2018 True West Award: Seamus McDonough


BDT Stage’s resident everyman continues family legacy with a headset, a hammer and an occasional hair-raising wig

They call him “The Cooler,” because he never loses his cool. But to understand Seamus McDonough’s full importance to BDT Stage, one must only consider his unofficial job title, which requires bullets:

  • Production Stage Manager
  • Technical Director
  • Bar Manager

    Seamus McDonough jumped in when needed in ‘Rock of Ages’ at BDT Stage.

  • Master Carpenter
  • Master Electrician
  • Lighting Designer
  • Rigger
  • Understudy

Yes, as that last item indicates, BDT Stage is the rare theatre company where if an actor goes down, the Stage Manager is fully prepared to step up and fill that costume at a moment’s notice. … It’s pure coincidence the costume so often happens to involve a stringy wig, a skin-tight leotard … or a tail. (Or is it?)

“He’s the foundation of the place,” said Seth Caikowski, who directed an updated version of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at BDT Stage this year. BDT Stage Producing Artistic Director Michael J. Duran agrees. “I simply couldn’t do it without him,” he said flatly.

Our coverage of BDT Stage’s 40th anniversary celebration

McDonough was born into the BDT Stage family in 1985. His father, Tim McDonough, had been a student of eventual BDT founder Ross Haley at Boulder High School back in the 1970s. The elder McDonough was a BDT mainstay for three decades, working in various roles including Food and Beverage Manager and Production Manager. Seamus began working at BDT as a 14-year-old janitor and took a full-time job there after college as a production assistant. In short order, he was promoted to bartending, stage managing, set building and more.

Seamus McDonough with his father, Tim, at BDT Stage

Seamus McDonough with his father, Tim, at BDT Stage.

He has since become known for doing anything for anyone at any time. Like the time he spent all night spraying the BDT Academy kids’ costumes for lice. Just as often the immediate need he fills is more personal than professional.

“The number of times Seamus has come to the rescue of someone having car trouble is legendary,” Caikowski said.

2018 True West Award: The Laramie Project at BDT Stage

McDonough “is the kind of stage manager everybody wants to have,” Duran said. “Whenever I say, ‘We have to get this done’ – he’s already anticipated it and done it. Everyone here looks at him as an indispensable part of the company and of the BDT family.”

And his help is always unconditional. “He’s even bailed people out of jail,” Caikowski said.

Seamus McDonough and Michael J. Duran

Seamus McDonough and Michael J. Duran at BDT Stage.

This past Father’s Day, McDonough posted a Facebook message that perfectly illuminates what working at BDT, and the family legacy started there by Tim McDonough, mean to him. It reads, in part:

“Father’s Day has always been interesting for me because for 19 years I have always worked on that day where my father worked. I have more memories of him there than anywhere else. He taught me how to rig a scrim and a traveler. He taught me how to focus and wire a light. He taught me how to run the revolve. He also taught me that using canned air on the motor while it is running is a bad idea (which is how I learned how to use a fire extinguisher.) I always knew that I wanted nothing more than to be like him and make him proud doing the jobs he did for more than 30 years. On top of all that, he always found time to be a great dad inside and outside those partially painted purple walls.”

But today’s praise is for Seamus McDonough – “and he deserves every bit of it,” Duran said.

Find all of the announced 2018 True West Awards to date

BDT Stage: 2018

  • Always … Patsy Cline
  • The Little Mermaid
  • I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

BDT Stage: 2019

  • Through January 5: A Christmas Story
  • January 11-March 31: Disenchanted!
  • April 3-26: Motones vs. Jerseys
  • May 4-August 31: Beauty and the Beast

BDT Stage is located at 5501 Arapahoe Ave. in Boulder. For more information, call 303-449-6000 or go to bdtstage.com

About The True West Awards: ’30 Days, 30 Bouquets’

The True West Awards, now in their 18th 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 2018 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. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter