No shades. No shutter. But something wicked this way comes …

sonnets

By John Moore

The sunglasses are scattered like … confetti after the AFC Championship Game.

The Canon has frozen its final curtain call.

But something is coming. A new way of calling attention to local theatre productions and the artists who make them.

That’s all for now.

The Earth has music for those who listen.

Video podcast: Closing night at the Heritage Square Music Hall

The Heritage Square Music Hall performed for a final time on New Year’s Eve, bringing to an end a 25-year tradition of blue-collar, family-friendly entertainment. Our video podcast includes audience and cast interviews, as well as performance highlights. The cast includes T.J. Mullin, Alex Crawford, Rory Pierce, Annie Dwyer, Johnette Toye, Randy Johnson, Eric Weinstein, Scott Koop and Amie Rau. Video by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Connie Helsley.

To see our complete gallery of photos from closing night, click here

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

Support the Denver Actors Fund:Buy our awesome fundraising poster:

poster1.4_CrossSo all year long I have been taking photos of beautiful women (and token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all wearing my cheap sunglasses. Now the result of that work is this great poster supporting the Denver Actors Fund nonprofit I founded in June. Order this poster for just $20. Just send an email to denveractorsfund@gmail.com with your quantity number and address. Thanks!

How you can donate directly 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):

Exit interview: LIDA Project founder Brian Freeland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By John Moore

For nearly 20 years, Brian Freeland has been a singular force in the local theater community. As founder of the LIDA Project collective, he has been the keeper of the flame for true experimental theatre in Denver. Last month, Freeland moved with his family to New York. Freeland says the LIDA Project will live on in Denver, but only time will tell.

Either way, his place in Colorado theatre history is secure, and we couldn’t let him get away without an expanded exit interview covering his past and our present. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and read this indispensable local theatre figure’s wide-ranging and sometimes scathing thoughts on the ecology of our local theatre. It’s an essential read for anyone who cares about theatre in Colorado.

Here’s just a taste: “I think our cultural elite in Denver gets what it deserves right now.”

To read the story, click here.

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

Support the Denver Actors Fund:Buy our awesome fundraising poster:

poster1.4_CrossSo all year long I have been taking photos of beautiful women (and token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all wearing my cheap sunglasses. Now the result of that work is this great poster supporting the Denver Actors Fund nonprofit I founded in June. Order this poster for just $20. Just send an email to denveractorsfund@gmail.com with your quantity number and address. Thanks!

How you can donate directly 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):

Top 25 Shots from 2013 “Opening Nights” photo series

By John Moore
Jan. 10, 2014

Throughout 2013, we brought you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes at theeater productions staged all over Colorado. The intent was to allow the reader a window into a part of the creative process you are not often allowed to witness. The result was awide swath of public and private moments backstage, onstage and outside of the stage entirely. This series included one representative shot from each of 151 of the performances we saw 2013. In addition, we dedicated a full photo gallery bringing readers an additional 15 to 40 outtakes from most every production we visited as well.

In this slideshow, I have chosen my 25 personal favorites.

All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To inquire about reprints, email culturewestjohn@gmail.com. To see the entire series, with one representative shot for each of the 151 productions, click here.

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

Support the Denver Actors Fund:Buy our awesome fundraising poster:

poster1.4_CrossSo all year long I have been taking photos of beautiful women (and token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all wearing my cheap sunglasses. Now the result of that work is this great poster supporting the Denver Actors Fund nonprofit I founded in June. Order this poster for just $20. Just send an email to denveractorsfund@gmail.com with your quantity number and address. Thanks!

How you can donate directly 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):

Closing time for the ‘Opening Nights’ photo series; No. 151: Heritage Square Music Hall’s ‘Goodbye’

To see caption information on any photo above, or to see the gallery on a mobile phone, click here. (It will be on the lower-left corner.) Or just click “show info” on any photo.

By John Moore
Jan. 8, 2014

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 for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Heritage Square” outtakes), click here.

 

OPENING 151
At the end of their final performance on Dec, 31, 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.

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. For this wasn’t just the end of a show for the Golden institution. That 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 Heritage Square 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. All photos by John Moore for CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Connie Helsley. Look in the coming days for a video podcast from the final night. It will include cast and audience interviews, and some performance highlights.

IMG_7567The mark of Dwyer … Annie Dwyer.

 

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

Support the Denver Actors Fund:Buy our awesome fundraising poster:

poster1.4_CrossSo all year long I have been taking photos of beautiful women (and token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all wearing my cheap sunglasses. Now the result of that work is this great poster supporting the Denver Actors Fund nonprofit I founded in June. Order this poster for just $20. Just send an email to denveractorsfund@gmail.com with your quantity number and address. Thanks!

How you can donate directly 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):

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Becky Toma

BeckyTomaNote: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the aid recipient wants to have his or her story be told.

Aid recipient No. 3 and No. 41: Becky Toma

Updated Jan. 8, 2017:

Who she is: For years, Becky has been a busy props designer and P.R. freelancer for clients that include schools, local theatre companies and Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Shows she has designed recently have included: “A Christmas Story, The Musical” at Town Hall Arts Center; “Urinetown” for the Wolf Academy at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center; and “Einstein” for the JAAMM Festival at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center. She is currently prepping “Bonnie and Clyde” at Town Hall and “The Jungle Book” for the Denver Children’s Theatre at the Mizel. When she was injured in 2013, Becky was in the process of designing and building props for two more local theatre productions. “Friends and some of my fellow theater professionals jumped in to help me complete the shows,” she said . “I built a number of props from my hospital room. Staff and residents found this very entertaining as props came and went from my room!”

becky-toma-quoteHer medical story: Becky fell and fractured her knee (the tibial plateau) on Nov. 15, 2013. Doctors hoped  her knee would mend over time without surgery, but that meant she would have to get around in a wheelchair for months. Eventually she needed a pricey surgical procedure to break up the build-up of scar tissue, and from there the costs both expected and unexpected piled up. There was a stay at a rehab hospital for several weeks, followed by doctors visits, physical therapy, the rental of a wheelchair ramp at her house, in-home equipment and more. She missed a lot of work, and her insurance  only covered so much. So she set up a payment plan. But after more than three years of faithfully whittling down her debt through monthly payments, Becky still owes Kaiser Permanente $1,701.35 for a fall she took more than three years ago.

How we helped Becky then … and now: On Jan. 7,  2014, the fledgling Denver Actors Fund was thrilled to make Becky just our third financial-aid recipient by issuing her a check in the princely amount of $294.06 to specifically pay for her wheelchair rental. Three years and one day later, we are all the more tickled to send her a check for $1,701.35 to once and for all pay off the amount she still owes to Kaiser Permanente.

A message from Becky: “I am so very grateful to the Denver Actors Fund for coming to my aid in paying off the remaining debt from my knee injury three years ago. What a gift! I have struggled every month for the past three years to pay this “extra” bill, and now that weight will be lifted. To all those who continually support the Denver Actors Fund, believe you me, it’s a blessing times a thousand! Thank you Denver Actors Fund and everyone in our theatre community.”

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Download the brief form by clicking here

 

ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

Video above: The Denver Actors Fund receives the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2016 Community Impact Award.

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in situational medical need. To date, the Fund has allocated more than $76,000 to local artists. In addition to financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.

HOW YO CAN HELP US:

To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks).

To donate by mail, please send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

 

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

15676420_633660763485857_5012900835356940649_oSTAGED READING: On the final night of the Obama presidency, come to the staged reading of John Moore’s “Waiting for Obama,” which was recently performed at the New York International Fringe Festival. It’s about one Colorado Springs family that is convinced the President is coming for their guns. And in the world of this play, they just might be right. Thursday, Jan. 19. Social hour at 6 p.m. in The Edge Theatre Company bar, with drinks and snacks. The reading begins at 7. The plays runs 75 minutes. This event is free. Donations will be accepted at the door for the Denver Actors Fund. There are no advance ticket sales. Just join us at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood. Direct any questions to culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

“DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS …” MONTHLY FILM SERIES: The Alamo daf-alamoDrafthouse Cinema in Littleton hosts a monthly film series in partnership with the Denver Actors Fund featuring films inspired by musicals and plays that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Sunday, Jan. 22, is the film Billy Elliot, featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Vintage Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production of Billy Elliot, the Musical. Join us for live musical performances, trivia, ticket giveaways … and the movie! CHOOSE YOUR SEATS NOW!

And coming up after that:

Feb. 16, 18 and 22: Special Fathom Events screening of Newsies, featuring Jeremy Jordan CHOOSE YOUR SEATS NOW

6:30 p.m. Monday, March 13: Jesus Christ Superstar, with entertainment from the Arvada Center CHOOSE YOUR SEATS NOW

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

Buy a poster!
poster1.4_Cross

134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com

Visit our online merch store: T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

Why it matters: Watch this video:

Photos: My night at Vintage Theatre’s ‘Young Frankenstein’

To see caption information on any photo above, or to see the gallery on a mobile phone, click here. (It will be on the lower-left corner.) Or just click “show info” on any photo.

By John Moore
Jan. 4, 2014

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 for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Balls” outtakes), click here.

 

Opening No. 150: Vintage Theatre’s “Young Frankenstein”: This wickedly inspired re-imagining of the classic Mel Brooks movie follows young Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (“that’s Fronkensteen!”) as he attempts to create a monster, just like his uncle Victor – but not without comic complications. The brains behind the laughter is the mad genius himself – Brooks wrote the music and lyrics and co-wrote the book. This production is the first since renovations to the Vintage Theatre stage that lowered the playing area, allowing for greater vertical playing space. There is also increased wing space that allows for larger sets and larger live orchestras. Musical director Hunter Hall sports a merry band of 11 for “Young Frankenstein.” Starring Seth Maisel (Frederick Frankenstein), Mark Shonsey (Igor), Kristi Siedow-Thompson (Inga), Mike Keinker (The Monster), Shahara Ostrand (Elizabeth), Barbara Porecca (Frau Blucher), Patrick Brownson (Hans Kemp), Chris Gallegos (Victor), Richard-Curtis Simpson (Harold the Hermit) and Zach Nick (Ziggy), with an ensemble of Matt Cantwell, Matt Davis, Steffan Scrogan, David Ballew, Teig Stanley, Preston Britton, Kathi Wood, Kaitlyn Althoff, Bianca Hinchley and Nicole Giordano. Directed by Deb Flomberg. The show plays through Feb. 2. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays at 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintage’s home page . Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Aran Peters, Deb Persoff and Craig Bond.

IMG_7456
Part of the excitement of any opening night is when the crew discovers not everything us as ready as they had thought. Thirty minutes before this opening performance, it was discovered that the show’s “brain jar” had been cracked. An emergency tub of Tupperware (seen above) was rushed into service. Funnyman Mark Shonesy, who plays Igor, teased the backstage crew with his feigned difficulty keeping the brain in its place.

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

Support the Denver Actors Fund:Buy our awesome fundraising poster:

poster1.4_CrossSo all year long I have been taking photos of beautiful women (and token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all wearing my cheap sunglasses. Now the result of that work is this great poster supporting the Denver Actors Fund nonprofit I founded in June. Order this poster for just $20. Just send an email to denveractorsfund@gmail.com with your quantity number and address. Thanks!

How you can donate directly 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):

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Maggie Stillman

842986_466264396761109_560817208_oNote: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the grant recipient wants to have his or her story be told.

Aid recipient No. 2: Maggie Stillman

Who she is: Director and founder of the Byers-Evans House Theatre Company, which is in the process of becoming the Ripple Effect Theatre Company that this year will move into residence at the Laundry on Lawrence (home of  the LIDA Project).

Her story: Maggie has been on medical leave from work since Dec. 9 and earned only $150 for the month of December. After an E.R. visit and a battery of expensive tests, doctors still haven’t made a diagnosis. Among other issues, she can’t eat without getting sick. Because her short-term disability claim was denied, Maggie needs $350 to pay for her yearly insurance deductible. “I have more tests scheduled, and without being able to pay for the deductible, I wouldn’t be able to go,” she says. “But I need to go. I need that diagnosis.” To top it off … she has pinkeye, too, and is presently quarantined.

Update: The tests that Maggie needed to get her diagnosis have revealed that she needed to have her gall bladder removed immediately.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund paid the $350 for Maggie’s deductible, followed by an additional $200 for other medical expenses.

A message from Maggie: “You are helping me so much. We have such an amazing and beautiful community. I’ve thought that for so many years. I promise, I will pay the kindness forward. To all of the beautiful souls who have dedicated even $1 to this fund, just know that it makes a difference in the lives of people you know, people you work with, people who feel less stressed because of your generosity. My stress thermometer pretty much hit 100 degrees on Tuesday, and today it came back down by several degrees because of the Denver Actors Fund. Every dollar counts, because every dollar stands for Love. Thanks for the Love. ‘Thank you’ isn’t enough.”

 

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, please go here (with our humble thanks):

 

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Download the brief form by clicking here

 

poster1.4_Cross

Buy a poster! 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com

Visit our online merch store: T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

Why it matters: Watch this video:

Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 3: A Community Responds

On Sunday, CultureWest named Shelly Bordas Colorado’s 2013 Theatre Person of the Year. Here is the third and latest installment in veteran journalist John Moore’s ongoing video documentary series chronicling Bordas’ story since the Denver actor and mother was diagnosed – for a second time – with end-stage breast cancer that has now spread to her brain and eyes.

In Part 3, the theater community learns of Bordas’ dying wish to take her son on a Disney cruise — and makes it happen. Performers and interview subjects include Kevin Lowry, Jesse Greaves-Smith,  Adrian Holguin, Mitch Samu, Colin Hearn, Thaddeus Valdez, Susan Lyles, Megan Van De Hey, Sarah Rex,  Sarah Roshan, Rob Costigan, Jake Walker, Diana Dresser, Allison Watrous,  Emily MacIntyre and more.

Click here to read John Moore’s story on Shelly Bordas’ “Theater Person of the Year” award

To watch Part 1 of “The Shelly Bordas story,” click here

To watch Part 2 of “The Shelly Bordas Story, click here

 

830255_430040920403551_1741529617_o

How to help:

To help Shelly defray her ongoing medical expenses, please mail checks in her name to the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St, Littleton, CO, 80120

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. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):