• Video, photos: Your first look at 'Human Error'

    by John Moore | Jun 05, 2018

    Your first look at the DCPA Theatre Compay's world-premiere comedy Human Error, by Eric Pfeffinger. After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now two very different couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships. Featuring Marissa McGowan, Larry Bates, Joe Coots, Kimberly Gilbert and Wayne Kennedy. Directed by Shelley Butler. Runs through June 24 in the Garner Galleria Theatre. Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Photos below by Adams VisCom.

    Photo gallery: The production photos


    Human Error


    Human Error: Cast list

    Human Error: Creatives

    • Directed by Shelley Butler
    • Scenic Design by Lisa M. Orzolek
    • Costume Design by Sara Ryung Clement
    • Lighting Design by Charles R. MacLeod
    • Sound Design by Jason Ducat
    • Dramaturgy by Sarah Lunnie
    • Stage management by Christopher C. Ewing
    • Assistant Stage Management by D. Lynn Reiland
    • Casting by Elissa Myers Casting

    Human Error: Ticket information

    HumanError_show_thumbnail_160x160After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now two very different couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through June 24
    • Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Human Error:
    Human Error:
    In comedy, your pain is our punchline
    Playwright on using comedy as a way of confronting our problems
    Five fun things we learned at first rehearsal
    Eric Pfeffinger on the fertile comedy of a divided America

    Video: Our interview with Eric Pfeffinger at the Colorado New Play Summit: 

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'Human Error' playwright on comedy as a way of confronting our problems

    by John Moore | May 29, 2018
    Making of 'Human Error'

    Photos from opening night of 'Human Error' in Denver. Above, from left: Larry Bates, Joe Coots, Marissa McGowan, Kimberly Gilbert and Wayne Kennedy. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    (Note: Perspectives is a series of free public panel discussions held just before the first preview performance of each DCPA Theatre Company offering. Next up: Vietgone: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, in the Jones Theatre.)

    Five things we learned at Perspectives: Right now is a pretty good time for all of us to sit back and have a laugh together

    By John Moore
    Senor Arts Journalist

    It’s not exactly breaking news that discourse in America is broken. But with ideological lines now drawn through the middle of American living rooms as definitively as borders, Human Error playwright Eric Pfeffinger and Director Shelley Butler think now might be a pretty good time for all of us to have a laugh together.

    Human Error Shelley Butler Eric Pfeffinger“I think we have to be realistic about the challenges we are facing as a nation, and we can't minimize the gravity of them, but there is something to be said for approaching the world with a sense of humanity and even optimism in terms of our capacity to deal with those problems,” Pfeffinger said before the first preview performance of his world-premiere play, now in performance at the Garner-Galleria Theatre through June 24.

    Human Error is Pfeffinger's comedy about two very different couples: One NPR-listening, latte-sipping, blue-state liberals; the other NRA-cardholding, truck-driving, red-state conservatives. After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, the conservative wife is impregnated with the liberal wife’s fertilized embryo. Which sounds like an emotionally wrenching indie film that might inspire Oscar-worthy performances from the likes of, say, dramatic actors Tilda Swinton and Amy Adams.

    Yeah, not so much.

    “Most people would say: 'Oh, what a terrible tragedy for everybody involved.' And my reaction was: 'That could be a funny comedy,' Pfeffinger told audience members who gathered before the first preview performance of Human Error. “That's a strategy that I employ a lot as a writer: I take this thing that is not at all comedic for anybody involved and try to make it funny.”

    But something not so funny happened as Pfeffinger continued to develop his script after it was featured at the Denver Center’s 2017 Colorado New Play Summit and then chosen for full production to close out the 2017-18 season. “I thought I was writing a fun comedy about reproductive technology — because who doesn’t love those?" he said. "But as I started getting into the world of the play, I realized it was increasingly about these two couples and the echo chambers they have chosen to isolate themselves within. Now that they are forced to spend nine months together working this thing out, they can no longer demonize and caricature these other people who don't think like they do. Because they learn to actually like each other in some fun and enlightening and surprising ways.

    “I went into the writing of this play thinking it was going to be a dark illustration of how impossible it is for us to understand one another — and how we are doomed as a people. But it turns out my play had a more human outlook on America than I do.”

    Here are five more things we learned at Perspectives:

    NUMBER 1

    Foot in mouth. Butler says Pfeffinger’s comedy-writing style is akin to situational comedy. Pfeffinger even provides a wink to the sit-com form by having his liberal dad-to-be — a black man named Keenan — work at a think-tank on the study of comedy, where he recently presented the topic: “Tumbling Over the Populist Footstool: Anti-Intellectualism in The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The kids may not know why that is so funny. But one of the most beloved opening sequences in TV history had Van Dyke (as Rob Petrie) come home from work and sometimes trip over his ottoman — and sometimes not. For six years, Americans never knew (and reportedly heavily bet on) whether Van Dyke would trip from week to week. The bit was dreamed up as a tribute to silent clowns from days of yore. Here’s the whole story.

    NUMBER 2

    Wet blanket. OK, a quick reality check: In-vitro fertilization is a $3 billion industry in the U.S., responsible for more than 1 million babies. And mistaken embryo implantation is a real thing, too. There is no concrete data on its incidence, but here’s one couple’s particularly harrowing account. More often than not, these cases tend to go under the radar. Failure can be especially devastating, as a single round of IVF can cost a couple up to $20,000.

    NUMBER 3

    The Doctor is off. After reading the above item above, you can imagine that the fertility doctor in Pfeffinger’s play must be a bumbling, mumbling idiot to make that kind of mistake. And he is, thanks in large part to the comedic stylings of BDT Stage veteran Wayne Kennedy. “It's possibly not the most flattering portrayal of a doctor in the American theatre,” Pfeffinger said. “I don't know that the play is going to be endorsed by the American Medical Association. But Wayne Kennedy does a fantastic job of creating this guy who's usually really good at this one very narrow, technologically specific branch of medicine — and then this thing goes wrong and suddenly he has to be good at working with people. ... And he's not good at working with people.” 

    Read more: Our complete interview with the playwright

    NUMBER 4

    The space case. Human Error is the first DCPA Theatre Company season offering ever presented in the Garner Galleria Theatre, more commonly home to ensemble musicals such as The Taffetas and First Date. And Butler says the space has presented several logistical challenges. Galleria shows typically offer wait service throughout the show, but that is not the case for Human Error because, well: A play is going on. “We're really happy for people to buy drinks in the bar and bring them with them into the theatre,” Butler said, “but this isn't a cabaret show.” The Galleria is also an intimate space but it does seat 200 in narrow rows that go back a long way. Careful not to lose any of the subtlety of the comedy, Butler has chosen to mic her actors in an inconspicuous way. “You may not even notice they are there, but the mics allow the actors to play the comedy the way the comedy wants to be played — and still reach the back of the house,” she said. "Eric has so many great throwaway lines (spoken as an aside, often no more loudly than a whisper), and with mics the actors don’t have to change their delivery in order for those lines to be heard.”

    NUMBER 5 Working for a living. As playwrights go, Pfeffinger is a big deal, having had his works performed at the Humana Festival in Louisville, Ky., the Geva Theatre Center in New York, the Denver Center and more. He’s also a librarian at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library in Ohio — and didn’t get to attend Friday’s official opening performance because he had to work his shift. “Yes, playwriting is very lucrative,” Pfeffinger said with a laugh. “The day job is just for fun.” Actually, even successful playwrights juggle writing with all sorts of outside jobs to pay the bills. “Even Tony Kushner will say, 'If I'm weren't writing these screenplays, you wouldn't be getting these plays,’” Pfeffinger said. “That definitely influences the rhythm of my work. And when I have a great opportunity like this one in Denver, I have to take vacation time to do it. But I love working at the library. It keeps me in constant contact with a huge range of people — including the kinds of people who are in this play. I think working at the library informs my work as a playwright in an invaluable way.” But still, Butler added: “Every time Eric has to go back to the library, we get depressed.”

    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.

    Chris Coleman Human Error. Photo by John Moore
    Chris Coleman delivers his first opening-night curtain speech as the new Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company, at 'Human Error.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Human Error: Cast list

    Human Error: Creatives

    • Directed by Shelley Butler
    • Scenic Design by Lisa M. Orzolek
    • Costume Design by Sara Ryung Clement
    • Lighting Design by Charles R. MacLeod
    • Sound Design by Jason Ducat
    • Dramaturgy by Sarah Lunnie
    • Stage management by Christopher C. Ewing
    • Assistant Stage Management by D. Lynn Reiland
    • Casting by Elissa Myers Casting
    Video: Our interview with Eric Pfeffinger at the Colorado New Play Summit: 

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Human Error: Ticket information

    HumanError_show_thumbnail_160x160After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now two very different couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through June 24
    • Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Human Error:
    Human Error:
    In comedy, your pain is our punchline
    Playwright on using comedy as a way of confronting our problems
    Five fun things we learned at first rehearsal
    Eric Pfeffinger on the fertile comedy of a divided America

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • 'Human Error': In comedy, your pain is our punchline

    by John Moore | May 12, 2018
    HUMAN ERROR ERIC PFEFFINGER QUOTE. Photo by John Moore


    With this new comedy about a botched embryo implant, playwright posits: To err is human ... to laugh divine

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    In the DCPA Theatre Company's world-premiere comedy Human Error, a young couple goes to what they think is a routine appointment at a fertility clinic only to discover that their fertilized embryo has been mistakenly implanted into somebody else. 

    So, obviously … it’s a comedy. 

    “You know: Another one of your standard-issue switched-fertilized-embryo farces,” jocular Midwestern playwright Eric Pfeffinger says with a laugh. 

    It’s a funny premise … but you haven’t even gotten to the punchline yet. 

    “So one couple are blue-state, latte-sipping, NPR-listening liberals,” Pfeffinger said. “And the other are NRA-cardholding, pickup-truck-driving, red-state conservatives.” 

    Human Error rehearsal. Photo by John MooreThat’s the punchline: Two couples who, under normal circumstances, would never choose to be in the same room with each other, now will have to spend nine months building some kind of a family — and hopefully not killing each other along the way. 

    As they say in comedy, your pain is another guy’s pleasure. 

    (Rehearsal photo, from left, Kimberly Gilbert, Marissa McGowan and Wayne Kennedy. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.) 

    Human Error is a comedy about the state of the nation currently and the political polarization we are all grappling with,” Pfeffinger said of his play, which was featured at the Denver Center’s 2017 Colorado New Play Summit only a month after Donald Trump’s inauguration. And, well, there’s been a bit more rancor since then.  

    “If anything, Americans’ inclination to isolate ourselves within comfortable ideological silos has only increased,” Pfeffinger said back on an April day when the national headlines were dominated by the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress. 

    The bad news is: Political, social and cultural polarization is just a given in America right now.

    “But the good news is: The worse things get, the better it is for my play,” Pfeffinger said with a smile. “So … yay?”

    Geography, technology and social status have made it easy for Americans to isolate themselves from anyone who doesn’t already think the same way they do, Pfeffinger said. That means we are only rarely confronted with contradictory or challenging points of view. But Pfeffinger has the power of the playwright in his fingers: He can put any two people he wants face-to-face on a stage. Or, in this case, he can put any two couples he wants face-to-face in the same bumbling fertility doctor’s office.

    “None of the people in my play know anybody else like the other couple,” Pfeffinger said. “They don’t have to confront the reality of someone who thinks differently until they are thrown together by this clerical mix-up at the clinic.” The play is not so much about the ethics of fertility technology, Pfeffinger says — as dramatic as that can be. “It’s more about the echo chambers we Americans often find ourselves in, and the defense mechanisms we adopt when we are forced to step outside our comfort zones and acknowledge that there are other people in the world who are not just like us.”

    But remember, Pfeffinger said his play is not a Lifetime movie event. He said it was funny. And not nasty, David Mamet kind of funny. “It’s BIG funny,” he said. “When I first heard about this kind of thing actually happening at fertility clinics, my first response was, ‘Oh that sounds like an episode of Three’s Company: “Wait, that’s not your embryo — that’s my embryo!” And … cut to commercial.’

    Human Error draws explicit connections to various kinds of classic comedy, particularly the TV sitcom, which is what I grew up mainlining.”  

    So really, Pfeffinger had no choice but to take a comic approach to the subject. It’s all he knows. 

    Human Error: Five funs things we learned at first rehearsal

    “Everyithing I write is a comedy. That’s how I function,” said Pfeffinger, who has past lives as both an improv comedian and a newspaper cartoonist. “Let’s take this thing that does not seem particularly funny to the people it is happening to and find the humor n it.”

    And after all that prolonged division and unrest in the country, he said, now might be a really good time for us to laugh. 

    “A lot of people embrace comedy as an opportunity to escape from what is stressful about the world,” Pfeffinger said. “I happen to believe that comedy is one of the best ways to confront difficult ideas and to examine and articulate those ideas. Comedy lowers your defenses by making you laugh.” 

    Human Error castPfeffinger has continued to hone the play in the 15 months since the Colorado New Play Summit, in close consultation with director Shelley Butler and dramaturg Sarah Lunnie. But not with the intent of either making the play more overtly funny or politically relevant.

    “Tonally, structurally and thematically, the play is pretty much the same now as it was at the Summit,” he said. “It’s more a matter of helping the play to become more of what it’s already wanting to be. That includes making the funny stuff funnier and the human stuff, uh, human-er.”

    Human Error will become the first Theatre Company season offering ever staged in the Garner Galleria Theatre, which will provide an intimate, cabaret-like atmosphere that will be new for many Theatre Company audiences. 

    “This is a play where the comedy comes from the audience connecting with these very different, very recognizable people,” Pfeffinger said. “I think where the audience and the performers are palpably sharing the same space and breathing the same air, that’s where comedy thrives.”

    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.


    Human Error at Tommy Photo by John Moore
    From left: Kimberly Gilbert, Director Shelley Butler, Playwright Eric Pfeffinger, Joe Coots, and Marissa McGowan of 'Human Error,' at the opening of DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Who's Tommy.' Not pictured: Larry Bates and Wayne Kennedy. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Human Error: Cast

    Human Error: Creatives

    • Directed by Shelley Butler
    • Scenic Design by Lisa M. Orzolek
    • Costume Design by Sara Ryung Clement
    • Lighting Design by Charles R. MacLeod
    • Sound Design by Jason Ducat
    • Dramaturgy by Sarah Lunnie
    • Stage management by Christopher C. Ewing
    • Assistant Stage Management by D. Lynn Reiland
    • Casting by Elissa Myers Casting
    Video: Our interview with Eric Pfeffinger at the Colorado New Play Summit: 

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Human Error: Ticket information

    HumanError_show_thumbnail_160x160After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now two very different couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances May 18 through June 24
    • Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Look back: 'First Date' actors serenade patients on Valentine's Day

    by John Moore | May 01, 2018

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter

    The actors spread music and joy on what might have been a lonelier holiday for some patients at UCHealth

    We wanted to wait until DCPA Cabaret's recent extended hit musical First Date closed before we took you behind-the-scenes for a very special day of community outreach back on Valentine's Day.

    UC Health First Date Five cast members visited University of Colorado Hospital and performed excerpts from the show for patients, family members and staff in the UCHealth auditorium, followed by a Q&A with the audience and an autograph-signing.

    The actors then visited several patient rooms to spread cheer for those who were either isolated or not well enough to leave their rooms. When one respiratory patient mentioned her faith, cast member Cashelle Butler sang her an impromptu, a capella version of “How Great Thou Art.” For another patient, she sang Brandi Carlile’s “That Wasn’t Me.”  

    UCHealth 800 First Date John MooreThe other participating actors were Adriane Leigh Robinson, Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge and Jordan Leigh.

    "I think all of the cultural arts are a great way of healing and treating," said Heather Hogoboom, UCHealth's Manager of Corporate Partnerships. "We here at the hospital can help with the physical aspects, but music, art and performance bring a lot of joy, and we know that's part of the whole process to get better." 

    First Date, directed by Ray Roderick, closed on April 22 at the Garner Galleria Theatre. He has another new project, For the Love of George, that will play four performances in the Conservatory Theatre from May 3-11. (Call 303-893-4100.)


    Photo gallery: The making of First Date in Denver:


    The making of 'First Date' in Denver
    To see more photos, click on the image above to be taken to our full Flickr gallery. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of First Date:
    For the Love of George: Meet Cupid's misfiring brother, George
    Video: Your 'First Date' with Director Ray Roderick
    Understudies talk about their unique role in First Date
    Video: Photos: Your first look at First Date
    Meet the all-local cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!
    Cashelle Butler visits Cherry Creek High School
  • 'Human Error': Comedy won't draw a red or blue line in the sand

    by John Moore | Apr 30, 2018
    Making of 'Human Error'

    Photos from the making of 'Human Error in Denver. Above, from left: Joe Coots, Marissa McGowan, Larry Bates, Kimberly Gilbert and Wayne Kennedy at the first day of rehearsal for 'Human Error,' which has its first performance on May 18. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

    Director promises the only harm that may come from watching this world-premiere comedy is a busted gut

    By John Moore
    Senor Arts Journalist

    Rehearsals have begun for the DCPA Theatre Company's season-ending, world-premiere comedy Human Error, about what happens when you put two completely opposite young couples together with only one thing in common: A bumbling fertility doctor who has mistakenly implanted a fertilized embryo from one woman into the uterus of the other.

    You know: "Another one of your standard-issue switched-fertilized-embryo farces,” Ohio playwright Eric Pfeffinger said with a laugh.

    Human Error Shelley Butler Photo by John Moore One couple are NPR-listening, latte-sipping, blue-state liberal; the other NRA-card-holding, truck-driving, red-state conservatives. The conflict between them will be recognizable to anyone presently breathing in America. Keenan and Madelyn are mixed-race liberals. Jim and Heather are affluent Christians who love God, guns and having babies. Have them share an egg, and hilarity ensues. (If the response of those audiences who first saw the play as a reading at the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit are to be believed.)

    But in this highly polarized time in America, Director Shelley Butler and her team are determined to keep the play from becoming no more injurious to anyone watching than perhaps a busted gut.

    "You could approach this staging with a really obvious red-and-blue set design, and go hard on the red-and-blue lighting, but we really endeavored not to do that," Butler said.

    "When Eric and I met three years ago, the political and cultural divide in our country had been building for decades — but I don't think either one of us knew that in 2018, his play would be more applicable than ever. Part of what I responded to in the play then is that Eric didn't approach any of these characters as caricatures. He really embraced the humanity in all of them. This play is unapologetically a comedy, but we are not setting any of these people up for ridicule." 

    Here are five more things we learned at first rehearsal: 

    NUMBER 1Get thee to the Galleria. Human Error will be the first DCPA Theatre Company season offering ever presented in the Garner Galleria Theatre, more commonly home to ensemble musicals such as The Taffetas and First Date. This unlikely venue for a play will provide an intimate, cabaret-like atmosphere that will be new for many Theatre Company subscribers. "We put in in the Galleria Theatre because it has that inherent feel of being compact and very personal," Theatre Company Associate Producer Grady Soapes said. Added Butler: "It really feeds into our populist approach to this production."

    NUMBER 2

    Border war! The play is set in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo whose northern border is the southern border of Michigan. Keenan and Madelyn live in Michigan, while Jim and Heather live on Sylvania. Anyone who knows that part of the Midwest also knows the antagonism between those two states is real. A lot of it has to do with perhaps the greatest rivalry in all of college sports, between the Ohio State and the University of Michigan football teams, but tere is an ideological divide as well. Human Error Sound Designer Jason Ducat knows of this all too well, having grown up in the border town of Bowling Green, Ohio, which is probably what the coiner of the term "spitting distance" had in mind. "We don't feel too highly about that state to the north," said Ducat, who couldn't even bring himself to say "Michigan."  

    NUMBER 3

    Book of Will Kimberly Gilbert Round House TheatreKennedy is back. Local audiences will be quick to recognize Wayne Kennedy in the role of the bumbling fertility doctor. Kennedy, who was a featured performer in Off-Center's recent immersive staging of The Wild Party, has been a familiar face on the BDT Stage in Boulder for 27 years, and he won all the awards for his portrayal of Tateh in productions of Ragtime at the Arvada Center and BDT Stage. The actors playing the two couples are mostly new to Denver. Big Joe Coots, who was a meanie in the national touring production of Kinky Boots, participated in a five-part video series for the DCPA NewsCenter while he was here. It was called "Kinky Qs," and in it, Coots tackled meaningful questions like, "Have you ever been bullied?" (His answer may surprise you.) Marissa McGowan toured through Denver with Les Miserables. Kimberly Gilbert was not in the DCPA Theatre Company's world premiere staging of The Book of Will — however, she did play Elizabeth Condell in the Round House Theatre's recent production in Bethesda, Md. (Photo above by Kaley Etzkorn.)  Larry Bates played Martin Luther King in South Coast Repertory's All the Way.   

    Read more: Our complete interview with the playwright

    NUMBER 4

    Director's roots. You may remember Director Shelley Butler from the Theatre Company's 2013 staging of Catherine Trieschmann's The Most Deserving, a world-premiere comedy about amateur art and amateur politics in a tiny West Kansas town. Butler already has her return trip to to Denver booked: She will be directing W. Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife from Sept. 21-Oct. 21 in the Space Theatre.

    NUMBER 5 We're only human-er: Pfeffinger has continued to hone his play in the 15 months since the Colorado New Play Summit, in close consultation with Butler and dramaturg Sarah Lunnie. But not with the intent of either making the play more overtly funny or politically relevant. “Tonally, structurally and thematically, the play is pretty much the same now it was at the Summit,” he said. “It's more a matter of helping the play to become more of what it's already wanting to be. That includes making the funny stuff funnier and the human stuff, uh, human-er.”

    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.


    Human Error at Tommy Photo by John Moore
    From left: Kimberly Gilbert, Diretor Shelley Butler, Playwright Eric Pfeffinger, Joe Coots, and Marissa McGowan of 'Human Error,' at the opening of DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Who's Tommy' last Friday. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Human Error: Cast:

    Human Error: Creatives

    • Directed by Shelley Butler
    • Scenic Design by Lisa M. Orzolek
    • Costume Design by Sara Ryung Clement
    • Lighting Design by Charles R. MacLeod
    • Sound Design by Jason Ducat
    • Dramaturgy by Sarah Lunnie
    • Stage management by Christopher C. Ewing
    • Assistant Stage Management by D. Lynn Reiland
    • Casting by Elissa Myers Casting
    Video: Our interview with Eric Pfeffinger at the Colorado New Play Summit: 

    Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Human Error: Ticket information

    HumanError_show_thumbnail_160x160After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now two very different couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships.
    • Presented by DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances May 18 through June 24
    • Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Saturday Night Alive: Four intriguing auction items, from catwalks to crime labs

    by John Moore | Feb 27, 2018
    Singapore. Courtesy Singapore Tourism Board
    Bonus: Seductive Singapore: Enjoy a three-night weekend at The Westin Singapore situated on Marina Bay. Take a trip on the world’s tallest observation wheel, or a signature bumboat ride along the city’s landmarks, quays, bridges and vistas. Value: $2,465. Photo courtesy Singapore Tourism Board. BID

    Spotlighting four intriguing and surprising items up for bidding, which is now open for benefit of DCPA Education 

    By Katie Imhoff
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    The 38th annual Saturday Night Alive is coming up this week, and hundreds of auction items are already waiting in the wings for you to bid on. Here we spotlight four unusual, intriguing and downright surprising items up for bid. See something you can’t wait to own? Bids already are being placed online at aesbid.org, so join in on the action. All proceeds from Saturday Night Alive benefit DCPA Education and its programs, which reach more than 105,000 students of all ages each year.

    Tour The Denver Crime Lab
    Value: $1,000
    NUMBER 1Denver Crime LabChannel your inner CSI for this private insider’s tour of the Denver Crime Laboratory. Opened in 2012, the state-of-the-art facility helps the City of Denver to investigate, identify or exonerate suspects and successfully prosecute criminal cases. This tour for up to 10 people lasts one to two hours and includes the lab’s eight units: Forensic Imaging, Forensic Biology and DNA, Firearms, Latent Prints, Forensic Chemistry, Trace Evidence, Crime Scene and Quality Assurance. Your guide will be the Laboratory Director, Deputy Director or member of the Quality Assurance Unit. BID

    Be a Pinball Wizard at The Who's Tommy

    Value: $5,000
    NUMBER 2Tommy_homepage_pinboard_220x285Two lucky patrons will join DCPA Theatre Company Artistic Producer Melissa Cashion and Assistant Production Manager Matthew Campbell for a very special night at the first preview performance for The Who’s Tommy on April 20. Start with an in-depth conversation over dinner at Corinne restaurant (using your $250 gift certificate) about the evolution of the show from idea to execution followed by seeing the show from a vantage point audience members never see – the catwalks above the stage. Take a photo in the control booth afterward with DCPA Production Stage Manager Kurt Van Raden, who will explain the behind-the-scenes communication it takes to pull off a large, full-scale musical. After the show, Cashion and Campbell will escort you to the Galleria Theatre bar for a cocktail and Q&A. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be fully curated to give you the most out of your “Golden Ticket Backstage Pass.” BID
     
    Your Face on the Wall of The Palm
    Value: $15,650
    NUMBER 3Lester Ward at The PalmJoin the ranks of local politicians, bastions of business and regulars known as Palm Family Members with your own custom caricature posted on the wall of The Palm Denver. The Palm’s legendary tradition of caricatures on restaurant walls originated in 1920s New York, when some of its first patrons – talented cartoonists from the nearby King Features Syndicate – virtually paid for their supper in original art on the walls of The Palm’s first restaurant, which was then a speakeasy. These artists would draw lively scenes of the restaurant’s clientele – neighbors and family, as well as celebrity patrons – that came to be known as the hieroglyphics of New York City life. Over the next 92 years, they have become prized faces on the walls of The Palm. Your package also includes a four-course dinner for four, including wine pairings, prepared by Executive Chef Robert Brothers. BID
     
    An Evening with Lannie Garrett
    Value: $5,000
    NUMBER 4Lannie Garrett Host an intimate cocktail party in your home with legendary Denver singer and entertainer Lannie Garrett. Lannie and her piano player will entertain your guests with a cabaret-style show for up to 35 guests. Lannie is one of Colorado’s most versatile and magnetic performers, easily moving between big-band swing and the blues to her hilarious county spoof, The Patsy DeCline Show. Lannie has that rare combination of popular and critical appeal and in 2016 was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Garrett's charisma and humor will help you and your guests have an unforgettable night. BID

    Saturday Night Alive: At a glance
    Annual fundraising gala for DCPA Education
    Saturday, March 3
    Headlining event: Guests will attend performance of Hamilton
    More information
  • 2018-19 Broadway season: 'Dear Evan Hansen,' Betty Buckley as Dolly and more

    by John Moore | Feb 26, 2018

    Play the video above to learn more about the Denver Center's 2018-19 Broadway season announcement.

     

    Highly anticipated 2017 Best Musical opens September 25; legendary Buckley to find empty lap in Denver as Dolly Levi


    Hello, Betty!

    We now know that the previously announced national tour launch of the 2017 Tony and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen will launch the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' 2018-19 Broadway season from Sept. 25 through Oct. 13 in the Buell Theatre, it was announced this morning.

    Joining Dear Evan Hansen will be the 2017 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival Hello, Dolly! starring Broadway legend Betty Buckley and the first national tours of Come From Away, A Bronx Tale, The Play That Goes Wrong, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Anastasia. Also as part of the season, DCPA Cabaret will produce Xanadu in the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    Reservations for the limited number of new subscriptions are available at 10 a.m. starting today (Monday, Feb. 26), at 10 a.m. at denvercenter.org. Renewing subscribers, followed by members of the wait list, will receive priority seating. Some restrictions apply. A public on-sale will be announced at a later date.

    The DCPA also announced several non-subscription shows, in order of their Denver arrivals: Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Love Never Dies, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Cirque Eloize – Hotel, Rock of Ages, Bat Out of Hell, Cats, Wicked and ­Fiddler on the Roof.

    Dear Evan Hansen Creative Team. Photo by Chad Kraus

    Dear Evan Hansen creative team members, from left: Benj Pasek, Steven Levenson, Alex Lacamoire, Justin Paul and Michael Greif. Photo by Chad Kraus. 


    2018-19 BROADWAY SUBSCRIPTION SEASON AT A GLANCE
    :

    • Dear Evan Hansen tour launch, Buell Theatre, Sept. 25-Oct. 13, 2018
    • Xanadu, Garner Galleria Theatre, Nov. 3, 2018-April 28, 2019
    • Come From Away, Buell Theatre, Nov. 13-25, 2018
    • A Bronx Tale, Buell Theatre, Jan. 8-20, 2019
    • The Play That Goes Wrong, Buell Theatre, March 5-17, 2019
    • Hello, Dolly! Buell Theatre, March 27-April 7, 2019
    • Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Buell Theatre, July9-28, 2019
    • Anastasia, Buell Theatre, Aug. 7-18, 2019

    ADDITIONAL NON-SUBSCRIPTION OFFERINGS:

    • Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, Garner Galleria Theatre, July 12-Aug. 5, 2018
    • The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Garner Galleria Theatre, Sept. 13-30, 2018
    • Love Never Dies, Buell Theatre, Oct. 23-28, 2018
    • Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Buell Theatre, Dec. 5-15, 2018
    • Cirque Eloize – Hotel, Buell Theatre, Dec. 19-23, 2018
    • Rock of Ages, Buell Theatre, Jan. 25-27, 2019
    • Bat Out of Hell, Buell Theatre, Feb. 6-17, 2019
    • Cats, Buell Theatre, April 24-28, 2019
    • Wicked, Buell Theatre, May 8-June 9, 2019
    • ­Fiddler on the Roof, Buell Theatre, June 11-16, 2019

    Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized ticket provider for these productions in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker, or any third party, run the risk of overpaying or potentially buying illegitimate tickets. If they do, they should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and are unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance. Patrons found in violation of the DCPA Ticket Purchase and Sale Terms and Policies may have ALL of their tickets canceled.

    Read more: DCPA NewsCenter interview with Michael Greif


    ABOUT THE SHOWS:
    (In alphabetical order; descriptions provided by DCPA)

      [3475]_NicoleScimecaMaryBethPeilinANASTASIAonBroadwayPhotobyMatthewMurphy2017ANASTASIA

      • Aug 7-18, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia is on a journey to Denver at last. From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family. Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) with direction by Tony Award-winner Darko Tresnjak. (Photo by Matthew Murphy.)


      Andrew Polec as Strat & Christina Bennington as Raven in BAT OUT OF HELL THE MUSICAL (7). Photo Credit - SpecularBAT OUT OF HELL

      • Feb 6-17, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      The romance of rock ‘n’ roll comes alive on stage in Jim Steinman’s “Jaw-Dropping Spectacle” (London Evening Standard) Bat Out of Hell The Musical. The streets are heating up as Strat, the forever young leader of rebellious gang The Lost, falls in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler of post-apocalyptic Obsidian in a love story that has “changed the way musicals are staged forever” (North West End). Winner of Best Musical at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, this “dazzling tale of star crossed lovers” (Toronto Sun) plays The Buell February 2019. Forget everything you know about musicals and get lost in this critically-acclaimed, smash-hit theatrical spectacle. (Photo by Specular.)


      A Bronx Tale. Photo by Joan Marcus. A BRONX TALE

      • Jan 8-20, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Broadway’s hit crowd-pleaser takes you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s — where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Bursting with high-energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes from the songwriter of Beauty and the Beast — Alan Menken — A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty and family. Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Tony® winner Jerry Zaks direct this streetwise musical based on Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri’s story that The New York Times hails as “A Critics’ Pick. The kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry.” “A combination of Jersey Boys and West Side Story” (amNewYork).


      Mamie Parris as Grizabella in CATS (Photo by Matthew Murphy)CATS

      • April 24-28, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Cats, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in more than 30 countries and 15 languages, is now on tour across North America. Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater—“Memory”. Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom, School of Rock, Sunset Boulevard), original scenic and costume design by John Napier (Les Misérables), all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz (Aladdin), all-new sound design by Mick Potter, new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne (Phantom) and direction by Trevor Nunn (Les Misérables) make this production a new Cats for a new generation. (Photo by Matthew Murphy.)


      6_RyanFoustinROALDDAHLSCHARLIEANDTHECHOCOLATEFACTORYPhotosbyJoanMarcus2017ROALD DAHL’S CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

      • July 9-28, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Roald Dahl’s amazing tale is now Denver’s golden ticket. It’s the perfect recipe for a delectable treat: songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray. Willy Wonka is opening his marvelous and mysterious chocolate factory...to a lucky few. That includes Charlie Bucket, whose bland life is about to burst with color and confection beyond his wildest dreams. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination. Now’s your chance to experience the wonders of Wonka like never before – get ready for Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper. (Photo by Joan Marcus.)


      Cirque-Eloize-Hotel-200x200CIRQUE ELOIZE - HOTEL

      • Dec 19-23, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      For its 25th anniversary, Cirque Éloize once again presents a touching, poetic, one-of-a-kind creation. Hotel is the story of a place and the travelers who come passing through it. A stopover where lives intersect, collide and juxtapose for a brief time to generate tales and memories. Acrobatics, theatre, dance and live music will draw spectators into a colorful, timeless world. Avant-garde stage design, inspired by the elegance of the great hotels, will carry the narrative. All that remains is to enter through the lobby door and get swept away by the grandeur and poetry of Hotel.


      [2]_ThecastofCOMEFROMAWAYPhotobyMatthewMurphy2016COME FROM AWAY

      • Nov 13-25, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      The true story of the small town that welcomed the world. Broadway’s Come From Away has won Best Musical all across North America. The New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Don’t miss this breathtaking new musical written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein and helmed by this year’s Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley. Newsweek cheers, “It takes you to a place you never want to leave.” On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. (Photo by Matthew Murphy.)


      Dear-Evan-Hansen-200x200DEAR EVAN HANSEN
      North American tour launch of the Tony and Grammy-winning Best Musical

      • Sept. 25-Oct. 13, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      Winner of Six 2017 Tony Awards Including Best Musical and the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. “One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history,” says The Washington Post. Rolling Stone calls Dear Evan Hansen  “a game-changer that hits you like a shot in the heart” and NBC News says the musical is “an inspiring anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.” Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman) and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal). Casting will be announced at a later date.


      Fiddler-on-the-Roof-200x200FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

      • Jun 11-16, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Audiences across North America are toasting a new production of Fiddler on the Roof. Rich with musical hits you know and love, including “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and "To Life (L'Chaim),” Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Featuring a talented cast, lavish orchestra and stunning movement and dance from Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins, Fiddler on the Roof will introduce a new generation to the uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy.


      HelloDolly_Performance4_033117-398HELLO, DOLLY!

      • March 27-April 7, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in Hello, Dolly! – the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). Breaking box office records week after week and receiving thunderous raves on Broadway, this Hello, Dolly! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be seeing something historic."


      The-Improvised-Shakespeare-Company-200x200THE IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

      • Sept 13-30, 2018
      • Garner Galleria Theatre

      Based on one audience suggestion (a title for a play that has yet to be written) The Improvised Shakespeare Co. creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your very eyes! Each of the players has brushed up on his “thee’s” and “thou’s” to bring you an evening of off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare. Nothing has been planned out, rehearsed, or written.  All of the dialogue is said for the first time, the characters are created as you watch, and if every you're wondering where the story is going ... so are they. The night could reveal a tragedy, comedy, or history. Each play is completely improvised, so each play is entirely new.


      LoveNeverDies-5LOVE NEVER DIES

      • Oct 23-28, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      This story of boundless love, full of passion and drama, follows Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most successful musicals of all time, which has now been seen by more than 130 million people worldwide and is the winner of more than 50 international awards. The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. Love Never Dies is a dazzling new production, which takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Be seduced by the beautiful, sometimes magical and poetic, sometimes joyful, and occasionally melancholic score. Don’t miss this magnificent continuation of one of the world’s greatest love stories as it makes its Denver premiere.


      The Play That Goes WrongTHE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

      • March 5-17, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You’d get The Play That Goes Wrong, Broadway and London’s award-winning smash comedy. Called “a gut-busting hit” (The New York Times) and “the funniest play Broadway has ever seen” (Huffington Post), this classic murder mystery is chockfull of mishaps and madcap mania delivering “a riotous explosion of comedy” (Daily Beast). Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “tons of fun for all ages” (Huffington Post) and “comic gold” (Variety).



      Rock-of-Ages-200x200ROCK OF AGES

      • Jan 25-27, 2019
      • Buell Theatre

      It’s 1987 on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip when a small-town girl meets a big city rocker.  As they fall in love in L.A.’s most famous rock club, Rock of Ages allows fans to rock out once again to their favorite ‘80s hits. Featuring the music of iconic bands such as Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister and Whitesnake among many others, this 10th Anniversary production features a dynamic new cast revisiting the larger than life characters and exhilarating story that turned Rock of Ages into a global phenomenon.


      IMG_3494_Kiss-CroppedSEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN FROM A GAY MAN

      • July 12-Aug. 5, 2018
      • Garner Galleria Theatre

      This romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man.  The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly meet the author’s event.  Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this meet the author’s event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar.  Will Stefan’s muscles be used for more than moving more than heavy scenery?  Will the power of Dan’s tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event ... that is for Dan to know, and you to find out.



      8_IBWCIRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS

      • Dec. 5-15, 2018
      • Buell Theatre

      Start this holiday season with a timeless tale of joy and good will, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and head on over to The Buell Theatre to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written. Give everyone the gift they’re dreaming of with this merry and bright holiday musical.


      GinnaClaireMasonMaryKateMorrisseyinWICKED.PhotobyJoanMarcusWICKED

      • Sept. 25-Oct. 13
      • Buell Theatre

      Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…but from a different angle.  Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin — smart, fiery, misunderstood and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.” From the first electrifying note to the final breathtaking moment, Wicked — the untold true story of the Witches of Oz—transfixes audiences with its wildly inventive story that USA Today cheers is “a complete triumph. An original musical that will make you laugh, cry and think.” (Photo by Joan Marcus.)



      xanadu-200x200XANADU

      • Nov. 3, 2018-April 28, 2019
      • Garner Galleria Theatre

      Xanadu follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time – the first roller disco. (Hey, it's 1980.) But, when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds. This Tony Award-nominated, hilarious, roller skating, musical adventure about following your dreams despite the limitations others set for you, rolls along to the original hit score composed by pop-rock legends, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Based on the Universal Pictures cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly,  Xanadu is hilarity on wheels for anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired. Produced by DCPA Cabaret, local Xanadu auditions will be posted at a later date at denvercenter.org/about-us/careers.


      ABOUT THE DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

      The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation, presenting Broadway tours and producing theatre, cabaret, musicals, and innovative, multimedia plays. Last season the DCPA engaged with more than 1.1 million visitors, generating a $115 million economic impact in ticket sales alone.

      Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter and through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts News Center.

      Save the date for the 2018/19 Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company & Off-Center announcement in early April.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    • Video: Your 'First Date' with Director Ray Roderick

      by John Moore | Feb 13, 2018

      In the video above, Director Ray Roderick talks about the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' production of the musical comedy First Date, which he calls a "super-funny, modern love story" that follows two characters as they go through their first date at a busy New York restaurant.

      First Date Fall Casting Photo by Emily LozowAs the date unfolds, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. "It reminds people of what it was to be in love for the first time," Roderick said.

      The all-local cast includes Adriane Leigh Robinson, Seth Dhonau, Steven J. Burge, Jordan Leigh, Lauren Shealy, Barret Harper and Cashelle Butler. (Pictured at right:  Dhonau and Robinson, by Emily Lozow.)

      First Date performs through April 22 at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

      Video by Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

      Meet the cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!

      First Date: Ticket information
      First DatePerformances through April 22
      Tickets: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      At the Garner Galleria Theatre

      The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Previous NewsCenter coverage of First Date:
      Understudies talk about their unique role in First Date
      Video: Photos: Your first look at First Date
      Check out the all-local cast of the Denver Center's First Date


      Ray Roderick
    • 'First Date' understudies will take center stage at Denver Actors Fund screening

      by John Moore | Jan 18, 2018
      Understudies Cashelle Butler and Barret Harper. First Date Photo by John Moore
      First Date understudies Cashelle Butler and Barret Harper. Photo by John Moore

      Unsung heroes will get their chance to sing out at Monday's benefit screening of 500 Days of Summer at Alamo

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      Understudies are among the many unsung heroes of the theatre — especially on long-running shows such as DCPA Cabaret’s romantic musical comedy First Date at the Galleria Theatre. All the more so during the ongoing cold and flu epidemic in Denver.

      We talked about it with Cashelle Butler and Barret Harper, who on Monday will be performing songs from First Date before a screening of the popular film 500 Days of Summer at the Alamo Drafthouse. It’s a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund, which, in four years, has made more than $200,000 in medical relief available to members of the Colorado theatre community. Alamo donates 50 percent of all ticket proceeds from this fun monthly film series, which cleverly pairs a popular movie with a live appearance by a local theatre company staging a related musical.

      Cashelle Butler First Date QuoteFirst Date, which performs at the Galleria through April 22, follows a blind-date newbie who is set up with a serial dater. The audience follows along as a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a comically high-stakes dinner.

      We asked Butler and Harper about the life and challenges of an understudy, the importance of The Denver Actors Fund and Monday’s upcoming appearance at the Alamo.

      “I always find it an honor to be cast as an understudy,” said Butler, who attended Cherry Creek and Cherokee Trail high schools and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “They are trusting me not only to know multiple roles, but to be able to come in at the last minute and keep the show running.”

      Butler was called on to perform in First Date just last week. “My castmates were all so supportive, helpful, trusting and incredibly fun to be on stage with,” she said. “They are a great group. You should all go see them shine, because they are truly amazing performers and human beings.”

      Harper, who graduated from Littleton High School and the University of Colorado Boulder, said understudies make it so that the lead actors don’t have to take unnecessary health risks for the sake of a single performance. “When an actor knows he has an understudy, he or she generally does a better job and is less likely to get sick because it removes the stress from feeling like they have the weight of the show resting on the unpredictable nature of human health,” he said. “They can focus on their craft with the confidence someone has their back.” 

      Choose your 500 Days of Summer screening seats here

      Join Butler and Barrett Monday for their live appearance at the Sloan’s Lake Alamo Drafthouse, hosted by film series emcee (and, coincidentally, First Date castmate) Steven J. Burge.

      In the meantime: Don’t forget to hug an understudy … but only if you’re healthy.

      Question: How is the importance of understudies heightened during cold and flu season?

      Cashelle Butler: That’s when understudies are especially vital. As a performer, you want to know that if you have to go out of the show, you aren't letting anyone down. Having an understudy gives you the peace of mind to know you can take the time you need to heal your body without any guilt. I want everyone to be healthy and happy and to never need me. But should that day come, I want to make sure nobody on stage has to worry about me or the show.

      BARRET HARPER QUOTE FIRRST DATEBarret Harper: Working as an understudy during cold and flu season requires extra vigilance and discipline. Your chances of performing skyrocket, but you are equally at risk for illness yourself. So staying fresh on the material and staying healthy are paramount.

      Question: What does it mean to you to help support The Denver Actors Fund on Monday?

      Cashelle Butler: It is both an honor and a privilege. While being an artist is incredibly rewarding, fun and exciting, it does not always afford us the stability and comfort that other jobs have. Life happens, and nobody should have to face life's worst turns alone. The Denver Actors Fund is there when you are going through your darkest days, offering help, support, hope and a reminder that this community is there for you and you are not alone. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a kind, supportive, genuinely caring community of humans and artists, and to be able to support the Denver Actors Fund is such a rewarding treat.

      Barret Harper: The Denver Actors Fund is the lifeline that connects the entire Colorado theatre community. It sends a message to the artists in this community that helping each other in our time of need makes our community and our art stronger. Individual actors generally don’t have the means to help others in a meaningful financial way, so the DAF provides a mechanism to transform our magnanimous spirit into something more tangible. It means the world to me to support an organization that has helped so many of my brilliant coworkers and friends over the past few years. 

      Question: Why should people come to see the screening of 500 Days of Summer on Monday?

      First Date Fall Casting Photo by Emily LozowCashelle: Everyone should hang out with us on Monday! When you support The  Denver Actors Fund, you are supporting Denver's community of actors. And you get to hear a few songs from First Date. Plus, Steven J. Burge is the funniest, most lovely and prettiest human around. He will make you laugh so hard you will leave with a washboard stomach. You also get to ogle Barret Harper and listen to his gorgeous voice. You'll get to eat popcorn and drink beer and watch one of the cutest movies of all time — which is not coincidentally quite similar to First Date. You get to escape the world for a few hours and hide in a movie theatre and believe in love.

      (Pictured: Seth Dhonau and Adriane Leigh Robinson in the DCPA's 'First Date.' Photo by Emily Lozow.)

      Barret Harper:  People should come knowing they will be contributing to an organization that is dedicated to directly helping the local theater community. You can see your donated money in action every time you see the actors perform. You become a part of the art in a meaningful way.

      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. He is also the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.

      Meet the cast: More fun to read than any dating profile!

      500 Days of Summer: Benefit film screening:
      What: Denver Actors Fund screening of the film 500 Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel
      Who: Live pre-screening entertainment from DCPA Cabaret's First Date.
      When: Monday, Jan. 22: Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7
      Where: Sloan's Lake Alamo Drafthouse, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com

      First Date: Ticket information
      First DatePerformances through April 22
      Tickets: Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
      At the Garner Galleria Theatre

      The book is written by by Austin Winberg. Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Dominick Amendum.

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Previous NewsCenter coverage of First Date:
      Video: Photos: Your first look at First Date
      Check out the all-local cast of the Denver Center's First Date


      Video bonus: Cashelle Butler visits Cherry Creek High School:

    • Vintage, Denver Center collaborate to bring 'Lady Day,' Mary Louise Lee, to stage

      by John Moore | Nov 20, 2017
      Lady Day Mary Louise Lee Adams Viscom Mary Louise Lee in the 2016 DCPA Theatre Company workshop of 'Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.' Photo by  AdamsVisCom.

       

      From First Lady to Lady Day: Billie Holiday musical to open at Vintage, then move to Denver Center's Galleria Theatre

      By John Moore
      Senior Arts Journalist

      Mary Louise LeeWhen Mary Louise Lee revisited her signature role as Billie Holiday
      in a special workshop production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill last year, she dedicated the performance to Shadow Theatre Company founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Nickelson. Lee considers having played the jazz legend in 2002 to be the most meaningful performance of her storied career.

      It couldn't be more fitting, then, that when Vintage Theatre Productions brings the story to full stage life again this January with Lee in the title role, she will be be performing in the Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium. 

      Nickelson, who died in 2009, was a graduate of the DCPA’s National Theatre Conservatory masters program. In 1997, he founded Shadow Theatre to present “stories from the heart of the African-American community,” as he liked to say. And the biggest hit in Shadow’s history was that 2002 production of Lady Day, with Nickelson directing and Lee starring as Holiday.

      Lady DayFor her haunting portrayal of a woman with a singular singing voice — and a lethal heroin habit  — Lee won a Westword Best of Denver Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The review said: “A stunning evening of theatre. Lee's singing is absolutely radiant. Her voice is smooth as glass. At times she sounds uncannily like Holiday, at others entirely like her full-throated self." She reprised the role for a special three-day workshop engagement in 2016 at the Denver Center's Jones Theatre. 

      After Nickelsen died of a heart attack in 2009, the theatre he opened at 1468 Dayton St. in Aurora was renamed the Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium. Vintage took over operations there in 2011. 

      Berry HartToday, Vintage and the Denver Center announced an unprecedented collaboration. Vintage will introduce its new production of Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, starring Lee and directed by Betty Hart (pictured right), from Jan. 12 through Feb. 18. The production will then move to the Denver Center's Garner-Galleria Theatre on March 5 and perform there on Monday nights through April 23 — while the Denver Center's ongoing musical comedy First Date continues its run for the rest of the week.

      Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill tells Holiday's troubled life story through the songs that made her famous, including "God Bless the Child," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Strange Fruit" and "Taint Nobody's Biz-ness." Set in Philadelphia in 1959, Holiday's performance at Emerson's Bar & Grill was one of her last, and Lady Day is not just a memorable tribute to the singer, but also a moving portrait of her struggles with addiction, racism, and loss.

      "We're thrilled, of course," said Vintage Theatre Artistic Director Bernie Cardell. "This is an exciting event for Vintage and for the theatre community overall. If we are to thrive, collaboration is the key. While we certainly can survive on our own, we can reach bigger heights together. My hope is this is just the start of a new way of producing quality theatre for our community."

       Lady Day Mary Louise Lee. 2002Lee's performing career began at the Denver Center when she appeared in Beehive at what is now the Garner Galleria Theatre while only 18 years old and still a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. In 2011, Lady Day also became the First Lady of Denver when her husband, Michael B. Hancock, was elected Mayor.

      (Pictured right: Mary Louise Lee in rehearsal for her award-winning turn in 'Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill' for Shadow Theatre in 2002.)

      Lee has performing at many high profile events over the past two decades, including the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions. She performed with the Colorado Symphony at the 911 Remembrance Ceremony, and in the First Ladies of Jazz concert. She has sung the national anthem before 78,000 Denver Broncos fans, was featured vocalist at the grand opening of Union Station was a Season 9 contestant on America's Got Talent.  She has toured internationally performing for the troops of the U.S. Department of Defense. She returned to the DCPA in 2014 to sing with the cast of the national touring production of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet onstage at the Buell Theatre. And last December, Lee won a 2015 True West Award for her performance in the new musical, Uncle Jed's Barbershop.  

      Read John Moore's Denver Post profile of Mary Louise Lee

      Mary Louise Lee The Wiz. AfterthoughtSome of Lee's other notable local theatre performances have included Vogue Theatre’s A Brief History of White Music, the Arvada Center’s The 1940s Radio Hour, Country Dinner Playhouse’s Ain’t Misbehavin', Denver Civic’s Menopause the Musical and Afterthought Theatre Company's The Wiz, as Glinda the Good Witch (pictured right). She took on that role just after Hancock was elected in 2011.

      From students to senior citizens, Lee is committed to being an ambassador for the arts to help expose and expand access to Denver’s vibrant arts and cultural communities. She is choir director at the New Hope Baptist Church and founder of “Bringin’ Back the Arts," a foundation that encourages arts education in the public schools.

      Betty Hart, the director, recently moved to Denver from Atlanta, where she was a Teaching Artist at the Alliance Theatre. She is the Special Projects Coordinator for Kaiser Permanente Arts Integrated Resources program and recently joined the board of directors for the Colorado Theatre Guild.

      The Music Director will be Trent Hines. He was most recently the conductor and pianist for The Wild Party at the Stanley Marketplace, and he also performed in the show.


      A Lady Day Westword

      Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill: At Vintage Theatre

    • Jan. 12-Feb 18, 2018 (Note: The Feb. 3 show will be performed by Shandra Duncan)
    • 1468 Dayton St., Aurora
    • Tickets $15-$34
    • Call 303-856-7830 or BUY ONLINE


    • Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill: At the Garner-Galleria Theatre

    • March 5-April 23, 2018
    • Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $42
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • The show runs approximately 90 minutes without intermission
    • Adult language and content
    • Age Recommendation: 17 and over
    •  

      More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

      Video: Mary Louise Lee sings with Million Dollar Quartet:

      Video: Watch Mary Louise Lee sing 'Fools Fall in Love' with the cast of  the national touring production of 'Million Dollar Quartet' at the Buell Theatre in 2014.

  • The evolving Beth Malone: So Far ... So Good

    by John Moore | Apr 06, 2017
    Beth Malone. Photo by John Moore

    Beth Malone returns to Denver for two intimate cabaret concerts on April 15 at the DCPA's Garner Galleria Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Beth Malone's journey from a gravel road in Castle Rock to Broadway's bright lights took a right turn at a mirror.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    It’s about 1,800 miles from Haystack Road to Broadway, but the funny and sad and twisted and ultimately triumphant journey Beth Malone took from Castle Rock to New York City was light years in the making.

    Malone starred in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 reimagining of The Unsinkable Molly Brown and was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in the groundbreaking musical Fun Home. She will tell her story in two uncommonly intimate cabaret concerts on April 15 at the Denver Center’s Garner Galleria Theatre.

    It’s called Beth Malone: So Far, and it covers Malone’s formative years in Colorado. She describes the family, friends and lovers she encountered on her way to starring in Broadway’s first musical with a lesbian protagonist.

    Audiences can expect a swath of recognizable pop songs and very funny anecdotes filled with local references. “I mention Country Dinner Playhouse, the Arvada Center and Boulder's Dinner Theatre (now BDT Stage) before the end of the opening number,” she says.

    But there is a beating and very vulnerable heart at the center of Malone’s story. It’s the crucial off-stage part that covers how she discovered her sexuality and came to own her true self — and the toll it took on her suburban, testosterone-fueled Castle Rock family. Her father, Bill, is a cowboy, and so naturally Malone was a cowboy, too. She is careful not to use the word "cowgirl."

    A Peggy Malone“No, I was a cowboy. I used to be my dad's little clone,” she said. Her mother, Peggy Malone, continues to be a popular country singer along the Western Slope, and she grew up alongside three typically competitive brothers.

    “So Far is about my redneck beginnings and how my parents ended up with such a wildly left-swinging daughter,” Malone said. “But more than anything, it’s really about my relationship with my dad, and what happened when I came out.”

    When Malone performed So Far two years ago at Joe's Pub in New York City, the show went over like gangbusters, she said. In part because cabaret concerts typically deliver upbeat songs and funny anecdotes — and Malone has plenty of those to tell. Like when she stumbled across the film Singin’ in the Rain on TV as a girl. “I didn’t know stuff like this existed,” she said. “I remember running down the hall and saying, ‘Mom, the most amazing thing is on TV!’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, that’s called a musical.’ And I said, ‘Well … that’s what I am doing with the rest of my life.”

    But cabaret concerts don’t typically also deliver a meaningful and sadly universal story of a father and daughter finding each other, breaking apart, and finding each another again  — in an entirely new and uncomfortable context.

    “It’s unexpectedly heart-wrenching,” said Malone. “You are laughing your butt off, and then you find yourself really invested in the love story between me and this heroic cowboy father-figure. When it gets hard for me, I think it gets hard for a lot of people in the audience, too.”

    Beth Malone. Photo by John Moore
    Beth Malone in Leadville. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Malone’s first play was Annie for Castle Rock Junior High School in 1984. When she was just 16, she landed her (first) dream job — as a hostess at the Country Dinner Playhouse. Two years later, she starred there in Baby. She made her Denver Center debut that same year at age 18 as the understudy to Mary Louise Lee — now the First Lady of Denver — in Beehive at the very same theatre Malone will be performing So Far on April 15.

    Malone made her debut with the DCPA Theatre Company in 1993 in the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Bon Voyage, an adaptation of Noel Coward’s failed musical Sail Away. She went on to make her name performing on stages all over Colorado from the Crystal Palace to Theatre Aspen to the Arvada Center, where she played the narrator in holiday stagings of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for five years running.

    But all through those years, Malone felt like an “other,” she says, and she didn't yet know exactly why. “I have a number in the show about what it's like to be Mulan in a dressing room with Snow White, Belle and Arial. … Do you know what I mean?”

    For those who might not know what she means, Malone describes Mulan as the cross-dressing Disney heroine who looks like a boy. “She's the action figure that nobody wants,” she said with a laugh. “That’s pretty sad for Mulan — and Mulan is me.”

    Malone fully expected to get married — to a man — when she met Rochelle (Shelly)  Schoppert 25 years ago. She says feeling true love for the first time was so intense, it felt like being shot by a gun. And that she fell in love with a woman, she said, “ruined my family for many, many years.” And yet, in 2014, the then 23-year couple rode their bikes to New York's City Hall and legally married.

    Beth Malone. Denver Broncos. Photo by John MooreMalone and her father will never come to a mutual understanding about many things, including their feelings on the current president. But time has a way of morphing the once inconceivable into the more natural order of things. Into something resembling a family. And like many families, the Malones have more in common than not — their love for the Colorado outdoors, their cowboy ways and perhaps most important — their intense mutual love of the Denver Broncos. Bill and Peggy Malone have accompanied Beth and her wife both times she sang the national anthem at Mile High Stadium, in 2014 and '16. (Pictured above from left: Peggy Malone, Beth Malone, Bill Malone and Rochelle Schoppert by John Moore.) Beth recently took her father on a trip to Ireland.

    So Far is actually a really warm, fuzzy, feel-good story,” Malone says of the way her story plays out. “And by the end, you’ll just want to call your dad.”

    Malone’s song list leans more toward pop than showtunes, starting with an appropriately country slant. “The show opens with Happiest Girl in the Whole USA, recorded by Donna Fargo, and segues into a Barbara Mandrell medley, so ... you can see where I am going with this,” Malone said with a laugh. “No one was more obsessed with Barbara Mandrell than I was.” Just wait till you hear the story about the kiss an 11-year-old Malone got from none other than ... Barbara Mandrell. 

    Coming-of-age songs include Melissa Etheridge’s Bring Me Some Water and k.d. lang’s Constant Craving alongside Foreigner’s I've Been Waiting for a Girl Like You. Musical-theatre fans will get a taste of Spring Awakening and a Fun Home mash-up that somehow invokes John Mayer. It builds, she says, to a poignant LeAnn Rimes song called What I Cannot Change.

    Malone has been developing So Far for years with initial producer Peter Schneider, playwright Patricia Cotter (The Break Up Notebook: A Musical) and Beautiful: The Carole King Story Music Director Susan Draus (who will play the show in Denver). But it has necessarily changed in tone, Malone said, since she last performed it in 2015, when  the gay community was riding an unprecedented wave of acceptance and legal victories.

    “All of these amazing, progressive things had just happened,” she said. “Marriage equality had passed, health-care was happening and Fun Home had won the Tony Award for Best Musical. So back then, I ended the show by saying, ‘It's a really bad time to be an angry white guy in America.’ ”

    Well ... that was then.

    "Now I have to say that the pendulum has fully swung the other way, and angry white guys are having their day again,” Malone said. “It’s just a hate orgy out there right now. That's how it feels to me. So there is a different vibe now, and I have had to rewrite the ending of the show a little because of that.”

    Beyond Fun Home
    The success of Fun Home has brought new career opportunities for Malone. Notable TV credits have included Brain Dead and The Good Wife. She has an upcoming indie film called Laying Low. But the biggest break by far was appearing opposite Robert DeNiro in last year's star-studded film The Comedian. Malone has a nice, long scene where she plays a reality-TV producer who gives DeNiro the brush-off when he pitches her an idea for a new show.

    “Yes, I busted DeNiro’s (bleeps),” Malone says with evident glee. “It was pretty amazing.”

    Also amazing: Hanging out on the set with the likes of Edie Falco, Danny DeVito and Broadway legend Patti Lupone when Lupone figured out that Malone was the star of Fun Home.

    “I was like, 'Oh my God, is anybody hearing this? Patti Lupone is telling me how good I am right now!’ " Malone said. "And sure enough, Edie Falco came up to me and said, ‘Patti Lupone was just crazy about you.’ It was just the best.”

    A Beth Malone 800 5

    Still, the greatest impact Fun Home has had on Malone's life was not only giving her a voice, she said. “It also gave me an audience that wanted to hear that voice," she said.

    Fun Home helped me to define my own beliefs and to commit to them publicly,” she said. “As an actor, I was always sort of a politician. I wanted to be with my wife, Shelly, behind closed doors, but I never was political about it, and I never pushed it anyone's face. I never stood up for anyone besides myself.

    "I have lived in Aspen, L.A. and New York – and being gay there is pretty easy. I never really gave a thought to teenagers who were trying to come out in Tennessee and Kentucky and Alabama. Now, I think about those kids all the time. Now, I talk to them whenever I can. That is my gift from Fun Home: The awareness that just living my life openly can be a beacon for other people – if only I am strong enough to stand up and claim it.”

    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.

    Beth Malone: So Far
    Beth Malone About the show: Tony-nominated Beth Malone (DCPA Theatre Company’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown) brings her acclaimed solo show back to where it all happened. Follow this adorably insane little lesbian as she takes you on a journey from Castle Rock to the South Pacific. From little girl crushes to grown-woman heartbreak. Join us for comedy, tragedy, and a crush on Connie Chung.

    • April 15, 5 and 8 p.m.
    • Garner Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets start at $50
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    An update on The Unsinkable Molly Brown:

    Molly_Brown_Beth Malone_JK_800Beth Malone will return to the role she re-created for the DCPA Theatre Company this summer when The Unsinkable Molly Brown plays The Muny this coming July 21-27 in St. Louis. The Muny is America’s largest outdoor musical theatre. After that, Malone said, the goal is Broadway.

    "That is absolutely the intention of putting it up at The Muny,” Malone said. “There is no other reason than for it go to Broadway," she said. And while there is not yet a producer attached for New York, “everyone involved with it feels very strongly that it we are completely on track to move it there.”

    (Photo above by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

    The show has changed in some significant ways since its debut in Denver, Malone said. The song Don't Put Bananas on Bananas, originally written by Meredith Willson to be included in The Music Man, has been cut. And Molly Brown’s activism and commitment to social causes is given more dramatic importance in the new storyline.

    “Molly Brown was the head of the Survivors Committee of the RMS Titanic, and a big part of her work was making sure that all of those people in steerage weren't just immediately kicked out and sent back to the countries they came from because their paperwork was at the bottom of the ocean. Her commitment to the plight of the immigrant makes the story seem more relevant since our election in November.”

    There has been no announcement yet who will play opposite Malone as Leadville Johnny Brown.

     Selected previous Beth Malone coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:



    Photo gallery: Beth Malone in Denver:

    Beth Malone in Denver

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Meet the cast: Jamie Grayson of 'An Act of God'

    by John Moore | Jan 29, 2017
    Jamie Grayson. An Act of God


    MEET JAMIE GRAYSON

    Understudying the roles of God and Michael in An Act of God

    At the Denver Center: Debut. New York: Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone and Narrator/Mysterious Man in Into the Woods at The MacHaydn Theatre. Tours and regional: Cats, Hairspray, A Chorus Line and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He is also an internationally recognized baby-gear expert who has been seen on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “The Today Show,” and speaks at events for new and expectant parents.

    • Twitter-sized bio: Sometimes actor/full-time baby-gear expert and "guncle." New to Denver and loving every minute. Fred Armisen *might* have played me in a movie.
    • Hometown: Little Rock, Ark.
    • Home now: I moved to Denver in July
    • Jamie Grayson. Baby Guy Website: babyguygearguide.com
    • Social media:  @TheBabyGuyNYC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
    • Training: BFA in Acting from the University of Mississippi
    • What was the role that changed your life? My first professional gig was in Shenandoah at The MacHaydn Theatre in Chatham, N.Y. I worked there every summer throughout college and a few years after. Summer stock taught me to be a quick study, taught me work ethic, and taught me the "play" in performing. There are not many theatres like this still around, and it's truly the best training a young actor can have. That place feels like home.
    • Why are you an actor? At its best, theatre is communion with an audience. There are not many true places of communion now. So to be in a room with strangers and tell them a story and get immediate engagement and energy back is just the absolute best feeling - so it translates well into my actual career.
    • What would you be doing if you weren't an actor: My "real" job is a baby gear expert/speaker/social media "personality" - LOL. I was on tour for years and grew weary of suitcase life, so I took a survival gig at a store and it ended up turning into an insane career that I love. I knew once I stopped acting I would go into education, so my current job combines my desire to educate and entertain. It's kind of perfect, and I feel very fortunate that I've found ways to begin bridging my two lives.
    • A Jamie Grayson Jodie FosterIdeal scene partner: Jodie Foster. I just love her. Always have. Always will. But also Meryl Streep, because ... duh.
    • Why does An Act of God matter? I was shocked at how intelligent the script is. It's not just some off-the-wall, slap-your-leg, laugh-until-you-hurt piece. It's quieter than that, but very funny and forces you to listen. On top of that, there are references to current events and sections that really make you question your "why" in "why I believe."
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of seeing it? Theatre is a time to shut your phones off, sit with people in the dark, and have an experience. I cannot tell you what your experience will be. I can only hope you have one.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "...  to get better every day." Stagnation is a horrible thing.
    An Act of God: Ticket information
    • The story: God takes human form in this critically acclaimed new comedy direct from Broadway. He's finally arrived to set the record straight.
    • Through April 8
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    An Act of God extends through April 8
    Steven J. Burge is following in God's footsteps
    Meet the cast: Steven J. Burge
    Meet the cast: Erik Sandvold
    Meet the cast: Steven Cole Hughes
    Video, photos: DCPA, Macy's help 'Make-A-Wish' come true
    Casting announced for An Act of God
    A day in the busy life of Director Geoffrey Kent
    Interview: Geoffrey Kent on a laugh-a-minute God
    Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award

    More 2016-17 DCPA Theatre Company 'Meet the Cast' profiles:
    Aubrey Deeker, The Glass Menagerie
    Thaddeus Fitzpatrick, Frankenstein
    Meridith C. Grindei, Frankenstein
    Sullivan Jones, Frankenstein
    Mark Junek, Frankenstein
    Charlie Korman, Frankenstein
    Jennifer Le Blanc, The Book of Will
    Rodney Lizcano, The Book of Will
    Wesley Mann, The Book of Will
    Robert Manning Jr., The Christians

    Amelia Pedlow, The Glass Menagerie
    Jessica Robblee, Frankenstein
    John Skelley, The Glass Menagerie
  • 'An Act of God' extends; Burge ascends to Almighty status

    by John Moore | Jan 24, 2017
    Steven J. Burge An Act of God
    Steven J. Burge in the title role of the hit comedy An Act of God. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Steven J. Burge will assume the role of God in An Act of God starting tonight, and today the Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced that the hit comedy is being extended through April 8 at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    An Act of God is directed by Geoffrey Kent and also includes Steven Cole Hughes as Michael and Erik Sandvold as Gabriel. Jamie Grayson joins the cast as understudy for God and Michael. 

    A Steven J. BurgeGod takes human form in An Act of God, the acclaimed new play direct from Broadway that opens with the Almighty tackling His greatest challenge yet: The Mile High City. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight about the commandments and other quotes that have been attributed to Him over time ... and He’s not holding back. The script is based on the critically acclaimed book written by God (otherwise known as "The Bible") and transcribed by David Javerbaum, a 13-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

    The play premiered on Broadway on May 7, 2015, and ran for a limited run with God occupying the body of Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"). The play returned to Broadway June 6, 2016, for another limited engagement starring Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace"). This production in Denver is one of the first regional productions of the hit comedy.

    Since making his Colorado debut in 2003 as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Burge has appeared on stages throughout the Denver metro area including the Denver Center, Curious Theatre, Arvada Center, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and many others. He is also the co-host of the Colorado Theatre Guild's annual Henry Awards.

    The role of God was was originated by Broadway star Wesley Taylor, whose contract ran through Jan. 22. Burge has been serving as understudy in the roles of God and Michael.

    The Denver creative team includes the DCPA's Lisa M. Orzolek (scenic design), Meghan Anderson Doyle (costume design) and Charles R. MacLeod (lighting design). Making his DCPA Broadway/Cabaret sound design debut is Anson Nicholson.

    Steven J. Burge, Erik Sandvold, Steven Cole Hughes, An Act of God. Photo by John Moore.
    From left: Erik Sandvold, Steven J. Burge and Steven Cole Hughes in 'An Act of God.' Photo by John Moore.


    An Act of God
    : Ticket information

    An Act of GodThe story: God takes human form in this critically acclaimed new comedy direct from Broadway. He's finally arrived to set the record straight.
    • Through April 8, 2017
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets start at $47: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Steven J. Burge is following in God's footsteps
    Meet the cast: Steven J. Burge
    Meet the cast: Erik Sandvold
    Meet the cast: Steven Cole Hughes
    Video, photos: DCPA, Macy's help 'Make-A-Wish' come true
    Casting announced for An Act of God
    A day in the busy life of Director Geoffrey Kent
    Interview: Geoffrey Kent on a laugh-a-minute God
    Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award
  • Steven J. Burge following in God's footsteps

    by John Moore | Dec 02, 2016

    Steven J. Burge. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins
    Steven J. Burge is shown co-hosting the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards in July. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.


    The Denver Center for the Performing Arts announced today that award-winning Denver actor Steven J. Burge will assume the role of God in the comedy An Act of God when Broadway star Wesley Taylor's contract ends on Jan. 22. Burge will assume the supreme role in the Garner Galleria Theatre starting Jan. 24.

    God takes human form in An Act of God, the "sinfully funny" and critically acclaimed new play direct from Broadway. It opens with the King of the Universe tackling His greatest challenge yet: The Mile High City. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight about the commandments and other quotes that have been attributed to Him over time ... and He’s not holding back. The script is based on the critically acclaimed book written by God (otherwise known as "The Bible") and transcribed by David Javerbaum, a 13-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

    Since making his Colorado debut in 2003 as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Burge has appeared on stages throughout the Denver metro area including the Denver Center, Curious Theatre, Arvada Center, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and many others. He is also the co-host of the Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards.

    Wesley Taylor Taylor, a Broadway star and fan favorite in the NBC-TV show “Smash,” will play God as scheduled through Jan. 24. Westword's Juliet Wittman said of Taylor's performance: "He is so charming, sometimes puckish, sometimes tough ... and has such magnificent abs." Taylor has been seen on Broadway in Rock of Ages and The Addams Family. On  Nov. 14, he presented a star-studded evening of own short plays in New York City, raising thousands of dollars for charity. 

    Burge has been serving in the understudy roles of God and Michael. Local auditions to understudy for these roles will take place from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21. For more information visit Denvercenter.org/about-us/careers.

    The cast of An Act of God also includes Steven Cole Hughes as the angel Michael and Erik Sandvold as the angel Gabriel. The director is Geoffrey Kent. The creative team includes the DCPA's Lisa M. Orzolek (scenic design), Meghan Anderson Doyle (costume design) and Charles R. MacLeod (lighting design). Making his DCPA Broadway/Cabaret sound design debut is Anson Nicholson.

    The play premiered on Broadway on May 7, 2015, and ran for a limited run with God occupying the body of Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"). The play returned to Broadway June 6, 2016, for another limited engagement starring Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace"). This production in Denver is one of the first regional productions of the hit comedy.

    MEET STEVEN J. BURGE
    God starting Jan. 24, understudy God/Michael through Jan. 22

    Steven J. Burge. The award winning character actor landed in Denver following national tours of … And Then They Came for Me and A Christmas Carol. He was the recipient of The Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Solo Performance in Fully Committed (Aurora Fox), a one-man show in which Steven portrayed more than 30 different characters. The piece also earned him a Henry Award nomination, Westword’s Best of Denver Award and an Out Front Colorado Marlowe Award. Steven has also been recognized for his work in Contrived Ending (Buntport Theater) and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Avenue Theater).

    • Hometown: Martelle, Iowa. It's a cute little farm town with fewer than 300 people in it.
    • Training: I have a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa
    • How do we follow you on social media? I don’t do the Twitter or the Instagram. I’m firmly and archaically planted in the land of the Facebook. Friend me here! <3
    • What was the role that changed your life? In 2003, a tour I was doing ended and I came to Denver to take a three-month contract playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. The plan was for me to do the show and hit the road again. Colorado was so beautiful, however, and the people were so great, that I just kept postponing my departure date. I kept forgetting to leave. Now, 13 years later, I consider myself a proud Denverite. I guess that role didn’t just change my life … it sort of created it.
    • A Steven J. Burge quoteWhy are you an actor? Because I would do it even if I weren’t getting paid to do it. Sometimes I feel like I’m pulling a fast one on the universe when I cash a paycheck from a theatre company. I love being in a room with other creative, passionate, interesting people. I look forward to rehearsals. I look forward to performances. And I’m bummed out on days off and closing nights. I don’t know how many people out there are working jobs they don’t want to take a vacation from  — my guess is, not many. But that’s how I feel about my job. And I never take that feeling for granted.
    • What would you be doing if you weren't an actor: I’d like to find a job where I got paid to sit down and listen to people tell me their stories. I think people are fascinating and I would love to learn about as many of them as possible. Is that a job? If it is, and you’re reading this and you’re the boss of that job … invite me in for an interview.
    • elvira4Ideal scene partner: Denver is known for its sports teams and outdoorsy activities. That’s for certain. But we are also home to a thriving artistic community. I have met and worked with some of the best, most inspiring, most creative actors anywhere, right here in Denver. It might sound like a cop-out, but honestly? I’d love to roll up my sleeves and work with any one of Denver’s own resident performers, any day. (But if that answer isn’t good enough, then I'll say Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She cracks me up.
    • Why does An Act of God matter? Everybody believes in something, right? You either believe there is something bigger than us out there somewhere, or you believe there is not something bigger than us out there somewhere. I think An Act of God does a great job of creating a space for everyone  — regardless of spirituality or religion or lack thereof  — to explore those beliefs in a safe and often hilarious place.
    • What do you hope the audience gets out of seeing it? I hope it provides a few good belly laughs, as well as a few quiet moments to contemplate. And if there is a lively discussion or spirited debate on the car ride, home, all the better. That is when theatre is doing what theatre is meant to do.
    • Finish this sentence: "All I want is ..."
      "... All I want is a room somewhere,
      Far away from the cold night air.
      With one enormous chair,
      Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?"


      That's from My Fair Lady. Yes, I am a #MusicalTheatreGeek

    An Act of God
    : Ticket information

    An Act of God• The story: God takes human form in this critically acclaimed new comedy direct from Broadway. He's finally arrived to set the record straight.
    • Through March 12, 2017
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    (Please be advised that the DenverCenter.org is the ONLY authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of An Act of God.)

    Selected Previous NewsCenter coverage:
    Meet Wesley Taylor, An Act of God
    Meet Steven Cole Hughes, An Act of God
    Meet Erik Sandvold, An Act of God
    Casting announced for An Act of God
    A day in the busy life of Director Geoffrey Kent
    Interview: Geoffrey Kent on a laugh-a-minute God
    Geoffrey Kent's 2015 True West Award

    Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Video: Annaleigh Ashford's Day in Denver

    by John Moore | Apr 06, 2015


    In advance of Annaleigh Ashford's performances of her critically acclaimed Lost in the Stars cabaret act, she returned to her hometown of Denver to talk about the show.

    Annaleigh Ashford. Photo by John Moore. We followed the Tony-nominated Broadway star
    as she co-hosted the Everyday show on KDVR FOX31 with Kathie J., and then at her appearance at the DCPA's monthly Page to Stage conversation at the Tattered Cover Book Store hosted by DCPA Arts Journalist John Moore.

    Lost in the Stars will be an evening of song, story and sequins at the Galleria Theatre on April 11 and 12.  Performing alongside Will Van Dyke and the Whisky 5 band, Lost in the Stars honors the disco of Donna Summer to Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall. There will be an Alanis Morissette singalong as well as a mash-up of Stephen Sondheim and Kurt Weill. All woven together by Ashford's heartfelt stories, many of which cover her days growing up in Wheat Ridge.

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

    READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ANNALEIGH ASHFORD HERE

    Our Annaleigh Ashford in Denver photo gallery:


    Annaleigh Ashford – Lost in the Stars: Ticket information

    • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 11
    • 5 p.m. Sunday, April 12
    • Single tickets start at $50
    • To charge by phone, call 303-893-4100 | TTY: 303-893-9582) | Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829
    • Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby
    • buy online
    Please be advised that The Denver Center for the Performing Arts – including  DenverCenter.Org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of “Annaleigh Ashford – Lost in the Stars”

    Video: Watch Annaleigh perform at last week's Miscast in New York

    Annaleigh Ashford with Kathie J. Photo by John Moore.

    Annaleigh Ashford with Kathie J. Photo by John Moore.

  • Four Westword Best of Denver Awards go to DCPA

    by John Moore | Mar 26, 2015
    Westword Best of Denver
    Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen and Terry Shapiro.


    The DCPA was singled out for four of Westword’s Best of Denver Awards for 2015, it was announced today. The alternative weekly produces an annual special edition with a wide swath of both traditional and quirky award categories. 

    Best Ensemble
    Animal Crackers

    Directed by Bruce Sevy Animal Crackers was a romp of a musical, a trifle, a bright, funny nothing full of bad puns, visual jokes and silly stunts. The cats included Michael Fitzpatrick, Celia Tackaberry, Christine Rowan, Jeremy Benton, Stephanie Rothenberg, M. Scott McLean, Jim Ferris, Jonathan Brody, Jonathan Randell Silver, Jeffrey Roark, Shannan Steele, Brett Ambler and Justin Walvoord. Read more

    Best Light Entertainment
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    The Garner Galleria is the place to sit back with a drink in hand, ease off your shoes under your seat and catch some laughs. Read more

    Best Page-to-Stage Adaptation
    Benediction

    Author Kent Haruf, author of luminous novels about life on Colorado's eastern plains, died last fall, and this year, the Denver Center presented Benediction, dramatized by Eric Schmiedl, the third of Haruf's novels the company has staged. Read more

    Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
    Amelia White,  Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

    Having dressed up for a costume party, Sonia, played by Amelia White, transforms from a down-at-the-heels, enraged and self-pitying nobody in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike into a magnificent sequin-clad dowager. Read more
  • Interview with a Queen: Shirley Delta Blow revs up 'Drag Machine'

    by NewsCenter Staff | Mar 11, 2015


    Video: Captain Shirley Delta Blow and her Drag Queen Time Machine give us a brief history of drag through time travel.

    By Elizabeth Jewitt
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    Shirley Delta Blow. Stuart Sanks’ drag persona Shirley Delta Blow is no stranger to the Denver drag scene, and her colorful, over-the-top costumes are just as unforgettable.

    Shirley is starring in the DCPA’s upcoming production of Drag Machine from March 12-29 in the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    “I have this gorgeous prom dress - a strapless gown with a leopard print in the colors of the rainbow,” said Sanks. "It’s such a fun dress. I usually top it off with a gigantic pink foam wig and my favorite heels. Colorful, sparkly accessories like a peacock bracelet and big crystal necklace complete the look."

    Sanks wore the same dress while performing as Shirley in Club Denver as part of last year’s The Legend of Georgia McBride post-show festivities.

    “I had to duck just to fit through the doors,’ he said. “Remember, in drag, more is more!”

    Sanks often has Shirley's outfits custom-made. Drag is all about the interpretation of a song, and Shirley focuses on matching the look to the tune.

    “The outfit for me is based in reality, and then I turn it up a notch,” said Sanks, who describes Shirley's outfits as fun, playful, big and over the top.

    “It’s like every day is the Pride Parade!”

    Shirley Delta Blow Quote. Like many women, Shirley appreciates a great pair of shoes, but she often has trouble finding them in her size: Women’s 13.

    “As a young queen, I went to all the shoe stores looking for the right pair, but few stores carry my size,” said Stuart. "Many designers don’t make the styles I look for that big.

    “I bought my first pair of heels with my mother at a mall in Kansas. She thought I should get something sensible, but I knew I needed something fashionable so I bought the tallest pair of heels I could find. I think it took me two or three walks up the aisle to feel comfortable, and there has been no turning back. I don’t think that Payless has been the same since. I even wore them to the Olive Garden for extra practice."

    Since then, Stuart has found Shirley's go-to shoe stores: Nordstrom Rack and Studio Lites.

    Shirley Delta Blow. “They have a fine selection of shoes, wigs and all the accessories for a girl like Shirley.”

    Stuart’s friend Meghan Anderson Doyle, who has designed many DCPA Theatre Company productions and is one of the costume coordinators for Drag Machine, makes most of Shirley’s outfits. But when the two go out looking for fashion accessories and fabrics, they keep their shopping intentions to themselves.

    “On one trip, we found a bolt of Alexander Henry’s man fabric, a classic pin-up look with beefy men dressed in fun and flirty Christmas get-ups. We couldn’t decide how we would use it, but knew it needed to come live in our cart,” said Stuart.

    Stuart has received many curious questions when he's revealed the fabric he's buying is for him.

    "We have learned to keep out mouths shut. When asked about what we were making, we responded, 'Pillows.' The ladies at Joann Fabrics think I have lots and lots of pillows!”


    Drag Machine: At a glance
    March 12-29
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Featuring Shirley Delta Blow, Miss Candy LaRue, Miss Representation, Gavin Danger, Mile High Pinky Pie and Ruby Bouche
    Performances Thursdays through Sundays
    Call 303-893-4100 or click here to go to the show page

    Creator and Director: Emily Tarquin
    Developed by Stuart Sanks
    Choreography by Grady Soapes
    Set design by Lisa Orzolek
    Lighting Design by Charles MacLeod
    Costumes by Meghan Anderson Doyle, Caitlin Ayers and cast
    Original video design by Charlie Miller
    Video Design and Animation by Topher Blair
    Sound Design by Tyler Nelson


    Shirley Delta Blow.

    Shirley Delta Blow.
  • Video: Last call for 'Forbidden Broadway' in Denver

    by John Moore | Feb 13, 2015
    Video by John Moore and David Lenk.



    William Selby. Photo by John Moore. In the video above, William Selby, director of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!, talks about how the popular franchise, now in its 32nd year, is all-new for Denver.

    This comic roast of Broadway has just two weeks left in its return run to Denver with a fresh view of the highs and lows of recent Broadway shows. It features outrageous costumes, comic rewrites of classic showtunes old and new, and dead-on impressions by a stellar, all-Colorado cast of Lauren Shealy, Sarah Rex, Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan. "You talk about Colorado Pride: I am super-proud of this group. One of the best I have ever worked with," said Selby, who has directed 18 iterations of Forbidden Broadway. The Musical Director is Denver's Martha Yordy.

    There show plays only through March 1 at the Garner Galleria Theatre. Appropriate for children 8+. 303-893-4100 or go to the DCPA's web page.

    Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!: Ticket information
    Performances run through March 1
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
    Performances daily except for Monday
    Tickets: Start at $25
    Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site at www.DenverCenter.Org

    Our previous coverage of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
    Go to the show page
    Video: Jordan Leigh's fresh take on Adam Sandler's 'Hanukkah Song'
    Opening Night performance coverage
    Jennifer Schmitz is an unsung hero of Forbidden Broadway
    Download the program
    Meet the homegrown cast of Forbidden Broadway

    Photos by Terry Shapiro for the DCPA.
  • Photos: Denver opening of 'Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking'

    by John Moore | Nov 23, 2014
    Forbidden_Broadway_Alive_Kicking_Opening_800_1
    The cast and crew of the DCPA's world premiere of 'Forever Broadway" Alive and Kicking' gathered at LImelight for a post-show celebration. Photo by John Moore.


    Here are photos from Friday's opening performance of the brand new Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!, which plays at the Garner Galleria Theatre through March 1. To see our complete gallery of downloadable Opening Night photos, click here

    Forbidden Broadway is a comic roast of Broadway that has picked up nine Drama Desk Awards, a special Tony Award, an Obie, a Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award. This New York sensation returns to Denver with an all-new, fresh view of the highs and lows of recent Broadway shows. It pays special attention to shows that Denver audiences have recently seen: Pippin, Kinky Boots and The Book of Mormon.

    The show features outrageous costumes, rewrites of popular showtunes  and celebrity impressions by an all-Denver cast of Lauren Shealy, Sarah Rex, Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan. The director is Bill Selby, who also celebrated his birthday on Opening Night. The musical director is Martha Yordy. 

    Photos by John Moore. To see our complete gallery of downloadable Opening Night photos, click here


    Forbidden_Broadway_Alive_Kicking_Opening_800_2
    Opening night was also Director Bill Selby's birthday. Photo by John Moore.



    Forbidden_Broadway_Alive_Kicking_Opening_800_3
    A scene from the show: Here are Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan sending up 'The Book of Mormon.' Photo by Terry Shapiro.


    More photos:
    To see our complete gallery of downloadable Opening Night photos, click here

    Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!: Ticket information
    Created by Gerard Alessandrini
    November 15 through March 1
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission
    Tickets: Start at $25
    Age recommendation: Appropriate for children 8+
    303-893-4100
    DenverCenter.Org


    Our previous coverage of Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
    Meet the homegrown cast of Forbidden Broadway


    Scenes from 'Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking.' Video by David Lenk.
  • Randy Weeks celebration draws 1,500 to recall a singular friend in story and song

    by John Moore | Nov 05, 2014



    A month before Randy Weeks died in a London hotel room, he mailed his godson a random greeting card that said: “Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but in the number of moments that take our breath away.”

    That was but one of many poignant remembrances peppered between showstopping musical numbers at a bittersweet public celebration on Monday afternoon for the President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, who died in his sleep Oct. 9 while attending a conference of theatre presenters. He was 59.

    It was delivered from the Buell Theatre stage by Jimmy Calano, who was Weeks’ pledge son 40 years ago at the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Later, Calano asked Weeks to be the godfather to his own son.

    “Although Randy was cheated out of his fair share of breaths, he took our breath away by the power of his friendship, by the way he made us feel special, and by how he flat-out took care of us,” Calano told a crowd that was estimated at 1,500 by the city of Denver.

    Video: Cast members from 'Kinky Boots' sing 'Give My Regards to Broadway' to honor the late Randy Weeks. To see our entire downloadable photo gallery from the Randy Weeks celebration, click here.

    Attendees included family and friends; DCPA employees past and present; theatre audiences; more than 100 fraternity brothers; and members of the local and national theatre communities including theatre owners, producers, presenters, booking agents, press agents and representatives from both The Broadway League and the Independent Presenters Network.

    Dean Singleton, chairman of The Denver Post and a member of the DCPA’s Board of Trustees, said, “We have lost one of the greatest minds in theatre. Not only did Randy bring Broadway to Denver, but he made Denver the first stop for some of the greatest productions leaving New York. Randy had the unique ability to convince people that Denver was the right place for a first stop -- and he delivered.”


    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_Quote_2

    In his 23 years as the Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway division, Weeks presented more than 400 shows that served 11.6 million patrons. In his tenure, Denver hosted the launches of 10 national touring productions, including The Lion King, The Book of Mormon and, most recently, Pippin. Representatives from those shows and more flew to Denver to attend Monday’s classy send-off. The program culminated with University of Northern Colorado freshman Abby Noble singing “One (Singular Sensation)” from A Chorus Line alongside nearly 30 members of the Denver School of the Arts’ recent production of Hairspray.

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_1

    Abby Noble of Grandview High School and the University of Northern Colorado, right, performing with students from Denver School of the Arts. Photo by John Moore. To see more photos, click here.

    In May, Noble was named Outstanding Actress in a Musical at the Bobby G Awards, which honor achievements in Colorado high school theatre. The program was spearheaded by Weeks in 2012 and quickly became his greatest professional joy. He also served on the Friends Foundation at Denver School of the Arts.

    Two of Monday’s performers were DSA students Jimmy Bruenger and Madison Kitchen, who fell in love with Broadway musicals by watching productions that Weeks brought to the Buell Theatre stage. Monday’s celebration afforded both the opportunity to perform on that same stage for the first time. Even in death, Bruenger said, Weeks was making dreams come true.

    “When I found out we were being asked to perform here, I started hyperventilating,” Kitchen added. “Both of us saw Kinky Boots here just last night. And so to be on that stage for the first time today? It’s incredible.”

    Video: Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Abby Noble sings "One" with students from Denver School of the Arts.


    The Pippin tour has recently bestowed upon Weeks what is believed to be an unprecedented honor: The entire tour has been dedicated to Weeks, who will now be acknowledged in programs in every city Pippin visits. The idea was suggested by Kathleen O’Brien, Weeks’ counterpart with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

    “This has been the best tour-opening experience in my 27 years out on the road, and Randy is the reason,” said Pippin national press rep Anita Dloniak, citing the camaraderie and professionalism he inspired in his staff. “And he throws the best parties,” she added. Honoring Weeks, she said, was one way for the Pippin family to grapple and cope with their grief over his sudden death. 

    “He is just a wonderful force to be reckoned with,” Dloniak said. “A giant ... but a gentle giant.”

    Nancy Gibbs attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver and has since produced many major theatricals including Wicked; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (the longest-running show in Denver theatre history); Traces; Next to Normal, and Peter and the Starcatcher, which launched its first national tour in Denver in August.

    “Randy was a leader,” Gibbs said. “Once he stepped up to the plate, he knocked it out of the ballpark.”

    David Turner, General Manager for The Book of Mormon, said it was Weeks who convinced producers that Denver was the only place for that tour to launch.

    “Randy was the one who knew that the writers (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) were from here, and he really wanted us to make that connection,” Turner said.

    The Book of Mormon launch in Denver sold all 51,000 available tickets in less than five hours. Turner called that an “extremely important” validation of the show.

    “For everybody who wasn’t sure how The Book of Mormon would be received outside of New York, that was an incredible vote of confidence,” Turner said. 

    Weeks was respected by his colleagues for his uncanny ability not only to maximize blockbuster, popular fare, but to predict the next big thing. One of the most poignant moments in Monday’s celebration came when seven members of the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots took the stage to sing “Give My Regards to Broadway” in Weeks’ honor. The show is currently playing in Denver through Sunday (Nov. 9).

    “During a very early preview performance of Kinky Boots, Randy ran up to me at the intermission and said, ‘Promise me this show will play Denver,’ ” said Kinky Boots’ Hal Luftig. “To a producer with a show still in previews, that meant the world to me. And now, here we are in Denver, playing to packed houses every night.”

    Weeks also was credited for his willingness to take risks both large and small. Weeks could have responsibly passed on important, challenging musicals with questionable commercial road potential, like Next to Normal (about a mother’s suicidal depression) and Spring Awakening (about 1890s German teens experiencing puberty in the complete absence of information). But when Weeks came across shows that had the potential to change audiences’ lives, he felt a deep obligation to schedule them.

    “He was so clearly willing to take risks here,” said The Book of Mormon’s Turner, “and over time, he developed an audience that was willing to take risks with him. That combination is very rare.”

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_2
    Actor Shannan Steele and director Ray Roderick banter with an aptly dressed Randy Weeks stand-in at Monday's celebration. Photo by John Moore. To see more photos, click here. 

     

    Added Ray Roderick, who directed large world premieres like I Love a Piano in the Auditorium Theatre and small cabaret shows in the Garner Galleria: “Randy saw the Denver community as one that was going to embrace good work no matter what it was. Denver is a very big demographic, and a very smart demographic, and Randy managed to please a lot of different kinds of people.”

    Weeks was remembered on Monday for far more than just his many professional successes. He was remembered as an uncommonly compassionate friend … and a most decidedly uncommon dresser.

    Weeks was known for wearing argyle sweaters and golfing pants adorned with animal prints only Rodney Dangerfield could love. The sweaters were a tribute to his late mentor, Robert Garner. “But the pants were all Randy,” said his longtime assistant, Claudia Carson, who directed the musical portion of Monday's celebration. Family members confessed that Weeks left seven pair of Brooks Brothers animal-print pants behind in his closet at home.

    “We’re going to miss Randy because he was always there with outstretched arms and a sweater that looked like something out of 1962 Paris Vogue,” joked Kris Andersson, otherwise known as Dixie Longate, whose Dixie’s Tupperware Party has played in the Garner Galleria Theatre four times. “It was so vogue that you probably wouldn’t want to dress that way. You’d look at it and go, ‘Really?’ But Randy owned it.”

    Andersson’s longtime manager Michele Helberg credited Weeks for “reinvigorating the Dixie brand” five years ago when he first brought the Tupperware Party to Denver. And Andersson credited Weeks for green-lighting last summer’s mouthful of a sequel, Dixie’s Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I Learned While I was Drinking Last Thursday.

    “He used his influence with other people in the industry to take a new artist and a new piece of work and move it forward further than if we had to do it on our own,” Helberg said. “If it hadn’t been for Randy and his Denver Center family, I don’t think we would be where we are right now.”

    "Randy used to say, 'It’s all about the fun,' ” Andersson added. “We get to have fun every day of our lives, and a really big part of that is because Randy looked at our show and said yes. And then, when the opportunity came along to do the new show, Randy put tickets on sale before I had even written it. He had that much faith in me.”

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_3

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_Quote_1



    Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein are two other performers whose lives were forever changed when Weeks decided to move their two-woman sleepover Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women from the Avenue Theatre to the DCPA.

    And here’s the thing: “He picked up our show without ever even seeing it,” Klein said. In those days, the title was truth in advertising: No men allowed.

    “He had heard about it, and he knew that women loved it, and so he just said, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’ ” Klein said.  

     That came as no surprise to Ekeberg, Weeks' protege and successor.

     “Randy led with his heart, and he put his heart into everything,” Ekeberg said.

    Girls Only played at the Garner Galleria Theatre for two years and has now been seen by 250,0000 women … and a few men. “That’s not something Linda and I could have done on our own,” Gehring said.

    Girls Only is currently playing in Rochester, N.Y., but the Denver-based duo came home for Monday’s celebration.  “We had to,” said Klein. “We needed to grieve with our friends.”

    DCPA Chairman Daniel Ritchie welcomed Monday’s crowd, and the master of Ceremonies was CBS-4 Critic-At-Large Greg Moody. Speakers included all three of Weeks’ siblings -- Pam Weeks, Joel Weeks and Stephanie Gamble. Others included Al Nocciolino, representing the Broadway League and the Independent Presenters Network. He was with Weeks at the London conference. He told Monday’s crowd that Weeks spent his final day shopping, and bought a deck of cards adorned with vintage fighter planes for his history-buff dad. That night, Weeks attended a performance of the controversial new play King Charles III in London's West End. Afterward, Nocciolino said, “Randy was holding court and telling everyone he had just seen the best performance he had ever seen.” 

    Video: "I Love a Piano" performed by Shannan Steele, Lauren Shealy, Randy St. Pierre, Michael Gold, Sarah Rex and Jordan Leigh.

    The musical program included performers from some of Weeks’ favorite shows, including I Love a Piano and Forever Plaid. The first show Weeks ever presented in the Garner Galleria Theatre was Forever Plaid, and on closing night in 1992, cast members sang “Old Cape Cod” as a gift to him in honor of his New Hampshire roots. Michael Gold, Drew Frady, Randy St. Pierre and Scott Rathbun sang the song at Monday’s celebration.

    Shannan Steele credited Weeks for hiring local actors, citing the upcoming opening of Forbidden Broadway in the Garner Galleria Theatre, which has an all-local ensemble.

     “I think most of my career wouldn’t exist without his efforts and his vision for the local community,” Steele said. “If you ever got to work under Randy, it was always a huge employment opportunity – and a huge artistic opportunity.”

    Gold, who performed in Roderick’s I Love a Piano, has known Weeks since he joined the DCPA box-office team as a college student in 1978. “I remember seeing him run credit cards over carbon paper; it was that long ago,” Gold said.

    When Joel Weeks took to the podium at the Buell, he referenced Weeks’ eulogy to his mentor, Robert Garner. “In it, he said, ‘How can you know someone for such a long time and never fully comprehend how much they have become a part of your life?’ ” Joel Weeks said.

    “My journey will be an amazing one if I can just try to emulate a fraction of what my brother was.” 

    Ekeberg, the final speaker, said his boss’ true strength lay in one-on-one relationships. “He made you feel special; he made you feel heard, and he made you feel important,” Ekeberg said. To honor that spirit, he urged the crowd to heed the message of Pippin:

    “Find the simple joys,” Ekeberg said.

    Our coverage of the death of Randy Weeks:
    DCPA president Randy Weeks dies at London conference
    Video: Randy Weeks honored with dimmed lights, moments of silence
    Randy Weeks photo gallery
    DCPA to celebrate Randy Weeks' life on Nov. 3
    A look back at Randy Weeks' 'It Gets Better' video
    'Pippin' dedicates entire tour to Randy Weeks



    Video: Randy St. Pierre, Michael Gold, Drew Frady and Scott Rathbun sing 'Old Cape Cod.'

    MORE PHOTOS:

    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_3


    Randy _Weeks_Celebration_800_4

    TO SEE OUR COMPLETE GALLERY OF DOWNLOADABLE PHOTOS FROM THE RANDY WEEKS CELEBRATION, CLICK HERE.
          

    Memorial Contributions
    Memorial gifts can be made to The Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for the Bobby G Awards, which supports the advancement of musical theatre for Colorado high school students. Please make checks payable to Denver Center for the Performing Arts and mail to: DCPA Development Office, 1101 13th Street, Denver, CO 80204.

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    ABOUT THE EDITOR
    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

    DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.