• Paul Ludick: The man who dressed Ben Platt for the part

    by John Moore | Nov 21, 2017
    Paul Ludick and Ben Platt. Dear Evan Hansen.Former longtime DCPA Theatre Company dresser Paul Ludick has spent the past year working with Tony-winning actor Ben Platt, who completed his run in the title role of Broadway's 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Sunday. Photo courtesy Paul Ludick.

    Former Denver Center dresser explains the expansive, intimate role of the backstage dresser at Dear Evan Hansen

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Actor Ben Platt completed his Tony Award-winning run in the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Sunday, which means one thing: He’s going to have to dress himself for a while.

    Since the celebrated Broadway musical opened a year ago, that job (at least at the Music Box Theatre) has gone to Paul Ludick, who also worked for 16 seasons as a dresser for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company.

    Platt earned raves for his performance as Evan Hansen, the lonely high-school student who perpetuates a lie that earns him Internet fame. Platt not only won the Tony Award, he became the youngest recipient of The Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award. That’s an accolade an actor can win only once in a lifetime — and Platt won it at age 23.

    And from the first Broadway preview in October 2016 through Platt's final performance on Sunday, it was Ludick who made sure Platt always was dressed for the part. That and so much more.

    DEH-Mike-Faist-Ben-Platt-0104-Photo-Credit-Matthew-Murphy 800

    By definition, a dresser helps cast members backstage with their costume changes — but the job is far more involved than that. 

    “Yes, we take care of the costumes and we help the actors change in and out of them,” Ludick said. “But sometimes you're also a therapist, a doctor, a personal assistant or a mediator. You’re there to deal with everything that comes up that needs dealing with. My job was to make sure Ben had everything he needed so that he could fully focus on his performance.”

    That included shepherding the actor’s guests backstage and filtering email. Ludick would stay long after each performance to make sure Platt got to his car safely.

    (Pictured above and right: Mike Faist, left, and Ben Platt from the original Broadway company of 'Dear Evan Hansen.' Photo by Matthew Murphy.)

    Paul Ludick 400 Peter PanLudick was a dresser for many DCPA Theatre Company productions between 1988 and 2006, as well as homegrown cabaret musicals in the Garner-Galleria Theatre. In his first season alone, Ludick dressed both Burke Moses and future Tony Award nominee Craig Bierko in Carousel, as well as future Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator John Cameron Mitchell in the Theatre Company’s Peter Pan. (Coincidentally, both Bierko and Moses later played Leadville Johnny Brown in various incarnations of the Denver Center’s recent premiere of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.)

    Ludick, a Chicago native, first came to Colorado in 1987 to work for Central City Opera. His most meta experience at the Denver Center had to be when he was the dresser for The Dresser, an acclaimed play by Ronald Harwood starring two Denver legends – Jamie Horton and Tony Church.

    (Photo above and right: John Cameron Mitchell in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Peter Pan.' Story continues after the photo below.)

    Paul Ludick The Dresser. Jamie Horton. Tony Church Jamie Horton, left, played the dresser in 'The Dresser,' with Tony Church, for the DCPA Theatre Company in 1988. Photo by Terry Shapiro.

    Horton played a backstage assistant who struggles to keep an aging actor’s life together. To research his role, Horton asked Ludick if he could shadow him as he worked on Always … Patsy Cline at the Galleria Theatre.

    “I shadowed Paul for a very good reason:  He was damned good at what he did, and I knew I would learn from him,” Horton said. “And learn I did.” One example: How to properly place a wig on a wig block (that's essentially a Styrofoam mannequin head). At a subsequent rehearsal, Horton interjected: “That’s not how Paul set the wig, so I'm going to do it the way Paul did it.”

    Before Dear Evan Hansen, Platt was known for his appearances in the Pitch Perfect movies. But in the past year, during which Platt was named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man on Broadway” and secured a recording contract, Ludick witnessed a rising young star enter into a new stratosphere in the pop-culture landscape.

    PAUL LUDICK QUOTE

    “Ben is a phenomenon I've never experienced before," he said. "I’m so happy for him, especially him being so young. For someone to be that in-tune with his life at 23 was amazing to see.”

    As is the case in Harwood’s play, Ludick says, dressers can develop lifelong friendships with the actors they serve. It happened with Bobby Cannavale when the Mr. Robot star performed alongside Chris Rock in the edgy Broadway comedy The Motherf**ker with the Hat. That’s a play that got done mostly because Rock, a Broadway newbie, signed on to do it. “I thought Chris Rock did a great thing for theater,” Ludick said. “When a guy of that stature lends his name to a Broadway show that a lot of people who normally don’t go to theater came to see, that is just great.”

    Ludick has seen some careers seriously move. “So always be nice … because you never know,” he said with a laugh.  

    Ludick reunited with Cannavale in 2013 for The Big Knife, and at closing, the star presented Ludick with a framed poster from the original play as thanks. Other New York milestones include working on the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening, and dressing for Mark Ruffalo on Awake and Sing!

    Dear Evan Hansen will launch first national tour in Denver

    Ludick lists Dear Evan Hansen right up there among them, partly because of Platt, but more so because the show is saving lives. Ludick likens its impact to that of Spring Awakening.

    Dear Evan Hansen has touched a nerve that young people can relate to,” Ludick said. “And now, because we have social media, they don't even have to be in New York to experience the essential message of the show. They are hearing about it in Omaha and Charlotte and everywhere in-between."

    The story is about young people who feel there's no one out there for them. "But there are people out there ready to help,” Ludick said. “You just have to reach out and make it known that you're going through a hardship. Ben's character, for example, has anxiety disorders, which we found from his fan mail and from the kids coming to the stage door is a very common thing. Some of them have contemplated suicide. Our show helps them to realize there are ways to get help and people to talk to. And we're opening up a lot of parents’ eyes, too.”

    Read our coverage of Colorado theatre on the NewsCenter

    When Dear Evan Hansen hits the road with its first national touring production next year, Ludick said it will have the opportunity to positively impact tens of thousands more lives. And that road starts in Denver in October 2018 — which is meaningful to Ludick.

    “That's just perfect, because it's a show that I love, in a place that I love,” Ludick said. “That’s just a perfect way to start a tour."

    As Ludick now adjusts, as he has so many times before, to serve a new actor (Noah Galvin), he likes to believe he will occupy a small but special place in Platt’s memory.

    “We've been with each other almost every day for more than a year, so that friendship is strong,” Ludick said. “Once he goes on to start being a mover and a shaker, hopefully we'll stay in touch. Each person I have ever dressed I have a special relationship with, and every one is different. But whenever I see them again, it's like we haven't missed a beat.”

    Ludick was a bit bemused by the request to be interviewed for this story, given the covert nature of his daily work. But he was glad for the opportunity to sing the praises of dressers and the thousands of other invisible practitioners of the unseen arts.

    “If we're doing our job right, we go completely unnoticed,” Ludick said. “That’s actually our goal — to go unnoticed. It’s the same for everyone backstage. But what we do that you don’t see is what makes a show whole. It takes every little part to make the show work.”  

    Jamie Horton, who is now a theatre professor at Dartmouth College, is a believer.

    “I have great respect and admiration for the dressers who have been such an important part of my professional life as an actor,” he said, “and I wish Paul the very, very best.”

    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.


    Dear Evan Hansen: Denver information

    UntitledOctober 2018
    • The Buell Theatre
    • Tickets: An on-sale date will be announced at a later time. For more information, 303-893-4100 or sign up for EMAIL ALERTS
    • Groups: Call 303-446-482

  • Denver Center taking new plays to new level in 2017-18

    by John Moore | Jul 02, 2017

    Lauren Yee. The Great Leap
    Lauren Yee’s 'The Great Leap,' which was introduced as a reading at the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit, will premiere at the Denver Center next February, then re-open at the Seattle Rep just 12 days after closing here. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Companies are now jumping on new Denver Center works before they have even been fully staged here.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The Denver Center is taking a major step forward in its development of new work for the American theatre in 2017. And one major reason is a hip new term in the theatrical lexicon: “Co-Pro.”

    For the first time, the DCPA Theatre Company will stage two new plays next season that will immediately transfer to major theatres around the country as essentially continuing world premieres. They will quickly re-open in their second cities with their Denver Center directors and casts intact.

    American Mariachi. Summit The Theatre Company opens José Cruz González’s American Mariachi on Jan. 26, 2018. Less than a month after it closes in Denver, the production will re-open at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, which bows in Denver on Feb. 2, will re-open at the Seattle Rep just 12 days after closing here.

    By virtue of these unique partnerships, both stagings are considered “co-productions.” Or, as the kids say, “Co-Pros.” Coincidentally, the re-opening nights in San Diego and Seattle will both take place on March 23.

    (Pictured above right: 'American Mariachi' was introduced as a reading at the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    For 12 years, artistic leaders from around the country have come to the Denver Center’s Colorado New Play Summit each February to see readings of developing new works, then come back the next year to see the subsequent fully staged world-premiere productions before scheduling some of the plays themselves. Among the popular titles that have expanded through this slow growth plan have been Jason Grote’s 1001 and Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale.

    But now companies are coming here to see readings and committing to scheduling them even before they are fully staged at the Denver Center for the first time.

    Matt McGrath in 'The Legend of Georgia McBride.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. All this comes at a time when Denver Center-born works are proliferating on national stages like never before. In 2017, Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride will become the most-produced new Denver Center work since Quilters in 1982. Ten companies this year are presenting the story of a straight man who explores the world of drag to feed his family in cities stretching from Los Angeles to Key West, Fla., with four more already slated for 2018. Lopez’s newest work, Zoey’s Perfect Wedding, will debut at the DCPA’s Space Theatre next Jan. 19.

    (Pictured above right: Matt McGrath in the Denver Center's 2014 world premiere of 'The Legend of Georgia McBride.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.) 

    How Georgia McBride has evolved since Denver

    Since former Artistic Director Kent Thompson launched the Colorado New Play Summit in 2006, the DCPA has given 27 new plays their world-premiere stagings. At least 32 productions of 13 DCPA-born works are being presented around the country this year and next, most notably a high-profile return of the reimagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which plays from July 21-27 at The Muny in St. Louis. The Muny is America’s largest outdoor musical theatre. After that, star Beth Malone said, the goal is Broadway.

    LEAD MOLLY"That is absolutely the intention of putting it up at The Muny,” Malone said. “There is no other reason than for it go to Broadway. Everyone involved with it feels very strongly that we are completely on track.”

    (Pictured at right: The cast of the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown.' Photo by Adams VisCom.)

    Last week, two recent Colorado New Play Summit readings landed on The Kilroys, a curated list of the 31 most promising new plays by women: Yee's The Great Leap and Donnetta Lavinia Grays' Last Night and the Night Before.

    NATAKI GARRETT 3Even older new plays like Octavio Solis' Lydia (2008) are still making an impact. “Lydia is a blast-furnace drama now in its Seattle debut in a blistering, urgent staging from Strawberry Theatre Workshop," Misha Berson of the Seattle Times wrote last month of a "forcefully directed ensemble of visceral power." Last year, the Aurora Fox became the first company to stage the Denver Center’s Native American premiere of Black Elk Speaks since 1996.

    All of this proliferation is not only changing the way the nation looks at the Denver Center, said Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. It is changing how the Denver Center looks at itself.

    “The Colorado New Play Summit is a nationally renowned place where theatre companies from all over the United States come to see those playwrights who are moving up in the ranks and becoming the clarions for the future of playwriting,” she said.  “But I think this is where it was always heading. The most important part of the work we do as theatre artists is to foster and develop new work, and I think this is that idea coming to full fruition.”

    (Story continues after the video)

    Video spotlight: American Mariachi



    What makes for a successful Co-Pro, Garrett said, is the continuation of the Denver Center’s commitment to the playwright once the new play reaches its immediate second destination.

    “What I am really focused on with these companies is, 'Are you willing to make space for that writer to keep writing?’ ” Garrett said. “The whole point is to for them to be able to keep evolving their piece after they leave Denver, if that’s what the piece needs.”

    The Theatre Company’s commissioning program is one reason the pipeline stays stocked. At any given time, the company has a number of renowned and emerging playwrights under commissions. That essentially binds the playwright to write a new work of his or her choice, and the DCPA Theatre Company then has the right of first refusal to stage it. The playwrights with commissions in progress are:

    • Kemp Powers
    • Anne Garcia-Romero
    • Aleshea Harris
    • Mary Kathryn Nagle
    • Tony Meneses
    • David Jacobi
    • Regina Taylor

    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.


    DCPA AROUND THE COUNTRY: 2017-18

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown, by Dick Scanlan and Meredith Willson: The 1960 musical that tells the rags-to-riches tale of Colorado's greatest heroine is infused with new songs and a new script.

    • The Muny, St. Louis, July 21-27, 2017

    The Book of Will, By Lauren Gunderson:  The untold story of the race to publish Shakespeare's First Folio before half his canon was lost to history.

    • Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, June 9-July 28, 2017
    • Northlight Theatre, Skokie, Ill., Nov. 9-Dec. 17, 2017
    • Round House Theatre, Bethesda, Md., Nov. 29-Dec. 24, 2017
    • Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Ore., June-October, 2018

    The Great Leap, by Lauren Yee: An American college basketball team travels to Beijing in 1989.

    • American Conservatory Theatre New Strands Festival, San Francisco (reading), May 19, 2017
    • DCPA Theatre Company, Feb. 2-March 11, 2018
    • Seattle Rep, March 23-April 22, 2018 (co-world premiere)

    The Legend of Georgia McBride, by Matthew Lopez: A young Elvis impersonator turns to drag to feed his growing family.

    • Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, April 4-May 14, 2017
    • GableStage, Coral Gables, Fla., May 27-June 25, 2017
    • Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco, June 8-July 9, 2017
    • ACT Theatre, Seattle, June 9-July 2, 2017
    • Theatre Nova, Detroit, June 9- July 9, 2017
    • Dorset Theatre Festival, Vermont, Aug. 3-19, 2017
    • Northlight Theatre, Skokie, Ill., Sept. 14-Oct. 22, 2017
    • Hippodrome State Theatre, Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 13-Nov. 5, 2017
    • B Street Theatre, Sacramento, Calif.,Nov. 6-Dec. 9, 2017
    • Uptown Players, Dallas, Dec. 1-17, 2017
    • Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, March 23-April 22, 2018
    • Key West Players, Key West, Fla., May 2-19, 2018
    • Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham Mass., May 3-20, 2018
    • Round House Theatre, Bethesda, Md., June 8-July 1, 2018

    American Mariachi, by Jose Cruz Gonzalez: The musical tale of an all-female mariachi band in the 1970s.

    • DCPA Theatre Company, Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018
    • Old Globe (San Diego), March 23-April 29, 2018 (co-world premiere)

    Just Like Us, by Karen Zacarías: Documentary-style play follows four Latina teenage girls in Denver - two are documented, two are not.

    • Visión Latino Theatre Company, Feb. 24-March 12, 2017

    Dusty and the Big Bad World, by Cusi Cram: When a popular children’s TV  show spotlights a family with two daddies, it sparks a conservative outcry.

    • Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, July 6-19, 2017

    Appoggiatura, by James Still: A trip to Venice brings love, loss, pain and joy to three weary travelers in search of healing and happiness in a magical story filled with music and amore.
    • Indiana Repertory Theatre, March 7-31, 2018

    FADE, by Tanya Saracho: When Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a Latina TV character, she finds an unexpected muse in the Latino studio custodian.
    • Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, Feb. 8-March 5, 2017
    • TheatreWorks, Hartford, June 1-30, 2017

    Lydia, by Octavio Solis: A maid cares for a border family's near-vegetative teenage daughter who was left in a coma after a mysterious accident. 

    • Strawberry Theatre Workshop, Seattle, June 1-24, 2017

    Almost Heaven: The Songs and Stories of John Denver: The songwriter's life story is told through anecdotes and 21 songs.

    • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Grand Lake, Sept. 1-30, 2017

    The Whale, by Samuel D. Hunter: An oversized, homebound and dying man struggles to reconcile with his estranged teenage daughter before it’s too late.
    • Verge Theatre Company, Nashville, June 2-14, 2017

    black odyssey, by Marcus Gardley: An imagination of Homer’s epic lens through the lens of the black American experience.
    • California Shakespeare Theatre, Orinda, Calif., Aug. 9-Sept. 3, 2017

    Quilters, by Molly Newman: A series of vignettes performed in song and spoken word that chart the joys and sorrows of the frontier journey West.

    • Ferndale (Calif.) Repertory Theatre, March 9-April 2, 2017

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Video spotlight: The Great Leap

  • The evolving Beth Malone: So Far ... So Good

    by John Moore | Apr 06, 2017
    Beth Malone. Photo by John Moore

    Beth Malone returns to Denver for two intimate cabaret concerts on April 15 at the DCPA's Garner Galleria Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Beth Malone's journey from a gravel road in Castle Rock to Broadway's bright lights took a right turn at a mirror.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    It’s about 1,800 miles from Haystack Road to Broadway, but the funny and sad and twisted and ultimately triumphant journey Beth Malone took from Castle Rock to New York City was light years in the making.

    Malone starred in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 reimagining of The Unsinkable Molly Brown and was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in the groundbreaking musical Fun Home. She will tell her story in two uncommonly intimate cabaret concerts on April 15 at the Denver Center’s Garner Galleria Theatre.

    It’s called Beth Malone: So Far, and it covers Malone’s formative years in Colorado. She describes the family, friends and lovers she encountered on her way to starring in Broadway’s first musical with a lesbian protagonist.

    Audiences can expect a swath of recognizable pop songs and very funny anecdotes filled with local references. “I mention Country Dinner Playhouse, the Arvada Center and Boulder's Dinner Theatre (now BDT Stage) before the end of the opening number,” she says.

    But there is a beating and very vulnerable heart at the center of Malone’s story. It’s the crucial off-stage part that covers how she discovered her sexuality and came to own her true self — and the toll it took on her suburban, testosterone-fueled Castle Rock family. Her father, Bill, is a cowboy, and so naturally Malone was a cowboy, too. She is careful not to use the word "cowgirl."

    A Peggy Malone“No, I was a cowboy. I used to be my dad's little clone,” she said. Her mother, Peggy Malone, continues to be a popular country singer along the Western Slope, and she grew up alongside three typically competitive brothers.

    “So Far is about my redneck beginnings and how my parents ended up with such a wildly left-swinging daughter,” Malone said. “But more than anything, it’s really about my relationship with my dad, and what happened when I came out.”

    When Malone performed So Far two years ago at Joe's Pub in New York City, the show went over like gangbusters, she said. In part because cabaret concerts typically deliver upbeat songs and funny anecdotes — and Malone has plenty of those to tell. Like when she stumbled across the film Singin’ in the Rain on TV as a girl. “I didn’t know stuff like this existed,” she said. “I remember running down the hall and saying, ‘Mom, the most amazing thing is on TV!’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, that’s called a musical.’ And I said, ‘Well … that’s what I am doing with the rest of my life.”

    But cabaret concerts don’t typically also deliver a meaningful and sadly universal story of a father and daughter finding each other, breaking apart, and finding each another again  — in an entirely new and uncomfortable context.

    “It’s unexpectedly heart-wrenching,” said Malone. “You are laughing your butt off, and then you find yourself really invested in the love story between me and this heroic cowboy father-figure. When it gets hard for me, I think it gets hard for a lot of people in the audience, too.”

    Beth Malone. Photo by John Moore
    Beth Malone in Leadville. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Malone’s first play was Annie for Castle Rock Junior High School in 1984. When she was just 16, she landed her (first) dream job — as a hostess at the Country Dinner Playhouse. Two years later, she starred there in Baby. She made her Denver Center debut that same year at age 18 as the understudy to Mary Louise Lee — now the First Lady of Denver — in Beehive at the very same theatre Malone will be performing So Far on April 15.

    Malone made her debut with the DCPA Theatre Company in 1993 in the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Bon Voyage, an adaptation of Noel Coward’s failed musical Sail Away. She went on to make her name performing on stages all over Colorado from the Crystal Palace to Theatre Aspen to the Arvada Center, where she played the narrator in holiday stagings of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for five years running.

    But all through those years, Malone felt like an “other,” she says, and she didn't yet know exactly why. “I have a number in the show about what it's like to be Mulan in a dressing room with Snow White, Belle and Arial. … Do you know what I mean?”

    For those who might not know what she means, Malone describes Mulan as the cross-dressing Disney heroine who looks like a boy. “She's the action figure that nobody wants,” she said with a laugh. “That’s pretty sad for Mulan — and Mulan is me.”

    Malone fully expected to get married — to a man — when she met Rochelle (Shelly)  Schoppert 25 years ago. She says feeling true love for the first time was so intense, it felt like being shot by a gun. And that she fell in love with a woman, she said, “ruined my family for many, many years.” And yet, in 2014, the then 23-year couple rode their bikes to New York's City Hall and legally married.

    Beth Malone. Denver Broncos. Photo by John MooreMalone and her father will never come to a mutual understanding about many things, including their feelings on the current president. But time has a way of morphing the once inconceivable into the more natural order of things. Into something resembling a family. And like many families, the Malones have more in common than not — their love for the Colorado outdoors, their cowboy ways and perhaps most important — their intense mutual love of the Denver Broncos. Bill and Peggy Malone have accompanied Beth and her wife both times she sang the national anthem at Mile High Stadium, in 2014 and '16. (Pictured above from left: Peggy Malone, Beth Malone, Bill Malone and Rochelle Schoppert by John Moore.) Beth recently took her father on a trip to Ireland.

    So Far is actually a really warm, fuzzy, feel-good story,” Malone says of the way her story plays out. “And by the end, you’ll just want to call your dad.”

    Malone’s song list leans more toward pop than showtunes, starting with an appropriately country slant. “The show opens with Happiest Girl in the Whole USA, recorded by Donna Fargo, and segues into a Barbara Mandrell medley, so ... you can see where I am going with this,” Malone said with a laugh. “No one was more obsessed with Barbara Mandrell than I was.” Just wait till you hear the story about the kiss an 11-year-old Malone got from none other than ... Barbara Mandrell. 

    Coming-of-age songs include Melissa Etheridge’s Bring Me Some Water and k.d. lang’s Constant Craving alongside Foreigner’s I've Been Waiting for a Girl Like You. Musical-theatre fans will get a taste of Spring Awakening and a Fun Home mash-up that somehow invokes John Mayer. It builds, she says, to a poignant LeAnn Rimes song called What I Cannot Change.

    Malone has been developing So Far for years with initial producer Peter Schneider, playwright Patricia Cotter (The Break Up Notebook: A Musical) and Beautiful: The Carole King Story Music Director Susan Draus (who will play the show in Denver). But it has necessarily changed in tone, Malone said, since she last performed it in 2015, when  the gay community was riding an unprecedented wave of acceptance and legal victories.

    “All of these amazing, progressive things had just happened,” she said. “Marriage equality had passed, health-care was happening and Fun Home had won the Tony Award for Best Musical. So back then, I ended the show by saying, ‘It's a really bad time to be an angry white guy in America.’ ”

    Well ... that was then.

    "Now I have to say that the pendulum has fully swung the other way, and angry white guys are having their day again,” Malone said. “It’s just a hate orgy out there right now. That's how it feels to me. So there is a different vibe now, and I have had to rewrite the ending of the show a little because of that.”

    Beyond Fun Home
    The success of Fun Home has brought new career opportunities for Malone. Notable TV credits have included Brain Dead and The Good Wife. She has an upcoming indie film called Laying Low. But the biggest break by far was appearing opposite Robert DeNiro in last year's star-studded film The Comedian. Malone has a nice, long scene where she plays a reality-TV producer who gives DeNiro the brush-off when he pitches her an idea for a new show.

    “Yes, I busted DeNiro’s (bleeps),” Malone says with evident glee. “It was pretty amazing.”

    Also amazing: Hanging out on the set with the likes of Edie Falco, Danny DeVito and Broadway legend Patti Lupone when Lupone figured out that Malone was the star of Fun Home.

    “I was like, 'Oh my God, is anybody hearing this? Patti Lupone is telling me how good I am right now!’ " Malone said. "And sure enough, Edie Falco came up to me and said, ‘Patti Lupone was just crazy about you.’ It was just the best.”

    A Beth Malone 800 5

    Still, the greatest impact Fun Home has had on Malone's life was not only giving her a voice, she said. “It also gave me an audience that wanted to hear that voice," she said.

    Fun Home helped me to define my own beliefs and to commit to them publicly,” she said. “As an actor, I was always sort of a politician. I wanted to be with my wife, Shelly, behind closed doors, but I never was political about it, and I never pushed it anyone's face. I never stood up for anyone besides myself.

    "I have lived in Aspen, L.A. and New York – and being gay there is pretty easy. I never really gave a thought to teenagers who were trying to come out in Tennessee and Kentucky and Alabama. Now, I think about those kids all the time. Now, I talk to them whenever I can. That is my gift from Fun Home: The awareness that just living my life openly can be a beacon for other people – if only I am strong enough to stand up and claim it.”

    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.

    Beth Malone: So Far
    Beth Malone About the show: Tony-nominated Beth Malone (DCPA Theatre Company’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown) brings her acclaimed solo show back to where it all happened. Follow this adorably insane little lesbian as she takes you on a journey from Castle Rock to the South Pacific. From little girl crushes to grown-woman heartbreak. Join us for comedy, tragedy, and a crush on Connie Chung.

    • April 15, 5 and 8 p.m.
    • Garner Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets start at $50
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    An update on The Unsinkable Molly Brown:

    Molly_Brown_Beth Malone_JK_800Beth Malone will return to the role she re-created for the DCPA Theatre Company this summer when The Unsinkable Molly Brown plays The Muny this coming July 21-27 in St. Louis. The Muny is America’s largest outdoor musical theatre. After that, Malone said, the goal is Broadway.

    "That is absolutely the intention of putting it up at The Muny,” Malone said. “There is no other reason than for it go to Broadway," she said. And while there is not yet a producer attached for New York, “everyone involved with it feels very strongly that it we are completely on track to move it there.”

    (Photo above by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

    The show has changed in some significant ways since its debut in Denver, Malone said. The song Don't Put Bananas on Bananas, originally written by Meredith Willson to be included in The Music Man, has been cut. And Molly Brown’s activism and commitment to social causes is given more dramatic importance in the new storyline.

    “Molly Brown was the head of the Survivors Committee of the RMS Titanic, and a big part of her work was making sure that all of those people in steerage weren't just immediately kicked out and sent back to the countries they came from because their paperwork was at the bottom of the ocean. Her commitment to the plight of the immigrant makes the story seem more relevant since our election in November.”

    There has been no announcement yet who will play opposite Malone as Leadville Johnny Brown.

     Selected previous Beth Malone coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:



    Photo gallery: Beth Malone in Denver:

    Beth Malone in Denver

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Two concerts announced: Beth Malone, 'The Last Five Years'

    by John Moore | Feb 21, 2017

    Beth Malone. Andam Kantor. Betsy Wolfe.


    DCPA Broadway announced two new concert shows this morning: Beth Malone: So Far and Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years in Concert starring Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe.

    DCPA subscribers can purchase tickets now. (Direct emails will be sent with instructions.) Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at DenverCenter.Org

    Beth Malone is a Colorado native who was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Broadway's Fun Home. Prior to that, she starred in the DCPA Theatre Company's reimagining of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which has its next staging this summer at the Muny in St. Louis. Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe are acclaimed Broadway stars with eight credits between them.

    Beth Malone: So Far
    Beth Malone About the show: Tony-nominated Beth Malone (DCPA Theatre Company’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown) brings her acclaimed solo show back to where it all happened. Follow this adorably insane little lesbian as she takes you on a journey from Castle Rock to the South Pacific. From little girl crushes to grown-woman heartbreak. Join us for comedy, tragedy, and a crush on Connie Chung.
    April 15, 5 and 8 p.m.
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Tickets start at $50
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    The Last Five Years in concert starring Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe

    Last Five Years Kantor WolfeAbout the show: Adam Kantor (Fiddler of the Roof, RENT and Next to Normal on Broadway, Avenue Q off Broadway) and Betsy Wolfe (Falsettos, Bullets Over Broadway and The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Broadway) star in The Last Five Years in Concert. This intimate musical by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Songs for a New World, Honeymoon in Vegas, The Bridges of Madison County) chronicles the five-year relationship between two New Yorkers, struggling actress Cathy and promising writer Jamie, from their first meeting to their last goodbye. The Last Five Years is a powerful and personal look at marriage told from both points of view – Jamie’s story begins at the first meeting and follows through to the couple’s ultimate breakup, while Cathy relates the story in reverse, from falling out of love back to the first spark of romance.  This innovative storytelling structure makes for a show nearly entirely comprised of solo songs, with the actors meeting just once in the middle of the show in a duet.
    May 22
    Seawell Grand Ballroom
    Tickets start at $45
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Ticket information
    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – online at DenverCenter.Org – is the ONLY authorized online ticket provider for these productions in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts News Center.

     Selected previous Beth Malone coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:

    Photo gallery: Beth Malone in Denver: Beth Malone in Denver

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Video: Beth Malone will return to 'Molly Brown' in St. Louis

    by John Moore | Jan 23, 2017

    Beth Malone talks about playing Molly Brown at The Muny in St. Louis this summer. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Colorado may be Molly Brown’s home, but her next residence will be in her birth state of Missouri. And once again, Tony Award nominee Beth Malone will be playing history’s most unsinkable socialite.

    Two years ago, the DCPA Theatre Company launched a completely re-imagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown, directed by Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall and featuring both a new book by Dick Scanlan and a recalibrated Meredith Willson score that includes new songs from the Willson catalog. Marshall called the result "Americana at its best: Big, strong, open-hearted and optimistic.”

    The production was well-received at the DCPA but Molly_Brown_Beth Malone_JK_800its creators were intent on incorporating lessons learned from Denver toward the eventual goal of a larger life on the national stage. The next step in that journey was announced recently when The Unsinkable Molly Brown was included on the 2017 season for The Muny this coming July 21-27. Located in St. Louis, The Muny is America’s largest outdoor musical theatre.

    Marshall again will direct, along with Scanlan and Music Director Michael Rafter. The Muny introduced Malone at an event tonight to announce her return to the role. Full casting will be announced at a later date.

    Malone said she realized a lifelong dream when she was cast in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 production. “For me, that was the culmination of my entire career. It was a giant gift from God and the universe plopped right in my lap. It was amazing.” Shortly after, she was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award for her work in Fun Home.

    Of the St. Louis production, she added, "This is a very exciting next move for this piece, and I am very excited to get in the room again and work on it and put it up again." 

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown tells the story of perhaps the most colorful woman in Colorado history. The original 1960 Broadway musical was beloved by some but was also problematic. The musical tells the story of a Hannibal girl who went to Colorado and married a miner who became fabulously wealthy. But unlike others in her position, Brown opened a soup kitchen and fought for immigrants. Ultimately she boarded the Titanic but survived, rescuing others in the process.

    “It’s a classic American musical: beautiful and heartfelt,” said Mike Isaacson, the Muny’s artistic producer and executive producer. “And what Dick has done with it is extraordinary.”

    (Story continues below)

    Full photo gallery: Beth Malone in Denver:

    Beth Malone in Denver

    The photos above follow Beth Malone's time performing as Molly Brown in Denver, visiting Brown's adopted hometown of Leadville, Colorado, and returning both for Denver Broncos national anthems and to sing the praises of 'Fun Home.' Photos by John Moore and Jennifer M. Koskinen. To see more photos, click the forward arrow in the image above.


    Scanlan, a three-time Tony Award nominee also wrote the book for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and other musicals.

    “Dick has kept the songs you love…and hopefully he’s gotten rid of the ones you don’t,” DCPA Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson said.

    Meet the cast video series: Beth Malone

    In Molly Brown’s 1932 obituary, The Denver Post’s Jack Carberry wrote: “She was a pot rustler who, shamed by her ignorance, mastered music, literature and the arts to storm the portals and pass the barriers of society.”

    But while Scanlan promises audiences will see a much deeper Molly Brown than they did in the 1960 original, The Unsinkable Molly Brown remains very much a musical. And a musical comedy at that.  
    LEAD MOLLY
    This Molly Brown is still unsinkable, Malone said, "but it’s based more on the historical facts, and the real-life love affair between Molly Brown and JJ Brown."

    “This is not a documentary,” Marshall added. “This is a historical fiction. This is the journey of Molly Brown as a woman, and her marriage.”

    That means this is also a romance.

    “Oh it is very much a romance,” Scanlan said.

    Malone credits her time with Molly Brown in Denver for setting her on the path of her Tony Award nomination for Fun Home.

    "I have to say that doing Molly Brown and have it be a success on the level that it was really helped me walk back into the Fun Home rehearsal knowing that I could lead a cast," said Malone. "Molly Brown and that whole experience at the Denver Center bolstered my confidence in my bones."


    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.

    Beth Malone sings two songs from The Unsinkable Molly Brown:


    In the video above, Beth Malone appeared at the 2015 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, where she sang two songs from the show. Watch for at the very beginning, and again at the 2:45 mark. Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Selected previous Beth Malone coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:

    Selected previous Molly Brown coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' will belly up to the bar ... in St. Louis

    by John Moore | Nov 17, 2016

    Video above: The making of 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' in Denver. Photos below from the DCPA Theatre Company's 2014 production by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    Colorado may be Molly Brown’s home, but her next residence will be in her birth state of Missouri.

    Two years ago, the DCPA Theatre Company launched a completely re-imagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown, directed by Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall and featuring both a new book by Dick Scanlan and a recalibrated Meredith Willson score that includes new songs from the Willson catalog. Marshall called the result "Americana at its best: Big, strong, open-hearted and optimistic.”

    The production was well-received at the DCPA but its creators were intent on incorporating lessons learned from Denver toward the eventual goal of a larger life on the national stage. The next step in that journey was announced today when The Unsinkable Molly Brown was included on the 2017 season for The Muny next July 21-27. Located in St. Louis, The Muny is America’s largest outdoor musical theatre.

    MollyBrown-billboardThe Unsinkable Molly Brown tells the story of perhaps the most colorful woman in Colorado history. The original 1960 Broadway musical was beloved by some but was also problematic. The musical tells the story of a Hannibal girl who went to Colorado and married a miner who became fabulously wealthy. But unlike others in her position, Brown opened a soup kitchen and fought for immigrants. Ultimately she boarded the Titanic but survived, rescuing others in the process.

    “It’s a classic American musical: beautiful and heartfelt,” said Mike Isaacson, the Muny’s artistic producer and executive producer. “And what Dick has done with it is extraordinary.”

    Scanlan, a three-time Tony Award nominee also wrote the book for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and other musicals.

    “Dick has kept the songs you love…and hopefully he’s gotten rid of the ones you don’t,” DCPA Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson said.

    In Molly Brown’s 1932 obituary, The Denver Post’s Jack Carberry wrote: “She was a pot rustler who, shamed by her ignorance, mastered music, literature and the arts to storm the portals and pass the barriers of society.”

    But while Scanlan promises audiences will see a much deeper Molly Brown than they did in the 1960 original, The Unsinkable Molly Brown remains very much a musical. And a musical comedy at that.  

    LEAD MOLLY“This is not a documentary,” Marshall added. “This is a historical fiction. This is the journey of Molly Brown as a woman, and her marriage.”

    That means this is also a romance.

    “Oh it is very much a romance,” Scanlan said.

     

    Casting for St. Louis will be announced at a later date.

    Selected previous Molly Brown coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:

     

  • Video: 2015 Henry Award Acceptance Speeches

    by John Moore | Jul 28, 2015



    Here are short excerpts from acceptance speeches by recipients of the Colorado Theatre Guild's 2015 Henry Awards. The ceremony was held July 20 at the Arvada Center.

    It was a huge night for the DCPA's Billie McBride, who won three Henry Awards and presented another. She was honored for directing Vintage Theatre's 'Night Mother, which also won Outstanding Production of a Play. And she was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for her work in the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere play, Benediction. "Kent Thompson is a gentle and loving director," she says, "and it's just a beautiful play."

    In accepting the DCPA Theatre Company's Outstanding Season by a Company Award, DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller told those attending the ceremony: "The work that you are creating day in and day out is the envy of the nation. The fact that the NEA has just said that 52 percent of everybody who lives in the state of Colorado comes to attend live theatrical events, compared to 36 or 38 percent everywhere else in the country, is remarkable. And it doesn't happen by accident. It happens because of the incredible storytellers who are here in this room. The DCPA is so honored to be a part of this theatrical community."

    You'll also see Beth Malone accept the Outstanding Actress in a Musical Award for her work in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Colin Hanlon accept The 12's award as Outstanding New Play or Musical. 

    To see performance highlights from the Henry Awards, click here.

    The director of the awards ceremony was Jim Hunt.

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller accepts the Theatre Company's Henry Award for Outstanding Season. Photo by John Moore.  DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller accepts the Theatre Company's Henry Award for Outstanding Season by a Company. Photo by John Moore. 


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Video: 2015 Henry Award performance highlights
    Videos: Our memorial tributes to departed artists in 2014-15
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions
    Beth Malone, Colin Hanlon will perform at Henry Awards
    Guest essay by Margie Lamb: Something about the Henry Award doesn't add up
  • Video: 2015 Henry Awards performance highlights

    by John Moore | Jul 23, 2015


    Here are our performance highlights from Monday's Henry Awards, including Outstanding Actress winner Beth Malone, who came home from her night off in Broadway's Fun Home the Musical to sing from the DCPA's The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which later was named Outstanding Musical. She sang from the songs "I Ain't Down Yet" and "Wait for Me."

    Beth Malone performs from 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' at the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards at the Arvada Center. Photos by Brian Landis Folkins for the DCPA's NewsCenter.  Also featured are Colin Hanlon of The DCPA's The 12, The Henrys' Outstanding New Play or Musical. He sang the song "Three Times (I Denied)."

    The Town Hall Arts Center​ showcased both its Outstanding Musical nominee Anything Goes ("Blow, Gabriel Blow, featuring Norrell Moore and trumpeter Michael Skillern) as well as Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominee Tim Howard, who performed "I Believe in You" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

    (Photo: Beth Malone performs from 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' at the Henry Awards at the Arvada Center. Photos by Brian Landis Folkins for the DCPA's NewsCenter.) 

    Also featured were high-school students Curtis Salinger and Ana Koshevoy of Durango High School, who performed a medley from their production of Les Misérables, which in May won the Bobby G Awards' highest honor as Outstanding Musical by a Colorado high school in 2014-15.

    The director of the awards ceremony was Jim Hunt. The musical director was Donna Kolpan Debreceni. Her orchestra included Bob Rebholz, Scott Alan Smith, Larry Ziehl and Michael Skillern.

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Videos: Our memorial tributes to departed artists in 2014-15
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions
    Beth Malone, Colin Hanlon will perform at Henry Awards
    Guest essay by Margie Lamb: Something about the Henry Award doesn't add up


    Colin Hanlon performs from 'The 12' at the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards at the Arvada Center. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.
    Colin Hanlon performs from 'The 12' at the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards at the Arvada Center. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. 


  • Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 20, 2015
    'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' won seven Henry Awards in Monday night. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' won seven Henry Awards on Monday night. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.


    The DCPA Theatre Company was rewarded for its commitment to developing new work for the American theatre by judges of the Colorado Theatre Guild's 10th annual Henry Awards on Monday night. The Theatre Company received 11 awards from among its 21 nominations, including Outstanding Season for the fifth time in the past eight years.

    "We count ourselves lucky to work in such a powerful and vibrant community of artists, where new and exciting work happens all across the state," new DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller said in accepting the award. "Thank you for this honor, for your warm welcome into this community, and for everything you do on a daily basis to support theatre in the Rocky Mountain Region."

    All of the DCPA's awards were for new works: The 12, Benediction and its newly refreshed take on Broadway'S quintessential Colorado  musical, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    Molly Brown
    won seven Henry Awards, making it the most honored production of the Colorado theatre season. The production featured a new book and a significantly revised score. Its awards on Monday included Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actress Beth Malone and Director Kathleen Marshall. 

    Malone, a Colorado native who recently was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Fun Home the Musical, brought new layers to the woman most people outside Colorado only know as a brassy survivor of the USS Titanic disaster. "Malone plays Molly with tremendous energy, intelligence and verve," Westword theatre critic Juliet Wittman wrote last fall. 

    Kathleen MarshallMarshall (pictured right) is a  three-time Tony Award nominee and, now, a three-time Henry Award winner. She also was singled out for her Molly Brown choreography.

    "Creating this show was a complete joy from beginning to end, and receiving an award on top of it is really an embarrassment of riches," Marshall said through DCPA Associate Artistic Director Bruce Sevy. "It was a challenge and responsibility to bring the story of Margaret and JJ Brown, two legendary and iconic Colorado residents, to life. Our cast and creative team had a blast here in Denver."

    She also credited her cast and creative team, including writer Dick Scanlan, "a man whose vision, passion and dedication brought this entire reimagining of Meredith Willson’s classic American musical into being. He has an indomitable spirit, a generous nature and an infectious energy – just like Molly Brown."

    The Theatre Company's staging of the world premiere rock musical The 12, written by Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg, was named Outstanding New Play or Musical. The 12 wonders what might have happened when Jesus' disciples went into hiding after his crucifixion.

    "In our 36-year history, we have presented 412 productions, of which 138 were world premieres, 159 were readings of new works in development and 27 were commissions," said Sevy. "When a world premiere wins an award, it makes us beyond proud."

    He read a message from Schenkkan, also the Puliter Prize-winning playwright of next season's All the Way, which read: "From the moment we arrived in Denver, we were knocked out by the professionalism, the passion and the strong sense of community. Plus, you have a pretty good ballteam."

    Billie McBrideBillie McBride (pictured right), who last year was presented with the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, came back with a monster year that was rewarded with three more Henrys on Monday. McBride, whose Broadway acting and stage-managing credits include Safe Sex and Torch Song Trilogy, made her DCPA Theatre Company debut in February playing straight-talking Willa in the world-premiere staging of Benediction.

    She also won a Henry Award Monday for directing the most honored play of the year: 'Night, Mother, for Vintage Theatre. McBride offered an unsympathetic and uncompromising take on Marsha Norman's tale of a middle-aged woman who calmly announces to her mother that she will commit suicide by night's end. Both of her actors were nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and as the mother, Emma Messenger won.

    It was the second straight win for Messenger in that prestigious category, after having won in 2014 for her portrayal of a cripplingly cruel Irish mum in The Edge Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

    Among the first-time Henry Award winners were Benjamin Cowhick and Annie Dwyer. Cowhick (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play)  was utterly raw as as a hyperactive meth addict in A&A Productions' Good Television at the Aurora Fox. Dwyer performed for more than 20 years as a comic actor for the Heritage Square Music Hall, which was not a Colorado Theatre Guild member and thus, its actors were never eligible for Henry Awards. Since that famed venue closed last year, a wider audience is witnessing Dwyer's comic gifts. Dwyer's hilarious portrayal of Frau Bleucher earned her first Henry Award nomination and win, as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical.

    In all, 10 local companies earned at least one Henry Award on Monday, with the Arvada Center, BDT Stage and Vintage Theatre winning three each.

    The awards ceremony was again held at the Arvada Center and hosted by GerRee Hinshaw and Steven Burge, and directed by previous Colorado Theatre Guild Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jim Hunt. That award this year went to educator Jo Bunton Keel.

    The Henry Awards are named for legendary producer Henry Lowenstein, who brought more than 400 productions to the old Bonfils Theatre on East Colfax Avenue. This was the first year of the Henry Awards without Henry, and a video tribute was played to open the service featuring Cleo Parker Robinson, Bob Wells and John Ashton. Robinson told the story of how her father was hired as the theatre janitor over the objections of Bonfils patrons, and he went on to perform in dozens of shows, including a starring role in A Raisin in the Sun.

    It was a year of great loss in the theatre community, and a separate tribute video was played marking the passings of Shelly Bordas, Lloyd Norton, Kent Haruf, Bill Fancouer, Ray Viggiano, Michael (McKim) Daevid and DCPA President Randy Weeks. Those videos will be posted in the DCPA's NewsCenter in the coming days.

    The Henry Awards are a notoriously unpredictable affair from year to year. Last July, the DCPA Theatre Company earned a record 28 nominations and won three awards. This year's winners included Mike Hartman, who starred in all three chapters of the Theatre Company's adaptations of the Haruf's Plainsong Trilogy. He was named Outstanding Actor in a Play for his portrayal of a man dying with unfixable regrets in Benediction.

    “Thank you so much for this honor. I am incredibly blessed to have worked with Kent Haruf, (playwright) Eric Schmiedl, and Kent Thompson the cast and crew of all three of these wonderful rich Colorado stories," he said through the DCPA's Brianna Firestone.

    Two students from Durango High School represented The Bobby G Awards' 2014-15 Outstanding Musical by performing a medley from Les Misérables.

    More NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    Colorado Theatre Guild honors DCPA with 11 Henry Awards
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Photos: Our downloadable pictures from the Henry Awards ceremony
    Video: Performances from the 2015 Henry Awards ceremony
    Videos: Our memorial tributes to departed artists in 2014-15
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions
    Beth Malone, Colin Hanlon will perform at Henry Awards
    Guest essay by Margie Lamb: Something about the Henry Award doesn't add up

    Still to come: Video showing acceptance speech highlights

    2014-2015 COLORADO THEATRE GUILD HENRY AWARDS

    DCPA Theatre CompanyOUTSTANDING SEASON FOR A THEATRE COMPANY
    Denver Center Theatre Company



    OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company
    Kathleen Marshall, Director; Michael Rafter, Musical Director



    OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
    'Night, Mother
    Vintage Theatre Productions
    Billie McBride, Director


    'The 12.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL
    The 12
    DCPA Theatre Company
    Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg



    OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
    Kathleen Marshall
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company


    OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION
    Michael Rafter
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company

     



    OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A PLAY
    Billie McBride
    'Night, Mother

    Vintage Theatre Productions



    Wayne Kennedy

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Wayne Kennedy
    Fiddler on the Roof
    BDT Stage



    Beth Malone

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Beth Malone
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    Mike Hartman

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Mike Hartman
    Benediction
    DCPA Theatre Company

     



    Emma Messenger

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Emma Messenger
    'Night, Mother
    Vintage Theatre Productions



    Annie Dwyer

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Annie Dwyer
    Young Frankenstein
    Town Hall Arts Center



    Michael Wordly

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Michael Wordly
    Memphis
    Midtown Arts Center, Fort Collins



    Benjamin CowhickOUTSTANDING

    SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Benjamin Cowhick
    Good TV
    A & A Productions



    Billie McBride

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Billie McBride
    Benediction
    DCPA Theatre Company



    Buntport ensemble.

    OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
    Middle Aged People Sitting in Boxes
    Buntport Theater Company



    OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY
    Kathleen Marshall
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    COSTUME DESIGN, TIER 1
    Paul Tazewell
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN, TIER 2
    Linda Morken
    Mary Poppins
    BDT Stage



    OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN, TIER 1
    Brian Mallgrave
    She Loves Me
    Arvada Center



    OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN, TIER 2
    Christopher Waller
    Jerusalem
    The Edge Theater



    OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN, TIER 1
    David Thomas
    Memphis
    Arvada Center



    OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN, TIER 2
    Ren Manley
    Jerusalem
    The Edge Theater



    OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN, TIER 1
    Don Holder
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    DCPA Theatre Company



    OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN, TIER 2
    Brett Maughan
    Mary Poppins
    BDT Stage



    SPECIAL AWARDS:

    Jo Bunton Keel

    LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THEATRE
    Jo Bunton Keel



    Creede Repertory Theatre


    OUTSTANDING REGIONAL THEATRE
    Creede Repertory Theatre



    Lisa Cook


    OUTSTANDING STAGE MANAGEMENT
    Lisa Cook

  • Beth Malone, Colin Hanlon will perform at Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 13, 2015

    Tony Award nominee and Colorado native Beth Malone is scheduled to perform at the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards ceremony on Monday, July 20, at the Arvada Center, the DCPA NewsCenter has confirmed. And Colin Hanlon, who starred as the conflicted disciple Peter in the Theatre Company's world premiere staging of The 12, is also booked to perform.

    Malone is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for originating the titular role in the DCPA Theatre Company’s newly refreshed The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Malone then went on to earn a Tony Award nomination as Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Broadway’s newly crowned 2015 Best Musical, Fun Home.

    The Henry Awards honor achievement in Colorado theatre, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown leads all plays and musicals with 12 nominations for 2014-15. The DCPA Theatre Company earned two of the five nominations for best musical: Molly Brown and The 12. Each of the five nominated musicals are invited to perform during the Henry Awards.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Beth Malone and Colin Hanlon back to Denver,” said Scott Shiller, new President and CEO of the DCPA. “I am excited to experience my first Henry Awards, and for the DCPA to share this evening with such an incredible group of artists and theatre companies. I continue to be impressed with the dedication and passion for the theatre arts in Colorado. And we are honored to be part of this powerful and vibrant community that is contributing to the national landscape of theatre and driving the importance of the arts.”
     
    The Arvada Center homecoming promises to be an emotional one for Malone, who played the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on the Arvada Center stage during the holiday season for three years running, from 1999 to 2001. In the Talkin’ Broadway review of Joseph, critic T. Burnett likened Malone’s performance as the Narrator to the character of Ché in Evita. Bob Bows of ColoradoDrama.Com called Malone “a zesty and dynamic chanteuse.”

    "I am thrilled to be returning home to Colorado to perform at the Henrys," Malone said today. "I have so many wonderful memories at the Arvada Center, and I am really looking forward to being on that stage again."

    Beth Malone and Colin Hanlon. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen. Hanlon will perform a number from The 12, which examines issues of faith, courage and responsibility when a group of disciples lose their teacher. It is nominated for three Henry Awards, including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding New Play or Musical.

    "The second I left Denver, I thought, 'Please, teacher: When am I coming back?!' I never expected it would happen this quickly," Hanlon wrote in an email. Hanlon has an accomplished theatrical resume, but is perhaps best known for his guest-starring roles on TV’s Modern Family.

    "I'm honored and humbled to have been asked to represent The 12 at The Henry Awards," Hanlon said. "It will be bittersweet because I wish my entire cast and creative team could be here to celebrate our nominations. This town is filled with amazingly creative theater that's going on everywhere."

    (Photos: Beth Malone, left, and Colin Hanlon. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

    The only days off in Malone’s busy Broadway Fun Home schedule are Mondays. So she plans to fly home on Sunday, perform at the Henrys the next day, and then return to New York that night. For her, it will be very much worth it to spend a day back home celebrating her Molly Brown experience.

    "I have to say that doing Molly Brown, and have it be a success on the level that it was, really helped me walk into Fun Home knowing that I could lead a cast," said Malone. "Molly Brown and that whole experience at the Denver Center bolstered my confidence in my bones."

    Malone, a graduate of Douglas County High School and the University of Northern Colorado, grew up in Castle Rock and began working at the Country Dinner Playhouse at age 16. Two years later, she was starring there in Baby. She made her DCPA debut that same year at age 18 as the understudy to Mary Louise Lee — now the First Lady of Denver — in Beehive, produced by Rick Seeber in what is now the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    Malone made her debut with the Denver Center Theatre Company in 1993 in the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Bon Voyage, a musical adaptation of Noel Coward’s Sail Away directed by Bruce K. Sevy. She then spent several years performing in and around Snowmass at the Crystal Palace and Theatre Aspen before performing regularly at many Front Range theaters.




    Last year, Malone originated the role of cartoonist Alison Bechdel in Fun Home, which was then a Pulitzer-nominated, off-Broadway musical about a woman who was coming to terms with her sexuality at the same time her closeted father committed suicide.

    Malone returned to the DCPA last fall to play Molly Brown, winning the lead role even though no one from the creative team knew then that she, like Molly Brown, was a Colorado native. The staging was directed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall and written by three-time Tony nominee Dick Scanlan. That staging took place just before Fun Home transferred to Broadway and Malone earned the Tony Award nomination that will surely change the course of her professional life.

    Beth Malone, back, played the Narrator in three successive stagings of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' at the Arvada Center. She'll return to that stage on Monday, July 20, for the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards.
    Beth Malone with Charles Langely in the Arvada Center's 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.'Beth Malone, back, above, played the Narrator in three successive stagings of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' at the Arvada Center. She'll return to that stage on Monday, July 20, for the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards. At right, Malone with 'Joseph' star Charles Langely. File photos by P. Switzer.

    2014-15 Henry Awards
    6 p.m. Monday, July 20
    Arvada Center. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets go on sale July 6 through the Arvada Center website or by calling 720-898-7200. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    TO SEE THE COMPLETE LIST OF HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS, CLICK HERE

    The DCPA Theatre Company's 2015 Henry Award nominees:
    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    Outstanding Production of a Musical
    The 12, Richard Seyd, Director; Michael Mancini, Musical Direction
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Kathleen Marshall, Director; Michael Rafter, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical
    Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Musical Direction
    Michael Rafter, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Choreography
    Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Actor in a Play
    Mike Hartman, Benediction

    Outstanding Actress in a Play  
    Joyce Cohen, Benediction

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical
    Burke Moses, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical
    Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play            
    Billie McBride, Benediction

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
    Constantine Germanacos, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Outstanding New Play or Musical
    The 12, book and lyrics by Robert Schenkkan; music and lyrics by Neil Berg; Richard Seyd, Director; Michael Mancini, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Costume Design
    Paul Tazewell, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Outstanding Lighting Design
    Lap Chi Chu, The 12
    Donald Holder, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Outstanding Scenic Design

    Derek McLane, The Unsinkable Molly Brown      

    Outstanding Sound Design
    Craig Breitenbach, The Unsinkable Molly Brown 

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2015 Henry Awards:
    The Henry Awards: The complete list of nominations
    Duck and cover: Gloria Shanstrom takes your Henry Awards questions
    Guest essay by Margie Lamb: Something about the Henry Award doesn't add up

    More NewsCenter coverage of Beth Malone and Colin Hanlon:

  • Coloradans on Broadway: Tony-nominated Beth Malone

    by John Moore | Jun 05, 2015



    All this week leading up to the Tony Awards, we are rolling out a daily video featuring a Colorado actor working on Broadway. No. 5: Castle Rock native Beth Malone, who Beth Malone in the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. starred in the DCPA Theatre Company's new The Unsinkable Molly Brown last year and is now nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Fun Home, the stage adaptation of Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir that chronicles her coming out as a lesbian at the same time her closeted father committed suicide.

    Malone graduated from Douglas County High School and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She talks with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore about how her life has changed in the past year - and since she was nominated for theatre's highest prize. The surrealness crescendoed when she found herself eating lobster for breakfast with Sting. She also talks about the ways in which Fun Home is a groundbreaking Broadway musical, including being the first in history to feature a lesbian protagonist.

    The 2015 Tony Awards will be presented at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, on CBS-4 in Denver.

    Video by John Moore. Photo at right: Beth Malone in the DCPA Theatre Company's The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    2015 Tony Awards
    Sunday, June 1
    7 p.m., CBS-4 in Denver 


    Our Beth Malone photo gallery:
    Our photos of Beth Malone when she as in Denver to perform in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Photos by John Moore.


    Our 2015 New York report (to date):
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Aisha Jackson
    Video: Coloradans in New York: Playwright Max Posner
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway: Actor Rebecca Eichenberger
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda on the power of theatre to eliminate distance
    Broadway: The British aren't coming: They're already here!
    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards Broadway League dedicates New York conference to DCPA’s Randy Weeks
    Idina Menzel will launch 'If/Then' national tour in Denver


    Beth Malone hopped over a fence in Times Square to help us get this shot where she plays off the Coors Light ad slogan: 'Born in the Rockies. Lives in NYC.' Photo by John Moore.

    Beth Malone hopped over a fence in Times Square to help us get this shot where she plays off the Coors Light ad slogan: "Born in the Rockies. Lives in NYC." Photo by John Moore.


    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of Beth Malone

    Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards
    Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: 'Be relentlessly yourself'
    Denver's Beth Malone returning to Broadway in Fun Home
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Opening Night photos
    Meet the Cast video series: Beth Malone
    Your first look at The Unsinkable Molly Brown rehearsal
    Video: Visiting with Denver Center's new Molly Brown in Leadville, Colorado
    Video: Beth Malone's big day singing at the Denver Broncos game
    Molly Brown will reunite local favorites Beth Malone, Patty Goble
    Denver's Molly Brown is Denver's Beth Malone

  • Photo essay: Backstage at all three current Theatre Company shows

    by John Moore | Oct 25, 2014

    Molly_Brown_Backstage_800Beth Malone, who plays Molly Brown in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," with castmate Keven Quillon. Photo by John Moore. (To see the entire photo essay, click here.)


    Molly_Brown_Lord_Of_The_Flies_800
    Skyler Gallun, who plays Henry in "Lord of the Flies," transforms into a savage hunter during intermission. Photo by John Moore. (To see the entire photo essay, click here.)


    Vanya_Backstage_800

    Stuart Sanks, a.k.a. Shirley Delta Blow in Off-Center @ The Jones' "Lord of the Butterflies" (playing through Nov. 7), visits "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" actor Kathleen McCall backstage. Photo by John Moore. (To see the entire photo essay, click here.)




    The Theatre Company at the DCPA has opened the 2014-15 season with three shows running simultaneously: The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Vanya and Masha and Spike and Lord of the Flies. That means all three shows are often preparing and performing at the same time.

    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore visited backstage at each show for a half hour before showtime and came up with this illuminating photo essay.

    At Lord of the Flies, he stayed for intermission to witness how many of the stranded British schoolboys transform from choir boys into full-on savages.

    (To see John Moore's entire photo essay, click here.)     

    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.

    Ticket information:
    Molly Brown closes on Oct. 26
    Lord of the Flies closes on Nov. 2
    Vanya closes on Nov. 16.
    For info: 303-893-4100 or www.denvercenter.org


    Our Previous Molly Brown
    coverage on Denver CenterStage:

    Our Previous Lord of the Flies coverage on Denver CenterStage:

     

  • Molly Brown kin: New Denver musical is 'icing on the cake'

    by John Moore | Oct 17, 2014

    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Dog_800
    Helen Benziger, with her dog, Brojan, gave her blessing to the DCPA's new "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" at the opening-night party. Photo by John Moore.   


    Helen Benziger is not like most descendants of Margaret Tobin Brown. She actually liked the 1964 movie that made her great-grandmother famous. Even if it got almost everything about her life wrong.

    “I actually adored the movie,” Benziger said of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, the celluloid adaptation of what many theatre aficionados have, until now, considered the unfixable Broadway musical.

    And she really likes the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company's launch of a brand-new take on the original 1960 musical.

    “I was overwhelmed with what they did with the play,” said Benziger. “A lot of us have been trying to get the real story out about who Margaret really was, and this is the icing on the cake. This is going to make people understand more about her.”

    Benziger has inherited the mantle of representing those “please-don’t-call-her Molly” Brown family members who have cringed at how the most famous survivor of the Titanic disaster has been portrayed in pop culture since she died more than 80 years ago.

    Starting with that first name. For the record, Margaret never went by Molly. Not even as a nickname.

    “They changed it to Molly (for the musical) because it was easier to sing,” said Benziger, who has devoted much of her life since 1999 to setting the record straight on behalf of a family that, for the most part, wanted to hear nothing of it when Dick Scanlan set out in 2005 to revisit the Meredith Willson musical. Generations of family have complained about gross misrepresentations of Brown in the character Debbie Reynolds made famous.

    “My grandmother wouldn’t have anything to do with the movie,” Benziger said. “She would always say, ‘This is not the mother I knew. This is someone I don’t even know.’ ”

    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Quote_2

    The movie shows Molly as an uneducated mountain girl with only a surrogate father. Margaret had two loving parents, including a mother, Johanna Tobin, who insisted she receive an eighth-grade education, which was three years more than the average woman for the time.

    “Margaret was quite sophisticated, and she spoke many languages,” said Benziger. “She ran for Senate before women even had the right to vote.”

    Brown didn’t drop out of that 1914 race because of a scandal involving her philandering husband, J.J., Benziger said. “Oh make no mistake -- he was very much a philanderer,” she said. “But Margaret really dropped out because her sister married a German baron at a time when such a relationship was scandalous. But she couldn't say, 'Hey, sis drop the baron because I am running for office.’ ”

    The film depicts Molly coming down the Colorado River in a basket, and being raised by a drunken Irishman named Shamus. “It's so ridiculous,” Benziger said. But her family cringes most over the scene in the movie where J.J. Brown accidentally burns his own money after Molly hides it in the stove.

    “What makes that so funny is that they didn't even have paper money in Leadville at that time,” Benziger said.

    Given all that misinformation, it was a bit unexpected when Benziger accepted an invitation to attend the opening performance of Scanlan’s delightfully received retelling of the Molly Brown musical at the DCPA.

    “You have to understand, I first saw the movie at a rather young age,” Benziger said. “It was just a big movie to me, and I thought it was great. It was only later on and I kept watching it that I realized most of it wasn’t true. But what was true is that the original movie captured her heart, her spirit and her soul.”

    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Quote_1

    Benziger, who is visually impaired, couldn’t be living the spirit and soul of Margaret more. She lives in a log cabin with her husband and guide dog, Brojan, in Story, Wyo. That’s a quiet a town of 800 people nestled in the Bighorn Mountains about 400 miles north of Denver near Sheridan.

    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Beth_Malone_400What Benziger loved most about the movie, she said, “is that it kept Margaret alive until we could start telling the real story.”

    What Brown’s family most want from pop culture is what Scanlan most wanted when he approached a new The Unsinkable Molly Brown: To show a more human, complicated and significant Molly Brown. A woman who served as director of the American Committee for Devastated France during World War I and was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her work. Who wielded her influence in national politics, particularly in the area of workers' rights.

    Brown was motivated to action by the Ludlow Massacre of 1914, when 11,000 workers went on strike and resorted to living in tents after their families were turned out of company-owned housing. When the miners' union refused to surrender two petty criminals, the National Guard fired into the crowd, killing five men. That night, the Guard doused tents in oil and burned them to the ground, killing nearly a dozen children. Brown sent nurses, shoes and clothing to Ludlow. She then spearheaded the investigation into the miners' deaths.

    Not that all of this is depicted in the new The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    Scanlan rewrote the book to show audiences a more significant heroine and a more complicated love story. Which is not to say that Scanlan and his team felt beholden to write a stage documentary set to Willson songs.

    “This is still very much a musical,” said Director Kathleen Marshall, who set out to stage an old-fashioned musical and not apologize for it. Only improve it.

    Benziger was particularly charmed by actor Beth Malone’s portrayal of her great-grandmother. She was perfect,” Benzinger said. “She embodied her spirit. And she's just a doll. She’s so sweet.”

    Benziger appreciated Malone’s pluck, her powerful voice and her dancing. But the primary reason she liked Malone may surprise you. 

    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Cup “I really like the fact that she's not fat,” said Benziger. “People always portray Margaret as being a large woman, and she wasn't. Kathy Bates, who played Margaret in the Titanic movie, was three times her size. If you look at the picture of Margaret presenting the ‘Loving Cup’ Arthur Rostrand, the captain of the Carpathia, her waist is tiny.”

    Now that the new stage musical of The Unsinkable Molly Brown has Benziger’s seal of approval, she predicts it will … not have much impact on the rest of her extended family.

     "I am really the only one on my side of the family who is doing this,” she said. “And I don’t have children, so there is no one to take over.” 

    If any of her relatives ever do see the show, she predicted, “I think they will love it. And I think they will get a lot out of it. I don’t think they will, but I hope they do.”

    And if Benziger has any say in it – and  she does not -- they will have another chance after the show closes in Denver on Oct. 26.

    “It’s going to New York,” she said. “My word on it. I mean, it has to go. It will go.”

    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.

    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Cast_800
    Helen Benziger, with her dog, Brojan, meet cast members from the DCPA's new "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" at the opening-night party. Photo by John Moore.   


    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    : Ticket information
    Stage Theatre
    Runs through Oct. 26
    303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org


    Our Previous Molly Brown coverage on Denver CenterStage:
    'Molly Brown' Meet the cast videos:
    Beth Malone
    Burke Moses
    Patty Goble
    Paolo Montalban
    Linda Mugleston
    Donna English


    Molly_Brown_Benziger_Beth_Malone_Burke_Moses_800

    Beth Malone and Burke Moses, above, bring levels of complexity to their roles as Molly and J.J. Brown in the DCPA's new "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Below, Malone meets Molly Brown's granddaughter, Helen Benziger. Photos by John Moore.   


    Molly_Bronw_Benziger_Beth_Malone_800
  • Meet the Cast video series: Beth Malone

    by John Moore | Sep 24, 2014


    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 64: Meet Beth Malone, a Castle Rock native and Douglas County High School alumna who is returning to the DCPA for the first time since performing here in Bon Voyage in 1993. Malone, who is playing the title role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, will return to Broadway next year in Fun Home. Here, she talks about her love of Snowmass and Holly Hunter, how it felt to sing the national anthem at a recent Denver Broncos game, what we need to know about Molly Brown and more. Molly Brown plays through Oct. 26 in the Stage Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore and David Lenk. Run time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

    And, hey: Check out our new media outlet at MyDenverCenter.Org

    Check out our full photo shoot featuring Beth Malone in Leadville:

    Meet_The_Cast_Beth_Malone_800

    Photos of Beth Malone by John Moore. All rights reserved. To see the entire photo gallery, click here.


    Previous "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    From The Unsinkable Molly Brown:
    Patty Goble
    Paolo Montalban
    Linda Mugleston
    Donna English
    Burke Moses
    Beth Malone (today)

    From previous shows:
    Death of a Salesman
    Just Like Us
    Jackie & Me
    The Most Deserving
    A Christmas Carol
    black odyssey
    The Legend of Georgia McBride
    Hamlet
    Shadowlands
    Animal Crackers

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Ticket information
    Performances run through Oct. 26
    Stage Theatre
    303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our Previous Molly Brown coverage on Denver CenterStage:
  • Meet the Cast video series: Burke Moses

    by John Moore | Sep 22, 2014

    In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 64: Meet Burke Moses, who is returning to the DCPA for the first time since starring in the Theatre Company's productions of Carousel and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when he was 20 years old. Moses, who is playing J.J. Brown in the Denver launch of a newly reimagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown, talks about getting his musical start in Denver, why co-star Beth Malone is his ideal scene partner, and about his place in musical theatre history as the actor who originated the role of Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Molly Brown plays through Oct. 26 in the Stage Theatre. Call 303-893-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore and David Lenk.e. Run time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

    And, hey: Check out our new media outlet at MyDenverCenter.Org

    Previous "Meet the Cast" episodes:

    From The Unsinkable Molly Brown:
    Patty Goble
    Paolo Montalban
    Linda Mugleston
    Donna English
    Burke Moses (today)
    Beth Malone (coming next)

    Previous Theatre Company "Meet the Cast" playlists by shows:
    Death of a Salesman
    Just Like Us
    Jackie & Me
    The Most Deserving
    A Christmas Carol
    black odyssey
    The Legend of Georgia McBride
    Hamlet
    Shadowlands
    Animal Crackers

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Ticket information
    Performances run through Oct. 26
    Stage Theatre
    303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our Previous Molly Brown coverage on Denver CenterStage:
    Molly_Brown_Burke_Moses_800
    Burke Moses describes "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" co-star Beth Malone as his ideal scene partner. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.
  • Molly Brown's Beth Malone to sing anthem at Saturday's Broncos game

    by John Moore | Aug 17, 2014
    Molly_Brown_Beth_Malone_Preheim_Broncos_2


     Molly_Brown_ Beth_Malone_Broncos JerseyWhen it was announced that Colorado native Beth Malone would be starring as the title character in the Denver launch of the new The Unsinkable Molly Brown, her first reaction was, “I get to go back to Colorado … during the end of the Rockies season … and at the beginning of the Broncos season. What’s better than that?’ ” (Read that interview here)

    Not only that, but superfan Malone will now sing the national anthem on Saturday before the Denver Broncos' Aug. 23 preseason game against the Houston Texans at Mile High Stadium.

    "I will be seriously trembling," Malone said. ... But if so, we have a feeling no one in the capacity crowd will pick up on it.

    Look for Cheryl Preheim's  interview with Malone to air on 9News on Friday morning including footage of her rehearsing for her big moment at Mile High Stadium.
     
    It's unlikely the anthem will be shown as part of the game telecast on 9News, but check  back here on Monday for photos and video.

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown opens for previews on Sept. 12 in the Stage Theatre and runs through Oct. 26. Tickets are on sale now at 303-893-4100 or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org.

    Previous Molly Brown coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:
    Beth Broncos 1000
  • 'Molly Brown': Rommy Sandhu's Denver Diaries on BroadwayWorld.Com

    by John Moore | Aug 13, 2014
  • First-look photos at 'Molly Brown' first rehearsal

    by John Moore | Aug 05, 2014

    Video: Writer Dick Scanlan talks about bringing "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" back to the surface.

    The cast of The Unsinkable Molly Brown gathered for the first time in Denver on Tuesday. To see our complete gallery of first-day photos, click here.

    image

    First read-through (and sing-through) of 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 5. Those pictured include actors Burke Moses and Beth Malone, director Kathleen Marshall and writer Dick Scanlan. Photo by John Moore. 

     
    First-day comments: Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson

    "Molly Brown was one of the most accomplished women in Colorado history, and in American history. I think she is an iconic American woman who was a role model for her day, and also for today because of the social and economic and political issues she confronted. She was obviously a very ambitious, driven, strong-willed woman. She certainly changed this state, and in some ways, the country. She was driven so much by her desire to improve the lives of working men and women, children and families.

    "And she remembered where she came from, unlike other characters in this story. She was very wealthy, and J.J. Brown helped make her so. But she never forgot her roots, and she never worried perhaps as much as some people felt she should have about public opinion. I think her courage and her commitment to what she believed in makes her a role model for today. It's a very relevant story even today in our country, and it has become maybe even more relevant with what has been going on in the world over  the past few years.

    "It was really exciting to watch Dick Scanlan’s shaping of the story for a more contemporary audience. But we are not doing a docu-musical. We’re not suddenly doing the Peter Brook version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. It’s still a musical. And there are still a lot of things from the original that are widely beloved.

    "For me, this is a wonderful thing to be doing because part of our mandate is to reflect the stories of the Rocky Mountain region. And how can people find a more iconic story than Molly Brown's?

     

    Ticket information

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown opens Sept.12 in the Stage Theatre and runs through Oct. 26. For tickets, call 303-893-4100 or go to www.DenverCenter.Org

     

    Previous Molly Brown coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

     

  • First look at 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' costume designs

    by John Moore | Jul 28, 2014

    image

    Your first look at Costume Designer Paul Tazewell (inset), with his 14 different costume looks for Molly Brown in the Denver Center Theatre Company's upcoming The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    image

     

    Costume Designer Paul Tazewell and actor Beth Malone, pictured left, are at the Denver Center today for first fittings for the upcoming launch of the  newly refreshed musical, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    The show opens for previews on Sept. 12 in the Stage Theatre and runs through Oct. 26.

    Tazewell has been nominated for five Tony Awards as a costume designer, and has worked in the worlds of dance and opera as well. He has earned three Helen Hayes Awards for his work, and the Lucille Lortel Award (for On the Town).

    While Tazewell created his designs in New York as part of his normal pre-production duties, his costumes will be built in Denver by the Denver Center costuming team in collaboration with Tazewell and his assistant.  Look here for our interview with Tazewell soon.

    Molly Brown rehearsals begin in Denver on Aug. 5. Tazewell, Malone (a Castle Rock native and graduate of Douglas County High School) will be  in Denver then, along with entire the cast and crew to continue preparations for the Sept. 12 opening.

    Tickets are on sale now at 303-893-4100. Online sales are temporarily  suspended in preparation for a re-launch of the Denver Center's web site at www.DenverCenter.Org. Online ticket sales will resume Wednesday, July 30.

    image

    image

    Photos by John Moore.

    Previous Molly Brown coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

  • 'Molly Brown' creatives: 27 Tony nominations, 6 wins

    by John Moore | Jul 25, 2014

    image

    Kathleen Marshall showed her design concepts to the Denver Center team last month. Photo by John Moore.

    Random stat of the day: Members of the Denver Center's The Unsinkable Molly Brown creative team have 27 Tony Award nominations among them, and six wins. Here's how it breaks down:

    • Donald Holder, lighting design: 10 nominations, 2 wins
    • Kathleen Marshall, director and choreographer: 6 nominations, 3 wins
    • Derek McLane, Scenic Design: 3 nominations, 1 win
    • Dick Scanlan, Book Writer and Additional Lyrics: 3 nominations
    • Paul Tazewell, Costume Design: 5 nominations

    Previous Molly Brown coverage on MyDenverCenter.Org:

     

     

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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.