60-second review: Colorado Shakes’ “Midsummer” and “Macbeth”

photo(4)By John Moore
June 30, 2013

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s two 2013 mainstage outdoor offerings could not be more different. But they do have one thing in common (and I don’t mean that shared unit set): There are moments in both when I sat agape, asking myself, “Did they really just go there?”

Oh, yes, they did.

The moment comes in director Geoffrey Kent’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when Lysander (Sean Scrutchins) first encounters an unsuspecting Hermia after being put under a mistaken spell that makes him, to put it mildly, not love his lover anymore. In this production, Hermia is played by a lovely actress (Jenna Bainbridge) who sometimes walks with a cane. That’s all I’m saying … but the audible gasp that followed the moment was an all but unprecedented exchange of visceral, immediate emotional energy between the audience and any live performance on the Mary Rippon stage.

(OK, I’ll say one more thing: If Lysander is put under a spell, it stands to perfect reason that it would bring out a corresponding reversal in passion in him to match the level of true and honest love he felt for her before the spell. And that’s really all I’m saying about that.)

Last night’s opening of “Macbeth” brought much higher real-world stakes to the stage. Director Jane Page sets the story in 1980s war-ravaged Afghanistan. And while I would have preferred that if she were going to go there, that she force us to consider the more immediate moral consequences of the United States’ ongoing conflict with Afghanistan rather than Russia’s, still … what results is the kind of shocking collision between art and real-world relevance that, let’s face it, we don’t typically look to 400-year old plays in Boulder to provide us.

There is a moment in the second act, both completely fair and yet monstrously cruel, that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and run away. And it still hasn’t come out of hiding. There are a dozen other choices Page could have made in this moment, but not if she were to be true to what “Macbeth” means in the world she has embraced. As abhorrently inappropriate as it would have been, I really wanted to stand up and cheer. For the boldness of the moment. For the future of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

When I walked to my car after the end of “Midsummer,” I remember simply thinking, “That was a lot of fun.” Not an elitist, hoity-toity, “My, what a pleasant regalement that was.” I mean … fun. Then I thought, “When was the last time I had fun at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival?” And if you even have to ask yourself that question, there’s a problem.

Liza de Weerd and Nigel Gore in "Macbeth."

Liza de Weerd and Nigel Gore in “Macbeth.”

Last night, as I was leaving “Macbeth,” I wondered, “When was the last time the Colorado Shakespeare Festival surprised and shocked me? Like … to the core?” That, I can tell you … It was Chip Persons’ “Richard III” in 2002. But that discombobulation was born from the mastery of the performance. This was born from the mastery of the performances combined with an abrupt, confrontational interjection on the real horror of war, and our still miserably current place in it.

You know all the cliches: Theater should provoke, it should entertain. It should move you and it should shake you.

In the summer of 2013, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is a mover and a shaker … And when’s the last time you said that?

COLORADO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Mary Rippon Amphitheatre and University Mainstage, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or colorado shakes’ home page
Through Aug. 10, 2013: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” (indoors)
Through Aug. 10, 2013: “Macbeth” (in the Mary Rippon outdoor Amphitheatre)
Through Aug. 11, 2013: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (in the Mary Rippon outdoor Amphitheatre)
July 12-13, 2013: “Women of Will: The Overview” (indoors)
July 18-August 11, 2013: “Richard II” (indoors)

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: Opening night at the Avenue Theater’s ‘Minimum Wage’

To see caption information for any photo above, or to see the gallery if watching on a mobile phone, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

By John Moore
June 26, 2013

Opening No. 85: The Avenue Theater’s “Minimum Wage”: The Happy Burger Boys of “Minimum Wage” are, from left, Damon Guerrasio, Michael Bouchard, Carter Edward Smith and Keegan Flaugh. Denver’s own Smothers Brothers — Charlie and Jeff LaGreca — created a hit on the New York fringe circuit with this endearing original musical comedy that takes you into the training ground zero for happy-time burger-flipping … Jim Jones style. The result is a cross between “Fast Food Nation,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” — with a lot of fun a capella music thrown in. The LaGrecas have turned the reins over to iconic local director Nick Sugar — but you also know Charlie as the man who has turned Comic Con into a big-time Denver happening. Also featuring Abby McInerney. And if you are hungry, The Avenue is offering a “Burger & Fries” discount ticket in partnership with the burger-flippers next door at Park & Co. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; plus 2 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 17 at 417 E. 17th Ave., 303-321-5925 or the avenue’s home page. Thanks: Steven Neale, Colin P. Elliott, Brian Freeland, Nuri Heckler and Bob Wells.

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Shows go on, theaters safe as fires rage near Creede, Pagosa Springs

Dramatic photos of the three forest fires near Creede that have cast a surreal haze over the Creede Repertory Theatre’s 2013 summer season. The shows are going on because fire authorities have determined the town 250 miles southwest of Denver to be safe. Photos by John Gary Brown and Charles Maze. To see caption information for any photo above, or to see this gallery if looking on a mobile phone, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

 

By John Moore
June 25, 2013

A giant smoke plume from the West Fork Fire over the Creede Repertory Theatre's mainstage theater. Photo by Charles Maze.

A giant smoke plume from the West Fork Fire over the Creede Repertory Theatre’s mainstage theater. Photo by Charles Maze.

Creede was overrun last summer by a Hollywood movie company. But the scene in the tiny, remote mining town today is far more surreal than anything Disney could ever imagine.

Plumes of smoke and shooting flames from three nearby forest fires have painted a whole new picture of one Colorado’s most picturesque spots. The sky has turned yellow-gray,
and little bits of ash and burnt Aspen leaves sprinkle down on the town.

Fire officials have deemed this trio of Southern Colorado fires to be the most threatening in the state, and the highest firefighting priority in the country.

But the message from Creede, home to one of Colorado’s oldest theater companies: “It’s safe. The shows go on. … And please come.”

The 48-year-old Creede Repertory Theatre, the largest employer in Mineral County, is going ahead with plans to open its fourth of seven summer offerings on Friday. “Around the World in 80 Days” joins “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “The Language of Trees” and a children’s show ironically titled “Pants on Fire” at two theaters along what has become a deserted Main Street.

Well, not completely deserted.

“This place has really cleared out,” said artistic director Jessica Jackson. “But there are 70 theater artists, a bunch of law enforcement officials and, of course, our loyal locals. We want people to know we’re here … right in the middle of all this craziness.”

Creede is nestled high in the San Juan Mountains 250 miles southwest of Denver. The Thingamajig Theatre Company, which recently opened an ambitious summer season including “Spamalot” and “The Full Monty,” is located 60 miles south of Creede in Pagosa Springs. The shows are going on there as well, but Wolf Creek Pass is closed to motor traffic because of poor visibility, so the only way in for now is through northern New Mexico. No estimate has been given for when the Pass will re-open.

Creede has a hardy year-round population of 400. But that number typically swells to 20,000 in the summertime as tourists flock to the area for its hunting, fishing, hiking, theater and water recreation. So it’s more than a little strange for the company to be performing its award-winning plays in June to houses that are barely one-third filled.

The West Fork Complex Fire includes the West Fork Fire, the Papoose Fire and the Windy Pass Fire, which have burned 75,000 combined acres near highways 149 and 160 between Creede, South Fork and the Wolf Creek Ski Area. The closest to Creede is the West Fork Fire. It has large smoke plumes piling up over Snowshoe Mountain, about 10 miles from town.  The Papoose Fire is about 16 miles away along Highway 149, where firefighters are doing point protection behind certain homes and structures. Highway 149 between South Fork and Creede is now open to escorted traffic from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (on the half hour from South Fork to Creede; on the hour from Creede to South Fork). The theater is taking steps to make sure anyone needing to be at the final evening escort checkpoint will arrive on time.

Fire authorities believe the fires will die out within five to seven days. They are making twice-daily safety assessments of the town of Creede, and so far, they have had no reason to call for an evacuation. For the most part, it is business as usual — except for the lack of tourists.

“But they really, truly believe Creede is safe,” Jackson said.

And because it is safe, she said, the fires are affording a once-in-a-lifetime experience for members of her company. When they take 10-minute breaks, the actors and crew run outside to take in a scene that’s breathtaking in more ways than one. But every afternoon, Jackson says, the smoke and sky almost miraculously clear out, and an evening calm settles in over Creede.

Monday was the company’s day off. As Jackson sat at a picnic table outside the company’s housing complex, she was surrounded by actors, technicians and staff members who were grilling hamburgers, jamming to Aretha Franklin and playing a game company members invented call Four-Pie. “Seriously,” she said.

“Maybe we are fools, but we’re having a great time making plays and being a family of artists.”

Last summer, Creede’s early season attendance suffered as well, but for different reasons. The crew that filmed Johnny Depp’s “The Lone Ranger” claimed nearly every vacant room within a 50-mile radius of Creede. But one thing is for sure this June, Jackson said: “You won’t have any trouble finding lodging in Creede right now.”

Because many regular Creede Rep patrons planned their 2012 visits to Creede around “Occupy Disney,” the theater company’s numbers bounced back quickly after “The Lone Ranger” wrapped.

“Last year, we made up those numbers in July and August, and finished with our second-best season attendance ever,” Jackson said. “That bodes well that we can rally back from this as well.”

Jackson said the company is getting by for now on support from the locals.

“Our community of townspeople, donors and patrons are very supportive,” she said. “After the fire has gone out, it’s possible some new ticket deals will be put into effect. We are going to call on everyone who loves Creede and the Creede Repertory Theatre to come and show their support by attending our shows, eating in our restaurants and staying in our hotels. It’s not just the theater company that’s been affected … it’s the whole town. We’ll have to remind everyone out there that Creede has not been touched by the fire. Our forests, vistas and canyons are still as gorgeous as ever.”

Creede will soon add its improv comedy offering “Boomtown” to the summer repertoire, along with a Westernized “The Tamin’ of the Shrew” and a fun zombie thriller called “William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead.” The company will be offering live performances through Sept. 21, after which it will bring “Around the World in 80 Days” to the Arvada Center (Oct. 1-27).

“I have never been more impressed by this company,” Jackson said. “They not only believe that tired adage that ‘the show must go on,’ but they embody it in their actions with humility, bravery — and a healthy dose of irreverent humor.

“We’ll be OK. This theater has been around for 48 years, and some measly raging infernos won’t keep it down. We just have to convince people to come back once the smoke clears. And we will.”

2013 CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE SEASON
124 N. Main St., Creede, 719-658-2540, 1-866-658-2540, or creede rep’s home page
Through Aug. 7: “The Language of Trees,” at the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre
Through Aug. 24: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”
Through Aug. 31: “Pants on Fire,” at the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre
June 28-Sept. 21: “Around the World in 80 Days”
July 5-Aug. 30: “Boomtown” improv comedy, at the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre
July 26-Sept. 19: “The Tamin’ of the Shrew”
Aug. 16-Sept. 20: “William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead,” at the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre
Oct. 1-27: “Around the World in 80 Days,” at the Arvada Center

2013 THINGAMAJIG THEATRE COMPANY
2313 Eagle Drive, Pagosa Springs, 970-731-7469 or thingamajig’s home page
Through July 31: “Monty Python’s Spamalot”
Through Aug. 8: “The Full Monty”
Aug. 16-Sept. 1: “Good People”

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Aspen Stage wins four national awards for ‘Unmarried in America’

 

Aspen Stage award-winners Ryan Fleming and Missy Moore perform "Unmarried in America" in Carmel, Ind. Photo by S. Bird.

Aspen Stage award-winners Ryan Fleming and Missy Moore perform “Unmarried in America” in Carmel, Ind. Photo by S. Bird.

 

By John Moore
June 24, 2013

Brad Moore and Brendan Cochran. Photo by S. Bird.

Brad Moore and Brendan Cochran. Photo by S. Bird.

Aspen Stage has won four awards at the American Association of Community Theatre’s national festival in Carmel, Ind.

Director Wendy Moore’s production of “Unmarried in America” was honored for Best Ensemble, Best Supporting Actress (Missy Moore), Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Derkash) and Best Actor in a Featured Role (Ryan Fleming).

“Unmarried in America,” by K.D. Carlson, was inspired by the Prop 8 Trial in California, which followed a 2008 statewide referendum that determined only marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized in California. The play explores the personal ramifications of the national debate on gay marriage by focusing on the fictional court reporter who transcribed the case. As she watches the plaintiffs fight for the right to marry, she begins to re-examine the nature of her own relationships — and to question both actual laws and unspoken rules in America.

Best show among the national field of 12 went to “Radium Girls” by the Burlington (Mass.) Players.

AACTFest is a national theater festival held every two years. Winners advance from state and regional competitions.

“We were the smallest company there and the only one performing a new work,” said Wendy Moore, mother of Missy. “For us to take the Ensemble Award and three of the six acting awards is both humbling and exciting. We are also delighted that our playwright has been approached by a major publishing house about publishing her work.”

 

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Ryan Fleming and Cindy Hines. Photo by S. Bird.

Ryan Fleming and Cindy Hines. Photo by S. Bird.

 

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Please take my two-question survey and help determine the fate of CultureWest

CWscreenBy John Moore
June 21, 2013

Many of you know this very WordPress blog you are now reading was created last summer with a much larger end-game in mind: CultureWest.Org was conceived as a beta site that would one day magically transition into a fully staffed new media outlet that would exclusively cover all arts and culture disciplines in Denver. One day, when the promised funding was approved, you would click on www.CultureWest.Org, and it would have magically transformed into a major new journalism player in Denver.

Fast forward: OK, so now we know that’s not going to happen. And after an exhilarating, gratifying year laying the groundwork for changing the game in Denver, CultureWest now has … no end game. And I have to find a paying job. And the day that happens is the day  CultureWest almost necessarily will have to end.

Or will it?

“Why can’t you just monetize it?”

That’s a question I have fielded many times since it became apparent I have to take my professional goals in another direction. My instincts say you can’t realistically monetize one journalist’s focused coverage of one small (even if passionate) cultural niche (the local theater community) and expect to make a living off of it. There just aren’t enough interested potential subscribers. It made sense to ask readers to consider a subscription fee when there were going to be 10 or 11 contributing writers covering all local arts disciplines in Denver with equal skill and commitment. But just theater?

For me to gross even $40,000 a year — not including taxes, social security and benefits like health insurance (perhaps not surprisingly, this is a priority for me), the math says I would need to find 2,000 people willing to pay $20 a year for what I have happily gone about for the past year producing for free. There are other long-term possible revenue sources, of course: Paid ads, Google AdSense, grants and underwriting. But before I pursue those, I need to be convinced of the site’s  potential readership, and of its monetary value to the community.

CultureWest was imagined to change the way stories are told. Long- and short-form video storytelling … Photo essays … Event coverage … Issues … Essays … Interviews … Trends.

But are there 2,000 of you willing to pay for that — enough so that I could consider reporting on the local theater community to be my full-time, paid job again? Logic tells me this is a pipe dream. (Hey, did you know that phrase refers to the dreams smokers had while on opium in the 18th and 19th centuries?).

No one has yet been able to make a media monetization model work. Not really. Not the New York Times. Not a renegade flying solo in northwest Denver. I haven’t even been able to get 2,000 of you to hit “like” on my Facebook page — and that’s free. I wonder if I can even find 2,000 of you to take this survey.

But it will gnaw on me if I turn my full attention to finding another job without at least first asking the question. So today, I am humbly asking you to take my short survey. It simply asks:

Would you be willing to pay a subscription fee to keep CultureWest.Org bringing you innovative coverage of the local theater community?

Click here to take the survey. It’s only one question!

OK, it’s two. If you answer “yes,” I will also ask to tell me how much you would be realistically willing to pay for CultureWest.Org to continue. The current over/under I am pondering is $20 per subscriber.

I appreciate your participation, and more so, I appreciate your honesty. If your answer is “no,” that is vital, helpful information for me to have. You may be saving me from a fool’s pursuit.

Thank you for your consideration. You may send any additional comment you have either here on this post, or email me at CultureWestJohn@gmail.com.

Go forth and theater.

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My day with Theatre Esprit Asia’s “Spirit & Sworded Treks” and “Dust Storm”

To see caption information for any photo above, or to see the gallery if watching on a mobile phone, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

By John Moore
June 20, 2013

Opening Nos. 83-84: Theatre Esprit Asia’s “Dust Storm” and “Spirit & Sworded Treks”: Denver’s first Asian-American theater company is presenting two solo plays performing in repertory through this coming weekend at the Vintage Theatre’s studio theater. “Sworded Treks” is written by company co-founder Maria Cheng. It weaves tai-ji forms, storytelling, stir-fry cooking and stand-up comedy through the spiritual struggles of a Chinese-American woman who tells us what Johnny Unitas, ecstatic sex, a beheaded Barbie doll and martial arts all have to do with the tao of spirituality. Michelle Hurtubise, who splits “Sworded Treks” performances with Cheng, has remaining appearances at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22; and at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 23. Cheng performs at 8 p.m. Friday, June 21; and at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 23 “Sworded Treks” plays in repertory with a one-man show about World War II internment camps titled “Dust Storm,” with three actors sharing those performances. Remaining showtimes: 4:30 p.m. (Dale Li) and 8 p.m. (Peter Trinh) on Saturday, June 22. All shows in Vintage Theatre Productions‘ studio theater, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Call 303-856-7830. On the day we visited, Vintage was actually responsible for five performances in a single day: Three performances by TEA; its own mainstage offering of the Agatha Christie spoof “And Then There Was Nun” (since closed); and a reprise of its recent hit “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy” at the next-door Aurora Fox (through June 23; call 303-739-1970). Thanks: Charles Cobb, Kat Reynolds, Gloria Shanstrom.

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Sis Tryst’s “Talley’s Folley”

To see caption information for any photo above, or to see the gallery if watching on a mobile phone, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

By John Moore
June 20, 2013

Opening No. 82: Sis Tryst’s “Talley’s Folley”: The scene of Lanford Wilson’s drama is an ornate, deserted Victorian boathouse in 1944 Missouri. A bookish Jewish accountant from St. Louis has come to plead his love to the rich, troubled and most unreceptive Sally. The play is several unfolding mysteries at once, namely: Why these broken, mismatched lovers ever were drawn to one another — and what is really now keeping them apart. The play is directed by Larry Hecht (now playing Puck in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) and Ashlee Temple. It stars Allison Watrous and Greg Ungar. Sis (short for “sister”) Tryst was formed in 2009 by Temple, Anne Penner and Allison Watrous, who earned a True West Award nomination for her fearless work in last year’s “Crimes of the Heart.” It runs through June 23. Remaining performances 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the University of Denver’s “white-box theater,” located next to its “black-box theater” in Johnson-McFarlane Hall, 1903 E. Iliff Ave. For reservations, call 303-947-0221, go to sistryst.com or email sistrystproductions@gmail.com. Thanks: Te Yelland, cast and crew.

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

The list of shows eligible for 2013 Henry Awards consideration

The Vintage Theatre had perhaps the busiest year among small area theater companies, qualifying nine productions for Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award consideration.

The Vintage Theatre had perhaps the busiest year among small area theater companies, qualifying nine productions for Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award consideration.

 

By John Moore
June 19, 2013

The following shows presented by Colorado Theatre Guild member companies are fully eligible for 2013 Henry Award nominations. To qualify, a show must have opened between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013, and been seen by at least six judges.

In all, 59 Guild member companies were considered for at least one production, and overall, 167 productions reached the eligibility threshold, compared to 142 last year.

The 2013 nominations were released today, and you can read my analysis of the nominations here.


Abster Productions

August: Osage County

AHE Development
A Happy End

Aloft Productions
Bad Habits

And Toto Too
Naked in Encino
Pardon My Dust

Arvada Center
Legally Blonde, The Musical
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Miracle 34th Street
Blithe Spirit
Man of La Mancha
Dividing the Estate

Ashton Entertainment
The Seafarer

Aurora Fox
Wooden Snowflakes
Consider the Oyster
The Color Purple

Avenue Theater
Love Child
Motherhood Out Loud

Backstage Theatre
Leading Ladies

Band of Toughs
Moulin Scrooge

Bas Bleu Theatre
Almost Home
Mariela in the Desert
Ghosts

Ben Dicke Productions
Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Avenue Q
42nd Street
Church Basement Ladies
The Wizard of Oz

Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
How the World Began
Ghost-Writer
The Other Place
Bach at Leipzig

The Brothers Wefso
Constantine Aboard the Constantine

Buntport Theater
Sweet Tooth
Wake
A Knight to Remember

Byers-Evans House Theater Company
The Oscar Wilde Experience
A Doll’s House

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
Fiddler on the Roof
Mame
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Guys and Dolls

The Catamounts
Messenger #1
Jon

Cherry Creek Theatre Company
Grand Night for Singing
Visiting Mr. Green
Doubt
Baby, The Musical

Coal Creek Theatre Company
The Fantasticks

Creede Repertory Theatre
Is He Dead?
Harry the Great

Curious Theatre Company
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Time Stands Still
Maple and Vine
Brothers Size
God of Carnage

Curtain Productions
The Music Man
Quilters
Godspell
Steel Magnolias

Denver’s Dangerous Theatre
Comfort in the Arms of the Damned
The Perfect Gift

Denver Center Theatre Company
Three Musketeers
Fences
The Giver
When We Are Married
White Christmas
Ed Downloaded
Grace, or the Art of Climbing
Romeo and Juliet
A Weekend with Pablo Picasso
Other Desert Cities
Sense and Sensibility, the Musical

Edge Theatre
It’s Just Sex
Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them
Boom
Newark Violenta
Race
The Shadow Box

Equinox Theatre Company
Assassins
Bat Boy, the Musical
A Night at Fawlty Towers

Evergreen Players
Hair
The Laramie Project

Firehouse Theater
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Boy Gets Girl
Tigers be Still
Sylvia (with Spotlight)

Fourth Wall Theatre
12 Angry Women

Goodness Gracious
Harvey

Ignite Theatre
Spring Awakening
Sweeney Todd
Next to Normal
Cabaret

Inspire Creative
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Lake Dillon
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Marry Me a Little
Fox on the Fairway
The Sunshine Boys

LIDA Project
Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins
RUR/lol

Local Theatre
Elijah: An Adventure

Longmont Theatre Company
Over the Tavern
Lend Me a Tenor
A Little Night Music

Miners Alley Playhouse
Sweet Storm
The Belle of Amherst
The Threepenny Opera
Greetings!
Mrs. Mannerly
Pitman Painters
The Memory of Water

OpenStage
Wit
Bullshot Crummond
Amadeus

PACE Center and Slingshot
Scarlet Letter the Musical

Performance Now
Footloose
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Once Upon a Mattress
Sound of Music
South Pacific

Phamaly Theatre Company
Little Shop of Horrors
The Foreigner

Senior Housing Options
Driving Miss Daisy

Silhouette Theatre Company
Jailbait
This is How it Goes

Spark Theatre
Love Potion
Rebecca
Marie Antoinette
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Endgame
Mill Fire

Spotlight Theatre
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Sylvia (with Firehouse)
The Front Page

Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
The Pillowman

square product theatre company
44 Plays for 44 Presidents
The Ding Dongs

Starkey Theatrix
Little Shop of Horrors
Home for the Holidays
Noises Off
Hank Williams: Lost Highway
Always … Patsy Cline

Su Teatro
Miracle at Tepeyac

Theatre Company of Lafayette
Glengary Glen Ross

Theatre Esprit Asia
Dust Storm

Theatre Or
The Value of Names

TheatreWorks
You Can’t Take it With You
Red
Everyman (On The Bus)

Town Hall Arts Center
Sweet Charity
The Sound of Music
Forever Plaid
9 to 5 The Musical
The 39 Steps
Hair

Upstart Crow
The Glass Menagerie

Vintage Theatre
The Drowsy Chaperone
The Government Inspector
The Cider House Rules
Kiss of the Spiderwoman
RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy”
City of Angels
What’s Wrong With This Picture – Vintage
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
And Then There Was Nun

WIT Theatre
Arcadia

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Town Hall Arts Center leads balanced field of 2013 Henry Award nominees

AE26THREVIEW1
Ashlie-Amber Harris, left, is nominated for her supporting work in both the Aurora Fox’s The Color Purple,” above, and the Town Hall Arts Center’s “Hair.” SuCh, also pictured above, is a nominee for outstanding actress in a musical.

Dig it: "Hair" received 12 Henry Award nominations, including nods for best musical, best ensemble, and best leading actor for both Matt LaFontaine as Berger, and Casey Andree, above, as Claude.

Dig it: “Hair” received 12 Henry Award nominations, including nods for best musical, best ensemble, and best leading actor for both Matt LaFontaine as Berger, and Casey Andree, above, as Claude.

By John Moore
June 19, 2013

The Town Hall Arts Center leads all companies with 17 nominations for 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, largely on the strength of its 12 nods for “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” the most for any musical.

The eighth annual nominations are more evenly spread out than in any preceding year, with 16 nods for Curious Theatre Company, 15 for the Arvada Center and 13 for the Denver Center Theatre Company, which garnered only three acting noms.

The upstart Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company did the best by far among small companies that don’t produce musicals. BETC garnered nine nominations for four plays. Boulder’s Dinner Theatre also scored nine.

The winners will be announced July 22 at a fundraising gala to be held for the first time at the Arvada Center.

This is the first year that Colorado Theatre Guild member companies from outside the seven-country metro area are fully eligible for Henry Awards — as long as at least six judges found a way to attend their shows. That opened the field to seven newly nominated companies from Fort Collins to Breckenridge to Colorado Springs. In all, 21 stagings from outside the metro area received consideration for nominations.

The Lake Dillon Theatre Company announced itself rather loudly, with eight nominations. Seven of those nods went to its spare, tough rendition of “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” directed by Christopher Alleman. A high-profile production of the same title at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora was shut out.

OpenStage & Company of Fort Collins received two nominations for its production of “Amadeus,” including one for 81-year-old Jonathan Farwell as lead actor in a play. He played the scheming Salieri. Colorado Springs TheatreWorks co-produced Curious Theatre Company’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” which got drew noms.

Among individual musicals, “Hair” was followed by the Arvada Center’s “Man of La Mancha” with 10 nominations, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “42nd Street” with eight, and Dillon’s “Kiss of the Spider-Woman” with seven.

The leading plays were Curious Theatre’s “The Brothers Size” and BETC’s “Ghost-Writer,” with six each. Curious claimed three of the five spots in the outstanding play category, including “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” (a co-production with TheatreWorks) and “Time Stands Still.” The other contender in that category is Vintage’s one-man play “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” which also scored noms for its director (Terry Dodd) and star (James O’Hagan-Murphy).

“RFK’s” fourth nomination is in the category that is sure to get a lot of unprecedented attention: Best scenic design in a smaller-budgeted play.

The Guild, responding to feedback from membership, has taken the controversial step this year of splitting out its four design categories — scenic, costuming, lighting and sound — into large-budget and small-budget tiers. For the first time, there are four nominees in each category, divided between those whose producing member companies have an annual operating budget of more than (or less than) $1.1 million. So there will be two winners in each of those four design categories when the recipients are announced on July 22.

“In recent years, the theater community reached out and asked that we consider ways that allow our larger and smaller companies to compete, more appropriately, with each other,” said Colorado Theatre Guild general manager Gloria Shanstrom.

The change is an acknowledgement that companies with more money to spend have a better opportunity to impress audiences and judges than companies with  fewer resources and smaller playing spaces. For 2013, the “larger budget” companies are the Denver Center, Arvada Center, Curious Theatre and TheatreWorks in Colorado Springs. Next year that group will grow to include Theatre Aspen, which is just joining the Guild; and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which removed itself from consideration for the 2013 Henry Awards after faring poorly in the 2012 contest. That decision was made last summer by then Colorado Shakes producing artistic director Phil Sneed, who, ironically enough, is now the executive director of this year’s Henry-hosting theater, the Arvada Center. Interim Colorado Shakes artistic director Timothy Orr has placed the company’s 2013 efforts back into consideration for the 2014 Henry Awards.

That still leaves about 85 member companies in the “smaller budget” category, at least for this year, and it will be interesting to see what kind of response this change elicits. The bottom line is that each design category now grows from five nominees to eight. So, combined, there are 12 additional nominees in those four categories than there were last year. Perhaps surprisingly, the tiering process did not only benefit smaller-budgeted companies. By placing four nominees into the “larger budget” class, that also created new nominees for larger companies in some instances.

To be eligible for a Henry Award, a presenting company must first be an active member of the Colorado Theatre Guild. Then, each show must have been seen by at least six judges – a mix of reviewers and informed volunteers who score every play in individual award categories using a  point scale of between 1 and 50. Only six ballots count toward each production’s eventual score. To accommodate the inclusion of outlying companies, the voting panel was expanded to include qualified judges already living in those communities.

This year, the Colorado Theatre Guild says a total of 206 member shows were eligible for consideration, and of those, 167 were seen by the necessary minimum of six judges. That’s an all-time high for the Henrys, up from 142 last year, and attributable largely to the field work conducted throughout the year by Shanstrom. In the end, 59 member companies were considered for at least one staging. Of those, 21 companies and 41 productions received at least one nomination.

As always, the nominees produced several multiple individual nominees, but there is only one this year among actors. Ashlie-Amber Harris is competing against herself for outstanding supporting actress in a musical for her work in both Town Hall’s “Hair” and the Aurora Fox’s “The Color Purple,” which, frankly, was the far more demanding role (she played Shug Avery).

Nick Sugar often scores multiple Henry noms, and this year is no different. Sugar, whose latest directing effort is an acapella comedy called “Minimum Wage” opening Friday at the Avenue Theater, pulled three nominations — and was responsible for several more. He was cited for directing and choreography for “Hair,” and for his choreography of Town Hall’s dark Neil Simon turn, “Sweet Charity.”

The other three-time nominee is Shannon McKinney, who won three of the four “larger budget” spots for lighting Curious’ “The Brothers Size” and “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” as well as the Arvada Center’s “Man of La Mancha.”

Donna K. Debreceni is a double nominee for musical direction — for Town Hall’s “Forever Plaid” and “Hair.” Chris Campbell pulled the same feat for costuming the Arvada Center’s “Blithe Spirit” and “Man of La Mancha.” Perennial scenic design honoree Brian Mallgrave is listed twice among “larger budget” scenic designs for his work on the Arvada Center’s “Blithe Spirit” and “Man of La Mancha.” Linda Morken took noms for costuming both Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “42nd Street” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Terry Dodd was cited for directing “RFK” at Vintage, as well as co-designing the set.

2013 upstarts include Abster Productions, which scored four nominations for its regional premiere of “August: Osage County,” including two nominees in the high-octane category of lead actress in a play: Anne Oberbroeckling and Abby Apple Boes. That category will prove to be the humdinger of the evening. Those two women are joined by Rhonda Brown as Molly Ivins in LIDA Project’s “Red Hot Patriot,” Laura Norman in BETC’s Ghost-Writer” and the Denver Center Theatre Company’s great Kim Staunton (“Fences”).

Starkey Theatrix is making its first appearance among Henry nominees: Its homegrown seasonal offering “Home for the Holidays” earned a directing nod for Chris Starkey and a choreography nod for Ronni Gallup. Same for the Byers-Evans Theatre Company, which pulled its first nod, for Kevin Brainerd’s costuming of “A Doll’s House.”

Every year inevitably produces list of companies or shows left noticeably on the sidelines. Miners Alley Playhouse and Performance Now, companies that have fared well in Henrys past, did not receive nominations. The most obvious snub among shows were two musicals: The Arvada Center’s “Legally Blonde” and the Denver Center’s “Sense and Sensibility, the Musical,” which it has designs on taking to Broadway.  Neither were nominated for best musical. “Legally Blonde,” which won CultureWest’s True West Award for best musical of 2012, didn’t get a single Henry Award nomination. The Creede Repertory Theatre is easily one of the best theater companies in the state, but being 250 miles southwest of Denver, only two of its shows were eligible for nomination — the two that it presented in the Denver area as well. That resulted in no nominations.

One show that might appear to have been snubbed is Germinal Stage Denver’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” but while Germinal is a Guild member, founder Ed Baierlein did not enter his shows into consideration.

Additional special awards for regional theater, lifetime achievement and outstanding volunteer will be announced in July. The awards will take begin at 6 p.m. Monday, July 22, at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Tickets are $25 or $50, and go on sale Monday, June 24, by phone only by calling 720-898-7200.
 
 

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WAS YOUR SHOW EVEN ELIGIBLE?

To view the complete list of 167  productions that were eligible for Henry Award ocnsideration, click here:

THE 2012-13 HENRY AWARD NOMINEES:

Outstanding Season for a Theater Company
Arvada Center
Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Curious Theatre Company
Denver Center Theatre Company
Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Musical
“42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Directed by Michael J. Duran, Musical Director Neal Dunfee

“The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox
Directed by donnie l. betts, Musical Director David Wohl

“Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Directed by Nick Sugar, Musical Director Donna K. Debreceni

“Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Directed by Christopher Alleman, Musical Director Jonathan Parks

“Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Directed by Rod A. Lansberry, Musical Director David Nehls

Outstanding Play
“The Brothers Size,” Curious Theatre Company
Directed by Dee Covington

“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Directed by Chip Walton

“Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Directed by Josh Hartwell

“RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
Directed by Terry Dodd

“Time Stands Still,” Curious Theatre Company
Directed by Christy Montour-Larson

Outstanding Ensemble
“Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Directed by Josh Hartwell

“Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Directed by Nick Sugar, Musical Direction by Donna K. Debreceni

“How the World Began,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Directed by Stephen Weitz

“Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Directed by Rod A. Lansberry, Musical Direction by David Nehls

“Time Stands Still,” Curious Theatre Company
Directed by Christy Montour-Larson

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical
Casey Andree, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Joshua Blanchard, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
John Scott Clough, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Matt LaFontaine, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
William Michals, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
Brianna Firestone, “Sweet Charity,” Town Hall Arts Center
Selah Grace, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Norrell Moore, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
SuCh, “The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox Theatre
Megan Van De Hey, “Baby! The Musical,” Cherry Creek Theatre Company
Kathi Wood, “Little Shop of Horrors,” Phamaly Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Christopher Alleman, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
donnie l. betts, “The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
Michael J. Duran, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Rod A. Lansberry, “Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Nick Sugar, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
Laurence Curry, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
Jonathan Farwell, “Amadeus,” OpenStage Theatre & Company
Cajardo Lindsey, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
James O’Hagan-Murphy, “RFK” A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
Steef Sealy, “The Seafarer,” Ashton Entertainment

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Abby Apple Boes, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Rhonda Brown, “Red Hot Patriot: The Wit and Wisdom of Molly Ivins,” LIDA Project
Laura Norman, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Anne Oberbroeckling, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Kim Staunton, “Fences,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction of a Play
Dee Covington, The Brothers Size, Curious Theatre Company
Terry Dodd, “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
Josh Hartwell, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Peter J. Hughes, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Chip Walton, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Robert Wells, “The 39 Steps,” Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding New Play or Musical
“A Knight to Remember,” written by Buntport Theater
Directed by Buntport Theater
Produced by Buntport Theater

“Ed, Downloaded,” written by Michael Mitnick
Directed by  Sam Buntrock
Produced by Denver Center Theatre Company

“Elijah: An Adventure,” written by Michael Mitnick
Directed by Pesha Rudnick
Produced by Local Theater Company

“Newark Violenta,” written by Jonson Kuhn
Directed by Richard Cowden
Produced by The Edge Theatre Company

“Sweet Tooth,” written by Buntport Theater and Adam Stone
Directed by Buntport Theater, Musical Direction by Adam Stone
Produced by Buntport Theater

Outstanding Musical Direction
Donna K. Debreceni, “Forever Plaid,” Town Hall Arts Center
Donna K. Debreceni, “Hair, “Town Hall Arts Center
Neal Dunfee, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
David Nehls, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Jonathan Parks, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theater Company
Chris Starkey, “Home for the Holidays,” Starkey Theatrix

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
Ben Dicke, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Ed Dixon, “Sense & Sensibility the Musical,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Tyrell D. Rae, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Thomas Rainey., “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Burke Walton, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical    
Jennifer DeDominici, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Ruth Gottschall, “Sense & Sensibility the Musical,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Ashlie-Amber Harris, “The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
Ashlie-Amber Harris, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Madison Kitchen, “Next to Normal,” Ignite Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
Sam Gregory, “Driving Miss Daisy,” Senior Housing Options
Kevin Hart, “The Seafarer,” Ashton Entertainment
Chris Kendall, “How the World Began, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Bob Moore, “The Sunshine Boys,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Warren Sherrill    , “The Seafarer,” Ashton Entertainment

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
Kathleen M. Brady, “When We Are Married,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Rachel D. Graham, “Doubt,” Cherry Creek Theatre Company
Devon James, “Time Stands Still,” Curious Theatre Company
C. Kelly Leo, “Maple and Vine,” Curious Theatre Company
Jeanne Paulsen, “Romeo & Juliet,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Choreography
Ronni Gallup, “Home for the Holidays,” Starkey Theatrix
Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Nick Sugar, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Nick Sugar, “Sweet Charity,” Town Hall Arts Center
Tracey Warren, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Costumes: Large budget
Chris Campbell, “Blithe Spirit,” Arvada Center
Chris Campbell, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Clare Henkel, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” Arvada Center
Christina Poddubiuk,  “Romeo and Juliet,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Costumes: Small budget
Kevin Brainerd, “A Doll’s House,” Byers-Evans House Theatre Company
Linda Morken, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Linda Morken, “The Wizard of Oz,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Roxanne Storlie & Rebecca Spafford, “Amadeus,” OpenStage Theatre & Company

Outstanding Lighting Design: Large budget
Shannon McKinney, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
Shannon McKinney, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Shannon McKinney, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Jane Spencer, “The Giver,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design: Small budget
Seth Alison, “The 39 Steps,” Town Hall Arts Center
Kerry Cripe, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Jon Scott-McKean, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Jacob M. Welch, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Outstanding Scenic Design: Large budget
Brian Mallgrave, “Blithe Spirit,” Arvada Center
Brian Mallgrave, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Charles Packard, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Vicki Smith, “Fences,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Scenic Design: Small budget  
Abster Productions, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Kathryn Kawecki, “Elijah: An Adventure,” Local Theater Company
David LaFont and Terry Dodd, “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre
Amy Campion, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design: Large budget  
Brian Freeland, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Jason Ducat, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
Tyler Nelson, “Ed, Downloaded,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Rodolfo Ortega and Craig Breitenbach, “Romeo and Juliet,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Sound Design: Small budget  
Wayne Kennedy, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Andrew Metzroth, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Adam Stone, “Wake,” Buntport Theater
Luke Allen Terry, “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
 

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My Night at Phamaly’s “Circle of Stars” gala

To see caption information for any photo above, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

By John Moore
June 18, 2013

The Phamaly Theatre Company’s 2013 Circle of Stars benefit at the Mizel Center’s Wolf Theatre on June 15 was an evening of performance excerpts from recent shows and upcoming titles, including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Source/Su Teatro’s ‘The Gospel at Colonus’

To see caption information for any photo above, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

By John Moore
June 12, 2013

Opening No. 81: The Source Theatre and Su Teatro’s “The Gospel at Colonus”: This co-production is a spiritual and uplifting telling of the Oedipus tragedy as inspired by African-American Pentecostal churches and sung by a choir of 32. Oedipus’ torment and redemption is presented as a parable that explores myth as a powerful connecting point for all people. The original script, developed in 1985 by experimental theater director Lee Breuer, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Directed by Jimmy Walker, Music directed by Michael A. Williams, choir directed by Ervia P. Davis. Featuring Don Randle, Martin Estes Jr., Roslyn Washington, Jesse Ogas and Charlie Romero; featured choir soloists such as Robertta Moore, Willie Singleton and Krisangela Washington; and scores of ensemble choir members you might recognize such as Dwayne Carrington, Vincent Robinson, Amy Luna, Mehry Elaminia, and Su Teatro matriarch Yolanda Ortega … for starters. Through June 30. Showtimes 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; plus 2 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or the source’s home page. Thanks: Mica Garcia de Benavidez, Anthony J. Garcia, B. Arnold King-Hall, cast and crew.

The gallery above is just one chapter in my ongoing photo series called “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theatre,” bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes all over Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the actual, official photo series featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from 80 Colorado opening nights (and counting), click here.

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Colorado Shakes’ ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

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By John Moore
June 12, 2013

Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Even if you’ve seen Shakespeare’s most popular title before, you likely haven’t seen it with a Hermia who walks (and dances!) with a crutch. Sean Scrutchins makes for a charming hero with his lady love — that is, before his Lysander transforms from a Romeo into a Ro-monster. As Hermia, Jenna Bainbridge doesn’t know it, but she is about to lose her crutch (two of them, actually). Turns out, she doesn’t much need it. Bainbridge, who has oft-demonstrated her loveliness while starring in sweet musicals like “Beauty and the Beast” for the handicapped Phamaly Theatre Company, and “Cinderella” for Boulder’s Dinner Theatre, has also proved to have talons in the Denver Center Academy’s “The Rimers of Eldritch.” In “Midsummer,” she’s the picture of loveliness, until Lysander’s spell-bound reversal turns her Hermia into a veritable forest pugilist. Bainbridge, a Castle Rock native and rising senior soprano at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, was partially paralyzed from a fall at 18 months old, and now walks with a pronounced limp. But in this fresh and fun new take on “Midsummer,” she’s proving once again that she can pretty much run with anyone. Also starring Sammie Jo Kinnett, Taylor Fisher, Steven Cole Hughes, Jamie Ann Romero, Nigel Gore, Greg West and Larry Hecht. And featuring Nathan Stith, Sam Sandoe, Hannah Christenson, Alex Esola, Bud Coleman, William Rowland, James Miller, Benaiah Anderson, Jared Norman, Nicole Bruce, Amy Handra, Trine Jensen, Lydia Thompson, Sofie Berg and Sarah Jo Adler. Directed with great wit and good cheer by Geoffrey Kent, longtime company actor and fight choreographer, in his Colorado Shakes directorial debut. Showtimes: 8 p.m. Saturdays June 15, 22 and July 6 (plus Thursday, Aug. 8); 6:30 p.m. Sundays July 21, 28, and Aug. 4 and 11; plus 6:30 p.m. on various weekdays: July 23-24, and Aug. 3, 6 and 7. At the Mary Rippon Amphitheatre, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or Colorado Shakes’ home page. Thanks: Clay Evans, Rachel Ducat, Paul Behrhorst and Caitlin Conklin.

The gallery above is just one chapter in my ongoing photo series called “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theatre,” bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes all over Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the actual, official photo series featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from 80 Colorado opening nights (and counting), click here.

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photo Series: It’s Opening Night in Colorado 2013

To see caption information on any photo above, click here. (It will be on the lower-left corner.) Or just click “show info” on any photo. If you prefer see this feature in its previous format (with each new photo stacked on top of the last), click here.

By John Moore
Jan. 1, 2014

Welcome to my 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. This series includes one representative shot from 151 of the performances we saw 2013. The intent was to allow the reader a window into a part of the creative process they are not often allowed to witness. The result was awide swath of public and private moments backstage, onstage and outside of the stage entirely. In addition to this primary series, we dedicated a gallery of outtakes to most every production we visited as well. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To inquire about reprints, email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

THE FINAL ENTRY:

OPENING 151
At the end of their final performance, it was only fitting that, from left, Scott Koop, Alex Crawford, Amie Rau, Johnette Toye, Annie Dwyer, Rory Pierce, T.J. Mullin (and, unseen, musicians Randy Johnson and Eric Weinstein) had no choice but to stand silently while the overflow, cheering crowd stood for several minutes thanking them not just for an evening of entertainment, but for a quarter-century of laughs, songs, terrible puns and heart-tugging moments.

Opening No. 151: Heritage Square Music Hall’s “Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodbye”: It seems only appropriate that the final entry in our “opening nights” photo series was, in fact, a closing night. And what a closing night it was for the Heritage Square Music Hall: A New Year’s Eve celebration, followed by a midnight toast, live band and dancing into the wee hours. This wasn’t just the end of a show for the Golden institution. This was closing night … period. And not just for T.J. Mullin and his venerable cadre of triple-threat performers. No, this was the end of the kind of entertainment Heritage Square has been providing audiences since Mullin bought the Music Hall from the legendary Bill Oakley in 1988. The Music Hall stopped being an old-fashioned house of melodrama long ago. It evolved into a place that offered blue-collar, comfortable, throwback fun. Clean, family entertainment (the hardest kind of comedy to pull off) that was both ridiculous and impeccably delivered at once. The Music Hall became best-known for its “Loud” shows, a series of pop radio hits performed by a cast that never got the credit it deserved for being among the most talented performers on any Denver stage. That final cast was Alex Crawford, Johnette Toye, Annie Dwyer, Rory Pierce and T.J. Mullin, with musicians Randy Johnson, Eric Weinstein and Crawford, with help from the booth from Scott Koop and Amie Rau. Merry Christmas indeed, Heritage Square Music Hall. And to all of you: Goodbye. Until we see you again. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Connie Helsley. Look for a full photo gallery from the final night in the coming days, as well as a video podcast that will include cast and audience interviews, and some performance highlights.

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

CPR names Chloe Veltman editor of new arts bureau

chloeBy John Moore
June 11, 2013

Please join me in welcoming to Denver Chloe Veltman, who has been hired as the first editor of Colorado Public Radio’s forthcoming new arts bureau, a game-changing journalism initiative  made possible by a $900,000 grant from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.

The appointment of the San Franciscan was announced by CPR vice president of news Kelley Griffin, who cited Veltman’s extensive experience covering the arts in print, web and radio. Her resume includes serving as the New York Times’ Bay Area arts correspondent, chief theater critic for SF Weekly and contributing a syndicated culture blog for www.ArtsJournal.com. Her work has been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Theatre Magazine, The Economist, The Guardian, BBC Classical Music Magazine, Gramophone magazine and others.

On Jan. 23, CPR announced the creation of an arts news bureau and online arts hub, with the goal of  significantly increasing CPR’s arts coverage across the state. Arts is just the first of seven news bureaus CPR is planning for the long-term.

Veltman will head a new team of two full-time reporters who will contribute arts news, previews and in-depth stories about major cultural and arts organizations, while also examining broad topics such as the funding and sustainability of the arts, and how art news relates to education and state government. Reviews, interviews, event calendars and audio and video performances are planned as part of the online arts hub.

Much of this new coverage will be regularly featured on all three of CPR’s radio stations: News on Denver’s 90.1 FM (and others around the state), classical music on 88.1 FM and indie-rock music on OpenAir at 1340 AM.

Veltman’s first day on the job will be July 17.

“Chloe is also an arts practitioner,” Griffin said in announcing the appointment. “She studied theater, has sung with the Convivium and Full Fathom Five vocal ensembles and played the oboe with the Mill Valley Philharmonic.”

 

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund
If you could not attend your fundraiser tomorrow, you can still help get us off the ground with your donation. Just go to our fundraising page here to contribute — with our humble thanks.

Convicted UNC theater professor Vance Fulkerson released from prison one year early

VANCE3

By John Moore
June 8, 2013

Disgraced University of Northern Colorado theater professor Vance Fulkerson, who was sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 for the felony sexual exploitation of five children, has been released one year early and is now living in Boulder.

Many students and alumni expressed outrage when Fulkerson received only a four-year prison sentence. He faced a maximum of 12 years in jail.

Fulkerson, 67, did his time at the Bent County Correctional Facility in Las Animas and is now a registered sex offender with Boulder County.  The exact addresses of all sex offenders in Boulder County are included in the registry to warn neighbors, in compliance with sex-offender registration laws. Fulkerson is registered as living in a Boulder apartment complex. (Here is the link to the public registry.) According to the registry web site,  “Persons should not rely solely on the sex-offender registry as a safeguard against perpetrators of sexual assault in their communities. The crime for which a person is convicted may not accurately reflect the level of risk.”

The charge for which Fulkerson was sentenced involved five victims, all under the age of 18. Greeley police identified 13 victims who were secretly videotaped by Fulkerson as they used the toilet in the bathroom in Fulkerson’s Greeley home. There were dozens of other boys on videotapes that were confiscated from Fulkerson’s home, many of whom were never identified or chose not to participate in the criminal prosecution.

Fulkerson resigned from UNC in September 2009, after 18 years at the school. He had been credited with boosting the credibility and national profile of UNC’s theater program.

In exchange for his guilty plea in March 2010, prosecutors dropped 16 counts against him, including six felony counts of sexual exploitation and nine misdemeanor “peeping Tom” charges.

The videotaping occurred roughly over a two-year period from 2007 to 2009. Fulkerson was arrested July 2, 2009, after a student discovered a video camera inside a digital clock on top of the toilet in his bathroom. Police said the video fed directly into six televisions in Fulkerson’s bedroom.

It was there Fulkerson edited the video and created more than 150 DVDs, prosecutor Anthony Perea said at the trial. His shower curtain was clear, so Fulkerson could easily record the boys as they showered as well, Perea said. All the videos were labeled with brief descriptions of what the victims were doing.

Perea argued that Fulkerson used his lengthy resume to lure UNC’s youngest male theater students to his home. “This resume was his candy to get victims into his house and into his bathroom to pull their pants down and urinate for him,” Perea said. One victim who was taking a private voice lesson at Fulkerson’s house said Fulkerson sent him to the bathroom and told him to try urinating while singing. “He told me, ‘You know the muscles you use to pee? Well, that’s where you need to sing from, so why don’t you go in and try using the bathroom and sing?’ ” the man said.

Fulkerson’s attorney, Alexander Garlin, argued at the trial that his client is a repressed homosexual who was raped by at least three men between the ages of 11 and 13. That repression worsened when he began to care for his elderly and sick parents in the 1990s.

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Photos: My night at Cherry Creek Theatre’s ‘Baby’

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Because “Baby” is being staged in the Shaver-Ramsey Showroom — a fine carpet store —
the entire set must be assembled, taken down stored in a parking-lot pod and assembled again — for every performance.

By John Moore
June 5, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore copyright 2013 for www.CultureWest.Org.

Opening No. 75: Cherry Creek Theatre Company’s “Baby, the Musical”: “Baby, running through June 23, is a 1983 musical about impending parenthood as told through three couples dealing with the potential consequences of this most universal experience. There are two college students (Emily Luhrs and Drew Hirschboeck), two thirtysomethings having trouble conceiving (Shannan Steele and Scott Severtson) and two middle-aged parents (Brian Walker-Smith and Megan Van De Hey) who thought their diaper-changing days were over. Director Pat Payne has assembled a big-name cast including five Equity (union) actors. Also featuring Jona Alonzo, Ben Dicke, Lisa Finnerty and Parker Redford. I’m not saying staging this musical about love could get a little confusing backstage but, in real-life, Luhrs is sweet on Dicke; Severtson just became a dad again, Van De Hey is partial to assistant stage manager Robert Michael Sanders; and while Steele plays a woman desperate to become pregnant, she is expecting her second child. Oh, baby! Showtimes 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 6:30 p.m. Sundays at Parker Redford at the Shaver-Ramsey Showroom, 2414 E. 3rd Ave., 303-800-6578 or Cherry Creek Theatre’s home page. Thanks to Amy Brosius, Gloria Shanstrom, Richard H. Pegg, Mark Rossman and Maxine Rossman.

The following gallery is just one chapter in my ongoing photo series called “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theatre,” bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes all over Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the actual, official photo series featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from 76 Colorado opening nights (and counting), click here.

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Parker Redford gets a backrub from Emily Ann Luhrs, who gets a backrub from Drew Hirschboeck, backstage on opening night. Backstage, in this case, is really a downstage storage room at the Shaver-Ramsey Showroom. (Yes, the actual rug store).

 

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The Shaver-Ramsey Showroom.

 

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Production designer Richard H. Pegg installs the stage for opening night.

 

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Megan Van De Hey helps prepare pregnant castmate Shannan Steele for a backstage photo shoot: Steele was featured in my blog celebrating the women of the Colorado theater community — all wearing my sunglasses.

 

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The finished portrait!

 

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Brian Walker-Smith is in the house.

 

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Emily Ann Luhrs with her castmate and real-life boyfriend, Ben Dicke, an actor and ultra-runner who would run a 50K race the morning after this performance. Dicke plays several support characters in the ensemble, including a lugubrious and oblivious reproductive specialist.

 

(Please click “Page 2” below to go to the next page of our photos from our visit to “Baby.”

Video: Step Up to the Mic: Denver Actors Fun-draiser highlights

By John Moore
June 3, 2013

Watch video highlights from CultureWest’s evening of karaoke silliness to raise seed money for the new Denver Actors Fund, a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need.

The host was Kent Randell. Performers on this video include Hannah Duggan, Steven Burge, Rich Cowden, Ben Dicke, Traci Kern, Seth Caikowski, Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Joel Adam Chavez, Carla Kaiser Kotrc, Lindsey Falduto, Tyler Nielson, Rob Rehburg, Paul Dwyer, Brian Walker-Smith, Joey Gasiorek, Justin Franzen, Suzanne Nepi and Kathi Wood.

Photos:


Photos by John Moore, Kevin Lowry and Dabiel Langhoff.

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund
If you could not attend our June 1 fundraiser, you can still help get us off the ground with your donation. Just go to our fundraising page here to contribute — with our humble thanks.

About CultureWest.Org
Former Denver Post theater critic John Moore launched www.CultureWest.Org in August 2012 to change the way arts and culture are covered in Denver. In addition to reporting breaking news, his innovations have included several long-form video news documentaries; a daily Q&A with local theater directors; and an ambitious, year-long photo series titled, “It’s Opening Night in Colorado.” He also is the founder of the Denver Poust Underground Music Showcase (The UMS), entering its 13th year as now the largest music festival in Denver with more than 350 bands playing over four days.

Photos: 2013 Bobby G Awards honoring Colorado high-school theater

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Chaparral High School wins the first-ever Bobby G Award for outstanding musical, “Les Misérables.” See the slideshow below for more shots. Just push the “play” button.

By John Moore
June 2, 2013

The 2013 Bobby G Awards, named after late Denver producer Robert Garner, honor the best in Colorado high-school musical theater. They are part of a national awards program called the Jimmys. The inaugural Bobby G’s gala was held May 30, 2013, at the Seawell Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

All photos taken by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. All rights reserved


Additional coverage:

For more coverage of the 2013 Bobby G Awards, click here. You’ll find:

Video: Watch as Chaparral High School’s “Les Misérables” wins best musical.

Video: Colorado actors on Broadway offer their support and congratulations.

Names: Complete list of nominees and winners.

What are the Bobby G’s?
In addition, here you can about the Denver Center’s decision to join the national high-school awards program.

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