• 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'A Delicate Balance' and 'Once'

    by John Moore | Sep 08, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 9.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: The Edge Theater Company’s A Delicate Balance


    Featured actor in the video above: The inimitable Martha Harmon Pardee introduces Edward Albee in a way only she can. "It's just another little peek at a highly functional, loving American family," she says. 

    • Oct. 6-Nov. 5
    • 1560 Teller St., Lakewood
    Martha Harmon Pardee. A Delicate Balance. Edge Theatre303-232-0363 or go to theedgetheater.com
    • Playwright: Edward Albee
    • Director: Warren Sherrill

    The story: Set in the mid-1960s, Agnes and Tobias, a wealthy, middle-aged couple, are visited by their good friends and neighbors who bring an unclear threat with them to the already precarious household. Emotions are painfully stifled because the agenda is to keep up appearances to ward off the madness.

    But what is it about? In the current socio-political atmosphere, it is more important than ever to not be stale or mediocre. A Delicate Balance explores what happens when we choose to live a life of suppressed emotion and false happiness. A cosmetic wall of politeness can hide the terror of nothingness behind it. (Provided by The Edge Theater Company.)

    Cast list:

    • Agnes Martha Harmon Pardee
    • Tobias: Kevin Hart
    • Claire: Emma Messenger
    • Julia: Maggy Stacy
    • Edna: Abby Apple Boes
    • Harry: Steve Emily


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Midtown Arts Center's Once


    Featured in the video above: Actor, musician and co-Musical Director Barry DeBois. It's different from other musicals because all of the actors on the stage are playing instruments. They are the orchestra."

    • Through  Nov. 11
    • 3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins
    Barry DeBoisCall 970-225-2555 or go to midtownartscenter.com
    Written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (music and lyrics); Enda Walsh (book)
    • Director: Kurt Terrio
    • Music Director: Barry DeBois and Kurt Terrio

    • The story:
    Once features an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, telling the moving tale of a contemporary Dublin street musician who is about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young Czech woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs.

    • But what is it about? Once is a celebration of life and love. It is a romance centering around two individuals who, while culturally different, find that love can blossom in different ways for each of them. It speaks to the power of music to bring divergent world views together. (Provided by the Midtown Arts Center.)

    Cast list:
    Barry DeBois: Guy
    Elena Juliano: Girl
    John Jankow: Da
    John Seaberry: Bank Manager
    Charity Haskins: Reza
    Rebecca Monk: Baruska
    Carl Pariso: Eamon
    Dan Middleditch: Andrej
    Cody Craven: Svec
    Zoe Manloas: Ex-Girlfriend
    Nick Stokes: Billy
    Stella Seaman and Cassidy Terrio: Ivonka

    More creatives:
    Stage Manager: Kyle Dill
    Choreographer: Michael Lasris
    Production Manager and Scenic Design: Mickey Burdick
    Lighting Design: Nicole Kramer
    Sound Design: Corey Hatch
    Costume design: Anthony Mattevi

    Barry DeBois Once Midtown
    The actor/musicians who make up the cast of Midtown Arts Center's Colorado premiere staging of the Broadway musical 'Once.'

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 'Appropriate' a call for America to clean out its bigoted closet

    by John Moore | Sep 07, 2017

    Jamil Jude. Appropriate.


    Curious Theatre's season-opening family drama unearths nation's freshly dug racial skeletons

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Charlottesville didn’t rip open a deep American scab last month. For a scab to be ripped open, it would have had to have time to heal.

    “This is not new. Not to me, anyway,” said DCPA Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett, an African-American woman. “The marching you saw in Charlottesville has been happening every single day of my life. It is only new to eyes that have been willfully blind to it.”

    Appropriate. Curious Theatre. Michael Ensminger. But the festering racial divide that was exposed on the streets of Virginia was given a horrifyingly modern face by the dozens of white supremacists who did not even feel the compunction to cover their heads, as their forebears often did decades before while burning crosses and lynching African-Americans under anonymous hoods and cloaks.

    Jamil Jude, the Associate Artistic Director at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, was in Denver the day James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly plowed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of Virginia pedestrians, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Jude was here rehearsing Curious Theatre Company’s incendiary new family drama Appropriate, which introduces Colorado theatre audiences to rising young playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

    (Pictured above right, from left: Dee Covington, Sean Scrutchins and Erik Sandvold in Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    No one in Colorado knows the MacArthur Genius better than Jude and Garrett, who have a broad range of separate and shared experiences directing his work at theatres around the country.

    Jacobs-Jenkins’ six published plays all address race relations in some way, Garrett said. Neighbors, for example, from a strictly black perspective. An Octoroon from the lens of American history. And Appropriate, which plays at Curious through Oct. 14, from an entirely white lens. And while the three plays do not constitute a trilogy, Jude says, they could serve as one.

    Story continues after the video:

    Featured actor in the video above: Sean Scrutchins of Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.'

    In Appropriate, three adult, estranged siblings descend on a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate. He was a powerful man who graduated at the top of his Harvard law class and was on his way to becoming a Supreme Court justice when he died. But when his children find gruesome Southern artifacts among his belongings, they are forced to question who this man was, and the bigotry they have descended from.

    “This family’s legacy is exactly what marched down the street in Charlottesville, and in Berkeley, and tried to do the same in San Francisco and Boston,” Garrett said.

    Jamil Jude Nataki Garrett Appropriate. Enter, into Denver, the work of Jacobs-Jenkins, whose Neighbors is a scathing satire of black entertainment though an uncouth family of black actors named the Crows who perform in blackface. He rose to national prominence with An Octoroon, a modern riff on Dion Boucicault’s 1859 classic melodrama that makes for a subversive take on race in America then and now.

    (Pictured right: Nataki Garrett and Jamil Jude.)

    “The throughline with all three plays is that in the American zeitgeist, there is this need to have conversations around race in which ‘The Other’ does not exist,” said Garrett, who will be directing Lydia R. Diamond’s racially charged Smart People for the DCPA Theatre Company in October. “So when you say, ‘I am not a racist,’ or, ‘I don't see color,’ that requires ‘The Other’ to not exist. What Branden's plays all suggest is that you can't have one without the other. You cannot live outside of that.”

    To theatre audiences, Appropriate might seem to be a racial incongruity. Jacobs-Jenkins has been hailed as one of the essential new African-American voices in the American theatre. But you won’t see an African-American actor on stage at Curious Theatre. And that, said Jude, is by design. Garrett, who has directed both An Octoroon and Neighbors from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, says that in a metro area like Denver where the population is only 10 percent African-American, it just makes practical sense to introduce audiences to Jacobs-Jenkins’ work with Appropriate.

    Our 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: Appropriate

    Garrett recalls a recent evening attending a local theatre production accompanied by Denver Center CEO Janice Sinden, who is white. “A very nice white woman approached me and asked, ‘How did you get here?’ ” Garrett said. “She didn’t ask Janice that question. She asked me. I didn’t know how to answer her, so I just said, ‘I got into my car and drove here.

    “So you can't just start all the way over there,” Garrett added. “You have to condition all of your audience to be able to sit in that room together. And that means you need a few more plays before you get there.”

    Jude believes Jacobs-Jenkins has plenty to say about race from the perspective of white characters, but he said there is an elephant in the room, and it is most definitely white. “Appropriate will be one of the most-produced plays in America over the next two to three years, and that is absolutely by his design,” he said, “because it is a play that talks about race - and you don't have to hire any people of color to do it.”

    That is not the case at Curious though. Jude said it was important to the company that it hire an African-American to direct the play. And it was important for Jude to bring more people of color inside the creative process. His assistant director is acclaimed area actor Jada Dixon (who will be appearing in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s upcoming The Revolutionists), and he invited in several recent college graduates to assist and learn in various ways.

    Jude assumes and accepts that the majority of his audiences for Appropriate will be white. And given the freshness of Jacobs-Jenkins’ voice, they might be surprised, he said, by just how traditional Appropriate will seem to them, at least in form. This is a classic living-room family drama that Jacobs-Jenkins says he gleefully ripped off in style from Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard and Tracy Letts. Academics call the living-room drama “an inherited form," and borrowing from that form, Jude said, is also by design.

    “When you look at some of the great plays of the past century, the issue of race is so deeply rooted into these characters, even though it is never discussed that way,” he said. “We never go out of our way to say, 'Oh this is a white Southern experience,’ or, ‘This is a white Northern experience.’ We just assume that it is. I think this is Branden’s way of saying, 'I am going to appropriate this form, and I am going to use it to have a deeper conversation with you about race. We're bringing all of that to the table, so you can't circumvent it. You have to embrace it. You have to investigate it.”

    And there is that key word: Appropriate.

    The title of the play is very much a double entendre. There is “appropriate,” as in, “suitable for a given occasion.” And there is the alternately pronounced take on the word meaning “borrowing (or stealing) from a particular person or culture.”

    “This play is definitely, intentionally both,” said Jude. “He's very much saying, ‘This is the conversation I want to have. You all have identified me as a black playwright, and anytime I write something, you say that it is racially charged. Well, then, I am going to use the most American of play forms - the living-room drama - and I am going to have a conversation about whiteness and race using that very form.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    But if a familiarity with the form momentarily lulls the audience into a false sense of comfort, Jude says, just you wait. “He challenges that (bleep) right away," he said. Like two pages into the script.

    "Even as the lights start to go down, you are immediately made to feel slight discomfort that will grow throughout the play, regardless of who you are. I don't know if we ever get comfortable.”  

    Those white supremacists were certainly marching comfortably in Charlottesville last month, “and that’s because Donald Trump has allowed them to feel comfortable,” Jude said. “What needs to be unmasked now are not the names of individual protesters but rather those people who are in positions of real power, especially in the judicial system, who hold these personal prejudices and apply their power in ways that are abusive and unjust. It is the system that is the problem, not the people inside of it.

    “In this play, we see a family that is wrestling with the question, ‘What do I do with the legacy that has been passed down to me?’ And we see them constantly fail to eradicate the system they come from.”

    Jacobs-Jenkins’ plays are a gift to his audiences, Jude said. “He gives audiences a chance to investigate their own family origins and then hopefully inspire them to do something about it,” he said.

    Mare Trevathan and Audrey Graves in Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)“I hope people walk out of this play and then ask their parents deep questions about where they came from and how they were raised,” he said. “I don't feel like we can actually address issues around systemic injustice, police brutality and inequality until we start to clean up our own houses. You have to clean your own closets before you can go somewhere else and start to address it.

    “I hope when people walk out of this play, they really question what is happening in their own families. I hope they say, ‘Uncle Frank says some really sexist stuff. How can I challenge my own sexist ideologies so that I can then challenge Uncle Frank? Then, when my kids see Uncle Frank being sexist, they might not think that's funny.' ”

    Little frustrates Jude more than white friends telling him they just can’t talk to their conservative family members at the holidays.

    “Listen, you are not my ally if you can't talk to your own family member about me at your dinner table,” Jude said. “Because if your family member is racist, or if your family member believes in building a wall on our Southern border, then they are never going to let my black (butt) at their dinner table so that I can try to challenge their notions myself. So, don't tell me you are my ally when you don't fight for me in my stead. If you don't fight for people who look like me, and you choose to pass the buck and hope that somehow, through osmosis, your family members can change, then we are not friends.”

    And until we can engage in those deeper conversations, Garrett said, “We are kind of screwed as a nation.”

    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.

    (Pictured above and right: Mare Trevathan, Rhianna DeVries and Audrey Graves in Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.)

    Appropriate: Ticket information

    • Presented by Curious Theatre Company
    • Sept. 2-Oct. 14
    • 1080 Acoma St.
    • 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org
    • Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

    Cast list:

    • Dee Covington: Toni
    • Erik Sandvold: Bo
    • Mare Trevathan: Rachel
    • Sean Scrutchins: Frank
    • Alec Sarché: Rhys
    • Rhianna DeVries: River
    • Audrey Graves: Cassidy
    • Harrison Lyles-Smith: Ainsley

     Creatives:
    • Jamil Jude: Director
    • Markas Henry: Scenic Designer
    • Kevin Brainerd: Costume Designer
    • Richard Devin: Lightning Designer
    • Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    • Kristin MacFarlane: Props Designer
    • Dane Torbenson: Fight Choreographer
    • Jada Suzanne Dixon: Assistant Director
    • A. Phoebe Sacks: Stage Manager

  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'Pretty Fire' and 'Hi-Hat Hattie'

    by John Moore | Sep 07, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 8.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s Pretty Fire


    Featured actor in the video above: Nina Waters

    • Sept. 15-24
    • At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center
    A Nina Waters Pretty Fire 400970-513-9386 or go to lakedillontheatre.org
    • Playwright: Charlayne Woodard
    • Director: Joshua Blanchard

    The story: Two young sisters navigate life in the 1950s shifting between the dual landscapes of New York and Rosignol Hill, Ga. More than a dozen memorable characters weave together one family’s story forever informed by soulful jazz melodies, integrated classrooms, sizzling smoked sausages and the flickering flames of one burning cross.

    But what is it about? Pretty Fire explores African-American life in the mid-20th century, touching on issues that remain topical in today’s America: Class inequity, individual and institutional racism, and violence against women. Pretty Fire is also an uplifting tale of courage, family and faith that delivers a positive message for anyone struggling with today’s pervading social unrest. (Provided by Lake Dillon Theatre Company.)

    Note: Pretty Fire is part of Lake Dillon's Lab Solo Series and will be performed in its most intimate setting, with a capacity of about 30. Click here to read our coverage of the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center's recent opening.)

    Cast list:

    • Nina Waters as all characters

    Nina Waters Pretty Fire. Lake Dillon.Nina Waters in rehearsal for Lake Dillon Theatre Company's 'Pretty Fire.'


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie


    Featured actor in the video above: Anna Maria High. 'She was a trailblazer for black women in the arts, and in life,’ High says. ‘She overcame gender, racial and appearance discrimination, and left behind an epic legacy that will inspire many for generations to come.'


    • Nov. 24-Dec. 23
    • Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave.
    Anna Maria High. Hi-Hat Hattie. Aurora Fox. Call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org
    Written by Larry Parr
    • Director: To be announced
    • Music Director: Jodel Charles

    • The story:
    Hi-Hat Hattie is the thought-provoking, one-woman musical biography of the first African-American to win an Academy Award. Of her iconic and controversial role as a maid in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel famously said, “Hell, I’d rather play a maid that be one.” The story traces McDaniel’s transformation from a stunned young woman twice widowed into the graceful and forceful artist who never buckled under the restraints of appearance, gender or race.

    • But what is it about? Family, love, loss, race and prejudice are all in the spotlight in this moving portrayal of an entertainment legend. (Provided by the Aurora Fox.)

    Cast list:
    Anna Maria High as Hattie McDaniel

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • Performer lineup for 'Miscast 2017' is announced

    by John Moore | Sep 06, 2017
    Miscast 2016

    Photos from 'Miscast 2016,' which raised more than $7,000 for the Denver Actors Fund.  To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and press the forward arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Many of those appearing are giving back to the local nonprofit that was there for them in their time of need

    Miscast 2017, the fourth annual fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund, returns Sept. 25 to the Town Hall Arts Center with funnymen Eric Mather and Steven J. Burge as this year's hosts, it was announced today.

    Mather is the host of the Clocktower Cabaret's weekly BLUSH: A Burlesque Fantasy, while Burge just played God in the DCPA's extended hit comedy An Act of God and soon will return to the Galleria Theatre in the new relationship musical First Date.

    Miscast 2017 hosts Eric Mather and Steven J. BurgeMiscast is an opportunity for some of the local theatre community’s top performers to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever … get cast to perform on a legitimate stage. The program includes audience-participation games and general silliness.

    Last year's Miscast
    raised $7,067 for the Denver Actors Fund, which provides financial and practical relief for members of the Colorado theatre community facing situational medical need. In just four years, this grassroots nonprofit has distributed more than $120,000 in direct aid to help local artists, along with neighborly assistance from a group of 60 volunteers.

    One of the more than 70 artists who have been helped by The Denver Actors Fund is Mather, who received financial and other volunteer support when his son was born last year at just 1 pound, 9 ounces.

    "We are thankful to the Denver Actors Fund and the local theatre community for helping us in our time of financial need," Mather said. "It really does take a village.”

    Actors from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs submitted proposed songs along with their  "Miscast concepts" for judges to consider, and once again, Miscast Director Robert Michael Sanders said he received far more submissions than he had performance slots.

    "This year's turnout was completely overwhelming," said Sanders. All applications were considered by a special selection committee based on variety and cleverness, among other factors. A premium, Sanders said, is placed on submissions that extend beyond simple race- or gender-swapping.

    "We made the choices we think best suit this year's show," said Sanders, who called the resulting list "the best cross-section of talent from many different theaters, types and styles of performances."

    2017 Miscast


    Sanders has announced the following lineup of actors who will either perform or appear at this year's Miscast. But he's keeping their planned songs secret until their performances. The list includes Hope Grandon, PR and Events Manager for the DCPA Theatre Company (and former Chicago performer). Several of those listed have received prior assistance from The Denver Actors Fund, most recently Norrell Moore of the Arvada Center's upcoming A Chorus Line. Moore was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 and has received $3,900 from The Denver Actors Fund to help her through it. The full list (in alphabetical order) is subject to change:

    • Jona Alonzo
    • Avery Anderson
    • Miscast 2016. Photo by John Moore. Randy Chalmers
    • Reace Daniel
    • Jackson Garske
    • Abner Genece
    • Hope Grandon
    • Nick Johnson
    • Margie Lamb
    • Daniel Langhoff
    • Norrell Moore
    • Kenny Moten
    • Jose David Reynoza
    • Jeremy Rill
    • Andrew Uhlenhopp
    • Destiny Walsh
    • Jalyn Courtenay Webb

    And featuring the return of the Killer Kids of Miscast:

    • Kaden Hinkle
    • Hannah Katz
    • Darrow Klein
    • Evan Gibley
    • Rylee Vogel
    • Hannah Meg Weinraub

    Creative team:

    • Director: Robert Michael Sanders
    • Musical Director: Donna Debreceni
    • Stage Manager: Maegan Burnell
    • Assistant to the Director: Jessica Swanson

    (Pictured above right: Anna High, Suzanne Connors Nepi, Tim Howard and Barret Harper in 'Miscast 2016.')

    This year's event will include several special performance twists, such as a series of games a la Jimmy Fallon and other late night TV hosts. Many area merchants and theatre companies, including the Denver Center, are contributing more than $1,000 in prizes for the event.

    Miscast 2017: Ticket information

    • Monday, Sept. 25
    • Doors open at 6 p.m.; show starts at 7 p.m.
    • At the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, CO, 80120
    • $20 (plus fees if ordered online)
    • Call 303-794-2787 or order online at townhallartscenter.org
    • Cash bar available

    Learn more about DAF at www.denveractorsfund.org. Follow DAF at Denver Actors Fund on Facebook or on Twitter at @DenverActorsFun.


    Video: The Killer Kids of Miscast 2016

    Watch the video that has been viewed nearly half a million times on social media since last September's 'Miscast 2016.' The so-called 'Killer Kids of Miscast' will be back this year with a new number. The 2016 lineup was Sydney Fairbairn, Evan Gibley, Kaden Hinkle, Hanna Katz, Darrow Klein and Hannah Meg Weinraub.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: ‘The Revolutionists’ and 'The Wild Party'

    by John Moore | Sep 06, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 7.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists


    Featured actor in the video above: Jada Dixon, who is also the Assistant Director of Curious Theatre's 'Appropriate.'

    • Sept. 14-Oct. 8
    • Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    The Revolutionists Jada Dixon 303-440-7826 or go to betc.org
    • Playwright: Lauren Gunderson
    • Director: Allison Watrous (Denver Center's Director of Education)

    The story: The Revolutionists takes place during the Reign of Terror in 1790s France.  It tells the story of four historical women struggling to find their individual and collective voices in a time of chaos and madness. Full of wit and wisdom, this historical comedy shines a light on women's place in history, and what happens when society breaks down.

    But what is it about? As our own society breaks down into madness and chaos, how do we effect change in the face of a world in which we feel powerless? How do the disenfranchised assume a seat at the table in the conversations that will define who we are as a people? That Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company has assembled an all-female production team also speaks to its commitment to diversity and a broader array of voices in the theatre. (Provided by Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company.)

    What is it about that writer? Gunderson also wrote the DCPA Theatre Company's The Book of Will. This will be the fourth Gunderson title to be presented in the metro area in the past year. The others were The Catamounts' The Taming and Boulder Ensemble's Silent Sky.

    Please note: The Revolutionists contains adult language and content, so may not be suitable for patrons under 16 years old. Parental discretion advised.

    Cast list:

    • Olympe De Gouges: Rebecca Remaly
    • Marianne Angelle: Jada Dixon
    • Charlotte Corday: Maire Higgins
    • Marie Antoinette: Adrian Egolf

    More creatives:
    • Stage Manager: Karen Horns
    • Set Designer: Tina Anderson
    • Costume Designer: Brenda King
    • Lighting Designer: Katie Gruenhagen
    • Sound Designer: Ashley Campbell
    • Properties Designer: Amy Helen Cole
    • Dramaturg: Heather Beasley

    The Revolutionists Adrian EgolfImage above of Adrian Egolf. Photography: Michael Ensminger. Graphic Design: Brian Kolodziejski. Hair and Makeup: Vintage Hairstylings. Corset by Redthreaded.



    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Off-Center's The Wild Party


    Featured actor in the video above: Emily Van Fleet.

    • Oct. 11-31
    • The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
    Emily Van Fleet. The Wild Party. Call 303-893-4100 or go to wildpartydenver.com
    Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    • Director: Amanda Berg Wilson
    • Music Director: David Nehls

    • The story:
    You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent 360-degree party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and gin-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees.

    • But what is it about? Last summer, Off-Center took over a 16,000 square-foot warehouse in RiNo to bring you Sweet & Lucky. This fall, we’re breaking out the bathtub gin and heading to the Hangar at Stanley to tackle the first musical in Off-Center’s history. Much like Sweet & Lucky, The Wild Party will transport audience members to a different era, where they will be immersed in the story as guests at Queenie and Burr’s party. The live band will be swinging and we’ll find out what happens when you let down your guard and give yourself over to the party.” (Provided by Off-Center curator Charlie Miller.)

    Cast list:
    Brett Ambler: Gold
    Leonard Barrett Jr.: Oscar D’Armano
    Allison Caw: Sally
    Laurence Curry: Black
    Diana Dresser: Miss Madelaine True
    Katie Drinkard: Mae
    Trent Hines: Phil D’Armano
    Drew Horwitz: Burrs
    Wayne Kennedy: Goldberg
    Sheryl McCallum: Dolores
    Jenna Moll Reyes: Nadine
    Marco Robinson: Eddie Mackrel
    Emily Van Fleet: Queenie
    Aaron Vega: Jackie
    Erin Willis: Kate

    More creatives:
    • Patrick Mueller: Choreographer
    • Jason Sherwood: Scenic Designer (DCPA Theatre Company's Frankenstein)
    • Meghan Anderson Doyle: Costume Designer
    • Jason Lynch: Lighting Designer
    • Sean Hagerty: Sound Designer
    • Erin Ramsey: Fight Coordinator

    Emily Van Fleet. The Wild Party.

    From left: 'The Wild Party' castmates Emily Van Fleet, Laurence Curry, Sheryl McCallum and Drew Horwitz. Photos by Adams VisCom.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • The masculinity of 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Sep 05, 2017

    Macbeth. Thaddeus Fitzpatrick. Photo by John Moore.


    'You should be women. And yet your beards forbid me to
    interpret that you are so.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The words above come out the mouth of Banquo, Macbeth’s power-hungry frenemy. And the first time Director Robert O’Hara came across them, they stuck in his head like courage to a sticking post.

    “That line is Banquo telling the witches they don’t look like women because they have beards,” said O’Hara, “And right then I was like, ‘Well maybe they're not women. Maybe they are men'!”

    That inherent gender contradiction fueled O’Hara’s vision for the DCPA Theatre Company’s season-opening production of Macbeth, which promises to confront audiences with a sexy, physical vision of Shakespeare the likes of which they likely have never seen before. 

    “This is a world where you can roll up on some witches, and it doesn’t send you off running for the hills screaming at the top of your lungs?” O’Hara said. “Not only that, but they tell you you’re going to be king, and you just go right off and start killing folks. That, to me, is crazy. The witches don’t tell Macbeth to go kill Duncan. They just tell Macbeth he will be king someday. But he couldn’t wait a few days to start killing? Who knows, Macbeth? Maybe the king will choke to death on a chicken bone or something.” 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    O’Hara is presenting Macbeth just as Shakespeare did — with an all-male cast. Not that anyone will mistake O’Hara’s staging with anything resembling Shakespeare as it was presented in Jacobean times. 

    “The reason Shakespeare did not use women in his plays wasn’t because it was illegal for women to be on stage,” O’Hara said. “He did it because England was a sexist and misogynistic society that devalued the female.” That’s why, O’Hara says, the bloodthirsty Lady Macbeth must be viewed through the male perspective that created her.  

    “Can you imagine what women must have felt hearing about all these stories with female characters that were written and performed by men? The very nature of the Jacobean patriarchal society would color how characters like Lady Macbeth came about and were presented on the stage.” 

    Masculinity pervades Shakespeare’s text without any help from O’Hara. With the exception of the witches, Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff are the only significant female characters in the entire story to begin with. “Lady Macbeth says all this stuff about ‘Unsex me,’ and, ‘If you were a man you’d be more of a man’ by killing the king, as she’s egging her husband on,” O’Hara said.

    (Story continues after the photo.)

    Macbeth Robert O'Hara


    O’Hara was interested by what he calls the locker-room mentality, then and now. “I thought, ‘What happens when a bunch of men get together and decide to present this story?' And so O’Hara’s tale takes place in a world where it is warlocks, not witches, who “double, double, toil and trouble.”  

    In O’Hara’s world, getting together and performing the story of Macbeth as a kind of passion play is a ritual of these warlocks that has gone on for centuries. 

    In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, The Pit of Acheron is a swamp near Macbeth's castle where the witches are ordered to bring Macbeth. In O’Hara’s production, this pit becomes the setting of his entire play.

    “As someone living in New York City, it’s interesting to me that millions of people come to pay their respect to the fallen of 9/11 at the World Trade Center. They have built a performance complex right there, and inevitably there will be performances there that deal with 9/11. And that made me think, ‘What if my production in some odd way was the warlocks paying their respect to the fallen in the Macbeth story, which is a real story that took place hundreds of years before?’

    “These warlocks are forever linked to their ancestors, and not in a good way. They have been blamed for the actions of Macbeth for centuries. So, what if this is them giving those ancient witches a renewed voice, through this ritual?”

    This concept not only gives the audience the opportunity to see women characters played by men just as they were in Shakespeare’s time, but also to consider the inevitable patriarchal consequences. 

    What will an all-male Macbeth do to the story?

    “I hope it will do exactly what it probably did when it was first performed,” O’Hara said. “I hope it gives some insight into the world we are living in today.”


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Macbeth at a time when everything is shifting
    Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening


    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Mark Collins on a death and a wedding: 'Love really is everywhere'

    by John Moore | Sep 05, 2017

    Mark Collins.


    On his wedding day, the actor will be thinking of the woman who started the chain of events that changed his life.

    By Mark Collins
    Guest Columnist

    Several years ago, Sarah Elizabeth Dwyer was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. I didn’t know Sarah then, but a friend of mine from grad school, Ingrid DeSanctis, did. Ingrid wrote a play about Sarah’s journey with cancer called Sarah and the Dinosaur.

    I had given up acting in any serious way more than a decade earlier. Not because I didn’t love it, just because it was better to do other stuff for a while. I had been the theatre critic at the Boulder Daily Camera for the past 10 years.

    One day in 2011, Ingrid called me unexpectedly and asked if I’d want to go to Virginia and act in Sarah and the Dinosaur. To my own surprise, I said yes. Spending a month in Virginia working on and performing the play sparked a change in me and I decided to get back to doing something I loved: Making theater.

    Mark Collins. Melissa McCarl And that sparked a series of synchronistic events — each small and seemingly unrelated – that led to a big event in my life.

    Here’s what I’m talking about: In early 2013, a year and three shows after I’d started acting again, I auditioned for a play called Jon that The Catamounts were going to produce in Boulder. I don’t recall my initial audition, but it must have gone OK because Amanda Berg Wilson, the director, called me back.

    Before the second callback, though, I happened to go online and visit the Miners Alley Playhouse web site. There I discovered the company was holding auditions the following night for a play I’d never heard of called The Pitmen Painters. My audition skills were rusty, and I figured I should get out there as much as possible. So, last-minute though it was, I set up a slot. I did my piece for the director and was asked to come back the next evening. That night when I got home, I emailed Amanda and told her I was auditioning for another play and if cast in it, I’d probably take it. She thanked me for letting her know. The next night, I was offered a role for The Pitmen Painters and accepted before I left for home.

    Rehearsals started soon after, but in the interim, the director had to step away from the job, and Rick Bernstein stepped in. When rehearsals started, it quickly became apparent The Pitmen Painters had the potential to be special – it’s a tight ensemble piece about a group of real-life, uneducated miners in Northern England who learned to be painters. A week into rehearsals, however, one of the actors announced that because of the demands of his day job, he had to drop out of the play.

    From 2012: Two ex-theater critics having coffee

    I spent the weekend wondering who might step in and fill the role on short notice – The Pitmen Painters is not an easy play, with more than a dozen scenes and some technical moments than need to be well-practiced. Late Sunday, though, in reply to a nervous query I’d sent him, director Rick Bernstein sent me an email that read: “I’ve got Paul Borrillo to do the role. We’re going to be OK.”

    He was understating things, because Paul is one of the best actors in Denver, and we were more than OK. Paul served as a catalyst for what became a really good production. More important to me, however, was that his wife, Erica Sarzin-Borrillo, is best friends with Melissa Lucero McCarl.

    I didn’t know Melissa then. I had seen (and ravingly reviewed) her Frida Kahlo play Painted Bread a decade earlier, and seen her hilarious turn in the musical Ruthless! The Musical a year after that. But I had never met her.

    Erica invited Melissa to come to an industry night of The Pitmen Painters, the one performance during the run after which we had one of those ever-popular, but often-dreadful-for-actors “talkback sessions” with the audience.

    At some point during the talkback, a woman asked a smart question of someone on the stage. Through the stage-light glare, I recognized the woman as Melissa Lucero McCarl, the woman who wrote that play I had loved, and who was so funny in that other play I saw nearly a decade prior.

    After the talkback, Paul asked me if I wanted to be introduced to Melissa. (I would learn later, it was at her urging). But I didn’t need his offer. I was already making my way to her through the exiting crowd.

    I don’t know what possessed me, other than a good mood and a genuine excitement to meet the woman whose work I had admired. But even before Melissa could get an introductory “Hello, I’m Melissa…” out of her mouth, I reached out my hand and warmly said, “I thought that was you.” (I know, pretty solid pick-up line).

    That was April 2013.

    On Sept. 9, Melissa and I will exchange rings in front of a gathering. She’s smart and beautiful and talented and big-hearted and we fit, and I couldn’t be more excited to be married to her.

    But how in the world did this happen?

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Paulo Coelho has the famous quote: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

    I was lonely. I wanted someone to share a life with. And “all the universe conspired”: Ingrid wrote a play and asked me to travel 2,000 miles and be part of it. That sparked a desire in me to begin acting again. Eventually, Amanda Berg Wilson did not cast me in a play, and I happened to look for another opportunity the next day, and was cast in that play. The  dropped out of that project and was replaced by Rick Bernstein. An actor's off-stage life caused him to leave the show, and Rick Bernstein happened to be friends with Paul Borrillo, who was available and took the job. Erica Sarzin-Borrillo happened to ask Melissa Lucero McCarl to the industry-night performance, and she was available and came to the show. And then we met.

    What synchronicities must have been working their way through each of these characters’ lives in order for them to play a part in conspiring to affect mine so profoundly?

    Bookended plays: One called Painted Bread. The other, The Pitmen Painters.

    I’m always fascinated by coincidences and the mystery of them.

    Of course I’ve left something out. Something from the beginning. A woman named Sarah got sick.

    I got to know Sarah a little bit back in 2012 when I performed in Virginia. I stayed a week with her and her partner. They were kind and generous. Sarah was smart and fierce and the cancer was buried inside her in a way that she didn’t seem ill. She didn’t seem like she was living with a time bomb inside her body. But she was. That time bomb went off five years later. Sarah died Aug. 19, back in Virginia.

    I had mostly lost touch with her, but occasionally read her writing on her blog or Facebook page. Sarah was nothing if not honest. Her penultimate post came June 2. It went like this:

    “They don't tell you how confusing it all becomes, how difficult. I can't write because I cannot make sense of the words coming out of my fingertips ... I'm not even sure they are spelled correctly. I can't talk to you for long periods of time because my mouth is dry and my tongue is cracked. I vomit water, because even that is too much to keep down. And the drugs ... so many drugs ... there's no telling what I might say. It could be funny; it could ruin a friendship. Sometimes it is both. I don't have time for long visits, because I'll only sleep through them, and I've accepted that some of you will just have to get over never hearing 'I'm sorry.'

    "There are many things I would like to tell you about dying ... secret things that only dying people know. Mostly to warn you, to prevent you from being caught off-guard. But I think these are not your lessons to learn, not yet. It's part of the mystery, the being surprised, the being shocked, the being scared.

    "A few weeks ago I nominated my husband to receive love letters from around the world. We are up to nearly 300 and counting. I couldn't write them myself, so I got 300 strangers from around the planet to do it for me.

    "Old men, young children, teenagers, newlyweds, widows, nuns... they wrote to him. And in doing so, I am not so surprised, or shocked, or scared anymore.

    Because no matter what... love really is everywhere, even in death.”

    Sarah's people have decided to hold a celebration of her life on Sept. 9. That’s the same day Melissa and I are to be married.

    I would be grossly self-involved to make much of that coincidence. But there it is.

    So I will be remembering Sarah on Sept. 9 as I get to spend time with loved ones, celebrating Melissa and our life together.

    "Love really is everywhere ..."

    About the Author: Mark Collins

    A Mark Collins 160Award-winning actor Mark Collins was the theatre critic at the Boulder Daily Camera for 10 years before returning to acting. He won a 2015 True West Award for playing five challenging roles for five different theatre companies that year. In 2016, he played renowned theatre critic Kenneth Tynan in Melissa Lucero McCarl's 'Lost Creatures' for And Toto too Theatre Company.  Collins graduated from Boulder High School, earned his BFA in Acting from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his MFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

    Sarah Dwyer Poem



    Selected previous DCPA NewsCenter Guest Columns:
    Ann Morrill on Tapestry: A theatre company that applauds all abilities
    BreAnna Romero on Skype with Curious Incident's set designer
    Judy Craymer on the origins of Mamma Mia!
    Douglas Langworthy on 'translating' Shakespeare: First, do no harm
    David Nehls: Live theatre returns to Elitch Gardens after 24 years
    Gillian McNally: Colorado's oldest theatre celebrates Artistic Director Tom McNally
    Margie Lamb on the Henry Awards: Something doesn't add up
    Bryan VanDriel on Lloyd Norton: A name that will live on in Greeley
    Jessica Jackson on Creede Repertory Theatre's 50th anniversary season

  • Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'The Mystery of Love and Sex' and 'Company'

    by John Moore | Sep 05, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 6.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex



    Featured actor in the video above: Suzanne Connors-Nepi

    • Sept. 9-Oct. 7
    • John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place (former Lowry Air Force Base)
    A Suzanne Connors Nepi Firehouse 400303-562-3232 or go to firehousetheatercompany.com
    • Playwright: Bathsheba Doran
    • Director: Lorraine Scott

     

    The story: Now students at a southern college, Charlotte and Jonny have been friends since childhood. She’s Jewish, he’s Christian; he’s black, she’s white. Their differences intensify their connection until sexual desire complicates everything. Their relationship takes unexpected turns while Charlotte’s parents, who hold secrets and resentments of their own, keep watch.

    But what is it about? The Mystery of Love and Sex is a modern comic drama that explores the impact of racial and religious differences; sexuality, friendship and love; and the fluidity of identity. It is a story of discovery, alienation and ultimately, forgiveness. Audiences will reflect on how relationships affect the ways in which we come to terms with who we are. (Provided by Firehouse Theater Company.)


    Cast list:
    • Charlotte: Kristen Poole
    • Jonny: Johnathan Underwood
    • Howard: Joel Silverman
    • Lucinda: Suzanne Connors Nepi


    A Suzanne Connors Nepi Firehouse 610Clockwise from left: Joel Silverman, Johnathan Underwood and Kristen Poole and Suzanne Connors Nepi in rehearsal for Firehouse Theatre’s 'The Mystery of Love and Sex.' Photo by Christine Fisk.



    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Aurora Fox's Company

    Featured actor in the video above: Jeremy Rill.


    • Sept. 22-Oct. 22
    • 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
    A Jeremy Rill 400Call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org
    Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
    • Book by George Furth
    • Director and Choreographer: Kelly Van Oosbree
    • Andrew Fischer: Music Director

    • The story:
    On his 35th birthday, a perpetual bachelor named Bobby contemplates his unmarried state. Through a series of comical outings with pals and an especially anxious wedding, his friends explain the pros and cons of marriage and relationships. Bobby is forced to examine his adamant retention of bachelorhood during these hilarious arrays of social interactions.

    • But what is it about? Company is about relationships in all their oddball, loving and teeth-clenching glory. No person can escape a viewing of Company without seeing themselves portrayed on stage. Regardless of who you love, you are guaranteed to encounter your caricature head-on. The humor is sharp and the music is legendary, written by musical theatre’s greatest composer, Stephen Sondheim. (Provided by the Aurora Fox.)

    Cast list:
    Jeremy Rill: Bobby
    Lauren Shealy: Sarah
    Kyle Steffan: Harry
    Michelle Merz-Hutchinson: Susan
    Patrick McAleer: Peter
    Carolyn Lohr: Jenny
    Andy Sievers: David
    Rebekah Ortiz: Amy
    Timmie Antoine: Paul
    Heather Lacy: Joanne
    Frank Oden: Larry
    Lindsey Falduto: Marta
    Leiney Rigg: Kathy
    Heather Doris: April

    More creatives:
    • Jen Orf: Production Stage Manager
    Brandon Case: Technical Director and Scenic Designer
    Curt Behm: Sound Designer
    Brett Maughan: Lighting Designer

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical



    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • Video: Denver Center CEO Janice Sinden dances with the Denver stars

    by John Moore | Sep 03, 2017

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


    Community feels the rhythm of the night raising $250,000 for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's education programs.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The 8th annual Dancing with the Denver Stars raised about $250,000 on Aug. 19 to support arts-education programs at Denver's internationally renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

     Janice Sinden Dancing with the Denver Stars Cleo Parker Robinson 600 2Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, founded by honorary DCPA Trustee Cleo Parker Robinson, provides dance and movement education in schools using the power of dance to enrich the lives of children across Colorado.

    Dancing with the Denver Stars pairs notable members of Denver's arts, municipal and business communities with Robinson's dancers, all culminating in a gala performance at the Denver Marriott City Center.

    This year one of the featured pairs was Denver Center for the Performing Arts President and CEO Janice Sinden and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's Cedric D. Hall.

    "It is so important to support arts and culture in our community, and Cleo is a legend," said Sinden. "Having the opportunity to support her and all of the dancers and our youth as they learn about the importance of dance in their lives? How lucky am I to be here?"

    DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous was on hand to cheer Sinden on, and afterward praised Cleo Parker Robinson Dance for offering arts-education programs that closely align with the mission of DCPA Education. Robinson's programs serve 43 schools and nearly 20,000 children in metro Denver.

    Janice Sinden. Cleo Parker Robinson. Photo by John Moore"Arts education matters because it teaches the whole child," Watrous said. "Cleo Parker Robinson encourages her students to to be confident and fabulous."

    The evening included a special appearance from Dianne Reeves, a graduate of Denver's George Washington High School who won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

    In the video above, we hear from Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee, and see highlights from Sinden and Hall's routine, set to DeBarge's 1980s hit "Rhythm of the Night." (The three are pictured above right.)

    Hancock, who accepted the same challenge from Robinson and himself danced in a previous Dancing with the Denver Stars fundraiser, had some teasing pre-show advice for Sinden, who served as his Chief of Staff for five years before joining the Denver Center.

    "You should be absolutely, bonafide terrified," Hancock told Sinden. "This is nerve-wracking." Afterward, Hancock said Sinden danced with heart and passion. "She was perfect," he said.

    Hall said his partner's greatest assets were her bubbly personality - and her pink dress. Sinden went for full-pink ballerina, complete with pink bloomers and shoes dyed to match. She credited the DCPA Theatre Company costuming department for helping the pair with their outfits from DCPA's wardrobe inventory. There are more photos in the gallery below.

    The gala raised $50,000 more than the company's initial goal. Former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers led a live-auction segment that significantly boosted donations. Actor-comedian Shedrick Garrett (also known as Shed G) served as master of ceremonies.



    Dancing with the Denver Stars: Full photo gallery

    2017 Dancing with the Denver Stars

    Our full gallery of photos from the 2017 'Dancing with the Denver Stars.' To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

     

    Dancing with the Denver Stars: 2017 Featured Dancers

    Jonathan Adelman. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Jonathan Adelman

    AVP, Strategic Resource and Business Planning, Xcel Energy
    Dancing with Bria Tyner



    John Bolger

    Managing Director, Aon Corporation
    Dancing with Jessica Horton



    Ivan Burwell. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Ivan Burwell

    CEO, Street Source
    Dancing with Ralaya (Rae) Goshea



    Celia Dietrich Wattles

    Founder & Principal, Dietrich & Company LLC
    Dancing with Edgar Page



    Ken Greene. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Ken Greene

    Chief Operating Officer, Denver International Airport
    Dancing with Chloe-Grant Abel



    Evan Dreyer. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Evan Dreyer

    Deputy Chief of Staff, Denver Mayor’s Office
    Dancing with Alexis Amos



    Scott Gilmore. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Scott Gilmore

    Deputy Executive Director, Denver Parks and Recreation
    Dancing with Theresa Berger



    Bruce Johnson. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Bruce Johnson

    Partner, Polsinelli Law Firm
    Dancing with YooJung Hahm



    Johnny Johnson. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Dr. Johnny Johnson

    Doctor, Western OBGYN
    Dancing with Amelia Dietz



    Britt Moreno. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Britt Moreno
    CBS4 Morning News Anchor
    Dancing with Antonio (Tony) De'Berry



    Huy Pham. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Huy Pham

    President/CEO, Innovative Retail Group, LLC
    Dancing with Chloe-Grant Abel

    Marcia Romero. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Marcia Romero
    Communications Specialist, CoBiz Financial
    Dancing with Davry Ratcliffe



    Janice Sinden. Cleo Parker Robinson. Dancing with the Denver Stars. Photo by John Moore. Janice Sinden
    President/CEO, DCPA
    Dancing with Cedric D. Hall


    More video:

    Here's a highlight reel from Cleo Parker Robinson Dance that shows more of the festivities from the 2017 'Dancing with the Denver Stars.'
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'Elephant’s Graveyard' and 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'

    by John Moore | Sep 03, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 5.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard

    Featured actor in the video above: Kaya Rudolph

    • Sept. 9-Oct. 8
    • 401 Pine St., Fort Collins
    970-498-8949 or go to basbleu.org
    • Playwright: George Brant
    • Director: Garrett Ayers
    • Assistant Director: Baylor Bebo

    The story: September 1916. Carrying boundless momentum (and a 6-ton elephant), a traveling circus makes its way to a small town in Tennessee, only to stumble into catastrophe. Through memory and storytelling, Elephant's Graveyard describes what happened before, during and after the event that still haunts that Tennessee town to this day.

    But what is it about? Elephant's Graveyard is an important, timely story - particularly in lieu of recent events in Charlottesville, Va. The title has a double meaning, says actor Kaya Rudolph: An elephant really was hung at a circus in Tennessee. That was a century ago. But the elephant in the room remains the racial divide that continues to smolder in America. Elephant’s Graveyard employs physicality and humor, a live Piedmont Blues score and 15 cubic tons of dirt to explore issues related to race, the multiple perspectives of history and the uniquely American appetite for spectacle and violence. (Provided by Bas Bleu Theatre. Photo above by William A. Cotton.)


    Cast list:
    • Hungry Townsperson: Kaya Rudolph
    • Muddy Townsperson: Tabitha Tyree
    • Young Townsperson: Holly Wedgeworth
    • Preacher: Jim Valone
    • Steam Shovel Operator: Wesley Longacre
    • Marshal: Gregory Clark
    • Engineer: Drew Cuthbertson
    • Ringmaster: Nick Holland
    • Strongman: Ken Benda
    • Ballet Girl: Kate Lewis
    • Clown: Liz Kirchmeier
    • Trainer: Liam Kelley
    • Tour Manager: Scott McCoppin
    • Guitarist/Foley Musician: Paul Brewer

    Rehearsal for Bas Bleu Theatre's 'Elephant's Graveyard' in Fort Collins. Photo by William A. Cotton.
    Rehearsal for Bas Bleu Theatre's 'Elephant's Graveyard' in Fort Collins. Photo by William A. Cotton.



    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame


    Featured actor in the video above: Adam Kinney.

    • Sept. 15-Oct. 8
    • At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen
    A Adam Kinney 400Call 303-674-4002 or go to evergreenchorale.org
    Based on the novel and songs from the Disney film. Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and Book by Peter Parnell.
    • Stage Director: Timothy Kennedy
    • Musical Director: Christine Gaudreau

    • The story:
    Our story, featuring a cast of 53, is based on Victor Hugo's novel, set in 15th century Paris. Quasimodo is confined in Notre Dame by his evil guardian, Frollo. They both love the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, who prefers Phoebus, captain of the guard. Seeking vengeance, Frollo attacks the gypsies. Quasimodo, Phoebus and Esmeralda are captured and meet a tragic end. 

    • But what is it about? "This show asks so many questions that are so relevant to the turbulent times that we live in," says Adam Kinney, who plays Quasimodo. Questions like, "What makes a monster and what makes a man?" Although written in 1831, the theme of people being discriminated by society for their appearance or background resonates today. Set to Alan Menken’s gorgeous music, The Hunchback of Notre Dame challenges us to strive for a better world. (Provided by the Evergreen Chorale.)

    Cast list:
    Quasimodo: Adam Kinney
    Frollo: Mike DeJonge
    Esmeralda: Hannah Marie Harmon
    Phoebus: Brian DeBaets
    Clopin: Brian Trampler

    The Ensemble:
    Katrina Atkinson, Alexandra Rose Brown, Wyatt Burnham, Dave Cameron, Edie Cherubino, Tracy Denver, Sierra Dunham, Mark Fairchild, Buz Gibson, Michelle Jeffres, Lindsey Jones, Christine Kahane, Ian Kisluk, Colleen Lee, Anna MacPhee, Jeremiah Martinez, Dodge McCord, Max McCord, Drew McDowell, Anna Piper, Charlee Polivka, Alan Rubin, Becky Sides, Ethan Sides, Zane Steele, Jessica Swanson and Samantha Wood.

    Choir of Notre Dame:
    Laurie Atkinson, Bob Baldwin, Greg Bond, Chris Boyd, Mayra Delgadillo, Alyssa Gerard, Sara Hashman, Charlie Hodes, Geri Ikelheimer, Anna Lacjak, Genevieve LeBlanc, Tom McAllister, Zach Miller, Sophie Orsund, Jonathan Pine, Danita Richter, Richard Scudder, Sarah Steen, Ariel Thomas, Madeleine Wilson and Trevor Wood.

    More creatives:
    • Choreographer: Rachael McWilliams Lessard
    • Costume Designer: Davis Sibley
    • Set Designer: Biz Schaugaard
    • Lighting Designer: Chelsea Asmus


    Rehearsal for the Evergreen Chorale's upcoming 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame.'

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
     
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'My Brilliant Divorce' and 'A Chorus Line'

    by John Moore | Sep 01, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 4.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce

    Featured actor in the video above: Jane Shirley

    • Sept. 8-Oct. 15
    • 417 E. 17th Ave.
    Jane Shirley303-321-5925 or go to avenuetheater.com
    • Playwright: Geraldine Aron

    The story: Angela Kennedy-Lipsky used to be one half of "Angela and Max," the world’s happiest couple. Until Max left her after 25 years for a younger woman. Now, trying to figure out a new life in London, Angela sets off on a hilarious and sometimes poignant journey back to happiness. This consummately observed one-woman modern comedy stars Jane Shirley, best known for her work with the late Rattlebrain Theatre and appearing in Santa's Big Red Sack, The Avenue's long-running caustic Christmas comedy.

    But what is it about? My Brilliant Divorce is about a woman reclaiming her life. It’s about honesty, courage, self-reflection, happiness, humor - and the healing power of chocolate. The play, like most divorces, Shirley says, is happy, sad, dramatic and funny. (Provided by The Avenue Theater.)

    Cast list:
    • Jane Shirley as Angela Kennedy-Lipsky
    • Director: Richard H. Pegg


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line


    Featured actor in the video above: Matthew Dailey.

    • Sept. 12-Oct. 1
    • 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
    Matthew DaileyCall 720-898-7200 or go to arvadacenter.com
    Conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett
    • Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
    • Music by Marvin Hamlisch
    • Lyrics by Edward Kleban
    • Co-Choreographed by Bob Avian

    • The story:
    Everything is on the line for 17 dancers as they audition for a highly competitive place in the chorus of a Broadway musical.  Through this exhausting process, their stories and vulnerabilities are laid on the line as they ultimately come together and become one singular sensation. 

    • But what is it about? A Chorus Line captures the one universal experience all performers dread: The audition. From its inception, when a group of real-life Broadway dancers gathered in a dingy New York loft and shared their true experiences, to now, 40 years later, the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Chorus Line remains an Iconic experience and remains one of the most significant musicals of all-time. Colorado native Matthew Dailey says the iconic musical speaks to many people "because it shows the sacrifice all of these performers go through." (Provided by the Arvada Center.)

    Watch video of Matthew Dailey's Jersey Boys homecoming

    Creatives:
    Directed by Rod A. Lansberry
    Musical Direction by David John Madore
    Choreography by Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck

    Cast list:
    Stephen Cerf: Zach, The Director
    Jean-Luc Cavnar-Lewandowski: Larry

    The Auditioners:
    Dayna Tietzen: Cassie
    Katie Mitchell: Sheila
    Lexie Plath: Val
    Natalie Kaye Clater: Diana
    Kristen Paulicelli: Judy
    Seles Van Huss: Kristine
    Jordana Grolnick: Maggie
    Jennifer Arfsten: Bebe
    Rae Leigh Case: Connie
    Tucker Worley: Mike
    Michael Canada: Richie
    Matthew Dailey: Don
    Jake Mendes: Paul
    Tyler Jensen: Mark
    Ron Tal: Greg
    Parker Redford: Bobby
    Zachary Scott: Al

    The Ensemble:
    Norrell Moore: Vicki
    Emily Hin: Tricia
    Shannan Steele: Lois
    Danny Kingston: Frank
    Adam Estes: Butch
    David Miller: Roy
    Joe Callahan: Tom           

    Matthew Dailey

    The cast of the Arvada Center's 'A Chorus Line' on the first day of rehearsal. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:
    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
     
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'General Store' and 'In the Heights'

    by John Moore | Aug 31, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 3.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Creede Repertory Theatre's’ General Store

    Featured actor in the video above: Logan Ernstthal

    • Now through Sept. 16
    • 124 Main St., Creede, located 250 miles southwest of Denver
    • 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org
    • Playwright: Brian Watkins
    • Director: Christy Montour-Larson

    A Creede Repertory Theatre 400The story: General Store, first presented at Creede Rep's 2016 Headwaters New Play Festival, is set in rural Colorado. Mike is determined to keep his faltering general store up and running, and he’ll let nothing get in the way: Not his two wily daughters, the trucker who thinks he’s dead, the rancher who thinks he’s dying or even the blizzard outside. But something mysterious is under the floorboards. And it’s getting louder and hungrier. Can Mike save his American Dream from the ravenous creature beneath his store? Or should he just save himself instead? Part Sam Shepard, part Stephen King, Watkins is an innovative playwright with an American voice all its own. This one of the most technically challenging plays Creede Rep has ever brought to its stages, and it will grip you until the final blackout.

    But what is it about? General Store is about what happens when your way of life is being devoured by forces you can’t control. Mike’s American dream is literally and figuratively crashing down around him. (Provided by Creede Repertory Theatre.)

    • Of special note to travelers: Creede Repertory Theatre has worked out some special lodging deals for September to make it easier for visitors from around the state to see General Store as well as Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly. If you mention the Colorado Theatre Guild when orderering, you get the senior ticket price. (Call 719-658-2540.) And the following hotels are offering discounts of 10-15 percent on lodging: Antlers Rio Grande Lodge, Finding Gems and Aspen Inn, Blessings Inn, Blue Creek Lodge, Cascada (weekdays only), Club at the Cliffs, Creede Snowshoe Lodge, Dragonfly Flats, Big Country Fun Outdoor Adventures, The House on Old Mill Road, Windsock Acres, Windsor Hotel and The Soprano Suite.

    Cast list:
    • Logan Ernstthal: Mike
    • Ben Newman: Jim
    • Stuart Rider: Rick
    • Caitlin Wise: Nikki
    • Bethany Eilean Talley: Greta

    More creatives:
    Scenic Design: Robert Mark Morgan
    Costume Design: Clare Henkel
    Lighting Design: Jacob Welch
    Sound Design: Jason Ducat
    Production Stage Manager: Devon Muko

    A Creede Repertory Theatre 610 2
    Of 'General Store,' Logan Ernstthal (left) says, 'It’s as if Sam Shepard, the Coen Brothers and Stephen King had a love child. And it’s got a huge metaphor hiding under the floorboards.' Photo by John Gary Brown.


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Town Hall Arts Center’s In the Heights


    Featured actor in the video above: Jose David Reynoza

    • Sept. 8-Oct. 8
    • 2450 W. Main St., Littleton
    Town Hall In the Heights303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org
    • Director: Nick Sugar
    • Music director: Donna Kolpan Debreceni

    • The story: In the Heights is set in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions to take with you, and which to leave behind. This music was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for Hamilton.

    • Why should I see it? The live music: In the Heights blends rap, hip-hop, merengue and salsa. The humor: If you want to laugh out loud, witty lines abound. The story: In the Heights is a fantastic piece of musical theatre, but also a beautiful story that leaves you feeling happy and uplifted. Three more words: Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Provided by Town Hall Arts Center.)

    Cast list:
    Usnavi de la Vega: Jose David Reynoza
    Vanessa: Sarah Harmon
    Nina Rosario : Rose Van Dyne
    Benny: Randy Chalmers
    Sonny de la Vega: Chris Castaneda
    Daniela: Chelley Canales
    “Abuela” Claudia: Margie Lamb
    Kevin Rosario: Anthony Rivera
    Camila Rosario: Nancy Begley
    The Piragua Guy (Piragüero): George Zamarripa
    Carla: Destiny Walsh
    Graffiti Pete: Joseph Lamar Williams
    Ensemble: Andy Nuanhngam, Cassie Lujan, Gabriel Morales, Jenny Weiss Mather, Jordan Duran and Tashara May

    The band:
    Donna Kolpan Debreceni: Keyboards
    Austin Hein: Bass
    Scott Smith: Guitars
    Larry Ziehl: Drums and Percussion
    Dustin Arndt: Percussion
    Rob Reynolds: Trumpet and Flugelhorn

    More creatives:
    Scenic Designer: Tim Barbiaux
    Costume Designer: Linda Morken
    Lighting Designer: Seth Alison
    Sound Designer: Curt Behm
    Props Designer: Becky Toma
    Production Stage Manager: Steven Neale
    Technical Director: Mike Haas
    Assistant Choreographer: Jenny Weiss Mather
    Dialect/Cultural Awareness Coach: Olga Lopez

    Town Hall Arts Center In the Heights Jose David Reynoza says 'In the Heights’ represents a culture that isn't often seen on stage. It really is an honor to be a part of a story that portrays a large part of who I am here in the United States,’ says Reynoza, himself an immigrant. From left: Jenny Weiss Mather, Andy Nuanhngam, Anthony Rivera, Reynoza and Nancy Begley. Photo by Becky Toma. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'You on the Moors Now’ and 'Almost Heaven'

    by John Moore | Aug 30, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter will offer not only 10 intriguing theatre titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 2.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now

    Featured actor in the video above: Anastasia Davidson

    • Sept. 8-30
    • At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    Catamounts. Anastasia Davidson 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org
    • Playwright: Jaclyn Backhaus
    • Director: Amanda Berg Wilson

    The story: You on the Moors Now features iconic characters from 19th-century novels Jane Eyre, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. Set in the mythical land of Moors, our four heroines have run away after shockingly rejecting the suitors who ardently loved them. Stung by the spurning, the men wage war on the women.

    But what is it about? This timely feminist romp juxtaposes the romantic confines of the past with present ideas of courtship and playfully examines women’s perennial quest to be valued as men’s equals, the ancient interconnectedness of love and loss, and the contemporary recognition that humans must find their own way before finding one another.

    Cast list:

    Catamounts. You on the Moors NowElizabeth Bennet: Anastasia Davidson
    • Cathy: Laura Lounge
    • Jo March: Alaina Beth Reel
    • Jane Eyre: Alex Forbes
    • Fitzwilliam Darcy: Brian Kusic
    • Heathcliff: Matthew Blood-Smyth
    • Laurie Laurence: Joe Von Bokern
    • Mr. Rochester: Jason Maxwell
    • Player 1: Caroline Bingley, Amy: Luciann Lajoie
    • Player 2: Mr Bingley, Old Grandpa Laurence: Jihad Milhem
    • Player 3: Nelly Dean, Beth, Jane Bennet: Maggie Tisdale
    • Player 4: Joseph, Mrs. March: Sam Gilstrap
    • Player 5: St. John Rivers, Bhaer, Edgar Linton: Austin Terrell
    • Player 6: River Sister, Meg: Joan Bruemmer-Holden


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Rocky Mountain Rep’s
    Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver

    Featured actor in the video above: Matilde Bernabei

    • Sept. 1-30
    • 800 Grand Ave in Grand Lake, located 100 miles northwest of Denver
    Grand Lake. Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Matilde Bernabei970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com
    • Director: Jeff Duke
    • Music director: Michael Querio

    • The story: Almost Heaven is a revue of John Denver songs in wonderfully creative new arrangements, connected with words and thoughts from the artist, about the artist and placing the songs' creation in context of our country's history. This musical was premiered by the DCPA Theatre Company in 2003 and was extended for nine months. 

    • But what is it about? While the songs are certainly well-known, hearing them performed surrounded by the beauty of Grand Lake will be special. The musical also emphasizes John Denver's work as an environmentalist and social activist.

    Cast list:
    Jack Bartholet
    Matilde Bernabei
    Suzanna Champion
    Paige Daigle
    Jens Jacobson
    Kyle Ashe Wilkinson
    Jeff Duke
    Michael Querio

    Grand Lake. Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Almost Heaven. John Denver.

    The cast of Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre's 'Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver' has a little fun at rehearsal in Grand Lake. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Preview: 'Rock of Ages' and 'Appropriate'

    by John Moore | Aug 29, 2017
    Continuing a tradition dating to 2002, for the next 10 days, we will offer 10 intriguing theatre titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. Only this year we are expanding our coverage by offering 10 musicals AND 10 plays here on the DCPA NewsCenter

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Curious Theatre's Appropriate

    Featured actor in the video above: Sean Scrutchins


    Featured Actor Sean ScrutchinsSept. 2-Oct. 14
    • 1080 Acoma St.
    • 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org
    • Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

    The story: Three adult children descend on a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate. There, they find a gruesome Southern relic that causes them to question their family's history.

    But what is it about? Appropriate is a challenging play on racial legacy that is "right on time" as our country grapples with how to handle Confederate relics like statues. Appropriate asks us how we explore our own history with race and how we should progress as a society.

    Cast list:
    Jamil Jude: Director
    Jada Dixon: Assistant Director
    Dee Covington: Toni
    Erik Sandvold: Bo
    Mare Trevathan: Rachel
    Sean Scrutchins: Frank
    Alec Sarché: Rhys
    Rhianna DeVries: River
    Audrey Graves: Cassidy
    Harrison Lyles-Smith: Ainsley


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages

    Featured actor in the video above: Tim Howard


    Featured actor Tim HowardAug. 25-Nov. 11
    • 5501 Arapahoe Ave.
    • 303-449-6000 or bdt’s home page

    • The story: It’s the end of the 1980s, and the party is raging. Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor flow freely on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Rock of Ages is a mix-tape compilation including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “We Built This City” by Starship and Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” set to a story about pursuing dreams.

    • But what is it about? Rock of Ages is about following your dreams even when there are giant egos blocking your path. It’s about being loud when your heart speaks the truth. This is a poignant musical that finds that fighting spirit with anthems that make you want to jump out of your seat and show the world you still know how to rock.

    Cast list:
    Director: Scott Beyette
    Choreographer: McKayla Marso
    Drew: Tim Howard
    Dennis: Scott Beyette
    Lonnie: Barret Harper
    Franz: Brian Cronan
    Hertz: Brian Burron
    Stacee: Scott Severtson
    Sherrie: Olyvia Beyette
    Regina: Valerie Igoe
    Waitress: Tracey Warren
    Constance: Danielle Scheib
    Justice: Joanie Brosseau
    Groupies: Jessica Hindsley, Alyssa Robinson
    Ensemble: Brian Jackson, Alejandro Roldan, Leo Battle

    RockofAges_GlennRoss 610

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • In the Spotlife: Deb Persoff of 'August: Osage County'

    by John Moore | Aug 28, 2017
    Deb Persoff August Osage County
    Deb Persoff, bottom left, stars in Vintage Theatre's 'August: Osage County' as a pill-popping grandma with more than one form of mouth cancer. Playing her daughters are, from left, Kelly Uhlenhopp, Haley Johnson and Lauren Bahlman.
     


    MEET DEB PERSOFF
    Violet Weston in Vintage Theatre's 'August: Osage County.' She was the winner of the Colorado Theatre Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

  • Hometown: PhiladelphiaDeb Persoff Marvin's Room
  • Home now: Aurora
  • College: I studied to become an X-Ray Technician and wanted to enter the medical field.
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Grandma in Vintage Theatre's production of Billy Elliot: the Musical.
  • What's next? I will be playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience opening next March at Vintage Theatre.
  • Twitter-sized bio: I am an actor who does not know what Twitter is.
  • Do you have a Twitter handle? Anyone who knows me just laughed out loud reading that question.
  • The role that changed your life: Playing Bessie in Marvin's Room for the late Theatre Group. At the end of the play, she says how lucky she is to have been able to love so deeply. A mantra for life.
  • Maggie SmithIdeal scene partner: Maggie Smith, for her comic timing, her aristocratic bearing, her wonderful expressive face and her history of theatre.
  • What is August: Osage County all about? Family, and the rich web that binds us, are not always smooth in  texture. There are frictions and distinct personalities, but always it is the lineage of our future. It defines us as people and the door is always open to home.
  • Tracy Letts talks 'origin of the poison' with John Moore

  • Deb Persoff August QuoteTell us about the challenge of playing this role: Violet loves her three daughters and feels she's knows what is best for them. Her defiance and resolve gets her through her days. Addiction to pills is always present, but she is a survivor. Her strength and fire makes me stronger as an actress.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your show? Sharing the time together from the stage to the audience, surrounded by this rich writing and riveting cast is a bond I hope will linger long after the evening ends. 
  • What don't we know about you? I love gift wrapping any surface. Paper is fragile, like us, and can create beauty and illusion. You then ask: "What is beneath?"
  • What do you want to get off your chest? Why is "age" such a stigma, when long life is what we all wish for? 
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    August: Osage County: Ticket information
    • Written by Tracy Letts
    • Directed by Bernie Cardell
    • Sept. 1-Oct. 15
    • At the Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010 MAP IT
    • Tickets $25-$30
    • For tickets, call 303-856-7830 or go to vintagetheatre.com

    Performance schedule:
    • Fridays, Saturdays and Monday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
    • Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

    Cast list:

    • Deb Persoff: Violet Weston
    Roger Hudson: Beverly Weston
    Haley Johnson: Barbara Fordham
    Kelly Uhlenhopp: Ivy Weston
    Lauren Bahlman: Karen Weston
    Marc Stith: Bill Fordham
    Kaitlin Weinstein: Jean Fordham
    Andrew Uhlenhopp: Steve Heidebrecht
    Darcy Kennedy: Mattie Fae Aiken
    John Ashton: Charlie Aiken
    Brandon Palmer: Little Charlie Aiken
    Emily Gerhard: Johnna Monevata
    Stephen Krusoe: Sheriff Deon Gilbeau

    2017-18 'In the Spotlife' profiles:

    Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep's Arsenic and Old Lace

    Deb Persoff Life Achievement

    Deborah Persoff accepts the Colorado Theatre Guild's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Henry Awards. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Aug 28, 2017

    Rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore. Rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.


    Robert O'Hara's story is told from the point of view of a warlock coven that gathers to recreate the tale of Macbeth.

    The DCPA Theatre Company has announced the full cast and creative team for Robert O’Hara’s raw and reimagined take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which opens the company's 38th season with an all-male cast on Sept. 22.

    In preparing for the production, the director was struck by Banquo’s line referencing the witches: “You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.”

    “That inherent contradiction stuck in my head,” O’Hara said. “And right then I was like, ‘Well maybe they're not women. Maybe they are men.’ ” That opened the door for a concept told from the point of view of the supernatural: Specifically, a warlock coven that gathers to recreate the tale of Macbeth.

    “People have asked me, ‘What will an all-male Macbeth do to the story?’” O'Hara said. “I tell them, ‘I hope it will do exactly what Shakespeare’s work should always do – give some insight into the world in which we are living today.’ ”

    Macbeth castFrom left: Colorado natives Skyler Gallun (Donalbain) and Gareth Saxe (Duncan), with Lady M (Adam Poss) and Macbeth (Ariel Shafir).

    The production will feature, in alphabetical order:

    • Rob Fenton (Malcolm/Ensemble)
    • Kim Fischer (Second Warlock/Ensemble)
    • Thaddeus Fitzpatrick (Third Warlock/Ensemble)
    • Keith D. Gallagher (Seyton/Ensemble)
    • Skyler Gallun (Donalbain/Ensemble)
    • Joel Reuben Ganz (Macduff/Ensemble)
    • Joe Goldammer (First Warlock/Ensemble)
    • Steven Cole Hughes (Doctor of the Psychic/Ensemble)
    • Alec Hynes (Banquo/Ensemble)
    • Erik Kochenberger (Hecate Two/Ensemble)
    • Daniel Kyri (Lady Macduff/Ensemble)
    • Jesse Pennington (Rosse/Ensemble)
    • Adam Poss (Lady Macbeth/Ensemble)
    • Gareth Saxe (Duncan/Ensemble)
    • Ariel Shafir (Macbeth/Ensemble)
    • Travis Turner (Lennox/Ensemble)
    • Danny Zuhlke (Fleance/Ensemble)

    Several cast members have appeared in previous DCPA productions or have longstanding Colorado ties. Hughes is a graduate of the Denver Center's masters program and has appeared in 14 Theatre Company productions. Most recently he was seen in DCPA Cabaret's production of An Act of God in the Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    Saxe is a graduate of Denver East High School and Colorado College who has appeared in Theatre Company productions of The Homecoming and Heartbreak House. He was most recently seen as Scar in the national touring production of The Lion King. (Watch our video interview here.)

    Gallun is a graduate of Denver's George Washington High School who previously appeared here in Lord of the Flies. Kochenberger is a graduate of East High School in Pueblo. Fitzpatrick was last seen in The Book off Will.   

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The creative team includes:

    • Robert O'Hara (Director)
    • Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer)
    • Dede M. Ayite (Costume Designer)
    • Alex Jainchill (Lighting Designer)
    • Lindsay Jones (Original Music and Sound Designer)
    • Douglas Langworthy (Dramaturgy)
    • Kathryn G. Maes (vocal and dialect coaching)
    • Kurt Van Raden (Stage Manager)
    • D. Lynn Reiland (Assistant Stage Manager)

    Macbeth also marks the reopening of the newly renovated Space Theatre. The nearly 40-year-old venue has been completely rebuilt to enhance the world-class experience for audiences and artists alike.


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented bythe DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Macbeth at a time when everything is shifting
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening


    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the first day of rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company, along with behind-the-scenes process shots. To see more, click the forward arrow in the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 3: Thomas Schumacher

    by John Moore | Aug 18, 2017

     


    Disney's Thomas Schumacher: 'Frozen is not a musical film. It’s a theatrical musical on film.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

    Thomas-Schumacher-denver-center_frozen_photo-by-jenny-andersonPart 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, who talks about his company’s special relationship with the city of Denver, and what makes Frozen the perfect choice for a musical stage adaptation.

    “At its core, Frozen is not a musical film. It’s a theatrical musical on film,” Schumacher said. “The characters tell the stories with their songs. The songs turn the corner for the story action. Music propels it forward. And that’s why it wants to be on the stage.”

    Interview by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    (Pictured above from left: Director Michael Grandage, Thomas Schumacher and Scenic and Costume Designer Christopher Oram. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    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 Production
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • 'Macbeth' at a time when everything is shifting

    by John Moore | Aug 17, 2017
    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the first day of rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, click the forward arrow in the image above. 'Macbeth' plays Sept. 15-Oct. 29 in the newly reopened Space Theatre. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Rehearsals open in a divided country roiling and reeling from violence that is becoming commonplace in its streets

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company opened rehearsals Tuesday for the first offering of its 39th season in a deeply divided country that is roiling and reeling from violence that is again becoming commonplace in its streets.

    That makes it both important – and poignant – to be re-examining the troubled world of Shakespeare’s bloodthirsty tragedy of Macbeth right now through the lens of a rising, rebel director named Robert O’Hara, DCPA Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett said in an impassioned welcome to cast, crew, staff and guests.

    Macbeth Nataki Garrett“Everything about the way we live is shifting,” Garrett said. “And that’s why this is the perfect time to be doing this play right now, in the middle of the shift. We are in this chrysalis right now, trying to figure out who we are as a people, who we are as a theatre community, who we are as creative people,” Garrett said.

    “Especially in light of where we are right now, particularly in the United States, this is what you do: You do this play, right now, because Shakespeare has this uncanny way of reaching forward and back at the same time, and making us really think about why we think the things we do. Who put those ideas there? And is there a way to have a different way of thinking than the way we think now."

    Garrett promised those gathered that O’Hara’s Macbeth “ain’t your grandmama's Macbeth.” O’Hara’s Macbeth is set entirely at the Pit of Acheron, a swamp near Macbeth's castle where the witches are ordered to bring Macbeth. Only in this telling it’s years, perhaps centuries later, and the witches are warlocks.

    “I thought, what if every so often, a bunch of witches go off and tell that messed-up story about that guy who went off killing people just because they told him he was going to be king? That would be interesting …  and crazy,” O’Hara said.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    "We tend to demonize the witches. We blame them for what Macbeth does in the story. They always got the short end of the stick. So, what if our play is about giving those ancient witches a renewed voice, through this ritual?”

    O’Hara’s Macbeth will have a very modern, almost futuristic element, “but also one that honors the past,” said award-winning scenic designer Jason Sherwood. Dede M. Ayite's costumes will offer “lots of skin, and lots of leather,” she said, “and when we transition into the actual storytelling we will have pieces that reflect Jacobean garments.” Alex Jainchill’s lighting design will incorporate modern technologies and incorporate dub-step music from sound designer Lindsay Jones.

    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    “Robert called me last week and said, ‘Hey did I tell you that you were writing a score that's like Game of Thrones?’ And I was like, 'No, you did not.' So I'm writing a score that's like Game of Thrones, along with rap music, lots of sound effects and other really exciting stuff.”

    O’Hara and Garrett hope this reimagined way of looking at Macbeth will give audiences another way of contextualizing the shocking daily headlines that are becoming more and more difficult to process.

    “We are a nation that moves and evolves. Said Garrett. “We are a theatre company that moves and evolves, and it is moving before our very eyes right now. And so I am very excited to have this play open our new Space Theatre, open our season and open our minds."

    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.


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented bythe DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    by John Moore | Aug 16, 2017

     


    The choreographer calls the new Broadway musical's mingling of old and new songs 'seamless'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

    Travis Patton, Rob Ashford & James Brown III Photo by Jenny AndersonPart 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford, who says the mingling of old and new songs is surprisingly seamless. "When I first heard all the new music, I was like, ‘Is that a new song? I’m not sure.’ Because they all feel like they could have absolutely been in the film."

    Ashford says he had something of a blank slate because there is not much dancing in the animated source film. He's points to the Coronation Ball as an example of a scene he thinks the movement really works. "Anna sees Elsa across the room and she is thrilled to see her sister again, but doesn’t know how to approach her," said Ashford," and so all of those things are done through dance." He calls choreographing Frozen "a joy and a privilege."

    Interview by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    (Pictured above, from left: Travis Patton, Rob Ashford and James Brown III. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    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-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    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

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Mayor cuts the ribbon on a new era for the Space Theatre

    by John Moore | Aug 15, 2017
    Space Theatre Renovation Photo gallery: To see more photos from the reopening of the Space Theatre, along with early construction photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Most photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'The arts are the engine that drives people to our city and sets Denver apart,' Hancock says at reopening ceremony

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist 


    Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock helped cut the ribbon on the newly rebuilt Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Tuesday morning, telling the gathered crowd it is the arts that distinguish Denver from other metropolitan cities.

    “We are absolutely giddy to be here as part of this auspicious occasion,” Hancock said at the reopening ceremony, held in The Space Theatre’s fully reconceived new lobby. "We can talk about airports - they help us connect to the world. Everybody has streets. Everybody has parks. But the arts are the engine that drives people to our city and sets Denver apart.”

    The new Space Theatre officially reopens Sept. 22 with Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

    The project was made possible by a $10 million grant from the Better Denver Bond Program, which was part of the largest bond issue in Denver history when it was approved by voters in 2007.

    The nearly 40-year-old Space Theatre was completely gutted and rebuilt from top to bottom. It remains the five-sided “in-the-round” performance space familiar to Denver theatregoers, only it has been fully modernized and features flexible seating configurations that can change from play to play.

    DCPA Chairman Martin Semple called Tuesday “a momentous day in our history.” DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden said: “This has been 30 months of incredible planning and construction. The team at the DCPA and our partners have done a beautiful job.”

    The ceremony took place just hours after the Denver City Council unanimously referred a $937 million bond to the November ballot that, if approved by voters, will make $19 million available for further renovations to the Denver Center’s Stage and Ricketson theatres, also located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex. “We as a city are willing to put our money behind the renovation, upkeep and sustainability of these great venues so that people can continue to enjoy what makes Denver so special,” Hancock said. “These investments are very strategic. They are important in keeping us a world-class city going forward.”  

    Space Theatre. John Moore photo.  The Space Theatre effort also was boosted by a $1 million donation from The Joan and Phill Berger Charitable Fund, represented Tuesday by Phil and Marcie Munishor. An additional unveiling was held christening the new performance space the Joan and Phill Berger Auditorium (pictured right).

    The Space opened in 1979. While it has enjoyed some cosmetic updates over the years, this was is the first overhaul of both audience amenities and backstage support.

    Because the layout of the theatre remains essentially unchanged, lead architect Chris Wineman of Semple Brown Design predicted that, once inside, returning theatregoers might not even notice that much has changed. But their experience getting to their seats will be dramatically different.

    The original design of the Bonfils Complex featured one main lobby with multiple entrances into both the Space Theatre and the larger Stage Theatre next to it. The Space Theatre now has its own enlarged lobby with one central doorway into the theatre. Before, patrons descended a winding staircase and then climbed back up to their seats from stage level.

    Space Theatre. John Moore photo.  That entire staircase is gone. Audiences will now walk directly into the theatre and down to their seats. That will not only be much more convenient for patrons, Wineman said, audiences for the first time will be fully separated from the cast and creative teams running the show below.

    DCPA Technical Director Jeff Gifford said the new theatre boasts state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound; improved sightlines and is now in full ADA compliance - both for audience members and crews working the shows.

    Overall capacity has been reduced from 420 to 380. But because the seating is now flexible, certain configurations will be able to accommodate up to 416, Gifford said.

    Among all the many improvements, audiences no doubt will cheer the construction of new bathrooms, doubling previous the capacity. But there are others, including:  

    • Modern acoustic treatments specifically meant to accentuate and evenly distribute the spoken word throughout the entire theatre.
    • The old Space Theatre was divided into four levels. The new theatre has just two. There are now more seats on the main floor, closer to the action. That will maintain the intimacy of the original theatre and greatly improve sightlines for many.
    • More wheelchair and companion seating.
    • State-of-the art lighting and all new wiring.
    • An elevator inside the theatre will allow patrons to easily access the main seating level.

    A Space Theatre 800 3
    From left: DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and DCPA Chairman Martin Semple. Photo by John Moore.


    For those artisans who work behind the scenes, Gifford is most excited by the presence of five control booths, one in each section of the theatre. “That means our sound and light operators working the shows now will actually be able to see the shows with their own eyes,” Gifford said. “I don't know if people realize this, but they used to be kept behind a wall, and the only way they saw the show was on a video monitor - as long as that monitor was actually working.”

    Now there will be a home for additional specialists, such as a projections operator, if necessary. Now there is a discreet place where the director or understudy actors can watch a performance without sitting among the crowd. Before, understudies would be sent all the way up to the catwalks to watch a show from overhead. That’s the highest point in the theatre, above the rafters and lights.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The renovation has been supervised by the DCPA Vice President of Facilities and Event Services Clay Courter. “Clay really spearheaded this project from blueprint to completion,” Sinden said.

    “This new and improved Space Theatre keeps the intimate theatre-in-the-round style that brought audiences to an island of lost boys in Lord of The Flies and into the world of August Wilson's Fences,” Courter said. “This new theatre is going to represent a new way of heightening the energy of the audience and the performers in creating that sense of intimacy and connection that has always been the hallmark of seeing a show in the Space Theatre.”

    Several city leaders were present at Tuesday’s ceremony, including Arts and Venues Executive Director Kent Rice and Deputy Director Ginger White Brunetti; Interim Director of Public Works George Delaney, and Deputy City Attorney Shawn Sullivan.


    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.


    Space Theatre tour facts.


    The Space Theatre/Fun facts:

    • The Space Theatre opened on Dec. 31, 1979, with Moby Dick Rehearsed. It reopens Sept. 22 with Robert O’Hara’s reimagined, all-male production of Macbeth.
    • The DCPA Theatre Company has entertained 4.5 million patrons in its four performance venues in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, including the Space Theatre, over the past 38 years.
    • 11,500 worker hours went into the electrical work alone.
    • Turner Construction Company hauled away more than 350 tons of concrete, which is equal to 700 grand pianos, 53 elephants or nearly 5,300 people. Crews then re-poured 550 tons of concrete.


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented bythe DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    A Space Theatre 800 4The original Space Theatre.
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    ABOUT THE EDITOR
    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

    DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.