Denver First Lady opens community theatre fest with a song

Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee sings “On a Clear Day” to open the annual Colorado Community Theatre Coalition festival. Click here to go to our gallery of first-day festival photos.


The 26th annual Colorado Community Theatre Coalition festival opened Wednesday night with a welcome – and a song – from Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee.

Lee, who began her professional career at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts at age 18 appearing in “Beehive,” sang an a capella version of “On a Clear Day,” for first-night festival-goers. 

“Anything that has to do with the arts, I make myself available,” said Lee, who has launched her own foundation, Bringing Back The Arts, which works to restore art programs in Denver Public Schools.

The festival, presented in partnership with the Denver Center Theatre Academy at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, will offer performances from 10 statewide community theatres through Saturday, as well as 12 professional workshops, acting competitions and networking. All events take place at the Newman Center for Theatre Education, 1101 13th St., across Arapahoe Street from the Denver Performing Arts Complex.


Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee. Photo by John Moore. Click here to go to our full gallery of festival photos.


“We are excited to host the Colorado Theatre Festival in vibrant downtown Denver and provide an environment for creativity in the performing arts to spark, grow, and flourish,” said Shane Delavan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Community Theatre Coalition. “We are pleased to invite back several strong returning companies that have implemented what they have learned in this environment and have significantly expanded their abilities as a theatre. Also look for several new companies to join us this year that have great potential to take their company to a new level of excellence.”

Selected to Advance to Regional Festival:

  • Platte Valley Players: The Nina Variations
  • Evergreen Players:Apartment 3A
  • St. Vrain Theatre Company:Face Forward: Growing Up in Nazi Germany (alternate)
  • Award winners:

  • Best Director: Craig Bond, Vintage Theatre
  • Best Actor: Josh Rigo, Platte Valley Players
  • Best Actress (tie): Maria Cheng, Theatre Esprit Asia and Lisa Young, Vintage Theatre
  • Best Lighting: Theatre Esprit Asia
  • Best Set: Ryan Dohoney, St. Vrain Theatre Company
  • Best Costumes: Vintage Theatre
  • Techtinabulation: Vintage Theatre
  • People’s Choice: Theatre Esprit Asia, Spirit and Sworded Treks
  • Acting Competition Winner: Lisa Young

    Excellence in Theatre Awards:

    • Director: Maria Cheng, Theatre Esprit Asia
    • Actor: Sam Gilstrap, Evergreen Players
    • Actor: Brad Rutledge, Bolder Acts
    • Actor: Cameron Varner, Hip Hip Heredia
    • Actress: Kirsten Jorgensen Smith, Bolder Acts
    • Actress: Lea Chapman Porter, Vintage Theatre
    • Actress: Sam Roberts, St. Vrain Theatre Company
    • Original Play: Theatre Esprit Asia – Spirit and Sworded Treks
    • Lighting: Platte Valley PlayersSet – Platte Valley Players
    • Costume: Ignite Theatre
    • Ensemble: Vintage Theatre
    • Duet: Lindsey Falduto and Erica Trisler, Vintage Theatre
    • Props: Coal Creek Theater of Louisville
    • Choreography: Maria Cheng, Theatre Esprit Asia

    The theatres that performed 60-minute cuttings were:

    • Apartment3A, Evergreen Players
    • A Song for Correta, Vintage Theatre
    • Spirit and Sworded Treks, Theatre Esprit Asia
    • Spoon River Anthology, Bolder Acts
    • Then Sean Met Khalid, Hip Hip Heredia
    • Rent, Ignite Theatre 
    • The Nina Variations, Platte Valley Players
    • The Bubble Reputation, Coal Creek Theater of Louisville
    • Proof, Colorado Mountain College Theatre
    • Face Forward: Growing Up in Nazi Germany, St. Vrain Theatre Company

    Workshops included:

    • “Strengthening Your Callback Audition” taught by Allison Watrous
    • “Recipe for Genius: Practical and Effective Tools for Creating a Thriving Theatre Experience,” taught by Peter Hughes
    • “Ten Broadway Moves Every Actor Should Know,” taught by Regina Fernandez Steffan
    • “The World of Spontaneity,” taught by Jessica Austgen

    The Colorado Community Theatre Coalition is a statewide theatre organization that promotes and enhances community theatre in the State of Colorado, and is comprised of individuals who are passionate about producing quality theatre at the community level. Held annually in various locations across the State of Colorado, the Colorado Theatre Festival provides opportunities for theatre companies and professionals to expand the quality and effectiveness of their performance art.  For more information, visit