Longtime philanthropists join $36 million capital campaign that will re-build the DCPA’s Stage and Ricketson theatres
Denver Center for the Performing Arts President and CEO Janice Sinden announced today that philanthropists and education advocates Robert and Judi Newman have made a significant gift to the DCPA’s newly announced Capital Campaign. The gift will rename DCPA Education’s intimate 185-seat theatre “The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre” in honor of the organization’s late president.
The theatre is housed in a building that already bears the Newman name. It is located on the third floor of the DCPA’s Newman Center for Theatre Education at 1101 13th St., at the corner of Arapahoe Street.
“For 25 years, Randy Weeks transformed entertainment in Denver, offering more than 400 Broadway and cabaret shows to more than 11.6 million guests,” said Robert Newman, also a DCPA Trustee. “But beyond Broadway, Randy also was committed to fostering new talent as a founding member of the DCPA’s Women’s Voices Fund, a board member of Denver School of the Arts, and as founder of the Bobby G Awards to recognize the best in Colorado high-school musical theatre. That program alone has engaged more than 30,000 individuals since its inception in 2013.
“Therefore, it seems fitting that we rename The Conservatory Theatre — which welcomes tens of thousands of students each year to classes and productions for everyone in our community ages three and up — in his honor: The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre. Judi and I hope that our gift, paired with Randy’s commitment to theatre and education, will make a lasting impact for generations to come.”
The announcement was made by DCPA Broadway Executive Director John Ekeberg at the CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, site of the 15th annual Randy Weeks Memorial Golf Tournament. He then introduced this year’s Bobby G Award winners for Outstanding Leading Actor and Actress. Abby Lehrer performed “On My Own” and Elisha Horne sang “The Impossible Dream” for those gathered. Next the two will represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA) on June 25 at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City.
Weeks was named Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway division in 1991 and promoted to president in 2004, Under him, the DCPA landed the openings of 10 national touring productions. Weeks died Oct. 9, 2014, while attending a theatre conference in London.
The Capital Campaign, titled A Grander Opening and launched June 5, is the first public capital campaign in the organization’s 40-year history. The four-year project will fund the re-building of the Stage and Ricketson theatres, the overhaul of backstage and support areas, and the redesign of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby, which will now connect to The Ricketson Theatre by stairs and a new elevator. Other improvements will include upgraded accessibility services, enhanced acoustics, improved sightlines, state-of-the-art technology and updated fire and safety systems.
The project is expected to cost $36 million, of which $19 million will come from voter-approved General Obligation bonds, $9 million from future contributions and $8 million from the DCPA’s Board of Trustees, of which the Newman’s gift is a part.
A Grander Opening will enable the organization to rebuild its Stage and Ricketson theatres equipping them with new seating, to improve accessibility.
On June 5, the DCPA announced it already is 75 percent of the way to its $36 million project goal. Marvin and Judi Wolf made the lead gift to the campaign, and The Stage Theatre will be renamed in their honor. Regional President of U.S. Bank Hassan Salem will serve as Campaign Chair. For ongoing updates and opportunities, please visit denvercenter.org/GranderOpening.