• Capital campaign envisions 'A Grander Opening' for DCPA

    by John Moore | Jun 05, 2018


    The Stage Theatre will be renamed The Marvin and Judi Wolf Theatre upon its reopening in November 2020. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

     

    Stage Theatre will be renamed Marvin and Judi Wolf Theatre upon its reopening in 2020; effort already 75 percent to goal

    For the first time in its 40-year history, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is mounting a public capital campaign to fund the renovation of the Stage and Ricketson theatres, the overhaul of backstage and support areas, and the redesign of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby.

    DCPA Chairman Martin Semple today announced 100 percent participation from the Board of Trustees in the campaign, called “A Grander Opening,” including an undisclosed lead gift from long-time DCPA supporters Marvin and Judi Wolf. The Stage Theatre will be renamed The Marvin and Judi Wolf Theatre upon its reopening in November 2020.

    Christmas Carol SMAT 12-2016 - Photo by Amanda Tipton (3)Semple also named Hassan Salem, Regional President of U.S. Bank, as Chair of the effort. He will be joined by Judi Wolf and retired Denver Post Chairman Dean Singleton as Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs. The two have served on the DCPA’s Board of Trustees for a combined 30 years.

    Salem said the campaign already is 75 percent of the way toward its $36 million goal. He said $19 million will come from voter-approved General Obligation bonds, $8 million from DCPA Trustees and $9 million from future contributions.

    “The Denver Center is overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Semple. “First, to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, the Denver City Council and our voters for their support of the General Obligation Bond initiative. Second, to our trustees who have collectively pledged $8 million toward our goal. And last, but by no means least, to Marvin and Judi Wolf, whose signature gift reflects their commitment to the DCPA, to theatre and to our community.”

    (Pictured at right: A student enjoys the snowy finale of 'A Christmas Carol' in the Stage Theatre in 2016. Photo by Amanda Tipton.)

    Judi Wolf, who was named Colorado’s Citizen of the Arts in 2012, said the naming gift is an elaborate Valentine’s Day gift from her husband of 30 years, an oil-and-gas man who came to the theatre when he met his wife. “Judi is so engrossed with it, and does so much for it that I had no option other than to go along with her.”  

    It has been Marvin’s “tough problem,” as he describes it, “to come up with a gift for Judi that I thought she deserved.” But, his wife said, he nailed this one.

    “How many women get a stage for Valentine's Day?” she said. “This is a gift that he gave me from the heart, and the idea that there will be people who will enjoy long after we are gone gives me goosebumps.”

    Funds from the capital campaign will be used to:

    • Rebuild the Stage and Ricketson theatres and back-of-house areas
    • Install new seating, improved sightlines and state-of-the-art technology
    • Connect The Ricketson Theatre to the main lobby and add an elevator to improve accessibility
    • Increase energy efficiency of lighting and mechanical systems
    • Update critical fire detection and suppression systems
    • Provide new levels of physical accessibility to all seating and backstage areas
    • Improve assistive listening systems and audio description capabilities

    “We are so fortunate to have a community that supports the performing arts, and we look forward to engaging donors far and wide to ensure we meet our fundraising goal,” said DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden. “We look forward celebrating the culmination of A Grander Opening with the reopening of the Ricketson Theatre in 2021.”

    A Grander Opening is a continuation of the DCPA’s facility master plan, which most recently included the renovation of The Space Theatre. The Denver Center manages the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex (including its four theatres, Seawell Ballroom, Directors Room, lobby and office areas), the Garner Galleria Theatre, and the Newman Center for Theatre Education (including its administrative offices, education classrooms, and theatre design and production shops). Over the past 10 years, the DCPA has invested $32.5 million in capital improvements.

    (Story continues below the photo gallery.)

    Photo gallery: The Stage Theatre through the years

    The Stage Theatre through the years
    Photos from productions at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Stage Theatre. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of downloadable photos.

    “From its Broadway tours to its original plays, the DCPA has provided world-class theatre that has helped make Denver a world-class city,” said Salem. “Now we need to ensure that its venues match the quality of the productions on its stages so that we continue to attract top talent, book first-run shows and deliver entertainment options that are second to none.”

    Stage Theatre. Sweeney Todd. Photo by Adams Viscom. The Stage Theatre will be closed following the spring production of Anna Karenina (Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2019) and reopen in November 2020 in time for the return of A Christmas Carol. The Ricketson Theatre will be closed in April 2020 and reopen in Spring 2021. Work on backstage support areas, offices and the lobby will occur concurrently with the theatre renovations.

    The DCPA is working with Semple Brown Design on plans for the project, which will honor the vision of the original design team: Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kevin Roche of Roche Dinkeloo and Associates, theatrical scenic and lighting designer Jo Melziener; Gordon Davidson, Artistic Director of L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum, and DCPA founder Donald Seawell. Additionally, the construction contract is expected to be awarded in mid-June.

    "We’re going to replace seats, improve sightlines, enhance acoustics and improve the state-of-the-art technology for productions in the theatre,” said Chris Wineman of Semple Brown Design.

    The major structural change to the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex will be a new staircase and elevator bank that will provide access to the Ricketson Theatre directly from the main lobby that already connects the Stage and Space theatres.

    “We think this is going to make the whole building work together and make it much easier for patrons to navigate their arrivals whether they are coming to the Bonfils Theatre Complex for first time, or the thousandth time,” Wineman said.

    “Beyond the physical improvements,” said Sinden, “this renovation also will allow our spaces to accommodate artists’ imaginations, inspire students’ creativity and welcome guests to stories that reflect their lives. By preserving these facilities, exceeding accessibility standards and equipping the spaces with new technological advances, we will continue to provide world-class theatre experiences in world-class facilities.”

    (Story continues after the video below).

    Watch as Chris Wineman, principal at Semple Brown Design, gave those who attended today's press conference an animated video tour that shows many of the improvements to both The Stage and Ricketson theatres and their lobbies.

    For Judi Wolf, the reopening of The Stage Theatre in 2020 will have special significance because she was in attendance when the Denver Center opened on New Year’s Eve 1979. “Time magazine called the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex ‘the Crown Jewel of the Rockies,’ ” Wolf said.  “It gives us such great pleasure not only to renovate a space, but also to reinvigorate its possibilities, unleash artistic potential and set the stage for memories that will last another 40 years and beyond.”

    Judi Wolf has been a staunch supporter of the DCPA since its beginning, and she has taken a particularly keen interest in the craft of costuming, often attending opening nights in attire that reflects the accompanying story.  For example, she wore a toga to the opening of the 10-hour epic Greek cycle Tantalus in 2000. She arrived at The Little Mermaid in 2007 dressed as Ariel’s mother where she held fish-shaped balloons while her household manager blew bubbles in her wake.

    She is just sorry, Wolf said, that Seawell is not still here to see this next chapter in DCPA history.

    “Donald Seawell had a vision, which was to create a theatre for the community where dreams were realized and imaginations soared,” she said. “We are proud to continue his legacy and ensure that this crown jewel is enjoyed for generations to come.”

    How to contribute to A Grander Opening
    To contribute to A Grander Opening, please contact Janice Sinden at GranderOpening@dcpa.org or 303-893-4000. For ongoing updates and opportunities, please visit denvercenter.org/GranderOpening and follow #GranderOpening on social media.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Photo gallery: From today's press announcement

    2018 DCPA Capital Campaign Photos from productions at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Stage Theatre. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of downloadable photos..

    Stage Theatre 800 3

    Stage Theatre

    Stage Theatre 8002Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

     

  • John Lithgow's Broadway 'Heart' beats back to Boulder

    by John Moore | Jan 24, 2018

    John Lithgow. Stories by Heart. Photo by Joan Marcus‘Stories are the life's blood to all of us,’ John Lithgow says. Photo by Joan Marcus.


    John Lithgow, again the toast of Broadway, gave Boulder audiences a sneak peek at his intimate play back in 2011

    Note: This interview was originally published in The Denver Post on Aug. 25, 2011, when John Lithgow came to Boulder to perform Stories by Heart to help launch Boulder’s Local Theatre Company. Lithgow is now performing the play on Broadway through March 4.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The symmetry was exquisite and heartbreaking.

    A grown son, like millions before him and millions to come, struggling with how best to care for his sad, sick parents, reading them bedtime stories — the same ones they had read to him as a boy.

    It was especially hard for actor John Lithgow to reconcile the depressed man before him with the father he had always known. “He had lost his spirit, and his will to go on,” said Lithgow. “He had all but given up.”

    JohnLithgowQuoteArthur Lithgow had lived as the consummate gypsy, an actor and director who instilled in all his young Lithgows a love for storytelling. He was a man of such gusto, he once covered for an ill fellow actor by playing both Baptista and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew — at the same time. He used a black cloak and an orange cap to distinguish the two characters, “and the audience just roared,” said John Lithgow, award-winning star of stage and screens big and small.

    But in 2002, after months of caring for his parents, Lithgow just could not cheer his father up, “and I knew that was my No. 1 task,” he said.

    The idea hit him like a bolt.

    He combed through his parents’ bookshelves until he came upon an old tome called Tellers of Tales, a collection of 100 short stories his father had often read to his kids.

    “I told my parents to pick a story as they were lying in bed, and they chose P.G. Wodehouse’s Uncle Fred Flits By, ” Lithgow said.

    Lithgow launched into the zany tale, “and as I was reading it, my father started to laugh,” he said. “In my mind, in that moment ... he came back to life.”

    Seeing it, Lithgow said, “crystallized all my thoughts about acting and performing and entertaining and storytelling.” It hit him why we all want and love stories in our lives: “They persuade us we are human, and they reacquaint us with our own emotions,” he said. “They are the life’s blood to all of us.”

    Lithgow comes to Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium on Sunday to perform his one-man stage memoir, Stories by Heart.

    It’s billed as the inaugural production by the Local Theatre Company founded by Boulder’s Pesha Rudnick. She’s Lithgow’s niece — the daughter of another sibling who grew up spellbound by Arthur Lithgow, teller of tales.

    But that’s not why he’s coming to Boulder.

    “Oh, I’ll do the show at the drop of a hat,” Lithgow said of Stories by Heart. “If I were a vaudevillian in the old days, this would be called my trunk show. I just carry it around and do it anywhere.”

    New York Times: Stories by Heart is delightful and uplifting

    In Boulder, he will reflect on how storytelling shaped his upbringing while he’s performing — not merely telling! — Uncle Fred Flits By and the decidedly darker Haircut, by Ring Lardner. The first is a silly British comedy in which Lithgow plays 10 outrageous characters (including a parrot). The second he calls “a darkly comic and extremely mordant American story.”

    John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in TheCrownLithgow believes there has been a renaissance in great storytelling of late, citing Elizabeth Stroud’s Olive Kitteridge, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionistsas favorites, as well as old standby John Irving, who helped vault Lithgow to fame by penning The World According to Garp, the film version of which earned Lithgow his first Oscar nomination.

    (Pictured at right: John Lithgow recently won his sixth Emmy Award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the Netflix drama The Crown.)

    But as a matter of nightly routine, storytelling has been under siege in households across America for decades. “And it all started with that (expletive) remote control!” Lithgow said.

    “I think our sensibilities have changed in the way stories are delivered to us,” he said. We’ll rotely sit in front of a TV for five hours, but we can’t stand still for 40 minutes while our own parents tell us tuck-in tales.

    But Lithgow is an optimist. He cites the recent sold-out, seven-hour off-Broadway production of Gatz, which takes the audience through every word of The Great Gatsby.

    And Irving’s recent opus, Last Night in Twisted River — another period novel Lithgow says his hero writes “almost in defiance of the snappy 200-page novels that are so popular.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    “People do respond to great storytelling,” he said. “People get surprised by their patience. And I like to think that there’s a great hunger for that, almost because of and in the face of the digital revolution.”

    Those who sate that hunger with Lithgow on Sunday will hear two stories framed by the narrator, now 65, telling his very personal story about telling stories to his parents.

    “People identify so powerfully to that aspect of the evening, especially people of my age who have older parents,” he said. “Once you get north of 50 or 60, that experience becomes extremely poignant and intense.”

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

  • Video, photos: Daniel Langhoff celebration of life highlights

    by John Moore | Jan 21, 2018
    Video highlights:



    The video above offers highlights from the celebration of life for Denver actor Daniel Langhoff held Dec. 4, 2017, at the Arvada Center. (Photos below.)

    The host was Robert Michael Sanders.

    Daniel Langhoff, who performed at the Denver Center and around the state, died of cancer at age 42 just 10 days after the birth of his second daughter.

    Performances and testimonials from Kathy Albertson, Jacquie Jo Billings, Lindsey Falduto, InterMezZo, Traci J. Kern, Norrell Moore, Brian Murray, Matt LaFontaine, Neil McPherson, Brian Merz-Hutchinson, David Nehls, Mark Sharp, Brian Smith, Carter Edward Smith, Megan Van De Hey and Markus Warren.

    The event planners were Eugene Ebner and Paul Page. The Band Organizer was Rick Thompson.

    Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    Special thanks: Rebecca Joseph.

    Read more on the life of Daniel Langhoff


    Photo gallery:

    Daniel Langhoff

    To see more photos, click on the image above to be taken to our full Flickr photo gallery Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

  • Video: Meet the ghost that was taller, wider ... and creepier

    by John Moore | Jan 08, 2018
    Video above by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

    The DCPA's creative team tells us why they made the mysterious final spirit to visit Scrooge nearly 3 feet taller

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    If you are a regular attendee of the DCPA Theatre Company’s seasonal staging of A Christmas Carol, you may have noticed how much bigger and more imposing The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come was from years, well … past.

    A Christmas Carol Kevin Copenhaver Darrell T. Joe. Photo by John Moore“We wanted it to be a very big presence, much bigger than it has been in the past,” said Costume Crafts Director Kevin Copenhaver.

    “It's just creepier,” added Director Melissa Rain Anderson.  

    In this video, Copenhaver tells us the mysterious and reticent final spirit to visit Ebenezer Scrooge was not only 2 ½ feet taller and wider this year — he was easier for the actor inside to move around in.

    “He's now 10½ feet tall,” Anderson said, "and the actor was walking around on his feet rather than on stilts.”

    The way Copenhaver sees it, the silent future spirit is neither human skeleton nor exactly a ghost. “Hopefully it doesn’t read as much of anything except a shape or a form,” he said. Perhaps the most remarkable advancement with this new iteration of Copenhaver’s costume invention, he added, “is that it is so light, “I can lift it up with one hand.”

    Still, it took a backstage team of four to help first-time DCPA actor Darrell T. Joe, who played several characters in the story, to get in and out of the costume quickly. Joe, who is admittedly a claustrophobic person, said moving around onstage was a challenge because of low light and being covered in costume. But "it’s helped me overcome my fear of tight spaces,” he said.

    You also may have noticed, Anderson shared — that for a play filled with live music, none playing the entire time The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was onstage. “There can be no singing during that part of the story,” Anderson said, “because music is dead.”

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    A Christmas Carol Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be. Photos by Sam Adams for VisCom. Take a look at the difference in between The Ghost of Christmas Past in 2016 compared to 2017. The actor paying Scrooge in both cases is Sam Gregory. Photos by Sam Adams of Adams Viscom.  

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of A Christmas Carol 2017:
    DCPA's A Christmas Carol still brings playwright to laughter, tears
    Photos, video: Your first look at A Christmas Carol 2017
    Video: Governor, Carol cast send Colorado National Guard thanks and hope
    A Christmas Carol: A timeline to today
    DCPA's 25th A Christmas Carol brims with mistletoe and milestones

    Full photo gallery: The Making of A Christmas Carol 

    Making of 'A Christmas Carol' 2017

    Photos from the making of 'A Christmas Carol' from first rehearsal to opening night. To see more, click on the image above to be taken to our full gallery of photos. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

  • A man among women: My night at 'Girls Only'

    by John Moore | Sep 18, 2017

    image

    I am not afraid of the alternate uses for this feminine product as suggested to me by the women of "Girls Only." Looking forward to it, in fact. Photobombing: Carla Kaiser Kotrc.

     

    What happens when a man ignores the writing on the wall?

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    (Note: This essay was originally published in 2014. Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women' returns to the Galleria Theatre from Sept. 21-Oct. 22, 2017.)

    This doesn’t happen every night at the theatre: At intermission, a kindly female usher came up to me at my seat and asked if I intended to use the men’s room during the break. I did a quick mental bladder assessment and determined … OK, pretty sure I'm good. … Why?

     “Well, then – with your permission – we are going to open up the men’s room for the ladies to use,” she said.

    I never thought I would ever hold such power.  But I was raised by a good woman. I knew what was good for me. I gave my blessing.

    Girls OnlyThat’s just sensible strategy, I thought. After all, in a room with more than 200 audience members, I was the only one – presumably – sporting the anatomical equivalent of a caveman’s club.

    Sunday night was my first time seeing Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women. That makes me no different from almost every other man in the world. But for the longest time, this fact has separated me from the more than 110,000 women who have seen Girls Only since 2008.

    That made this a theatregoing night six years in the making.

    You have to understand that I was the theatre critic at The Denver Post when noted local improv comedians Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein debuted their modest little slumber-party comedy at The Avenue Theater. At the time, I tried to see just about every local production I could fit into my schedule, and certainly any original work created by local actors. It was an immediate hit that ran for an extended seven-week run. But, like feminine wiles, Girls Only remained largely a mystery to me.

    The exclusionary nature of the title aside, I did want to go. And I would have, but, in those early days at The Avenue, they weren’t kidding with that title. I was not allowed in. No guy was. Once again, here I was: A middle-aged white man on the wrong end of the discrimination and exclusion propagated by the women who have long controlled this country.

    But I relented.  I didn’t even try to dress up and sneak in. We sent a female staff writer to review the show for The Denver Post instead. Soon the show was building so much momentum, it was picked up for a run here at the Denver Center’s Garner-Galleria Theatre. That was a history-making moment. The Denver Center's Broadway division had never before optioned a locally grown play for a full production in the big house. Or in this case … the big cabaret house. Girls Only ran continuously in The Garner-Galleria for more than two years. Additional productions have sprung up in Des Moines, Charlotte, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Houston and others. The show has grossed more than $2.5 million in ticket sales.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Now, I’m not the kind of guy who likes being kept in the dark. My brothers did that to me enough times as a kid whenever they got bored and locked me in a closet. I did due diligence by writing with regularity about the show and its progress. But still, I had not seen it for myself. Later on, I learned that the Denver Center, being much more mindful of, you know – the law – than my friends at The Avenue Theater, never actually forbid men from seeing the show. Some men, I hear told, have come back to see it several times.

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    Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein singing 'Up With Puberty' from 'Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women.' Photo by Terry Shapiro.

     

    Fast forward to the recent re-opening night of Girls Only at the Galleria Theatre. By now, I was long gone from The Denver Post. Last August, I was scooped up by the Denver Center, where my job is that of an in-house journalist. My delicious duties now include snapping photographs backstage before every Denver Center opening.

    Which brings us to “The Night of Jan. 16.” (That’s also the name of a play, you may know. I played the judge in a high-school production. The audience jury decides if the femme fatale is guilty of murder. But no matter how they voted, I got to scold the jury for making an obviously idiotic decision. That training well-prepared me for my future life as a theatre critic. But I digress …)

    So here I was in the cramped backstage dressing room with my camera and my Girls (Only). I was trying to be a proper gentlemen despite the, shall we say … “casual nature” of my photo subjects. When Barbara and Linda began to undress right in front of me, I, of course, excused myself. They said they would call me back in when they were changed into their proper costumes. And they did just that. I walked back in to the sight of two women wearing nothing but bright, colorful bras and panties (with carefully hidden mic pacs!) … and grins from ear to ear. They snickered. I was blood in the water. My face was hot-pinker than Barbara’s bra.

    “OK, you got me,” I said. “Now call me back in when you put some clothes on.”

    But no, it was not a put-on. It was a take-off. “This is what we really wear to start the show,” Linda insisted.

    And it was!

    I promised to come back soon, see the show and write this manly first-person essay about the experience. They made me promise to bring women along. Lots of them. “You’ll need them for protection,” Barbara teased. Made sense. I didn’t want any women coming to the theatre to giggle about all things girly with their girlfriends to be made in any way self-conscious by the creepy old man sitting alone in the corner. I have my front porch for that.

    Which brings us to Sunday night.

    “Be afraid,” my friend Amy Board said on our way into the theatre, along with the rest of my distaff “Gaggle of Girls,” Carla Kaiser Kotrc and Sharon Kay White. I also had actor Amie MacKenzie, who understudies both of the women who act in the play, one row behind us, watching my back.

    To this point, I really didn’t know what the big deal was. Sure, the evening comes with a warning: “This show contains feminine subject matter including teenage diaries, breast feeding, tampons, shadow puppets, pantyhose, menstrual cycles, slumber parties, menopause and maxi pads.”

    What was on that list for ME to worry about?

    Turns out, not much. Because I think a few of the actual ladies in the house were more uncomfortable than I was with the prospect of using the sticky side of your maxi pad as the equivalent of a waxing agent.

    But man, were those women giggling from the first line to the final bow, both for the evident comic agility on display by these two actors, but for the rabbit hole they sent the audience down, right back into their own girlyhoods.

    The night begins with the aforementioned bra-clad Gehring and Klein revisiting one of their childhood bedrooms. The women read for a bit from their actual journals, comically revealing the universal gawky, geekiness of being a teenager. Who can’t relate to a girl who formed her own one-woman club, but only had enough self-esteem to elect herself  vice-president? I once formed my own political party. I called it the Antisocial Party – “No Other Members Allowed” – but, jeez, at least I elected myself president.

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    Audience members are encouraged to leave their thoughts in a diary kept at the Galleria Theatre.

     

    The night soon turns into a series of relatable comedy sketches very much in league with Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy’s Parallel Lives, or a guy-less I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change  These included sweet, sentimental and, occasionally taste-boundary-pushing revelations that were not just for the women in the house. When Linda pulled out her childhood Walkie Talkies, I was right back patrolling my home street of Dudley Court.

    The audience loved a bit called The History of Women, as told by shadow puppets, and recoiled with a reminder of the way women were depicted in 1950s TV commercials. There was some soft political humor. While discussing our societal obsession with boobs, Barbara says, “We even elected one once.” To which, as if on cue, pretty much the entire audience answered back with incredulous spontaneity … “ONCE???”

    The ex-theatre critic in me appreciated Girls Only most for the truly improvised moments. In one sketch, the women snag the purses of two unsuspecting women in the audience, and then build an original story out of whatever objects they find inside. They also make up parody songs on the spot. I can tell you that of all the performing arts, there is nothing more painful to sit through than improv comedy that is tentative, unsure or unclever. Girls Only makes plain that these two actors are among the best you will ever see at thinking on their feet.

    As the only man, I was occasionally called out for not comprehending the meaning of the words Girls Only. But, it turns out, I was not alone. Not really. After all, there was a poster of Shaun Cassidy on the bedroom wall staring back at us like a little lost lamb. 

    Read our Q&A with Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein

    Girls Only strikes me as gateway theatre. Not the kind of show that attracts a regular theatregoing crowd. But the kind of show that might help turn them into more regular theatregoers.

    I see about 160 plays a year, and I can tell you that I feel comfortable in any theater where people are laughing, engaged and having a good time. So rest assured, my dangling caveman club aside, I was one guy who felt right at home at Girls Only.

    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.

    Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women: Ticket information
    At a glance: Girls Only is an original comedy that celebrates the honor, truth, humor and silliness of being female with a two-woman cast and a mix of sketch comedy, improvisation, audience participation, and hilarious songs and videos.

    • Presented by DCPA Cabaret
    • Playing Sept. 21-Oct. 22
    • Garner-Galleria Theatre at the Denver Performing Ats Complex
    • Tickets start at $39
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
    • For more, go to the Girls Only website

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    My Gaggle of only 'Girls': Carla Kaiser-Kotrc (back), Sharon Kay White (left) and Amy Board. Photo by Randy Dodd.

     

     

     

  • 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.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'The Rape of the Sabine Women' and 'The Toxic Avenger Musical'

    by John Moore | Sep 09, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter has offered not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we expanded our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 10.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Local Theater Company's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias


    Featured actor in the video above: Mare Trevathan, who says of 'The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias': 'The play explores consent and campus assault and rape culture, particularly as it relates to football. And yet it is very funny – until it’s not.’


    • Oct. 27-Nov. 19
    • Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    • Rape of the Sabine Women Mare Trevathan303-440-7826, or go to localtheaterco.org
    • Playwright: Michael Yates Crowley
    • Director: Christy Montour-Larson

    The story: Jeff and Bobby are stars of the gridiron, ready to lead the Springfield High Romans to Homecoming victory. But standing in front of the end zone is Grace B. Matthias, who has accused the two football heroes of rape. A story about truth and deception using the myths of the Roman Empire to explore what it means to love — and turn your back on — someone.

    But what is it about? This fast-paced comedy (until it isn’t) examines rape culture and sexual assault in America. Perhaps there is no better time to address these issues in Boulder, particularly with new allegations that a former assistant football coach at the University of Colorado abused a woman, and his boss did nothing about it. Theater is an opportunity to address of-the-moment issues and can be a catalyst for action, and for change. (Provided by Local Theater Company.)

    Note: As part of this production, Local Theater Company will be hosting a series of conversations with community experts around rape culture and sexual assault.

    Cast list:

    • Peter Henry Bussian
    • Erik Fellenstein
    • Cajardo Lindsey
    • Rodney Lizcano
    • Adeline Mann
    • Matt Schneck
    • Mare Trevathan
    • Brynn Tucker

    Rape of the Sabine Women Clockwise from lower left: Adeline Mann (twice), Erik Fellenstein and Cajardo Lindsey. Photos by George Lange.    


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical


    Featured actor in the video above: Kevin Pierce. Will you like 'The Toxic Avenger Musical’? Pierce says to ask yourself: ‘Do you like love stories? Do you like scrawny superheroes? Do you like stories about toxic waste?’


    • Sept. 29-Oct. 28
    • Butte Theatre, 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek
    Toxic Avenger Kevin PierceCall 719-689-3247 or go to thinairtheatre.com
    Written by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and David Bryan (keyboardist for Bon Jovi)
    • Director: Chris Armbrister
    • Music Director: James Mablin

    • The story:
    The Toxic Avenger Musical takes place in the recent past in Tromaville, N.J., a toxic-waste dump just off the Jersey Turnpike. When a well-meaning geek named Melvin Ferd III is dropped into a barrel of toxic waste by the town bullies, he vows to get his revenge  - and the girl - by cleaning up the town. Melvin is out to save N.J., end global warming and woo the prettiest blind librarian in town. Five actors play a multitude of characters in this PG-13 rock-musical comedy based on the 1985 cult classic film. (Provided by the Thin Air Theatre Company.)

    • What's the big deal? The Toxic Avenger became the talk of the 2017 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards when a production by the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre pulled a coup by winning both the Outstanding Actress (Colby Dunn) and Supporting Actress (Megan Van De Hey) awards. While this is a completely independent staging, the summer accolades left a lot of Henry Award wondering what all the mountain buzz was about. Thin Air Theatre Company's upcoming production provides audiences another opportunity to see the musical for themselves.  

    Cast list:
    Melvin Ferd III: Kevin Pierce
    Mayor" Sarah Brittany Ambler
    Babs Belgoody and Ma Ferd: Kelly Hackett
    White Dude: Nick Madson
    Black Dude: Vincent Hooper

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview was compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'General Store' and 'In the Heights'

    by John Moore | Aug 31, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter is offering not just 10 intriguing titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 3.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Creede Repertory Theatre's’ General Store

    Featured actor in the video above: Logan Ernstthal

    • Now through Sept. 16
    • 124 Main St., Creede, located 250 miles southwest of Denver
    • 719-658-2540 or go to creederep.org
    • Playwright: Brian Watkins
    • Director: Christy Montour-Larson

    A Creede Repertory Theatre 400The story: General Store, first presented at Creede Rep's 2016 Headwaters New Play Festival, is set in rural Colorado. Mike is determined to keep his faltering general store up and running, and he’ll let nothing get in the way: Not his two wily daughters, the trucker who thinks he’s dead, the rancher who thinks he’s dying or even the blizzard outside. But something mysterious is under the floorboards. And it’s getting louder and hungrier. Can Mike save his American Dream from the ravenous creature beneath his store? Or should he just save himself instead? Part Sam Shepard, part Stephen King, Watkins is an innovative playwright with an American voice all its own. This one of the most technically challenging plays Creede Rep has ever brought to its stages, and it will grip you until the final blackout.

    But what is it about? General Store is about what happens when your way of life is being devoured by forces you can’t control. Mike’s American dream is literally and figuratively crashing down around him. (Provided by Creede Repertory Theatre.)

    • Of special note to travelers: Creede Repertory Theatre has worked out some special lodging deals for September to make it easier for visitors from around the state to see General Store as well as Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly. If you mention the Colorado Theatre Guild when orderering, you get the senior ticket price. (Call 719-658-2540.) And the following hotels are offering discounts of 10-15 percent on lodging: Antlers Rio Grande Lodge, Finding Gems and Aspen Inn, Blessings Inn, Blue Creek Lodge, Cascada (weekdays only), Club at the Cliffs, Creede Snowshoe Lodge, Dragonfly Flats, Big Country Fun Outdoor Adventures, The House on Old Mill Road, Windsock Acres, Windsor Hotel and The Soprano Suite.

    Cast list:
    • Logan Ernstthal: Mike
    • Ben Newman: Jim
    • Stuart Rider: Rick
    • Caitlin Wise: Nikki
    • Bethany Eilean Talley: Greta

    More creatives:
    Scenic Design: Robert Mark Morgan
    Costume Design: Clare Henkel
    Lighting Design: Jacob Welch
    Sound Design: Jason Ducat
    Production Stage Manager: Devon Muko

    A Creede Repertory Theatre 610 2
    Of 'General Store,' Logan Ernstthal (left) says, 'It’s as if Sam Shepard, the Coen Brothers and Stephen King had a love child. And it’s got a huge metaphor hiding under the floorboards.' Photo by John Gary Brown.


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Town Hall Arts Center’s In the Heights


    Featured actor in the video above: Jose David Reynoza

    • Sept. 8-Oct. 8
    • 2450 W. Main St., Littleton
    Town Hall In the Heights303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org
    • Director: Nick Sugar
    • Music director: Donna Kolpan Debreceni

    • The story: In the Heights is set in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions to take with you, and which to leave behind. This music was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for Hamilton.

    • Why should I see it? The live music: In the Heights blends rap, hip-hop, merengue and salsa. The humor: If you want to laugh out loud, witty lines abound. The story: In the Heights is a fantastic piece of musical theatre, but also a beautiful story that leaves you feeling happy and uplifted. Three more words: Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Provided by Town Hall Arts Center.)

    Cast list:
    Usnavi de la Vega: Jose David Reynoza
    Vanessa: Sarah Harmon
    Nina Rosario : Rose Van Dyne
    Benny: Randy Chalmers
    Sonny de la Vega: Chris Castaneda
    Daniela: Chelley Canales
    “Abuela” Claudia: Margie Lamb
    Kevin Rosario: Anthony Rivera
    Camila Rosario: Nancy Begley
    The Piragua Guy (Piragüero): George Zamarripa
    Carla: Destiny Walsh
    Graffiti Pete: Joseph Lamar Williams
    Ensemble: Andy Nuanhngam, Cassie Lujan, Gabriel Morales, Jenny Weiss Mather, Jordan Duran and Tashara May

    The band:
    Donna Kolpan Debreceni: Keyboards
    Austin Hein: Bass
    Scott Smith: Guitars
    Larry Ziehl: Drums and Percussion
    Dustin Arndt: Percussion
    Rob Reynolds: Trumpet and Flugelhorn

    More creatives:
    Scenic Designer: Tim Barbiaux
    Costume Designer: Linda Morken
    Lighting Designer: Seth Alison
    Sound Designer: Curt Behm
    Props Designer: Becky Toma
    Production Stage Manager: Steven Neale
    Technical Director: Mike Haas
    Assistant Choreographer: Jenny Weiss Mather
    Dialect/Cultural Awareness Coach: Olga Lopez

    Town Hall Arts Center In the Heights Jose David Reynoza says 'In the Heights’ represents a culture that isn't often seen on stage. It really is an honor to be a part of a story that portrays a large part of who I am here in the United States,’ says Reynoza, himself an immigrant. From left: Jenny Weiss Mather, Andy Nuanhngam, Anthony Rivera, Reynoza and Nancy Begley. Photo by Becky Toma. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview: 'You on the Moors Now’ and 'Almost Heaven'

    by John Moore | Aug 30, 2017
    For 10 days, the DCPA NewsCenter will offer not only 10 intriguing theatre titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. This year we are expanding our preview by featuring 10 musicals AND 10 plays. Today is Day 2.

    PLAY OF THE DAY: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now

    Featured actor in the video above: Anastasia Davidson

    • Sept. 8-30
    • At the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder
    Catamounts. Anastasia Davidson 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org
    • Playwright: Jaclyn Backhaus
    • Director: Amanda Berg Wilson

    The story: You on the Moors Now features iconic characters from 19th-century novels Jane Eyre, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. Set in the mythical land of Moors, our four heroines have run away after shockingly rejecting the suitors who ardently loved them. Stung by the spurning, the men wage war on the women.

    But what is it about? This timely feminist romp juxtaposes the romantic confines of the past with present ideas of courtship and playfully examines women’s perennial quest to be valued as men’s equals, the ancient interconnectedness of love and loss, and the contemporary recognition that humans must find their own way before finding one another.

    Cast list:

    Catamounts. You on the Moors NowElizabeth Bennet: Anastasia Davidson
    • Cathy: Laura Lounge
    • Jo March: Alaina Beth Reel
    • Jane Eyre: Alex Forbes
    • Fitzwilliam Darcy: Brian Kusic
    • Heathcliff: Matthew Blood-Smyth
    • Laurie Laurence: Joe Von Bokern
    • Mr. Rochester: Jason Maxwell
    • Player 1: Caroline Bingley, Amy: Luciann Lajoie
    • Player 2: Mr Bingley, Old Grandpa Laurence: Jihad Milhem
    • Player 3: Nelly Dean, Beth, Jane Bennet: Maggie Tisdale
    • Player 4: Joseph, Mrs. March: Sam Gilstrap
    • Player 5: St. John Rivers, Bhaer, Edgar Linton: Austin Terrell
    • Player 6: River Sister, Meg: Joan Bruemmer-Holden


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: Rocky Mountain Rep’s
    Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver

    Featured actor in the video above: Matilde Bernabei

    • Sept. 1-30
    • 800 Grand Ave in Grand Lake, located 100 miles northwest of Denver
    Grand Lake. Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Matilde Bernabei970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com
    • Director: Jeff Duke
    • Music director: Michael Querio

    • The story: Almost Heaven is a revue of John Denver songs in wonderfully creative new arrangements, connected with words and thoughts from the artist, about the artist and placing the songs' creation in context of our country's history. This musical was premiered by the DCPA Theatre Company in 2003 and was extended for nine months. 

    • But what is it about? While the songs are certainly well-known, hearing them performed surrounded by the beauty of Grand Lake will be special. The musical also emphasizes John Denver's work as an environmentalist and social activist.

    Cast list:
    Jack Bartholet
    Matilde Bernabei
    Suzanna Champion
    Paige Daigle
    Jens Jacobson
    Kyle Ashe Wilkinson
    Jeff Duke
    Michael Querio

    Grand Lake. Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Almost Heaven. John Denver.

    The cast of Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre's 'Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver' has a little fun at rehearsal in Grand Lake. 

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • 2017 Colorado Fall Preview: 'Rock of Ages' and 'Appropriate'

    by John Moore | Aug 29, 2017
    Continuing a tradition dating to 2002, for the next 10 days, we will offer 10 intriguing theatre titles to watch on theatre stages throughout Colorado. Only this year we are expanding our coverage by offering 10 musicals AND 10 plays here on the DCPA NewsCenter

    PLAY OF THE DAY: Curious Theatre's Appropriate

    Featured actor in the video above: Sean Scrutchins


    Featured Actor Sean ScrutchinsSept. 2-Oct. 14
    • 1080 Acoma St.
    • 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org
    • Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

    The story: Three adult children descend on a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate. There, they find a gruesome Southern relic that causes them to question their family's history.

    But what is it about? Appropriate is a challenging play on racial legacy that is "right on time" as our country grapples with how to handle Confederate relics like statues. Appropriate asks us how we explore our own history with race and how we should progress as a society.

    Cast list:
    Jamil Jude: Director
    Jada Dixon: Assistant Director
    Dee Covington: Toni
    Erik Sandvold: Bo
    Mare Trevathan: Rachel
    Sean Scrutchins: Frank
    Alec Sarché: Rhys
    Rhianna DeVries: River
    Audrey Graves: Cassidy
    Harrison Lyles-Smith: Ainsley


    MUSICAL OF THE DAY: BDT Stage's Rock of Ages

    Featured actor in the video above: Tim Howard


    Featured actor Tim HowardAug. 25-Nov. 11
    • 5501 Arapahoe Ave.
    • 303-449-6000 or bdt’s home page

    • The story: It’s the end of the 1980s, and the party is raging. Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor flow freely on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Rock of Ages is a mix-tape compilation including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “We Built This City” by Starship and Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” set to a story about pursuing dreams.

    • But what is it about? Rock of Ages is about following your dreams even when there are giant egos blocking your path. It’s about being loud when your heart speaks the truth. This is a poignant musical that finds that fighting spirit with anthems that make you want to jump out of your seat and show the world you still know how to rock.

    Cast list:
    Director: Scott Beyette
    Choreographer: McKayla Marso
    Drew: Tim Howard
    Dennis: Scott Beyette
    Lonnie: Barret Harper
    Franz: Brian Cronan
    Hertz: Brian Burron
    Stacee: Scott Severtson
    Sherrie: Olyvia Beyette
    Regina: Valerie Igoe
    Waitress: Tracey Warren
    Constance: Danielle Scheib
    Justice: Joanie Brosseau
    Groupies: Jessica Hindsley, Alyssa Robinson
    Ensemble: Brian Jackson, Alejandro Roldan, Leo Battle

    RockofAges_GlennRoss 610

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Our complete 2017 Colorado Fall Theatre Preview:

    Day 1: Curious Theatre's Appropriate and BDT Stage's Rock of Ages
    Day 2: The Catamounts’ You on the Moors Now and Rocky Mountain Rep’s Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
    Day 3: Creede Repertory Theatre's General Store and Town Hall Arts Center's In the Heights
    Day 4: Avenue Theater’s My Brilliant Divorce and the Arvada Center’s A Chorus Line
    Day 5: Bas Bleu’s Elephant’s Graveyard and Evergreen Chorale’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Day 6: Firehouse Theatre’s The Mystery of Love and Sex and the Aurora Fox’s ‘Company’
    Day 7: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Revolutionists and Off-Center’s The Wild Party
    Day 8: Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Pretty Fire and the Aurora Fox's Hi-Hat Hattie
    Day 9: Edge Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance and Midtown Arts Center’s Once.
    Day 10:  Local Theater Company’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and Thin Air Theatre Company’s The Toxic Avenger Musical

    This 2017 Colorado fall preview is compiled by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore as a service to the Colorado theatre community. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011 and is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund.
  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 3: Thomas Schumacher

    by John Moore | Aug 18, 2017

     


    Disney's Thomas Schumacher: 'Frozen is not a musical film. It’s a theatrical musical on film.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

    Thomas-Schumacher-denver-center_frozen_photo-by-jenny-andersonPart 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, who talks about his company’s special relationship with the city of Denver, and what makes Frozen the perfect choice for a musical stage adaptation.

    “At its core, Frozen is not a musical film. It’s a theatrical musical on film,” Schumacher said. “The characters tell the stories with their songs. The songs turn the corner for the story action. Music propels it forward. And that’s why it wants to be on the stage.”

    Interview by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    (Pictured above from left: Director Michael Grandage, Thomas Schumacher and Scenic and Costume Designer Christopher Oram. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Production
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    by John Moore | Aug 16, 2017

     


    The choreographer calls the new Broadway musical's mingling of old and new songs 'seamless'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

    Travis Patton, Rob Ashford & James Brown III Photo by Jenny AndersonPart 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford, who says the mingling of old and new songs is surprisingly seamless. "When I first heard all the new music, I was like, ‘Is that a new song? I’m not sure.’ Because they all feel like they could have absolutely been in the film."

    Ashford says he had something of a blank slate because there is not much dancing in the animated source film. He's points to the Coronation Ball as an example of a scene he thinks the movement really works. "Anna sees Elsa across the room and she is thrilled to see her sister again, but doesn’t know how to approach her," said Ashford," and so all of those things are done through dance." He calls choreographing Frozen "a joy and a privilege."

    Interview by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    (Pictured above, from left: Travis Patton, Rob Ashford and James Brown III. Photo by Jenny Anderson.)

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 2: Director Michael Grandage

    by John Moore | Aug 13, 2017

     


    Frozen director: 'The vision is to honor the film but at the same time give it its own identity.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of the cast and creative team. Second up: Director Michael Grandage.  

    Frozen Michael Grandage "The vision is to honor the film but at the same time give it its own identity. We can do a lot onstage that you can’t do otherwise," Grandage says. 

    As for his own hopes for the audience, he added: "I’ve always found that if you can have your life changed just a little bit by watching theatre, and it can really make a difference in your life, then I think we have done our job. I hope Frozen does that.  

    Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk. Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    Pictured above from left: Patti Murin, Michael Grandage and Caissie Levy. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Video: The 'Frozen' interviews, Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin

    by John Moore | Aug 11, 2017

     


    Frozen stars: 'It's great that this is the city Disney trusts to give them a valid and educated response.'

    In advance of the Denver debut of the upcoming new Broadway musical Frozen on Aug. 17, we present you with this series of interviews with members of thA Frozen. Rehearsale cast and creative team. First up: Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna).  

    Says Levy: "I think you are going to mostly see the show that will arrive on Broadway, but you get to see it first here in Denver, which is cool - and you will know all those insider tweaks that happened. I think that's why we are excited to be here, because this is such a savvy theatregoing city."

    Read more: First interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin

    Says Murin: "Any changes that are made between Denver and New York are going to be because of how the Denver audience reacts. And so it's great that this is the city Disney trusts to give them a valid and educated response." 

    Interviews by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.

    Frozen plays in Denver through Oct. 1.

    The full Frozen video series:
    Part 1: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin
    Part 2: Director Michael Grandage
    Part 3: Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions
    Part 4: Choreographer Rob Ashford

    Frozen: Ticket information

    FrozenAt a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators.  Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
    • Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
    • Aug. 17-Oct. 1
    • Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
    • Sales to groups of 10 or more click here

    Photo gallery: Making of Frozen

    Frozen
    'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
    Our exclusive first interview with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
    Frozen performance added for Friday, Aug. 18
    Don't get scammed buying your Frozen tickets
    Video: Your first look at Frozen in Denver
    Principal casting announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
    Meet the entire cast of Frozen
    Denver Frozen tickets go on sale May 1
    Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
    Denver dates for Frozen announced
    2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter


  • Photos: Phamaly Theatre Company's amazing Opening Night tradition

    by John Moore | Aug 01, 2017
    Phamaly: Opening Night of 'Annie' Photos from Opening Night of Phamaly Theatre Company's 'Annie,' playing through Aug. 6 at the Denver Center's Stage Theatre. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    The pre-show ritual is called 'Zap,' and it infuses the cast and crew with energy and focus.

    By John Moore
    Senor Arts Journalist

    In the minutes before the opening performance of Phamaly Theatre Company's Annie, actor and founding company member Mark Dissette gathers the cast of 36 actors, each with widely varying disabilities, along with crew and volunteers, for one of the most electrifying pre-show rituals in the local theatre community.

    They form a circle. Those who can stand, stand. Those who cannot roll up in their wheelchairs. Those who can clasp hands, clasp hands. Those with missing or disfigured hands make contact with their neighbors as best they can. They all close their eyes in reverence as Dissette calls out from memory the agonizingly long list of company members who have passed away during the 28 years that this unique company has been creating performance opportunities for actors with disabilities.

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    Dissette then begins the ritual they call "Zap." As if there weren't enough energy in the air already, the group begins to buzz. Literally. "This is our dream - get a little louder," Dissette orders. And they do. "Bzzz." "This is our vision - get a little louder." And they do. "BZZZ." After more exhortation, the vibration builds to a deafening climax.

    "1-2-3 ..." Dissette shouts, and all voices scream in unison, "ZAP!"

    Now there is nothing but sudden, solemn silence. The next spoken word is not to be uttered until the actors hit the stage. For a company whose actors are blind and deaf, with disabilities ranging from stroke to spina bifida to multiple sclerosis to AIDS, it is both the beginning and the culmination of an extraordinary opening-night journey. 

    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.

    Phamaly Theatre Company's Annie: Ticket information
    • Through Aug. 6
    • Stage Theatre Denver Performing Arts Complex
    • Tickets: $20-$37
    • Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
    • Accessible performance: Aug. 3

    Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of Phamaly:
    The triumph of Phamaly's not-so-horrible Hannigan
    Pop-culture Annie, from comics to Broadway to Jay-Z
    Phamaly gala, campaign raise $200K, ‘save the company’
    Phamaly launches emergency $100,000 fundraising campaign
    Regan Linton accepts Spirit of Craig Award
    Regan Linton returns to lead Phamaly in landmark appointment

    Phamaly
  • Photos: 2017 Denver Post Underground Music Showcase

    by John Moore | Jul 28, 2017
    2017 Underground Music Showcase

    Our photos from The Denver Post's 2017 Underground Music Showcase, otherwise known as "The UMS." To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above.

    Now in its 17th year, The UMS is Denver’s largest homegrown, indie-music festival, featuring 400 performances over four days at more than 25 venues on a 10-block stretch along South Broadway in the Baker neighborhood.

    The UMS continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday - actually until 2 a.m. early Monday. For information on bands, venues and tickets, click here

    All photos by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Senior Arts Journalist John Moore, who founded The UMS in 2001. Read more.


    Video bonus:

    Tyler Despres, co-founder of the popular Denver band Gin Doctors, died of an aortic aneurysm in November 2016. He was 34. On the final day of the 2017 Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (The UMS), headliner Esmé Patterson sang a song dedicated to (and written by (Despres), backed by Jessica DeNicola, Maria Kohler and her band. Her is a portion of that song.

    Lyrics:

    “You coulda rode you shoulda rode the waves, you coulda walked yah you shoulda walked the beaches, but now you’re an angel floatin downstream — oh now you’re the cosmos in a beautiful beam.”

    Video bonus 2:

    This is what happened when Benjamin Booker took a liking to a superfan named Ford at the 2017 Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (The UMS). The music is not Benjamin Booker's because, you know ... YouTube and copyright and all. But it's fun. Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 

  • Photo coverage: 2017 Henry Awards

    by John Moore | Jul 26, 2017
    2017 Henry Awards

    Our complete photo gallery from the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2017 Henry Awards ceremony held July 17 at the PACE Center in Parker. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos may be instantly downloaded and shared with proper photo credit. All photos by Brian Landis Folkins and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

    The Henry Awards honor outstanding achievements by member companies. To read our full report, click here. The photo above shows hosts Steven J. Burge and GerRee Hinshaw at the PACE Center in Parker.

    Read our full report: Henry Awards spreads love across state

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    2017 HENRY AWARDS. Stephen Day
    Stephen Day, who won Outstanding Actor in a musical, performs from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's 'The Ma of La Mancha' at the Henry Awards. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    Our 2017 Henry Awards memorial video:


    Video by John Moore. More video coverage from the event to come, including performances and acceptance speeches.

  • Community conversation on theatre criticism Monday at Denver Center

    by John Moore | Jun 17, 2017
    Rick Yaconis, Juliet Wittman and Michael J. Duran

    From left: Rick Yaconis, Juliet Wittman and Michael J. Duran.

    Everyone's a Critic ... Literally, will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 19, in the DCPA's Conservatory Theatre

    By Gloria Shanstrom
    Colorado Theatre Guild

    The Colorado Theatre Guild will launch its new series, called Community Conversations, this Monday night with a candid and constructive conversation about the changing face of arts journalism today. First up is Everyone’s a Critic: Literally.

    With the decline of full-time jobs at traditional media outlets throughout the country, there is growing concern among arts organizations about the future of theatrical criticism. This panel will discuss the state of criticism today, what the future might hold and offer proactive strategies arts groups might consider to get their own stories told.

    The conversation takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, June 19, at the Denver Center's Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education, located at 13th and Arapahoe streets.

    John MooreThe panel will be moderated by John Moore, former longtime theatre critic at The Denver Post and now editor of a 4-year-old media outlet launched by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts as a shared asset for the entire Colorado theatre community. 

    Current panelists include Westword theatre critic Juliet Wittman, longtime blogger critic Patrick Dorn, The Edge Theatre Company Executive and Artistic Director Rick Yaconis and BDT Stage Producing Artistic Director Michael J. Duran. (Panel subject to change.)

    This Colorado Theatre Guild's new workshop and panel-discussion series, initiated by new CTG President Deb Flomberg, is aimed at Colorado theater producers, actors, designers, patrons and anyone wishing to get better insight into the process of creating and producing live theatre in Colorado. Attendees are asked to come with questions for this lively discussion.

    "Community Conversations are about one thing: Opening up the discussion to bring together the theatrical community in Colorado," Flomberg said.

    Everyone’s a Critic: Literally
    Newman Building

    • 7 p.m. Monday, June 19
    • At the Denver Center's Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education
    • 13th and Arapahoe streets
    • 1101 13th Street, Denver, CO 80204
    • Free to Colorado Theatre Guild members, and $5 at the door for non-members

    Panelist bios
    John Moore
    is an award-winning arts journalist who was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. His online innovations for The Denver Post prompted the Chicago Tribune to suggest that The Denver Post‘s online theater coverage was the best in the nation. In 2013, he took a groundbreaking new position as an in-house journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. His ongoing coverage of the entire Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org. He also started the Denver Actors Fund as a way of organizing community-wide responsive efforts when members of the local theatre community find themselves in immediate medical need. In just more than three years, the Denver Actors Fund has distributed more than $100,000 in direct financial relief to members of the Colorado theatre community. Last year John's full-length play Waiting for Obama was performed by an all-Colorado cast at the New York International Fringe Festival.

    Juliet Wittman studied acting while growing up in London (where she was privileged to see such greats as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft onstage), and with Milton Katselas in New York. She has also worked in radio, off-off Broadway, summer-stock and repertory. As a graduate student in Colorado, she appeared at CU and the Nomad Playhouse and she also founded a feminist theatre company. For two years, she taught theater at the Colorado Women’s Correctional Facility: The inmates were allowed out of the prison several times to show their plays in Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver’s Changing Scene, where Al Brooks served them cappuccino in tiny, elegant cups. As a writer, she has had essays and short stories published in literary magazines and won several journalism awards. Her memoir, Breast Cancer Journal: A Century of Petals, received the Colorado Book Award and was named a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been reviewing theatre for Westword for more than 15 years, during which time she’s learned more about the art form than she can begin to express.

    Patrick DornPatrick Dorn abandoned his Actor’s Equity card and fled Los Angeles in 1980. He moved to Denver, where he earned a master’s degree in theatre from the University of Denver, with emphases in theatre history, dramatic theory and criticism, playwriting and children’s theatre. As an associate professor, he taught these subjects and more at Colorado Christian University for several years. Before becoming a critic, he was first reader and editor at Pioneer Drama Service, where he read and wrote rejection letters for thousands of play submissions. He served on the faculty and board of Colorado ACTS drama school, directing dozens of plays with children and teens, and a few shows for grownups. Patrick has more than 40 of his own plays published in the children’s and youth theatre market. Patrick has written play reviews for the Denver Catholic Register and the Intermountain Jewish News, and for seven years was the theatre critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, attending approximately 120 plays annually. He remembers liking more than 700 of them. After leaving the Daily Camera to become an Anglican priest and later a full-time chaplain, he is posting his reviews on various blogs.

    Michael J. Duran has been the Producing Artistic Director at BDT Stage (formerly Boulder’s Dinner Theatre) since 2003, following a successful 23-year career in NYC. His credits include: Broadway: The Music Man, Crazy For You, Me and My Girl, Into the Light, Annie 2 (Pre Broadway). London and National Tours: Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis, Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark, Bye Bye Birdie with Tommy Tune and Anne Reinking, Hello Dolly! with Carol Channing and On Your Toes directed by George Abbott. Television: Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Irving Berlin’s 100th Birthday Celebration at Carnegie Hall (CBS), and An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner for PBS Great Performances. He has worjed with Susan Stroman, Kathleen Marshall, Jack O’Brian, Jerry Mitchell, Mike Okrent, Gene Saks, George Abbott. During his tenure at BDT Stage, Michael has produced more than 53 shows and directed 17. He has received Denver Drama Critics Circle Awards, Top of the Rocky in 2005, Ovation and Henry Awards and was a 2015 recipient of The Dairy Center Honors for his contribution to the cultural life of Boulder through the arts.

    Rick Yaconis is the Executive and Artistic Director of The Edge Theater, which he founded seven years ago with his wife, Patty. Since then, he has produced nearly 50 shows and three new-play festivals. He has also directed 12 productions including The Nance and Murder Ballad in this past year and last year's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for which he was nominated for a CTG Henry award. Rick has acted in more than 10 Edge Theatre productions, most recently Misery and A View From the Bridge.

  • Video, photos: Denver Actors Fund's 'United in Love' concert

    by John Moore | May 04, 2017
    United in Love: Video highlights

    Video highlights from the 'United in Love' concert featuring, from left, Beth Malone, Annaleigh Ashford, Mara Davi and dozens more. Video edited by John Moore from footage provided courtesy of Eden Lane and Sleeping Dog Media.

     


    Ashford, Malone, Davi help raise $40,000 for nonprofit
    that helps local theatre artists in situational medical need


    Tony Award-winning actor Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take it With You) joined fellow Broadway veterans from Colorado Beth Malone (Fun Home) and Mara Davi (Dames at Sea) for United in Love, a sold-out concert event that raised $40,000 for the Denver Actors Fund on April 30 at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

    Denver Actors FundThe three headliners were "back to give back." They were joined by powerhouse singer, actor and First Lady of Denver Mary Louise Lee; Broadway’s Jodie Langel (Les Misérables); composer Denise Gentilini (I Am Alive) and Denver performers Jimmy Bruenger, Eugene Ebner, Becca Fletcher, Clarissa Fugazzotto, Robert Johnson, Daniel Langhoff, Susannah McLeod, Chloe McLeod, Sarah Rex, Jeremy Rill, Kristen Samu, Willow Samu and Thaddeus Valdez.

    Also joining the lineup were the casts of both The Jerseys (Klint Rudolph, Brian Smith, Paul Dwyer and Randy St. Pierre), and the upcoming all-student 13 the Musical (Rylee Vogel, Josh Cellar,  Hannah Meg Weinraub, Hannah Katz, Lorenzo Giovannetti, Maddie Kee, Kaden Hinkle, Darrow Klein, Evan Gibley, Conrad Eck and Macy Friday).

    (Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Annaleigh Ashford, Beth Malone, Mary Louise Lee and Mara Davi.)

    The purpose of the evening was to spread a message of love and hope while raising funds for the Denver Actors Fund, which has made $90,000 available to local theatre artists facing situational medical need. The concert was presented by Ebner-Page Productions.

    (Story continues below the photo gallery)

    United in Love: Complete photo gallery

    Denver Actors Fund United in Love Concert

    Photos by RDG Photography, Gary Duff and John Moore. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos may be downloaded and redistributed with credit.


    One of the most poignant moments of the evening came when actor Daniel Langhoff addressed the crowd, telling the story of his continuing fight against cancer, with assistance from The Denver Actors Fund. Langhoff was first diagnosed weeks after the birth of his first daughter. His recent recurrence coincides with news that his wife will give birth to their second child in the fall. (How you can help Daniel Langhoff.)

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

    The emcees were local TV arts journalist Eden Lane (also director of the Aurora Fox's current Priscilla Queen of the Desert), and actor Steven J. Burge, who recently starred in the Denver Center's An Act of God at the Garner-Galleria Theatre.

    The Music Director was Mitch Samu. The band included Tag Worley, Steve Klein, Andy Sexton, Scott Handler and Jeremy Wendelin.


    The photos above were provided by RDG Photography, Gary Duff and DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore, who is also the founder of the Denver Actors Fund. That is a 501c3 nonprofit, and all donations are tax-deductible. For more information, or to apply for aid, go to www.denveractorsfund.org.

    The Presenting Sponsor of United in Love was Delta Dental of Colorado, which matched audience contributions at the end of the evening, turning about $2,200 in donations into more than $4,400. The Gold Sponsor was Kaiser-Permanente. Silver Sponsors were Billings Investments and the Alliance Insurance Group.

  • Authentic voices: 2017 student playwriting winners announced

    by John Moore | Apr 11, 2017
    Video: We talked with the four 2017 student playwriting finalists whose plays were read by DCPA actors at the Colorado New Play Summit in February. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 


    Two student writers will have their one-act plays
    fully staged in public performances in June.

    By John Moore
    Senior Arts Journalist

    The mission of DCPA Education’s annual year-long student playwriting competition is to help high-school writers find and cultivate their authentic voices. And this year, for the first time, it has ultimately chosen to celebrate two.

    The winning plays of the fourth annual Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition are Dear Boy on the Tree, written by Jasmin Hernandez Lozano of Vista Peak Preparatory Academy in Aurora, and Spilt Lava, written by Ryan McCormick of Fort Collins High School. Both plays will be given full productions in June, performed by DCPA Education’s summer teen company.

    Teen Playwriting QuoteBoth plays feature young couples exploring connection in unusual places. In Spilt Lava, a boy and girl float across each other on doors in a world where the floor is made of burning lava. Dear Boy on the Tree is a gender-reversed take on Rapunzel, featuring a boy hiding in a tree who is trapped by his fear until a girl named Willow happens along.

    “At the DCPA, we know it is so important to cultivate young playwrights,” said Director of Education Allison Watrous. “That's what this program is all about.”

    Each fall, DCPA Teaching Artists go out into schools statewide, deliver playwriting workshops and encourage students to write and submit one-act plays for the competition. This year, those Teaching Artists went to 46 high schools and delivered 138 workshops for more than 2,800 students. “We really want to encourage teenagers to tell amazing stories and put their plays out in the world,” Watrous said.  

    This year, 132 one-act plays were received and judged blindly. In January, 10 were named as finalists. Of those, four were chosen to have a workshop and staged reading by DCPA actors at the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit in February. The process mirrors exactly what happens to the four new plays featured by the DCPA Theatre Company at each Summit. “It's really the first time these students have an opportunity to hear the play on its feet with a cast of actors,” Watrous said. “That gives the playwright the opportunity to really fine-tune the play as it moves to its next stage of development.”  

    IStudent Playwriting Ryan McCormickn previous years, one play has been ultimately chosen for a full summer production. This year, competition officials chose to advance both Lozano and McCormick’s scripts to full stagings.

    Lozano, a first-generation American whose parents do not speak English, asked her brothers if she was hallucinating when she read the email telling her she had been named a finalist.

    “I started crying right then and there because it was so emotional,” said Lozano. “Then my mom heard me crying and she said, 'What's happening? What's happening?' I explained everything to her in Spanish and then we all started crying, because we're a family of criers.

    Teen Playwriting Jasmin Hernandez LozanoLozano, who wrote her play in English, was born in a neighborhood “where I had a lot of limits,” she said, “so I would never assume I could win something like this. I don't have a family that has won a lot of awards. So winning this is one step toward getting out of that stereotype that Hispanic people can’t achieve as much as other people.”

    McCormick, now a senior, also was a top-10 finalist his sophomore year. He wrote Spilt Lava in part “because there was a girl I was trying to convince to date me, and she was reluctant,” he said. He credits the DCPA and his teachers for giving him the creative confidence to set his unlikely play on a floor of lava.

    “I've been working on it for a while, so it went through different phases,” he said. “As I got to higher English classes in high school, we started learning about postmodernism and the idea that if everyone believes something, then that is its own reality - and the lava floor is a perfect example of that. I wrote a love story where the floor happens to be lava.”

    Student Playwriting Allison WatrousThe winning plays will be performed back-to-back twice at 1:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday, June 16, in the DCPA’s Conservatory Theatre. Admission is free, and the public is welcome. Both will be directed by actor and published playwright Steven Cole Hughes.

    The other finalists were Parker Bennett of Fossil Ridge High School (Counting in Clay and Jessica Wood of Denver Christian School (Chill Winds). Wood is the first student in the competition's history to advance to the Colorado New Play Summit twice.

    “It was such an amazing experience last year to be able to see my play go through the workshop process and then have a staged reading,” said Wood. “I was so excited to come back and to experience that again. Programs like this just don't exist in very many places.”

    The four finalists each received personal mentoring from a professional playwright at the Summit, culminating in public readings that were attended by their families and friends alongside theatre professionals from all around the country. Last year, Wood was mentored by Lauren Yee, whose play Manford at the Line was developed at the 2017 Summit and will be fully staged as part of the DCPA Theatre Company’s next mainstage season.

    “It was so amazing to be able to meet with someone who actually makes a living from playwriting,” Wood said of Yee. “Just to hear her say, 'Your play was really good' was an incredible feeling for me.”

    Student Playwriting Allison WatrousMcCormick said advancing as far as the Summit was all he could have hoped for. “To come here and just be able to rub shoulders with professionals and just be a part of this whole Summit has been crazy,” he said.

    In addition, each teacher of the four finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. And as an added bonus, the DCPA will publish all four of the finalists’ plays.

    “We do that so we can continue to create a volume of the plays each year and to really commemorate this work,” Watrous said. “Now these writers are now all published playwrights, which is very exciting.”

    Some of the 132 participating students may become professional playwrights someday. But the greater goal, Watrous said, is to advance literacy, creativity, writing and communication, which are skills that can help them in all aspects of their adult lives.


    Photo gallery: 2016-17 Student Playwriting

    2017 Student Playwriting

    To see more photos, click the forward arrow on the image above. All photos are downloadable for free and may be used for personal and social purposes with credit. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
     

    2017 Regional High-School Playwriting Workshop and Competition Sponsors:
    Robert and Judi Newman/Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from The Ross Foundation, June Travis and Transamerica.

    Our profiles of all 10 of the 2017 semifinalists:
    Parker Bennett, Fossil Ridge High School
    Corinna Donovan and Walker Carroll, Crested Butte Community School
    Jasmin A. Hernandez Lozano, Vista Peak High School
    Ryan Patrick McCormick, Fort Collins High School
    Abby Meyer and Nic Rhodes, Fossil Ridge High School
    Amelia Middlebrooks, Valor Christian High School
    Samantha Shapard, Overland High School
    Sarah Shapard, Overland High School
    Daniela Villalobo, York International
    Jessica Wood, Denver Christian School
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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.