2016 True West Award: Beth Beyer




30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

Day 5: Beth Beyer and Into the Woods


The evocative sounds of the forest as you entered the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse signaled to all who entered that this production of Into the Woods was going to be special. Even before salad.

Director Donald Berlin’s opulent production had it all – an elaborate scenic design, beautiful live music, colorful costumes, detailed prosthetics, delightful choreography, moody lighting and a list of accomplished actors every bit as deep as the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl roster.

And for the first three weeks, it even had Debby Boone.

Yes, the Debby Boone, who lit up America with the biggest-selling pop single of the 1970s, played The Witch for a limited run. And she was the first to flatly admit that Beyer was better in the role than she was.

“I’m a pop singer,” Boone said. “But these guys here at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse all have had training, and they have these huge vocal ranges. I have to say, they have assembled the most gifted, talented cast here that I could ever hope to be among.”

True West Awards Beth BeyerInto the Woods is Sondheim – meaning it’s music that wasn’t meant to be sung by mortal voices. Byers grew up in Colorado Springs and logged 15 years in New York City and around the country in national tours including The Sound Of Music with Marie Osmond and Camelot with Robert Goulet. Like many New York-caliber performers, she chose to raise her family in Colorado (in this case, Loveland), and Colorado audiences from the Country Dinner Playhouse to Lone Tree Arts Center to the Candlelight have been the beneficiaries ever since.

(Pictured above and right: Tracy Warren, Matt LaFontaine and Beth Beyer in Candlelight’s ‘Into the Woods.’ Photo by Rachel Graham/RDG Photography.)

Hiring Boone to open Into the Woods was a delicious opportunity to bring unprecedented attention to Colorado’s now 8-year-old and largest remaining dinner theatre, located 40 miles north of Denver at Johnson’s Corner. The plan from the start was to have Boone guest star for three weeks, then cede the role to the gracious hometown girl.

Read our interview with Debby Boone

But when Beyer’s turn came to take over the role, she really completed the story.

True West Awards Beth Beyer QuoteOn the surface, that delightful story intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales including Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella. The plot is tied together by the plight of a childless baker, his wife and their infertile interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them. When done really well, however, Into the Woods should leave the audience a bit shaken by the musical’s unexpectedly deep and dark exploration of the consequences of getting what it is we think we want. And that’s Beyer’s bailiwick, says Berlin.

“As a director, one of the best things you can do is work with Beth Beyer because she works on the authenticity and truth of every single moment,” said Berlin. The storybook witch is evil, to be sure. But part of what makes Into the Woods so provocative is the fact that life has wounded her, and she wreaks her havoc on others in part out of a sense of love and protection for her own daughter.

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

“That character has experienced an incredible amount of heartbreak,” said Berlin. “She acts out of pettiness of ugliness, but there is also a loneliness about her, so the audience sympathizes with her plight. Beth made her eminently relatable, to everyone’s surprise.” 

But she didn’t do it alone. Here is a list of the primary cast and crew who made Candlelight’s Into the Woods one of the most satisfying theatregoing experiences of the year in Colorado:

INTO THE WOODS
Director: Don Berlin
Musical Director: Phil Forman
Scenic Design: Michael R. Duran
Costume Design: Laurie Klapperich, re-staged by Rae Case
Prosthetics and FX makeup: Todd Debrecini
Sound Design: Mark Derryberry
Lighting Design: Shannon Johnson
Choreography: Bob Hoppe
Technical Director: Dave MacEachen

The Witch: Debby Boone and Beth Beyer
Narrator/Mysterious Man: David L. Wygant
Cinderella: Rachel Turner
Jack: Kalond Irlanda
Jack’s Mother: Melissa Swift-Sawyer
The Baker: Matt LaFontaine
The Baker’s Wife: Tracy Warren
Cinderella’ Stepmother: Alisha Winter-Hayes
Florinda: Allison Hatch
Lucinda: Katie Burke
Cinderella’s Mother: Maggie Tisdale
Little Red Ridinghood: Sarah Grover
Rapunzel: Sarah DeYong
Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf: Markus Warren
Rapunzel’s Prince: James Francis
The Royal Steward: Eric Heine
Snow White: Taylor Lang
Sleeping Beauty: Lyndsay Krausa




Beth Beyer/At a glance

  • Born in Colorado Springs
  • Graduated from Coronado High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Lives in Loveland
  • Favorite roles have included include Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone (Broadway workshop), Pam in The Full Monty with Sally Struthers (Pittsburgh CLO), Lina in Singin’ In The Rain (Walnut St. Theatre, Barrymore Nomination), Adelaide in Guys & Dolls (International Music Festival, Macua China), Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors (Maine St. Theatre).
  • Local favorites have included Nellie in South Pacific (Country Dinner Playhouse), Ilona in She Loves Me (Candlelight Dinner Playhouse). Guys & Dolls in Concert (Lone Tree Arts Center) and Violet in 9 to 5 (Candlelight Dinner Playhouse


ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

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

THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS

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

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