Sam Gregory named to Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship headed by Tyne Daly

Sam Gregory played Stan the bartender in the DCPA Theatre Company’s April production of ‘Sweat.’ Photo by Adams VisCom.

Denver Center favorite among 10 regional theatre actors chosen to join prestigious class

Acclaimed Denver actor Sam Gregory, who has been regularly performing with the DCPA Theatre Company and other Colorado companies since 1991, is one of 10 actors named to the 2019 class of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program. Since 2009, this prestigious fellowship has brought some of the nation’s top regional theatre actors to Genesee Depot, Wisconsin, to work with a world-renowned Master Teacher.

That teacher this year is none other than Tyne Daly, who starred in the inaugural DCPA Theatre Company production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle in 1979. The week-long working retreat will take place July 14-21 at Ten Chimneys, the estate of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. The 2019 fellowship class also includes Paolo Montalban, who played Arthur in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Gregory most recently appeared for the DCPA Theatre Company in Lynn Nottage’s gritty blue-class drama Sweat. He has won five Denver Post Ovation Awards and three True West Awards, most recently in 2017 for his work in the Arvada Center’s Waiting for Godot and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Gregory has been nominated for nine Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, including this year for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s You Can’t Take It With You.

Tyne Daly recalls her time with the DCPA Theatre Company

Sam Gregory in 1991.

At the auditions for the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Twelfth Night, Artistic Director Chris Coleman asked Gregory where he trained. He replied: “In the trenches. I didn’t go to school, I apprenticed, then I started working and I watched the people who were good, and asked a lot of questions.”

Coleman asked him the question, he said, “because Sam had just walked in and delivered what I’d consider an ‘actor’s actor’ performance of Malvolio’s scenes: Grounded, vivid, funny and clear as a bell. It’s the kind of work Denver audiences and fellow artists have come to expect from one of the region’s most respected theatre artists.”

Gregory, who studied under Brian Cox in London, has appeared in 48 Denver Center productions, 30 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, 25 at California Shakespeare Festival and many more elsewhere.

“Sam Gregory is the kind of artist who keeps our field thriving,” Coleman said. “I’ve seen him lift audiences into peals of laughter in the great classics, and most recently, break their hearts as the bartender in Sweat.  He is both generous and edgy, with a deep range of skills. I’m thrilled that he’s getting the kind of recognition that the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship affords.”

Denver Center-born Molly Brown is headed for New York

Previous Denver Center actors to be chosen for the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program incude Kim Staunton, who was named to the inaugural class in 2009, and Kathleen McCall (2013).

Paolo Montalban with his parents at Opening Night of ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’ in 2014. Photo by John Moore

Members of this year’s class are:

  • Charin Alvarez, Goodman Theatre, Chicago
  • Kitty Balay, Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Santa Maria, California
  • Nancy Carroll, Huntington Theatre Company, Boston
  • Donna English, Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, New Jersey
  • Sam Gregory, DCPA Theatre Company
  • Reggie Jackson, Intiman Theatre, Seattle
  • Paolo Montalban, Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, New Jersey
  • Joey Parsons, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Herbert Siguenza, La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, California. (He performed his one-man show, A Weekend with Picasso for the DCPA Theatre Company in 2013.)
  • Craig Wallace, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.

Tyne Daly is a Wisconsin native and an award-winning veteran of stage, television and film. She won the Tony Awards as Best Actress for her portrayal of Rose in Gypsy. Her additional work on Broadway includes It Shoulda Been You, Mothers and Sons, Master Class, Rabbit Hole, The Seagull and That Summer – That Fall.

She has been nominated for 17 Emmy Awards and won six, for “Cagney and Lacey” “Christy” and “Judging Amy.” He TV credits also include “Murphy Brown,” “Modern Family” and Grey’s Anatomy.” Film credits include “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995.

Previous Master Teachers have included Lynn Redgrave, Barry Edelstein, Olympia Dukakis, Joel Grey, Alan Alda, David Hyde Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Jason Alexander, Alfred Molina and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

The goal of the program, according to the Ten Chimneys web site, “is to give top actors around the country a rare and special opportunity to grow artistically, renew their passion for their art form, deepen their commitment to mentorship, and form a national community of Lunt-Fontanne Fellows.”

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S. by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

Video above: The DCPA profiled Sam Gregory with this video in 2014.

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter