• Jenn Thompson on 'The Secret Garden' as a space to heal

    by John Moore | May 09, 2017

    The Secret Garden. Adams VisCom


    The director calls The Secret Garden a powerful story about rebirth, renewal, and forging family ties found and formed.


    By Sylvie Drake
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    There was nothing quite so appealing to the Victorians as tales of tragedy, gloom and redemption. Think Charles Dickens. But a less well-remembered though equally prolific writer by the name of Frances Hodgson Burnett, who grew up in England on a diet of Dickens, Walter Scott and Thackeray before emigrating to the United States, used that formula as the inspiration for much of her own literary work.

    With a twist. She is mostly remembered today for three children’s books: Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885), which became a worldwide sensation that put her on the map; A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden, serialized in 1909 when Burnett was already 60 and published as a book in 1911.

    Unlike the previous two works, The Secret Garden was tepidly received when it emerged and almost forgotten by the time Burnett died in 1924. So credit Marsha Norman (book and lyrics) and Lucy Simon (music) with rescuing the novel by using it as the basis for their 1989 musical of the same name.

    The book deserved the rescue. It tells of the transformation of a selfish little girl, Mary Lennox, growing up privileged in India, who loses her uncaring parents to cholera and is sent back to England to live on the estate of a hunchbacked uncle, Archibald Craven. Craven is too involved mourning the loss of his wife to pay much attention to his son Colin, let alone the unexpected arrival of this niece. So Mary, once again, finds herself left to her own devices. But when she befriends her maid Martha, and Martha’s brother Dickon, Mary starts to see the world through different eyes.

    When Mary discovers a sealed and dying garden that once belonged to Colin’s mother and decides to bring it back to life, other things begin to change as well. With Dickon’s help, she finds a path not only to her salvation, but also to her cousin Colin who, unfairly treated as an invalid since birth, is in even greater need of rescuing. Thanks to the shared experience of bringing a garden back to life, they discover all the good that awaits them in theirs: the joy of friendship, the value of the caring and kindness of others, and nature’s singular restorative power.

    It is a sweet and hopeful story. Burnett’s novel focused on Mary, Colin and Dickon — and a little red robin that points the way. But the musical, which added a chorus of ghosts and a complex musical score, evolved into a kind of chamber opera with a thriller backdrop. Its technical intricacy requires many skills. So where does the emphasis land?

    “For me the emphasis has always been to keep it accessible,” replied Jenn Thompson, charged with staging the DCPA Theatre Company's current production of The Secret Garden, running through May 28.

    “I haven’t done this show before, but I’ve done other technically complicated and large-scale musicals. [The Secret Garden] could easily feel rather weighted down, and while I have no intention of dodging any of its darker themes — grief, death, abandonment — I’ve approached all aspects with an eye to letting the audience in. The theatre space is a great help. We perform on a thrust stage. That automatically pushes the actors into the audience’s orbit.” And, she added, the experience will be enhanced by “a big, beautiful live orchestra.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Casting, which started in November, was an arduous process. “It’s far and away the most important thing I do,” Thompson said. “Much of the success of the show rests on those decisions. Do-overs in casting are rare and can be very disruptive, so it’s crucial to get it right. I look for talent and skill, but also for people who inspire me to want to spend six weeks with them under close and sometimes stressful circumstances.

     “I vet every actor I hire if I don’t already know them. Enthusiasm, professionalism, directability and a sense of humor always turn my head. The same applies to the kids — though I might inquire about their parents as well, since they’ll be part of the company.”

    Story continues below the video:



    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Thompson critically chose Patricia Wilcox as choreographer, saying, “We’ve worked together on multiple projects. She’s a great partner as well as choreographer. My favorite designers, musical directors and choreographers always bow to story first. It’s great to have a team around you that shares your taste and whose opinions you trust, even when [these don’t] necessarily pertain to their area of expertise.”

    But Thompson’s choices go beyond shared enthusiasms. The structure of The Secret Garden demands precision and shovelfuls of collaboration. Colleagues she’s used to can provide it.

    “This is a show that may be a little hard to penetrate,” she explained. “Some of the characters are in deep mourning, but anyone who has been through grieving knows that there are many colors to bereavement. It’s a lot more complicated than just being perpetually sad. These characters are looking to connect and they can only change by making themselves vulnerable to one another.

    “It’s a powerful story about rebirth and renewal, about creating a space to heal and grow. It’s also about forging family ties — found and biological. I wish to honor this message of reinvention. I’d love for the audience to see itself in these characters and be inspired by their fortitude in the face of great loss.

    “My aim is to make a clear lane for the audience to go on this ride, for us to try and live inside these beloved and familiar characters and not present them but inhabit them. And, of course,” she underscored, “be entertained.”


    Sylvie Drake is a translator and contributing writer to culturalweekly.com, American Theatre magazine, and is a former theatre critic and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. 

    The Secret Garden: Ticket information
    The Secret GardenThe beloved classic blossoms anew in this enchanting musical full of beautiful melodies. When young Mary uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.
    Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman; music by Lucy Simon;
    based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    Through May 28
    Stage Theatre
    Denver Performing Arts Complex
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Previous coverage of The Secret Garden:
    Video: How does our Secret Garden grow?
    Video, photos: Your first look at The Secret Garden
    Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Five things we learned at Perspectives
    Meet the cast: Zoe Manarel, who plays Mary Lennox
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

    Photo coverage: The Secret Garden:

    The Secret Garden- 2016-17 Theatre Company Season

    Photos by Adams VisCom. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    Photo gallery: The Secret Garden in Denver:

    'The Secret Garden' in DenverPhotos following the making of 'The Secret Garden' in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore and Bamboo Booth.
  • Video: A message from Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor

    by John Moore | May 08, 2017



    DCPA Broadway will present a concert version of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years starring Adam Kantor (Fiddler on the Roof, Rent, Next to Normal) and Betsy Wolfe (Falsettos, Bullets Over Broadway, The Mystery of Edwin Drood). The video above is a personal message from the stars, who come to the Seawell Grand Ballroom on May 22.

    The Last Five Years traces the five-year relationship between two New Yorkers from their first meeting to their last goodbye. It's a personal look at marriage told from both points of view – Jamie’s story begins at the first meeting and follows through to the couple’s ultimate breakup, while Cathy relates the story in reverse, from falling out of love back to the first spark of romance.

    This innovative storytelling structure makes for a show nearly entirely comprised of solo songs, with the actors meeting just once in the middle of the show in a duet.

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

    Last Five Years Kantor WolfeMay 22
    Seawell Grand Ballroom
    Tickets start at $45
    Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

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

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

  • With 'The Snowy Day,' DCPA Education launches 'Theatre for Young Audiences'

    by John Moore | May 06, 2017

    nowy Day Allison Watrous
    Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.



    Up to 20,000 area children will be introduced to live theatre
    next fall through the story of a boy who discovers snow.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Although the Denver Center served more than 84,000 youth last year through its expansive education programs, it recently identified a gap: Live theatre was being exposed to virtually every age group except pre-school through 3rd graders. And educators believe it is crucial to introduce the vital force that live theatre can be in the lives of young people during those early years, said DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous.

    Theatre has not only been shown to boost academic achievement among early childhood learners, “live performance can have a large impact on the way a kindergartner views and thinks about the world,” said Watrous. “This is a critical new audience base for the Denver Center to seek out and serve."

    A Snowy Day PeterAnd so, starting in the fall, DCPA Education is launching its new Theatre for Young Audiences program. In full partnership with the DCPA Theatre Company, DCPA Education will stage 100 performances of The Snowy Day and Other Stories in the Conservatory Theatre. It is estimated that 20,000 children from around the metro area will see the production between Sept. 21 and Nov. 18.

    “It is definitely a goal of the Education Department to make sure that we are engaging as many students as we can throughout the year through live performance,” Watrous said. “We think we are doing a fantastic job serving middle school and high school kids through our student matinee program; through our traveling Shakespeare in the Parking Lot program; and through our classes and workshops. But there is always more to do. And with The Snowy Day, now we have the opportunity to really open up the world to younger children.”

    By expanding the focus to welcome early education students, “the DCPA will now serve a full spectrum of ages and expand its opportunities for youth by more than 20 percent,” said Suzanne Yoe, DCPA Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs.

    The Snowy Day Ezra Jac KeatsThe Snowy Day, written in 1962 by Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, tells the simple story of a boy named Peter and the wonder of his first encounter with snow. Only there was something revolutionary in the story’s sweet simplicity: Peter is a black child. “Ezra Jack Keats was a Caucasian writer, and that he chose to put an African-American child at the center of several of his books during the civil-rights movement was really extraordinary,” Watrous said.

    The Denver Center production, which will last about an hour, will cover four books in the Snowy Day series – one for each season of the year (including Goggles, A Letter to Amy and Whistle for Willie.). So it essentially will cover a year of Peter’s childhood.

    The play, told largely with the assistance of puppets, will be performed by three professional local actors and will benefit from the resources of the DCPA Theatre Company’s full-time creative staff: Director of Design Lisa Orzolek will create the set; Costume Crafts Director Kevin Copenhaver will design the costumes; and the lights will be designed by Charles MacLeod. Watrous promises a dynamic, tactile production in which all of the audiences’ senses are activated.

    Most of the 100 performances will be held on weekdays for schools taking field trips to the Denver Center. Saturday performances will be open to the public. Tickets are $10, but the DCPA will make 9,000 “scholarships” (free tickets) available to teachers whose students need financial assistance to attend.

    Frozen OnSale.jpg_largeBecause this will be many of the audiences' first exposure to live theatre, DCPA Education will expand the experience by making preparatory classroom materials available to teachers in advance. Schools are also welcome to stay after each performance for complementary (and complimentary!) workshops modeled after the story and presented by DCPA Education’s staff of Teaching Artists.

    “As a large cultural institution within this community, it is important to the DCPA that we support schools, especially in the seven-county metro area, and advocate for arts and arts access for all students,” said Watrous, whose far-reaching involvement in the local theatre community includes directing the upcoming season-opening play The Revolutionists, by Lauren Gunderson (The Book of Will) for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company in September.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “If you cultivate the wonder of the arts at an early age, then that becomes part of the fabric of the learner - and the human being,” Watrous said. “Theatre makes you a stronger reader. Theatre makes you more collaborative. Theatre makes connections in your mind that can change how you look at a book, how you look at a painting, how you look at a sculpture and how you look at difficult issues in our world. Of all the beautiful transferable skills you can develop through live theatre, perhaps the most important is that it can make you more empathetic in how you view the world.

    “I hope this is the beginning of something really fantastic.”

    Ths month, Well not anymore! Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Education is launching its first Theatre for Young Audiences program, which features two productions in 2017  Oily Cart’s In a Pickle

    Sneak peek: Oily Car's In a Pickle
    Oliy CartA small group of Denver schoolchildren are getting a taste of what is to come from the Theatre for Young Audiences program this month with In a Pickle, an interactive children's story that is being presented May 19-26 as a co-production between DCPA Education, New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This performance draws upon the inquisitive nature of children ages 2-5. Using all of their senses, these tiny audience members embark on a voyage of discovery through an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale that features fancy costumes, live music, perfumes and textures to explore along the way.

    The story begins when the Shepherdess and her flock of sheep have a party to celebrate the sheep shearing. When they come across a lost baby, the children must follow the clues to determine what to do in search of a happy ending.

    Due to the interactive nature of the play, audience size is extremely limited. An invited group of 30 children per performance is attending In a Pickle from the Clayton Early Learning and Montclair, Barnum and Polaris elementary schools.

    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 Snowy Day and Other Stories: Ticket information

    • Written by Ezra Jack Keats; adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston
    • Sept. 21-Nov. 18
    • School Performances: Weekdays 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. (except Thursdays are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
    • Public Performances: Saturdays, time TBA
    • Conservatory Theatre, located in the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education
    • 1101 13th St., Denver, CO
    • Tickets $10 (discounts and scholarships available)
    • Best suited for: Pre-K through third grade
    • Teachers: Inquire by clicking here or calling 303-446-4829
    • Public weekend performances will go on sale at a later date
  • Video, photos: Denver Actors Fund's 'United in Love' concert

    by John Moore | May 04, 2017
    United in Love: Video highlights

    Video highlights from the 'United in Love' concert featuring, from left, Beth Malone, Annaleigh Ashford, Mara Davi and dozens more. Video edited by John Moore from footage provided courtesy of Eden Lane and Sleeping Dog Media.

     


    Ashford, Malone, Davi help raise $40,000 for nonprofit
    that helps local theatre artists in situational medical need


    Tony Award-winning actor Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take it With You) joined fellow Broadway veterans from Colorado Beth Malone (Fun Home) and Mara Davi (Dames at Sea) for United in Love, a sold-out concert event that raised $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund on April 30 at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

    Denver Actors FundThe three headliners were "back to give back." They were joined by powerhouse singer, actor and First Lady of Denver Mary Louise Lee; Broadway’s Jodie Langel (Les Misérables); composer Denise Gentilini (I Am Alive) and Denver performers Jimmy Bruenger, Eugene Ebner, Becca Fletcher, Clarissa Fugazzotto, Robert Johnson, Daniel Langhoff, Susannah McLeod, Chloe McLeod, Sarah Rex, Jeremy Rill, Kristen Samu, Willow Samu and Thaddeus Valdez.

    Also joining the lineup were the casts of both The Jerseys (Klint Rudolph, Brian Smith, Paul Dwyer and Randy St. Pierre), and the upcoming all-student 13 the Musical (Rylee Vogel, Josh Cellar,  Hannah Meg Weinraub, Hannah Katz, Lorenzo Giovannetti, Maddie Kee, Kaden Hinkle, Darrow Klein, Evan Gibley, Conrad Eck and Macy Friday).

    (Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Annaleigh Ashford, Beth Malone, Mary Louise Lee and Mara Davi.)

    The purpose of the evening was to spread a message of love and hope while raising funds for the Denver Actors Fund, which has made $90,000 available to local theatre artists facing situational medical need. The concert was presented by Ebner-Page Productions.

    (Story continues below the photo gallery)

    United in Love: Complete photo gallery

    Denver Actors Fund United in Love Concert

    Photos by RDG Photography, Gary Duff and John Moore. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos may be downloaded and redistributed with credit.


    One of the most poignant moments of the evening came when actor Daniel Langhoff addressed the crowd, telling the story of his continuing fight against cancer, with assistance from The Denver Actors Fund. Langhoff was first diagnosed weeks after the birth of his first daughter. His recent recurrence coincides with news that his wife will give birth to their second child in the fall. (How you can help Daniel Langhoff.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The emcees were local TV arts journalist Eden Lane (also director of the Aurora Fox's current Priscilla Queen of the Desert), and actor Steven J. Burge, who recently starred in the Denver Center's An Act of God at the Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    The Music Director was Mitch Samu. The band included Tag Worley, Steve Klein, Andy Sexton, Scott Handler and Jeremy Wendelin.


    The photos above were provided by RDG Photography, Gary Duff and DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore, who is also the founder of the Denver Actors Fund. That is a 501c3 nonprofit, and all donations are tax-deductible. For more information, or to apply for aid, go to www.denveractorsfund.org.

    The Presenting Sponsor of United in Love was Delta Dental of Colorado, which matched audience contributions at the end of the evening, turning about $2,200 in donations into more than $4,400. The Gold Sponsor was Kaiser-Permanente. Silver Sponsors were Billings Investments and the Alliance Insurance Group.

  • May: Here's what's coming in Colorado theatre this month

    by John Moore | May 04, 2017
    A 800 ENCHANTED APRIL

    NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of upcoming theatre openings, spotlighting work being presented on stages statewide. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.

    Five intriguing titles for May:

    NUMBER 1The Crud. The newest creation from the all-original Buntport Theater Company ensemble is this absurd fairy tale about both the crud on your floor and in your head. Follow the repetitive days of Dear Deer, Barely Bear and Broken Baby Doll Detective as they try to navigate their boredom. Nothing is important and everything is of the utmost importance. This is the final full-length production of Buntport's 16th Season and its creation was based on the contents of an abandoned storage locker Buntport purchased at an auction. Buntport debuts several full-length world premieres each season along with a slew of on-going programming.

    NUMBER 2Last Five Years Kantor WolfeThe Last Five Years in Concert. Broadway stars Adam Kantor (Fiddler of the Roof, RENT, Next to Normal) and Betsy Wolfe (Falsettos, Bullets Over Broadway and The Mystery of Edwin Drood) are coming to Denver for a one-night concert performance of Jason Robert Brown’s most popular work, a two-person story that chronicles a  five-year relationship between two New Yorkers, with a twist. The musical  tells the tale from both points of view – but one begins at the first meeting, while the other relates the story in reverse. So the story only aligns chronologically briefly in the middle. May 22 in the Seawell Grand Ballroom. 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org. READ MORE

    NUMBER 3Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Forty years ago, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre opened its doors with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Now, 10,000 performances later, the recently renamed BDT Stage is bringing back the show that started it all. Joseph, The first collaboration between composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, is the family-friendly look back at the trials and triumphs of Israel’s favorite son. This production features Jack Barton as Joseph and Tracy Warren as the Narrator. Director Matthew D. Peters is promising a fresh staging concept unlike any Joseph you have seen before. May 13-Aug. 19 at 5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com.

    NUMBER 4THE SINGING HOUSE____________, an Opera. Let's face it: Any opera named ____________ is inherently intriguing. Award-winning actor Ethelyn Friend, an Associate Professor at Boulder's Naropa University, has penned an experimental opera with a fully memorized script, but the music by frequent DCPA composer Gary Grundei and his ensemble is improvised each night, and in multiple musical styles. ____________ will be staged in a new performance venue: a Victorian house in old-town Lafayette called The Singing House. Plays May 25-June 10 at 507 W. Baseline Road in Lafayette. TICKETS

    NUMBER 5Spamalot. By now, it's hardly notable that a local company is staging this well-known stage adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But the Longmont Theatre Company's upcoming production is notable for marking the return of Director Patrick Sawyer, who recently underwent emergency triple-bypass heart surgery. If laughter is the best medicine, Spamalot, with its killer rabbits and farting Frenchmen, should be just what Sawyer - and his audiences - need this month. Plays May 5-20 at 513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page


    THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

    (Submit your listings to jmoore@dcpa.org)

    DCPA May theatre May 5-20: Longmont Theatre Company's Spamalot
    513 Main St., 303-772-5200 or longmont’s home page

    May 5-20: Coal Creek Community Theatre's Enchanted April

    At the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., 303-665-0955 or cctlouisville.org

    May 5-June 11: The BiTSY Stage’s The Silent Princess: A Turkish Tale
    1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or bitsystage.com

    May 5-May 20: Aurora Fox's The Myth of Happy Endings (studio theatre)
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

    May 6-June 16: Curious Theatre's The Luckiest People
    1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org

     

    May 6-June 3, 2017: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's Scotland Road
    At the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

    May 11-27: OpenStage and Company's H2O
    At ArtLab, 239 Linden St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

    May 11-13: Curtain Playhouse's Quilters
    6990 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 720-887-0122 or thecurtainplayhouse.com

    May 12-June 4: Thingamajig Theatre Company's God of Carnage
    Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

    May 13-Aug. 19: BDT Stage's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    May 18-June 4: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s Rapture, Blister, Burn
    1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, 80909, 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

    May 18-28: Funky Little Theatre's Extremities
    2109 Templeton Gap Road, Colorado Springs, 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

    May 19-21: National touring production of The Illusionists
    Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

    May 19-June 10: Buntport Theater's The Crud
    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    May 19-June 18: Town Hall Arts Center's Hairspray
    2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or town hallartscenter.org

    May 19-June 25: Miners Alley Playhouse’s Cabaret
    1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or map’s home page

    May 25-June 25: Bas Bleu's Boeing Boeing
    401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949or basbleu.org

    May 25-June 10: The Singing House's "____________, an Opera"
    507 West Baseline Road, Lafayette TICKETS

    May 26-June 18: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Man of La Mancha
    30 W. Dale St., 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    May 26-July 1: Equinox Theatre Company’s The Rocky Horror Show
    At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com

    May 30-June 18: National touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org
    READ MORE

    CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:

    Through May 6: BDT Stage's Disenchanted
    5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

    Through May 7: DCPA Theatre Company's Disgraced
    Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through May 7: TheatreWorks' Pride and Prejudice
    3955 Regent Circle, Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

    Through May 7: Upstart Crow's Dark of the Moon
    At the Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder, 303-442-1415 or theupstartcrow.org

    horses square productThrough May 13: square product’s She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    At The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or the dairy.org READ MORE

    Through May 13: Dairy Arts Center's The Testament of Mary
    2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or tickets.thedairy.org READ MORE

    Through May 13: Lost & Found Productions’ Much Ado about Nothing
    At The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St.,lostandfoundproductions.net

    Through May 14: Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    Through May 19: Arvada Center's A Year With Frog and Toad
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 20: Arvada Center's Waiting for Godot
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org READ MORE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Through May 21: Off-Center's Travelers of the Lost Dimension, with A.C.E.
    At the Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through May 21: Arvada Center's The Drowning Girls
    6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

    Through May 21: Vintage Theatre’s The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

    Through May 21Vintage Theatre’s A Time to Kill
    1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page

     

    EDGE MISERYThrough May 21: The Edge Theatre's Misery
    1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheatre.com

    Through May 21: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins (Second Stage)
    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    Through May 21: The Avenue Theater's The Golden Years
    417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com

    Through May 27: Midtown Arts Center's Sister Act
    3750 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, 970-225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

    Through May 28: DCPA Theare Company's The Secret Garden
    Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

    Through May 28: Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org READ MORE

    Through June 4: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s 42nd Street
    4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

    Through July 2: Jesters Dinner Theatre's Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
    224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com



    BIRDS BOULDER ENSEMBLE

    ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

    ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
    Ongoing productions
    2406 Federal Blvd., Denver, 303-455-1848 or adamsmysteryplayhouse.com

    BOULDER ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY
    7 p.m., Thursday, June 8: Free reading of Anna Moench's Birds of North America
    Featuring Chris Kendall and Lindsey Pierce.
    At the Canyon Theater at the Boulder Public Library.

    BUNTPORT THEATRE
    • Saturday, May 13: Season finale of Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey (Monthly theatre for young audiences at 1 and 3 p.m.)
    • Tuesday, May 16: The Great Debate (monthly)
    • Wednesday, May 17: The Narrators (a monthly live storytelling show and podcast)
    • Wednesday, May 24: Debbie Scheer Presents: T.R.A.C.K.S.U.I.T. (a night of stories from the heart about parenting, adoption, love, loss, GLBTQ and mental health.) TICKETS
    • Friday, May 26: Untitled (in the freight elevator at the Denver Art Museum, monthly)

    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com

    COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER

    • May 4: Kathleen Madigan: Bothering Jesus Tour


    30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

    DENVER ACTORS FUND
    • The-Wedding-SingerSunday, May 21: Screening of the film The Wedding Singer, with live pre-screening entertainment for the cast of Performance Now's upcoming stage production of the stage musical. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7.


    Alamo Drafthouse Littleton, 7301 S Santa Fe Drive, drafthouse.com

    DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

    • Friday, May 12: Cult Following's SCRIPTprov™, Jones Theatre INFO
    • Saturday, May 13: Cult Following: Rated G, Jones Theatre INFO
    • Monday, May 22: The Last Five Years in Concert, Seawell Ballroom READ MORE

    Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org


    LOCAL THEATRE COMPANY

    • Noon, Sunday, May 21: Pain Management, a devised theatre piece


    311 Mapleton Ave., Boulder. Free, but RSVP required here

    PHAMALY THEATRE COMPANY
    • May 6-7: A Midsummer Night's Dream, a staged reading

    1:30 p.m. Saturday; 1:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday
    At the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or TICKETS

    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY

    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret

    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

    STORIES ON STAGE
    • Sunday, April 7: Motherhood Out Loud

    Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month's performers are Kate Gleason, Meridith Grundei, John Jurcheck and Randy Moore reading:
    • On the U.S.S. Fortitude, by Ron Carlson
    • Frog, by Matthew Taylor
    • At Least Your Hair Looks Gorgeous, by Ellen Nordberg

    1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org
  • A deep dive into a 'Curious' mind and mystery

    by John Moore | May 03, 2017
    denver-center_the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time_adam-langdon-and-company_cjoan-marcus_32506805125_oAdam Langdon and the company of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,' opening at the Denver Center on May 30. Photo by Joan Marcus.


    'This is something only theatre can do,' Colorado
    actor Gene Gillette says of The Curious Incident ...

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    It’s not often you hear people talk about a play with the same kind of visceral enthusiasm normally reserved for, say, a big Broadway musical. But Colorado native Gene Gillette promises The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time “is going to blow you out of your seat, man.”

    Curious Incident, winner of Best Play and four other 2015 Tony Awards, is one of the most widely praised and technically complex plays, well, ever — and one of the few to tour the country. A traveling production is the rare opportunity for heartland audiences to see a play staged to its full Broadway standards.

    Gene Gillette QuoteGillette, who was born in Evergreen and grew up in Franktown, plays Ed, father to a 15-year-old boy named Christopher who is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.

     “Christopher has an extraordinary set of abilities, and this play is a fully immersive, deep dive inside his brain,” said Gillette. “Just seeing what that magical world looks like on a stage is pretty awe-inspiring. There are some amazing technical elements with the set and the sound and the lighting, but it’s really how they all physically interact with the actors that is so remarkable.”

    The play, written by Simon Stephens and adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel, begins with Christopher falling under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog. He then sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change the boy’s life forever.

    A renowned British company called Frantic Assembly is responsible for integrating the human and technical elements that make it possible for Christopher to fly or to stand in the middle of a bustling London train station. Some sequences take place entirely in Christopher’s head.

    “This is something only theatre can do,” Gillette said.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Tony Award-winner Marianne Elliott directed the play for the National Theatre in London and then on Broadway, where it ran for almost two years. That’s an extraordinary achievement for a non-musical, although the expansive and fluid show functions in some ways like a musical.

    denver-center_the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time_adam-langdon-and-company_cjoan-marcus_32506805125_o“The secret weapon of this show is, to my mind, pretty simple,” wrote Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones. “There is a fearless, laser-like focus on telling the entire story from Christopher’s point of view.”

    Christopher’s dissociative disorder is never given a label. “He is very good with math. He loves Sherlock Holmes. And he loves his clinical, detached way of looking at the world,” Gillette said. “Solving the mystery of who killed the neighbor’s dog is very thrilling to him. But he also doesn’t like to be touched, which is very difficult for me, playing his father. He doesn’t have any friends. He enjoys being alone and he talks about how amazing it would be to be an astronaut and see the Milky Way. So he has a kind of bittersweet outlook on life.”

    Elliott says Christopher is very much aware of how he, “as a tiny human, fits into the vast universe.” And that’s exactly why audiences so easily identify with him — even if they can’t fully understand how his brain works.

     “This is a show about a boy enduring in spite of himself,” Elliott said.

    Gillette understands his stage son better than most might. He recognizes a little of himself in the boy.

    At age 13, Christopher learned that his mother died. Gillette lost his mother to cancer when he was 5, which led to a troubled adolescence. He credits theatre for helping him make it to adulthood at all. He said it was watching theatre at The Buell Theatre, located right next to The Ellie, where he will be performing in Curious Incident, that he found his direction in life.

    “The first play I ever saw was the national tour of Biloxi Blues in 1986 at The Buell Theatre, and that changed everything,” Gillette said.

    Coming soon: Our expanded profile of Colorado's Gene Gillette

    His seminal performances on Colorado stages included playing Hamlet at the Denver Civic Theatre, John Proctor in the Arvada Center’s The Crucible and a particularly chilling turn as a child killer in Curious Theatre’s death-row drama Coyote on a Fence. He won The Denver Post Ovation Award in 2008 for his darkly funny turn in Curious’ The Lieutenant of Inishmore as an alternately savage and sweet Irish madman.

    Gillette’s biggest break came two years ago when he joined the national touring production of the National Theatre’s War Horse, also directed by Elliott. Gillette was recovering from his own near-death battle with cancer when he landed the role of Ed in Curious Incident. Gillette said if Ed were a real person, the two would probably be good friends.

    “Ed is a guy you would want to watch a football game with,” Gillette said. “He’s a good dude. He runs his own company. But he has all kinds of challenges in his family. He’s got a lot of weight on his shoulders, but he’s doing the best he can.”

    Some of the reporting for this story was provided from a story by Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune.

    Gene Gillette Inishmore


    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:
    Ticket Information

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMay 30-June 18
    • The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829
    • ASL, Audio-Described and Open-Captioned performance 2 p.m. June 11

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:
    Casting announced for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

  • Meet the cast: Zoe Manarel of 'The Secret Garden'

    by John Moore | May 03, 2017
    zoe-manarel-photo-credit-adamsviscom_34145860262_o

    Zoe Manarel, a sixth-grader who plays Mary Lennox in 'The Secret Garden,' makes her upcoming Amazon film debut as Suzie “Z” Yang in a new 'American Girl Story' special that begins streaming on June 9. Photo by Adams VisCom.


    MEET ZOE MANAREL
    Zoe Manarel plays Mary Lennox  in The Secret Garden, the classic story of the 10-year-old orphan girl doomed to a life of isolation with her uncle in England - until she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden.  It plays through May 28 in the Stage Theatre.

    At the Theatre Company: Debut. Broadway: Matilda the Musical (Lavender). Off-Broadway: The Little Princess (Ann). Broadway Lab Productions and Workshops: Amelie The Musical (Young Amelie), Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen (Little Orchid),  Unbound Musical reading (Young Zhong-Mei). T.V.: “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Unforgettable,” “Jimmy Fallon,” “Riding the D with Dr. Seeds.”

    • Hometown: Katonah Westchester, N.Y. 
    • School: Sixth grade
    • When did you know you wanted to be an actor?  I think I always wanted to be an actor and singer - especially in kindergarten. There was a bathroom in the classroom and I would sing whenever I was in there. When I would come out, the teacher and all the kids said they loved my singing. I loved the feeling of making people happy.
    • DespereauxIf you could play any role, what would it be? I would love to play Desperaux, the mouse in The Tale of Despereaux. I love his determination, and the fact that he never gives up, and that he would strive for things like marrying a human princess, even though it was unlikely it would happen. (He did get a kiss from her.) Also, he was quirky. He did not really have any friends, but he didn’t care. He stayed true to what he thought was right, and did not let other people sway him. He was a leader, even if it was only to himself.
    • Why are you an actor? Because It makes me feel complete inside.
    • What do you want to be when you grow up, if not an actor? If i don’t grow up to be an actor, I’d like to be either a food critic or a comedian doctor. I’d like to be a food critic because I love eating. I love all sorts of foods and seeing how different people can cook. I'd like to be a comedian doctor because I love people, and I hate seeing them sick or sad. If I am a doctor, I figure I should learn a lot of amazing jokes to help my patients laugh and feel good as I gave them a shot, or when they feel scared. Laughter is a great medicine.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of this play? I hope they see that no matter how bad things look, there is always a little piece of goodness or hope to grab on to. If you can do that, even though you’re really sad, that little piece of goodness or hope can grow into something much bigger and better. In the end, while you may still be sad, your life will be a little bit better.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      " ... for people to see that we are really not that different, and we all want the same thing: To be happy and to get along."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Secret Garden: Ticket information
    The Secret GardenThe beloved classic blossoms anew in this enchanting musical full of beautiful melodies. When young Mary uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.
    Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman; music by Lucy Simon;
    based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    Through May 28
    Stage Theatre
    Denver Performing Arts Complex
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Previous coverage of The Secret Garden:
    Denver Post review: A worthy, family-friendly and satisfying theatrical experience
    Video: How does our Secret Garden grow?
    Photos, video: Your first look at The Secret Garden
    Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Five things we learned at Perspectives
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

    zoe-manarel-photo-credit-adamsviscom_34145860262_oPhoto by Adams VisCom for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    More 2016-17 'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Vandit Bhatt, Disgraced
    Steven J. Burge, An Act of God
    Liam Craig, The Book of Will
    Aubrey Deeker, The Glass Menagerie
    Thaddeus Fitzpatrick, Frankenstein
    Meridith C. Grundei, Frankenstein
    Steven Cole Hughes, An Act of God
    Sullivan Jones, Frankenstein
    Mark Junek, Frankenstein
    Dorien Makhloghi, Disgraced
    Charlie Korman, Frankenstein
    Jennifer Le Blanc, The Book of Will
    Cajardo Lindsey, The Christians
    Rodney Lizcano, The Book of Will
    Wesley Mann, The Book of Will
    Robert Montano, Two Degrees
    Amelia Pedlow, The Glass Menagerie
    Benjamin Pelteson, Disgraced
    Jessica Robblee, Frankenstein
    Erik Sandvold, An Act of God
    John Skelley, The Glass Menagerie
    Kim Staunton, Two Degrees

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 2016-17 Bobby G Award finalists are announced

    by John Moore | May 02, 2017
    2016 Bobby G Awards

    A look back at the 2016 Bobby G Awards in photos. To see more, click the 'forward' arrow on the image above. This year's ceremony will be May 25 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.


    Finalists for the fifth annual Bobby G Awards were released this morning. The awards program, which culminates in a Tony Awards-style ceremony and performance on Thursday, May 25, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, celebrates outstanding achievement in high-school musical theatre in Colorado. This year the program included participation from a record 42 high schools across Colorado, and 30 of those received at least one nomination. That's up nearly double from 16 a year ago.

    BOBBY G AWARDS While the nominations were more spread out than ever, Lakewood High School emerged with the most nominations, with 11 for Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  Boulder High School earned eight for Rent and Chaparral High School eight for The Scarlett Pimpernel.

    Those three productions are all up for Outstanding Production of a Musical, along with In the Heights, a co-production between Denver North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School; and Valor Christian High School's Pippin.

    All five productions will be invited to perform at the May 25 Bobby G Awards ceremony, as well as the 10 individuals nominated for Outstanding Actor or Actress.

    (Pictured above right: Mountain Vista's Anything Goes wins Outstanding Musical at the 2016 Bobby G. Awards. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.)

    Reserve your seat for the May 25 Bobby G Awards celebration!

    With today's announcement, tickets are now on sale for the 2016-17 Bobby G Awards ceremony, which will include performances by students from across Colorado on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House stage. The evening is an opportunity for the students to commune and mutually support one another’s work. Click here to purchase tickets.

    Adjudicators, made up of professional working theatre artists in the Denver area, attended the participating schools’ musical theatre productions. Using the standards set by The Bobby G Awards training and criteria, as well as their own professional experience, these adjudicators completed extensive evaluation forms, offering schools detailed feedback on various elements of their musical productions. Participating schools receive each adjudicator's comments, praise and constructive criticism as a way of recognizing accomplishments and motivating future growth.

    (Story continues after the following list of nominations)

    2016-17 Bobby G Awards Finalists:

    Outstanding Achievement in Hair and Make-Up Design

    Devan Green
    Fiddler on the Roof
    Brighton High School

    Cierra Denning and Izze Sajdak
    The Scarlet Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Katie Kostenik
    Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Lydia Cole, Averi Davis, Emma Smith and Hannah Tester
    Children of Eden
    Mountain View High School

    Maya Julien, Christina Larez and Simone Rodriguez
    In the Heights
    North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel High School

    Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design

    BOULDER RENTJoe Kennedy and Anne Murphy

    Aida
    Fairview High School

    Mollie Beck, Nikki Habestad and Rebecca Spafford
    The Addams Family

    Fossil Ridge High School

    Camille Gionet, Kaila Govan and Alyssa Mader
    Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Jen Bleem, Lauryn Starke, Cynthia Vega and Ramses Vega
    Children of Eden
    Mountain View High School

    Mona Lucero, Simone Rodriguez and Sarah Davies-Schley
    In the Heights

    North High School & STRIVE Prep Excel High School 

    Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

    Demian Detweiler and Scott Nelson
    Pippin
    Aspen High School

    Brian Morgans
    The Scarlet Pimpernel
    Chaparral High School

    Jude Franco, Dennis Gilsdorf and Nich Gilsdorf
    Children of Eden

    Mountain View High School

    Ethan Thomas and T.J. Thomas
    The Little Mermaid
    Ralston Valley High School

     Karley Durate, Anthony Heredia, Joylene Quintana and Travis Roth
    Tarzan
    Westminster High School

    Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design

    Hannah Freeman and Tom Ward
    Pippin

    Aspen High School

    Katya Hirsch and Chris Sweeney
    Rent
    Boulder High School

    Clare Buntrock, Rachel Barckholtz, Taylor Dykstra and Jace Smykil
    Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Josh Belk and Starr Samkus
    Starlight Express
    Palmer Ridge High School

    Tori Byam & Liam Southwick
    Beauty and the Beast

    Durango High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra

    Cabaret
    Bear Creek High School

    Rent
    Boulder High School

    Fiddler on the Roof
    Brighton High School

    The Producers                                   

    Denver School of the Arts

    Aida
    Fairview High School

    Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction

    CHAPARREL SCARLET PIMPERNELDuncan Cooper
    Cabaret
    Bear Creek High School

    Mary Bateman
    Rent
    Boulder High School

    Steve Hinman and Luke Tredinnic
    The Scarlet Pimpernel
    Chaparral High School 

    Bryce Melaragno and Debbie Miller
    Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street  

    Lakewood High School

     Marty Magehee, Rick Paswaters and Jenny Timmons
    Pippin

    Valor Christian High School

    Outstanding Performance by a Chorus

    Rent
    Boulder High School

    Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street  
    Lakewood High School

    Children of Eden

    Mountain View High School

    Pippin
    Valor Christian High School

    The Pirates of Penzance
    Wheat Ridge High School

     

    Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

    Lindsey Solano
    Fiddler on the Roof    
              
    Brighton High School

    Angie Dryer
    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Caitlin Parets
    Guys and Dolls
    Loveland High School

     Evan DeBord, Tammy Johnson, Cydney Kutcipal and Rachel Miller
    Children of Eden
    Mountain View High School

     John DeYoung and Jamie Geary
    Pippin

    Valor Christian High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

    Will Coleman
    Lumiere
    Beauty and the Beast
    Arvada West High School

    Brandon Michael
    Herr Schultz
    Cabaret

    Bear Creek High School

    Adrian Clark
    Farleigh
    The Scarlett Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Luccio Dellepiane

    Harold Bride
    Titanic

    Cherry Creek High School

    Will Warner
    Beadle Bamford
    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School 

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

    LAKEWOOD SWEENEY 800Stella Martin
    Andrea
    Once on This Island

    Conifer High School

    McKinley Mueller
    Grandma Addams
    The Addams Family
    Glenwood Springs High School

    Anna Rosenthal
    Grandma Addams
    The Addams Family

    Heritage High School

    Alexa Hand
    Sydney
    It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman
    Resurrection Christian  School

    Libby Lukens
    Jan
    Grease
    Steamboat Springs High School

    Rising Star

    Joe Robinson
    Dewhurst
    The Scarlet Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Ana Lemus
    Serena
    Legally Blonde
    D’Evelyn High School

    Luke McKenzie
    Theo
    Pippin

    George Washington High School

    Sam Feng
    Oz Guard
    The Wizard of Oz

    Lutheran High School

    Ellie Hill

    La Fou
    Beauty and the Beast

    Regis Jesuit High School 

    Outstanding Achievement in Direction

    NORTH IN THE HEIGHTSShelly Cox-Robie
    Rent
    Boulder High School 

    Kate McRaith
    The Addams Family

    Glenwood Springs High School

    Tami LoSasso and Yovana Milosevic

    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Katie Marshall
    Children of Eden

    Mountain View High School

    Lindsey Hutcheon and Kurt Muenstermann
    Pippin
    Valor Christian High School 

    Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Valor copyAsha Romeo
    Joanne Jefferson
    Rent
    Boulder High School

    Grace Nolte
    Marguerite St. Just
    The Scarlett Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Cameron Marter
    Mrs. Lovett
    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Chantal King

    Witch
    Into the Woods
    Niwot High School

    Elleon Dobias

    Catherine
    Pippin
    Valor Christian High School

    Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

    Jesse Shafroth
    Mark Cohen
    Rent
    Boulder High School

    Chandler Carter
    Chauvelin
    The Scarlett Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Austin Hand  

    Gomez Addams
    The Addams Family

    Fossil Ridge High School

    Trey Kochevar           

    Sweeney Todd
    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    Gable Kinsman

    Pippin
    Pippin

    Valor Christian High School

    Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical

    Rent
    Boulder High School

    The Scarlet Pimpernel

    Chaparral High School

    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Lakewood High School

    In the Heights
    North High School & STRIVE Prep Excel High School

    Pippin
    Valor Christian High School

    PRHS Starlight Express

    2017 Outstanding Special Achievement Award Winners:

    In addition to the nominations, this year’s four Special Achievement winners also were announced today: 

    • Orchestra: Tim Costello, Cabaret, Bear Creek High School
    • Scenic Design: Danielle Waldman, The Producers, Denver School of the Arts
    • Technical Direction: Chris Brown, Into the Woods, Niwot High School
    • Special Achievement for a Colorado premiere (at the high-school level): Starlight Express, Palmer Ridge High School (pictured above, photo by Jackie Burhans)

    The Bobby G Awards, overseen and hosted by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, are Colorado's regional representative within the larger Jimmy® Awards/National High School Musical Theatre Awards. The winners of Colorado's Outstanding Actor and Actress awards not only will be invited to attend the Jimmy Awards in June at the Minskoff Theatre in New York, but to participate in a week-long series of intensive classes and workshops with Broadway actors, directors and designers. The national awards ceremony will be June 26.

    Video recap: Kinship and camaraderie at the 2016 Bobby G Awards

    Video highlights from the 2015-16 Bobby G Awards ceremony.

    Today’s announcement produced several return nominees, including Danny Miller of Arvada West, who was nominated as Outstanding Actor for his role as Valjean in Les Misérables. In 2014, Miller was nominated in the same category as a sophomore for playing the title role in The Phantom of the Opera.

    Reserve your seat for the May 25 Bobby G Awards celebration!

    Last year’s Bobby G Award winner for Outstanding Actor was Curtis Salinger for Durango High School’s Legally Blonde. Ponderosa High School's Charlotte Movizzo was named Outstanding Actress for her starring role in Sweet Charity. Both are expected to perform at this year's Bobby G Awards.

    Luccio Dellepiane of Cherry Creek High School, who was named Rising Star as a sophomore for Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, is nominated this year for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role as Harold Bride in Titanic.

    Elleon Dobias of Valor Christian High School, nominated in 2015 as a Rising Star for playing Madame de la Grande Bouche in Beauty and the Beast, and again last year as  Supporting Actress for playing Miss Andrew in Mary Poppins, is nominated for a third time, as Outstanding Actress for playing Catherine in Pippin

    Notables from Colorado theatre community:

    • Rebecca Spafford, who recently played Karen in OpenStage's August: Osage County in Fort Collins, is nominated as part of the costume team for Fossil Ridge High School's The Addams Family.
    • BDT Stage veteran Shelly Cox-Robie, nominated last year as part of a costume team, is nominated for directing Boulder High School's Rent.


    2016-17 Bobby G Awards participating schools:


    Arvada West High School
    Beauty and the Beast

    Aspen High School
    Pippin

    Bear Creek High School
    Cabaret

    Boulder High School
    Rent

    Brighton High School
    Fiddler on the Roof

    Castle View High School
    Aida

    Chaparral High School
    The Scarlet Pimpernel

    Cherry Creek High School
    Titanic

    Conifer High School
    Once On This Island

    Denver School of the Art
    The Producers

    D’Evelyn High School
    Legally Blonde

    Durango High School
    Beauty and the Beast

    East High School
    Hairspray

    Erie High School
    The Addams Family

    Fairview High School
    Aida Mary

    Fort Collins High School
    Poppins

    Fossil Ridge High School
    The Addams Family

    Gateway High School
    In the Heights

    George Washington High School
    Pippin

    Glenwood Springs High School
    The Addams Family

    Heritage High School
    The Addams Family

    Lakewood High School
    Sweeney Todd -The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    Legend High School
    Fiddler on the Roof

    Lewis Palmer High School
    Thoroughly Modern Millie

    Liberty Classical Academy
    Peter Pan

    Loveland High School
    Guys and Dolls

    Lutheran High School
    The Wizard of Oz

    Monarch High School
    Annie

    Mountain View High School
    Children of Eden

    Niwot High School
    Into the Woods

    North High School & STRIVE Prep Excel High School
    In the Heights

    Palmer Ridge High School
    Starlight Express

    Ponderosa High School
    Little Shop of Horrors

    Poudre High School
    Legally Blonde

    Ralston Valley High School Regis Jesuit High School
    The Little Mermaid Beauty and the Beast

    Resurrection Christian School
    “It’s a Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s Superman”

    Steamboat Springs High School
    Grease

    Valor Christian High School
    Pippin

    Westminster High School
    Tarzan

    Wheat Ridge High School
    The Pirates of Penzance

    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    Mamma Mia's Cashelle Butler returns to Cherry Creek High School
    Authentic voices: 2017 student playwriting winners announced
    North High School gets real with In the Heights
    Video: Colorado's Bobby G Awards reps win scholarships in New York 
    Bobby G Award winners' Road to the Jimmy Awards
    Video, story: Kinship and camaraderie at 2016 Bobby G Awards
    Video: 2016 Bobby G Awards in 60 seconds
    Video: Outstanding Musical nominee performances
    Photos: 2016 Bobby G Awards (Download for free)
    Mountain View scales Bobby G Awards' 2016 peak
    Meet your 2015 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actor Finalists
    Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
    2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list


  • Video: How does our 'Secret Garden' grow?

    by John Moore | May 01, 2017


    Here is an inside video look behind the making of the DCPA Theatre Company's The Secret Garden,’ from the vantage of Director Jenn Thompson and Scenic Designer Wilson Chin.

    The Secret Garden is the classic story of the 10-year-old orphan girl doomed to a life of isolation with her uncle in England - until she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden. 

    The Secret Garden Jenn ThompsonChin said he thinks of The Secret Garden as a journey from dark to light, and that is reflected in his scenic design when Mary emerges from what he calls "the scary haunted mansion" she lives in to the long-dormant garden.

    "Sometimes we kind of blind the audience when going from dark to light so that when you see that light you feel the warmth. You feel the life," said Chin. You really feel like there is hope from grief." 

    Thompson says she wanted her entire production to feel like a dream, "like it was in perpetual motion." 

    Because the story is told almost entirely from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl who rarely leaves the stage, Chin said, that is reflected in the perception and scale of his design. Chin set out to make things feel "as operatically large as possible," he said, "so that you can imagine how scared that kid must feel." 

    Although the perception of The Secret Garden is that this is a kids story, "it really isn’t," Thompson said. "It’s certainly about kids, and it is a great family show. But this story has some serious, grown-up and deep themes. And I think it will make for a lot of beautiful, interesting conversations."

    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

    Video: Your first look at The Secret Garden

    Photos: Your first look at The Secret Garden

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Secret Garden: Ticket information
    The Secret GardenThe beloved classic blossoms anew in this enchanting musical full of beautiful melodies. When young Mary uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.
    Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman; music by Lucy Simon;
    based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    Through May 28
    Stage Theatre
    Denver Performing Arts Complex
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Previous coverage of The Secret Garden:

    Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Five things we learned at Perspectives
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

  • Shakespeare Fest: Students put spirit of youth in everything

    by John Moore | Apr 29, 2017

    Above: Video coverage from the 2017 The Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival on April 28. Our guests include Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock; DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden; DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg; teacher Tim Boyle (John F. Kennedy High School); students Amelia Corrada (Denver School for the Arts), Vincent Haney (Denver North High School) and Alexis Ayala (J.F.K). Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

     

    'Today, we keep the arts alive. Today we triumph
    over hatred, over grief and over despair.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Surely no one will compare Friday to a summer’s day. But compared to the bone-chilling festivities of a year ago, the 33rd Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival was, in the Bard’s own words, a comfort like sunshine after rain.

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalDespite a gloomy forecast, the mild weather cooperated just long enough for 5,000 students from kindergarten through high school to perform more than 640 short scenes, dances, soliloquies and sonnets on stages in and around the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The celebration is the largest and oldest student Shakespeare Festival in the country.

    Performing in 14 tents, theatres and stairway landings spread out over four acres, students from an estimated 80 schools soliloquized, sang, fenced, danced, played musical instruments, raged and gently wooed – but did not kiss. (Festival rule: High-fives – not smooches!)

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalDressed in authentic period garb, Mayor Michael B. Hancock told the wee throng that the DPS Shakespeare Festival has become part of the fabric of Denver. “We believe wholeheartedly in arts education,” said Hancock, a graduate of DPS’ Manual High School. “We believe in connecting to our history. We believe in upholding our culture. You are making Denver proud today.”

    Most participating DPS teachers have spent the past two months introducing Shakespeare to their students and creating live performances through auditioning, rehearsals, text analysis and costume-building. Studies have shown that studying Shakespeare improves students’ literacy and literary skills, especially in a district like DPS, where more than 50 percent speak English as a second language.

    “This experience gives them the opportunity to really dig into Shakespeare’s words and find emotions and character motivations and storylines,” said Jacqueline Smilack, a journalist and fourth-year English teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School. And for those who speak English as a second language, she said, “Shakespeare is the great equalizer. Everyone comes into it on the same page.” A team from Denver School of the Arts presented a scene from Romeo and Juliet with two students performing in English and two others in Spanish.

    (Story continues under the photo gallery)

    Full photo gallery: 2017 DPS Shakespeare Festival

    2017 DPS Shakespeare Festival

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. Photos may be downloaded and shared with credit to the DCPA NewsCenter. 



    Alix Gonzalez, 15-year-old sophomore from North High School, performed Friday in her third festival, dating back to middle school. “I love it because it gets me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “Speaking in old English stretches your confidence as an actor because of how big you have to go to do Shakespeare.”

    Watch our Facebook Live stream from the parade

    Each year, DPS students submit essays for the privilege to play William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I in the welcoming ceremonies, and ride at the head of a short parade from the 16th Street Mall to the Denver Performing Arts Complex. This year’s honorees were Denver North High School Senior Vincent Haney and Denver School of the Arts senior Amelia Corrada, who has been accepted into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Haney said he was speechless and euphoric when he learned he had been selected to speak as The Bard.

    Story: Where do those 5,000 costumes come from?

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festival“Theatre is the voice of our people,” Haney said as Shakespeare. “And today, our message is as strong as ever. Today, we keep the arts alive. Today we triumph over hatred, over grief and over despair. Today we sing, today we dance, today we act.”

    Corrada said Shakespeare remains timely because “the themes of Shakespeare’s plays are the same themes we are living through in our country right now. Through his verse, he exposes us to the very truth and nature of friendship, magic, betrayal, war and even love in all its forms. It's totally relevant.”

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalSmilack admitted that Shakespeare can be intimidating for first-time students, and they are not alone. “It can be intimidating for teachers, too,” she said. Because many teachers are not specifically trained in teaching or interpreting the Shakespeare canon, she said, “This exercise gives teachers good perspective on what our students are going through.”

    Now in its fourth decade, the DPS Shakespeare Festival’s bloodlines go back for generations. Acclaimed singer and actor Mary Louise Lee (Hancock’s wife), performed in the festival as a student at Thomas Jefferson High School. The First Lady has made restoring arts-education programs in schools her top priority since founding her nonprofit, Bringing Back the Arts. John F. Kennedy High School Drama Director Tim Boyles, who brought a fresh group of festival participants this year, performed in the festival when he himself was a student at JFK.

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalNot all of the performances on Friday were by students. A team of DCPA Education Teaching Artists presented a 45-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that they perform at schools statewide in and around a beat-up old pickup truck as part of the “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” program. All costumes and props come from the back of the truck – so, for example, floor mats are used as a wall, and an ice-scraper is used as a sword to depict a suicide.

    This is the DCPA’s third year partnering with Denver Public Schools and the DPS Foundation to present the festival. “We provided workshops, we judged auditions, we opened our doors and we offer financial support to 4,000 students from across Denver to participate in this event,” said President and CEO Janice Sinden. “We do that because the DCPA knows arts education improves academic success, produces leaders and cultivates creativity. Plus, it’s fun.”

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalDance Legend Cleo Parker Robinson, a graduate of the Denver Public Schools who created Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 47 years ago, brought two of her company members to perform a short excerpt from their current offering, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet layered with scenes from George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (through May 7 at 119 Park Avenue West.)

    “It's thrilling to see students of all backgrounds and ages be introduced to the magic of theatre in this way,” said Robinson. “Our presence here today is meant to show these young students that Shakespeare can be expressed through the word, through music – and also through the ballet of Prokofiev.”

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festivalThe Grand Marshal of this year’s parade was Deputy Director of Denver Arts and Venues Ginger White Brunetti, who heads the city’s Imagine 2020 arts program.

    While students were free to perform from any of Shakespeare’s works, this year’s featured title was Much Ado About Nothing. But in the words of DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, “Today there is going to be much ado about something.” 

    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. This is his 16th year covering the DPS Shakespeare Festival.


    2017-dps-shakespeare-festival

    Our 2017 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2016 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    2017-dps-shakespeare-festival
    TO SEE MORE PHOTOS, CLICK ON THE GALLERY AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.
  • 'Frozen' tickets: Don't get scammed on Monday

    by John Moore | Apr 27, 2017

    John Ekeberg. Frozen


    Here's how to freeze out the third-party price-gougers
    when Frozen tickets go on sale to the public May 1

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Yovani PinaAnyone who has attended a Denver Broncos game and passed dozens of ticket scalpers outside Mile High Stadium hawking tickets at well above face value knows that re-selling sports and entertainment tickets is big business. But how big? according to Northcoast Research, it's a $5 billion annual industry.  

    "This is a worldwide problem," said John Ekeberg, Executive Director of DCPA Broadway. At the Denver Center, "the more popular the show is, the bigger the problem."

    And shows don't get much bigger than Disney's highly anticipated pre-Broadway engagement of Frozen in Denver. With tickets going on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, this is both "buyer beware" and "buyer be aware" time for all potential consumers.

    "We have safeguards in place to try to keep tickets in the hands of those people who actually want to attend our performances," said Yovani Pina, DCPA Associate Vice President of Technology. But he and his team are in a constant race against technological advances that help the secondary brokers get their hands on tickets they procure solely to re-sell for big profits.

    Here are some tips to keep you from being scammed on Frozen tickets, and how you can make your purchasing experience go as smoothly as possible on Monday:

     7 tips to keep you from being scammed on Frozen tickets

    NUMBER 1The Denver Center's web site at DenverCenter.Org is the only authorized online ticket provider for Frozen. Do not buy from any other online source. You will pay more on any other site. Look for the Denver Center logo at the top of the page. Make certain that you see "denvercenter.org" in your URL. Don't be fooled by sites with URLs that might even include official-looking words like "buelltheatre" in the web address. It's all a ploy to make you believe you are buying from an official site, when you aren't. Bottom line: On Monday, just remember "DenverCenter.Org."



    NUMBER 2When you buy tickets from the official seller, such as DenverCenter.Org, you are assigned an exact section, row and seat number – and your place is guaranteed. (See below.) A broker might only be able to give you a general sense of where you might be seated. If your ticketing outlet does not issue you an exact section, row and seat number, then you are dealing with a broker – and your seat is not guaranteed. 

    YovaniAny legitimate ticket purchased from the Denver Center tells you your exact seat, as shown above. Oftentimes brokers can't do that - because they don't have their hands on any tickets yet.


    NUMBER 3Frozen tickets start at $25, and the top regular ticket price, as of May 1, will be $115 (plus fees). So if any seller asks you for more than $115 (plus fees), something is probably wrong.

    DCPA's Yovani Pina talks tickets tips with 9News' Jeremy Jojola


    NUMBER 4For this show only, the Denver Center will only be mailing tickets directly to patrons. "Print at Home" will not be a ticketing option for Frozen - purely as a safeguard to cut down on potential fraud. So if any seller wants to email you tickets as a PDF to download, print and take to the theatre, know that it's a fake.



    NUMBER 5If you plan to buy tickets to Frozen online on Monday, here's a helpful tip: Create your DCPA ticket-buying account today, so that your buying experience goes more quickly on the big day. Here's where to do it.



    NUMBER 6If you already have a DCPA ticket-buying account, know your password. Test it today so that, if necessary, you can change or verify it now so you won't have any trouble purchasing tickets quickly on Monday.



    NUMBER 7Don't assume a lack of ticket availability. Even though Frozen is expected to be a high-demand show, "We are going to have a lot of tickets to sell on denvercenter.org," DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg says. "People should not just assume that if they miss the first day sales that they are going to have to buy off the secondary market. Try DenverCenter.Org first." 



    The problem explained in greater detail:
    How much difference does it make where you buy your Frozen tickets? Consider that  third-party online ticket brokers already are offering tickets to Frozen for more than $500 - more than four times the highest face value - and they don't even have their hands on any tickets yet, because individual seats do not go on sale to the public until Monday.

    One online broker already is offering tickets to Hamilton in Denver in 2018 - another show that has not gone on-sale yet - for an astonishing $3,030 a seat. Potential customers searching the web today for tickets to either of those hot shows might encounter similarly outrageous prices and think the Denver Center is gouging them - only it isn't the Denver Center that is doing the gouging.

    Wait: Isn't ticket scalping illegal in Denver?
    On the federal level, there is no law criminalizing the re-sale of tickets above face value. Ticket scalping is illegal in the City and County of Denver - which includes some parts of Littleton, Westminster and Aurora. In some surrounding counties, the practice is legal, for now. It is important to remember though, that even if you purchase a ticket at an inflated price from an internet broker, you are not allowed to re-sell that ticket for higher than the value written on the ticket in Denver.

    How can brokers sell tickets they don't have?
    So how do these brazen broker sites put tickets on sale before they even have them in hand? "Essentially they are making promises to their buyers in the certainty that, one way or another, they will get their hands on enough tickets to satisfy their demand," Ekeberg said. Bottom line, said Pina: They are gambling. And they are betting the house.

    So how do brokers get their hands on real tickets to sell?
    Ticket brokers employ "bots" that can access legit online ticket providers such as DenverCenter.Org and TicketMaster.Com. "Bots" are programmed to mimic an actual human user like you, using a program that can zip through the ticket-buying process much more quickly than you can. The DCPA has safeguards in place to weed these "bots" out. One powerful "anti-bot" tool is CAPTCHA, which has largely rendered "bot" software ineffective. But brokers are responding by hiring hundreds of actual humans to man server banks whenever high-demand tickets go onsale. The DCPA attempts to minimize the success of these planted broker-buyers by limiting every sale to eight tickets per account. Another safeguard: The Denver Center does not allow a single credit-card to be used from multiple computers. Still, Ekeberg acknowledges, the brokers will successfully amass an inventory of tickets. Just how many, though, is not currenty measureable.

    Now that they have their tickets, how do they fool you into buying them?
    Frozen screengrabThird-party ticket-sellers set out to fool you into thinking you are buying from an official website when you aren't. One of the most common mistakes buyers make, Pina said, is trusting a Google search to send them to the right place. For example, if you search "Frozen tickets Denver," the first two options you will see are actually paid ads from third-party ticket brokers. The official denvercenter.org outlet comes up fifth. (See the example above and right.)

    "Most folks hear about a show like Frozen on TV or the radio, and they go to Google to buy," Pina said. "But most consumers aren't trained to notice that the first few options are paid advertisements. Take a second to look at your screen. These are sites that pay big money to look like the Denver Center when they are not. And if you click one of the wrong sites, you are going to find a ticket broker who is selling a $70 ticket for $500."

    What to do? Those who start at denvercenter.org will not have a problem. But those using Google should scroll down and see the Denver Center option. Denvercenter.org is the only place you can buy tickets at face value.

    If the tickets are real, does it really matter who I buy from?
    Beyond the obvious price inflation, consider this: The Denver Center communicates essential information to its customers before and after every performance. If you purchase tickets from a broker or any third party, you aren't in the Denver Center database. So the Denver Center cannot, for example, re-print or replace your lost or stolen tickets. It is also has no way to contact you about time changes, weather alerts, parking or other news.

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Frozen: At a glance:
    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.

    Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    Aug. 17 through Oct. 1, 2017
    Buell Theatre
    Sales to groups of 10 or more here

    MORE INFO

    Ticket information for Denver:
    Single tickets for the pre-Broadway engagement of Frozen will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, May 1. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen


    'Frozen' principal casting. Top row, from left: Caissie Levy, Patti Murin and Jelani Alladin.
    Bottom row, from left: Greg Hildreth, John Riddle and Robert Creighton.

  • Video, photos: Your first look at the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Secret Garden'

    by John Moore | Apr 27, 2017
    Video: Your first look at the DCPA Theatre Company's The Secret Garden:



    Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic blossoms anew as a stage musical opening Friday at the Denver Center's Stage Theatre. Here is your first look at the production in video (above) and photos (below.)

    Secret Garden. Kate Marilley, Stephen Cerf, Photo Credit: AdamsVisCom.The Secret Garden
    is the classic story of Mary Lennox, the sickly and unloved 10-year-old born in India to wealthy British parents. When her mother and father are lost to the cholera epidemic, Mary is doomed to a life of isolation with her uncle in England - until she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden and becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.

    The book and lyrics are written by Marsha Norman; the music is by Lucy Simon; and the DCPA staging is directed by Jenn Thompson and Gregg Coffin (music).. The DCPA Theatre Company production plays through May 28 in the Stage Theatre.

    (Pictured right: Kate Marilley and Stephen Cerf of the company from 'The Secret Garden.'  Photo Credit: AdamsVisCom.)

    Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Photos by Adams VisCom. To see more, simply click the "forward" arrow on the image below.

    Photo Gallery: 'The Secret Garden' production images:

    The Secret Garden- 2016-17 Theatre Company Season

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Secret Garden: Ticket information
    The Secret Garden
    The beloved classic blossoms anew in this enchanting musical full of beautiful melodies. When young Mary uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.
    Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman; music by Lucy Simon;
    based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    April 21-May 28
    Stage Theatre
    Denver Performing Arts Complex
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


    Previous coverage of The Secret Garden:

    Five things we learned at first rehearsal
    Five things we learned at Perspectives
    2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

  • In the Spotlife: Tamara Meneghini of 'The Testament of Mary'

    by John Moore | Apr 27, 2017
    Tamara Menegheni
     


    MEET TAMARA MENEGHINI
    Tamara Menegheni, an Associate Professor in the University of Colorado's Department of Theatre and Dance, plays Mary in Goddess Here Productions' one-woman production of  The Testament of Mary through May 13.

  • Tamara MenegheniHometown: Denver
  • Home now: Louisville
  • High school: Douglas County High School
  • College: BFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Elizabeth in Elizabeth I – In Her Own Words, which was was presented as part of the Shakespeare First Folio national tour
  • Twitter-sized bio: I'm a Colorado native who grew up riding horses and raising all kinds of animals in Sedalia. My passion for performance took me across the country until I returned home to Colorado in 2008.
  • Web site: goddesshere.com
  • master classWhat was the role that changed your life? Playing Maria Callas in Master Class three times. Each each time I discover something new and profound about the person behind the persona that causes me to feel so very deeply for her and all who share so much of their soul with others. There are so many layers to the role. Because she was a real person who left such an indelible mark on the world, one can study, listen and learn so much from her about what it means to be an artist and a human. 
  • Ideal scene partner: For several years now I have had the ultimate honor of working with my friend, director, actor and adaptor, Ami Dayan. I have to say that of all my theatre experiences, our collaborations have been the most fulfilling and fun. As an actor, his intensity and ability to play make acting exactly what it should be – a source of connection and abundant joy. I would also love to work with Dame Helen Mirren – her fierce grit, beauty, heart and humor radiate in all of her work. And because we share a bit of an obsession for all things having to do with monarchy, I imagine it would be something to hold court and work with her.
  • What is The Testament of Mary all about? For more than 2,000 years, the mother of Jesus has been silent. The Mary in our play speaks a defiant truth in a voice that is both tender and fierce. This is not the familiar saint – she seeks redemption in sharing her personal version of the truth of her son’s death by writing her own gospel on her own terms. The men are relentless in their attempts to compel her to agree to their memory as the official record of the truth. Mary is immovable as she recounts Jesus’ final days – and his incomparable sacrifice. Mary is grieving an immeasurable loss and is now asking the question: Was it worth it?
  • Tell is about the challenge of playing this role. Even though Mary is considered one of the most well-known characters in literature, she is also one of the least-written about.  The challenge has been to be true to my own interpretation of “this” Mary, in “this” story.  Colm Toibin’s writing is poetic and brilliant, at times difficult, heart-wrenching and powerful. However, deep within its poetry it gets to the heart – and even the humor – of a woman, mother and friend to so many.
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? This play is an opportunity for the audience consider what Mary may have been feeling, questioning, thinking and perhaps even written down, had she been given the chance. We really just want people to open their hearts and share the possibility of her experience. In this time of “alternative facts,” it seems appropriate to be given time and space to wonder and consider our own ideas of what is true or not.
  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I am a rock-star crossing guard for the local elementary school.
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? Never forget to say “thank you.”  I am a huge fan of hand-written notes. In the end, we are all giant composites of all that love that has been shared with us through our lives. Be grateful for it, dammit! 

  • Goddess Here Productions' The Testament of Mary: Ticket information

    • Written by Colm Toibin
    • Presented by Goddess Here Productions
    • Directed by Ami Dayan
    • April 27 through May 13
    • Performances in the Carsen Theatre at the Dairy Arts Center
    • Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    • Tickets $18-24 ($15 for students)
    • For tickets or information, call 303-444-7328 or the dairy.org

    Performance schedule:
    • 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27
    • 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 29
    • 6 p.m., Sunday, April 30
    • 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 5
    • 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6
    • 2 p.m., Sunday, May 7
    • 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 8
    • 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 12
    • 4 p.m., Saturday, May 13

    Cast list:

    • Tamara Meneghini a Mary

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet Emily K. Harrison of She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport's The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre's The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Heather Lacy of the Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Rebekah Ortiz of The Robber Bridegroom
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Lauren Shealy of Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
    Meet Jane Shirley of The Avenue's Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Marc Stith of Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
    Meet Peter Trinh of the Aurora Fox's Chinglish
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

  • Five things we learned about 'The Secret Garden' at Perspectives

    by John Moore | Apr 25, 2017
    Photo gallery: The making of The Secret Garden in Denver:

    'The Secret Garden' in Denver

    Perspectives is a series of panel discussions held just before the first public performance of each DCPA Theatre Company staging. 'The Secret Garden' panel included actors Liam Ford (Dickon), Nancy Johnston (Mrs. Medlock) and Daniel Plimpton (Lieutenant Shaw); Music Director Gregg Coffin; Scenic Designer Wilson Chin; and Choreographer Patricia Wilcox. The moderator was Litetary Associate Chad Henry. To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    A melancholy mother, a feral Dickon and a necessarily
    athletic pit of busy musicians


    By John Moore

    Senior Arts Journalist

    Here are five things we learned about the DCPA Theatre Company's upcoming production of The Secret Garden at Perspectives, held April 21 in the Jones Theatre:

    NUMBER 1 A Secret Garden 340Frances Hodgson Burnett, who wrote The Secret Garden in 1911, suffered from depression for most of her life, which in her time was called “melancholia.” Her depression worsened when her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1890. That spurred her interest in Christian Science, which asserted that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone. Her depression and her interest in Christian Science greatly informed her famous novel. “It's not ever spoken of directly,” said Scenic Designer Wilson Chin, “but it’s all over the novel in terms of Mary’s need to be outside and avoid dark places.” Christian Scientists believe that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected not by medicine but by prayer.

    DCPA expands captioning pilot program for deaf audiences

    NUMBER 2Burnett is of course best-remembered for having written The Secret Garden, but the enduring book was not celebrated during Burnett's lifetime, and at the time paled in popularity compared to her now largely forgotten Little Lord Fauntleroy. In fact, none of the author's obituary notices even mentioned The Secret Garden at all.

    NUMBER 3Nancy Johnston (pictured above), who played Mrs. Winthrope in the original Broadway production of The Secret Garden and is here in Denver playing the housekeeper Mrs. Medlock, brought her Broadway show jacket from 1991 to show the audience. Johnston was with the inaugural production from its earliest workshop days. “The minute it started being talked about as a Broadway show, eyes would light up,”  Johnston said. “We watched how people wept and laughed and took this wonderful story to heart. It was a wonderful experience.” And while generations of pre-teen girls have gravitated to Burnett’s source novel, Johnston said the musical stage adaptation is much more than a young girl’s story. “It's about big stuff like loss, redemption, forgiveness and acceptance,” she said. Chin added that while children are naturally drawn to The Secret Garden, “It's also a very adult story.”

    NUMBER 4Chin has created a set for Denver audiences that plays with proportion to emphasize that the story revolves around an 11-year-old girl who never leaves the stage. “I wanted the world of the play to be large and operatic, so everything is scaled to make this little girl look and feel as scared and hopeless as possible before she finds redemption at the end,” said Chin. He describes the world he has created as fluid and atmospheric to match the mood of the story, which shifts over time from dark and oppressive to lightness and life. “The Secret Garden is about all the things I love about the theatre – sadness, grief and despair,” Chin said with a laugh. “But it’s also about life and hope and optimism. You have to dig deep into the sadness before you can come back up again. That makes the story that much richer. So my design was all about making sure those two extremes are portrayed.”


    'The Secret Garden' orchestra at sitzprobe, the first rehearsal where the musicians and actors come together to run the show. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click on the photo gallery at the top of this page.

    NUMBER 5

    The orchestra will feature 10 live musicians, making this the DCPA Theatre Company’s largest pit in five years. But that’s 10 people doing the job that 21 musicians handled in the original Broadway production. “This is a very athletic pit of musicians, because they cover the same ground,”  said Music Director Gregg Coffin, who began his preparations months ago by singlehandedly learning the parts all 21 musicians played in the Broadway production, instrument by instrument. “That way I could see what needed to be culled because it was ornamental, and what had to be compensated for because the actors absolutely have to hear it on the stage,” Coffin said. And if an essential sound happened to be written for an instrument that was no longer present in Coffin's smaller musician pool, he added, “Then I needed to find other instruments that could do it. Our musicians are playing a lot more music than the original ones did, and I am incredibly proud of that group of 10 down there.”

    Bonus: One extra seed to plant

    Actor Liam Forde, who plays Dickon, has never performed in a professional musical before now, “so I am kind of freaking out about it,” he said to laughs. In the source book, Dickon is Martha’s 12-year-old brother. Here, Forde’s Dickon is 17 “and basically feral,” he said. “Dickon spends days and days without ever going inside. He not only talks to the animals but he has some animalistic qualities about himself. Even in the book, Dickon says, 'I think I might be part-bunny.’ ” To which castmate Daniel Plimpton responded: “As is Liam.”

    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.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Secret Garden: Ticket information
    The Secret Garden
    The beloved classic blossoms anew in this enchanting musical full of beautiful melodies. When young Mary uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.
    Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman; music by Lucy Simon;
    based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    April 21-May 28
    Stage Theatre
    Denver Performing Arts Complex
    303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

     

    Previous coverage of The Secret Garden:
    Five things we learned at first rehearsal

    The Secret Garden: Cast List (alphabetical order)

    • Jefferson Behan: Swing
    • Elizabeth Broadhurst: Rose/Understudy Lily
    • Carey Rebecca Brown: Lily
    • Stephen Cerf: Major Holmes
    • Brandon Contreras: Albert Lennox/Understudy Neville Craven
    • Liam Forde: Dickon
    • Jay Garcia: Fakir
    • Michael Halling: Dr. Neville Craven/Understudy Archibald Craven
    • Adam Heller: Ben Weatherstaff
    • Anakeesta Ironwood: Understudy Mary Lennox
    • Nancy Johnston: Mrs. Medlock
    • Avi Levin: Understudy Colin
    • Zoe Manarel: Mary Lennox
    • Kate Marilley: Alice/Mrs. Winthrop/Understudy Mrs. Medlock/Understudy Martha
    • Sean Palmer: Archibald Craven
    • Daniel Plimpton: Lt. Shaw/Understudy Dickon
    • Sean Reda: Colin Craven
    • Erin Rubico: Swing
    • Regina Steffen: Ayah
    • Emily Walton: Martha
    • Erin Willis: Claire Holmes/Jane/Understudy Rose Lennox

    Creative team:

    • Director: Jenn Thompson
    • Music Director: Gregg Coffin
    • Choreographer: Patricia Wilcox
    • Scenic Designer: Wilson Chin
    • Costume Designer: David Toser
    • Lighting Designer: Philip S. Rosenberg
    • Sound Designer: Zach Williamson
    • Projection Designer: Topher Blair
    • Voice and Dialect: Kathryn G. Maes
    • Dramaturg: Stephanie Prugh

    DSA students join 25th anniversary Secret Garden concert

  • Breakin' Convention to kick off Denver Arts Week in November

    by John Moore | Apr 25, 2017
    Breakin' Convention

    Photos from 'Breakin' Convention.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    By The DCPA NewsCenter

    Breakin' Convention, Sadler’s Wells Theatre's critically acclaimed international hip-hop dance theatre festival, will take over the The Buell Theatre and the surrounding Denver Performing Arts Complex the weekend of Nov. 4-5, it was announced today. The party will kick off Denver Arts Week, which runs throughout the city from Nov 3-11. Events will include a special student matinee at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. Tickets are on sale now at 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.

    Please be advised that denvercenter.org is the only authorized online ticket provider for Breakin' Convention in Denver. Ticket-buyers who purchase tickets from a broker or any third party should be aware that DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

    BREAKIN CONVENTION. Jonzi D. Photo by Paul HampartsoumianSadler’s Wells Theatre, located in London, is renowned as one of the world's leading dance venues. Breakin' Convention is the world's biggest festival of hip-hop dance theatre showcasing the best from around the world and around the corner. Curated and hosted by U.K. hip-hop pioneer Jonzi D, this is weekend will be filled with exceptional performances from world champion b-boy crews to cutting-edge street-dance companies live on stage and taking over the whole building. Events will include dance workshops, graffiti, DJs and freestyle sessions. 

    (Pictured above right: Jonzi D. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumian.)

    Jonzi D is the founder and Artistic Director of Jonzi D Projects and Breakin' Convention. A dancer, spoken-word artist and director, he is the foremost advocate for hip hop who has changed the profile and influenced the development of the U.K. British hip-hop dance and theatre scene over the past two decades.

    Breakin' Convention includes four international companies*:

    • Yeah Yellow (France) - An explosive b-boy crew from France, YY brings agility, creativity and invention to the BC stage. Bodies create orifices to dive through, and reform physical shapes with muscular alchemy. Recently performed at BOTY16.
    • Protocol (U.K.) - Lanre Malouda directs as well as performs in this duet that explores racial dynamics. Popping and tutting techniques, as well as text and physical theatre is used to present ideas that reflect the tensions in our community today.
    • Salah (France) - A living legend in the world of hip hop dance, Salah returns to the Breakin’ Convention stage after an eight year hiatus. This consummate performer is a master popper, locker, b-boy, clown and all round entertainer. Known for his amazing battle abilities, Salah will present his theatre piece The Sickness.
    • Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) - From the most notorious township on the African continent comes the Soweto Skeleton Movers. The audience highlight of Breakin’ Convention 2016 returns with a brand new show. Experts in a particular form of pantsula dance developed by Skeleton Mover pioneer Jabulani, the crew use comedic contortionism, frenetic footwork, and magical hat tricks. 

    *International companies subject to change


    Breakin' Convention
    local artist auditions:

    Dancers, Graff Writers, DJ’s, Emcees, Rappers and Beatboxers are invited to audition from 4-10 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education, 1101 13th St. Audition submission forms will be accepted from June 5-18. Visit denvercenter.org/BreakinConvention for more information.

    BREAKIN CONVENTION. Project Soul. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumain.Project Soul. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumain.
  • Hurlyburly of nation's largest student Shakespeare Festival returns Friday

    by John Moore | Apr 24, 2017

    Our video report from the 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival, which was considerably sunnier than last year's event. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    In Shakespeare's world, clothes make the man. Here's how they will make (but not break) 5,000 Denver students on Friday.

    By John Moore
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist

    Friday’s 33rd annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival is expected to draw 5,000 students in adorable Shakespearean garb to perform more than 600 scenes and sonnets in theatres and tents and crannies all around the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Which, when you think about it, is a whole lot of Shakespearean garb. And garb ain’t cheap.

    But it can be.

    2016 DPS Shakespeare FestivalIn these tight times, some schools provide teachers with modest funding for the semester-long classroom project, culminating in the oldest and largest student Shakespeare festival in the country. And for this festival, bona fide costumes are mandatory. Over the years, some DPS teachers have been known to dip into their own pockets to help the costume cause, while others have simply had to go it alone.

    Steele Elementary School teacher Lane Miller is grateful not to be among them. He’s rallied an entire village of students, parents, school-district officials and members of the DCPA Education staff to help his students prepare for Friday’s festivities.

    “I really haven't ever raised money for the festival,” said Miller. “I think one thing DPS teachers need to know is where you can get the help you need. I have a key parent who orders T-shirts, occasionally helps with rehearsals, created our signs and helps with logistics at the festival.”

    Miller also called the DCPA for help with costume tips on a limited budget, and Costume Design Associate Meghan Anderson Doyle and At-Risk Coordinator Rachel Taylor responded by fashioning a free “Costuming on the Cheap” workshop at Steele Elementary that was attended by 160 parents and students on Feb. 23. The DCPA staffers got the children thinking about how you can spark costume creativity just by grabbing an old T-Shirt.

    “The goal of the workshop was to reinvent contemporary clothes from your closet or the thrift store as costumes that can help the students tell their stories,” said Doyle. “We wanted to make the experience kid-centered and the costumes kid-created without breaking the bank.”

    DPS Shakespeare Festival 2016
    The 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival parade from the 16th Street Mall to the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Taylor and Doyle eased the potential intimidation of students and parents finding or crafting Shakespearean costumes by removing sewing from the equation altogether. “We made ruffs out of coffee filters, doublets out of T-Shirts and shoelaces, and togas for Julius Caesar out of pillow cases,” Doyle said.  

    DPS Shakespeare Festival QUOTEMiller said the workshop was amazing. He also credited Beau Augustin, the Dance and Theatre Arts Instructional Curriculum Specialist for Denver Public Schools, as well as its district-wide costume department, led by Costume Shop Specialist Jean Benson, for their assistance. DPS houses more than 5,000 costumes in different time periods and styles, all of which are available to teachers who need them for the festival, along with a vast selection of accessories. More than 70 DPS schools participate in the festival each year.

    “Jean is the most talented costumer,” Miller said. “I have ordered more then 180 costumes from her for the festival before. This year, I only ordered a measly 80. All of our third-graders will be in costumes supplied by her.

    But the responsibility for costumes, and really all things DPS Shakespeare Festival, begins with the students themselves, Miller said. 

    "Our fourth- and fifth-graders create their own costumes, research their own characters and block their own scenes,” he said. "You can do it with a lot of help or very little. But knowing and utilizing your resources is key. The help is out there.”

    DPS Shakespeare FestivalThis will be the Denver Center’s third year co-presenting the festival with Denver Public Schools. DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous, a past Grand Marshal of the pre-festival parade, thinks the entire experience is an opportunity for the students to take pride in all they have invested in the project.

    “These schools have been working really hard on their scenes for months, and so the festival becomes a day of celebration," Watrous said. "They have gone through an audition process; they have memorized their lines; they have created their costumes. And now they get to walk in the parade through downtown Denver. You can feel the excitement from the moment they come off the school bus. Then they get to perform on our stages and get adjudicated by experts who provide helpful feedback and awards.

    "It is a great day because we are celebrating as individual classes, as individual schools, as the largest school district in the state and we are celebrating as a city. That's awesome.”

    DPS Shakespeare FestivalDPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg says studying Shakespeare in the classroom is itself a rich lesson in literature, culture, language and politics. “But having the opportunity to act in a production of Shakespeare’s works at a world-class venue like the Denver Center takes those lessons a step further," he said, "giving students a chance to experience the thrill and personal rewards of creative expression, which is such a critical part of a well-rounded education."

    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.

    33rd Annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival

    • 10 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies will be held at 15th and Arapahoe streets
    • 10:15 a.m.: All students will join a short parade down the 16th Street Mall to the Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • 10:45 a.m. through 4:15 p.m.: Short performances of sonnets and scenes from the works of Shakespeare, as well as demonstrations of dance, music and songs from Shakespeare’s time.
    • Ages: Kindergarten through high school
    • This year’s theme play: Much Ado About Nothing
    • More information on auditioning, workshops and resources for educators: shakespeare.dpsk12.org

    Photo gallery: The 2016 DPS Shakespeare Festival:

    2016 DPS Shakespeare Festival

    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos may be downloaded and recirculated with source attribution. Click on any photo to download.

    Our 2016 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2015 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

    Our 2014 DPS Shakespeare Festival coverage

  • In the Spotlife: Emily K. Harrison of 'She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange'

    by John Moore | Apr 22, 2017

    Emily K. Harrison is a lecturer in theatre for the University of Colorado Department of Theatre and Dance. She is also the founder of square product theatre.  


    MEET DR. EMILY K. HARRISON
    Amy in square product theatre's She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange

  • Hometown: Kilgore, Texas, located 70 miles west of Shreveport, La.
  • Home now: Longmont
  • College: B.A. from Emerson College (Boston); MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design (Ga.); PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Emily K. Harrison COCKROACHWhat have you done for us lately? I played The Aunt in square product theatre's This Aunt is Not a Cockroach
  • What's next? I will be playing JonBenet Ramsey in Gregory S. Moss’ House of Gold for square product theatre
  • Why is your square product theatre company spelled in lower-case? To place the focus on the work we make, rather than on any one name or personality.
  • Twitter-sized bio: I love cats. And tacos. I have a lot of anxiety about my choices. Including the choice to tell everyone I love cats and tacos. But: first thought, best thought. Or something.
  • What's your handle? @emilykharrison on Instagram and Twitter
  • What was the role that changed your life? I played Tiger in SLAB, which is a show I spent about five years developing with my friend Gleason Bauer. It changed my life in many ways. The piece was adapted from the novel by Selah Saterstrom. When one has such great source material, and when the creation process is lengthy, there’s so much more space to go deep. We weren’t working on it consistently for five years, of course, but it was incredible to live with that character for so long; to get to know her in ways I don’t usually have time for when working on a play. She lived in the back of my mind, whispering things to me for years before the show premiered. She’s a character who lives in such desperate poverty, and who still manages to have so much hope. It’s also the most challenging role I’ve ever played. I just love her. 
  • brenda withersIdeal scene partner: I’d really like to work with my friend Brenda Withers (pictured right) at some point. She’s probably best-known for co-writing the comedy Matt & Ben with Mindy Kaling, but she’s also a very good, smart actor, and I think we’d have fun together. I could use this opportunity to meet someone new, but that fills me with anxiety, and there are so many great actors I actually know that I’ve never had a chance to work with. So I’m sticking with Brenda. Maybe we could make something new together. Speaking of making something original: I just can’t get enough of Michelle Ellsworth's work. I would be so, so interested in understanding how her brain works. Her work just blows my mind. It’s like nothing I’ve seen before anywhere.
  • Emily K. Harrison quoteWhat is She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange all about? So many things. It’s about public persona vs. private reality – the masks we put on to hide our truth – and what it takes for those masks to crack. It’s about relationships. It’s about gender dynamics. It’s a commentary on patriarchal systems and privilege. It’s about personal responsibility. It’s about the Global Financial Crisis. It’s about dogs.
  • What do you love about this play? It really straddles the line between realism and absurdism, which is great fun, but is also a great challenge. Amy is in some respects a very different person than the Emily I present most of the time. Her values are very different than mine, though I do understand where she’s coming from on a lot of fronts. She’s not a facet of my personality that I show very often, and that’s been fun to play with. She’s smart, and she’s worked hard to get to where she is, but she presents a self-assuredness and a confidence that is challenging for me, especially in relationship to the other characters.

  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? The play reveals the cyclical nature of destruction wrought by American capitalism in some respects. It’s a timely play and I think it’s a warning – or a plea to break the cycles that keep driving us towards “newer,” “bigger,” “more.” So I hope people walk away thinking about how greed and oppression dominate so much of our culture – and how these cycles dehumanize us and how our prioritization of the individual over the good of the community will be our undoing. ... But also: I hope they laugh. It’s a comedy!
  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I love being at home. Like, if I could just stay at home most days, I would.
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? Feminism is good for everybody. Every. Body. I’m happy to chat with anybody who isn’t so sure. I think we should all chat more. There’s a lot of yelling. There are a lot of assumptions. We’re all guilty of that behavior. But I’m convinced that feminism is good for everybody, that we’re all doing the best we can, that we can all do better, and that two or more things can be true at once. Let’s chat.

  • From left: Michelle Moore, Jihad Milhem and Emily K. Harrison in 'She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange.'


    square product's She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange: Ticket information

    At a glance: In a “nice” New England park, on a “nice” New England street, two “nice” New England couples try very, very hard to be “nice” to each other, as the crippling Global Financial Crisis gallops into town. This new play is an absurdly funny, poignant and terrifying ride through downsized, foreclosed America.

    • Written by Amelia Roper
    • Presented by square product theatre company
    • Directed by Niki Tulk
    • April 21 through May 28
    • Performances in the Carsen at the Dairy Arts Center
    • Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    • Tickets $18-24 ($15 for students)
    • For tickets or information, call 303-440-7826 or the dairy.org

    Remaining performance schedule:
    • 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22
    • 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 28
    • 4 p.m., Saturday, April 29
    • 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 1 (all seats $15)
    • 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 3
    • 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4
    • 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 6
    • 6 p.m., Sunday, May 7
    • 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 11
    • 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13

    Cast list:

    • Emily K. Harrison
    • Andrew Horsford
    • Jihad Milhem
    • Michelle Moore

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre's Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage's August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport's The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre's The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse's A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Heather Lacy of the Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Rebekah Ortiz of The Robber Bridegroom
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center's Bus Stop
    Meet Lauren Shealy of Lone Tree Arts Center's Evita
    Meet Jane Shirley of The Avenue's Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Marc Stith of Benchmark Theatre's The Nether
    Meet Peter Trinh of the Aurora Fox's Chinglish
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

  • Search process for new DCPA Artistic Director unveiled

    by John Moore | Apr 20, 2017

    Book of Will. AdamsViscom
    'The Book of Will,' which debuted in January, is poised to become one of the most successful new plays in the nearly 40-year history of the DCPA Theatre Company. Photo by Adams VisCom.


    Denver Center President and CEO Janice Sinden has announced the process by which a replacement will be chosen for Kent Thompson, whose 12-year tenure as Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company ended in March. 

    A 16-member team of DCPA Trustees, Theatre Company employees and DCPA staff has been created to lead the search for Thompson's successor. "This group participated in several listening sessions with Theatre Company staff to assess the characteristics and qualities that are necessary in its next leader. Their input helped establish the organization’s priorities in filling this key position," Sinden said.

    John Haynes Quote Today, Sinden announced that John Haynes, President of Bard Arts Consulting, will lead the search for the new Artistic Director. Haynes is something of a rarity in the field of performing-arts search consultants: He has actually run performing-arts organizations himself. He has been the CEO of Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE) in Bellevue, Wash., and the California Center for the Arts in San Diego. He was also the Executive Director of the University of Notre Dame Performing Arts, and the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis. And he was President of the Western Arts Alliance for eight years.

    Haynes is a native of nearby Santa Fe, N.M. That is relevant to this assignment, he said, "because I think there is much to be said for having an organic understanding of the cultures and traditions of the region. ... I am attuned to the land and the people and the rich cultural tapestry of our cultural life."

    Haynes said he fully understands the significance of the DCPA opening. "This is a humbling process," said Haynes, whose previous careers have included a stint as an executive for CBS Television. "I am personally and fully invested in the process, and wholly accountable for the outcome."   

    Sinden said she was announcing the search process and the Haynes appointment in the interest of inclusiveness and transparency.

    "With a 25-year background as head of prominent performing-arts organizations, including a producing theatre company, John brings a keen insight into the requirements of this position," Sinden said. "He will combine the input of the search committee with additional on-site interviews to develop a position description that clearly identifies the skills, experience, education and leadership style needed to continue the Theatre Company’s success and identify exciting opportunities for its future." 

    Once Haynes completes the position description, he will disseminate it widely; recruit and interview the most highly qualified candidates, and propose a short list of finalists, Sinden said. 

    Sinden said she expects Haynes' search process to take several months, but she said there is no target date for having a new Artistic Director in place because of the likelihood that the final selection may have contractual obligations to honor.

    "We are committed to finding the right person to fulfill the qualities that our team has determined are crucial to the role," Sinden said. "Therefore, we will not rush to select a candidate if he or she does not meet our criteria.

    "We are excited to take the next step in our search and are eagerly awaiting the next act in our company’s future."

    Applications are now being accepted for the DCPA Artistic Director. Interested applicants should review the full job description and submit their materials to info@BardArtsConsulting.com.

  • 'Cult Following: Rated G' brings improv to the 'mini' masses

    by John Moore | Apr 19, 2017
    Cult Following Rated GA scene from 'Cult Following: Decide Your Destiny' in 2015. Next, 'Cult Following' is offering performances geared for third- through fifth-graders. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. 

    The Cult Following actors don’t have to awaken the
    inner child of this audience. They still are their inner child.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    At its best, improv comedy is essentially game night – with a playful audience. A group of highly trained actors perform completely invented scenes driven by audience suggestions. It is unscripted theatre without a net. And when it is done well, the actors behave with the abandon of a third-grader – and their audiences snickering with the abandon of a third-grader.

    Which is what makes professional improv actors – and young audiences – the perfect match. And the Denver Center is doing some matchmaking. Better stated: The Denver Center is arranging a play date.

    Since 2011, Cult Following has been DCPA Off-Center’s signature series of unrehearsed team improv comedy evenings. They feature the fast-talking and quick-thinking talents of some of Denver’s best comic performers typically performing for a pretty cool crowd of generally younger adult audiences.

    But on April 29, and again on May 13, Off-Center and DCPA Education are joining forces for Cult Following: Rated G. Essentially the veteran Cult Following lineup of Jessica Austgen, Sarah Kirwin, Brian McManus, Nanna Sachiko Thompson and Chris Woolf will be creating improvised fairy tales with the help of (ideally) audience of third- through fifth-graders and their families.

    Cult Following Rated G Allison WatrousDCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous says the goal of improv comedy is to get audiences to think like a child, to be willing to play in a sandbox, to think on their feet and laugh at some seriously silly things. The Cult Following actors don’t have to awaken the inner child of this audience. They still are their inner child.

    Watrous emphasizes Cult Following: Rated G is an audience-involved performance, as Off-Center shows always are, but this is not a class teaching young people the basics of improv. (Those kinds of classes are separately available through DCPA Education.)

    “Improv is all about cultivating a sense of play, and all of us were more connected to our sense of play when we were in elementary school,” she said. “As we move through middle school and high school and into adulthood, we are in constant danger of losing that sense of play. Improv comedy is a good reminder for all of us how important play is, and also how productive play is.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The Rated G program, developed by Watrous with Austgen, DCPA Associate Director of Education Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski and Off-Center curator Charlie Miller, will include two mid-week matinees for participating schools coming on field trips. The goal from the start was to create a program that will appeal to educators by complementing their classroom work, especially as it pertains to creative writing and effective storytelling.

    "Educators are really looking for experiences for their students that have real value," Watrous said. "We really wanted to make sure that we are connecting to what English teachers might be covering in their classrooms. We're playing within a form that really teaches the students about story structure, about character, about plot and about story climax. So if I were a teacher in an elementary school, I would be really excited about this opportunity to give their students an amazing, fun time, and yet they leave knowing their writing also just got stronger, their vocabulary also just got stronger and their understanding of literary terms also just got stronger."

    Cult Following Rated G Jessica Austgen and in a previous 'Cult Following' performance. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Cult Following: Rated G

    • 11 a.m. Saturday, April 29: Public performance in the Jones Theatre
    • 11 a.m. Sunday, May 13: Public performance in the Jones Theatre
    • Ticket price: $10
    • Run time approximately 60 minutes
    • Age recommendation: All ages. Designed with families of elementary-school children in mind. Children 4 and over are welcome.
    • Tickets: Teachers or schools. Call 303-446-4829 or email groupsales@dcpa.org. There are two student matinees currently available, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16.
    • Tickets: Public and families: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • In the Spotlife: Heather Lacy of 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'

    by John Moore | Apr 18, 2017
    Heather Lacy. Todd Peckham. John Moore Heather Lacy and Todd Peckham recently sang a song from the Aurora Fox's 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' before a benefit screening of the film for The Denver Actors Fund at Alamo Drafthouse. The stage production opens April 21. Lacy has performed at the DCPA in 'The Doyle and Debbie Show' and 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.' 


    MEET HEATHER LACY
    Heather Lacy plays Bernadette (the Terence Stamp role) in the Aurora Fox's regional premiere stage adaptation of the 1994 cult classic Australian film Priscilla Queen of the Desert. 
  • Hometown: Las Cruces N.M.
  • Home now: Denver ... and loving it
  • College: B.A. In Theater and Music from Colorado State University in Fort Collins
  • What have you done for us lately? Last month I had the joy of playing Rose in Enchanted April at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Twitter-sized bio: Actor, singer, sister, friend, lover of bacon, climber of mountains (because of the bacon), herder of teenagers, owner of YearRound Sound, listener.
  • What's your handle? @heatherlacy35 on Instagram, @yearroundsound on Twitter
  • Heather Lacy. Priscilla Queen of the DesertWhat was the role that changed your life? In my third year of college, I was cast as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and it was a revelation to me. She is such a complicated character. It was such a journey to discover her motivations, and to really truly embrace the idea that every character believes, in the moment, that the choices they are making are the right choices.  
  • Ideal scene partner: I can think of so many but one that comes to mind today is Liev Schreiber. I think he is such a smart, present, genuine actor, with great range.
  • What is Priscilla Queen of the Desert all about? It's about two drag queens and a transgender woman who are contracted to perform a drag show at a resort in a remote town in the Australian desert. They head west, into adventure, on their lavender bus called Priscilla. It is a high-energy romp with lots of glitz and lively music. In the midst of all of this fluff there are touching stories about redemption and second chances.
  • What is the gender identity of your character? Bernadette is a transgender woman -  defined as a person born biologically male, but who identifies as a female. In the past, this role always has been played by a male. In fact, I think we are the first production anywhere to feature a cisgender woman in this role. Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. There was one production in Chicago where Bernadette was played by a transgender woman.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing Bernadette: My challenge is to play Bernadette sincerely, and to give the character both the honesty and wit the role deserves. It is a new challenge, but there is so much to relate to in this lovely woman. Here are just a few relatable thoughts: 1. We all cast off parts of our younger selves - our beliefs, our boundaries, our choices in appearance, etc. - as we discover and become more fully who we each are. We evolve throughout our lives and make changes through the years to, hopefully, become even more genuinely ourselves. Bernadette is no different. 2. We all have experienced moments in our lives when someone has made us feel inferior, not good enough, or even judged. Bernadette is no different. 3. We all want to be loved. Bernadette is no different.
  • What can your casting as Bernadette teach us about gender identity? Perhaps this is a step forward in terms of how we think about all the members of our community. Perhaps in 10 years casting transgender and cisgender women in these roles will be the norm. I think about Jeffrey Tambor's Emmy Award speech, when he urged the TV industry execs to give transgender actors more opportunities, and I wonder what the future will bring. I hope it brings more of us together instead of finding ways for us to judge each other. I know we need each other. I know that much.

  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? I hope the audience walks away with a smile on their faces, a song stuck in their heads, and a greater appreciation for the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. 
  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? I have an identical twin sister. Oh, and when I am home alone, I have full conversations with my dogs.
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? "A lot" is two words. It just is. 😊. No, but seriously: People who are good at what they do are kind. People who are confident in what they do are happy. People who are competent at what they do are pleasant to be around. If you come across a person who is mean, rude, controlling or self-important, run away quickly. Don't waste your life on those people. I have had experience with this, and it has taught me so much about who I want to work with and be surrounded by in my life. Life is too short. Be kind, and surround yourself with kind people!

  • Heather 800 2Part of the cast from the Aurora Fox's 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' before a benefit screening of the film for The Denver Actors Fund at Alamo Drafthouse. Heather Lacy is back and second from the left.  

    Aurora Fox's Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Ticket information

    • Written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott
    • Presented by the Aurora Fox
    • Directed by Eden Lane
    • April 21 through May 28
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays beginning April 30
    • 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
    • Tickets $26-37 ($16 for 12 and under)
    • For tickets or information, call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafox.org

    Cast list:

    • Todd Peckham as Tick/Mitzi
    • Heather Lacy as Bernadette
    • Rob Riney as Adam/Felicia
    • McKayla Marso as Marion/Ensemble
    • Harrison Lyles-Smith as Benji
    • Mark Rubald as Bob
    • Tashara May as Diva
    • Seles VanHuss as Diva
    • Krisangela Washington as Diva
    • Sharon Kay White as Shirley/Ensemble
    • Jenna Moll Reyes as Cynthia/Ensemble
    • Ammon Swofford as Miss Understanding/Ensemble
    • Ensemble: Melissa Morris, Jordan Manchego, Thomas Ilalaole, Michael Barlow,  Jonathan Sharp

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    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.

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