• Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons

    by John Moore | Apr 03, 2017

     

    Macbeth, The Who's Tommy, four world premieres and
    "a deep dive into some truly exciting collaborations"

    By John Moore
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company’s 39th season will include vast and visceral reimaginings of two distinct cutting-edge classics, a record-tying four world premieres and the company's 25th staging of perennial favorite A Christmas Carol.

    The season begins in September with visionary director Robert O'Hara’s Macbeth to reopen the newly renovated Space Theatre, and builds to The Who’s rock musical Tommy, directed by Sam Buntrock (Frankenstein). And both directors promise ambitious stagings unlike anything audiences have seen before.

    Nataki Garrett QuoteThe DCPA has worked its way to the forefront of new-play development in the American theatre, and next season’s slate will include the comedy Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by former Playwright in Residence Matthew Lopez; José Cruz González’s American Mariachi, the musical tale of an all-female 1970s mariachi band; Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, about an American college basketball team that travels to Beijing in 1989; and Eric Pfeffinger’s timely comedy Human Error, which raucously explores the great American ideological divide through two vastly different couples - and one wrongly implanted embryo.

    Zoey’s Perfect Wedding will reunite Lopez and Mike Donahue, writer and director from the DCPA’s endearing world premiere The Legend of Georgia McBride (which makes its West Coast debut tomorrow at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.)

    American Mariachi
    was a favorite from the Theatre Company's 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. "Women of course had many challenges trying to play in such a male-dominated musical form," González said. "We interviewed a number of amazing women who were able to help us enter into that world, and we found an amazing group of artists who will play and sing in the piece."

    The Great Leap and Human Error emerged from the recent 2017 Summit in February.  In The Great Leap, Yee explores sport as a metaphor for how countries rub up against each other in terms of strategy, styles and priorities. "If you think of all the sports out there, basketball is the one in which you can really lay the ideals of communism on top of it. Everyone gets to touch the ball. Everyone is equal in their position,” she says.

    Human Error will set a precedent as the first Theatre Company offering ever to be staged in the cabaret-style Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    “The 2017-18 DCPA Theatre Company season represents the microcosm at the heart of the American experiment,” said Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. “These writers, spanning across generations, cultures, and genders, are exploring the ways in which our commonalities are more meaningful than our differences."

    2017-18 Broadway season brings Hamilton to Denver

    For the first time, the DCPA simultaneously announced the upcoming year of its adventurous and ambitious Off-Center line of programming. Off-Center is known for creating experiences that challenge conventions and expand on the traditional definition of theatre. Next season will be the largest yet for Off-Center. It includes Mixed Taste, a summer-long partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; a 360-degree immersive staging of The Wild Party musical at the Stanley Marketplace. Also of great intrigue: Remote Denver, a  guided audio tour of the secret city; and This Is Modern Art, a controversial play by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval that explores graffiti as modern art ...  or urban terrorism.

    “The expansion of Off-Center is a result of the incredible response of the Denver community,” said Off-Center Curator (and Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director) Charlie Miller. “We have seen that audiences are hungry for a broad range of experiences, and are eager for the unexpected.”

    Miller calls the upcoming year "a deep dive into some truly exciting collaborations." A continuing one will be the return of The SantaLand Diaries, in partnership with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and again starring Michael Bouchard

    Combined, the DCPA today announced 14 upcoming new productions that will be presented across eight different venues at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and beyond.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “Theater has the opportunity and the ability to help bridge our differences by offering performances that inspire us to seek deeper connections with one another,” said Garrett, who will make her DCPA debut directing Lydia Diamond's acclaimed race comedy Smart People. “We are honored to provide a space for conversations and connections to the Denver community this year through this season's offerings.”

    Lisa Portes Robert O'HaraMacbeth will be directed by Robert O'Hara, a rising playwright, director and screenwriter who won the 2010 NAACP Best Director Award and the 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. He was a young prodigy of original Angels in America Director George C. Wolfe and is perhaps best-known as a writer for Insurrection, a time-traveling play exploring racial and sexual identity. 

    The Who's Tommy, the rock musical based on the classic 1969 concept album about the pinball prodigy, will reunite acclaimed British Frankenstein director Sam Buntrock and Scenic Designer Jason Sherwood (who also will create the world of Macbeth). Native Gardens will mark the DCPA return of playwright Karen Zacarias, who wrote Just Like Us in 2014. Zacarias has penned a very close-to-home border-war story: One that plays out between two neighboring couples in D.C. who have a dispute over their property line. The director is Chicago's Lisa Portes, who recently won the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's 2016 Zelda Fichandler Award, which recognizes an artist who is "transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in the theatre." She is head of the masters program in directing at DePaul University.

    Next year's A Christmas Carol will be the 25th season staging of Dickens' classic by the DCPA since 1990. Melissa Rain Anderson will return for her second turn at directing, and popular longtime DCPA actor Sam Gregory again will play Scrooge.

    DCPA THEATRE COMPANY SEASON AT A GLANCE:

    • Sept. 15-Oct. 29: Robert O’Hara’s Macbeth (Space Theatre Grand Reopening)
    • Oct. 13-Nov. 19: Smart People (Ricketson Theatre)
    • Nov. 24-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol (Stage Theatre)
    • Jan. 19-Feb. 25, 2018: Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (Space Theatre)
    • Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018: American Mariachi (Stage Theatre)
    • Feb. 2-March 11, 2018: The Great Leap (Ricketson Theatre)
    • April 6-May 6, 2018: Native Gardens (Space Theatre)
    • April 20-May 27, 2018: The Who's Tommy (Stage Theatre)
    • May 18-June 24, 2018: Human Error (Garner Galleria Theatre)

    DCPA OFF-CENTER 2017-18 SEASON AT A GLANCE:

    • July 5-Aug. 23 Mixed Taste, with MCA Denver (Seawell Grand Ballroom)
    • Oct. 12-31: The Wild Party (The Hangar at Stanley)
    • Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries, with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (Jones Theatre)
    • March 22-April 15, 2018: This Is Modern Art (Jones Theatre)
    • Spring/Summer 2018: Remote Denver (on the streets of Denver)

    TC 2017-18 800

    And here is a more detailed look at all 14 newly announced productions, in chronological order:

    MIXED TASTE (Off-Center)
    mixed-tasteTag team lectures on unrelated topic
    Presented by Off-Center with MCA Denver
    Wednesdays from July 5 through Aug 23
    Seawell Grand Ballroom
    Even mismatched subjects will find common ground in a lecture series that can go pretty much anywhere. Two speakers get twenty minutes each to enlighten you on unrelated topics, but can’t make any connections to each other. Ideas start to blend afterward when audience members ask questions to both speakers and anything goes. READ MORE ABOUT IT



    MACBETH
    macbethBy William Shakespeare
    Directed by Robert O’Hara
    Sept. 15-Oct. 29
    Space Theatre (Grand Reopening)
    To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others, the people of Scotland or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. Shakespeare’s compact, brutal tragedy kicks off the grand reopening of our theatre-in-the-round in a visceral re-imagining from visionary director Robert O’Hara, who is “shaking up the world, one audience at a time” (The New York Times). This ambitious reinvention of the classic tale reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses the dagger must suffer the consequences. 



    THE WILD PARTY
    (Off-Center)
    the-wild-partyMusic and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson
    Oct. 12-31
    The Hangar at Stanley
    You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and booze-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees. Dress up in your finest pearls, suits and sequins – encouraged but not required.



    SMART PEOPLE

    smart-peopleBy Lydia R. Diamond
    Directed by Nataki Garrett
    Oct. 13-Nov. 19
    Ricketson Theatre
    Intelligence can only get you so far when it comes to navigating love, success and identity in the modern age. This biting comedy follows a quartet of Harvard intellectuals struggling to understand why the lives of so many people – including their own – continue to be undermined by race. But no matter how hard they research, question and confront the issue, their own problems with self-awareness make it difficult to face the facts of life. Fiercely clever dialogue and energetic vignettes keep the laughs coming in a story that Variety calls “Sexy, serious and very, very funny.”



    A CHRISTMAS CAROL

    christmas-carolBy Charles Dickens
    Adapted by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    Stage Theatre
    Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol promises to “warm your heart and renew your holiday spirit” according to the Examiner. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. Denver favorite Sam Gregory returns as Scrooge. READ MORE ABOUT IT

    (Note: 'A Christmas Carol' is an added attraction, not part of the Theatre Company subscription season.)



    SantaLand Diaries 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisCom
    'The SantaLand Diaries,' 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisCom.

    THE SANTALAND DIARIES
    (Off-Center)
    By David Sedaris
    Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
    Presented by Off-Center with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Directed by Stephen Weitz
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    The Jones Theatre
    This disgruntled Macy's elf has the cure for the common Christmas show. Looking for a little more snark in your stocking? Crumpet the Elf returns for more hilarious hijinks in this acclaimed one-man show based on stories by David Sedaris. Crumpet’s twisted tales from his stint in Macy’s SantaLand are the cure for the common Christmas show. Release your holiday stress, get all of those obnoxious carols out of your head and check out even more late night options this year. READ MORE ABOUT IT



    ZOEY'S PERFECT WEDDING

    zoeys-perfect-wedding2By Matthew Lopez
    Directed by Mike Donahue
    Jan. 19-Feb. 25, 2018
    Space Theatre
    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. From the team that brought you, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Matthew Lopez’s wildly funny fiasco destroys expectations with the realities of commitment, fidelity and growing up. READ OUR 2015 INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW LOPEZ



    AMERICAN MARIACHI

    american-mariachi2By José Cruz González
    Director to be announced
    Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018
    The Stage Theatre
    Lucha and Bolie are ready to start their own all-female mariachi band in the 1970s. The only things standing in their way are a male-dominated music genre, patriarchal pressure from inside their families and finding the right women to fill out their sound. As they practice, perform and strive to earn the respect of their community, their music sparks a transformation in the lives of those around them – especially Lucha’s parents. This humorous, heartwarming story about music’s power to heal and connect includes gorgeous live mariachi music played on stage. González writes a passionate story about families and friendships that you should share with yours. READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH JOSÉ CRUZ GONZÁLEZ


     

    THE GREAT LEAP
    the-great-leap2By Lauren Yee
    Director to be announced
    Feb. 2-March 11, 2018
    Ricketson Theatre
    When an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989, the drama on the court goes deeper than the strain between their countries. For two men with a past and one teen with a future, it’s a chance to stake their moment in history and claim personal victories off the scoreboard. American coach Saul grapples with his relevance to the sport, Chinese coach Wen Chang must decide his role in his rapidly-changing country and Chinese American player Manford seeks a lost connection. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as history collides with the action in the stadium. Yee’s “acute ear for contemporary speech” and a “devilishly keen satiric eye” (San Francisco Chronicle) creates an unexpected and touching story inspired by events in her own father’s life. READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH LAUREN YEE


     

    THIS IS MODERN ART
    this-is-modern-artBy Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin
    Directed by Idris Goodwin
    March 22-April 15, 2018
    The Jones Theatre
    Graffiti crews are willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when one crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? This Is Modern Art gives a glimpse into the lives of anonymous graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art. READ MORE ABOUT IT


    NATIVE GARDENS
    native-gardensBy Karen Zacarias
    Directed by Lisa Portes
    April 6-May 6, 2018
    Space Theatre
    Dealing with neighbors can be thorny, especially for Pablo and Tania, a young Latino couple who have just moved into a well-established D.C. neighborhood. Though Frank and Virginia have the best intentions for making the new couple feel welcome next door, their newly budding friendship is tested when they realize their shared property line isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Frank is afraid of losing his prized garden, Pablo wants what is legally his, Tania has a pregnancy and a thesis she’d rather be worrying about, and Virginia just wants some peace. But until they address the real roots of their problems, it’s all-out war in this heartfelt comedy about the lines that divide us and those that connect us.



    Sam Buntock

    THE WHO'S TOMMY
    the-whos-tommyMusic 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
    April 20-May 27, 2018
    Stage Theatre
    Based 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. This production reunites director Sam Buntrock and scenic designer Jason Sherwood, the team behind last season’s audience favorite, Frankenstein.



    HUMAN ERROR

    human-error2By Eric Pfeffinger
    Director to be announced
    May 18-June 24, 2018
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Madelyn and Keenan are NPR-listening, latte-sipping, blue-state liberals, while Heather and Jim are NRA-cardholding, truck-driving, red-state conservatives. After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now the two couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month’s odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships. “Up-and-coming scribe Eric Pfeffinger has the vital nerve to explore the gaping communication gap between red America and blue America, liberal humanists and the conservative right” (Chicago Tribune). READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH ERIC PFEFFINGER


    REMOTE DENVER
    remote-denverBy Rimini Protokoll
    Concept, Script and Direction: Stefan Kaegi
    Research, Script and Direction Denver: Jörg Karrenbauer
    Spring/Summer 2018
    On the streets of Denver
    Join a group of 50 people swarming Denver on a guided audio tour that seems to follow you as much as you are following it. Experience a soundtrack to the streets, sights, and rooftops of The Mile High City as a computer-generated voice guides your group’s movements in real time. Discover a "secret Denver," exploring places like gathering spaces, back alleyways, dark hallways and public areas through a new lens. You’re not just audience members — you’re actors and spectators, observers and observed, individuals and hordes, all at the same time.

     

    TICKET INFORMATION:

    • Theatre Company: New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are available online at denvercenter.org/nextseason or by calling 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time. Note: Plans for the new season are subject to change and benefit restrictions may apply.
    • Off-Center: The single-ticket on-sale date for all Off-Center productions will be announced at a later time. Subscriptions are not available for Off-Center shows.

     

     

  • 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

  • 2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

    by NewsCenter Staff | Mar 08, 2016

    Geoff Kent and Michelle Patrick of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts announce the Theatre Company's 2016-17 season, above.


    The DCPA Theatre Company's 38th season will include two world premiere productions fresh off the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit, the U.S. premiere of a new version of Frankenstein, two acclaimed contemporary dramas, Tennessee Williams' most popular  play, the company's silver-anniversary staging of A Christmas Carol and the popular musical The Secret Garden.

    The new season will feature eight mainstage productions, plus the national touring production of the 2015 Tony Award-winner for Best Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

    A Book of Will Lauren Gunderson 300The two new plays chosen from the Summit are The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson and Two Degrees by Tira Palmquist. The Book of Will tackles the history right after Shakespeare died, when his  friends and fellow actors valiantly published the first folio of his works, essentially saving the greatest English-speaking playwright from oblivion.

    Palmquist describes Two Degrees as "a cheery story about climate change."  Actually, Palmquist loves science, and her main character is a woman of about 45 years old who is a climate scientist. "It's really a play about grief: Grief for the planet, grief at large, grief on a more personal scale." 

    “We are excited to dive deep into the Theatre Company’s 38th season,” said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. “This season is full of powerful stories that range from American classics to new works that all get to the heart of the human condition. Whether you’re a scientist trying to convince the Senate that climate change is real, a band of brothers risking financial ruin to save the legacy of your friend William Shakespeare, or a young girl finding solace in a hidden garden, something remarkable happens when people are pushed to their breaking point.”

    The season will be spread out over four theatres, in part because the Space Theatre is undergoing a year-long renovation. Two Degrees will be staged in the Jones Theatre.

    (Photos above: 'The Book of Will' at the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)


    THEATRE COMPANY 2016-17 SEASON/AT A GLANCE

    Sept. 9-Oct. 16: The Glass Menagerie, Ricketson Theatre
    Sept. 30-Oct. 30: Frankenstein, Stage Theatre
    Nov. 25-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    Jan. 13-Feb. 26, 2017: The Book of Will, Ricketson Theatre
    Jan. 27-Feb. 26, 2017: The Christians, Stage Theatre
    Feb. 3-March 12, 2017: Two Degrees, The Jones Theatre
    March 31-May 7, 2017: Disgraced, ​Ricketson Theatre
    Apr 21-May 28, 2017: The Secret Garden, Stage Theatre
    May 30-June 18, 2017: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Ellie

    THE SEASON/PLAY BY PLAY

    Glass_menagerie 275The Glass Menagerie
    By Tennessee Williams
    Sept. 9-Oct. 16
    Ricketson Theatre
    The Wingfield family is trapped in a cage of nostalgia in their drab 1930s apartment. They dream of lives they wished they had but never pursued, of opportunities drifting away with the passing of time. But when a long-awaited gentleman caller joins them for dinner, fantasy and reality collide as expectations shatter like glass. This will be the  DCPA’s first-ever production of Tennessee Williams’ autobiographical masterpiece.


    3_frankenstein_030716Frankenstein
    By Nick Dear
    Sept 30-Oct. 30
    Stage Theatre
    Given life by a man with a troubled heart, a creature assembled from corpses sets out into the unforgiving world to discover his humanity. As he uncovers both kindness and cruelty, he seeks out the doctor who created him to demand answers about his tormented existence. Frankenstein features two lead actors alternating performances in the roles as Victor Frankenstein and his creature, allowing man and monster to intersect with every chilling performance of this U.S. premiere.



    4_christmas_carol_030716A Christmas Carol
    (not part of subscription package)
    By Charles Dickens, adapted by Richard Hellesen, music by David de Berry
    Nov. 25-Dec 24
    Stage Theatre
    The 25th seasonal staging of A Christmas Carol will star longtime  Denver favorite Sam Gregory, replacing the legendary Philip Pleasants. The production is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.



    5_book_of_will_030716The Book of Will

    By Lauren Gunderson (DCPA Theatre Company Commission)
    Jan. 13-Feb. 26, 2017
    Ricketson Theatre
    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.

    READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH LAUREN GUNDERSON



    6_the_christians_030716The Christians
    By Lucas Hnath
    Jan. 27-Feb 26, 2017
    Stage Theatre
    Pastor Paul inspires faith in the members of his growing congregation through his preaching. But when he brings up unexpected questions during a sermon, his changing perspective may ask too much of his followers. Featuring a full choir at every performance, The Christians is an intimate look at the moments that define who we are and what we believe. This New York Times Critics’ Pick has been called “deeply affecting" and "emotionally devastating” by The New York Post.




    7_two_degrees_030716Two Degrees

    By Tira Palmquist
    Feb. 3-March 12, 2017
    Jones Theatre
    The smallest changes can lead to the biggest impact, and no one knows that better than Emma, a scientist studying climate change in Greenland. Still grappling with the unexpected death of her husband, she is invited to the nation’s capital to share her findings at a Senate hearing that could define her career and her cause. But if she can’t overcome her tumultuous inner struggle, her dedication and sacrifices may not be enough to make the difference in the world that she’s always wanted.

    READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH TIRA PALMQUIST


    8_disgraced_030616Disgraced
    By Ayad Akhtar
    March 31-May 7, 2017
    Ricketson Theatre
    Amir has spent his adult life downplaying his upbringing to build the perfect life. But a high-profile court case and his wife’s Islamic-inspired art show reveal just how little his culture is understood by the people around him. The expectation to be true to yourself and to fit into mainstream society collide in this 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The New York Times calls it “terrific and turbulent, with fresh currents of dramatic electricity.” The Associated Press calls the play "breathtaking, raw and blistering.”


    9_secret_garden_030716The Secret Garden
    Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman, music by Lucy Simon
    Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    April 21-May 28, 2017
    Stage Theatre
    When young Mary is sent to live with her uncle after the death of her parents, she finds herself surrounded by distant relatives who are overcome by grief and fear. But when she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished. Surrounded by spirits of the past, she uses the magic of hope to help the world around her grow once again.



    Original Broadway Company of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Photo: Joan Marcus.The Curious Incident of the Dog
    in the Night-Time

    National touring production
    By Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon
    Directed by Tony winner Marianne Elliott
    May 30-June 18, 2017
    The Ellie
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Play, was hailed as “one of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway” by The New York Times. Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

    Tickets and Subscriptions

    New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Tickets are available to subscribers online at denvercenter.org by calling 303-893-6030 or 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to Broadway and student shows, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed.

    A single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time.

    Note: Plans for the new season are subject to change.

  • 2016-17 Broadway season: 'Frozen,' 'Fun Home,' 'Finding Neverland' and more

    by John Moore | Feb 11, 2016

    Fun Home 4177 Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas, Michael Cerveris -- Photo Credit Jenny Anderson
    The Broadway cast of 'Fun Home' features Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas and Michael Cerveris. Photo by Jenny Anderson. 


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts today announced a landmark 2016-17 season lineup that includes both of the most recent Tony Award-winners as well as the pre-Broadway debut of the highly anticipated stage adaptation of Disney's record-breaking hit Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film in history.

    2016-17 Broadway announcement partyThe season will include both Best Musical Fun Home and Best Play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This is believed to be only the second time in history the DCPA has landed the most recent winners in both categories during the same season.*

    Frozen, featuring the Oscar-winning hit song "Let It Go," continues a strong pipeline from Disney to Denver, which hosted the launch of national touring productions of The Lion King and Peter and the Starcatcher as well as the pre-Broadway engagement of The Little Mermaid.

    A 2018 Broadway production of Frozen was announced earlier this week, but Denver audiences will see it first in the summer of 2017.

    "We are incredibly excited to have an opportunity to partner with Disney again on Frozen. That is a huge announcement for us, and for Denver," said DCPA Executive Director John Ekeberg. And as a whole, I really think this is a season that is both very artistic and very emotional. One of the ways I often describe Broadway shows is that they are either 'lean back' or 'lean-in.' And for the most part, this is a season of 'lean-in' shows. This is theatre you really engage with."

    The 2016-17 Broadway season will kick off in August with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of The Buell Theatre with a spectacular new production of The Phantom of the Opera. The season also includes Roundabout Theatre Company's Cabaret, Finding Neverland, An American in Paris and, in the Garner Galleria Theatre, An Act of God.

    Subscriptions are now available starting as low as eight payments of $27.50 at denvercenter.org. A single-ticket on-sale will be announced at a later date.

    SUBSCRIBE TODAY

    Additional individual offerings that are not part of the season subscription package will include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Motown the Musical, Kinky Boots and The Illusionist.

    It is uncommon for the DCPA's Broadway Division to schedule non-musical plays, but notable exceptions in the recent past have included August: Osage County (2008) and War Horse (2013). Ekeberg said The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, about an extraordinary special-need 15-year-old who falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, is almost musical in its technological presentation, which finds a way to let the audience see into the boy's brain.

    "The play itself is amazing, but the story is told in an inventive, designed language that to me screams the future of theatre," Ekeberg said. "I think the type of engagement in this production is the kind that will inspire people to come to plays."

    DCPA CEO Scott Shiller said the Broadway announcement, along with the forthcoming March 8 season announcement from the homegrown DCPA Theatre Company, "show how the DCPA continues to change and evolve and grow the face of the American theatre."
       
    (*Note: The DCPA offered War Horse (Best Play) and The Book of Mormon (Best Musical) during the 2012-13 season, but not in the same subscription package.)

    (Photo above right taken at today's announcement party at the Studio Loft theatre in The Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Photo by Olivia Jansen for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Broadway season 2016-17


    THE 2016-17 BROADWAY SEASON BY SHOW:

    (Descriptions provided by DCPA)

    THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 1 - Katie Travis and Chris Mann - photo by Matthew Murphy Katie Travis as Christine Daaé and Chris Mann as The Phantom in Broadway's 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Photo by Matthew Murphy. 

    THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
    phantom-operaBuell Theatre, Aug. 25-Sept. 11, 2016
    Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera comes to Denver as part of a brand new North American tour. Hailed by critics as “bigger and better than ever before,” this production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier, new scenic and lighting designs, new staging and choreography. The beloved story and thrilling score will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour. The Buell Theatre opened in 1991 with The Phantom of the Opera.



    CabaretTour2The 2015 Broadway Cast of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 'Cabaret.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Roundabout Theatre Company’s CABARET
    cabaretBuell Theatre, Sept 27-Oct. 9, 2016
    Direct from Broadway, the acclaimed masterpiece returns to Denver. As part of its 50th anniversary season, the critically acclaimed and award-winning Roundabout Theatre Company is proud to present Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) and Rob Marshall’s (Into the Woods and Chicago, the films) Tony Award-winning production of CABARET.  Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen” and “Maybe This Time.” Leave your troubles outside – life is beautiful at CABARET, John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff’s Tony-winning musical about following your heart while the world loses its way.


    AN ACT OF GOD
    an-act-of-godGarner Galleria Theatre, opening fall 2016
    After conquering Broadway, the King of the Universe is coming to Denver for the first time ever! God takes human form in An Act of God, the sinfully funny and critically acclaimed new play direct from Broadway. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight…and He’s not holding back! Don’t miss this hilarious 90-minute comedy written by 13-time Emmy Award winner David Javerbaum (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”). The New York Times calls it it’s “deliriously funny,” and the Toronto Star said, “Thou Must See it!” Denver casting to be announced at a later date.


    12 Finding Neverland. Laura Michelle Kelly (center) of the Original Broadway Cast (c)Carol Rosegg

    Laura Michelle Kelly of the original Broadway cast of 'Finding Neverland.' Photo by Carol Rosegg.

    FINDING NEVERLAND
    finding-neverlandBuell Theatre, Dec. 20, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017
    This breathtaking smash “captures the kid-at-heart” (Time magazine). Vogue cheers, “It’s a must-see you’ll remember for years to come!” Directed by visionary Tony winner Diane Paulus, Finding Neverland tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. With a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith, Playwright J.M. Barrie takes a monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event. Finding Neverland is “far and away the best musical of the year” (NPR).


    FUN HOME
    2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical
    The Ellie, Jan. 10-22, 2017

    fun-homeEvery once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The “groundbreaking” “uplifting” and “exquisite” new musical Fun Home was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and making history along the way. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages, as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, "Fun Home is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway” (The New York Times).


    An American In Paris-0894

    The original Broadway cast of 'An American in Paris.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.

    AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
    american-in-parisBuell Theatre, March 8-19, 2017
    An American in Paris
    is the new Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Acclaimed director/ choreographer and 2015 Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon brings the magic and romance of Paris into perfect harmony with unforgettable songs from George and Ira Gershwin in the show that earned more awards than any other musical in the 2014/2015 season! The New York Times raves, “An American in Paris is a triumph! Pure joy!” and the Wall Street Journal declares, “Once you’ve seen it, you’ll find it hard to settle for less ever again.” Don’t miss this stunning Broadway hit when it arrives in Denver on its first national tour.


    01.CuriousIncident1127rThe original Broadway company of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

    THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

    2015 Tony Award-winning Best Play
    The Ellie, May 30-June 18, 2017

    curious-incidentThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Play, is coming to Denver. Hailed as “One of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway” by The New York Times, this “dazzling” (Associated Press) adaptation by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel and directed by Tony winner Marianne Elliott. Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.


    FROZEN
    frozenBuell Theatre, Opening summer 2017
    From Disney, the producers of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast, comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Denver will be the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. Frozen  features music and lyrics by creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Up Here) and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck). Frozen won 2014 Oscars for Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature. The design team includes lighting design by five-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Aladdin, An American in Paris, The Glass Menagerie) and sound design by four-time Tony nominee Peter Hylenski (The Scottsboro Boys, Motown, After Midnight).  Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus (Avenue Q, Wicked, The Book of Mormon) is music supervisor and creates vocal and incidental arrangements. Frozen is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.


    Broadway 2016-17 season subscribers may purchase these added attractions before they go on sale to the public:

    HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
    hedwigBuell Theatre, Dec. 6-11, 2016
    Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the landmark American musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask that is “groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time” (Entertainment Weekly). This genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and winner of four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played to record-breaking sellout crowds on Broadway and promises to take Denver by storm with what Time magazine proclaims is “the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever!”



    Motown_Reed L Shannon as Michael Jackson (center) with the Jackson 5. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour. (c) Joan Marcus,

    MOTOWN THE MUSICAL
    motownBuell Theatre, Feb 15-19, 2017
    It began as one man's story…became everyone's music…and is now Broadway's musical. Motown the Musical  the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” experience the story behind the music.



    1196_KINKY_BOOTS_TOUR

    KINKY BOOTS
    kinky_bootsBuell Theatre, March 21-26, 2017
    Kinky Boots
    is Broadway’s huge-hearted, high-heeled hit. With songs by Grammy and Tony winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. With direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), Kinky Boots is the winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography.  Take a step in the right direction and discover that sometimes the best way to fit in is to stand out. “There is no show hotter than Kinky Boots!” – CBS News


    THE ILLUSIONISTS
    illusionistsThe Ellie, May 19-21, 2017
    Direct from Broadway, the world’s best-selling magic show is coming to Denver for the first time. This mind blowing spectacular showcases the jaw dropping talents of seven of the most incredible Illusionists on earth.  The Illusionistslive from Broadway has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage.  This non-stop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions.


    Photos from the announcement party:

    2016-17 Broadway Season Announcement



    A note to ticket-buyers:

    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, online or in person, is the only authorized online ticket provider for these productions in Denver.

    2016-17 DCPA Theatre Company season announcement
    Save the date for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts 2016/17 Theatre Company announcement on March 8.

    2016-17 Broadway Season Sponsors
    The 2016/17 Broadway season sponsors are United Airlines and Murray BMW.  Media sponsorship is provided by The Denver Post and CBS4. The DCPA supported in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). For nearly 30 years, the SCFD has enabled the DCPA to offer world-class theatre and educational programs, and has contributed to the vibrant, flourishing entertainment scene in Colorado.

  • DCPA Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16

    by John Moore | Mar 13, 2015
    Lookingglass Alice"Lookingglass Alice" as presented in Chicago.


    The DCPA Theatre Company’s 37th season will mark a groundbreaking musical collaboration with a beloved local rock band, and a much-requested return to Shakespeare. And not just any Shakespeare: It’s a title the Theatre Company has never performed in its history (As You Like It).

    DeVotchKaFor the fourth straight year, the season will end with a massive musical undertaking. Not only will the Theatre Company stage Stephen Sondheim’s epic masterpiece Sweeney Todd, the DCPA has received permission from the author to allow the Denver band DeVotchKa to adapt the score for what promises to be a cutting-edge new interpretation.

    "When we heard what show we are talking about, we definitely wanted to be a part of it," said DeVotchKa frontman Nick Urata, whose music is described as "mariachi gypsy punk."

    "We’ve just been dancing around the issue for the past couple of months trying to clear out our schedules, and so it only became a reality in the last couple of days. It's all pretty fresh."

    The Theatre Company's new slate affords another usual collaboration, this one with Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre. Somewhat in the vein of Traces’ visit in 2011, Lookingglass debuted as a company with its magical reimagining of Alice in Wonderland that employed trapeze and other circus aerial effects. Lookingglass has toured this signature work ever since, but the production in Denver will a completely new staging performed on a completely reconfigured Stage Theatre.

    Kent Thompson. Photo by John Moore. The season lineup also reinforces the DCPA’s commitment to both new plays and women’s playwrights with the selection of two world-premiere comedies by women – both commissioned by the Theatre Company and featured in last month’s Colorado New Play Summit: Theresa Rebeck’s The Nest and Tanya Saracho’s FADE.

    And for the second straight season, the Theatre Company has slotted the most recent Tony Award-winning best play: The LBJ play All the Way. Before this year’s staging of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the Theatre Company had not presented a Tony-winning best new play since Doubt in 2008 - and has only staged three since 2000.

    “This coming season, we will challenge the boundaries in our theatrical spaces like never before to create incredible experiences for our patrons,” said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. “It will be a creative, emotionally charged and exhilarating eight months.”

    For the second straight season, the Theatre Company has announced an eight-show season. That’s down from 10 in 2013-14. Last year, Thompson explained that the company was responding to financial considerations, artistic sustainability and audience feedback.

    READ JOHN MOORE'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NICK URATA OF DEVOTCHKA

    THE 2015-16 SEASON AT A GLANCE
    :
    Sept. 11-Oct 11: Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Lookingglass Alice, Stage Theatre
    Sept. 25-Nov 1: As You Like It, Space Theatre
    Oct. 9-Nov. 15: Tribes, Ricketson Theatre
    Nov. 27-Dec 27: A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
    Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016: The Nest, Space Theatre
    Jan. 29-Feb 28, 2016: All The Way, Stage Theatre
    Feb. 5-March 13, 206: FADE, Ricketson Theatre
    April 8-May 15, 2016: Sweeney Todd, Stage Theatre

    THE PLAYS IN GREATER DETAIL:




    Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Lookingglass Alice

    Sept. 11-Oct 11
    Stage Theatre
    Adapted and Directed by David Catlin from the works of Lewis Carroll
    Produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium, Lookingglass Alice is a gravity-defying hit inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories. Called “Spectacular” and “pure, unadulterated magic” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Lookingglass Alice transports audiences to a circus-infused playground. It promises “breathtaking theatricality and wildly inventive acrobatics.”

    Says Kent Thompson: “We are extremely excited to kick off our season by bringing the unique magic of Chicago’s Lookingglass Alice to Denver. This is a wildly inventive production that allows audiences of all ages to join Alice as she literally tumbles down the rabbit hole. And one of the very important things is we will be completely re-staging The Stage theatre for this production because there will be about 175 seats onstage looking through back performance area. We think it will be very popular with families, multi-generationals and theatre people.”

    As You Like It
    Sept. 25-Nov. 1
    Space Theatre
    By William Shakespeare
    After falling under each other’s spell, the lovers Orlando and Rosalind are separately banished and become entangled in a beguiling game of mistaken identity when Rosalind disguises herself as a young man. Merry mischief, curiosity, and surprise flourish in one of Shakespeare’s richest and most popular comedies.

    Kent Thompson: “I’m thrilled to bring Shakespeare back to the Theatre Company with one of the Bard’s most famous comedies. This is a piece I’ve had the pleasure of directing several times and that I’m continuously drawn back to. Rosalind is hands-down one of the most intelligent and appealing female roles in all of Shakespeare. As You Like It has four couples that get married at the end. We are sure that not all four will last, but they represent all forms of love, from love at first sight to love seen through the eyes of lust."

    Tribes
    Oct. 9-Nov. 15
    Ricketson Theatre
    By Nina Raine
    In this drama, called “the best-written, deepest, most daring – and funniest – new play in recent years” by The Wall Street Journal, the members of Billy’s fiercely intelligent and proudly politically incorrect family share private languages, inside jokes and fiery arguments. But meeting Sylvia causes Billy, deaf since birth, to question what it means to be understood. Tribes dissects the possibilities of belonging, family and language.

    Kent Thompson: “I was very drawn to Nina Raine’s writing. This is a really dark and almost surreal, sometimes absurdist story about a dysfunctional family who are incredibly literate and verbal. I think for an American audience, it will seem like they are vicious – and sometimes they are. They have raised their adult son as if he were hearing, and he’s become involved with a woman who is now losing her hearing. Having a central character who is deaf allows us to examine how we communicate, and how we don’t. I know that our multimedia team is ready to dive right in to the challenging production elements of this piece.”



    A Christmas Carol

    Nov. 27-Dec 27
    Stage Theatre
    By Charles Dickens
    Adapted by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Returning for a 23rd staging, A Christmas Carol this opulent seasonal tradition traces Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. (This staging is an added attraction and is not included in the subscription season package).

    Kent Thompson: “This version of A Christmas Carol has everything. It’s full of humor, scariness, drama, spectacle and music. Most important, this version allows us to follow the full transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge and perhaps see a little of the change that happens in our own hearts.”


    Note: The footage above is from rehearsal for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. The full production is not yet cast.

    The Nest
    Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016
    Space Theatre
    By Theresa Rebeck
    The middle-class regulars at a struggling bar called The Nest talk about everything you can imagine: Race, ethnicity, cultures and work struggles. No conversation is off-limits ... until a woman walks in and offers a large sum for the beautiful antique bar. With its feisty humor and scorching dialogue, this new battle of the sexes holds a cracked mirror up to friendships, romantic relationships and families. This world premiere is a DCPA commission.

    Kent Thompson: “Theresa Rebeck has created a comedy that is both hilarious and acerbic. I can honestly say The Nest contains the best first scene of a play that I’ve read in 20 years. She is undeniably one of the more foremost female playwrights in the country, and we are excited to bring this commission to a fully staged premiere.”


    Note: The footage above is from the Broadway production of "All the Way." The DCPA production is not yet cast.

    All The Way

    Jan. 29-Feb 28, 2016
    Stage Theatre
    By Robert Schenkkan
    All The Way
    , a “jaw-dropping political drama,” according to Variety, portrays Lyndon Baines Johnson as one of the most controversial, ambitious and ruthless figures of the 20th century. Set in the pivotal year between JFK’s assassination and Johnson’s election, LBJ hurls himself at the Civil Rights Act, determined to rebuild the country into "The Great Society" by any means necessary. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The 12, The Kentucky Cycle), All The Way won the 2014 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ Circle awards for best new play.

    Kent Thompson: “The story is centered in an incredible period of tragedy and change in American history that is still relevant today. We are excited to again feature Robert Schenkkan’s incredible work, and are honored to count him among our Denver Center commissioned playwrights.”

    Note: The footage above is from rehearsal for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. The full production is not yet cast.

    FADE
    Feb. 5-March 13, 2016
    Ricketson Theatre
    By Tanya Saracho
    In this sharp, world-premiere comedy, a one-time Mexican-American novelist named Lucia is hired to write for a popular weekly TV serial that features a Latina character. Lucia is out of her league but, as her friendship with the Latino studio custodian grows, she begins incorporating his very real stories into her scripts - and discovers a fast track to success with her bosses. But her choices come with personal consequences. This play is a Denver Center commission.

    Kent Thompson: “Tanya Saracho is a funny, gifted, rising writer who is intensely aware of the layers and complexities in the Hispanic culture. FADE uses humor and some of Tanya’s own life experience as a writer in Hollywood to examine our assumptions about each other, and to reveal some of the fissures within the Latino community. At the same time: This is a really funny play.”




    Sweeney Todd
    April 8-May 15, 2016
    Stage Theatre
    By Stephen Sondheim
    Based on an adaptation by Christopher Bond
    Musical adaptations by DeVotchKa
    DeVotchKa, the Grammy-nominated, Denver hometown music heroes, take on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a delicious reinvention of Sondheim’s magnificent 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, bloody good thrills, and DeVotchKa’s lush brand of gypsy punk. Not only will DeVotchKa orchestrate this new version, members of the band will be among the live orchestra each night.

    Kent Thompson: “Sweeney Todd is one of the great musical theatre pieces of all time. With Sondheim’s blessing, we’re thrilled to partner with Denver favorite DeVotchKa to create a new orchestral backdrop for this epic villain.”

    READ JOHN MOORE'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NICK URATA OF DEVOTCHKA

    Tickets and subscriptions
    New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Tickets are available to subscribers beginning Monday, March 16, online here,  or by calling 303-893-6030 or 303-893-4100. Subscribers are guaranteed the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed, along with additional benefits. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public in late summer.

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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.