• 2017 True West Award: Josh Hartwell

    by John Moore | Dec 12, 2017
    True West Awards 2017 Josh Hartwell

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 12: Josh Hartwell

    Playwright
    Director
    Actor
    Teaching Artist
    Dramatists Guild of America

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Josh Hartwell has done enough this month to earn a True West Award for all of 2017. Oh, he’s made his mark as an actor, director, playwright, teaching artist and community organizer throughout the calendar year. But consider that Hartwell has written two new plays that are being staged at the same time at two different local theatres — and he’s performing in one of them.  

    Resolutions Andrew Uhlenhopp Karen Slack The Edge RDG Photography“I don’t think another Colorado playwright has ever had two professional premieres running concurrently at different theatres,” said Jeff Neuman, co-founder of the local writing group known as the Rough Draught Playwrights. Hartwell graduated from Longmont High School and Metropolitan State University of Denver. But the fact that he's a writer from Colorado only seems to make it harder for his work to actually be seen in theatres here, Neuman believes.

    “I don’t know if people really understand how difficult it is for a Colorado playwright to get produced in Colorado,” he said. “Many Front Range playwrights regularly get produced all over the world, but are unable to secure one single production in their own home state. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so incredibly thrilled for Josh — and more than a little envious of him.”  

    Hartwell was commissioned by The Edge Theatre Company to create Resolutions (pictured above), a plum assignment that came with three stipulations, said Producing Artistic Director Rick Yaconis: “It had to be a holiday play that wasn’t about Christmas, it had to have the word resolutions in the title, and it had to be edgy,” he said.

    Side note: A commission is when a theatre company actually pays you to write a new play for them — the ultimate sign that a playwright has really made it. Because most playwrights pen their plays, submit them blindly to anyone with an address (digital, postal or otherwise) and then pray to the literary gods that someone actually reads them, believes in them and then stages them.

    Meanwhile, a little further west, Miners Alley Playhouse is currently staging Hartwell’s original and intimate spin on A Christmas Carol in downtown Golden with a cast of just six.

    Having the two new plays running at once, Neuman said, “Is a supremely exciting landmark for the local playwriting community, as well as a testament to Josh’s amazing skills and talents as a dramatist.”

    Josh Hartwell Christmas Carol Photo by Sarah RoshanIronically, both of Hartwell’s stories depict actors enjoying very — very — different holiday gatherings away from the stage. His family friendly take on A Christmas Carol (pictured right) drops us in on a group of merry actors who endeavor to stage Dickens’ classic right then and there, as swiftly and cleverly as possible. It stars Jim Hunt as the thespian who takes on Scrooge, with Hartwell among the ensemble playing several supporting roles.

    Miners Alley Playhouse audiences are lapping up the new take on an old favorite like sweet eggnog, and Artistic Director Len Matheo already has announced that Hartwell’s script will henceforth become the company’s annual holiday offering.

    “What I'm most excited about with this production is that this play is a heightened glimpse into us theatre folk,” said Hartwell, who finds it completely conceivable that off-duty actors sitting around a cozy fire at the holidays are compelled to re-enact their favorite Christmas stories. Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post called the work a gentle, sweet and tender bit of nostalgia.

    Resolutions at the Edge is considerably more … well, edgy — as ordered. As in a 'Stephen King meets Quentin Tarantino popcorn pulp' kind of way. This group of former college thespian pals gathers every New Year’s Eve at a posh cabin in Vail to relive their Big Chill days and share their hopes for the coming year. But this time, one of the gang is a little ax-to-grindy, and let’s just say one of these buddies will soon be adding “reattach severed limb” to his list of New Year’s resolutions.

    Westword critic Juliet Wittman called the resulting world premiere, appropriately playing through New Year's Eve, "a swift, funny, clever, 85-minute holiday treat."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Hartwell is a young writer with a veteran resume that includes productions in New York, Florida, Washington, Minneapolis, New Zealand and beyond. He’s a big-enough deal that he’s represented by the Abrams Artist Agency in New York City.

    Bad Jews Edge John Wittbrodt and Missy Moore. RDG Photography But writing is just a slice of his breakthrough, renaissance year. He directed two plays, including the comedy Bad Jews for the Edge (pictured right) and a milestone production of Hir at Miners Alley. That was a dark and difficult family drama that dared to include a transitioning teenager as part of a major subplot. Hartwell also continued to vigorously mentor student writers, both through Curious Theatre’s wildly successful Curious New Voices program and Denver Center Education’s year-round and statewide playwriting competition, which has Hartwell offering dozens of in-class workshops throughout the fall semester.

    Banned Together Josh Hartwell Miners Alley Playhouse Angels in America Photo by John MooreHartwell also stepped up into a major leadership role in the community when he took on producing Banned Together, A Censorship Cabaret, on Sept. 28 at Miners Alley Playhouse. MAP joined a national coalition of theatres in presenting an informal evening of censored theatre pieces to mark Banned Books Week in America and raise awareness about the ongoing issue of free expression in the live theatre (pictured right and below).

    An array of acclaimed local actors presented songs and scenes from controversial plays and musicals ranging from Cabaret to Fun Home to Rent to Spring Awakening to Angels in America. Hartwell read from the critical moment in The Laramie Project when murdered gay college student Matthew Shepard’s father addresses his son’s killer in court and bitterly spares him from the death penalty.

    Banned Together Miners Alley Playhouse Rent Photo by John MooreBanned Together was an important evening that Denver might easily have missed entirelyhad not Hartwell, Matheo and Hunt not taken the project on. (See video highlights below.)

    And while acting was low on his list of priorities this year, Hartwell is a company member at Curious Theatre, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and The Edge Theatre Company.

    If all that weren’t enough, Hartwell has worked tirelessly as Colorado's first regional representative for the Dramatists Guild of America, endeavoring throughout the year to both unite, grow and empower the local writer community.

    It’s been a busy year for a writer who has again proven that the pen is mightier than the pillow.

    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.

    Josh Hartwell: 2017 in review

    • Director, Hir, Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Teaching Artist, Curious New Voices, Curious Theatre Company
    • Director, Bad Jews, The Edge Theatre Company
    • Producer, Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret, Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Playwright, Resolutions, The Edge Theatre Company
    • Playwright, A Christmas Carol, Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Actor, A Christmas Carol, Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Teaching Artist, Denver Center Education Student Playwriting
    • Dramatists Guild of America, Colorado Regional Representative

    Photo credits, from top down: Karen Slack and Andrew Uhlenhopp in 'Resolutions' (RDG Photography). Jason Maxwell, Meredith Young, Josh Hartwell and Ella Matheo in 'A Christmas Carol.' (Sarah Roshan Photography). John Wittbrodt and Missy Moore in 'Bad Jews' (RDG Photography). Josh Hartwell performing from 'Angels in America' for 'Banned Together.' Photo by John Moore. Abigail Kochevar, Steph Holmbo and ensemble performing 'Seasons of Love' for Banned Together.' Photo by John Moore.

    Video bonus:Our coverage of Banned Together


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS: '30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS'

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • 2017 True West Award: 'The Rape of the Sabine Women'

    by John Moore | Dec 11, 2017
    2017 True West Award Rape of the Sabine Women

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 11: The Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias

    Local Theater Company, Boulder

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    “The truth is like castor oil. It’s bitter to swallow and people don’t want it.
    Therefore, you make them laugh. And when their mouths are open … you pour it in.”

    Harold Clurman 

    The Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias was an uncomfortable play to watch. Not because Local Theater Company’s staging was unpleasant to sit through. It wasn’t. And maybe that’s what made it so uncomfortable to watch.

    The playwright is not named Grace B. Matthias — she is rather the primary character in the story. The actual playwright is Michael Yates Crowley, who adopted an unnervingly casual and outright comic tone for a play about sexual assault, homophobia and bullying at an Ohio high school. But rape as satire? With rim shots and punchlines? Isn’t that an affront to anyone who has ever been assaulted? Is this (male) playwright somehow trying to make rape … palatable?

    Sabine Women Photo by George LangeWell, no. But perhaps palatable enough so we can actually talk about the numbingly pervasive rape culture in America. “Sometimes you have to shock people to get to a truth,” said Director Christy Montour-Larson. “And what better way to shock people about sexual assault than to get them laughing about it?”

    Therein lies the eventual genius of this unsettling play that lingers in the brain for weeks afterward. Then again, a play this topical never has even a remote chance of dissipating when its subject matter reverberates anew with the drumbeats of the latest daily news cycle.

    (Photos on right and below feature Adeline Mann, Erik Fellenstein and Peter Henry Bussian of 'The Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias.' Photos by George Lange.)

    Time Magazine just named the Silence Breakers who fueled the #MeToo Movement its 2017 Person of the Year as a means of honoring those women who came forward in droves to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment and assault. The very subject of this play is the most significant news story of the year.

    Theatre rarely gets to matter in such an urgent way because it can take years for a company to bring a chosen play to full life on the stage. Local Theater, a strong, female-led company founded by Boulder’s Pesha Rudnick, caught wise to Crowley’s developing new work two years ago, first choosing to workshop it at its annual new-play festival, and then slotting it for full production in October. Many a play goes stale in the meantime. The reason this one didn’t is as old as time.

    “This play was topical long before the ‘Me Too’ movement,” said Montour-Larson. Sexual assault isn’t new. The whole point in referencing the Sabine Women in the story is that sexual assault has been going on for thousands of years.”

    True West ErikFellensteininTheRapeoftheSabineWomenbyGraceB.Matthias.PhotobyGeorgeLangeThe actual “Rape of the Sabine Women” was an incident from Roman mythology in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction of young women from nearby cities. They were taken from families, treated as slaves and made to bear children. If you are looking for a historical bookend, look no further than the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.

    Given the falling dominoes from the rise of the #MeToo social-media moment, there is no question Americans are more awake to the issue of sexual assault than they were a year ago. And by staging Sabine Women now, Local Theater gave its audiences a context through which to keep that conversation going.

    In the play, an ordinary 15-year-old student has accused the two stars of the high-school football team of rape. The school's nickname? The Romans, natch. But if you’re expecting some deep and thoughtful exploration of the powerful ramifications of this accusation, well — hold on to your funny bone. Instead, the playwright points his sharp cynicism at every adult authority figure in the story, from a lawyer to a teacher to a journalist to a school official — all intentionally made into ridiculous caricatures.

    Adding to this incendiary pot are two very real personal crushes aimed at Jeff, our all-American rapist: Both the victim and Jeff’s closeted teammate Bobby are in love with him. Decades of pop culture have conditioned us to root for the golden boy and the unremarkable girl to hook up. Bobby, on the other hand, seems to be the playwright’s revenge against every repressed gay man who has ever turned his inner turmoil into an outward, toxic weapon.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    This is a very dangerous game Crowley is playing. But thanks to a devastatingly honest performance by Adeline Mann as the confused yet utterly real young Grace (surrounded by an impeccable ensemble of top-notch fellow actors), the audience is never allowed to fully give in to the hilarity because there are real physical and emotional consequences here.

    “The comedy in this play definitely hits different people in different ways based on their own politics and personal experiences," Montour-Larson said. "And that’s not only OK — it’s kind of the point.”

    Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias. Photo by George LangeWhat’s indisputable is the greater good Local Theater did by letting this particular Pandora out of her box. Local presented the play to the Boulder community in a responsible and comprehensive manner, with audience talkbacks and at least five public panels throughout the city. Local boldly demonstrated how theater can be a catalyst for dialogue by addressing urgent issues of the day in real time.

    “I believe theatre is at its best when it tells stories that people can relate to their lives right now,” Montour-Larson said. “Sometimes that story is Hamlet. Sometimes that story is The Crucible. And sometimes that story is The Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias. This is why theatre exists.”

    Local's mission is to discover and develop new American plays, and to date, all of them have felt similarly “of the moment.” “Last year, we presented The Firestorm — a play about race and politics and a marriage — right before the election,” said Local Theater Communications Manager Ted Stephens. “This year, we staged Sabine Women just as women were starting to step forward about sexual assault. And this spring, we will produce Wisdom from Everything, a beautiful world premiere about a young Syrian refugee trying to survive in a world with little agency, few rights and no country. And that one feels, unfortunately, incredibly relevant and important once again.

    “I suppose that's the advantage of presenting brand-new works — they can take what we are experiencing right now and invite our audiences to be part of some sort of change.”

    Theatre doesn’t get any better than that.

    John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

    The Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B Matthias cast list:
    • Peter Henry Bussian
    • Erik Fellenstein
    • Cajardo Lindsey
    • Rodney Lizcano
    • Adeline Mann
    • Matt Schneck
    • Mare Trevathan
    • Brynn Tucker

    Video bonus: Cast member Mare Trevathan

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • 2017 True West Award: Emily Van Fleet

    by John Moore | Dec 08, 2017
    Emily Van Fleet True West Award 2017

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 8: Emily Van Fleet

    Arvada Center
    Creede Repertory Theatre
    DCPA's Off-Center

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Denver actor Emily Van Fleet was a shape-shifter in 2017. She played a hillbilly wannabe starlet stranded in a snowstorm. She played a soaking wet corpse in a bathtub. She played a Hungarian lonely heart. She played a coy minister’s daughter. She was an improv comedian. Her stories spanned the globe from 1912 to 1956. Apparently she can play anyone, anywhere, in any time period.

    But once in a great, lucky while, you get to witness an actor killing it so hard in a particular role, you just know they will never be looked at the same way again.

    A Emily Van Fleet The Wild Party Adams Viscom 400 That was watching Van Fleet play a self-destructive showgirl in Off-Center’s very wild The Wild Party, a debauched musical drama based on a 1928 narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March and staged under The Hanger at Stanley Marketplace with a cast of 15, a live band and 200 audience members doubling as in-your-lap party guests.

    (Photo at right of Emily Van Fleet in 'The Wild Party' by Adams Viscom.)

    Van Fleet played the hostess Queenie, and she was regal. It was an absorbing and undeniably seductive performance that demanded Van Fleet’s complete immersion into a role that, on paper, director Amanda Berg Wilson said, frankly didn’t give the actor all that much to work with.

    “That character is actually a trope,” Wilson said, “and yet Emily somehow managed to make a not-terribly developed character fully dimensional, heartbreaking, vulnerable and sexy. And to do that in such an intimate space is a really tricky thing to pull off.”

    Van Fleet is a Boulder native who graduated from Fairview High School and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She has been a company member with the Creede Repertory Theatre for five summers. Last year, she was chosen to be among the inaugural class of actors in the Arvada Center’s new repertory company. So, she’s actually been killing it for quite some time.

    Last winter, in fact, she killed it as a woman who already had been killed in the Arvada Center’s exquisite staging of The Drowning Girls, which posed an entirely different kind of acting challenge.  

    A Emily Van Fleet She Loves Me Creede. Photo by John Gary BrownThe Drowning Girls tells how three wives of serial killer George Joseph Smith met their watery demise between 1912 and 1914. The stories are told by three actors who must play the wives (and every other relevant character) with great narrative and physical precision, and Van Fleet, Kate Gleason and Jessica Robblee executed the challenge with complete (sorry) fluidity. It’s not easy to act while sopping wet but, as Westword’s Juliet Wittman put it, the three actors committed to it with gusto.

    “The trick for all three of them was to be both choral and incredibly specific and unique in their performances, and I think Emily was brilliant in both regards,” Director Lynne Collins said. “She played a hunchbacked old landlady so precisely, you could almost feel the curvature of her spine and the arthritis in her hands. And two seconds later, she was back to being lovely young Alice. To be that specific and clear in all your characters is incredibly difficult to do.”

    (Photo at right of Emily Van Fleet in Creede Repertory Theatre's 'Arsenic and Old Lace' by John Gary Brown.)

    Just as impressive, one might say, was her performance in Bus Stop as Cherie, the doe-eyed role made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 1956 film. Van Fleet’s take on the profoundly innocent woman was virtually unrecognizable from Monroe’s take in the famous film.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Van Fleet glides easily from light musicals to romantic comedies to dramas with uncommon ease. But there was something fundamentally “next level” about her star-making turn in The Wild Party. Van Fleet stripped everything from her inhibitions to her clothes while hosting a corker of a party fueled by cocaine, bathtub gin and uninhibited sex.   

    “Queenie is a sexually ambitious, morally dubious, low-rent vaudeville performer who is promiscuous and probably an alcoholic,” Wilson said. “And through the course of the play she falls in love and consummates that love right then and there — with a man who is not her husband. Emily somehow kept that up for two hours in very close proximity to the audience — and that requires a level of being present that not every actor has. That’s what I think made it such an amazing performance.”

    A Emily Van Fleet I Mackers Creede Repertory Theatre Photo by John Moore 800Off-stage, Van Fleet and her husband, Nathan Jones, wrote an ingenious modern adaptation of Macbeth that was performed by and for teens last summer in Creede, located 250 miles southwest of Denver in Mineral County I, Mac(kers) uses spoken word and cell phones to tell the story of an aspiring but morally compromised high-school thespian who succumbs to the temptation of social media, technology and cyberbullying to fuel his ambition by spreading rumors and manipulating his fellow students.

    (Photo at right: Audiences greet the teen cast of Creede Repertory Theatre’s youth production of 'I, Mac(kers)' after a performance. Photo by John Moore.)

    “Emily Van Fleet is a magical unicorn,” said Creede Rep Artistic Director Jessica Jackson. “Yes, she’s an incredible actor and musician, but Creede audiences also get to experience her as this passionate community member and leader in our company as well. And in some unquantifiable way, that makes what she does on stage even more compelling.”

    And she’s finishing the busiest year of her life by performing in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Yuletide Celebration.

    There’s a simple reason Van Fleet is enjoying the level of success she attained in 2017, said Collins. She’s earned it.

    “She hit her stride in every area of her work this year," Collins said, “and she works harder than any other actor I know.”

    John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.


    A Emily Van Fleet The Drowning Girls M. Gale Photography 800

    From left: Emily Van Fleet, Kate Gleason and Jessica Robblee in the Arvada Center's 'The Drowning Girls.' M. Gale Photography 

    Emily Van Fleet 2017

    • Cherie, Arvada Center’s Bus Stop
    • Alice, Arvada Center’s The Drowning Girls
    • Amalia, Creede Repertory Theatre’s She Loves Me
    • Elaine, Creede Repertory Theatre’s Arsenic and Old Lace
    • Performer, Creede Repertory Theatre’s Boomtown
    • Director and Playwright, Creede Repertory Theatre’s youth production of I, Mac(kers)
    • Queenie, Off-Center’s The Wild Party

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

    Video bonus: Emily Van Fleet talks The Wild Party

  • 2017 True West Award: Kenny Moten

    by John Moore | Dec 07, 2017
    2017 True West Award Kenny Moten. Photo by John Moore

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 7: Kenny Moten

    Motones vs. Jerseys
    Miscast 2017
    Aurora Fox Cabaret Series
    Owner, Narrative Creative Consulting

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    If you think being a performer is hard, try being a performer and the owner of your own entertainment and consulting company. Kenny Moten makes the transition from actor to producer to businessman and back again in same manner that often describes his rich singing voice: Smooth as silk.

    Moten is among the very few performers who also knows how to run a business.

    Kenny Moten“It’s rare because owning an entertainment business is brutal in a way that is very different from the way performing is brutal,” said Moten’s frequent creative partner — and employee — Jalyn Courtenay Webb. “When you’re the boss, you are not only responsible for yourself, but for the people you hire and the team you put together. But Kenny has just the right temperament for it. He does everything with integrity. He’s a solid human being.”  

    Moten is the creator and owner of Narrative Creative Consulting, which presents entertainment events and uses various art forms to help clients ranging from National Jewish Hospital to Snooze Eatery to the Denver Center shape their narratives, customer service, employee training and brand strategies.  

    Moten is also the co-creator, director, writer and a featured performer of a clever new musical form called Motones vs. Jerseys. In July, it was up for three Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, including Outstanding Musical, for its nearly sold-out run at the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins.

    In September, Moten lent his support (and that smooth-as-silk singing voice) to the Denver Actors Fund by appearing in Miscast 2017 as one of the three Fionas singing I Know It’s Today from Shrek the Musical. In October, the Aurora Fox turned to Moten to launch its risky new monthly cabaret series with 12 O’clock Tales: An Evening of Songs and Stories. Both shows sold out, which Webb said is further indication of Moten’s popularity as a performer — and his business acumen. Both come from more than 20 years as a professional performer, Webb says.

    Kenny Moten Miscast 2017“Kenny’s name is synonymous with excellence, and people know that in our community and beyond,” she said. “He was not going to do his show in an empty house — and he certainly did not.”

    Moten caps a remarkable 2017 with a return next week to Motones vs. Jerseys as part of a unique new creative partnership with BDT Stage in Boulder. "MvJ," as the kids call it, is a feel-good, nostalgic evening featuring the music of Motown and The Four Seasons — along with their many ancestors and descendants — in a good-natured competition. After two teams of four performers each rock out a playlist spanning Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Bruno Mars and many more, the audience chooses a winning team using their cell phones to vote.

    (Pictured right: Kenny Moten with his 'Miscast 2017' co-stars, Margie Lamb, left, and Hope Grandon. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter,)

    It’s a concept Moten first developed with Chris Starkey, now of Imprint Group DMC. After several refinements, Moten unveiled a slick new version of the show last year at the Midtown Arts Center, where it received a standing ovation “every single night,” said Webb, who is both the show’s Music Director and nightly emcee. “And let me tell you, I’ve never seen that happen at any dinner theatre before in my life.”

    Motones vs. Jerseys opens on Dec. 10 and will play on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights through Jan. 23, playing in rep the rest of the week with BDT Stage’s holiday staging of Annie.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Moten, who is originally from Hagerstown, Md., graduated from Highlands Ranch High School and the University of Colorado Denver. He transitioned from Barnstormer to leading man with a remarkable 2005 performance in Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the late Country Dinner Playhouse opposite now Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee. Westword’s Juliet Wittman called Moten not only “a wonderful singer with a voice full of poignancy and power,” but also “a charming and seductive performer who brings impressive precision and a smooth, lean elegance to the stage.”

    Other major credits include Swing at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and Altar Boyz at the Clocktower Cabaret, but it wasn’t long before Moten was off to New York. He re-settled in Fort Collins a few years ago and has since been on a roll that has not only furthered his personal and professional interests, but has gainfully employed dozens of local actors and crew members on his many public and corporate projects.

    “The thing I love about Kenny is that he’s so fun, but he’s also completely no-nonsense when it comes to the work,” said Webb. “He expects the highest quality and the highest level of performance possible from his performers, and we respect that. He knows what he wants — and he goes out and gets 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.

    Motones vs. Jerseys: At a glance

    • Dec. 10-Jan. 23
    • BDT Stage, 5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder
    • Performances Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. Dinner seating begins at 6:15, with the show to follow at 7:45
    • Featuring Brian Cronan, Will Hawkins, Brian Jackson and Jacob Villareal as The Jerseys, and Christian Mark Gibbs, Anthony McGlaun, Kenny Moten and Alejandro Roldan as The Motones.
    • Call 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com


    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS: '30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS'

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

    Video bonus: Motones vs. Jerseys at the 2017 Henry Awards

  • 2017 True West Award: Haley Johnson and Sydney Parks Smith

    by John Moore | Dec 05, 2017
    2017 True West Awards. Haley Johnson. Sydney Parks Smith

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 4: Haley Johnson and Sydney Parks Smith

    August: Osage County
    Vintage Theatre, Aurora
    OpenStage Theatre, Fort Collins

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    "I'm in charge now!"


    It's one of the most visceral, gut-scraping lines you'll ever hear in a theatre, and it marks a dramatic turning point in Tracy Letts' Pulitzer-winning family fracas August: Osage County. In that one moment, the eldest daughter of perhaps the must acidic matriarch in the American theatrical canon forcibly wrests that crown right out of her mother's clenched fingers. Only the crown, in this case, is a pill bottle. But Barbara is not rescuing her mother. Not by a long shot. She's becoming her.

    True West Haley Johnson Sydney Parks SmithThe mother is Violet Weston, a pained and profane Okie with cancer of the mouth — medically and metaphorically. Violet pops out furious epithets — most aimed at her three daughters — as quickly as she pops in pills. Her spawn all bear varying degrees of the inherited burns they surely will pass down to their own children. Seriously, Violet is a sniper on par with a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant. It's a bucket-list role for any seasoned female actor.

    But the part of Barbara, a Boulder mom whose marriage is crumbling, presents a plum challenge all its own. And in 2017, we got to see two highly accomplished area actors tackle it in different but effective ways: Sydney Parks Smith for OpenStage & Company in Fort Collins and Haley Johnson for Vintage Theatre in Aurora. And they had formidable scene partners in Colorado legends Denise Freestone and Deborah Persoff, respectively, as their poisoned Vi's.

    Parks wears Barbara's accumulating disappointments like a suit of armor, and she's just itching to take it into battle. Johnson, who has made her mark for a decade playing wounded birds, grew teeth here that eventually sprouted into fangs. The mother-daughter conflict builds to a battle of ill-wills that left audiences gasping from Fort Collins to Aurora. All culminating in that one haunting line — "I'm in charge now!" — that can be delivered every which way from a declarative whisper to a savage declaration of war. We're witnessing a brutal metamorphosis where Barbara becomes the unshrinking Violet.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The two actors have more than Barbara Fordham in common: Smith is the Associate Artistic Director of OpenStage and Johnson is the Producing Artistic Director of the new Benchmark Theatre, which is finishing up its first season with the world premiere of a freaky-fun new play called Smokefall, playing through Dec. 23 at the Buntport Theater.

    Haley Johnson Sydney Parks SmithSmith won the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Award and the OpenStage OPUS Award for Outstanding Actress for her performance as Barbara. Northern Colorado theatre critic Tom Jones called her performance "dynamite."

    Says OpenStage Director Dulcie Willis:
    "Sydney is a highly passionate, focused and dynamic actor. Her work as Barbara perfectly illustrated her deep commitment to nuanced character development. She understood the play inside and out and never, ever stopped working to find the most effective moment-to-moment choices in each scene. Her natural strength and intense zest for life served her thoughtful approach to Barbara while leading the entire cast through a beautiful and challenging piece of theatre. She really was the family heroine of our production."

    (Photos above: Sydney Parks Smith, left and Haley Johnson. Photos by Joe Hovorka and RDG Photography.)

    Says Vintage Theatre Director Bernie Cardell: "The magic of Haley Johnson is that not only can she tap into the broken heart of her characters, she can also find their humor.  She is not afraid to reveal her own wounds in order to find the deepest expression of truth on stage. Plus, she's kind of cool."

    The origin of the poison: Our interview with Tracy Letts

    Said Denver Theatre Perspectives reviewer Michael Mulhern: "Haley Johnson showed incredible range from fragile and bitter to powerful matriarch, and from defeated daughter to hopeful independence."

    Haley Johnson: 2017 at a glance

    Johnson is a graduate of Florida State University and the University of Colorado Denver. She has worked all around the metro area, including the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Edge Theatre, Miners Alley Playhouse and Spotlight Theatre Company. Notable roles include Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Harper Pitt in Angels in America, Becca in Rabbit Hole and Jessie in 'Night, Mother. She is also the producing artistic director of the new Benchmark Theatre.
    • The Nether, Morris, Benchmark Theatre
    • August: Osage County, Barbara Fordham, Vintage Theatre
    Sydney Parks Smith: 2017 at a glance

    Smith has performed and directed with OpenStage Theatre in Fort Collins for the past 20 years and serves as the company's  Associate Artistic Director. Notable roles include Claire in Proof, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Belinda in Noises Off and Hermia in Dead Man’s Cell Phone. As a director, her credits include Stage Kiss, True West, The Book of Liz and Dirty Blonde. She received the Founder’s Award for her outstanding contributions to OpenStage & Company.

    • The Flick, Director, OpenStage
    • Don’t Dress for Dinner, Production Manager, OpenStage
    • Bright Ideas, Production Manager, OpenStage
    • August: Osage County, Barbara Fordham, Production Manager, OpenStage

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • 2017 True West Award: Olyvia Sydelle and Joanie Brosseau

    by John Moore | Dec 04, 2017
    True West Award BDT Stage. Photo by Glenn Ross

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 4: Olyvia Sydelle and Joanie Brosseau

    Rock of Ages
    BDT Stage

    Anyone who has attended a show at Boulder's BDT Stage in the past two decades would have gotten a kick out of the clever casting twist this year in Rock of Ages.

    First, there was fresh-faced Olyvia Sydelle as Sherrie (thank you, Journey) in this unapologetically silly musical homage to big-hair 1980s rock bands. In the story, fresh-off-the-farm Sherrie quickly falls on hard times after arriving in L.A. to pursue her dreams. Broke, doe-eyed and desperate, Sherrie ends up at a strip club where she encounters a modern-day Mother Courage. (Go with me on this.) Justice Charlier, owner of the Venus Club, takes Sherrie undOlyvia Sydelle Rock of Ages. Photo by Glenn Rosser her wing and puts her to work as a stripper. It's all a tough-love, mildly exploitative excuse to hear the two power balladeers riff out a medley of Quarterflash's Harden My Heart and Pat Benatar's Shadows of the Night

    OK, so it's not exactly Brecht. But here's the punchline: Cast as Justice was the adored and adorable BDT Stage veteran Joanie Brosseau, who happens to be Sydelle's real-life mother. Blonde-to-the-bone Brosseau will never be mistaken for Mary J. Blige, who played the role in the 2012 film — but it worked for Boulder.

    You gotta admit: It's funny: Watching a mother encouraging her daughter to toughen up and take her clothes off for leering men? (Oh my goodness, I just realized — Rock of Ages is a total rip-off of Gypsy!) No wonder there was such obvious chemistry between the two.

    Furthering the bloodlines: The man responsible for this clever casting twist was Director Scott Beyette, who happens to be Sydelle's father — and Brosseau's ex-husband.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    OutFront theatre critic Addison Herron-Wheeler said the BDT production lived up to the Broadway hype, and that Sydelle "definitely stole the show. She is gorgeous, and has an intense belt that meshed incredibly well with all the songs she sung." Beki Pineda of GetBoulder.com concurred that "Sydelle knocks it out of the ballpark as the naive girl who becomes disillusioned by the world she enters but never loses her sweetness."

    Olyvia Sydelle: At a glance

    As the daughter of two longtime Boulder actors, Olyvia Sydelle has grown up in front of BDT audiences, first playing child roles such as Liesl in The Sound of Music, and now as a grown-up in shows like Rock of Ages. She graduated from Standley Lake High School in Westminster and studied psychology at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

    Joanie Brosseau: At a glance
    Joanie has appeared in dozens of productions on the BDT stage over the past 21 years. She attended Heritage High School. Favorite roles include Evita (Eva Peron), Peter Pan (Peter), Chicago (Roxie Hart), Sweet Charity (Charity Hope Valentine), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Mrs. Meers). She has also performed at The Arvada Center, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Lone Tree Arts Center, PACE Center, Country Dinner Playhouse and Heritage Square Opera House.

    Read more: At 40 BDT Stage celebrates its just desserts

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • 2017 True West Award: Cory Sapienza

    by John Moore | Dec 03, 2017
    True West 2017 Cory Sapienza Miners Alley Hir

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 3: Cory Sapienza

    Hir
    Miners Alley Playhouse

    This time last year, we here at the True West Awards were acknowledging Buntport Theater for adapting transitioning novelist Miriam Suzanne’s Riding SideSaddle for the stage. Because for all its presumed inclusiveness, the theatre at large has made very little room in the storytelling canon for those whose chromosomes straddle that crumbling boundary between strictly male and female. There have been virtually no stories about people whose gender identities either vary over time, or have come to include a combination of identities.

    And so, despite the 2016 award, Buntport ensemble member Erin Rollman was quick to point out that telling one trans person’s story was just a step, no more. “And the next step includes getting more trans actors on-stage and fully participating in the storytelling,” she said.

    So it was a big deal when Miners Alley Playhouse took one decisive step in that direction in February by casting high-school sophomore Cory Sapienza to play Maxine, a character who is transitioning into Max, in Taylor Mac’s absurd and disturbed comedy Hir. It’s the grossly exaggerated story of a dysfunctional family scarred by war, patriarchy, sexual abuse, racism, PTSD, sadism, and drug abuse. ... And then there's Max, whose unprecedented storyline is just one piece of the larger family dynamic at play.

    Oldest son Isaac is a troubled Marine whose job in Afghanistan was collecting body parts to send back home. He returns to a Durang-worthy family that has turned into a twisted clown show – literally. Sapienza, who identifies as a transguy, plays Isaac’s trans-masculine younger brother who, thanks to pills he buys off the internet, is starting to sprout some impressive facial hair.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Safe to say: This is not the kind of play Miners Alley Playhouse audiences are used to seeing. Meaning: It ain’t Neil Simon. And maybe that’s the point.

    Cory Sapienza Spotlife. Photo by Sarah RoshanDirector Josh Hartwell wasn’t all that interested in staging this play if he could not find a gender-appropriate actor with the depth the pull off the tricky role of Max. To Hartwell, it wasn’t just a matter of creating an opportunity for an invisible class of local actors. It was about creating a play with artistic credibility. And he had guidance from the playwright, who strongly urges anyone staging Hir to find a transgender actor to play Max.

    Enter Sapienza, who identifies himself in his Facebook profile as: "Actor. Artist. Transgender. Hufflepuff!” He was coming off an ensemble appearance in Performance Now’s Bye Bye Birdie. But Hartwell saw much stranger things in his immediate future.

    (Pictured above and right: Cory Sapienza and Royce Roeswood in the Miners Alley Playhouse's 'Hir.' Photo by Sarah Roshan.)

    “It’s a challenging script because it’s so dark and frankly hard to live in,” Hartwell said. “But Cory was prepared every day. He showed up every day with a great attitude, was willing to take direction and go to the places I asked him to go to. And it helped that he really understood the role.”

    Westword’s Juliet Wittman said Sapienza, who benefited greatly from a stellar supporting cast of Royce Roeswood, Martha Harmon Pardee and Marc Stith, made for “a convincing and sometimes touching Max.”

    In the Spotlife: Our full interview with Cory Sapienza

    Sapienza said Max has had a very different trans experience from his own, because he comes from what he calls a loving, stable and supportive home. What he loved most about this play, he said, “is that it focuses on issues that are so common, and yet so often overlooked. I loved playing a character who helped bring visibility to the transgender community.”

    It was a small step forward — but a daring one.

    "That playwrights are starting to write parts for trans actors is progress," Hartwell said. That smaller theatres like Miners Alley Playhouse are choosing a play like Hir out of the thousands of scripts they could stage is progress. That audiences in Golden were open to seeing it is probably the greatest progress of all.

    “But it’s not enough yet.” 

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

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

  • 2017 True West Award: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center

    by John Moore | Dec 02, 2017
    True West Award 2017 Silverthorne

    2017 TRUE WEST AWARDS  

    Day 2: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center

    Lake Dillon Theatre Company Artistic Director Christopher Alleman
    Lake Dillon Theatre Company Executive Director Joshua Blanchard
    Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland

    The Lake Dillon Theatre Company struck gold in Silverthorne this summer when it opened the new $9 million Silverthorne Performing Arts Center in partnership with the town best known for its sprawl of irresistible outlet shops about 70 miles west of Denver.

    The new 16,000 square-foot jewel made up of three performing spaces has brought cultural and economic heft to a beloved, risk-taking theatre company that spent its first 23 years performing in "shoeboxes and storefronts," Artistic Director Christopher Alleman said. "It’s just so lovely to be producing theatre in a building that was actually designed to produce theatre."

    2017 True West Award Silverthorne Chris Alleman The deal called for Silverthorne to kick in $6.3 million and the theatre company $2.7 million. “This was the smartest thing we could have ever done,” Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland said. “It is supporting arts and culture, which is such an incredibly enriching tool for our community, particularly our youth. But it is also absolutely an investment in economic development."

    (Pictured from left: Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland, Lake Dillon Theatre Company Artistic Director Christopher Alleman and Executive Director Joshua Blanchard.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    It’s not some wild idea to say that if you bring culture to a downtown, you can generate economic activity. It’s been proven (again) in Silverthorne. “Before the first shovel went into the ground, we secured a 32-unit condo development that I can attribute directly to this partnership,” Hyland said. After the theatre opened in the Town Center, the town finally moved forward on the long-discussed "Fourth Street Crossing," a 3.8-acre redevelopment across the street from the theatre that will include a brewery, restaurants, high-end condos and a hotel. "And this performing-arts center is the catalyst," Hyland said.

    The Silverthorne Performing Arts Center is anchored by a still-intimate 165-seat mainstage theatre called The Flex, a 60-seat studio theatre and a small classroom performing space. The theatre company already has presented nine shows in the five months since opening, compared to six for the entire year preceding. The company has drawn 11,875 audiences to the new facility, outpacing the full year before by 1,720. Season passes have doubled.

    Read our full report on the Silverthorne opening

    Alleman has announced a robust and unafraid nine-play slate for 2018 that is filled with challenging dramas including the politically charged Building the Wall, Ugly Lies the Bone and the Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog. Notably, the schedule only calls for one musical (Rock of Ages), but only, Alleman says, because the company is gearing up for its big 25th anniversary season in 2019. 

    Alleman and Executive Director Joshua Blanchard have turned Lake Dillon Theatre Company into a destination facility both for audiences and actors. And their spectacular success is easily one of the biggest stories of the year in Colorado theatre. 

    SILVERTHORNE Even more substantially, the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center is evolving into a town hall with education programs and meeting spaces available to the public. The theatre company finds itself hosting topical community forums on issues such as immigration, which has allowed it to broaden its community reach far beyond the performing arts. And even the business community has taken notice.

    "We are proof of how art can invigorate commerce and growth," Alleman said, "and you see it everywhere."

    Lake Dillon Theatre Company 2017
    (since opening the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center on June 23):

    • Sister Act
    • Buyer and Cellar
    • Ghost
    • Noises Off
    • Grounded
    • Pretty Fire
    • Through Dec. 17: Murder for Two
    Lake Dillon Theatre Company 2018:
    • Jan. 19-Feb. 11, 2018: Building the Wall
    • March 2-18, 2018: Ugly Lies the Bone
    • June 18-June 17, 2018: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
    • June 15-July 15, 2018: Rock of Ages
    • July 13-29, 2018: Topdog/Underdog
    • Aug. 3-Sept 2, 2018: The Underpants
    • Aug. 17-Sept. 2, 2018: Mr. Joy
    • Sept. 7- 23, 2018: I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
    • Nov. 23-Dec. 16, 2018: Constellations
    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS: '30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS'
    The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

    A look back at the history of the True West Awards

    The 2017 True West Awards (to date)

    SILVERTHORNEThis was the opening-night curtain call for 'Sister Act,' which christened the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center on June 23, 2017. Photo by John Moore for teh DCPA NewsCenter.
  • The 2017 True West Awards are coming. Here's a look back.

    by John Moore | Nov 26, 2017
    True West Awards Billie McBride

    The True West Awards return Dec. 1 as both a celebration and a history of Colorado theatre for 17 years running.  

    The ever-evolving True West Awards, which began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001, are the longest-running continuously administered awards program in Colorado theater. In 2014, the annual awards were re-conceived to celebrate the local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements for the year over 30 days, without categories or nominations.

    The awards are curated by DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore with solicited input from the Colorado theatre community. This year, additional suggestions were accepted for consideration through mid-November.

    The 2017 honorees will be unveiled on the DCPA NewsCenter daily starting Dec. 1. A different recipient will be singled out each day for 30 days. In the meantime, here are links to stories honoring all winners from the past three years (click on any link to read more):

    2013 True West Award winners

    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.

    Colorado Theatre Person of the Year winners:

    • Shelly _Bordas_Death_circle2016 Billie McBride, actor and director
    • 2015 Donald R. Seawell, Denver Center founder
    • 2014 Steve Wilson, Phamaly Theatre Director and Artistic Director
    • 2013 Shelly Bordas, Actor, teacher, director and inspirerer (pictured right)
    • 2012 No award given
    • 2011: Maurice LaMee, Creede Repertory Theatre artistic director
    • 2010: Anthony Garcia, Su Teatro artistic director
    • 2009: Kathleen M. Brady, Denver Center Theatre Company actor
    • 2008: Wendy Ishii, Bas Bleu Theatre co-founder and actor
    • 2007: Ed Baierlein, Germinal Stage-Denver founder, actor, director
    • 2006: Bonnie Metzgar, Curious Theatre Company associate artistic director
    • 2005: Chip Walton, Curious Theatre Company artistic director
    • 2004: Michael R. Duran, Actor/set designer/director/playwright
    • 2003: Nagle Jackson, Denver Center Theatre Company director/playwright
    • 2002: Chris Tabb, Actor and director

    2001-11: List of all Denver Post Ovation Award winners

    All-time leaders in Ovation/True West Awards received since 2001:

    • 140-sugar-debreceniNick Sugar 8
    • Brian Freeland 7
    • Karen Slack 6
    • John Arp 5
    • Ed Baierlein 5
    • Sam Gregory 5*
    • Erin Rollman 5
    • Steve Wilson 5
    • Gene Gillette 4
    • Wendy Ishii 4
    • Megan Van De Hey 4
    • Chip Walton 4
    • Sharon Kay White 4
    • Steven J. Deidel 3
    • Michael R. Duran 3
    • William Hahn 3
    • Billie McBride 3
    • Emma Messenger 3
    • Erik Sandvold 3
    • Christopher L. Sheley 3
    *For 11 years, the Denver Post Ovation Awards included a separate list of "Best of the Denver Center" winners. Gregory's five wins here represent only those Ovation/True West Awards he won for other Colorado theatre companies (Paragon, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company). Otherwise, his total would be eight.
  • Video playlist: Our 2017 Henry Awards coverage

    by John Moore | Jul 27, 2017


    This, the third in our series of DCPA NewsCenter videos from the 2017 Henry Awards, offers part of the presentation of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Germinal Stage-Denver co-founders Denver Ed Baierlein and Sallie Diamond.

    Ed Baierlein. BLF Photography. Of her husband, Diamond said: "I don't think there is anybody I have ever seen who has brought me to the theatrical catharsis that you are supposed to have when you see someone on stage. He's very funny. He's very touching. He can make you cry. He can make me cry."

    The award was presented by their son, Tad Baierlein. Germinal Stage-Denver is currently presenting Seascape, by Edward Albee, through Aug. 20 in the black-box theatre at Westminster High School, 6933 Raleigh St. Call 303-455-7108.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild's 12th annual Henry Awards were held on July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker.

     

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. More videos will be added to this special YouTube playlist.

    Previous 2017 Henry Awards videos:
    2017 Henry Awards Outstanding Musicals in performance
    Watch our 2017 Memoriam video honoring those who have died

    Complete NewsCenter coverage of the 2017 Henry Awards:

    Our complete photo coverage of the 2017 awards
    2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new
    Nominations: Henry Awards spreads love from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins


    Our complete photo gallery from the 2017 Henry Awards:

    2017 Henry Awards Photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click on the forward arrow above.

  • Photo coverage: 2017 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2017
    2017 Henry Awards

    Our complete photo gallery from the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2017 Henry Awards ceremony held July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos may be instantly downloaded and shared with proper photo credit. All photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The Henry Awards honor outstanding achievements by member companies. To read our full report, click here. The photo above shows hosts Steven J. Burge and GerRee Hinshaw at the PACE Center in Parker.

    Read our full report: Henry Awards spreads love across state

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    2017 HENRY AWARDS. Stephen Day
    Stephen Day, who won Outstanding Actor in a musical, performs from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's 'The Ma of La Mancha' at the Henry Awards. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Our 2017 Henry Awards memorial video:


    Video by John Moore. More video coverage from the event to come, including performances and acceptance speeches.

  • 2017 Henry Award nominations make way for the new

    by John Moore | Jun 20, 2017
    Beowulf. Catamounts

    From left: Allison Caw, Amanda Berg Wilson and Joe Von Bokern in The Catmounts'  'Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage,' which tied for the most Henry Award nominations by a musical with nine. Photo by Michael Ensminger. 

    DCPA leads way as always wildly unpredictable nominations embrace companies from Carbondale to Colorado Springs

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Suffice it to say, a whole lot of people will be attending the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards for the very first time.

    While the DCPA Theatre Company led all Colorado companies for the fifth straight year with 21 nominations, followed by the Arvada Center with 16, a plethora of companies that have barely registered on the Henrys’ radar in the past have emphatically taken their place at the table this year – most from outside the Denver metro area.   

    Sean Jeffries. Henry Awards. Thunder RiverThunder River, a small theatre company in Carbondale, didn’t just receive its first Henry Award nominations - it received its first 11. Most of that can be attributed to a mind-boggling individual accomplishment: Sean Jeffries (pictured right) becomes the first person to ever receive five nominations in a single year for his lighting, scenic and sound designs. New Thunder River Executive Artistic Director Corey Simpson also picked up nominations as both a director (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and supporting actor (The Tempest).

    Lone Tree Arts Center, which mostly presents touring shows and concerts, earned 13 nominations for staging three of its own shows. The city of Colorado Springs steamrolled its way into the party with 12 nominations for TheatreWorks, 11 for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and even three for the tiny Springs Ensemble Theatre. The love for TheatreWorks could not have come at a more poignant time, following the January death of founder Murray Ross, who is nominated of Outstanding Direction of Marivaux’s romantic comedy The Game of Love and Chance.

    Denise FreestoneUp in Fort Collins, OpenStage & Company charted 12 nominations, followed by the Midtown Arts Center with seven. Other breakout years: Eight nominations each for the Backstage Breckenridge Theatre, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre of Grand Lake, and PACE Center/Inspire Creative. Those nine emerging companies garnered just 17 cumulative nominations last year. This year, they totaled 90.

    (Pictured right: Denise Burson Freestone and Sydney Parks Smith are both nominated as Outstanding Lead Actresses in OpenStage Theatre & Company's 'August: Osage County.') 

    The 12th annual Henry Awards will be presented July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker. The seven companies under consideration for Outstanding Season are the Arvada Center, DCPA Theatre Company, Lone Tree Arts Center, Openstage Theatre & Company, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks and Thunder River.

    Book of Will. Rodney Lizcano The most honored play of the season is the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, with 12 nominations, followed by OpenStage’s August: Osage County, with seven. The Book of Will tells how two obscure members of William Shakespeare’s acting company took it upon themselves to publish the first complete published collection of Shakespeare's plays. It already has been picked up for subsequent productions all around the country.

    (Pictured right: Rodney Lizcano is one of three of 'Book of Will' castmates nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actor.)

    The leading musicals of 2016-17 in a topsy-turvy Outstanding Musical field were Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Man of La Mancha and The Catamounts’ Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, with nine nominations. That was a blood-pumping, gypsy-punk musical based on the ninth-century epic poem with an original score by Dave Malloy, composer of Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre, And The Great Comet of 1812.

    That was followed by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s Man of La Mancha (9), the Arvada Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar (7), PACE Center and Inspire Creative’s collaborative staging of Monty Python’s Spamalot (6) and two Lone Tree Arts Center stagings, of Evita (6) and the world premiere of Randal Myler’s Muscle Shoals (6), which chronicled the music that came out of the famous recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala., in the 1960s.

    But all that emergence means a lot of traditional Henry Award favorites are taking a back seat this year. Last year, for example, Performance Now, Vintage, Buntport and Town Hall combined for 29 nominations. This year, the four scored a combined three. 

    The Henry Awards are a notoriously unpredictable affair from year to year, often heaping unexpected love on a breakout company one year and then all but forgetting it the next. Theatre Aspen, which earned a whopping 25 nominations and swept the 2016 Henrys with eight awards, received only one nomination this year.

    Among the ongoing Henry Awards mysteries is the continuing snub of the rock-solid Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which has now received only four nominations the past three years combined. Phamaly Theatre Company, which makes performance opportunities available to actors with disabilities, was shut out. For the second straight year, Cherry Creek Theatre received no nominations, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival received just one – for Hunter Ringsmith’s riveting performance as supporting actor in Equivocation.

    One of the most dramatic individual nominations of the year has to be Matt LaFontaine’ s recognition as an Outstanding Actor in a Musical. He assumed the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar just days before the opening because of an illness in the cast.

    Colorado Springs husband and wife Joye Cook-Levy and Scott RC Levy are both nominated as directors - Joye for TheatreWorks’ play Constellations and Scott for Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s musical Man of La Mancha. The married couple of Meridith C. Grundei and Gary Grundei are nominated as director and musical director, respectively, of The Catamounts’ Beowulf. And Joan Bruemmer-Holden is nominated as both a supporting actor and the choreographer of that show.

    Other multiple nominees this year include costumer Clare Henkel, scenic designer Brian Mallgrave, and sound designers Jason Ducat and Allen Noftall.

    A glaring omission from this year’s nominee slate is Curious Theatre Company, historically one of the Henrys’ favorite recipients - but also a prime example of the feast-or-famine nature of these awards. After winning a remarkable 20 Henry Awards over three years from 2012-14, Curious was shut out the past two seasons. Artistic Director Chip Walton later pulled his company out of consideration for this year’s awards, citing a profound lack of diversity among last year’s winners.

    Curious Theatre quote“Curious approached the Colorado Theatre Guild with concerns about the lack of diversity represented at the Henry Awards last year, as well as many judges' limited knowledge of the theatre craft, especially with regard to technical design,” said Managing Director Katie Maltais. “As the Guild chose not to change its practices or provide additional learning opportunities for judges, Curious left the Henry Awards. We hope that one day the Henry Awards will showcase the full richness of our theatre community, and our strong stance on equity and inclusion and firm commitment to artistic excellence demands we wait until that day to participate in the awards.” 

    Despite its 21 nominations, the DCPA slate also reflects the roller-coaster nature of the Henry Award nominations. While The Book of Will led all productions with 12 nominations, including three supporting actors, the critically acclaimed Disgraced, The Secret Garden and Frankenstein only managed five among them. The Glass Menagerie earned three.

    The Colorado Theatre Guild is a statewide advocacy group, and last year it expanded its nominations to spread more bounty to more companies throughout the state by now designating seven nominations for each category. This year nominations went to 29 different companies and 56 of 190 eligible shows. The expanded pool of nominees means each has just a 14 percent chance of actually winning.

    The Guild also splits the four design categories into two tiers determined by member companies' annual overall operating budgets. Only six companies have annual budgets above the $1.2 million threshold and therefore are considered Tier I: The DCPA, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. The rest all compete in Tier II.

    Established in 2006, the Henry Awards serve as the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual fundraising event. The awards are named for longtime local theatre producer Henry Lowenstein. Nominations are determined through a judging process conducted by more than 45 statewide theatre reporters, educators and assigned judges.

    2016-17 HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS

    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company

    • Arvada Center
    • Colorado Springs TheatreWorks
    • DCPA Theatre Company
    • Lone Tree Arts Center
    • OpenStage Theatre and Company
    • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Thunder River Theatre Company

    Outstanding Production of a Play

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Dulcie Willis, Director
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company, Davis McCallum, Director
    • "Constellations," TheatreWorks, Joye Cook-Levy, Director
    • "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company, Wendy S. Moore, Director
    • "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company, Corey Simpson, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks, Murray Ross, Director
    • "Tartuffe," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director

    Outstanding Production of a Musical

    • "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts, Meridith C. Grundei, Director; Gary Grundei, Musical Direction                                
    • "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center, Gina Rattan, Director; Max Mamon, Musical Direction                                
    • "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, Scott RC Levy, Director; Sharon Skidgel, Musical Direction
    • "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative, Kelly McAllister, Director; Tanner Kelly, Musical Direction                                
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center, Kenny Moten, Director; Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Musical Direction
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center, Randal Myler, Director; Dan Wheetman, Musical Direction
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center, donnie l. betts, Director; Jodel Charles, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Play

    • Lynne Collins, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Joye Cook-Levy, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Davis McCallum, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Matt Radcliffe, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Murray Ross, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Corey Simpson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Dulcie Willis, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical

    • donnie l. betts, "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Meridith C. Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Kelly McAllister, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Scott RC Levy, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Randal Myler, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Gina Rattan, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Nick Sugar, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

    Outstanding Musical Direction

    • Neal Dunfee, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Gary Grundei, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Max Mamon, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Sharon Skidgel, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Jason Tyler Vaughn, “Murder Ballad,” The Edge Theater Company
    • Jalyn Courtenay Webb, "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • Dan Wheetman, “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center

    Outstanding Actor in a Play

    • William Hahn, "Burn This," The Edge Theater Company 
    • Kevin Hart, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre   
    • Sammie Joe Kinnett, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Steven P. Sickles, "Le Bete," OpenStage Theatre & Company     
    • Micah Speirs, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company               
    • Dan Tschirhart, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company        
    • Adam Verner, "Don’t Dress for Dinner," OpenStage Theatre & Company                                                                                                         

    Outstanding Actress in a Play

    • LuAnn Buckstein, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre      
    • Carley Cornelius, "Constellations," TheatreWorks
    • Denise Burson Freestone, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company      
    • Kathleen McCall, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company          
    • Emma Messenger, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Sydney Parks Smith, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company 
    • Caitlin Wise, "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical

    • Leonard E. Barrett Jr. , "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Joshua Blanchard, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Stephen Day, “Man of La Mancha,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company                                                                
    • Miles Jacoby, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • August Stoten, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Colin Summers, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Joe Von Bokern, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical

    • Jacquie Jo Billings, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse
    • Colby Dunn, "The Toxic Avenger," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre        
    • Sarah Groeke, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Cecilia Iole, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Marissa Rudd, "Sister Act," Midtown Arts Center
    • Tracy Warren, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” BDT Stage
    • Danielle Hermon Wood, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

    • Nathan Cox, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Rodney Lizcano, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Wesley Mann, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Owen O’Farrell, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Hunter Ringsmith, "Equivocaton," Colorado Shakespeare Festival            
    • Triney Sandoval, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Corey Simpson, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

    • Miriam A. Laube, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Carolyn Lohr, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre              
    • Leslie O’Carroll, "Silent Sky," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Amelia Pedlow, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Christina Sajous, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Linda Suttle, "A Time to Kill," Vintage Theatre Productions
    • Edith Weiss, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

    • Brandon Bill, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center and Inspire Creative
    • Ben Hilzer, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • John Jankow, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Matt LaFontaine, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Bob Moore, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Nicholas Park, “First Date,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Kyle Ashe Wilkinson, "Titanic," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

    • Jenna Bainbridge, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Charlotte Campbell, “A Christmas Story,” Midtown Arts Center
    • Anna High, “Porgy and Bess,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
    • Rebecca Hoodwin, "Cabaret," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    • Carol Rose, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Megan Van De Hey, "The Toxic Avenger," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre   

    DROWNING GIRLS

    Outstanding Ensemble Performance

    • "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center, Lynne Collins, Director
    • "The Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • "Motones vs. Jerseys," Midtown Arts Center
    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • "Porgy and Bess," Aurora Fox Arts Center

    Outstanding New Play or Musical

    • "The Book of Will," by Lauren Gunderson

      Directed by Davis McCallum; Produced by DCPA Theatre Company

    • “The Firestorm,” by Meridith Friedman

      Directed by Pesha Rudnick; Produced by LOCAL Theater Company

    • "Full Code," by David Valdes Greenwood

      Directed by Stephen Weitz; Produced by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

    • "The History Room," by Charlie Thurston

      Directed by Pesha Rudnick; Produced by Creede Repertory Theatre             

    • "I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Music and Lyrics by David Nehls, Book by Kenn McLaughlin

      Directed by Gavin Mayer; Produced by Arvada Center

    • "Lost Creatures," by Melissa Lucero McCarl

      Directed by Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski; Produced by And Toto too Theatre Company

    • “Muscle Shoals: I'll Take You There,” by Randal Myler

      Directed by Randal Myler; Produced by Lone Tree Arts Center

    Outstanding Choreography

    • Mary Ripper Baker, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Joan Bruemmer-Holden & Amanda Berg Wilson, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
    • Jeff Duke and Stephanie Hansen, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Kelly Kates, “The Robber Bridegroom,” Town Hall Arts Center
    • Michael Lasris, "A Christmas Story," Midtown Arts Center
    • Matthew D. Peters, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage
    • Kate Vallee, "42nd Street," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse      

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1

    • Camille Assaf, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Stephanie Bradley, "Game of Love and Chance," TheatreWorks
    • Janson J. Fangio, "Enchanted April," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sydney Gallas, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Clare Henkel, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Clare Henkel, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Lex Liang, “Shrek,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2

    • Kari Armstrong, "The Snow Queen," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    • Buntport Theater, "The Crud," Buntport Theater
    • Pamela Clifton, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre         
    • Judith Ernst, "The Wizard of Oz," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    • Tricia Music, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • Jesus Perez, "The Little Mermaid," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Annabel Reader, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1

    • Charles R. MacLeod, "The Glass Menagerie," DCPA Theatre Company  
    • Shannon McKinney, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Jon Olson, “The Drowning Girls,” Arvada Center
    • Holly Anne Rawls, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Paul Toben, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Tovar, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company   
    • Mike Wood, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2

  • Seth Alison, "Monty Python’s Spamalot," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
  • Brandon Ingold, "August: Osage County," OpenStage Theatre & Company
  • Jen Kiser, "Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
  • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
  • Sean Mallary, "Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage," The Catamounts
  • Brett Maughan, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," BDT Stage
  • Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1

    • Lisa Orzolek, "Disgraced," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Brian Mallgrave, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Brian Mallgrave, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Christopher L. Sheley, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Sandra Goldmark, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • Paul Black, "Mamma Mia," Theatre Aspen
    • Jason Sherwood, "Frankenstein," DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2

    • Shaun Albrechtson, "Steel Magnolias," PACE Center & Inspire Creative
    • James Brookman, “August: Osage County,” OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • M. Curtis Grittner, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
    • Sean Jeffries, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Last Romance,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Lori Rosedahl, "The Flick," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    • Kyle Scoggins, "Little Shop of Horrors," Miners Alley Playhouse

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1

    • Jason Ducat, “Constellations,” TheatreWorks
    • Jason Ducat, "The Drowning Girls," Arvada Center
    • Benjamin Heston, "Man of La Mancha," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company
    • Morgan McCauley, "Tartuffe," Arvada Center
    • Stowe Nelson, "The Book of Will," DCPA Theatre Company
    • David Thomas, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Arvada Center
    • Zach Williamson, “The Secret Garden, “ DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2

    • Travis Duncan and Jeremiah Walter, "The Elephant Man," Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
    • Carlos Flores, "Misery," The Edge Theater Company
    • Sean Jeffries, “The Tempest,” Thunder River Theatre Company
    • Allen Noftall, “Evita," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Allen Noftall, “Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You Theatre," Lone Tree Arts Center
    • Jon Northridge, "Million Dollar Quartet," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    • Tom Quinn and Kenny Storms, "Murder Ballad," The Edge Theater Company
      Additional Special Awards will be announced in July.

    2017 Henry Awards: Ticket information

    • Monday, July 17
    • 6 p.m. drinks; 7 p.m. awards
    • PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, MAP IT
    • Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets are available at parkerarts.org, or by calling 303-805-6800. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.
    • Ticket onsale date: June 30

    Nominations by Company:
    DCPA Theatre Company – 21
    Arvada Center – 16
    Lone Tree Arts Center – 13
    OpenStage & Company – 12
    Colorado Springs TheatreWorks – 12
    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center – 11
    Thunder River Theatre Company – 11
    The Catamounts – 9
    Breckenridge Backstage Theatre – 8
    PACE Center/Inspire Creative - 8
    Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre – 7
    Midtown Arts Center – 7
    Lake Dillon Theatre Company – 6
    Aurora Fox – 5
    The Edge Theatre – 5
    BDT Stage – 3
    Springs Ensemble Theatre – 3
    Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company – 2
    Candlelight Dinner Playhouse – 2
    Miners Alley Playhouse – 2
    And Toto too Theatre Company – 1
    Bas Bleu Theatre – 1
    Buntport Theater– 1
    Creede Repertory Theatre – 1
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival – 1
    Local Theatre Company – 1
    Theatre Aspen – 1
    Town Hall Arts Center – 1
    Vintage Theatre – 1

  • Five things to know about Sunday's Tony Awards

    by John Moore | Jun 09, 2017
    Dear-Evan-Hansen-You-Will-Be-Found-4645-Photo-Credit-Matthew-Murphy 800
    'Dear Evan Hansen,' which will launch its national touring production in Denver in October 2018, is nominated for nine Tony Awards on Sunday, including Best Musical. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 

    Broadway's big night is a valley of the 'Dolls':
    A Doll’s House Part 2 and Hello Dolly! among leaders

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Hamilton has brought more widespread pop-culture attention to Broadway theatre than any musical in decades. And that helped make last year’s Tony Awards telecast the most-watched in 15 years. But as an awards program, it was also something of a fait accompli for viewers as Hamilton racked up 11 trophies.

    A year later, with Hamilton still running strong but out of awards contention, Sunday’s Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, promises to spread the focus around.

    160x600_TuneinBanners_1199Think of Times Square as the Valley of the ‘Dolls’: A Doll’s House Part 2 and Hello Dolly! are among this year's wide-ranging favorites.

     “Compared to last year, where the vast majority of the award attention was centered around Hamilton, this year has many more competitive categories and unknowns,” said John Ekeberg, Executive Director of DCPA Broadway and a Tony Awards voter. “I expect there to be much more drama, shall we say.”

    Broadway introduced 13 new musicals this past season. That's the highest number in 35 years, and it doesn't include five revivals. That means few clear frontrunners this year, Ekeberg said, which should make the 2017 awards unusually competitive.

    Leading the musical field with 12 nominations is Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, followed by the emotionally visceral Dear Evan Hansen, with nine. Come From Away is a potential dark horse, with seven. (See play descriptions below.)

    David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter breaks down the races

    It was recently announced that Denver will launch the first national touring production of Dear Evan Hansen in October 2018. Director Michael Greif, who also helmed the groundbreaking musicals Rent and Next to Normal, told the DCPA NewsCenter, “Dear Evan Hansen is a cathartic story about a kid who comes to love himself. And it's about a grieving family that gets healed.” Read our full interview here.

    The favorites among new plays are Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, with eight nominations, and J.T. Rogers' Oslo, with seven. Hnath also wrote The Christians, which was presented by the DCPA Theatre Company this last season.

    Celebrity nominees include Cate Blanchett, Kevin Kline, Laura Linney, Chris Cooper, Josh Groban, David Hyde Pierce, Danny DeVito, Nathan Lane, Richard Thomas, Patti LuPone, Cynthia Nixon and Sally Field. But most eyes will be fixed on Bette Midler, who is starring in a fun revival of Hello, Dolly!, which is nominated for 10 awards.

     “I can’t wait to see how it all sorts out,” said Ekeberg.

    The awards will be telecast on a one-hour delay at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS-4 Denver. For those who just can’t wait, you can stream the awards live online here.

    Five things to know about Sunday’s Tony Awards

    NUMBER 1laurie-metcalfA Doll's House Part 2 claims the rare distinction of having earned nominations for its entire four-member cast, including Laurie Metcalf (pictured right), the runaway favorite to win for lead actress in a play.

    NUMBER 2There’s a fun twist to the Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical category. The nominees include Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!) and Andrew Rannells (Falsettos), both of whom played Elder Price in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon.

    NUMBER 3Celebrity presenters will include Scott Bakula, Sara Bareilles, Orlando Bloom, Glenn Close, Brian d’Arcy James, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Josh Gad, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Groff, Mark Hamill, Taraji P. Henson, Allison Janney, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, John Legend, John Lithgow, Patina Miller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chazz Palminteri, Sarah Paulson, Lea Salonga and Tommy Tune.

    NUMBER 4Performers will include the casts of Bandstand, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Falsettos, Groundhog Day The Musical, Hello, Dolly!, Miss Saigon, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and War Paint, along with additional performances by The Radio City Rockettes and Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr.

    NUMBER 5Annaleigh AshfordIf you heard all the great buzz about Jake Gyllenhaal and Wheat Ridge native (and past Tony Award winner) Annaleigh Ashford in Sunday in the Park with George, you may wonder why the show isn’t among the mix of nominees. The producers withdrew the show from Tony Award consideration. Their statement: "With a season so full of tremendous, soon-to-be long-running new musicals and revivals, the producers feel this extremely limited, special run of Sunday stands most appropriately outside of any awards competition. The production is nevertheless proud to be part of such a landmark Broadway season.”

    John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

    NOMINATIONS FOR 2017 TONY AWARDS

    BEST PLAY

    A Doll's House, Part 2
    Author: Lucas Hnath
    The reimagined Ibsen classic considers what has and hasn't changed in terms of gender politics in the past 140 years.

    Indecent
    Paual_VogelAuthor: Paula Vogel
    Indecent
    recounts the controversy surrounding the play God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch, for which the cast of the original production were arrested on the grounds of obscenity.

    Oslo
    Author: J.T. Rogers
    Oslo
    shapes nine months of secret back-channel peace negotiations into a riveting political thriller.

    Sweat
    Author: Lynn Nottage
    This working-class drama, set in 2008, tells the story of a group of friends whose friendships come apart when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust. Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


    BEST MUSICAL

    Come From Away
    Set in the week following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Come From Away tells the true story of what transpired when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon.

    Dear Evan Hansen
    The story of a lonely boy who perpetuates a lie that earns him Internet fame.

    Groundhog Day The Musical
    Based on the 1993 film of the same name, the plot centers an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
    . A brilliantly conceived electro-poperatic retelling of a chapter of War and Peace


    Best Book of a Musical

    Come From Away
    Irene Sankoff and David Hein

    Dear Evan Hansen

    Steven Levenson

    Groundhog Day The Musical
    Danny Rubin

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Dave Malloy


    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

    Come From Away
    Music and Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein

    Dear Evan Hansen
    Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

    Groundhog Day The Musical
    Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Music and Lyrics: Dave Malloy


    Best Revival of a Play

    August Wilson's Jitney
    John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
    Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes

    Present Laughter



    Best Revival of a Musical

    Falsettos
    Hello, Dolly!

    Miss Saigon



    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

    Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
    Chris Cooper, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Corey Hawkins, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
    Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
    Jefferson Mays, Oslo


    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

    Cate Blanchett, The Present
    Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
    Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
    Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2


    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Christian Borle, Falsettos
    Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
    David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
    Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen


    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Christine Ebersole, War Paint
    Patti LuPone, War Paint
    Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
    Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon


    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

    Michael Aronov, Oslo
    Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller's The Price
    Nathan Lane, The Front Page
    Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson's Jitney


    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

    Johanna Day, Sweat
    Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Condola Rashad, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Michelle Wilson, Sweat


    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
    Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
    Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
    Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos


    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
    Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
    Jenn Colella, Come From Away
    Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
    Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia


    Best Scenic Design of a Play

    David Gallo, August Wilson's Jitney
    Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
    Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
    Michael Yeargan, Oslo


    Best Scenic Design of a Musical

    Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
    David Korins, War Paint
    Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!


    Best Costume Design of a Play

    Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
    Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson's Jitney
    David Zinn, A Doll's House, Part 2


    Best Costume Design of a Musical

    Linda Cho, Anastasia
    Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
    Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Catherine Zuber, War Paint


    Best Lighting Design of a Play

    Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
    Jane Cox, August Wilson's Jitney
    Donald Holder, Oslo
    Jennifer Tipton, A Doll's House, Part 2


    Best Lighting Design of a Musical

    Howell Binkley, Come From Away
    Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
    Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen


    Best Direction of a Play

    Sam Gold, A Doll's House, Part 2
    Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson's Jitney
    Bartlett Sher, Oslo
    Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    Rebecca Taichman, Indecent


    Best Direction of a Musical

    Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
    Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
    Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
    Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
    Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!


    Best Choreography

    Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
    Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
    Kelly Devine, Come From Away
    Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
    Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812


    Best Orchestrations

    Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
    Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
    Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
    Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812


    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

    Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

    James Earl Jones 

    Special Tony Award
    Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, Sound Designers for The Encounter

    Regional Theatre Tony Award
    Dallas Theater Center

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Baayork Lee

    Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
    Nina Lannan
    Alan Wasser


    Tony Nominations by Production

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 - 12
    Hello, Dolly!
    - 10
    Dear Evan Hansen
    - 9
    A Doll's House, Part 2
    - 8
    Come From Away
    - 7
    Groundhog Day The Musical
    - 7
    Oslo
    - 7
    August Wilson's Jitney
    - 6
    Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
    - 6
    Falsettos
    - 5
    War Paint
    - 4
    Indecent
    - 3
    Present Laughter
    - 3
    Sweat
    - 3
    Anastasia
    - 2
    Bandstand
    - 2
    The Front Page
    - 2
    John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
    - 2
    Miss Saigon
    - 2
    Arthur Miller's The Price
    - 1
    The Glass Menagerie
    - 1
    Heisenberg
    - 1
    Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
    - 1
    The Play That Goes Wrong
    - 1
    The Present
    - 1

    Have fun: Tony Awards trivia


    Follow along on social:

    #TonyAwards2017
    www.TonyAwards.com

    Some information in this report was culled from national media reports.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2017 Bobby G Awards: Our complete video coverage

    by John Moore | Jun 08, 2017

    The Denver Center's fifth annual Bobby G Awards celebrated achievement in Colorado high-school theatre on May 25 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The video above follows Colorado's Outstanding Actors Austin Hand and Elleon Dobias to New York City, where they advanced to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, otherwise known as the Jimmy Awards. There, they took workshops with Broadway creatives and performed at the Minskoff Theatre.

    The video below offers the complete original medley performed by the 10 Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees, as well as 2016 winners Charlotte Movizzo and Curtis Salinger:


    The nominees were:  

  • Chandler Carter, The Scarlett Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
  • Elleon Dobias, Pippin, Valor Christian High School
  • Austin Hand, The Addams Family, Fossil Ridge High School
  • Chantal King, Into the Woods, Niwot High School
  • Gable Kinsman, Pippin, Valor Christian High School
  • Trey Kochevar, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
  • Cameron Marter, Sweeney Todd, Lakewood High School
  • Grace Nolte, The Scarlett Pimpernel, Chaparral High School
  • Asha Romeo, Rent, Boulder High School
  • Jesse Shafroth, Rent, Boulder High School

  • Videos by produced David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Our complete 2017 Bobby G Awards Video Playlist:

    Colorado's Bobby G Award winners at the 2017 Jimmy Awards in New York City
    Road to the Jimmy Awards: Austin Hand performs at the DCPA golf tournament
    Road to the Jimmy Awards: Bobby G Awards winners perform for DCPA Board
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards: The full video recap
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards: Nominated actors medley
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards: Performance Highlights
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    The 2017 Bobby G Awards welcome to all participating schools

     

    More of our 2017 Bobby G Awards coverage:
    Our complete photo gallery
    Our full Bobby G Awards report: Persistence pays off at Valor Christian
    Video, photos and top quotes from the 2017 Bobby G Awards
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress finalists
    Meet your 2017 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor finalists
    2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    A Bobby G Awards
    From Valor Christian's performance of 'Pippin.'
  • 2016 True West Award: Matthew Campbell

    by John Moore | Dec 23, 2016
    True West Awards Matthew Campbell

     



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 23: Matthew Campbell

    August Wilson wrote Two Trains Running. Pshaw, two. As Production Stage Manager for Sweet and Lucky, the DCPA’s first deep dive into off-site adventure theatre, Matthew Campbell kept 20 trains running at once as the massive, elliptical story played out in all corners of a 16,000-square-foot warehouse north of downtown Denver.

    Sweet and Lucky was essentially performed by three sets of actors separately and simultaneously. That meant Campbell had to manage 13 performers, six crew members and 72 audience members spread out in 20 smaller performing spaces. It was Campbell’s job to make sure all that constantly moving action never collided on the tracks.

    Check that. Campbell was the tracks.

    True West Awards Matthew Campbell Quote“When we were just beginning Sweet and Lucky, we knew that finding the right Stage Manager would be critical for the show’s success, because we have never attempted anything like this before,” said Charlie Miller, the DCPA’s Associate Artistic Director for Strategy and Innovation. In fact, this was the biggest physical undertaking in the DCPA’s nearly 40-year history.

    The original story, developed in partnership with New York's Third Rail Projects, is a mysterious exploration of memory that begins in a strange antique store where nothing is for sale. The audience is split into smaller groups and led into several different environments – a graveyard, a drive-in, a swimming hole and more – as they witness the relationship between one couple as it plays over several generations. But different audience members saw different actors tell that story, and in different orders. Thanks to the man behind the curtain, the audience never knew the other performances were even happening.

    True West Awards Matthew Campbell. Sweet and Lucky.“Not only did Matthew have to know where everyone was at any given moment, he had to know instantly what to do in any situation where something could go wrong,” Miller said. “If Matthew did not keep everything moving, the whole show might fall apart.”

    It never did. Not that there weren’t some close calls: Late-arriving patrons threw the entire machinery out of whack. Patrons gone rogue. Inevitable technical difficulties including overheating projectors and having to build emergency light cues in the makeshift performance space of a warehouse. Because the run was almost completely sold out and eventually extended several months, new cast members had to be rotated in. The job of any Production Stage Manager is to take cues from any given situation and react. What distinguishes Campbell is that he reacts quickly, kindly and decisively.

    “He is calm under pressure,” Miller said. “He was never fazed by the many unexpected challenges we faced throughout the process. He also made for such an incredibly positive and welcoming environment for all of the artists involved. We heard from so many cast members about how integral he was to the success of the show.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    One of those cast members was Meridith C. Grundei, who said Campbell was “beyond amazing” throughout the run. “He has a great temperament and a great sense of humor balanced with a professionalism in tense situations that put everyone at ease,” she said.

    Campbell was always the first to arrive and last to leave, and he rolled with every unexpected punch that came his way.  After the show’s first two-show Saturday, for example, Campbell waited with a member of the bar staff who was stuck at the warehouse past midnight waiting for an Uber car ride that never arrived. Eventually, Campbell gave her a ride himself. That meant Campbell didn’t get home to his wife and children until after 2 a.m. And yet, he was back at the warehouse at 9:15 the next morning to unlock the building and start another day. On schedule, as always.

    True West Awards Matthew Campbell Believe it or not, Sweet and Lucky has been made into a graphic novel. (Or at least the cover.) And if you look closely at the illustration to your right created by crew member Lauren LaCasse, who's the nerve center of Sweet and Lucky? It's the otherwise unseen Campbell.

    At one time, Campbell was a performer. While still a lad of Littleton High School, he was in the the ensemble of a production of Story Theatre that christened the Dorie Theatre at what is now the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center.

    But over time, his passion took him backstage. One of his early career highlights was serving as Production Coordinator at the 2007 Colorado Festival of World Theatre, an international event that drew Stephen Sondheim, Patti Lupone, Marin Mazzie, Donna McKechnie and other greats to Colorado Springs.

    Campbell has now been a Production Stage Manager with the DCPA Theatre Company for seven seasons. Recent credits include As You Like It, Lord of the Flies and Other Desert Cities.

    But DCPA Associate Production Manager Melissa Cashion says hiring Campbell to be the Stage Manager for Sweet & Lucky “was about the best hire I have ever made in my career.”

    And like many of those who serve in the always invisible and often thankless job of Stage Manager, Cashion said Campbell is an unspoken hero of the DCPA. 

    Photo gallery: Sweet and Lucky

    Sweet & Lucky

    Photos from Off-Center's production of 'Sweet and Lucky' in a RiNo warehouse north of downtown. To see more, click the 'forward' arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams VisCom.


    Matthew Campbell/At a glance

    • High school: Littleton
    • College: Graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with an emphasis in Technical Theatre, Directing and Acting
    • College: Masters degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Stage Management from the University of Iowa
    • Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager for the DCPA Theatre Company since 2010
    • Other local experience: Colorado Shakespeare Festival (2013-15); Arvada Center (2007-13); Candlelight Dinner Playhouse (2008-10); Country Diner Playhouse (2003-07)


    Video bonus: An introduction to Sweet and Lucky:



    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

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

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

    by John Moore | Dec 20, 2016
    True West Awards. Diana Ben-Kiki. Emily Van Fleet. Matthew Gale Photography

     



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 20: 'Wig Goddess' Diana Ben-Kiki

    True West Award presenter: Arvada Center Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins

    Her official title is “Wig Master.” But Diana Ben-Kiki, a 23-year veteran of the DCPA Theatre Company, prefers the more gender-correct (and apropos) title of “Wig Goddess.” She’s built 1,500 heads of hair since being promoted to her disputable job title in 1998.

    “Everyone knows she’s the best,” said Arvada Center Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins.

    Ben-Kiki’s goddess title (and wrists) were put to the test in a busy 2016. But her virtuosic coiffures for Sweeney Todd, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol and the Arvada Center’s Tartuffe had heads turning all year. Not only for their singular style, but for how they so evidently helped actors to communicate their characters.

    True West Award. Diana Ben-Kiki QuoteBen-Kiki has produced 135 heads of hair in 2016 alone, led by 60 for A Christmas Carol. Some are recycled from previous productions, and many are original works of art. Some are both. Among the 45 wigs she created for Sweeney Todd was Johanna’s gorgeous golden, flowing blonde cloud of hair. Also the barber Pirelli’s daringly blue streaks that perfectly accented the color of his outrageous costume. And then there was the mad Beggarwoman’s imposingly wild mane. Could any keen and longtime observer of Theatre Company productions have possibly recognized Kathleen McCall’s fiery postiche as the wig Ben-Kiki first fashioned for the Marquis in the Theatre Company’s 2001 production of Cyrano? Or that the color of the wig fairly matched that of the caged songbird Johanna, who turns out to be her daughter? Such are the subtleties of her often outrageously ornate craft.

    What Collins appreciates most about Ben-Kiki, she said, is that she works really hard, and she is really well-liked.

    “When she did Tartuffe for me, which was a very big wig design show, she was also in the midst of Frankenstein for the Denver Center,” said Collins, who put Ben-Kiki’s name up for today’s True West Award. That’s 20 wigs for Frankenstein and six for Tartuffe.

    “One of the things that blew my mind is how she kept the ball rolling on both shows at the same time,” Collins said. “She was spread so thin, and yet you would never know it from her demeanor or the quality of her work.”

    Collins’ favorite wig for Tartuffe was the one imagined by costume designer Clare Henkel for the sweetly dopey character of Mariane, earnestly played by Emily Van Fleet.

    “Emily’s wig was a character in the play unto itself,” said Collins. What she loved most about it was the exaggerated hair bow on the back of her head. The bow is a concept Ben-Kiki first played with for an earlier staging of A Christmas Carol. “I just thought it would be perfect for Mariane,” Ben-Kiki said. “It was kind of fun and goofy, and because the production was such a highly stylized comedy, I felt like I could go a little over the top.”

    True West Awards. Diana Ben-KikiAn assortment of photos from Diana Ben-Kiki's wiggy year. Top: Sullivan Jones as the mad scientist in 'Frankenstein.' Middle, from left: 'A Christmas Carol' wigs; Samantha Bruce as Johanna in 'Sweeney Todd'; Sam Gregory as Scrooge. Bottom: More wigs from 'A Christmas Carol.' Photos by Adams VisCom and John Moore.


    Her personal favorite wigs of the year, however, were those she made for the two actors who alternated in the roles of the Scientist and Creature in Frankenstein, Mark Junek and Sullivan Jones. Director Sam Buntrock’s newly animated Creature was hairless, but Ben-Kiki’s hairpieces for the mad-with-power Doctor Frankenstein greatly helped the actors (and audiences) distinguish their dual portrayals.

    Ben-Kiki's success and longevity in her chosen craft is all the more impressive given that she is entirely self-taught. She learned the basics from a book, and she sold her first mustache a month into her solo apprenticeship.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Ben-Kiki hails from West Hartford, Conn., and came to Colorado in 1992 to attend massage school. She joined the DCPA in 1994 as part of the backstage crew for the world premiere of Black Elk Speaks and assisted on wigs for the next three seasons before officially assuming her status as the DCPA’s resident hair deity. Over the years she has also worked with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as well as the Arvada Center and Theatre Aspen – she designed wigs for both of those latter companies’ milestone productions of Les Misérables.

    She says audiences probably would never guess that most stage wigs (or hers, at least) are made of real, clean, sanitized and de-loused human hair. Yes, there are companies that provide her with human hair. She begrudgingly incorporated some synthetic hair into her A Christmas Carol wigs only because the show often has as many as 10 performances per week, and synthetic wigs do not require as much maintenance.

    While the volume of Ben-Kiki’s work is impressive in its own right, she has but one simple barometer for measuring the success of her own work. 

    “How do you know a wig is good?” she says. “It’s simple: If you don’t know it’s a wig, then I’ve done my job.”

    How to make a wig/At a glance

    • The Costume Designer presents a sketch that includes a vision for the character’s hair. The wig designer’s job is to bring it to life.
    • A molding of the actor’s head is taken with Saran Wrap and tape.
    • The wig designer settles on a base color.
    • The hair is painstakingly hand-sewn into ventilating lace, often in intervals of eight non-stop hours a day until completed.Ben-Kiki credits her assistants for their help in getting the job done. "Team work, you know," she says.
    Video bonus from 2008: Diana Ben-Kiki on the art of making wigs:




    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

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

     

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

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

     



    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 14:
    Lighting Designer Charles R. MacLeod

                             Presented by Director Geoffrey Kent

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

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

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

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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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

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

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

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

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

    Art and Artist: A profile of Charles MacLeod

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

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

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


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



    ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

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

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

    by John Moore | Dec 02, 2016
    True West Awards. Robert Michael Sanders


    30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

    Day 2:
    Robert Michael Sanders

    Robert Michael Sanders has been one one of the busiest members of the Colorado theatre community for years, and not even a botched shoulder surgery that left his hands partially paralyzed in 2014 has even slightly slowed him down. In 2016, his haberdashery included acting, direction, properties and public relations. He is also an accomplished singer who just completed his second solo album under the name Robert Michael for release on iTunes later this month. (His 2007 cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" has more than a million plays on Spotify, and he released three previous albums with his band Silence.)

    True West Awards. Robert Michael SandersSanders is nothing if not versatile - and adaptable. Here's a quick rundown of his theatre year:

    • Directed Tell Me on a Sunday for The Avenue Theater; The Last Romance for Cherry Creek Theatre; Guys on Ice for Town Hall Arts Center; and the children's shows Jumping Jiving Juliette and Seussical Jr. for Town Hall
    • Performed in the Edge Theatre's Getting Out and Murder Ballad 
    • Assisted the properties master on The Avenue Theater's Wait Until Dark
    • Directed publicity efforts for Aurora Fox's Little Women, Black Elk Speaks and Catch Me If You Can, as well as The Avenue's Bakersfield Mist

    Onstage, good-guy Sanders is often called upon to play the bad guy - his "resume of racists" is longer than other actors' entire CV's. He has had particularly hiss-worthy turns over the years in the Arvada Center's Ragtime, Memphis and A Man of No Importance, and he owned that persona again this year in the Edge Theatre's Getting Out, playing a former prison guard who takes a shine to a woman just out of prison - with lecherous strings attached. "Sanders'  dual personality turns on Arlene in the worst possible way," wrote reviewer Bill Wheeler. "Sanders delivers his schizophrenic character beautifully, going from the nicest guy on stage to the nastiest in the blink of an eye."

    But what made 2016 a singular year for Sanders was the range he showed in The Edge's Murder Ballad, one of those unctuous contemporary rock musicals that dares you not to like it. But Sanders managed to emerge from a veritable menagerie of pool-hall damage by showing a full and effective range of emotion from gentle to, well, murderous, thanks to a score uniquely suited to his rock background.

    But for all the good Sanders does on and around the stage, perhaps his most impressive trait is his ongoing commitment to the fellow artists in the Colorado theatre community. Sanders organizes and directs Miscast as an annual fundraiser for the Denver Actors Fund - a silly night of games and songs where actors get to play roles they would never get cast to perform in otherwise. It is a logistical nightmare and a dream-come-true for the fund that makes money and personal services available to artists in situational medical need. Sanders' three Miscast-directed events have now raised more than $13,000 for the Denver Actors Fund - a record $7,067 in 2016 alone.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Sanders was chosen to be the recipient of today's True West Award by former Phamaly Theatre Company Artistic Director Bryce Alexander, who relied on Sanders as both an actor and general liaison during his tenure running the acclaimed local theatre company that creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.

    "I am constantly amazed at Robert's overall commitment to every single level of Colorado theatre," said Alexander. "Robert is always there to support you. This amazing artist and person (and his wife) should be celebrated."

    That amazing wife would be Megan Van De Hey. Yes, Sanders capped his exceptional year with a personal coup by marrying one of the most consistently honored actors in the Colorado theatre community. Not bad for a nice guy.

     

    Robert Michael Sanders/At a glance:

    • High School: Broomfield
    • Denver Center tie: He was in the cast of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at the Garner Galleria Theatre
    • Album: “Feel It Coming,” under the name of Robert Michael
    • Next project: Directing Almost Maine for the Avenue Theater, Jan. 13-Feb. 12


    Robert Michael Sanders. Miscast. Photo by John Moore. Robert Michael Sanders addresses the crowd at 'Miscast 2016,' which he directed on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


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

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

    by John Moore | Nov 15, 2016

    Rebecca Remaly. The Glass Menagerie

    Managing director, director and actor Rebecca Remaly starred in the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's production of 'The Glass Menagerie' in 2007.


    Rebecca Remaly, co-founder and Managing Director of the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, has been named the winner of the 2016 Emerging Professional Award from the National Theatre Conference.

    Rebecca Remaly QuoteSince 1996, this $1,000 award has gone to a person demonstrating exemplary promise in a professional theatre organization. Previous winners have included playwright Jeff Carey, graduate of the DCPA's National Theatre Conservatory, and Eric Lockley, an actor who appeared in the DCPA Theatre Company's black odyssey. Remaly was nominated for the award by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, located in central Pennsylvania.

    "This is an utter surprise and an incredible honor," said Remaly. "Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is where my love of theatre began, grew, and blossomed into a career."

    Remaly's long history with BTE began when she appeared as a 9-year-old Wendy Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. Over the years, she appeared in many other BTE productions and completed an internship there while in high school. In 2002, Remaly returned as as BTE’s professional artist-in-residence, directing Romeo and Juliet as the opening show of BTE’s 25th Anniversary Season. 

    "I owe a great deal to BTE, so to be honored by them through the National Theatre Conference is both humbling and wonderfully fulfilling," she said.

    Remaly will receive her award at the NTC’s annual conference Dec. 2-4 in New York City. At that time, actor and Activist George Takei (Star Trek) will be recognized with the NTC's Person of the Year award. 
    George Takei
    “Whether she is acting, directing, balancing the budget or writing a grant, Becky pours her passion and her intelligence into her artistic work with impressive results," said Elizabeth Dowd, a founding member of BTE. "She makes us proud. She gives us hope. Her work at BETC is a validation of (our) impact on the wider theatre world.”

    Remaly is now in her 11th year as Managing Director of BETC, which she founded with her husband, Stephen Weitz, in 2006. In addition to her administrative work, she has received multiple awards for her work as both an actor and director. Last year, BETC won the National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing. More recently,  the company’s most recent new play development project, The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker, was selected for presentation at the National New Play Network’s annual conference. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    True West Award Rebecca Remaly


    More about Rebecca Remaly:

    Directing credits with BETC include the world premiere of Morisot Reclining (Henry Award Nomination, Best New Play 2009), CyranoOutside Mullingar, The Aliens, AnnapurnaMauritius, Shipwrecked!, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf, The Clean House, Copenhagen, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and Savage in Limbo. As an actor, Rebecca appeared in the BETC productions Stupid F##king Bird (Mash), Doubt (Sister James), Stop Kiss (Sara), The Glass Menagerie (Laura) and Antigone (Ismene). When Rebecca isn't managing, directing, or acting with BETC, she loves working with other companies, including Curious Theatre Company (Hannah in the world premiere of Collapse), And Toto Too (Essie in The Glider), Colorado Shakespeare Festival (Four seasons as an actor/director/musical director), George Street Playhouse, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Rebecca is honored to be a 2015 recipient of a True West Award (above).

    Previous winners of the Emerging Professional Award:
  • DCPA leads hugely expanded pool of Henry Award nominees

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016


    Actors Andrew Pastides, Kate Finch and Tad Cooley are all nominated for Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards for the DCPA Theatre Company's 'Tribes.' Photo by Addams Visual Communications. 


    The guest list for the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual Henry Awards party just got a lot bigger. How much bigger? The list of nominations released this morning includes 175 honorees, up from 116 last year. That's an increase of 51 percent.
     
    This year there are seven nominees in every category. So while your chances of landing a Henry Award nomination just went way up ... your chances of winning just dropped to about 14 percent.

    For the third straight year, the DCPA Theatre Company leads all companies with 27 Henry Award nominations, including best season. Theatre Aspen follows with 25 - by far its greatest Henry Awards acknowledgement after years of presenting Broadway-quality productions in relative anonymity. The Arvada Center is next with 15, followed by the rising Edge Theatre with 10 and Vintage Theatre with nine. 

    The most-nominated musical of the year is Theatre Aspen's Cabaret, with 11, followed by the DCPA's DeVotchKa-infused take on Sweeney Todd with 10, and Performance Now's Ragtime with seven. Among plays, Theatre Aspen again led the way with eight nominations for Other Desert Cities, followed by Vintage Theatre's Rabbit Hole with seven and the DCPA's Tribes with six.

    Emma Messenger, winner of Outstanding Actress in a play two years running, will go for the Triple Crown after being nominated a third straight year for her True West Award-winning work in The Edge Theatre's world premiere of Exit Strategies.

    Maggy Stacy. Henry Awards
    Maggy Stacy in the Edge Theatre's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' Rachel D. Graham Photography.
     

    Maggy Stacy pulled off the rare feat of being nominated twice in the same acting category, for her daring supporting work in both the Edge Theatre's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Vintage Theatre's Rabbit Hole.

    The DCPA's acting nominations were spread out among several shows, with nods going to Andrew Pastides, Kate Finch and hard-of-hearing actor Tad Cooley for Tribes; Robert Petkoff and Linda Mugleston for Sweeney Todd, Carolyn Holding for As You Like It; and C. David Johnson for All The Way. Directing nods went to Kent Thompson (Sweeney Todd) and Anthony Powell (All the Way), as well as Gregg Coffin for Musical Direction (Sweeney Todd).

    The Colorado Theatre Guild is a statewide advocacy group, and the expansion of nominations is its announced intention to spread more bounty to more companies throughout the state. The strategy appears to have worked. The number of Colorado companies that received at least one nomination grew from 25 to 31, with honored companies ranging from Colorado Springs to Dillon to Aspen to Creede.

    But because the Guild already splits the four design categories into two tiers determined by companies' annual overall operating budgets, the expansion of nominees tends to benefit the state's largest theatre companies most. That's because only seven companies have annual budgets above the $1.2 million threshhold and therefore are considered Tier I: The DCPA, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Springs TheatreWorks. The expansion of the tiered pools from four to seven nominees in each category means only those seven companies were eligible for the 28 available nominations in the Tier I technical categories.

    This year's triple nominees are Theatre Aspen's multitalented Paul Black, who was cited for lighting Cabaret and Peter and the Starcatcher, as well as his Starcatcher scenic design. Lighting designer Shannon McKinney pulled off a rare feat, earning lighting nominations for three different companies: The Arvada Center's Death Takes a Holiday, the DCPA's Tribes and Local Theater Company's Faith.

    Double nominees from the DCPA include Scenic Designer Lisa Orzolek (Tribes and The Nest); Costume Designer Kevin Copenhaver (DCPA's Sweeney Todd and Lone Tree's The Explorer's Club); and Sound Designer Craig Breitenbach (DCPA's Tribes and Phamaly Theatre Company's Cabaret). 

    Other double nominees include double-dutying Directors and Choreographers Kelly Van Oosbree (Performance Now's Ragtime, The Musical) and Mark Martino (Theatre Aspen's Cabaret). Also: Director Gavin Mayer for the Arvada Center's musical Irving Berlin's White Christmas and play The Mountaintop; funnyman Dave Shirley's Voddville comedy landed him nominations for New Play and Sound Design; also Colorado Shakespeare Festival Costumer Hugh Hanson (Much Ado About Nothing and Wittenberg); perennial Costume Design honoree Linda Morken (Town Hall Arts Center's Violet and BDT Stage's Peter and the Starcatcher); Scenic Designer Amy Campion (BDT Stage's The Addams Family and Peter and the Starcatcher); and Theatre Aspen Sound Designer David Thomas (Peter and the Starcatcher and Cabaret).

    A fun little nomination battle bubbled up between two productions of Irving Berlin's White Christmas: The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center ultimately edged out the Arvada Center, five nods to four.

    Every year comes with its share of surprises and disappointments, and this year the expansion of nominations clearly did no favors to the Curious Theatre Company, which received only two nominations, both for Sex With Strangers. Denver's premier off-Broadway theatre company fully adopted the radical concept of ongoing serial storytelling last year (meaning trilogies), but only three Curious Theatre offerings have now landed Henry Award nominations over the past three seasons. Another apparent snub was to the rock-solid Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which has now only received two nominations in the past two years. This past season included the True West Award-winning Outside Mullingar and a critically praised Cyrano, but only Ideation was recognized this year, for Outstanding Play and Direction.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Established in 2006, the Henry Awards honor outstanding achievement in Colorado theatre, and also serve as the Guild's annual fundraising event. The awards are named for longtime local theatre producer Henry Lowenstein.

    To be eligible for Henry Awards consideration, a presenting company must be a dues-paying member of the Colorado Theatre Guild. Shows are adjudicated throughout the year by a team of about 45 statewide theatre reporters, educators and assigned judges who score each show in all categories using a 50-point scale. A show must have been seen by six adjudicators in order to be eligible. (Next year, that number will go down to five.) The total number of shows eligible for 2015-16 Henry Award consideration totaled 196, up from 172 two years ago.

    The 2016 Henry Awards, which will take place on Monday, July 18, are moving this year to the PACE Center, located in Parker, Colorado. Tickets are now onsale.

    Cabaret Theatre Aspen. Photo by Jeremy Swanson.
    Theatre Apen is the most-nominated Colorado production of 2015-16 with 11 Henry Award nods. Photo by Jeremy Swanson.


     2015-16 COLORADO THEATRE GUILD HENRY AWARD NOMINATIONS:

    Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company
    Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Buntport Theater
    DCPA Theatre Company
    The Edge Theater Company
    Theatre Aspen
    Vintage Theatre Productions

     Outstanding Production of a Play
    "All the Way," DCPA Theatre Company, Anthony Powell, Director
    "Equus," The Avenue Theater, Warren Sherrill, Director
    "Ideation," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Stephen Weitz, Director
    “Other Desert Cities,” Theatre Aspen, Sara Lapine, Director
    “Rabbit Hole,” Vintage Theatre Productions,  Bernie Cardell, Director
    "The Rembrandt Room," Buntport Theater, Buntport Theater, Director
    "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," The Edge Theater Company, Rick Yaconis, Director

    Outstanding Production of a Musical
    "The Big Bang," Spotlight Theatre Company, Katie Mangett, Director; Blake Nawa'a, Musical Direction
    "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen, Mark Martino, Director; Eric Alsford, Musical Direction
    "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Rod Lansberry, Director; David Nehls, Musical Direction
    "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre, Jessica Jackson, Director; Joe Montelione, Musical Direction
    "Jekyll and Hyde," Aurora Fox Arts Center, El Armstrong, Director; Martha Yordy, Musical Direction
    "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now Theatre Company & Lakewood Cultural Center, Kelly Van Oosbree, Director; Eric Weinstein, Musical Direction
    "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company, Kent Thompson, Director; Gregg Coffin, Musical Direction

    Outstanding Direction of a Play
    Bernie Cardell, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Buntport Theater, "The Rembrandt Room," Buntport Theater
    Sarna Lapine, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Gavin Mayer, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Anthony Powell, "All the Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Stephen Weitz, "Ideation," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Rick Yaconis, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Edge Theater Company

    Outstanding Direction of a Musical
    Bryce Alexander, "Cabaret," Phamaly Theatre Company
    Nathan Halvorson, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Rod A. Lansberry, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Mark Martino, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Gavin Mayer, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Kent Thompson, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Kelly Van Oosbree, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now Theatre Company and Lakewood Cultural Center                                    

    Outstanding Musical Direction
    Eric Alsford, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Gregg Coffin, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Donna Kolpan Debreceni, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Jay Hahn, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Joe Montelione, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    David Nehls, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Eric Weinstein, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center                           

    Outstanding Choreography
    Piper Lindsay Arpan, "Catch Me If You Can," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Mary Ripper Baker and Nathan Halvorson, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Reace Daniel, "The Wild Party," Ignite Theatre
    Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Mark Martino, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Nick Sugar, "West Side Story," Town Hall Arts Center
    Kelly Van Oosbree, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center                  

    Outstanding Actor in a Play
    Benjamin Bonenfant, "Henry V," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Tad Cooley, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Jonathan Farwell, "The Outgoing Tide," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    C. David Johnson, "All The Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Andrew Pastides, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company     
    Ben Schrager, "Dancing Lessons," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    John Douglas Thompson, "Satchmo at the Waldorf," TheatreWorks

    Outstanding Actress in a Play
    Betty Hart, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Carolyn Holding, "As You Like It," DCPA Theatre Company
    Erin Rollman, "The Rembrandt Room," Buntport Theater
    Billie McBride, "The Velocity of Autumn," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    Emma Messenger, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Edge Theater Company
    Missy Moore, "Getting Out," The Edge Theater Company
    Lori Wilner, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Actor in a Musical
    Daniel Langhoff, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center
    Jon Peterson, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Robert Petkoff, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Sean Thompson, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    Danny Vaccaro, "La Cage Aux Folles," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    Joe Von Bokern, "The Big Bang," Spotlight Theatre Company
    Markus Warren, "South Pacific," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

    Outstanding Actress in a Musical
    Mehry Eslaminia, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    Lindsey Falduto, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center
    Ellen Kaye, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Linda Mugleston, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Marcia Ragonetti, "Sunset Boulevard," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Lauren Shealy, "Jekyll and Hyde," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Kirsten Wyatt, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
    Spencer Althoff, "Equus," The Avenue Theater
    Emory John Collinson, "Lonesome Hollow," Springs Ensemble Theatre
    Curran Connor, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Steve Emily, "Lonesome Hollow," Springs Ensemble Theatre
    Rodney Lizcano, "Much Ado About Nothing," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Marc Stith, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Jack Wetherall, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
    Hannah Duggan, "Greetings from Camp Katabasis," Buntport Theater
    Kate Finch, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Emma Messenger, "Exit Strategies," The Edge Theater Company
    Deborah Persoff, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Peggy J. Scott, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Maggy Stacy, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Maggy Stacy, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Edge Theater Company

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
    Scott McLean, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Paul Page, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Mark Rubald, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Steven Sitzman, "The Addams Family," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    Colin Summers, "Ring of Fire," Midtown Arts Center
    Richard Vida, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Graham Ward, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
    Brittany Brook, "Ring of Fire," Midtown Arts Center
    Suzanne A. Champion, "The Addams Family," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    Michelle Coben, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    Annie Dwyer, "South Pacific," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    Sarah Philabaum, "The Addams Family," Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
    Sharon Kay White, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Lori Wilner, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Ensemble Performance
    "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen, Mark Martino, Director; Eric Alsford, Musical Direction                               
    "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen, Sarna Lapine, Director
    "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Miners Alley Playhouse, Brenda Worley Billings, Director; Mitch Samu, Musical Direction                                     
    "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions,  Bernie Cardell, Director
    "Sex with Strangers," Curious Theatre Company, Christy Montour-Larson, Director
    "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company, Kent Thompson, Director; Gregg Coffin, Musical Direction
    "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," The Edge Theater Company, Rick Yaconis, Director

    Outstanding New Play or Musical
    "Fade" by Tanya Saracho, Directed by Jerry Ruiz, DCPA Theatre Company
    "Exit Strategies" by Jeff Neuman, Directed by Kate Marie Folkins, The Edge Theater Company
    "The Nest" by Theresa Rebeck, Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, DCPA Theatre Company
    "The Rembrandt Room," by Buntport Theater, Directed by Buntport Theater
    "Reunion '85" by Susan Draus, David Larsen, and Cody Jamison Strand; Directed by David Larsen, Musical Direction by Chris Sargent; Lone Tree Arts Center
    "Uncle Jed's Barbershop" by Kenneth Grimes and David Wohl; Directed by Susan Einhorn, Musical Direction by Michael Williams; DreaMaker Productions           "Voddville" by Robert Dubac and Dave Shirley; Directed by Dave Shirley; The Avenue Theater                                                                                              

    (The Colorado Theatre Guild creates two categories for its technical awards, based upon production budgets.)

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1
    Denitsa Bliznakova, "As You Like It," DCPA Theatre Company
    Kevin Copenhaver, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Hugh Hanson, "Much Ado About Nothing," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Hugh Hanson, "Wittenberg," Colorado Shakespeare Festival
    Clare Henkel, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Lex Liang, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
    Annabel Reader, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen

    Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2
    Cindy Franke, "Ragtime, The Musical," Performance Now and Lakewood Cultural Center
    Kevin Copenhaver, "The Explorers Club," Lone Tree Arts Center
    Nikki Harrison, "Catch Me If You Can," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Laura High, "Little Women," Aurora Fox Arts Center
    Laurie Klapperich, "Into the Woods," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    Linda Morken, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Linda Morken, "Peter and the Starcatcher," BDT Stage

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1

    Seth Alison, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Paul Black, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Paul Black, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    Charles MacLeod, "All The Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Shannon McKinney, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Shannon McKinney, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Kenton Yeager, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company          

    Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2

    Chad Bonaker, "Rock of Ages," Midtown Arts Center
    Shannon Johnson, "South Pacific," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
    Andrew Killion, "The Outgoing Tide," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    Vance McKenzie, "The Big Bang," Spotlight Theater Company
    Shannon McKinney, "Faith," Local Theater Company
    Stephen D. Mazzeno, "Cabaret," Phamaly Theatre Company
    Brian Miller, "Outside Mullingar," OpenStage Theatre & Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1
    Paul Black, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    Jim Kronzer, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company
    Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, "Other Desert Cities," Theatre Aspen
    Brian Mallgrave, "Death Takes a Holiday," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Robert Mark Morgan, "All The Way," DCPA Theatre Company
    Lisa Orzolek, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Lisa Orzolek, "The Nest," DCPA Theatre Company

    Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2

    Amy Campion, "The Addams Family," BDT Stage
    Amy Campion, "Peter and the Starcatcher," BDT Stage
    Douglas Clarke, "Rabbit Hole," Vintage Theatre Productions
    Michael R. Duran, "The Explorers Club," Lone Tree Arts Center
    Jared Grohs, "The Velocity of Autumn," Lake Dillon Theatre Company
    Lori Rosedahl, "Outside Mullingar," OpenStage Theatre & Company
    Kyle Scoggins, "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Miners Alley Playhouse

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1
    Craig Breitenbach, "Tribes," DCPA Theatre Company
    Grant Evenson, "The Mountaintop," Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
    Jake K. Harbour, "Guys and Dolls," Creede Repertory Theatre
    Alex Ruhlin, "Sex with Strangers," Curious Theatre
    David Thomas, "Peter and the Starcatcher," Theatre Aspen
    David Thomas, "Cabaret," Theatre Aspen
    Zach Williamson, "Sweeney Todd," DCPA Theatre Company       

    Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2

    Curt Behm, "Violet," Town Hall Arts Center
    Craig Breitenbach, "Cabaret," Phamaly Theatre Company
    Brian Freeland, "The Explorers Club," Lone Tree Arts Center
    Jonathan Scott-McKean, "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Miners Alley Playhouse
    Grant Putney, "The Outgoing Tide," Bas Bleu Theatre Company
    Dave Shirley, "Voddville," Avenue Theater
    Wayne Kennedy, "Peter and the Starcatcher," BDT Stage

    SPECIAL AWARDS
    CTG Community Impact Award
    The Denver Actors Fund

    (Additional Special Awards including Lifetime Achievement will be announced in July.) 

    2016 Henry Awards: Ticket information
    6 p.m. Monday, July 18
    PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, MAP IT
    Tickets: $23 for CTG members, $30 non-members or $50 VIP. Tickets are available at  parkerarts.org, or by calling 303-805-6800. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $35.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter
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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.