montour-Larson (Two Degrees), Ina Marlowe (The Glass Menagerie) and Geoffrey Kent (An Act of God); Actors Meridith C. Grundei (Frankenstein), Lucy Roucis and Lisa Young; and Educators Allison Watrous, Jessica Austgen and Gillian McNally.

      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.
    • A day in the busy, busy life of Geoffrey Kent

      by John Moore | Oct 11, 2016

      Geoffrey Kent An Act of God
      'An Act of God' Director Geoffrey Kent, right, with his cast, from left: Steven Cole Hughes, Erik Sandvold and Wesley Taylor. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      EDITOR'S NOTE: Artists are natural multitaskers. Perhaps that stems from a young age and the struggle to scrape together a reasonable living in the arts. The more you know – and the more you know how to do – the more likely you might be to pay your rent. But even when artists reach the top of their craft(s), they continue to find their services in great demand throughout their careers. Many continue to juggle a variety of creative duties, often on multiple shows at once. That is certainly the case at the Denver Center.

      Take Geoffrey Kent, for example. Kent is a Colorado native who started teaching classes with DCPA Education back in 1996 and debuted as an actor with the DCPA Theatre Company in Anthony Powell’s Hamlet in 2002. He won a 2015 True West Award for his performance as Iago for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. He’s also a certified stage-combat expert. Literally. He’s the former President of the Society of American Fight Directors, the largest organization of stage combatants in the world. In September, he became one of only 18 certified “Fight Masters,” and the youngest by a decade.

      With that kind of cred, Kent is also the resident Fight Director for all Theatre Company plays. He is also member of the Arvada Center's new resident acting company, where he will act in Bus Stop and direct Waiting for Godot. Kent will make his DCPA directorial debut when An Act of God premieres regionally at the Garner Galleria Theatre on Oct. 21. And while he’s been getting that Broadway comedy ready for opening, he’s also been choreographing the complicated stage combat in Frankenstein. And teaching weekly stage-combat classes at the Denver Center.

      Twenty years after his arrival at the Denver Center, Geoff Kent is as busy as any kid ever was trying to break into the business. In short, he continues to practice pretty much every theatre discipline he ever learned - at the same time. To illustrate the point, we asked him to take notes we could share with readers that show a day in the life of Geoffrey Kent. He chose Saturday, Oct. 1, just a few days before he completed his work on Frankenstein, and just a few days after starting on An Act of God with Broadway star Wesley Taylor in the role of The Almighty.

      Here is his report, in his own words:


      Titus Geoffrey Kent6 a.m.: I’m usually up at 6 because that’s when my “Titus Hates Cats” alarm goes off. Here’s how it goes: The cats enter the bedroom to ask for breakfast. Titus, my Chihuahua who thinks he’s a Great Dane, runs subtle interference by emerging from under the covers yammering at me at 100 mph. “OK, I’m awake! God! I mean, Dog!”

       6:15 a.m.: Breakfast consists of microwave poached eggs on toast - because I’m lazy. And coffee. Times 3. While over-caffeinating, I shoot off some emails about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On!  Project to DCPA Literary Manager Douglas Langworthy. The OSF is commissioning modern translations of every Shakespeare play – and Doug is writing three of them. His Henry VI Parts I and II will be read in a workshop in Boulder soon.

      6:30 a.m.: I’m wracking my brain trying to find the right kid to play Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, which I will be directing next for the Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. I just cannot find that kid. Face palm. My wife, DCPA Teaching Artist Jessica Austgen, is adapting this version. We have a quick connection about the script - over yawns.

      7 a.m.: A walk with my proud post-cat-barking attack dogs.

      Geoffrey Kent An Act of God8 a.m. Saturdays are my busiest day of the week because, in addition to my other show duties, I work a three-hour Rapier and Dagger class at the Denver Center into the mix. I bike to work, taking the long route. I only live about 4 miles from the Denver Center, but I am really enjoying this gorgeous ride ... until I hit 15 miles, when I realize that 15 miles was a terrible and unnecessary choice to start the day. The soundtrack to Rock of Ages gets me through it. My God in An Act of God – Wesley Taylor – sings on that soundtrack, and I realize I am singing my God’s part. Badly. (PS: I say “my God”) a lot these days.

      9:30-12:30: My Rapier and Dagger class at the DCPA’s Newman Education building. That’s across Arapahoe Street from the Denver Performing Arts Complex. I have 16 swashbucklers in this class, with special guest Samantha Egle. (Who among many things is also house-managing for Denver Center shows that will be beginning at 1:30 p.m. today.) She is a mean sword-fighter to boot. On deck for today is fancy footwork and prise de fer – a move where the fencer takes the opponent's blade into a line and holds it there in preparation for attack. It literally means “taking the blade.”

      12:25 p.m.: I enjoy a brief visit from my talented wife, who is teaching an improv class nearby - and she brought coffee! – which is already bringing me to the brink of blissful caffeine overload.

      12:30 p.m. sharp: Class ends. I make a quick stairwell run to join my An Act of God rehearsal, which begins at 12:30 in the Orange Studio. Note to self: Remember to eat.

      An Act of God Scenic Design 12:31 p.m. I forget to eat. Rehearsal starts.

      12:32 p.m.: It’s fun to be working on An Act of God in the Orange Studio. As a longtime fight director I have… well … killed a lot of people in this room. Last week, in rehearsal for Frankenstein, we snapped some necks in this very same spot. Having multiple jobs is weird. (No snapped necks are anticipated for An Act of God.) 

      (Pictured above right: Erik Sandvold, Wesley Taylor and Steven Cole Hughes get a first look at the scenic model for 'An Act of God' at the Galleria Theatre.)

      12:32-5:30 p.m.: We work through the first half of the script. We are encouraged to localize the script, meaning to change jokes about New York to jokes about Denver. God is kind of a braggart at the top of the play. The conceit is that God is coming down to Earth to adapt the dusty 10 Commandments for these modern times. But because the very majesty of God might simply be too much for we mere mortals to handle, He takes on the far more approachable human form of a fabulously fun actor with just enough snark and charm. And he’s chosen Wesley Taylor, star of stage and screen ("Smash"). I encourage Wesley to make the bragging even braggier. So we add a bit where Wesley flashes his abs to the audience. This works. When you see them, you’ll know. We have a short discussion about how to best localize a joke about “the gayest area of Denver.” (It’s a surprise.)

      It's delightful to rehearse a comedy with a team of actors who have such amazing timing. Wesley’s castmates are longtime Denver favorites Erik Sandvold and Steven Cole Hughes.  Wesley is game for anything. We try 10 punchlines to a single joke. We settle on a favorite, only to abandon it for a better one five minutes later.

      Geoff Kent QuoteAt the end of the rehearsal, I get to give God notes. (Isn’t that weird?) A miniaturized version of Noah’s Ark is a set piece. I catch myself actually saying, “God: Can you cradle the ark like it’s a baby?"

      5:30 p.m.: We wrap An Act of God rehearsal for the day and make plans to work the second half of the play on Sunday. I then eat food … I think?

      6:45 p.m.: It’s fight call for Frankenstein. That means a preview performance is about to take place on the Stage Theatre. About 45 minutes before every show, all of the actors who have any physical contact with another actor during the show meet on the stage for a quick run-through of all violent stage business. This exercise keeps the actors sharp, and safe. It also helps them work these movements into their muscle memory. Frankenstein has lots of short bits of physical action, but this show is further complicated by the fact that two actors trade places each night playing the leading roles of Frankenstein and his Creature. I never remember who is playing the scientist and who is playing the monster on any given night until I show up. My fight captain is Rodney Lizcano, who also is an actor in the show. Because I can’t always be there, a Fight Captain is designated to help the actors with any concerns they may have. One of my fun tasks with Rodney is figuring out how to throw young Charlie Korman about the stage by his head - without actually throwing young Charlie Korman about the stage by the head.

      You really can leave nothing to chance when it comes to fight direction, because the safety of the actors is at stake. In my job, the No. 1 priority is and always will be, “Do no harm.” 

      One major challenge in Frankenstein is staging a moment of conflict between Frankenstein and the Creature that is staged on a massive coffin suspended above the stage by four ropes. Now imagine these two actors wrestling around on this very narrow piece of scenery that is hanging above the stage. Complicated by the fact that the lights go in and out during the scene. Also: The Creature’s eyes are closed. There is very … very little room for error.

      We run the scene. No one dies. … Success!

      7:30 p.m.: I watch the preview performance of Frankenstein. The young Charlie Korman head-toss toss goes well. I note a few tweaks for Rodney to fix the next day. I will next be working with these actors directly on Tuesday. I watched the show from the grid above the stage with Avi Levin (Charlie's understudy), and he hangs on every word for the entire show. It's infectious.

      Jessica Austgen Tartuffe9:30 p.m.: The creative team goes over notes with the cast. Some of the audience has stayed to watch the crew work on the show’s snowfall mechanics. We all say goodbye to amazing Scenic Designer Jason Sherwood, whose work is done, and he leaves town tomorrow. The end of the creative process is often a long series of slow goodbyes, only with no yearbooks to sign. Jason rocks.

       9:45 p.m.: Now I forget where I parked my car and wander the parking garage aimlessly. The bike helmet clipped to my bag fails to remind me that I did not actually drive the car to work today. Eventually I remember this ... and that I forgot to bring my bike lights. So I wait for my wife to finish her performance in the Arvada Center’s Tartuffe. She kindly comes for me and gives me a ride home.

      Midnight: I walk the dogs quickly. They are oddly silent. Surely they are saving their barks for the 6 a.m. wake-up call tomorrow.

      (Pictured above right: Geoffrey Kent's wife, Jessica Austgen, performing in the Arvada Center's 'Tartuffe.' Photo by Matthew Gale Photography.)


      Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the DCPA News Center.

      Geoffrey Kent Teaching
      In this 2015 file photo, Geoffrey Kent is shown conducting a stage swordsmanship class for DCPA Education. His students are Kyle Steffen, left, and fellow Teaching Artist Jessica Austgen (Kent's eventual wife.) Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      An Act of God
      : Ticket information

      • Oct. 15 through March 12, 2017
      • Garner-Galleria Theatre
      • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: TBA
      • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

      Frankenstein: Ticket information
      • Through Oct. 30

      • Stage Theatre
      • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 23
      • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Groups: Call 303-446-4829 

      Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Geoffrey Kent:
      Geoffrey Kent on 'a laugh-a minute God'
      Casting announced for An Act of God
      Geoffrey Kent's As You Like It cast profile
      Geoffrey Kent's NewsCenter podcast on the Colorado Shakespeare Festival
      Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award
    • Photos: Arvada Center launches Black-Box Theatre Company

      by John Moore | Oct 01, 2016
      Arvada Center's Black-Box CompanyCurtain call on Opening Night of the Arvada Center's 'Tartuffe,' the very first performance by its new Black-Box Theatre Company. To see more, press the forward arrow on the image above.


      On Friday (Sept. 30), the Arvada Center launched its new Black-Box Theatre Company with the opening of Molière's Tartuffe. One group of actors will perform together for an entire season in four separate plays. Not all actors will appear in all four plays.

      The 2016-17 core ensemble is made up of Michael Morgan, Sam Gregory, Leslie O’Carroll, Sean Scrutchins, Emily Van Fleet, Kate Gleason, Anthony Adu, Josh Robinson, Jessica Austgen, Geoffrey Kent, Sam Gilstrap, Jenna Moll Reyes, Tim McCracken and Steve Wilson. Some plays will incorporate additional actors.

      Heading the operation for the Arvada Center are Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins and Executive Director Philip Sneed.
       
      Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

      Read more about the Arvada Center's new repertory company

      Arvada Center's Tartuffe: Ticket information
      • Written by Molière
      • Directed by Lynne Collins
      • Sept. 30-Nov. 6
      • 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
      • Performances: 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays
      • Tickets $45 at 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

      Cast list:

      Michael Morgan (Tartuffe/M. Loyal)
      Sam Gregory (Orgon)
      Leslie O’Carroll (Mme Pernelle) - also Mrs. Fezziwig in DCPA's A Christmas Carol
      Sean Scrutchins (Damis) - DCPA Teaching Artist
      Emily Van Fleet (Mariane)
      Kate Gleason (Elmire) - DCPA Teaching Artist
      Anthony Adu (Valère)
      Josh Robinson (Cléante) - DCPA's All the Way
      Jessica Austgen (Dorine) - DCPA Teaching Artist

      The creative team also includes Clare Henkel (costume design), Diana Ben-Kiki (wigs), Brian Mallgrave (scenic design), Shannon McKinney (lighting design) and Morgan McCauley (sound design).

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      In the Spotlife: Meet Sam Gregory of Tartuffe

      DCPA Teaching Artist Jessica Austgen is one of many actors with Denver Center ties who are part of the Arvada Center's first seasonal repertory company. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
    • Photos: 46 public figures read Shakespeare in Boulder

      by John Moore | Sep 02, 2016
      First Folio: Speak the Speech

      Photos of all 46 public figures who read as part of the 'Speak the Speech' event in Boulder. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All are downloadable by clicking on the image. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.


      The University of Colorado culminated its month-long exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio with Speak the Speech, an evening of 46 Shakespeare readings by an eclectic variety of actors, educators, industry professionals and unexpected public figures.

      Among those taking turns reading from the Bard on Aug. 25 at the CU Art Museum, right in the presence of the famous First Folio, were former CU women’s basketball coach Ceal Barry, retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, CU Chief of Police Melissa Zak and even An Act of God Director Geoffrey Kent’s dog, Titus. John Ekeberg, Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway Division took on Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech from Romeo and Juliet (pictured right).

      The First Folio is arguably the most influential book in history after the Bible. It includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never before been printed. Without it, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It and more – might have been lost forever. Compiled by two of his friends and fellow theater colleagues, the First Folio was published in 1623 – seven years after Shakespeare’s death. That is a story the DCPA Theatre Company will be exploring in the upcoming world premiere of  Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, opening in January at the Ricketson Theatre.

      CU has been honoring the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death throughout the year with more than 40 events and exhibitions.

      The Speak the Speech event took its name from a famous speech from Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which the prince offers advice to a group of actors he has enlisted to play for the court of Denmark.

      The First Folio exhibition, hosted by the Folger Library, ended in Boulder on Aug. 31.

      (Pictured above right: Actor and CU teacher Tamara Meneghini read as part of "Speak the Speech" at the CU Art Museum. So did her son, Henry Stalker, who read from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to bring the event to a close.)

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      5_book_of_will_030716The Book of Will: Information
      Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. But without Henry Condell and John Heminges, we would have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays forever. After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the first folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They’ll just have to borrow, beg and band together to get it done. Shakespeare-lover Lauren Gunderson weaves a comic and heartfelt story of the characters behind the collected stories we know so well.

      • By Lauren Gunderson (DCPA Theatre Company Commission)
      • Jan. 13-Feb. 26, 2017
      • Ricketson Theatre
      • ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4
      • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

      Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Book of Will
      Shakespeare in a season without Shakespeare
      Read our interview with playwright Lauren Gunderson
      Shakespeare's First Folio comes to Boulder

      Lineup of readers
      Philip P. DiStefano
      Chancellor, University of Colorado-Boulder
      Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night, I.i.

      Edwin Jordan
      Graduate, BFA in Performance, CU-Boulder
      Antipholus of Ephesus, Comedy of Errors, V.i.

      Norm Augustine
      Retired Chairman and CEO of the Board of the Lockheed Martin Corporation
      King Henry VI, Henry VI, Part 1, IV.i

      Bob Yates
      Boulder City Council
      York, Henry VI, Part 2, III.i.

      Maggie Simms
      "Til Death Do Us Party" mystery dinner theater owner Employee, CU-Boulder
      Queen Margaret, Henry VI, Part 3, I.iv.

      Joel Parker
      Astronomer and Director, Southwest Research Institute Adjoint faculty, CU-Boulder
      Gloucester, Richard III, I.iii.

      Ceal Barry
      Senior Administrator, Athletic Department, CU-Boulder
      Duchess of York, Richard III, IV.iv.

      Joe Rice
      Director of Government Relations, Lockheed Martin Space System
      Titus, Titus Andronicus, III.i.

      John Tayer
      President and CEO, Boulder Chamber
      Katharina, Taming of the Shrew, V.ii.

      Bud Coleman
      Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance,  CU-Boulder
      Launce, Two Gentlemen of Verona, II.iii.

      Kevin Rich
      Assistant Professor, Theatre & Dance CU-Boulder
      Berowne, Love’s Labour’s Lost, IV.v.

      John Ekeberg
      Executive Director of DCPA Broadway, Denver Center for Performing Arts
      Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet, I.iv.

      Eva Balistrieri
      Actor
      Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, III.ii.

      Mary Kraus
      Vice Provost & Associate Vice Chancellor, CU-Boulder
      John of Gaunt, Richard II, II.i.

      Steve Ludwig
      Regent, CU-Boulder
      Richard II, Richard II, III.ii.

      Cameron Varner
      Graduate, BFA in Performance, CU-Boulder
      Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, IV.i.

      Sam Sandoe
      Actor, Colorado Shakespeare Festival
      Bastard, King John, I.i.

       
      Kristofer Buxton

      Student, BFA in Performance, CU-Boulder
      Shylock, Merchant of Venice, III.i.

       

      Melissa Zak
      Chief of Police, CU-Boulder Police Department
      Portia, Merchant of Venice, IV.i.

      William Kuskin
      Senior Associate Vice Provost for Education Innovation, CU-Boulder
      Falstaff, Henry IV, Part 1, V.i.

      Hadley Kamminga-Peck
      First Folio Project Manager, CU-Boulder
      Lady Percy, Henry IV, Part 2, II.iii.

      Rick George
      Athletic Director, CU-Boulder
      Henry V, Henry V, IV.iii.

      Chip Persons
      Associate Professor, Theatre & Dance, CU-Boulder
      Dogberry, Much Ado About Nothing, IV.ii.

      Elise Collins
      Student, BFA in Performance, CU-Boulder
      Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, III.ii.

      Jim Symons
      Professor Emeritus, Theatre & Dance, CU-Boulder
      Jaques, As You Like It, II.vii.

      Jane Gray
      Retiree, Senior Student, CU-Boulder
      Viola, Twelfth Night, II.ii.

      Katherine Eggert
      Professor, English, CU-Boulder
      Hamlet, Hamlet, II.ii.

      Mary Young
      Mayor Pro-Tem, Boulder City Council
      Hamlet, Hamlet, III.i.

      Leslie Arnold
      Assistant Superintendent, Boulder Valley School District
      Mistress Page, Merry Wives of Windsor, II.i.

      Jami Goetz
      Colorado Department of Education
      Cressida, Troilus and Cressida, III.ii.

      Nolan Carey
      Ph.D. Student, Theatre, CU-Boulder
      Coriolanus, Coriolanus, IV.v.

      Bernadette Sefic
      Graduate, BFA in Performance, CU-Boulder
      Helena, All’s Well that Ends Well, I.iii.

      Alphonse Keasley
      Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Diversity, Equity and Community, CU-Boulder Othello, Othello, I.iii.

      Matthew Denton
      Discus and hammer-thrower, CU-Boulder
      Iago, Othello, II.iii.

      Robert Boswell
      Vice Chancellor, CU-Boulder
      Angelo, Measure for Measure, II.iii.

      John Stevenson
      English Professor, CU-Boulder
      King Lear, King Lear, III.ii.

      Madalena DeAndrea
      President of Internal Affairs, Student Government, CU-Boulder
      Macbeth, Macbeth, V.v.

      Anne Sandoe
      Actor, Colorado Shakespeare Festival
      Hermione, The Winter’s Tale, III.ii.

      Casey Dean
      BFA in Performance, CU-Boulder
      Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra, V.ii.

      Tamara Meneghini
      Associate Professor, Theatre & Dance, CU-Boulder
      Constance, King John, III.iv.

      Titus
      Canine Thespian
      Timon, Timon of Athens, III.v.

      Nicole Kenneally
      Head Coach, Women’s Tennis, CU-Boulder
      Imogen, Cymbeline, III.vi.

      Michael Bautista
      Director of Construction, Flatirons Habitat for Humanity
      Caliban, The Tempest, III.ii.

      Amanda Giguere
      Director of Outreach, Colorado Shakespeare Festival
      Prospero, The Tempest, IV.i.

      Kiffany Lychock
      Director of Educational Innovations, Boulder Valley School District
      Prospero, The Tempest, Epilogue

      Henry Stalker
      Shakespearean Actor
      Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Epilogue

    • Colorado Shakes pumping up the pulp this summer

      by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016
      2016 Colorado Shakespeare Festival

      Selected production photos from the 2016 Colorado Shakespeare Festival. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen and Gabriel Koskinen.

      The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is bringing a little pulp fiction (not the movie) and a lot of Mad Max (the movie) to Boulder this summer. You know: Love, laughs, guts and gore – only often in the very same plays.

      In an era when many Shakespeare festival purveyors around the country are playing it safe by relying on an ever-dwindling list of about 10 sure-fire Bard box-office titles, Colorado Shakes is bucking the trend by offering up one of its most adventurous slates in years.  

      “We don't want a Top-10 list of plays to explore,” fourth-year artistic director Timothy Orr said. “We want a Top-37 list.”

      2015 was the biggest-selling season in the CSF’s now 59-year history, thanks to reliable attractions including Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V. This year is considerably more risky with the mythic Cymbeline and a feral, fever-pitched (and almost never produced) Troilus and Cressida. Even its safest title, The Comedy of Errors, is being presented with a major, gender-bending twist: The two romantic couples have been cast by actors of the opposite gender.

      Orr says the gamble is working. Nearing the halfway point of the season, he said, “This season could very well pass last year” in ticket revenue.

      “The season is pretty risky, not only in the titles we chose, but in where we chose to stage them,” added Orr, whose outdoor slate includes Troilus and Cressida in the 1,000-seat Mary Rippon Amphitheatre – stories that are more challenging to market because they don’t fit neatly into the traditional Shakespeare categories of tragedy, comedy or history.

      colorado-shakespeare-festival-timothy-orr

      Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. 


      “There's a little bit of everything in these plays,” Orr said. “No one does them anymore, but they are still highly entertaining and enlightening plays. They just need to be stirred back up to the top of the list.”

      Take for example, Troilus and Cressida, which scholars describe as a definite problem play but Orr calls instead "a dark, funny and sexy satire" — with a Mad Max feel to it.

      “There’s violence and comedy and a steamy love story,” Orr said. “But what makes it so entertaining is when you take all three of those things to their extremes, then it becomes almost like pulp fiction.”

      Colorado Shakes actors with local ties

      He means pulp fiction with the lower case, not the upper-case Tarantino film of “Royale with cheese” fame. The term refers to the fantastic, escapist fiction magazines of the 1930s and '40s known for larger-than-life heroes, pretty girls, exotic locales and mysterious villains. You know — like Shakespeare.

      a-csf-quote-geoffrey-kent-3“We would be laughing so hard in rehearsal — and then all of a sudden, these epic battles come out of nowhere that are really quite shocking,” Orr said. “It's just as funny as The Comedy of Errors, but then you get intense violence, a love scene and a song right in a row. It’s a blast.”

      Geoffrey Kent, who is directing The Comedy of Errors and Henry VI, Part 2, as well as portraying Achilles in a Troilus and Cressida that fully embraces his same-sex affair with Patroclus (Spencer Althoff), says he adores Shakespeare chestnuts like A Midsummer Night's Dream. But  Colorado Shakes “is out to prove Shakespeare wrote more than 10 great plays," he said. And for an actor, getting to work on a Shakespeare title for the first time is like working on a brand new play.

      “It's wonderfully challenging to work on a Shakespeare play you have never seen or performed,” said Kent, also the DCPA’s longtime Fight Director. “Troilus and Cressida was a new road for almost the entire cast, and it made for a pretty thrilling rehearsal process.”

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      At age 59, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is targeting 2017 for a major milestone. When it stages Henry VI, Part 3 on the University of Colorado campus, the CSF will become the second American Shakespeare festival to have presented the Bard’s entire canon twice. (This year, the 81-year-old Oregon Shakespeare Festival is completing its fourth trip around the Shakespeare sun.)

      “As part of a big research university, I feel it's our mission to explore the whole canon,” Orr said. “And it’s a perfect way to celebrate our 60th season.”

      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.

      Oregon Shakes turning rage of hate crime into action

       a-csf-coe-800

      Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 'Troilus and Cressida.' Photo by Gabriel Koskinen.


      Timothy Orr on the 2016 plays:


      The Comedy of Errors
      (outdoors)
      Directed by Geoffrey Kent
      a-csf-comedy-of-errors-600 The story*: Shakespeare’s purest comedy — with a twist. Set in jazzy, sexy 1930s Paris, this new production bends the classic adventure of mistaken identities in a different direction that puts the women in charge ... and the men in their places.
      Orr: “Since this play comes around at most Shakespeare festivals every five or six years, your core audience has seen it at least three or four times. But reversing genders makes it a whole new play. A lot of the jokes are funnier because the language is heightened in your ear when you hear it come out of the opposite gender's mouth. And putting it in Paris makes it even more fun. It's not some sort of bizarre, unknowable setting that you have to adjust to. You can walk right in the front door.”

      Equivocation (indoors)
      Written by Bill Cain
      Directed by Wendy Franz

      a-csf-equivocation-600The story: This year’s non-Shakespeare title is "Shakespeare enough." Reluctant playwright and sleuth “Shag” — aka William Shakespeare — finds himself at the perilous crossroads between artistic integrity and survival when King James I commissions him to rewrite the history of England’s infamous Gunpowder Plot. Under the Orwellian gaze of a security state not far removed from today’s headlines, he must find a way to tell the truth without selling his soul. The cast features longtime DCPA Theatre Company favorite John Hutton
      Orr: “We thought this is a play that really celebrates Shakespeare, the man. It takes such a warm and passionate look at what it means to be part of a theatre company.”

      Troilus and Cressida (outdoors)
      Directed by Carolyn Howarth
      a-csf-troilus-600The story: God-like heroes, embattled kings, doomed love and a sinister, snarky clown mark Shakespeare’s dystopian epic of the Trojan War. Like grown-up versions of Romeo and Juliet all too familiar with life’s stark realities, the eponymous lovers face painful choices in this mythic mélange of drama, comedy and history, set in a world on the verge of apocalypse.
      Orr: It's set in a kind of 'futuristic ancient' Greece, as if these guys have been at war not for seven years — but for maybe 700,000 years. They just keep fighting and (having sex).”

      Cymbeline (indoors)
      Directed by Jim Helsinger
      The story: Cymbeline is a vassal king of the mighty Roman Empire, but Britain herself remains a wild and untamed land in this mythic, idyllic romance. When the king banishes Posthumus — his beautiful daughter’s illicit, low-born husband — Imogen flees into a Welsh forest that still rings with Britain’s legendary past. By turns comic, heroic and harrowing, this tale of gods and villains, lovers and warriors, brings the entire CSF company together onstage.
      Orr: "Like Troilus and Cressida, this is a kind of pulp-fiction experience where something bloody and violent is followed immediately with humor and jokes and a passionate love story. It is also wrapped in this incredible fairy tale."

      Henry VI, Part 2 (outdoors)
      Directed by Geoffrey Kent
      The story: CSF’s annual “Original Practices” presentation will be staged for one night only (July 31) and, for the first time, on the outdoor stage. Shakespeare’s exploration of England’s War of the Roses, which also inspired the hit cable series Game of Thrones, drives toward the conclusion of one of his greatest cycles. “Original Practices” productions replicate the practices of presenting theatre in Shakespeare’s time. Actors are not handed entire scripts. They work from “cue” scripts that are based on the First Folio printing of Shakespeare’s plays from 1623. That means they only know their own lines, as well as the cue lines that immediately precede theirs. There is minimal rehearsal time (15 hours in this case), as well as limited costumes, lighting and props. (Note: This performance is already sold out.)

      *Play descriptions provided by Colorado Shakespeare Festival

      Ticket information
      The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 2016 season runs through Aug. 7 in Boulder on the campus of the University of Colorado. Tickets are available by calling 303-492-8008 or going to www.coloradoshakes.org

    • Arvada Center going retro by hiring core company for plays

      by John Moore | Apr 16, 2016

      Lynne Collins, Philip Sneed and Emily Van Fleet
      From left: Arvada Center Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins, Executive Director Philip Sneed and Costume Designer Clare Henkel at last year's Henry Awards. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      You might say the Arvada Center is leaping into the future by going back to the past.

      The 40-year-old Arvada Center has announced huge changes to the way it programs its theatre seasons. Moving forward, the Arvada Center essentially will be presenting two simultaneous yet independent seasons – its trademark musicals on the mainstage under the ongoing leadership of longtime Artistic Director Rod A. Lansberry, and a new “salon series” of plays in its studio theatre crafted by Lynne Collins.  

      Lynne Collins QuoteExecutive Director Philip Sneed has hired Collins in the new position of Artistic Director of Plays. She will helm the new four-play salon season, which will be presented primarily in repertory, and largely by a core company of up to seven recurring actors.

      “I think of it as sort of retro,” said Collins, known locally for her directing work with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Like many, Collins grew up on the American regional theatre movement that birthed the Denver Center and other foundational institutions in Seattle, Minneapolis and elsewhere. In their formative years, these theatres would hire “resident acting companies” that allowed as many as 25 actors to put down full-time roots in a given city for decades. The Arvada Center, too, grew around a core company of actors when it was founded in 1975. But a variety of economic, social and artistic factors have long since made permanent resident companies impractical.

      But Collins wants to be clear: She is talking about creating a strictly seasonal company for the Arvada Center, built one year at at a time. So the core actors she chooses for the 2016-17 season will not necessarily be the same core actors she chooses for the season that follows.

      The first company she hires will be tailored for the four plays she has chosen for 2016-17: Tartuffe, Bus Stop, The Drowning Girls and Waiting for Godot. Should the following season produce a wildly different type of fare, you will see a completely different slate of company actors. “This has a clear beginning and a clear end each and every year,” she said.

      Meanwhile, the Arvada Center's mainstage musical season kicks off Sept. 9 with Sister Act and continues with an original holiday production written by longtime Musical Director David Nehls titled  “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” followed in the spring by Jesus Christ Superstar.  “Part of the thinking is to free up Rod so he can pursue new musicals for mainstage, which begins with the holiday show this year,” Collins said.

      Added Lansberry: “The season is a blend of pieces that will truly show off the talent and artistry of the Arvada Center. It is especially exciting to premiere an original work over the holidays that features music by David Nehls.”

      Arvada Center

      From left: Geoffrey Kent, Sam Gregory, Emily Van Fleet and Joshua Robinson.


      Here is how it all shakes down, in 10 easy bullet points.

      1 PerspectivesHow are you defining “company?” Collins is calling anyone a company member who is involved in at least two of her four studio (also called "black box") plays each year.

      2 PerspectivesDo you already know who some of your inaugural company members will be? Yes, Collins already has committed to three longtime Denver Center favorites: Geoffrey KentSam Gregory and Josh Robinson, as well as Creede Repertory Theatre’s Emily Van Fleet. At least three other company members will be determined after general auditions April 24-25. Company members may serve multiple functions. Kent, for example, will act in Bus Stop and direct Waiting for Godot. Gregory will play Orgon in Tartuffe, Vladimir in Godot and a role to be determined in Bus Stop. “Company” also includes directors and designers. The creative company will include Shannon McKinney (Lighting Design), Brian Mallgrave (Scenic Design), Jason Ducat (Sound Design) and Clare Henkel (Costume Design).

      3 PerspectivesWait, Geoffrey Kent is an integral part of both the Denver Center and Colorado Shakespeare Festival families. And Sam Gregory will be taking over as the DCPA Theatre Company’s new Scrooge in its annual stagings of A Christmas Carol. Can these actors do it all? Absolutely, Collins says. “This is not about competition. This is about building an ecology of cooperation and mutual support that will benefit local theatres and the livelihoods of actors alike," she said. "An actor who does the whole season here at the Arvada Center will be offered a 30-week employment contract. And next to the Denver Center, the Arvada Center is the best-paying gig in town. By creating a company, we are creating more work for more actors, designers and directors. That gives them negotiating power, and I just think that's healthy. My goal is to try to work it out so that everyone can take advantage of other employment opportunities that come their way, because that benefits all of us. So yes, Sam will be doing A Christmas Carol, and Geoff will be doing an outside directing gig in the fall. We're sharing talent. I was so excited when (DCPA Director of Education) Allison Watrous said yes to directing Bus Stop. She is integral to what happens at the Denver Center. That's a great crossover.” 

      Gregory, for one, says he can’t wait to be an inaugural Arvada Center company member, and continue his relationship with the Denver Center at the same time. "I'm so (bleeping) excited about this,” he said, “... and you can quote me on that."

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      4 PerspectivesSo this is about building a stronger and more sustainable overall metro theatre ecology? That’s the idea. Many people gauge the overall health of any theatre city by the number of professional, union theatres it sustains that can create a living wage for a broad number of working artists. “It is my goal for this to be a place where a really strong community of local theatre artists can have a home,” Collins said. “Actors would love to be able to stay put. That's then good for the Denver Center. It's good for Curious. It’s good for all of us.

      “There's an old saying that the best place to build a gas station is next to another gas station. I really, truly believe that good theatre is good for all of us, and I am hoping that the Arvada Center Black Box becomes a real part of that ecology." 

      5 PerspectivesBut seven actors – that’s not enough to put on four plays, is it? No. More than a dozen roles will be made available to actors outside the core company. "That means more jobs for local actors," Collins said. "There may be a project where I have to import somebody I can't find here. But I hope not to."

      6 PerspectivesSo for the inaugural season – those four plays sound, well ... pretty old. It’s true: The first four titles average 120 years old. But Collins knows what she is doing – and whom she’s doing it for. Whereas most other companies are ever-scrambling to try and serve a wider and more diverse (and often elusive) group of potential new audiences, the Arvada Center remains mindful of its core demographic. Arvada is a city of 113,000 that is 82 percent white. The Arvada Center serves a much greater radius than just Arvada, but it is not trying to be all things to all people. This is a conservative season for a conservative audience base. “We don't intend to chase all of the cool new titles the way Curious Theatre or the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company does,” Collins said. “And partly that's because they do that so well.” The exception would be The Drowning Girls, the 2008 story of three dead brides who gather evidence against the womanizing, murderous husband they shared in life. But the season is not an appeal to widely varying ethnic or social groups. And that, in turn, serves the repertory concept. That said, Collins said the 2016-17 lineup will present her actors with significant and divergent artistic challenges. “They are going to be asked to make some interesting transformations over the course of the season,” she said. “And that, along with paying the bills, will feed their souls a little bit.”

      7 PerspectivesWhat is the artistic upside? “I grew up on regional theatres with resident ensembles that performed in true repertory," Collins said. "That's where artists really shine - when you have a chance to develop an artistic shorthand with a core group of people, and you give them a real artistic home.

      "We were motivated to see if there is an economically viable way to create the kind of relationship with our audience that I think only a company can really do. When you see an actor in a tiny role in one play, and then starring in the next, then you begin to build a relationship with the audience.”

      Another upside: Large plays - which is becoming more and more of an economic anomaly these days. “Playwrights today are writing small-cast plays - which is smart, because that's the only way to get a new play produced these days,” Collins said. “We're going to stay away from that wheelhouse, and instead look at shows that you can build around a larger number of actors who have real ensemble chops."  

      8 PerspectivesSo where is the Creede Repertory Theatre on your schedule? It’s not. Since 2010, Creede Repertory Theatre, located 250 miles southwest of Denver, has brought one of its summer season offerings down to Denver for a fall run at the Arvada Center, but that no longer fits under the new artistic blueprint. Look for Creede Rep to pop up at other metro theatres, like perhaps the Lone Tree Arts Center, in future seasons. “We haven’t given up the Front Range yet,” said Creede Rep’s Sarah Wallace.

      9 PerspectivesOther big changes are going on at the Arvada Center, right. Big? More like seismic. The Arvada Center is nearing the end a massive, three-year organizational transition from a city-run facility to a semi-independent nonprofit. This is a risky gambit, but one other city-run theatres such as the Aurora Fox will be eyeing closely. Theatres that are run by cities have the benefit of guaranteed funding in place that other non-profits can only dream of. But being a city-run facility comes with all kinds of bureaucracy and programmatic restrictions. Separating from the city should afford the Arvada Center creative staff more control over the activities, programs and theatrical productions offered there. But it will still receive about $4 million from the city each year – which is about the same as it gets now, Sneed said. So once that happens, it should be a win-win for all.  

      10 PerspectivesAnd who is Lynne Collins? She was first brought to Colorado by Sneed when he ran the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Her credits there include Noises Off (2012), Romeo and Juliet (2011), Macbeth (2008) and All’s Well That Ends Well (2007). (Her proudest achievement: R&J, she says.) Since 1990, Collins has been an Affiliate Artist and resident director with the Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City, Calif., where her directing credits have included Oleanna, The Glass Menagerie and Dancing at Lughnasa. Other theatres include The Western Stage in Salinas, Calif., Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and the Sierra Shakespeare Festival. She steered a bilingual A Midsummer Night's Dream, featuring actors from the Maxim Gorky Theatre in Vladivostok, Russia. She studied at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, HB Studio in New York and with Stella Adler. She holds an M.A. from San Francisco State University.


      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. 


      ARVADA CENTER: TICKET INFORMATION
      Subscription packages range in price from $120 to $318
      To buy, call 720-898-7200, go to 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., or online at www.arvadacenter.org/subscribe

      Note: Single tickets go on sale Monday, Aug. 1.

      MAINSTAGE SEASON
      Sept. 9-Oct. 2: Sister Act, Directed by Rod A. Lansberry
      By Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane

      Nov. 18-Dec. 23: I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Directed by Gavin Mayer
      By David Nehls

      March 24-April 16, 2017: Jesus Christ Superstar, Directed by Rod A. Lansberry
      By Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber

      STUDIO "BLACK BOX" SEASON
      Sept. 30-Nov. 6: Tartuffe, Directed by Lynne Collins
      By Molière, translated by Richard Wilbur

      Feb. 24-May 14, 2017: Bus Stop, Directed by Allison Watrous
      By William Inge

      March 17-May 21, 2017: The Drowning Girls, Directed by Lynne Collins
      By Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic

      April 21-May 20, 2017: Waiting for Godot, Directed by Geoffrey Kent
      By Samuel Beckett

      For individual play descriptions, click here

    • Perspectives: 5 things we learned about 'Sweeney Todd' (like use a dull blade)

      by John Moore | Apr 11, 2016
      Sweeney Todd Perspectives'Sweeney Todd' Perspectives conversation on April 8 in the Conservatory Theatre, from left: Choreographer Joel Ferrell, musical director Gregg Coffin, Director Kent Thompson, Actor Kevin McGuire (Judge Turpin) and Actor Samantha Bruce (Johanna). Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


      Perspectives is a series of free conversations with cast and creatives that take place on the evening of each production's first preview performance. The DCPA Theatre Company already has garnered enormous advance attention for its upcoming production of Sweeney Todd opening Friday (April 15), in part because of its collaboration with the band DeVotchKa on a new arrangement of Stephen Sondheim's classic score about the vengeful barber who teams up with a macabre baker to turn their customers into meat pies. Director Kent Thompson talked about how the DeVotchKa dots got connected. But the wide-ranging conversation unearthed a few other gems as well. Here’s some of what we learned. (This Perspectives panel was hosted by DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.)


      1 Perspectives Sweeney Todd Persepctives QuoteWhat in the world just happened in New Zealand, and how is that not possible to happen here? Students at a private high school in Auckland, New Zealand, were determined to make their production of Sweeney Todd as realistic as possible. So real that two 16-year-old students’ necks were cut with a prop knife during last week's opening performance. Both were hospitalized, one with serious injuries.

      How does something like that happen? "I'll tell you how," said Thompson: You're really stupid. I will say this is a challenging show, because you've got to make it credible - but I can't imagine why you would use a real razor in a high-school production. The razors you will see in our show are real, but they have been significantly dulled. One thing you have to be careful about is the strap that Sweeney uses, because you can actually be sharpening the blade on it. But we check that every night. Also our Fight Director, Geoff Kent, is constantly making sure that we're not making actual contact with the skin.

      "I just think someone in New Zealand had a very unwise thought. It's like somebody saying, 'Oh, I'll bring my pistol in and we can shoot blanks.' You'll see a gun in our show, but it's a gun that can never fire a real bullet. It would actually fall apart if you even tried."

      Thompson has his own question when he heard about the New Zealand accident: "After the first child got cut ... " 

      He didn't even have to finish his thought.

      2 Perspectives Samantha Bruce Sweeney ToddThose actors playing Anthony and Johanna have fantastic chemistry. And so they should. Samantha Bruce and Daniel Berryman played the young lovers together in The Fantasticks off-Broadway for a year. "We didn't know that when we cast them," Thompson insists, to which Bruce joked: "Which is astounding to me. We didn't even know were were both auditioning for this show until my final callback. Daniel walked out of the room and it was like, 'Oh. Hi!' "

      Thompson quipped: "I couldn't understand how they had such great chemistry from the very first day of rehearsal. I just thought it was brilliant casting - and it is."

      "Just not that brilliant," he added with a laugh. 

      3 Perspectives

      DeVotchKa with 'Sweeney Todd' Conductor Erik Daniells. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. DeVotchKa: So whose idea was that, anyway? "Emily Tarquin, who is our coordinator for the Colorado New Play Summit and one of the two people who run Off-Center at the Jones, came up with the idea of DeVotchKa," Thompson said. "She said, 'Wouldn't that be cool?' And so I thought about it for a day - because I didn't want to give away what a brilliant idea I thought it was right away. I went back and listened to their music again. I had seen Shawn King here several times because he loves to come to the theatre, and Tom Hagerman had done some collaborating with Off-Center. So we approached them and asked if they were interested, and they said yes. The loved the idea. They love Sweeney Todd. They love the Denver Center. But they had no idea what they were getting into. This is Steven Sondheim, and it's one of the most complex scores in all of musical theatre. But I think they are having a great time." 

      Getting Sondheim's permission was not as difficult as one might think. "Most musical theatre composers, living or dead, are resistant to anyone doing anything with their original arrangements and orchestrations," Thompson said. "But Mr. Sondheim is very different. He loves experimentation. You still have to honor the melodic structure, but there is a progressive-grunge version that was just done in Texas, and of course in 2005 there was the 10-character Broadway version with Patti Lupone where she was playing the tuba onstage."

      4 PerspectivesSweeney Todd Perspectives There not only will be blood - there will be lots and lots of blood. So how are those gorgeous Victorian costumes created by Kevin Copenhaver supposed to survive being splattered eight times a week? "You have to have the best blood mixture in the world," Thompson said. "There are lots of ways of doing blood. There are commercial bloods you can buy for theatrical performance, for example. But we have found over time that if you want the right viscosity and the right look, you have to create your own. Then you can change the thickness of it, and the color if you need to. And as for protecting the costumes, it's about planning ahead about what will costumes get blood on them. Over the past few days, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to control the splatter so if someone gets their throat slit, the blood doesn't jump out 20 feet and fall through the floor below."

      5 Perspectives About that iconic barber chair. It's not giving anything away to say that a significant set piece is Sweeney's barber's chair. He is the Demon Barber, after all. The chair used here was built from scratch by the DCPA Props Department to to support the unique needs of  this production. 

      "Sweeney Todd moves really fast from scene to scene, and it has a lot of technical elements," Thompson said. "One of them being the barber chair where some unfortunate things happen and people ... disappear quickly.

      "It's quite a bit of technology, and it takes a lot of practice. I mean think about this:  Robert Petkoff (the actor who plays Sweeney) is singing this very complicated music while putting this barber sheet on, while moving this chair around, while unlocking the mechanisms that keep the actors safe, and - in coordination with the stage manager - opening the chute and delivering his victims at the same time. Then re-setting the chair. And then he does it again ... and again ... and again. All while still singing. It's really like watching a complex dance between this incredible piece of technology and this actor. It was our challenge to figure how to do that safely and yet theatrically. It really is special when you watch his victims ... depart the stage. It takes a lot of people you never see.  We have a backstage crew of nine to run the show, which is a lot of people. We have people on automation. We have people checking trap doors. We have people watching as these large units move on and off the stage. And we have a lot of special effects and costume changes going on. It's almost as complicated as Sondheim's music. Not quite ... but that makes it even more thrilling."    



      Extras (because Sweeney Todd is all about being insatiable):

      6 PerspectivesMusic Director Gregg Coffin says the orchestra each night is made up of nine members - Conductor Erk Daniells, DeVotchka members Shawn King, Jeanie Schroder and Tom Hagerman, and five backing musicians. They play nearly 40 instruments. We asked Coffin to name one we probably never have heard of. He mentioned the bandoneon. "It's a concertina squeeze box that looks like an accordion," Coffin said. "If you have seen Pinocchio, its what Geppetto plays." 


      7 PerspectivesAnd finally: Thoughts on doing the 37-year-old musical today, with so much violence both real and rhetorical happening in the world. The panel was asked how the tone of the piece differs now than when it debuted in 1979. 

      Kent Thompson: "In the initial production, which I saw, there were people who were just horrified by the slitting of the throats and the people going down the chute. Over time, that's become more of an "applause" moment, which is an indication of how our world has changed. I think it is scarier in some ways now. Some people are corrupt but powerful in this world, and some people have had their lives shattered by the corruption of the system. That's Sweeney."

      Actor Kevin McGuire: "Revenge is always the motivation when we do something horrible to someone else: This person has done something horrible to you, or to someone you love. So we take our revenge. But this global revenge that we seem to have going on today is what makes it more scary to me."

      Choreographer Joel Farrell: "For the last three years in this country, we have been having this ongoing conversation about "why is there so much violence?" It seems to happen in poverty-stricken, demoralized, disenfranchised neighborhoods more than it happens elsewhere. And I don't think that's arbitrary."  


      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


      Sweeney Todd: Ticket information

    • 270x270-sweeney-toddMusic and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by High Wheeler (adapted by Christopher Bond); musical adaptation by DeVotchKa
    • Through May 15 (opens April 15)
    • StageTheatre
    • Grammy-nominated Denver band DeVotchKa takes on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a reinvention of Sondheim’s musical thriller. Hell-bent on revenge, Sweeney Todd takes up with his enterprising neighbor in a devilish plot to slice their way through London’s upper crust. Justice will be served — along with audacious humor and bloody good thrills.
    • Accessible performance 1:30 p.m. May 1
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    • Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweeney Todd:
      Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
      DeVotchKa frontman promises a Sweeney Todd that's 'loud and proud'
      DCPA announces DeVotchka-infused Sweeney Todd casting
      Where the band meets the blade: Rehearsals open
      Co-stars on bringing DeVotchKa’s fresh blood to Sondheim
      Video sneak peek with DeVotchKa

      Previous Sweeney Todd profiles (to date):

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

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