• Time-lapse video: Creating your first look at 'Zoey's Perfect Wedding'

    by John Moore | Jan 09, 2018

     

    How a broad brushstroke turns into a raw, emotional and contemporary introduction of a new play to its audience

    Kyle MaloneArt Director Kyle Malone, an 18-year employee of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, isn’t an actor. Nonetheless, he has had a profound influence on how audiences have experienced every DCPA Theatre Company production since 2013.

    Check out our time-lapse video look at how Malone came up with the show art for the DCPA Theatre Company's upcoming world premiere Zoey’s Perfect Wedding, the raucous story of a wedding gone horribly, comically, catastrophically wrong, which has its first performance on Jan. 19 in the Space Theatre.

    "The Theatre Company illustrations are meant to feel raw, emotional and contemporary," says Malone. "I do this by using a mix of hand-done pencil-and-ink washes topped off with digital color floods and simple object overlays."

    Zoey's Perfect Wedding show Art Kyle Malone For each show, DCPA Creative Director Rob Silk and Copywriter Carolyn Michaels come up with what they call an “Ignition Point” to guide the narrative of the image. For Zoey’s Perfect Wedding, written by Matthew Lopez, the team worked off the phrase: “Commitment isn’t pretty.” Malone starts off exploring that direction with lots of quick sketches, After some curation, the team gathers to review and decide on the strongest one.

    “To create the final illustration, I lay down a pencil drawing as a guide,” Malone said. He then goes over it using Micron pens for fine details and ink washes for large areas.

    “Once the hand-done character is complete, I take a high-resolution photo to create the digital version,” he said. “From there on out, the art lives in the computer, where I add the colors and play with various object overlays that I’ve drawn in Adobe Illustrator. Finally, I explore different compositions until I find the best way to fit all of the pieces together.”

    Zoey's Perfect Wedding: Ticket information
    At a glance: The blushing bride. The touching toast. The celebration of true love. These are the dreams of Zoey’s big day…and the opposite of what it’s turning out to be. Disaster after disaster follow her down the aisle, from brutally honest boozy speeches to a totally incompetent wedding planner. Even worse, her friends are too preoccupied with their own relationship woes to help with the wreckage around them. Like a car crash you can’t look away from, watch in awe as this wildly funny fiasco destroys her expectations with the realities of commitment, fidelity and growing up.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances Jan. 19-Feb. 25
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $30
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage of Kyle Malone's work:
    Theatre Company introduces bold new artwork for 2015-16 season
    Art and Artist: Meet Graphic Designer Kyle Malone

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Zoey's Perfect Wedding":

    Video: Director Mike Donahue on just how perfect Zoey's Perfect Wedding really is
    Five things we learned at first rehearsal

  • Introducing DCPA Theatre Company's 2016-17 season artwork

    by NewsCenter Staff | Jun 13, 2016
    Kyle Malone Season Artwork 2016-17

    EDITOR'S NOTE:
    DCPA Art Director Kyle Malone has been with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts for 16 years, and he has had a profound influence on how audiences have experienced every DCPA Theatre Company production since 2013. Malone owns the prestigious - and high-stakes - assignment of creating the art campaign that serves as theatregoers’ first exposure to the look, feel and content of every Theatre Company production. Here, Malone reveals his artwork for 2016-17 season, and explains a little about the process.

     

    By Kyle Malone
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The goal in creating the singular images you see before and throughout any DCPA Theatre Company theatre season is to bring raw, emotional characters to vivid life that will linger in the eye and mind of the beholder.

    These images are a vitally important first step in the creative process because, months in advance, they serve as our audiences’ first associations with the actual, eventual theatrical experience. So these images must serve as an effective, fair and visceral visual introduction to each of the plays. That’s a lot to ask of a single image.

    Kyle MaloneFor the second straight season, we have chosen to render each of these images by hand using charcoal and ink and combined with modern, colorful support elements. It’s a look that is unique to the Theatre Company, continuing a familiar visual identity we hope is equal in in professionalism and quality to the work that goes into the incredible shows on our stages.

    Much as a play best tells a story when all of its ingredients work together, the DCPA Design Team uses our own set of ingredients in our work. Of course, we cannot tell any entire story in a single image, so what we try to do is we boil each story down to its essence - hopefully by capturing one simple, moving moment.

    A look back at Kyle Malone's 2015-16 season artwork

    In terms of style, these images must engage and connect with people, using consistent unifying elements. We start with the hero of each piece and then focus on the emotion each of these characters evoke. We then depicted each one using rough charcoal and ink on illustration board – a choice we made to echo the hand-made work of the artists who work directly on the actual stage productions. The illustration is then rounded out with colorful and modern support elements to push the narrative of the story further. The final piece of the puzzle is designing a title treatment that uses lettering to both complement the overall story and add strength to the tone of the illustration.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Overall, each one is designed to be simple and bold and play well with surrounding messaging, and in many different sizes. Our team is constantly evaluating the images as they are used in everything from TV spots to mobile advertisements to posters, billboards and more.

    Today, these images are ready to be released to the wild.

    It is an honor to be a part of such a creative team in a creative organization. A big thank you to everyone who helped with this campaign, it wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of these talented individuals: Rob Silk, Carolyn Michaels, Adam Obendorf, Kim Conner, Brenda Elliott, Nathan Brunetti, Adam Lundeen, Brianne Firestone, Kent Thompson, Emily Kent and David Lenk.

    A look at the progression of The Secret Garden:

    SecretGarden-animated-800px[1]


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


    About our Guest Columnist

    DCPA Art Director Kyle Malone is an Arvada native who graduated from Arvada West High School and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado State University, majoring in drawing, painting, sculpting and graphics. His email is kmalone@dcpa.org.

    Selected previous Guest Columns:
    Students Aleksandra Kay and Alice Zelenko on The Secret Garden in NYC
    Student Nik Velimirovic on A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
    Douglas Langworthy: On translating Shakespeare for Oregon Shakes
    David Nehls: Live theatre returns to Elitch Gardens after 24 years
    Gillian McNally: Colorado's oldest theatre celebrates Artistic Director Tom McNally
    Margie Lamb on the Henry Awards: Something doesn't add up
    Bryan VanDriel on Lloyd Norton: A name that will live on in Greeley
    Jessica Jackson on Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season
    Susan Lyles on 10 years of staging plays for women in Denver

    A look at the progression of Frankenstein:

    Kyle Malone Progession Frankenstein
  • 'Saturday Night Alive': Five intriguing auction items, from Broncos to safari

    by Olivia Jansen | Feb 26, 2016
    Saturday Night Alive Auction Safari

    By Olivia Jansen

    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The 36th annual Saturday Night Alive is just around the corner on March 5, and hundreds of auction items are already waiting in the wings for you to bid on. Here we spotlight five unusual, intriguing and surprising items up for bid. See something you just can’t wait to own? Bids already are being placed online at www.bid720.com, so head over now to join in on the action. All proceeds from Saturday Night Alive benefit DCPA Education and its programs, which reach more than 84,000 students of all ages each year.

    BIG FIVE AFRICAN SAFARI, VALUE: $6,800
    1 PerspectivesMake sure your camera is ready for this African adventure. You’ll start with a two-night stay at the Maritime Bushveld Estates, a nature reserve that combines the wildlife with a unique charm, located just outside of Johannesburg. From there you’ll enjoy a five-night Ezulwini Safari. Stay in a private bungalow in Kruger National Park and go on two daily photo safari game drives per day, led by skilled game rangers and trackers. BID INFO

    BRONCOS HOME AND AWAY PACKAGE, VALUE: PRICELESS
    2 PerspectivesSaturday Night Alive Auction Broncos  The MVP experience for fans of both Broadway and the Denver Broncos. Winners will receive two tickets to the selected home game in the Budweiser Champions Club, where you will mingle with Broncos alumni players. Also before the home game, you will be brought down onto the field for the national anthem, to be sung by a Broadway actor. For the Broadway portion, enjoy two tickets to Best of Broadway Society for the show associated with the anthem. And the there is the away game. You’ll receive two round-trip coach tickets to the visiting city, a room at the team hotel and two tickets to the game. BID INFO

    (Photo: LaChanze of 'If/Then' sang the national anthem at the Broncos' season-opener last year. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME, VALUE: $2,500
    3 PerspectivesIf you’ve ever dreamed of being on stage, this is your chance. One person will win a walk-on role for one performance of the DCPA Theatre Company's Sweeney Todd in the Stage Theatre. Also included are four complimentary tickets for family and friends to see the winner’s debut performance on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. BID INFO

    ART FROM DCPA's KYLE MALONE, VALUE: $2,700
    4 PerspectivesSNA Kyle Malone Auction Decorate your home with your own piece of All the Way. This 18x24 piece is the original artwork made for the DCPA Theatre Company's current production. It has been showcased on TV, city banners and numerous other advertisements. It is created by the DCPA’s own Senior Graphic Designer, Kyle Malone, who has also created an original piece of art for the past six Saturday Night Alive auctions. Last year, Malone's painting drew 37 bids and raised 3,700. In all, Malone's donated works have raised about $16,000 for DCPA Education. His other original painting for this year is a continuation of his series of minimalistic, abstract cityscapes, in which characters form in the eye the longer you look at the painting (right). BID INFO

    SYDNEY IN STYLE, VALUE: $15,300

    5 PerspectivesA trip for two down under to Sydney, Australia, via United Airlines. Enjoy two round-trip Business Class tickets and a three-night stay at The Westin Sydney. Located in the heart of the city, you’ll be minutes away from hot spots such as the Sydney Opera House, NSW Art Gallery and Sydney Harbour. BID INFO

    Saturday Night Alive: At a glance
    Annual fundraising gala for DCPA Education
    Saturday, March 5
    Headlining concert: Broadway stars Kelli O'Hara and Brian d'Arcy James
    More information
  • Photos: Denver Broncos Super Bowl Celebration

    by John Moore | Feb 09, 2016
    Denver Broncos Super Bowl Celebration

    To see more parade photos, just click the forward button on the photo above. To download any photo for free, click on it, and you will be taken to the Flickr gallery, where will be given a variety of file size options.


    The Denver Center joined with the entire Rocky Mountain region today (Tuesday, Feb. 9) in celebrating the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers with a parade and rally that drew an estimated 1 million people downtown. The population of Denver is only about 650,000 and the metro area holds 3.3 million.

    Photos by John Moore and Kyle Malone for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    ​More of our NewsCenter coverage of the Super Bowl:
    Super Bet: DCPA is backing the right horse in the Super Bowl
    Five plays about football: Is truth stranger than theatre?
    Video: Andy Kelso of Kinky Boots: Broadway backs the Broncos
    Video: Fun Home on Broadway boards the Broncos bandwagon
    Video: The Denver Center is United in Orange!

    Denver Broncos Super Bowl Celebration Kyle MaloneDenver Broncos Super Bowl Celebration. Photo by Kyle Malone (above) and John Moore (below).

    Denver Broncos Super Bowl Celebration. John Moore
  • Theatre Company introduces bold new artwork for 2015-16 season

    by John Moore | Jun 01, 2015
    Kyle Malone season art 2015-16.

    Kyle Malone's artwork for the upcoming 2015-16 DCPA Theatre Company season. "A Christmas Carol" is still to come. Photo below by John Moore.


    Kyle Malone. Photo by John Moore.


    Art Director Kyle Malone, a 15-year employee of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, isn’t an actor. Nonetheless, he has had a profound influence on how audiences have experienced every DCPA Theatre Company production since 2013.

    That’s when Theatre Company Director of Marketing Brianna Firestone awarded Malone the prestigious - and high-stakes - assignment of creating the art campaign that serves as theatregoers’ first exposure to the look, feel and content of the Theatre Company’s entire season.

    Malone’s award-winning design work was singled out by The New York Times in December, but the DCPA has recently undergone a massive rebranding that has created a whole new look and feel for the organization. And the Theatre Company’s 2015-16 season art would have to reflect that.

    After an extensive exploration of design direction and discussions with local artists, Firestone and new DCPA Creative Director Rob Silk decided Malone was still the best artist for the job.

    But Malone would be challenged to create a campaign unlike anything he has ever done before. He was asked to capture the raw emotion that will embody the upcoming season of Lookingglass Alice, As You Like It, Tribes, A Christmas Carol, All The Way, world-premiere new plays The Nest and FADE, finishing with the musical Sweeney Todd, featuring new orchestrations by the Denver band DeVotchKa.

    “We have a new brand, and so we very intentionally wanted a departure,” said Malone, a native of Arvada. He and Silk considered several new mediums including photography, “light-painting” and even layered light boxes.

    The guiding principle?

    “Rob really wanted to see the artists’ hand in this,” Malone said, “not something that looked like it was created on a computer.”

    They ultimately chose a layered illustration style that would include what Malone calls “a toolbox of different elements.” That starts with the lettering, or what is known in the trade as a “title treatment.”

    'All the Way' title treatments.Malone’s illustration for All the Way, a Tony-winning about President Lyndon Baines Johnson, features red, white and blue coloring, and a lettering style that evokes a political campaign. (The illustration to the right shows several possible iterations created by Malone. The bottom choice ended up being the winner.)

    The contemporary play Tribes, which focuses on hard-of-hearing characters, has a modern lettering style, accented by multi-colored hands that jut out of the letters to cleverly spell the name of the play in American Sign Language. The Sweeney Todd lettering, meanwhile, looks more appropriately classic – complemented by a subtle slash through the letters. 

    The second key element of each illustration is a pencil-and-ink drawing of a character who is central to each title. For Sweeney Todd, of course, that meant a slightly crazed, razor-wielding Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Malone calls this the “Hero Element.”

    “The look is scribbled, emotional, raw, high contrast and character based,” Malone said. Each drawing is done by hand, in black and white. And a signature element, Malone said, “is that they all splatter.”

    The Tribes hero element is particularly compelling as the hero is shown with hands covering his mouth, suggesting silence.

    The third element consists of colorful, computer-generated background images that introduce layering to the series. For example, a pronounced blood splatter covers our maniacal Sweeney Todd. But if you look closer, you will see musical instruments forming out of the blood drops. There is a dangling guitar, a trumpet and sousaphone – a sly nod to some DeVotchKa’s signature musical instruments.

    “The splatter helps keep it more raw,” Malone said. “If we polish up them too much, they might seem uptight. They also give each drawing some energy and flow.”

    Finally, each illustration includes a tagline that both brings continuity to the series and gives the reader a tantalizing idea of what kind of experience they are in for at the theatre. These are subject to change, but for Tribes, you might see the tagline, “TRUE FAMILY SPEAKS YOUR LANGUAGE." Or, for All the Way: “IT’S NOT PERSONAL. IT’S JUST POLITICS.”

    “These taglines tell the story in a quick and clever way,” Malone said. “Each one stands on its own, but with enough consistency in tone to be a unifier.”

    Sweeney 800Malone’s series (which remains subject to further alterations), might be seen by potential audiences in a variety of mediums, including: The Denver Center web site, on mobile devices, in TV and print advertising, on signage and banners throughout the city, on individual show programs and all over social media platforms.

    No pressure.

    For his campaign to be considered ultimately successful, Malone said, it will have to be seen as a unified series the audience will immediately identify as promoting plays and musicals by the DCPA Theatre Company. It will have to draw the reader in and help quickly forge an emotional connection to each show. And that it comes across as accessible across all potential audiences and not turn anyone off.

    “There is always that stereotype some people hold that says theatre is only for the sophisticated,” Malone said. “But we think theatre should be fun. So these illustrations should convey the flavor of each show so that comedies appear fun, and so that even while dramas celebrate drama, they do it in an appealing way.”


    How Kyle Malone's season art has eveolved over the past three seasons.

    How Kyle Malone's season art has evolved over the past three seasons.

  • Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit

    by John Moore | Feb 15, 2015




    Our comprehensive photo gallery spans the first-day meet-and-greet, rehearsals for all four shows, the first-ever Local Playwrights Slam, and both acting and playwriting workshops conducted by DCPA Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez.

    Check back next week for more photos and video from each of the readings, and a full recap of Summit activities. All photos by John Moore and Kyle Malone.

    Local Playwrights Slam at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore.

    Nina Miller, Leslie C. Lewis and Jeffrey Neuman, curators of the first Local Playwrights Slam at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore.



    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit:
    Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced
    Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
    Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
    Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
    2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam


  • First look: 'The SantaLand Diaries' TV commercial

    by John Moore | Nov 15, 2013


    Here's your first look at a fun new TV spot for "The SantaLand Diaries." It was conceived by Denver Center graphic Designer Kyle Malone, whose animation required about 150 individual Photoshop layers, with an assist from videographer Ken Mostek.

     Local favorite Matt Zambrano dons the candy-cane tights in
    "The SantaLand Diaries," bringing to life David Sedaris' semi-true story working as an elf in a Macy's SantaLand display. It opens Nov. 29 in the Garner-Galleria Theatre as a co-production with the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. Call 303-839-4100 or visit www.denvercenter.org

  • Art and Artist: Senior graphic designer Kyle Malone

    by John Moore | Oct 17, 2013

    image

    Senior graphic designer Kyle Malone is an Arvada native and 12-year employee of the Denver Center.

    By John Moore

    Today, Denver CenterStage launches a new, ongoing feature called Art and Artist. We will pair a craftsperson with their specific craft, and talk about how that craft contributes to a currently running production.

    We begin with an artist whose work will have a major impact on how audiences experience every Denver Center Theatre Company play this season. Senior graphic designer Kyle Malone’s creative talent touches nearly all of the Denver Center’s promotional production art. But this year, Malone also landed the prestigious -- and high-stakes -- assignment of creating the art campaign that serves as theatregoers’ first exposure to the look, feel and content of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s entire season.

    Malone's selection is all the more impressive given that it typically goes to an outside illustrator or agency.

    image

    It began when new Denver Center Theatre Company director of marketing Brianna Firestone announced a national search for submissions. She asked Kyle if he had any suggestions. His response ...  “How about me?”

    In what Malone calls his "12 short years" at the Denver Center, he has made an impression. And his ideas demanded to be considered.

    “I looked at some national artists who are quite well-known for their specific work on theater campaigns,” said Firestone. “But Kyle’s portfolio was hands-down the front-runner because of the capacity he showed to do so many styles, and do them all so well. I could quickly imagine his ability to nail anything we came up with.”

    "As a longtime employee of the Denver Center," Firestone added, “Kyle has a rich understanding and historical knowledge of what  we are, and what we aspire to be. That put him leaps and bounds above any other illustrator.”

    Artistic director Kent Thompson told Malone he was looking for a campaign that accomplished the same sense of immediate engagement with the viewer that actors aspire to achieve with an audience. Malone worked at home in his off-hours from 6 p.m. to  2 a.m. nearly every night for two months.
     
    He said it is “very encouraging” that he was taken seriously for such an important assignment.

    “I am thankful for the vote of confidence, because they (Firestone and her boss, Denver Center Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Nealson) both honestly put their butts on the line over this,” Malone said. “There was a lot of pressure on them. It’s huge for me to be a part of that. It has renewed my energy and my inspiration to be working in the realm of illustration.”  

    Christine Tatum, who coordinates social media for the Denver Center and is the owner of a consulting company called Media Salad, caught up with Malone to further discuss his work -- and what he hopes audiences will glean from it.

    Christine Tatum: How does your art support this year's theme of "Spark a Season of Conversation?"

    Kyle Malone: First, I want it to grab your attention. I hope you'll see yourself or someone else -- or remember something important to you -- in that moment. I hope you'll smile sometimes. I hope you'll be encouraged, inspired and even challenged. But ultimately, it's the play I want you to connect with in ways that make you have to talk about it. It's an honor that my work might help put a lot of people on that path to self-discovery.

    Tatum: There are so many colors, so many techniques, so many images and so many approaches you could've used. Why these?

    Malone: As with theatre, the stars of these illustrations are the main characters of each production. And I'll be honest: creating these defining images was challenging because the shows aren't fully built yet. I had to develop this art before all the actors are cast and the sets, wigs, props and costumes have been made. So, what you see is really a testament to the clear vision for each of these productions and the strong and talented direction that will lead them.

    I started there -- which is why, style-wise, I sought to deliver work that is distinct, bold and contemporary and also gives the Denver Center Theatre Company its own unique promotional look. That's a tall order, especially when you consider what a diverse season we have coming up. The Denver Center Theatre Company is tackling stage classics, including "Hamlet" and "Death of a Salesman," and four new, original works selected from the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit. It was important to me that my artistic style not compromise those classics and also saddle the new plays with tradition. So, the resulting look combines a mix of traditional painting and contemporary colors and textures.

    Tatum: What do you most enjoy about your job?

    Malone: I love being in such a creative environment, surround by talented and fun people. The variety of projects I get to work on keeps my job very interesting. I feel inspired here.

    Tatum: What do you love most about theatre?

    Malone: Theatre has a unique ability to connect people through the sharing of stories. I have always been drawn to that. Being involved in the theatre has enriched my life and brought me closer to my friends and family.

    Tatum: What is the best professional advice you've ever received?

    Malone: It actually has come in only the last year -- and from Jennifer Nealson. She was speaking to our whole department, and I've come to embrace what she said: "People don't respond to what you do but why you do it."

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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.