By: Madison Stout
The last two years proved unprecedented for the arts, and while many stayed home in isolation and theatres across the country closed their doors, Phamaly did what they do best — they adapted. By transitioning to virtual platforms, the nomadic theatre company continued its extraordinary work and provided the community with the same quality work Denver has come to know and love.
Phamaly’s 2021 tagline, “Embrace the Madness,” perfectly encapsulated the season, as their original production of Alice in Wonderland was postponed. After reflecting on the trials of the past year and a half, the team is proud to announce the theme of its 2022 season, “Strength through Family.”
“Our family, whether biological or chosen, has been the defining feature of goodness,” Artistic Director Ben Raanan explained. “It is the relationships we build that truly define us; therefore, each show chosen for next year’s season reflects who we are as a family, both the ‘F’ and the ‘PH’ kind.”
The company will begin next season at Northglenn Arts on the Parson’s Stage (March 11-April 3) with a story of redemption, optimism, and comfort. Spitfire Grill by James Valk and Fred Alley and directed by Ben Raanan tells the story of Percy, a woman who moves to a small town in rural Wisconsin after being released from prison. She finds work in a small-town café known as the Spitfire Grill and through sheer force of love, Percy revitalizes the grill and builds a family that she never thought possible.
Continuing the season, next summer Phamaly will be back at Su Teatro with Phamaly’s presentation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Aug 12-Sep 4) directed by Caitlin Lowans. Since its inception, Rocky Horror has differentiated itself from similar shows by building a community centered on each other’s quirks.
“I remember going to Rocky Horror as a high schooler and being completely enveloped inside a family of weirdos where an individual’s eccentricities are not only accepted, they are welcomed,” Raanan expressed. “To me, that is the true meaning of family.”
Phamaly has provided a similar home for its community, extending beyond the company, and celebrating the similarities and differences of its artists, patrons, and audience members.
“It is no accident that the company is named Phamaly and because of that, Phamaly and Rocky Horror go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Raanan concludes. “Don’t come to watch Rocky Horror at Phamaly; instead, come for the whole experience.”
Phamaly will round out its season with a brand-new version of its ever-popular Vox series, this time with a new conceptualization, Vox Vergere. Verger in Latin means to turn. This iteration of Vox is about all the identities that turn all of us in our multiple directions. Intersectionality has always been a key component within the disability experience. How do one’s gender, age, and race relate to their disability?
Directed by Emil Thomas, Artistic Director of Marietta’s Theater on the Square, Vox Vergere will feature a cadre of disabled playwrights and actors creating work that celebrates intersectionality within the disability community. This production will conclude the season with a two-week run at The People’s Building in Aurora (Oct 13-23).
To learn more, visit Phamaly.org for details.