• Video, photos: Your first look at DCPA's 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Sep 20, 2017



    Without changing a word of Shakespeare's text, DCPA Theatre Company Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into his raw reimagining of Macbeth, which will mark the grand reopening of the in-the-round Space Theatre. Video above by DCPA
    Video Producer David Lenk. 

    Production photos:

    Macbeth
    To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by Adams VisCom.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Macbeth: Ticket information
    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • Performances through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    DCPA Macbeth. Adams Viscom. Scenie Design by Jason Sherwood.
    DCPA Theatre Company's 'Macbeth.' Scenic Design by Jason Sherwood. Photo by Adams Viscom.

    Macbeth
    : Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage

    Perspectives: Macbeth director's recommendation: 'Invest in yes'
    Video: Adam Poss on a man playing Lady Macbeth
    Video: Ariel Shafir on the young new warrior face of Macbeth
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting
    Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Backstage photo gallery

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Perspectives: 'Macbeth' director's recommendation: 'Invest in yes'

    by John Moore | Sep 19, 2017
    Perspectives Macbeth. Robert O'Hara. Steven Cole Hughes'Perspectives' is a series of free panel discussions held just before the first public performance of each DCPA Theatre Company staging. The 'Macbeth' panel included director Robert O'Hara and actor Steven Cole Hughes, above, as well as actors Alec Hynes and Kim Fischer (pictured below right). The moderator was Literary Director Doug Langworthy. The next 'Perspectives' will be held before the first preview of 'Smart People' at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, in the Jones Theatre. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'The Curse,' the costumes and the king obsessed with witches are all fair game at season's first Perspectives

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Macbeth An audience member before Friday’s first performance of Macbeth wanted to know: Is “The Curse” real?

    He was talking about the most famous – and famously respected – superstition in all of theatre: Say the word "Macbeth" inside a theatre, and you invite disaster. Better to say “The Scottish Play” or “Mackers.” Shakespeare’s play gets its evil reputation in part because of the witches in the story, and of course the legendary tales of misfortune that have been associated with hundreds of Macbeth stagings going back to 1606.

    Macbeth. Perspectives. Photo by John Moore. Robert O’Hara, who is directing Macbeth for the DCPA Theatre Company, says so far – knock on wood! – there have been no incidents attributable to black magic lurking under the brand-new Space Theatre floorboards. But he said things got super weird before rehearsals even began.

    O'Hara invited the actors playing Macbeth and Lady M (Ariel Shafir and Adam Poss) to his home a few months ago to talk about the play. As they were diving into the play, O’Hara looked outside and noticed an inexplicable pack of wild kittens loitering underneath his tree. He says they didn’t live in the neighborhood, and they all disappeared by the next morning. But that day, Poss’ simple plane trip home from Cincinnati to Chicago ended up taking nearly 24 hours to complete.

    Weird, sisters.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Here are five more things we learned about 'Macbeth at Perspactives:

    Macbeth set design by Jason SherwoodTrue blue: NUMBER 1 Macbeth is O’Hara’s first Shakespeare production as a director. And while he brings a different sensibility to this staging that is evident from costumes to clothing to music to movement, he’s not rewriting a word of Shakespeare’s language. “Nothing you see will defame Shakespeare,” O'Hara said. “I didn't come here to do Shakespeare in order to not do Shakespeare. I am a playwright, too, so if I wanted to do an adaptation of Shakespeare, I would have just written my own play. But at the same time, I don't want the audience to see a museum piece. I want them to see something that shows how elastic Shakespeare is. I am not interested in how Shakespeare is ‘supposed’ to be done. I am interested in how I meet Shakespeare’s language today.”

    (Pictured above and right: A look at the 'Macbeth' set design by Jason Sherwood.)

    NUMBER 2About those costumes: "We don't wear many. You're welcome,” actor Steven Cole Hughes said to laughs. O’Hara said it makes perfect sense for warlocks to live their lives more unencumbered by inhibition (and clothing) than humans. “Our show is essentially warlocks putting on a play, and these warlocks have a different sense of their bodies. They have a different sense of nakedness,” O’Hara said. "But when it comes time for the warlocks to put on Shakespeare’s play, they add some Jacobean clothing. They’re costumes. But underneath, they are still who they are.”

    NUMBER 3 What the Hecate? There is a character in the play who usually gets cut in contemporary stagings. Her name is Hecate, queen of the witches. Hecate says: 'Bring Macbeth to the Pit of Acheron,” and that’s where O’Hara has chosen to set this production. It’s years after the real-life story of Macbeth, the witches are all male warlocks, and they are performing the play as a kind of historical ritual. And here, we will meet Hecate. “Robert did some research that said Hecate is a three-headed witch, so there are three of us actors paying her,” said Hughes. “We had the freedom to create both how we move and talk as a trio. Hecate has a monologue, and we split it up between the three of us." 

    NUMBER 4And as for the music: “It's going to start loud, and get louder,” says Hughes. O’Hara only asks of his audience what he asked of his cast on the first day of rehearsal: "Invest in yes," he said. And if you do, he added, "you will be rewarded at the end.” The play is performed as a ritual not unlike the Catholic Church’s Stations of the Cross. And each ritual is accompanied its own music, movement and lighting scheme. These are transitions that act as a bridge between the scenes that Shakespeare wrote, and the hybrid world these warlocks inhabit at the Pit of Acheron.

    NUMBER 5Back to those those witches: Scotland’s King James I – yes, namesake of the King James Bible – was obsessed with the subject of witchcraft. There were 247 witch trials during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James, and he was a frequent instigator of them. Belief in witches was common at the time. James, who became the first king of both England and Scotland in 1603, even wrote a book on supernatural creatures and demons. James was also a big fan of live theatre, and he hired Shakespeare to write plays for him. The Bard wrote Macbeth specifically to please King James. In the play, quintessential good-guy Banquo is meant to represent James. And to please His Majesty, Shakespeare inserted more biblical imagery than in any of his other plays.

    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.

    Macbeth. Perspectives. Photo by John Moore.

    Actors Steven Cole Hughes and Kim Fischer demonstrate some of the choreography in 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.


    Macbeth: Ticket information
    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Video: Adam Poss on a man playing Lady Macbeth
    Video: Ariel Shafir on the young new warrior face of Macbeth
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting
    Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Video: Adam Poss on a man playing Lady Macbeth

    by John Moore | Sep 17, 2017

    'I think a lot of women (who play Lady Macbeth) have to bring this masculine energy to it. But because I am a man with that masculine energy (my job is) to find what that feminine energy is," Adam Poss says of his role as Lady M  for the DCPA Theatre Company. Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'When you see someone like me playing Macbeth, already you are getting a different energy, look and feel.'


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    In one way, Director Robert O’Hara is telling the tale of Macbeth just as Shakespeare did — with an all-male cast. Not that anyone will mistake O’Hara’s staging with anything resembling Shakespeare as it was presented in Jacobean times.

    O'Hara is telling the tale for the DCPA Theatre Company from the point of view of a coven of shamanic warlocks. In his world, these warlocks are getting together years after the actual story and are now performing Macbeth as a kind of passion play. So the storytellers are all necessarily male.

    Adam Poss. Macbeth. But Adam Poss, the acclaimed Chicago actor playing Lady Macbeth, believes the female voice will come through loud and clear through this unusual telling, which he says is at once both historic and futuristic. "It's a great combination of old and new, and we're going to freak people out a little bit," he said with a laugh. 

    The strongest women of the time were polar opposites and deadly rivals, Poss said: "You have Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots and they both represented very different ideas of who women were. Queen Elizabeth was the virgin and Mary Queen of Scots was  bloodthirsty." Lady Macbeth was more of the latter, clawing her way to a place of power in the only way a woman could: Through her husband. "She could not be out there fighting, and taking on a kinship on her own," Poss said, "But she can make  things happen in her own way behind the scenes."

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Poss said it will be both useful and relevant for a contemporary audience to see the story with women and witches who have facial hair. 

    "I think as we move forward, things are less binary in terms of what it means to be a man and a woman," he said. "Just because this is a company of men does not mean that there cannot be intimacy between men.

    "At its heart, yes, Macbeth  is a play about ambition and being bloodthirsty and taking people on to achieve what you want. But it’s also about a marriage, and a husband and wife doesn’t necessarily have to be a man and a woman. There can be partnerships between men that have love and care and tenderness but also violence and aggression and manipulation. That’s just human."  

    Adam Poss. Macbeth. Photo by John Moore.
    Adam Poss with his castmates at the first rehearsal for 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter


    Adam Poss: At a glance

    At the Denver Center: Debut. Other regional credits: Macbeth (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), 2666, Teddy Ferrara, A Christmas Carol, The Magic Play, The Solid Sand Below (Goodman Theatre), Lot’s Wife (Kansas City Rep), The North Pool, The Lake Effect (TheatreWorks, Palo Alto) Other credits: 1984, Animals Out of Paper (Steppenwolf Theatre), The History Boys (Studio Theatre, D.C.). Oedipus el Rey, Queen (Victory Gardens Theater); The Lake Effect, Scorched (Silk Road Rising); The Beats (16th Street Theater). Television: Shameless, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Crisis, The Chicago Code, The Mob Doctor. Film: The Middle Distance, The Drunk, The King of URLS, Speed Dating.

    Macbeth: Ticket information
    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.

    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Video: Ariel Shafir on the young new warrior face of Macbeth
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Video: Ariel Shafir on the new warrior face of 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Sep 12, 2017

    'We're getting a taste of where theatre has evolved, and Robert O'Hara is at the finger's edge of all this," Ariel Shafir says of his 'Macbeth' director. Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'When you see someone like me playing Macbeth, already you are getting a different energy, look and feel.'


    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    Actor Ariel Shafir is well aware that when most people imagine the face of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, they likely conjure a face like, say, Patrick Stewart’s or Kelsey Grammer’s as the great killer Scot. “It’s usually some 60-year-old, very WASPy looking guy,” Shafir said with a laugh.

    Ariel ShafirBut nevertheless, the decidedly younger Shafir is preparing to play the iconic embodiment of bloodthirsty ambition for the DCPA Theatre Company. And he thinks he’s just right for the role.

    “Macbeth is not one of these old generals in some back room,” Shafir said. “He’s on the battlefield. He’s the greatest warrior they have. So when you see someone like me playing Macbeth, you can see how far we are veering from the typical playbook. Already you are getting a different energy, a different look, a different feel for Macbeth.”

    Director Robert O’Hara is telling the tale of Macbeth from the point of view of a coven of shamanic warlocks. In his world, these warlocks are getting together years later and performing the story of Macbeth as a kind of passion play.

    There are purists who believe Shakespeare should not be tinkered with, even in concept. Shafir challenges that notion. “It is important to note that this is going to be the exact text Shakespeare wrote,” Shafir said. “But instead of relying on the template of productions past, I think Robert is actually probing deeper into the script and striking much closer to the heart of Shakespeare’s actual play.

     “We are delving into some of the darkest shadows of human psychology, and I think I directors sometimes tiptoe that line. But not Robert. There are so many things in our production that many others don’t ever deal with. There are just so many things about our own shadow selves that we need to embrace, and I think we do.”

    Ariel Shafir. Photo by John MooreThere’s a reason Macbeth remains a popular story after 400 years. Shafir says it’s the same reason we love Halloween and horror movies.

    “What is this darkness in ourselves that we need to embrace in the nighttime so that we can go out and be productive in the daylight hours?” he said.

    “This play is reaching forward in time and, at the same time, reaching back. There will be an interesting tension between the classic Jacobean style, while also having this completely futuristic feel as well. There are so many parts of this play that I think will be illuminated for the first time for people.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Ariel Shafir: At a glance
    At the Denver Center: Debut. Other regional credits: John Proctor in The Crucible (Playmakers Rep), Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare), Axel Fersen in Marie Antoinette (Steppenwolf), Uzi in Captors (Huntington), John in A Life in the Theater (Alliance), among many others including most recently Isaac in the China Tour of Disgraced. TV/Film: "Orange is the New Black," "30 Rock," "Army Wives," I Love You ... but I Lied," "M'Larky," "What Happens in Vegas" "Bride Wars" "Don Peyote," "What Happens Next," "Hysterical Psycho." Winner of a Suzi Bass Award, Jeff Award and Barrymore Award.

    Macbeth: Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    The masculinity of Macbeth
    Macbeth
    at a time when everything is shifting Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • The masculinity of 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Sep 05, 2017

    Macbeth. Thaddeus Fitzpatrick. Photo by John Moore.


    'You should be women. And yet your beards forbid me to
    interpret that you are so.'

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The words above come out the mouth of Banquo, Macbeth’s power-hungry frenemy. And the first time Director Robert O’Hara came across them, they stuck in his head like courage to a sticking post.

    “That line is Banquo telling the witches they don’t look like women because they have beards,” said O’Hara, “And right then I was like, ‘Well maybe they're not women. Maybe they are men'!”

    That inherent gender contradiction fueled O’Hara’s vision for the DCPA Theatre Company’s season-opening production of Macbeth, which promises to confront audiences with a sexy, physical vision of Shakespeare the likes of which they likely have never seen before. 

    “This is a world where you can roll up on some witches, and it doesn’t send you off running for the hills screaming at the top of your lungs?” O’Hara said. “Not only that, but they tell you you’re going to be king, and you just go right off and start killing folks. That, to me, is crazy. The witches don’t tell Macbeth to go kill Duncan. They just tell Macbeth he will be king someday. But he couldn’t wait a few days to start killing? Who knows, Macbeth? Maybe the king will choke to death on a chicken bone or something.” 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    O’Hara is presenting Macbeth just as Shakespeare did — with an all-male cast. Not that anyone will mistake O’Hara’s staging with anything resembling Shakespeare as it was presented in Jacobean times. 

    “The reason Shakespeare did not use women in his plays wasn’t because it was illegal for women to be on stage,” O’Hara said. “He did it because England was a sexist and misogynistic society that devalued the female.” That’s why, O’Hara says, the bloodthirsty Lady Macbeth must be viewed through the male perspective that created her.  

    “Can you imagine what women must have felt hearing about all these stories with female characters that were written and performed by men? The very nature of the Jacobean patriarchal society would color how characters like Lady Macbeth came about and were presented on the stage.” 

    Masculinity pervades Shakespeare’s text without any help from O’Hara. With the exception of the witches, Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff are the only significant female characters in the entire story to begin with. “Lady Macbeth says all this stuff about ‘Unsex me,’ and, ‘If you were a man you’d be more of a man’ by killing the king, as she’s egging her husband on,” O’Hara said.

    (Story continues after the photo.)

    Macbeth Robert O'Hara


    O’Hara was interested by what he calls the locker-room mentality, then and now. “I thought, ‘What happens when a bunch of men get together and decide to present this story?' And so O’Hara’s tale takes place in a world where it is warlocks, not witches, who “double, double, toil and trouble.”  

    In O’Hara’s world, getting together and performing the story of Macbeth as a kind of passion play is a ritual of these warlocks that has gone on for centuries. 

    In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, The Pit of Acheron is a swamp near Macbeth's castle where the witches are ordered to bring Macbeth. In O’Hara’s production, this pit becomes the setting of his entire play.

    “As someone living in New York City, it’s interesting to me that millions of people come to pay their respect to the fallen of 9/11 at the World Trade Center. They have built a performance complex right there, and inevitably there will be performances there that deal with 9/11. And that made me think, ‘What if my production in some odd way was the warlocks paying their respect to the fallen in the Macbeth story, which is a real story that took place hundreds of years before?’

    “These warlocks are forever linked to their ancestors, and not in a good way. They have been blamed for the actions of Macbeth for centuries. So, what if this is them giving those ancient witches a renewed voice, through this ritual?”

    This concept not only gives the audience the opportunity to see women characters played by men just as they were in Shakespeare’s time, but also to consider the inevitable patriarchal consequences. 

    What will an all-male Macbeth do to the story?

    “I hope it will do exactly what it probably did when it was first performed,” O’Hara said. “I hope it gives some insight into the world we are living in today.”


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Macbeth at a time when everything is shifting
    Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined Macbeth
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening


    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the making of Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, hover your cursor over the image above and click the forward arrow that appears. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Cast announced for Robert O’Hara’s reimagined 'Macbeth'

    by John Moore | Aug 28, 2017

    Rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore. Rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.


    Robert O'Hara's story is told from the point of view of a warlock coven that gathers to recreate the tale of Macbeth.

    The DCPA Theatre Company has announced the full cast and creative team for Robert O’Hara’s raw and reimagined take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which opens the company's 38th season with an all-male cast on Sept. 22.

    In preparing for the production, the director was struck by Banquo’s line referencing the witches: “You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.”

    “That inherent contradiction stuck in my head,” O’Hara said. “And right then I was like, ‘Well maybe they're not women. Maybe they are men.’ ” That opened the door for a concept told from the point of view of the supernatural: Specifically, a warlock coven that gathers to recreate the tale of Macbeth.

    “People have asked me, ‘What will an all-male Macbeth do to the story?’” O'Hara said. “I tell them, ‘I hope it will do exactly what Shakespeare’s work should always do – give some insight into the world in which we are living today.’ ”

    Macbeth castFrom left: Colorado natives Skyler Gallun (Donalbain) and Gareth Saxe (Duncan), with Lady M (Adam Poss) and Macbeth (Ariel Shafir).

    The production will feature, in alphabetical order:

    • Rob Fenton (Malcolm/Ensemble)
    • Kim Fischer (Second Warlock/Ensemble)
    • Thaddeus Fitzpatrick (Third Warlock/Ensemble)
    • Keith D. Gallagher (Seyton/Ensemble)
    • Skyler Gallun (Donalbain/Ensemble)
    • Joel Reuben Ganz (Macduff/Ensemble)
    • Joe Goldammer (First Warlock/Ensemble)
    • Steven Cole Hughes (Doctor of the Psychic/Ensemble)
    • Alec Hynes (Banquo/Ensemble)
    • Erik Kochenberger (Hecate Two/Ensemble)
    • Daniel Kyri (Lady Macduff/Ensemble)
    • Jesse Pennington (Rosse/Ensemble)
    • Adam Poss (Lady Macbeth/Ensemble)
    • Gareth Saxe (Duncan/Ensemble)
    • Ariel Shafir (Macbeth/Ensemble)
    • Travis Turner (Lennox/Ensemble)
    • Danny Zuhlke (Fleance/Ensemble)

    Several cast members have appeared in previous DCPA productions or have longstanding Colorado ties. Hughes is a graduate of the Denver Center's masters program and has appeared in 14 Theatre Company productions. Most recently he was seen in DCPA Cabaret's production of An Act of God in the Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    Saxe is a graduate of Denver East High School and Colorado College who has appeared in Theatre Company productions of The Homecoming and Heartbreak House. He was most recently seen as Scar in the national touring production of The Lion King. (Watch our video interview here.)

    Gallun is a graduate of Denver's George Washington High School who previously appeared here in Lord of the Flies. Kochenberger is a graduate of East High School in Pueblo. Fitzpatrick was last seen in The Book off Will.   

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The creative team includes:

    • Robert O'Hara (Director)
    • Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer)
    • Dede M. Ayite (Costume Designer)
    • Alex Jainchill (Lighting Designer)
    • Lindsay Jones (Original Music and Sound Designer)
    • Douglas Langworthy (Dramaturgy)
    • Kathryn G. Maes (vocal and dialect coaching)
    • Kurt Van Raden (Stage Manager)
    • D. Lynn Reiland (Assistant Stage Manager)

    Macbeth also marks the reopening of the newly renovated Space Theatre. The nearly 40-year-old venue has been completely rebuilt to enhance the world-class experience for audiences and artists alike.


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented bythe DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    Macbeth: Previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage
    Macbeth at a time when everything is shifting
    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening


    Making of Macbeth: Full photo gallery:

    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the first day of rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company, along with behind-the-scenes process shots. To see more, click the forward arrow in the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • 'Macbeth' at a time when everything is shifting

    by John Moore | Aug 17, 2017
    Making of 'Macbeth'

    Photos from the first day of rehearsal for Robert O'Hara's 'Macbeth' for the DCPA Theatre Company. To see more, click the forward arrow in the image above. 'Macbeth' plays Sept. 15-Oct. 29 in the newly reopened Space Theatre. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Rehearsals open in a divided country roiling and reeling from violence that is becoming commonplace in its streets

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company opened rehearsals Tuesday for the first offering of its 39th season in a deeply divided country that is roiling and reeling from violence that is again becoming commonplace in its streets.

    That makes it both important – and poignant – to be re-examining the troubled world of Shakespeare’s bloodthirsty tragedy of Macbeth right now through the lens of a rising, rebel director named Robert O’Hara, DCPA Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett said in an impassioned welcome to cast, crew, staff and guests.

    Macbeth Nataki Garrett“Everything about the way we live is shifting,” Garrett said. “And that’s why this is the perfect time to be doing this play right now, in the middle of the shift. We are in this chrysalis right now, trying to figure out who we are as a people, who we are as a theatre community, who we are as creative people,” Garrett said.

    “Especially in light of where we are right now, particularly in the United States, this is what you do: You do this play, right now, because Shakespeare has this uncanny way of reaching forward and back at the same time, and making us really think about why we think the things we do. Who put those ideas there? And is there a way to have a different way of thinking than the way we think now."

    Garrett promised those gathered that O’Hara’s Macbeth “ain’t your grandmama's Macbeth.” O’Hara’s Macbeth is set entirely at the Pit of Acheron, a swamp near Macbeth's castle where the witches are ordered to bring Macbeth. Only in this telling it’s years, perhaps centuries later, and the witches are warlocks.

    “I thought, what if every so often, a bunch of witches go off and tell that messed-up story about that guy who went off killing people just because they told him he was going to be king? That would be interesting …  and crazy,” O’Hara said.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    "We tend to demonize the witches. We blame them for what Macbeth does in the story. They always got the short end of the stick. So, what if our play is about giving those ancient witches a renewed voice, through this ritual?”

    O’Hara’s Macbeth will have a very modern, almost futuristic element, “but also one that honors the past,” said award-winning scenic designer Jason Sherwood. Dede M. Ayite's costumes will offer “lots of skin, and lots of leather,” she said, “and when we transition into the actual storytelling we will have pieces that reflect Jacobean garments.” Alex Jainchill’s lighting design will incorporate modern technologies and incorporate dub-step music from sound designer Lindsay Jones.

    Video, photos: Our coverage of the Space Theatre opening

    “Robert called me last week and said, ‘Hey did I tell you that you were writing a score that's like Game of Thrones?’ And I was like, 'No, you did not.' So I'm writing a score that's like Game of Thrones, along with rap music, lots of sound effects and other really exciting stuff.”

    O’Hara and Garrett hope this reimagined way of looking at Macbeth will give audiences another way of contextualizing the shocking daily headlines that are becoming more and more difficult to process.

    “We are a nation that moves and evolves. Said Garrett. “We are a theatre company that moves and evolves, and it is moving before our very eyes right now. And so I am very excited to have this play open our new Space Theatre, open our season and open our minds."

    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.


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented bythe DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
  • Mayor cuts the ribbon on a new era for the Space Theatre

    by John Moore | Aug 15, 2017
    Space Theatre Renovation Photo gallery: To see more photos from the reopening of the Space Theatre, along with early construction photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. Most photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    'The arts are the engine that drives people to our city and sets Denver apart,' Hancock says at reopening ceremony

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist 


    Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock helped cut the ribbon on the newly rebuilt Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Tuesday morning, telling the gathered crowd it is the arts that distinguish Denver from other metropolitan cities.

    “We are absolutely giddy to be here as part of this auspicious occasion,” Hancock said at the reopening ceremony, held in The Space Theatre’s fully reconceived new lobby. "We can talk about airports - they help us connect to the world. Everybody has streets. Everybody has parks. But the arts are the engine that drives people to our city and sets Denver apart.”

    The new Space Theatre officially reopens Sept. 22 with Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

    The project was made possible by a $10 million grant from the Better Denver Bond Program, which was part of the largest bond issue in Denver history when it was approved by voters in 2007.

    The nearly 40-year-old Space Theatre was completely gutted and rebuilt from top to bottom. It remains the five-sided “in-the-round” performance space familiar to Denver theatregoers, only it has been fully modernized and features flexible seating configurations that can change from play to play.

    DCPA Chairman Martin Semple called Tuesday “a momentous day in our history.” DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden said: “This has been 30 months of incredible planning and construction. The team at the DCPA and our partners have done a beautiful job.”

    The ceremony took place just hours after the Denver City Council unanimously referred a $937 million bond to the November ballot that, if approved by voters, will make $19 million available for further renovations to the Denver Center’s Stage and Ricketson theatres, also located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex. “We as a city are willing to put our money behind the renovation, upkeep and sustainability of these great venues so that people can continue to enjoy what makes Denver so special,” Hancock said. “These investments are very strategic. They are important in keeping us a world-class city going forward.”  

    Space Theatre. John Moore photo.  The Space Theatre effort also was boosted by a $1 million donation from The Joan and Phill Berger Charitable Fund, represented Tuesday by Phil and Marcie Munishor. An additional unveiling was held christening the new performance space the Joan and Phill Berger Auditorium (pictured right).

    The Space opened in 1979. While it has enjoyed some cosmetic updates over the years, this was is the first overhaul of both audience amenities and backstage support.

    Because the layout of the theatre remains essentially unchanged, lead architect Chris Wineman of Semple Brown Design predicted that, once inside, returning theatregoers might not even notice that much has changed. But their experience getting to their seats will be dramatically different.

    The original design of the Bonfils Complex featured one main lobby with multiple entrances into both the Space Theatre and the larger Stage Theatre next to it. The Space Theatre now has its own enlarged lobby with one central doorway into the theatre. Before, patrons descended a winding staircase and then climbed back up to their seats from stage level.

    Space Theatre. John Moore photo.  That entire staircase is gone. Audiences will now walk directly into the theatre and down to their seats. That will not only be much more convenient for patrons, Wineman said, audiences for the first time will be fully separated from the cast and creative teams running the show below.

    DCPA Technical Director Jeff Gifford said the new theatre boasts state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound; improved sightlines and is now in full ADA compliance - both for audience members and crews working the shows.

    Overall capacity has been reduced from 420 to 380. But because the seating is now flexible, certain configurations will be able to accommodate up to 416, Gifford said.

    Among all the many improvements, audiences no doubt will cheer the construction of new bathrooms, doubling previous the capacity. But there are others, including:  

    • Modern acoustic treatments specifically meant to accentuate and evenly distribute the spoken word throughout the entire theatre.
    • The old Space Theatre was divided into four levels. The new theatre has just two. There are now more seats on the main floor, closer to the action. That will maintain the intimacy of the original theatre and greatly improve sightlines for many.
    • More wheelchair and companion seating.
    • State-of-the art lighting and all new wiring.
    • An elevator inside the theatre will allow patrons to easily access the main seating level.

    A Space Theatre 800 3
    From left: DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and DCPA Chairman Martin Semple. Photo by John Moore.


    For those artisans who work behind the scenes, Gifford is most excited by the presence of five control booths, one in each section of the theatre. “That means our sound and light operators working the shows now will actually be able to see the shows with their own eyes,” Gifford said. “I don't know if people realize this, but they used to be kept behind a wall, and the only way they saw the show was on a video monitor - as long as that monitor was actually working.”

    Now there will be a home for additional specialists, such as a projections operator, if necessary. Now there is a discreet place where the director or understudy actors can watch a performance without sitting among the crowd. Before, understudies would be sent all the way up to the catwalks to watch a show from overhead. That’s the highest point in the theatre, above the rafters and lights.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The renovation has been supervised by the DCPA Vice President of Facilities and Event Services Clay Courter. “Clay really spearheaded this project from blueprint to completion,” Sinden said.

    “This new and improved Space Theatre keeps the intimate theatre-in-the-round style that brought audiences to an island of lost boys in Lord of The Flies and into the world of August Wilson's Fences,” Courter said. “This new theatre is going to represent a new way of heightening the energy of the audience and the performers in creating that sense of intimacy and connection that has always been the hallmark of seeing a show in the Space Theatre.”

    Several city leaders were present at Tuesday’s ceremony, including Arts and Venues Executive Director Kent Rice and Deputy Director Ginger White Brunetti; Interim Director of Public Works George Delaney, and Deputy City Attorney Shawn Sullivan.


    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.


    Space Theatre tour facts.


    The Space Theatre/Fun facts:

    • The Space Theatre opened on Dec. 31, 1979, with Moby Dick Rehearsed. It reopens Sept. 22 with Robert O’Hara’s reimagined, all-male production of Macbeth.
    • The DCPA Theatre Company has entertained 4.5 million patrons in its four performance venues in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, including the Space Theatre, over the past 38 years.
    • 11,500 worker hours went into the electrical work alone.
    • Turner Construction Company hauled away more than 350 tons of concrete, which is equal to 700 grand pianos, 53 elephants or nearly 5,300 people. Crews then re-poured 550 tons of concrete.


    Macbeth
    : Ticket information

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200At a glance: Forget what you know about Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy. Director Robert O’Hara breathes new life (and death) into this raw reimagining for the grand reopening of The Space Theatre. To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. This ambitious reinvention reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses to kill must suffer the consequences.
    • Presented bythe DCPA Theatre Company
    • First performance Sept. 15, through Oct. 29
    • Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets start at $25
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    A Space Theatre 800 4The original Space Theatre.
  • Single tickets to most 2017-18 shows, classes go on sale Aug. 11

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2017

    DCPA TITLES


    Later on-sale dates will be announced for Hamilton, Disney’s Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Remote Denver and Dear Evan Hansen

    Tickets for most of the Denver Center's 2017-18 Broadway, Theatre Company, Cabaret, Off-Center and Education shows, as well as all fall and winter classes, will be made available to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, at denvercenter.org

    The full list of 29 DCPA productions available for purchase on Aug. 11 is below.

    Please note that Hamilton, Disney’s Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Remote Denver are not included in the Aug. 11 on-sale. A separate on sale for each production will be announced at a later time. Dear Evan Hansen will launch its national tour in Denver as the first show of the 2018/19 Broadway season and will go on sale to the public at a later time in 2018.

    More information on the Broadway shows on-sale Aug. 11

    More information on Theatre Company, Off-Center shows

     DCPA ORG

    2017-18 DCPA tickets on sale Aug. 11:

    Show title

    Venue

    Run Dates

    Men are from Mars,
    Women are from Venus LIVE!

    Garner Galleria

    Aug 9 - 27, 2017

    Macbeth

    Space

    Sept 15 - Oct 29, 2017

    Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women

    Garner Galleria

    Sept 21 - Oct 22, 2017

    The Snowy Day and Other Stories
    by Ezra Jack Keats

    Conservatory Thtr.

    Sep 21 - Nov 18, 2017

    Rob Lowe - Stories I Only
    Tell My Friends: LIVE!

    The Ellie

    Oct 1, 2017

    The Wild Party

    Hangar at Stanley

    Oct 11 - 31, 2017

    Smart People

    Ricketson

    Oct 13- Nov 19, 2017

    Something Rotten!

    Buell

    Oct 17 - 29, 2017

    Breakin' Convention

    Buell

    Nov 4-5, 2017

    First Date

    Garner Galleria

    Nov 11, 2017 - Apr 22, 2018

    RENT 20th Anniversary Tour

    Buell

    Nov 14 - 19, 2017

    A Christmas Carol

    Stage

    Nov 24 - Dec 24, 2017

    The SantaLand Diaries

    Jones

    Nov 24 - Dec 24, 2017

    Chicago

    Buell

    Nov 28 - Dec 3, 2017

    Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
    by Chip Davis

    Buell

    Dec 9 - 10, 2017

    ELF The Musical

    Buell

    Dec 13 - 17, 2017

    Waitress

    Buell

    Dec 19 - 31, 2017

    Rodgers & Hammerstein's
    The King and I

    Buell

    Jan 2 - 14, 2018

    Zoey's Perfect Wedding

    Space

    Jan 19 - Feb 25, 2018

    American Mariachi

    Stage

    Jan 26 - Feb 25, 2018

    The Great Leap

    Ricketson

    Feb 2 - March 11, 2018

    This is Modern Art

    Jones

    Mar 22 - April 15, 2018

    STOMP

    Buell

    Feb 13 - 18, 2018

    Native Gardens

    Space

    April 6 - May 6, 2018

    The Who's Tommy

    Stage

    April 20 - May 27, 2018

    Human Error

    Garner Galleria

    May 18 - June 24, 2018

    School of Rock

    Buell

    May 29 - Jun 10, 2018

    Les Misérables

    Buell

    July 25 - Aug 5, 2018

    On Your Feet!

    Buell

    Aug 8 - 19, 2018

     

    Subscriptions
    Full Broadway subscriptions are no longer available to the general public. Theatre Company Full Season, Power Pass, All Stages, Family Package, Premium Subscriptions, Designer Series and Theatre Company Choose Your Own are available. For more information, visit denvercenter.org/subs. Hamilton priority access will not be available with any new DCPA subscriptions.

    Radvantage
    Patrons between the ages of 18-30 are invited to join the Radvantage membership program, which grants access to specially priced tickets to participating shows. Ticket prices start at $20. For more information, please visit denvercenter.org/radvantage.

    Sponsors
    The 2017-18 DCPA Broadway season is generously sponsored by BMW of Denver Downtown, UCHealth and United Airlines. The 2017-18 DCPA Theatre Company season is generously sponsored by Larimer Square and Daniel L. Ritchie. Media sponsorship is provided by The Denver Post and CBS4. Denver Center for the Performing Arts is supported in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

  • DCPA's upcoming 'Macbeth' gets $25K boost from NEA

    by John Moore | Jun 04, 2017

    The Denver Center's most recent Shakespeare-related production was January's world premiere of the hit drama 'The Book of Will,' by Lauren Gunderson. Photo by Adams VisCom.

    By Suzanne Yoe
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    Students in Colorado just took a giant step toward a close encounter with William Shakespeare. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts will welcome more than 4,500 students to its fall production of Macbeth.

    In an announcement made this week, Arts Midwest distributed $1 million in grants to 40 nonprofit theater companies nationwide. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival also received a $25,000 grant for its upcoming production of Julius Caesar. To see the complete list of 40 selected companies, click here

    NEA QUOTEThe grants mark the 15th year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program that has introduced 2.5 million middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the works of Shakespeare.

    “We are honored to have once again been selected to participate in this remarkable program,” said DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden. “This year alone, we will be able to welcome 4,500 students to Macbeth, of which nearly 1,000 will attend on scholarship thanks to this generous gift. The Arts Midwest/NEA award is a significant contributor that enables the DCPA to reach its goal of serving more than 33,000 students at 10 different productions in the coming season as part of our larger Student Matinee program.”

    CEO Janice Sinden: Eliminating NEA would be bad for economy

    In its most recently completed fiscal year, the DCPA served more than 84,000 youth, nearly 14,000 of whom attended as part of the Student Matinee program. With the recent launch of Theatre for Young Audiences (ages 3-9) combined with significant support of individuals, businesses, foundations and the NEA, the DCPA will more than double the Student Matinee attendance in one season.

    Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200“The importance of Arts Education is vital to academic achievement,” said Allison Watrous, Director of DCPA Education. “In study after study, student exposure to the arts elevates test scores, improves graduation rates and fosters creativity — the number one skill sought by employers today. Plus, it’s fun.”

    Students who participate in the Shakespeare in American Communities-funded Student Matinee program will attend the professionally-produced DCPA Theatre Company production of Macbeth (Sept. 15-Oct. 29), enjoy a post-show discussion with the cast and receive an in-school workshop that directly ties the themes of the play to Colorado Academic Standards.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “Shakespeare’s plays teach creativity, history, complex and intriguing themes, and rich language,” said Susan Chandler, Arts Midwest’s Vice President. “Students — especially those in school that lack financial resources — across the U.S deserve to be introduced to live performances of his timeless works.”

    “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for youth in communities across the country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Partnerships like this one with Arts Midwest help the NEA to achieve its mission of giving people across America access to the arts.”

    And along with this incredible opportunity comes an equally important cautionary tale. Macbeth is a bit like “He Who Shall Not be Named” in Harry Potter. Dare to say his name in the theatre and you are sure to be doomed. (Insert evil laugh here.)

    Suzanne Yoe is the DCPA's Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs.

    To learn more about the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Student Matinee program, please visit www.denvercenter.org/student-matinees or call 303-446-4829.

  • Vast and visceral: 2017-18 Theatre Company, Off-Center seasons

    by John Moore | Apr 03, 2017

     

    Macbeth, The Who's Tommy, four world premieres and
    "a deep dive into some truly exciting collaborations"

    By John Moore
    DCPA Senior Arts Journalist

    The DCPA Theatre Company’s 39th season will include vast and visceral reimaginings of two distinct cutting-edge classics, a record-tying four world premieres and the company's 25th staging of perennial favorite A Christmas Carol.

    The season begins in September with visionary director Robert O'Hara’s Macbeth to reopen the newly renovated Space Theatre, and builds to The Who’s rock musical Tommy, directed by Sam Buntrock (Frankenstein). And both directors promise ambitious stagings unlike anything audiences have seen before.

    Nataki Garrett QuoteThe DCPA has worked its way to the forefront of new-play development in the American theatre, and next season’s slate will include the comedy Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by former Playwright in Residence Matthew Lopez; José Cruz González’s American Mariachi, the musical tale of an all-female 1970s mariachi band; Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, about an American college basketball team that travels to Beijing in 1989; and Eric Pfeffinger’s timely comedy Human Error, which raucously explores the great American ideological divide through two vastly different couples - and one wrongly implanted embryo.

    Zoey’s Perfect Wedding will reunite Lopez and Mike Donahue, writer and director from the DCPA’s endearing world premiere The Legend of Georgia McBride (which makes its West Coast debut tomorrow at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.)

    American Mariachi
    was a favorite from the Theatre Company's 2016 Colorado New Play Summit. "Women of course had many challenges trying to play in such a male-dominated musical form," González said. "We interviewed a number of amazing women who were able to help us enter into that world, and we found an amazing group of artists who will play and sing in the piece."

    The Great Leap and Human Error emerged from the recent 2017 Summit in February.  In The Great Leap, Yee explores sport as a metaphor for how countries rub up against each other in terms of strategy, styles and priorities. "If you think of all the sports out there, basketball is the one in which you can really lay the ideals of communism on top of it. Everyone gets to touch the ball. Everyone is equal in their position,” she says.

    Human Error will set a precedent as the first Theatre Company offering ever to be staged in the cabaret-style Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    “The 2017-18 DCPA Theatre Company season represents the microcosm at the heart of the American experiment,” said Associate Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. “These writers, spanning across generations, cultures, and genders, are exploring the ways in which our commonalities are more meaningful than our differences."

    2017-18 Broadway season brings Hamilton to Denver

    For the first time, the DCPA simultaneously announced the upcoming year of its adventurous and ambitious Off-Center line of programming. Off-Center is known for creating experiences that challenge conventions and expand on the traditional definition of theatre. Next season will be the largest yet for Off-Center. It includes Mixed Taste, a summer-long partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; a 360-degree immersive staging of The Wild Party musical at the Stanley Marketplace. Also of great intrigue: Remote Denver, a  guided audio tour of the secret city; and This Is Modern Art, a controversial play by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval that explores graffiti as modern art ...  or urban terrorism.

    “The expansion of Off-Center is a result of the incredible response of the Denver community,” said Off-Center Curator (and Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director) Charlie Miller. “We have seen that audiences are hungry for a broad range of experiences, and are eager for the unexpected.”

    Miller calls the upcoming year "a deep dive into some truly exciting collaborations." A continuing one will be the return of The SantaLand Diaries, in partnership with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and again starring Michael Bouchard

    Combined, the DCPA today announced 14 upcoming new productions that will be presented across eight different venues at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and beyond.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “Theater has the opportunity and the ability to help bridge our differences by offering performances that inspire us to seek deeper connections with one another,” said Garrett, who will make her DCPA debut directing Lydia Diamond's acclaimed race comedy Smart People. “We are honored to provide a space for conversations and connections to the Denver community this year through this season's offerings.”

    Lisa Portes Robert O'HaraMacbeth will be directed by Robert O'Hara, a rising playwright, director and screenwriter who won the 2010 NAACP Best Director Award and the 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. He was a young prodigy of original Angels in America Director George C. Wolfe and is perhaps best-known as a writer for Insurrection, a time-traveling play exploring racial and sexual identity. 

    The Who's Tommy, the rock musical based on the classic 1969 concept album about the pinball prodigy, will reunite acclaimed British Frankenstein director Sam Buntrock and Scenic Designer Jason Sherwood (who also will create the world of Macbeth). Native Gardens will mark the DCPA return of playwright Karen Zacarias, who wrote Just Like Us in 2014. Zacarias has penned a very close-to-home border-war story: One that plays out between two neighboring couples in D.C. who have a dispute over their property line. The director is Chicago's Lisa Portes, who recently won the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's 2016 Zelda Fichandler Award, which recognizes an artist who is "transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in the theatre." She is head of the masters program in directing at DePaul University.

    Next year's A Christmas Carol will be the 25th season staging of Dickens' classic by the DCPA since 1990. Melissa Rain Anderson will return for her second turn at directing, and popular longtime DCPA actor Sam Gregory again will play Scrooge.

    DCPA THEATRE COMPANY SEASON AT A GLANCE:

    • Sept. 15-Oct. 29: Robert O’Hara’s Macbeth (Space Theatre Grand Reopening)
    • Oct. 13-Nov. 19: Smart People (Ricketson Theatre)
    • Nov. 24-Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol (Stage Theatre)
    • Jan. 19-Feb. 25, 2018: Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (Space Theatre)
    • Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018: American Mariachi (Stage Theatre)
    • Feb. 2-March 11, 2018: The Great Leap (Ricketson Theatre)
    • April 6-May 6, 2018: Native Gardens (Space Theatre)
    • April 20-May 27, 2018: The Who's Tommy (Stage Theatre)
    • May 18-June 24, 2018: Human Error (Garner Galleria Theatre)

    DCPA OFF-CENTER 2017-18 SEASON AT A GLANCE:

    • July 5-Aug. 23 Mixed Taste, with MCA Denver (Seawell Grand Ballroom)
    • Oct. 12-31: The Wild Party (The Hangar at Stanley)
    • Nov. 24-Dec. 24: The SantaLand Diaries, with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (Jones Theatre)
    • March 22-April 15, 2018: This Is Modern Art (Jones Theatre)
    • Spring/Summer 2018: Remote Denver (on the streets of Denver)

    TC 2017-18 800

    And here is a more detailed look at all 14 newly announced productions, in chronological order:

    MIXED TASTE (Off-Center)
    mixed-tasteTag team lectures on unrelated topic
    Presented by Off-Center with MCA Denver
    Wednesdays from July 5 through Aug 23
    Seawell Grand Ballroom
    Even mismatched subjects will find common ground in a lecture series that can go pretty much anywhere. Two speakers get twenty minutes each to enlighten you on unrelated topics, but can’t make any connections to each other. Ideas start to blend afterward when audience members ask questions to both speakers and anything goes. READ MORE ABOUT IT



    MACBETH
    macbethBy William Shakespeare
    Directed by Robert O’Hara
    Sept. 15-Oct. 29
    Space Theatre (Grand Reopening)
    To get what he wants, Macbeth will let nothing stand in his way – not the lives of others, the people of Scotland or his own well-being. As his obsession takes command of his humanity and his sanity, the death toll rises and his suspicions mount. Shakespeare’s compact, brutal tragedy kicks off the grand reopening of our theatre-in-the-round in a visceral re-imagining from visionary director Robert O’Hara, who is “shaking up the world, one audience at a time” (The New York Times). This ambitious reinvention of the classic tale reminds us that no matter what fate is foretold, the man that chooses the dagger must suffer the consequences. 



    THE WILD PARTY
    (Off-Center)
    the-wild-partyMusic and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
    Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
    Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
    Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson
    Oct. 12-31
    The Hangar at Stanley
    You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time. Debauchery turns disastrous as wild guests becomes unhinged and their solo songs reveal the drama bubbling underneath the surface. Whether you’re a wallflower or a jitterbug, you’ll think this jazz- and booze-soaked immersive musical is the bee’s knees. Dress up in your finest pearls, suits and sequins – encouraged but not required.



    SMART PEOPLE

    smart-peopleBy Lydia R. Diamond
    Directed by Nataki Garrett
    Oct. 13-Nov. 19
    Ricketson Theatre
    Intelligence can only get you so far when it comes to navigating love, success and identity in the modern age. This biting comedy follows a quartet of Harvard intellectuals struggling to understand why the lives of so many people – including their own – continue to be undermined by race. But no matter how hard they research, question and confront the issue, their own problems with self-awareness make it difficult to face the facts of life. Fiercely clever dialogue and energetic vignettes keep the laughs coming in a story that Variety calls “Sexy, serious and very, very funny.”



    A CHRISTMAS CAROL

    christmas-carolBy Charles Dickens
    Adapted by Richard Hellesen
    Music by David de Berry
    Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    Stage Theatre
    Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol promises to “warm your heart and renew your holiday spirit” according to the Examiner. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. Denver favorite Sam Gregory returns as Scrooge. READ MORE ABOUT IT

    (Note: 'A Christmas Carol' is an added attraction, not part of the Theatre Company subscription season.)



    SantaLand Diaries 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisCom
    'The SantaLand Diaries,' 2016. Michael Bouchard. Photo by Adams VisCom.

    THE SANTALAND DIARIES
    (Off-Center)
    By David Sedaris
    Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
    Presented by Off-Center with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
    Directed by Stephen Weitz
    Nov. 24-Dec. 24
    The Jones Theatre
    This disgruntled Macy's elf has the cure for the common Christmas show. Looking for a little more snark in your stocking? Crumpet the Elf returns for more hilarious hijinks in this acclaimed one-man show based on stories by David Sedaris. Crumpet’s twisted tales from his stint in Macy’s SantaLand are the cure for the common Christmas show. Release your holiday stress, get all of those obnoxious carols out of your head and check out even more late night options this year. READ MORE ABOUT IT



    ZOEY'S PERFECT WEDDING

    zoeys-perfect-wedding2By Matthew Lopez
    Directed by Mike Donahue
    Jan. 19-Feb. 25, 2018
    Space Theatre
    The blushing bride. The touching toast. The celebration of true love. These are the dreams of Zoey’s big day…and the opposite of what it’s turning out to be. Disaster after disaster follow her down the aisle, from brutally honest boozy speeches to a totally incompetent wedding planner. Even worse, her friends are too preoccupied with their own relationship woes to help with the wreckage around them. From the team that brought you, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Matthew Lopez’s wildly funny fiasco destroys expectations with the realities of commitment, fidelity and growing up. READ OUR 2015 INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW LOPEZ



    AMERICAN MARIACHI

    american-mariachi2By José Cruz González
    Director to be announced
    Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2018
    The Stage Theatre
    Lucha and Bolie are ready to start their own all-female mariachi band in the 1970s. The only things standing in their way are a male-dominated music genre, patriarchal pressure from inside their families and finding the right women to fill out their sound. As they practice, perform and strive to earn the respect of their community, their music sparks a transformation in the lives of those around them – especially Lucha’s parents. This humorous, heartwarming story about music’s power to heal and connect includes gorgeous live mariachi music played on stage. González writes a passionate story about families and friendships that you should share with yours. READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH JOSÉ CRUZ GONZÁLEZ


     

    THE GREAT LEAP
    the-great-leap2By Lauren Yee
    Director to be announced
    Feb. 2-March 11, 2018
    Ricketson Theatre
    When an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989, the drama on the court goes deeper than the strain between their countries. For two men with a past and one teen with a future, it’s a chance to stake their moment in history and claim personal victories off the scoreboard. American coach Saul grapples with his relevance to the sport, Chinese coach Wen Chang must decide his role in his rapidly-changing country and Chinese American player Manford seeks a lost connection. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as history collides with the action in the stadium. Yee’s “acute ear for contemporary speech” and a “devilishly keen satiric eye” (San Francisco Chronicle) creates an unexpected and touching story inspired by events in her own father’s life. READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH LAUREN YEE


     

    THIS IS MODERN ART
    this-is-modern-artBy Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin
    Directed by Idris Goodwin
    March 22-April 15, 2018
    The Jones Theatre
    Graffiti crews are willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when one crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? This Is Modern Art gives a glimpse into the lives of anonymous graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art. READ MORE ABOUT IT


    NATIVE GARDENS
    native-gardensBy Karen Zacarias
    Directed by Lisa Portes
    April 6-May 6, 2018
    Space Theatre
    Dealing with neighbors can be thorny, especially for Pablo and Tania, a young Latino couple who have just moved into a well-established D.C. neighborhood. Though Frank and Virginia have the best intentions for making the new couple feel welcome next door, their newly budding friendship is tested when they realize their shared property line isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Frank is afraid of losing his prized garden, Pablo wants what is legally his, Tania has a pregnancy and a thesis she’d rather be worrying about, and Virginia just wants some peace. But until they address the real roots of their problems, it’s all-out war in this heartfelt comedy about the lines that divide us and those that connect us.



    Sam Buntock

    THE WHO'S TOMMY
    the-whos-tommyMusic and Lyrics by Pete Townshend
    Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
    Additional Music and Lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon
    Directed by Sam Buntrock
    April 20-May 27, 2018
    Stage Theatre
    Based on The Who’s iconic 1969 rock concept album, Tommy is an exhilarating musical about the challenges of self-discovery and the resilience of the human spirit. When young Tommy retreats into a world of darkness and silence after a deeply traumatic incident, he must navigate a harsh and unforgiving world with no hope of recovery. But when he discovers a newfound talent for pinball, he’s swept up in the fame and fortune of his success. Tommy and his family give new voice to The Who’s classic stadium rock as they navigate the troubles and joys of being alive. This production reunites director Sam Buntrock and scenic designer Jason Sherwood, the team behind last season’s audience favorite, Frankenstein.



    HUMAN ERROR

    human-error2By Eric Pfeffinger
    Director to be announced
    May 18-June 24, 2018
    Garner Galleria Theatre
    Madelyn and Keenan are NPR-listening, latte-sipping, blue-state liberals, while Heather and Jim are NRA-cardholding, truck-driving, red-state conservatives. After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, Heather is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now the two couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month’s odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships. “Up-and-coming scribe Eric Pfeffinger has the vital nerve to explore the gaping communication gap between red America and blue America, liberal humanists and the conservative right” (Chicago Tribune). READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH ERIC PFEFFINGER


    REMOTE DENVER
    remote-denverBy Rimini Protokoll
    Concept, Script and Direction: Stefan Kaegi
    Research, Script and Direction Denver: Jörg Karrenbauer
    Spring/Summer 2018
    On the streets of Denver
    Join a group of 50 people swarming Denver on a guided audio tour that seems to follow you as much as you are following it. Experience a soundtrack to the streets, sights, and rooftops of The Mile High City as a computer-generated voice guides your group’s movements in real time. Discover a "secret Denver," exploring places like gathering spaces, back alleyways, dark hallways and public areas through a new lens. You’re not just audience members — you’re actors and spectators, observers and observed, individuals and hordes, all at the same time.

     

    TICKET INFORMATION:

    • Theatre Company: New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are available online at denvercenter.org/nextseason or by calling 303-893-4100. Subscribers enjoy free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, a dedicated VIP hotline, free events including talkbacks and receptions, and the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time. Note: Plans for the new season are subject to change and benefit restrictions may apply.
    • Off-Center: The single-ticket on-sale date for all Off-Center productions will be announced at a later time. Subscriptions are not available for Off-Center shows.

     

     

  • Theatre world has finally caught up to A.C.E.'s kind of adventure

    by John Moore | Mar 23, 2017

    Travelers. From the Hip Photo
    From left: Linda Klein, Barbara Gehring and Matthew Taylor. From The Hip Photo.

    'Immersive theatre' has taken the world by storm. The kind Denver's A.C.E. has been creating for 18 years.

    By John Moore
    For the DCPA NewsCenter

    Linda Klein, Barbara Gehring and Matthew Taylor felt pretty hip when “immersive theatre” suddenly became “cool-kid theatre” a few years back.  The movement exploded in 2011 when a British theatre company unleashed Sleep No More on New York audiences. That’s a riff on Macbeth that takes place over five floors of an abandoned hotel in the Big Apple’s meatpacking district. Before long, as Stefon might say on Weekend Update, Sleep No More was New York’s hottest nightclub, with limos pulling up at midnight filled with decidedly nontraditional theatre audiences.

    Out of the blue, theatre that was mobile, interactive and took place in unexpected places was being embraced everywhere as the future of the American theatre.

    Back in Denver, Gehring looked at what was happening and thought, ‘Wow, we have been doing this very thing for 18 years.”

    Travelers. Adams VisCom photo.Gehring is a member of Denver’s enduring A.C.E. Entertainment comedy trio, which has created 50 original productions since 1998. Make that 51 with last week’s launch of Travelers of the Lost Dimension, its new commissioned comedy for the DCPA’s Off-Center at the Stanley Marketplace. The group’s ongoing, runaway success is Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women, which returns in September for its fourth engagement at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

    (Pictured above right: Leigh Miller leads the audience through a performance of 'Travelers of the Lost Dimension.' Photo by Adams VisCom.)

    A.C.E. is an acronym for “An American” (Klein), "a Canadian" (Gehring) and "an Englishman" (Taylor). In the early days, A.C.E. created one show that played out on the 16th Street Mall. Another took place on a light-rail train. Another lured unsuspecting audiences into the woods near Golden. The very same kinds of environmental shows that theatre companies across America are now scrambling to devise to appeal to the next generation of theatregoers.

    Now Gehring freely admits to not being clairvoyant. “The reason we didn’t perform in a theatre a lot of the time back then was purely because we didn't have a venue to perform in,” she said with a laugh.

    And A.C.E. never called their quirky brand of entertainment “immersive theatre.” “We call what we do ‘adventure comedy,’ ” Gehring said. Regardless, they were clearly ahead of their time. But recently Gehring had a moment when she thought, "The heck with that. THIS is our time."

    Off-Center jumped into the “immersive” breach last year with a wildly successful production of Sweet & Lucky, which played out in a RiNo warehouse that became the biggest physical undertaking in the DCPA’s nearly 40-year history. Sweet & Lucky was an evocative exploration of memory, and an intentionally ephemeral and mysterious theatregoing experience.

    And A.C.E. is here to tell you: Travelers of the Lost Dimension is no Sweet & Lucky.

    Travelers. From the Hip photo.“The most important difference is that our show is a comedy,” said Klein. One that does not take place in the same kind of controlled environment the DCPA built for Sweet & Lucky. Travelers is happening right out in the open at the Stanley Marketplace, which opened last year near the Stapleton neighborhood just east of Denver. Stanley is an urban marketplace made up of local, independent businesses that believe in sustainable retail and community development. The 22-acre space was once Stanley Aviation headquarters, where airplane ejector seats were engineered and manufactured.

    “For Sweet & Lucky, they took an empty space and essentially built several theatres inside of it,” said Taylor. “So they still controlled the space and lights and sound. Whereas we are doing this piece in a public space. So not only do you have your Travelers audience, but then you also have the general public looking on. It’s fascinating because you really never know how they are going to behave every night.”

    (Pictured above right: Linda Klein, Barbara Gehring and Matthew Taylor. From The Hip Photo.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    So what is Travelers of the Lost Dimension? Like Sweet & Lucky, its creators believe that it’s best for the audience to know as little as possible before attending. “Part of the fun is just taking the leap and going along for the ride,” said Klein. But there is a clue to be found on the Travelers web site. It says: “With wit, wonderment and some dubious technology, a ragtag group of explorers will brave an inter-dimensional journey to discover the fantastical realm in the beyond.”

    “Without giving anything away, I would say that it's a romp,” said Gehring. “There is a lot of comedy, a lot of fun characters, and a lot of the unexpected. Those are the things that drive all our shows.”  

    Klein says the most important element of any A.C.E. show is the unexpected. “We want to emphasize the intrigue as opposed to simply explaining to people in advance what they will be experiencing,” she said. “Half of the fun is not knowing what is coming next.”

    Too often, Taylor said, our entertainment forms are passive. “A lot of times we are just handed everything,” said Taylor, author of a comic collection of tales called Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman. “We, as human beings, are puzzlers. We love to work things out. So we rely on our audience being brilliant. We like to allow them to work it out for themselves.”

    A.C.E. grew out of an improv troupe in Boulder called Head Games. The group was discovered by reps from the Aspen HBO Comedy Festival who saw them doing a bit involving a Cirque de Soleil-style balancing act whilst covered in talcum powder. The rest is talcum - and comedy - history. 

    Travelers. Adams Viscom photo.
    A scene from 'Travelers of the Lost Dimension' at Stanley Marketplace. Adams Viscom photo.

    A.C.E. has a loyal fan base, but collaborating with the DCPA will expose them to many who have never seen their work before. “For the past 18 years, we have really gotten to know our audiences,” said Gehring. “But Travelers is opening us up to a whole world of people who have never experienced an A.C.E. show. I'm excited to just see what their responses are because it'll be very new for us – and for them.”

    The three A.C.E. creators are performing in Travelers through April 2, and then a team of local actors will take over and continue the run through April 23. The cast includes DCPA veterans Leigh Miller (Sweet & Lucky), Diana Dresser (Sweet & Lucky), Adrian Egolf (As You Like It), Nanna Thompson (Off-Center's Cult Following)  and Bruce Montgomery (Off-Center’s Wheel of Misfortune).

    “We were not only looking for great actors, but we were also looking for really nice people,” said Gehring. “In our shows, you are interacting so much with the audience and the general public that you have to have people who are really flexible and think on their feet.” Taylor said that working with the A.C.E. newcomers “is a little terrifying because they are a really bloody good. Right across the board, they are fabulous.”

    Audiences are capped at 45 for each performance, they say, to maximize each audience member’s individual experience.

    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.


    Travelers of the Lost Dimension: Ticket information
    Travelers of the Lost DimensionThrough April 23
    • 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010 MAP IT
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829

    Please note that each performance is limited to 45 audience members and many performances already are sold out.

    Bonus coverage: Girls Only set for September return

    Girls OnlyHard to believe, but when Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women returns in September, it will have been nearly four years since the original comedy that celebrates the honor, truth, humor and silliness of being female last played at the Garner Galleria Theatre. It has now played to nearly 125,000 (mostly female) audiences around the world since it debuted at Denver's Avenue Theater in 2008.

    “The Denver gals are constantly asking for it to come back,” said Gehring. “They keep meeting new people and they want to share it with them, so that's why we keep doing it.”

    Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women: Ticket information
    Girls Only – The Secret Comedy of WomenSept. 21-Oct. 22
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre
    • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Groups: Call 303-446-4829


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Off-Center:
    Off-Center throwing a Wild Party at Stanley Marketplace this fall
    Stanley Marketplace soon to welcome Travelers of the Lost Dimension
    Off-Center to partner with A.C.E. comedy trio, Stanley Marketplace

    A scene from 'Travelers of the Lost Dimension' at Stanley Marketplace. Adams Viscom photo.A scene from 'Travelers of the Lost Dimension' at Stanley Marketplace. Adams Viscom photo.
  • Diane Paulus on the rise of 'adventure theatre'

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2016

    A video look at 'Sweet & Lucky.'


    Theatre that does not take place in a traditional performance space has been called lots of ambiguous things, including “immersive theatre,” “environmental theatre” and even the primly phrased “promenade theatre.”

    But Diane Paulus – one of the nation’s leading purveyors of this emerging form and, according to Time Magazine one of the 100 most influential people in the world - may have nailed it.

    “I call it adventure theatre,” said Paulus.

    diane-paulus-quote-sweet-and-luckyThis fun and fluid new theatregoing genre essentially describes tales that are being told in new spaces where audience are fully integrated into the storytelling. In short, it’s theatre that gets you on your feet. And it can happen anywhere.

    And much of the American theatre braintrust is banking on this growing phenomenon to seduce sensory-overloaded millennials into becoming the next generation of live theatregoers. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, for example, has captured the fancy of adventurous attendees of Sweet & Lucky – at once the company’s first foray into immersive theatre, as well as the largest physical undertaking in its nearly 40-year history.

    Sweet & Lucky takes place in a sprawling, 16,000-square-foot warehouse on Brighton Boulevard where audiences step into a mysterious antique store and plunge into a labyrinth of dreamlike encounters. The unusual experience has sold out nearly every performance since its May opening, and has been extended through Aug. 7.

    Paulus thinks she knows why.

    (Photo at right of Diane Paulus by Susan Lapides.)

    “We are at a moment where the ‘presentness’ of theatre is more important than ever,” said Paulus, who brought the London theatrical phenomenon Sleep No More to America in 2011 on its way to New York, where it has been playing in an abandoned, five-story warehouse in Manhattan’s meatpacking district since 2011. It’s a movement-based piece (meaning lots of dance) that takes its story from Macbeth and Hitchcock's thrillers. The audience is let loose to follow stories and characters at their own pace. So they may or may not discover the lunatic asylum, the padded cell or the taxidermist’s menagerie. And they may or may not witness a hanging, an act of domestic violence or boldly peer over the shoulder of a lone actor typing out a letter at his desk.

    “The idea is that as the audience, your presence matters. That is the definition of immersive theatre,” Paulus told the DCPA’s NewsCenter. “You get up. You walk around. You chase Macbeth down a hallway after he has committed a murder. You are a character. You, as an audience member, are as important as the action.”

    sweet-and-lucky-diana-dresser-patrick-mueller-photo-credit-adams-visual-communications
    Diana Dresser and Patrick Mueller in 'Sweet and Lucky.'  Photo Credit: Adams Visual Communications.


    Paulus got her start 20 years ago in the first New York International Fringe Festival with a piece called The Community Show that played out on Lower East Side fire escapes. She is known to Denver audiences for having launched the kinetic, gymnastic new national touring production of Pippin in Denver in 2014. Her work returns in December when her newest touring production, Finding Neverland, arrives at the Buell Theatre. That Broadway musical tells how playwright J.M. Barrie found his inspiration to create Peter Pan.

    When Paulus was named artistic director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., in 2009, she made waves with her unorthodox first two shows. One was a disco-themed, avant-garde nightclub experience called The Donkey Show. The other was Sleep No More, which requires audience members to wear anonymity masks throughout.

    Purchase Sweet & Lucky tickets here

    Sweet & Lucky was developed by Off-Center, the DCPA's  unconventional programming arm, in collaboration Brooklyn’s Third Rail Projects, which since 2001 has emerged as one of the nation’s foremost companies in creating site-specific, performances. Its still-running, breakout hit is titled Then She Fell, an intimate exploration of Lewis Carroll’s writings set in a cramped hospital ward – an experience so intimate, it can accommodate only 15 audience members per performance. Then She Fell was named one of the Top 10 shows of 2012 by The New York Times. Third Rail Projects has since opened The Grand Paradise in New York and Sweet & Lucky in Denver.

    Sweet & Lucky explores the fragility of memory by having audience members follow performers through a wide array of intricately designed environments, where they witness a series of seductive and haunting flashbacks involving characters they catch glimpses of over decades.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Denver native Zach Morris, one of Third Rail Projects’ three founders, believes there is an appetite for stories that allow an audience to explore various kinds of storytelling threads that are happening simultaneously. “I also think that because of all of the amazing advances in our technology, we’re craving human-to-human interaction,” he said.

    Paulus could not agree more. “I think it's satisfying a desire in our culture right now for audiences to participate in their entertainment, and not just on their computers and their laptops, but in life,” she said. “People want to be present in a room with other people. And they want to have their hearts beat. This is ritual, and the human condition needs ritual to survive.”

    And while that idea might seem sort of radical - it really isn’t.

    “This kind of things really goes back to the very roots of theatre,” she said.

    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.


    Sweet & Lucky: Ticket information
    Sweet & Lucky plays through Aug. 7 at 4120 E. Brighton Boulevard, with newly added performances. Only 72 audience members per performance. Wear comfortable shoes. Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

    Note: Sweet & Lucky has its own web site. You should check it out here. 

    Please note that each performance is limited to 72 audience members.

    Sweet & Lucky production photos:

    Sweet & Lucky
    To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by Adams Visual Communications.


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Sweet & Lucky:
    Sweet & Lucky extended through Aug. 7
    Photos: Opening night coverage
    5 things we learned about Sweet & Lucky
    Zach Morris is home to seize the cultural moment
    Casting announced; tickets onsale
    DCPA to create new immersive theatre piece with Third Rail Projects
    Kickstarter campaign allows audience to dive deeper


    More photos: The making of Sweet & Lucky: 

    Making of 'Sweet & Lucky'
    To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter.

  • Photos: 'Macbeth' master class project opens tonight

    by John Moore | Nov 14, 2014
    Macbeth_Education_800_1
    Curtiss Johns as Macbeth. Photo by John Moore. To see our complete gallery of downloadable photos from "Macbeth," click here.


    Denver Center Education's new production of Macbeth, a master class directed by Larry Hecht for an ensemble of nine, opens tonight (Nov. 14). To see our complete gallery of downloadable photos, click here.

    Master Class projects are an extension of Education's Advanced Acting classes. Potential class members must have completed two previous acting classes for the right to audition for a Master Class project, culminating in a fully staged production that is free and open to the public.

    "Acknowledging the importance of class work, it is essential for actors to have the opportunity to practice their craft in full-length productions as well," said Hecht, the DCPA's Head of Acting. "Twice a year, we share this work in 'Open Rehearsals' with our friends, families and colleagues."

    Macbeth runs from Nov. 13-22, 2014 in the Conservatory Theatre, located in the third floor of the Newman Building. RSVP at 303-446-4892 or email ladducci@dcpa.org.  

    Photos: Click here

    Cast and crew:
    Robert Anderson
    OD Duhu
    Chelsea Frye
    Curtiss Johns
    Candace M. Joice
    Mindi Kessler
    Stephen Krusoe
    Laura Lounge
    Christy Newhof

    Director: Larry Hecht
    Design and Tech Director: Stuart Barr
    Fight Choreography: Benaiah Anderson
    Voice and text: Ashlee Temple
    Rap Master: Donovan Fountain


    Macbeth_Education_800_2
    The Weird Sisters: Photo by John Moore. To see our complete gallery of downloadable photos from "Macbeth," click here.





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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.