2013 theater photo series: It’s Opening Night in Colorado


Opening No. 30, Feb. 15: Bev Newcomb-Madden is the most prolific female director in Colorado theater history, with nearly 300 productions to her name, dating back to the old Bonfils Theatre in the 1960s. Here, in a backstage dressing room at the Aurora Fox, Newcomb-Madden greets the women who appear in her latest effort, “Consider the Oyster” (from left: Rhonda Brown, Rachel Turner and Ali Frances). It’s a gender-bending comic fantasy developed by Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre Company in Michigan. Playwright David MacGregor’s tale trades on two little-known facts: That all oysters are born male and turn female. And that cutting-edge doctors now use oyster shells to speed the repair of broken human bones. So in the story, the perennially hapless Detroit Lions actually win a Super Bowl title. (Go with us here.) In the euphoria of the celebration, super-fan Gene Walsh (Ben Dicke) impulsively proposes marriage to his girlfriend (Turner), then immediately breaks his leg, and, yes … slowly turns into a woman. Ironically, Newcomb-Madden had her own foot surgery just four days after this opening. “Let’s hope they didn’t use oyster shell!” said producer Charles Packard. Also featuring Jude Moran. Through March 10 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or the Aurora Fox’s home page. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Charles Packard, Lindsey Sullivan, cast and crew.

See our full gallery of “Consider the Oyster” photos



Opening No. 29, R.U.R./lol”: The LIDA Project has done things its own way for 18 years, so no surprise that its opening-night rituals might be a little more hardcore than other companies’. Actually, that’s Laura Lounge just having a little artful fun before the start of “R.U.R./lol,” feigning the trappings, of, I dunno, a backstage heroin binge alongside a young John Lennon. (She’s kidding!) LIDA’s most recent original work picks up where the 1920 science-fiction play “Rossum’s Universal Robots” (which introduced the word “robots” into the lexicon) ends. It’s set “at the end of humanity,” and it’s up to four deliciously attractive fembots to protect what remains of the planet from catastrophe. I was stuck by the part when the desperate robots consider that perhaps the only way to save the world might be by “creating something new.” (I believe that was the same call to action in the Mark Rothko play “Red”). Czech playwright Karel Capek always used scientific miracles as a means for affirming his faith in human values. But LIDA’s P.O.V. is, not surprisingly … somewhat more cynical (lol). “R.U.R./lol” also marks LIDA’s most ambitious multimedia effort to date, which is saying something. It features 13 live-feed projectors running in real time. Also starring Hart DeRose, Heidi Pachner and Rhea Amos. Directed by Lorenzo Sariñana. Through March 2 at 2701 Lawrence St., 720-221-3821 or the LIDA Project’s home page. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Brian Freeland, Tommy Sheridan, David Lafont, cast and crew.

See our full gallery of “R.U.R./lol” photos



Opening No. 28, Feb. 14: Heritage Square opened its 25th and, sadly, final season last night. Co-owners Connie Helsley and T.J. Mullin will close the venerable theater on Dec. 31, citing declining attendance and an aging audience base among the reasons for ending quarter-century era of family friendly, blue-collar and often outrageously silly musical and comedy entertainment out of a classic Victorian theater nestled in the Heritage Square amusement park and shopping village in Golden. Regulars T.J. Mullin, Alex Crawford, N. Randall Johnson, Rory Pierce, Johnette Toye, Scott Koop, Eric Weinstein and comedian extraordinare Annie Dwyer (above) have more than 140 performing years among them on the tiny Heritage Square stage. That’s 140 years of singing, dancing, silly vaudevillian bits … and thousands of bald heads embossed with Dwyer’s lipstick. The final season will now reflect a mix of old favorites and new shows. In “One Enchanted Evening,” Grandpa falls asleep reading bedtime stories to the kids, and his dreams take him to visit Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and other famous fairy-tale characters. This cast includes Robert Wagner. Through March 3 at 18301 W. Colfax Ave., Golden, 303-279-7800 or heritage square’s home page. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Amie Rau, Connie Helsley and T.J. Mullin.

See our full gallery of “One Enchanted Evening” photos

Read our exclusive news report about the impending closure of the Heritage Square Music Hall.



Opening No. 27, Feb. 10: Germinal Stage-Denver’s final season in its longtime northwest Denver home continues with its third staging of “Spoon River Anthology,” Edgar Lee Masters’ look at small-town America through the eyes and epitaphs of its dead people. Above, old friends Deborah Persoff and Jim Miller embrace before taking to the Germinal stage. For opening-night gifts, Miller made individual spoons adorned with each actor’s face.  He also presented Persoff with naked trading cards sporting a photo of a naked woman Miller insists is that of a young Betty White. Also featuring Leroy Leonard, Jennie McDonald, Lisa Mumpton and Michael Gunst. Directed by Ed Baierlein. Through March 17 at 2450 W. 44th Ave., 303-455-7108 or germinal’s home page. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Ed Baierlein, Sallie Diamond and Tad Baierlein.

See our full gallery of “Spoon River Anthology” photos



Opening No. 26, Feb. 9: Queen Aggravain may send her subjects running for cover, but the actors in Performance Now’s “Once Upon A Mattress” are drawn to Carla Kaiser Kotrc. This photo, taken of Carla and Sarah Grover during a break from pre-show vocal warmups on the stage, was shot from the catwalk at the Lakewood Cultural Center. “Mattress” is the classic musical retelling of “The Princess and the Pea,” in which there are no measures the inappropriate Queen won’t take to keep her son, Prince Dauntless, all to her herself. Starring Grover as Winnifred the Woebegone and Zachary Stailey as Dauntless. Featuring Carolyn Lohr, Andy Sievers, Adam Luhrs, Josh Rigo, Craig Ross and Matt Maxwell. Directed by Britta Laree. Through Feb. 24 at 470 S. Allison Parkway, 303-987-7845 or performance now’s home page. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Ken Goodwin, Tim Hoffman, Karen Lemmer, Heather Early, Kelly Van Oosbree, cast and crew.


See our full gallery of “Once Upon a Mattress” photos



Opening No. 25, Feb. 8: The sign as you enter the Dangerous Theatre means it: “Seriously. Lots of nudity. Not a quick peek. Full frontal nudity for the entire show.” As one elderly couple entered the building, the box-office worker said, “You do know that the entire play is performed in the nude, right?” To which the woman replied, “Yes … That’s why we’re here.” Peter McGarry’s original play “Dark Wood” finds three apes together in a cage; two raised in captivity, one in the wild. How are our perceptions of our world influenced by our surroundings? Plays on alternating nights with “Lysistrata.” (Bravely) starring Patrick Call, Ben Pelayo and Brainard Starling, who, luckily for my photo project, were running scenes before Friday’s performance while wearing robes that were opening-night gifts from director Winnie Winglewick. Through April 26 at 2620 W. 2nd Ave., 720-233-4703 or dangerous’ home page. Audience members, if naked, can watch the show for free on Feb. 22. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Winnie Winglewick, cast and crew.


See our full gallery of “Dark Wood” photos



Opening No. 24, Feb. 8: It was a long road to bring Conor McPherson’s drama about four Irish drinking buddies gathering together to play poker on Christmas Eve to the stage. John Ashton, originally cast in Paragon Theatre’s scheduled production before the company folded last year, gathered much of the team and is now producing it himself at the Aurora Fox. The cast, as depicted from left on the opening-night sheet cake: Brock Benson, Steef Sealy, Ashton, Paragon’s Warren Sherrill and Kevin Hart. Through March 2. Presented by Ashton Entertainment at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or the Aurora Fox’s home page. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Charles Packard, cast and crew.


See our full gallery of “The Seafarer” photos



Opening No. 23, Feb. 7: When director Seth Caikowski gives his actors a note, he literally hands them a note. Here, he goes over final thoughts after Thursday’s first performance of “Out of Order” in front of an audience. It’s a prototypical Ray Cooney farce harpooning a government official whose plans for an extramarital dalliance in a London hotel are thwarted by the discovery of a dead body — in his sixth-floor window. The hooded one above is busy area guitarist and musical director Jason Tyler Vaughn, whose role (as the hotel waiter) is his first in a play. Starring Raja Salaymeh and also featuring Eric Mather (left), Jenny Weiss, Owen T. Niland, Kevin Lowry (right), Cathy Salaymeh, Mauri Cohen, Joel Adam Chavez and Kevin Schwarz – who went on as the abused Dead Body just three days after fracturing his toe. Also seen in the photo above is costume designer Rae Klapperich and artistic director Christopher Willard. Through March 23 at the Backstage Theatre, 121 S. Ridge St., Breckenridge, 970-453-0199 or www.BackstageTheatre.Org. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Christopher Willard, Torie Richardson-Salaymeh, cast and crew.

See our full gallery of “Out of Order” photos



Opening No. 22, Feb. 2: It takes gallons and gallons of red to stage John Logan’s “Red” at Colorado Springs TheatreWorks, starring Jordan Coughtry and Joel Leffert, who took over the demanding role of the artist Mark Rothko just three days before opening. Directed by Joseph Discher. Through Feb. 17 at the Bon Vivant Theater on the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs campus, 719-255-3232 or www.TheatreWorksCS.Org. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Caitlin Green, Denise Cardarelli, Murray Ross, Drew Martorella, Brantley Haines, cast and crew.

See our full gallery of “Red” and “Prelude to a Kiss” photos



Opening No. 21, Feb. 3: Jim Hunt lies flat on the stage floor while conducting vocal exercises before the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s performance of “Ghost-Writer” at the Dairy Center for the Arts. Hunt plays deceased novelist Franklin Woolsey, who may (or may not) still be dictating his final novel to his devoted typist from the grave. Starring Laura Norman and featuring Anne Sandoe. Directed by Josh Hartwell. Written by Michael Hollinger. Through Feb. 16 at 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or www.BoulderEnsembleTheatre.Org. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks to Amanda Paswaters, Rebecca Remaly, Stephen Weitz, Amanda Clark, cast and crew.

See our full gallery of “Ghost-Writer” photos


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