2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'General Store' and 'In the Heights'

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.

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