2014 True West Award: Adrian Egolf, screenPLAY


From left: 
Diana Dresser, Billie McBride, Chloe Thorsbakken, Mackenzie Paulsen, Kelly Uhlenhopp, Allison Watrous, Rachel Bouchard and Ilasiea Gray of screenPLAY’s “Reservoir Dogs.” Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.



So a few months ago, I’m sitting in a bar with local actors Adrian Egolf and Haley Johnson, talkin’ about whether we ever killed anyone. A few cops, Adrian says. No real people? No — just cops. Adrian, it turns out, has this novel idea for a new theatre company: Quarterly staged readings of popular screenplays, using your favorite local actors in ways you have never seen them before. Every performance would benefit a local art-based nonprofit. If only she could think of a name. Hmmm … “Fun with live screenplays.” … I thought about the verbal throwdown for about the time it took to slam a PBR. I then slid Adrian a napkin scrawled with the word screenPLAY. Now, I did not think something that obvious would set any new standards for originality, but it did reflect both the cinematic and playful aspects of the ladies’ proposed venture. Anyway, Adrian and Haley liked it well enough to use it, and, huzzah — they bought me another PBR for my verbal trouble. ScreenPLAY, with Egolf as Artistic Director and Johnson as Associate Producer, debuted in June with an adorable reading of “The Princess Bride” at Buntport Theater. It featured Regina Fernandez Steffen in the title role and a game Benjamin Bonenfant logging the sweatiest performance in staged-reading history as a valiant Prince Cary Elwes. That was followed by a smoking, all-female take on Reservoir Dogs. Egolf is also busy acting on local stages, having appeared this year as Elaine in The Edge Theatre’s The Graduate, Alma in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s Ambition Facing West and as the princess (natch) in Rumpelstiltskin for Denver Children’s Theatre. In just the first two installments of screenPLAY, Egolf and Johnson have raised hundreds of dollars for the Denver Actors Fund and Girls Rock Denver, an organization that trains young women how to be leaders in their communities. And they already have snared the volunteer services of actors Diana Dresser, Billie McBride, Rachel Fowler, Allison Watrous, Mare Trevathan, Jim Hunt, Josh Hartwell, Stephen Weitz, Laurence Curry, Jude Moran, Brian Landis Folkins, Hannah Duggan, Brian Colonna, Leslie O’Carroll, Kate Gleason, Kelly Uhlenhopp, Missy Moore, Chris Kendall and many more. Imagine who might turn up when screenPLAY next presents The Breakfast Club as a live offering on March 16, also at Buntport. Everyone, repeat after me: “Each one of us is a brain…”  

1: Norrell Moore
2. Kate Gleason
3. Amanda Berg Wilson and Jeremy Make
4. Ben Cowhick
5. Robert Michael Sanders
6. David Nehls
7. Adrian Egolf
8. Emma Messenger
9. Buntport’s Naughty Bits
10. Tim Howard
11. Gleason Bauer
12. Daniel Traylor
13. Aisha Jackson and Jim Hogan
14. Cast of ‘The Whipping Man’
15. Rick Yaconis
16. Michael R. Duran
17. Laura Norman
18. Jacquie Jo Billings
19. Megan Van De Hey
20. Jeremy Palmer
21. Henry Lowenstein   
22. Sam Gregory
23. Wendy Ishii
24. J. Michael Finley
25. Kristen Samu and Denver Actors Fund volunteers
26. Matthew D. Peters
27. Shannan Steele
28. Ludlow, 1914
29. Spring Awakening and Annapurna
30 Theatre Person of the Year Steve Wilson

The True West Awards, which began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001, are the longest-running continuously administered awards program in Colorado theater. This year, the awards have been reconceived to simply recognize 30 award-worthy achievements in local theatre, without categories or nominations. A different honoree will be singled out each day for 30 days.

The True West Awards are administered by arts journalist John Moore, who was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since founded The Denver Actors Fund and taken a groundbreaking position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. His coverage of the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org 

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