Gregory Treco, Megan Hilty and Betsy Wolfe to headline local fundraisers
Through a wonderful quirk of the local theatrical calendar, the Denver metro area will be abuzz with Broadway stars next week. Gregory Treco (Hamilton), Betsy Wolfe (Waitress) and Megan Hilty (Wicked) are all performing at what promise to be electrifying fundraising appearances.
First up on Monday is Treco, an Aurora native appearing at Fabaganza, a variety show that will benefit the GLBT Community Center of Colorado’s youth division, Rainbow Alley. The lineup includes a variety of drag, circus and musical numbers pushing the boundaries of gender confines. Hilty and Wolfe are headlining more traditional gala concerts for the Central City Opera and The Aurora Fox, respectively.
“I am so thrilled I get to come home to Colorado and support a cause that is so near and dear to my heart,” said Treco, who came home in 2015 to play Simon in the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere of Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan’s The 12. “Colorado is where I found myself and was uplifted by so many in the LGBTQ community. I am excited to help do some of the lifting now. As my (Hamilton) boss Lin Manuel Miranda has said on many occasions: ‘Love is love is love.’ ”
Unlike the gala concerts from Hilty and Wolfe, Fabaganza is a variety show that also will feature Denver theatre favorites Shannan Steele, Kenny Moten, Markus Warren, Abby McInerney and others; aerialist Staza Stone from Phantom Circus; drag queen Jessica L’ Whor; a 1960s-inspired female singing trio called The Beverly Belles; a female Elvis performer named Shelvis; and a new female singing trio and DJ fusion band called The Black Iris Collective. The host is drag queen and Denver Center favorite Shirley Delta Blow.
We caught up with two of the three on their way to Colorado (and we hope to be bringing you a follow-up interview with Hilty from the Central City party next week):
Gregory Treco, April 22
At a glance: The native of Nassau, Bahamas, and graduate of Aurora’s Eaglecrest High School is currently performing in Broadway’s Hamilton as the standby for the roles of Aaron Burr, George Washington and Lafayette/Jefferson. Before that, he spent a year playing Aaron Burr in the Chicago company of Hamilton. Other credits include Taboo on Broadway, produced by Rosie O’Donnell. He received his BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon University.
- What: Fabaganza
- When: 7 p.m. Monday, April 22
- Where: Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe St.
- Benefiting: The GLBT Community Center of Colorado’s youth division, Rainbow Alley
- Tickets: $20; call 303-293-0075 or go to clocktowercabaret.com
- What will you be singing? “Without giving it away, I’m singing a trio of songs that speak to my (and hopefully everyone’s) experience growing up and discovering one’s true self. One song questions where do I fit in and belong; a second represents the discovery of self; and the third speaks on it all being OK in the end.”
- Why was it important for you to come back to Denver for this fundraiser? “It’s important to nurture the community that nurtured YOU. It’s a full-circle moment to be able to give back to the people who ultimately accepted you at a time when you thought no one ever would. It is because of this community that I am where I am today.”
- Favorite piece of theatre you have seen lately: “That has to be a production of a new musical called Witness Uganda (formerly titled Invisible Thread) written by Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould. The guys have it all.”
- Who are you are rooting for on Tony Awards nomination day? “Ephraim Sykes for Best Actor in a Musical. His performance in Ain’t Too Proud is a miracle. A true triple threat.”
- Where can we look for you next? “On the A Train, computer in hand, finishing my own musical Chickcharney, which I hope to be workshopping very soon.”
- Update: More photos from Fabaganza
Megan Hilty, April 26
At a glance: The Tony-nominated Broadway and TV star is a Washington native who rose to prominence through powerhouse performances as Glinda in Wicked, Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 and Brooke Ashton in Noises Off. Hilty also starred in the NBC TV series “Smash,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Musical or Comedy Series. She has guest-starred on “Project Runway,” “Difficult People,” “Brain Dead” and “The Good Wife,” and she has released two albums: “Megan Hilty Live” at the Café Carlyle and “A Merry Little Christmas.” She regularly performs with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and in solo concerts at smaller venues.
- What: Theatre of Dreams Gala
- When: 6:30 p.m. (concert at 9) Friday, April 26
- Where: The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
- Benefitting: Central City Opera, the fifth-oldest opera company in the United States
- Tickets: $150-$350; call 303-292-6700 or go to centralcityopera.org
Betsy Wolfe, April 27
At a glance: Hailed by her doorman as “very talented, but please keep it down,” Betsy Wolfe has established herself as one of the most keenly intelligent performers of her generation. She recently starred in the Tony-nominated musical Waitress as Jenna, a woman struggling in an abusive relationship. Prior to that, she played Cordelia, one of the lovable “lesbians from next door,” in the Broadway revival of Falsettos (that show also aired on PBS). She is perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed performance as Cathy in the Off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years, which she also performed as a concert reading in 2017 at the Denver Center’s Seawell Ballroom. Wolfe made her Carnegie Hall debut at age 20, and her subsequent New York theatre credits have included 110 in the Shade, Everyday Rapture, Bullets Over Broadway and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Armed with a high belt and a questionable affinity for casinos, Wolfe has been a guest artist for more than 40 symphony, pops and philharmonic orchestras across the U.S. and internationally. She can also be seen in the film adaptation of “The Last Five Years,” where she plays a stripper with a snake named Wayne.
- What: The Aurora Fox Gala
- When: Saturday, April 27
- Where: The Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
- Benefiting: The Aurora Fox
- Tickets: $50 concert only; call 303-739-1970 or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org
- What will you be singing? “I will be singing some tunes that have come into my life through various projects that will be new to the listener, along with some of the tunes that hopefully you know and love. I love so many different styles and have been fortunate to do a wide range of styles professionally so I plan on doing that in Aurora as well.” The set list includes songs by Stephen Sondheim; Jason Robert Brown; and Peter, Paul, and Mary.
- Why was it important for you to come to Aurora for this fundraiser? “I grew up in a small community that placed an emphasis on the arts and honestly, that’s why I’m successful to this day. What a gift that was, and I am always excited when I see a community group doing just that. More and more, arts programs are disappearing from schools, so it’s really up to the communities not only to continue this incredible programming but sustain it.”
- Favorite piece of theatre you have seen lately: “I got to catch Michael Urie in Torch Song, and it is still in my mind as one of my recent favorites.”
- Where can we look for you next? “Lucky for me, right after my Aurora concert I head back to New York, where I will be in an Encores! production starring Michael Urie (“Glee”) and myself in a rarely done show called High Button Shoes from May 8-12 at New York City Center. The Encores! series is an incredible way to see excellent productions of rarely seen musicals. The easiest way to see where I’ll be performing next is on my website at betsywolfe.com. I’m currently mini-touring my cabaret show All Bets Are Off, which has been successful in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas thus far.”
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.