Video coverage of the 2017 Women with Hattitude luncheon by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Just push play.
Hattitude is an annual multicultural celebration of women that supports gender equality in the American theatre.
By John Moore
Senior Arts Journalist
The 12th annual DCPA Women with Hattitude luncheon was held Thursday, May 8, in support of the DCPA Theatre Company's mission to level that playing field for women playwrights and directors.
The Women’s Voices Fund is a national model that enables the Theatre Company to commission, workshop and produce new plays by women. Now valued at more than $1.3 million, the Women’s Voices Fund is one of the largest funds of any kind devoted to creating new works for the American theatre. Thursday's luncheon raised more than $80,000 for the cause.
"The Denver Center is promoting women’s voices all across the country and beyond," said DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden. "Gender equality in the American theatre is so important, and what a wonderful opportunity the DCPA has to shine such a bright light on it."
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Our 2017 Women with Hattitude photo gallery:
Photos from the 2017 Hattitude luncheon. To see more, press the forward arrow on the image above. Photos can be downloaded for free. Photos by Amanda Tipton and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
This season, the DCPA Theatre Company presented world premieres by playwrights Tira Palmquist (Two Degrees) and Lauren Gunderson (The Book of Will), and half of its directors were women. DCPA Education's annual statewide youth playwriting competition produced 10 semifinalist plays this year - and eight of them were written or co-written young women. In July, Jasmin A. Hernandez Lozano's The Boy on the Tree will get a full production in the Conservatory Theatre.
Studies have shown that while women make up nearly 60 percent of all live theatregoing audiences nationwide, only about 25 percent of all plays and musicals staged in America are written by women. In its first 12 years, the Women’s Voices Fund made it possible for the DCPA Theatre Company to produce 31 plays by women, commission 20 female playwrights and hire 23 female directors. Further, the Fund also has contributed to 11 world premiere plays by women.
"The DCPA Theatre Company is a distinctive and distinguished leader in the movement to ensure that women’s voices are heard throughout the nation both onstage and behind the scenes," said Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett.
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Pictured above, from left: Charlotte Movizzo, DCPA CEO Janice Sinden and Abby Noble. Photo by John More for the DCPA NewsCenter.
The Hattitude party always culminates with a whimsical fashion show – each of the 65 tables nominates one woman (or man!) to walk down a runway and show off their hats. This year, University of Northern Colorado musical-theatre students Abby Noble and Charlotte Movizzo led the parade while singing “All That Jazz,” from the upcoming touring musical Chicago (coming to Denver Nov. 28-Dec. 3).
The DCPA also hosts the annual Bobby G Awards, which celebrate achievements in Colorado high-school theatre. Noble and Movizzo are two recent winners of the Bobby G Awards' Outstanding Actress competition.
As a young artist hoping to graduate into a more equitable world, Noble clearly understands the need, the benefit and the fun of an afternoon like Hattitude. "The fact that I get to come here and see all of these incredibly inspiring women fighting for women's voices in the theatre is just absolutely incredible," Noble said.
Sinden called Mivozzo and Noble "two incredible examples of how we at the DCPA are really growing the pipeline of future leaders in the theatre."
Michael Halling and Sean Palmer, two stars from the DCPA Theatre Company's The Secret Garden, performed the duet "Lily's Eyes." That show continues in the Stage Theatre through May 30.
The Hattitude tradition began in 2005. It grew out of the Theatre Company’s presentation of Regina Taylor's Crowns. Her musical play explores black history and identity, using an exquisite variety of hats to tell the shared history and rituals of African-American women, ranging in era from slavery to current fashion.
“Crowns deals with what it meant for a woman to have her head covered, and the statement that it makes,” said international dance legend Cleo Parker Robinson. “In the African tradition, when we wear head wraps, it’s almost a regal thing.”
More information on the Women’s Voices Fund
Robinson was part of the DCPA's African-American Task Force that created Hattitude in 2005. “It was very important for us to include all multicultural communities,” said Robinson. The annual Hattitude luncheon, she added, was the perfect opportunity for women of all backgrounds to come together, share lunch and tell stories, while also raising money for the Women’s Voices Fund.
“This was one way to get out the African-American community. And you know - we sisters love to wear hats,” Robinson said. “Our hats make a cultural statement, and they make an age statement. It about her attitude - and her hattitude.”
More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter
Hattitude was hosted this year by CBS-4 anchors Jim Benneman and Britt Moreno. The Event Chair was longtime Denver attorney, entrepreneur and community leader April Jones (pictured right). Denver First Lady (and powerhouse performer) Mary Louise Lee was among the many dignitaries in attendance.
The Platinum Sponsors of Hattitude were Denver Center Alliance; Macy's; and Kristin and Jim Bender. The Gold Sponsors were Mariel, Ray and Denise Bellucci; Jack and Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons; and Margot and Allan Frank. The Media Sponsor was Reign Magazine.
"In addition to more than 130 individual donors, Women With Hattitude attendees continue to provide vital support to the Women's Voices Fund," Jones said.
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.