Denver Actors Fund in Action: Marq Del Monte

 

IMG_1662Marq Del Monte, second from right, appeared in John Moore’s play, “Maureen Dowd’s Dark, Delicious Descent into Denver Hell, An Edible Cautionary Tale,” as part of The Mile High 24 Play Festival on June 2 at the Spark Theatre. From left: Lindsey I. Benge, Deb Flomberg, Karen Kargel, Del Monte and Desiree Phillips.

 

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

Financial-aid recipient: Marq Del Monte is an actor and playwright who in June appeared in John Moore’s play, “Maureen Dowd’s Dark, Delicious Descent into Denver Hell, An Edible Cautionary Tale,” as part of The Mile High 24 Play Festival. On Aug. 30, The Wit Theatre Company hosted a reading of Del Monte’s one-act play, “The Almighty, Low.” In the play, an exasperated God washes his hands of his children on Earth until Satan himself shows up to convince his adversary to “put the gloves back on and duke it out.”

 His family story: Del Monte’s wife, Debbie, was laid off from her job on Aug. 22, leaving her uninsured. On Sept. 10, she was diagnosed with a brain cancer that had traveled from an undetected breast cancer. She next receiving chemo and radiation for Metastatic Carcinoma while awaiting surgery. After the diagnosis, Debbie was added to Marq’s health insurance with Kaiser Permanente from his job with Freeway Ford. Still, the Del Montes need all the help they can get to pay rent and other bills.

How we have helped: The Denver Actors Fund approved a $499 grant to help the Del Montes cover their rent for October, followed by an additional $200. The family later received meals and other assistance from the DAF’s Action Team volunteers.

A message from Marq Del Monte: “We are facing a pretty serious financial situation, and the Denver Actors Fund was generous enough to give us a grant. We are extremely grateful!”

To help us help the Del Montes more: If you would like to donate to the Denver Actors Fund, see below. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Marq Del Monte and his family, mail checks in his name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212.

Update: In May 2019, The Denver Actors Fund paid Marq $382 to buy new eyeglasses, bringing the total of our support for his family to $1,081.

Read more Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to financial relief, a team og 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 www.DenverActorsFund.Org

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund: Please go here (with our humble thanks):

APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here

 

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212

 

COME TO OUR FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

Sept. 29: Miscast 2014, Directed by Robert Michael Sanders at the Aurora Fox. Click here for details and tickets.

Dec 8 and 15: “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” will perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Click here for details and tickets.

 

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. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com. We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.

 

 

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

 

Video: See highlights from a Feb. 10 fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

The online ‘Miscast 2014 Auction’: Bid now!

 

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As the countdown to “Miscast 2014” enters its final week, the Denver Actors Fund is tickled to introduce the 2014 Miscast Auction: Services provided by artists as they are “cast” in real life.

Many of our most accomplished actors and artists have off-stage careers that call upon a wide variety of real-world skills. Some have kindly agreed to donate their time and talents to help raise funds for the Denver Actors Fund. Check out what they have to offer here, and then bid online by using our public Google doc here.

The bidding will continue online until 3p.m. Sept. 29. It will then continue and culminate at “Miscast 2014” on Sept. 29 at the Aurora Fox Theatre.

“Miscast 2014″ is an opportunity for members of the local theatre community to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legitimate stage. This popular tradition dates back a decade to its origination by the late Next Stage Theatre Company.

For more information on Miscast 2014, click here

Tickets for “Miscast” are just $10 and are available now by clicking here, or call 303-739-1970.

MISCAST 2014

 

HERE ARE THE SERVICES UP FOR AUCTION.

TO BID, ADD YOUR OFFER TO THIS PUBLIC GOOGLE DOC

 

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DSA students make remarkable, record donation to Denver Actors Fund

IMG_3561From left: Amelia Corrada (Penny), Madison Kitchen (Tracy), Jeremy Willis (Seaweed), Claire Willcutt, John Moore and Jimmy Bruenger (Link Larkin).

Twelve days before Denver School of the Arts was to open its fall all-school musical “Hairspray,” cast members Jimmy Bruenger and his little sister, Damiana, learned their father, James, had died of a sudden heart attack.

Jimmy, a junior who plays Link Larkin, and Damiana, who plays Youth Council member Madge, decided the best way to honor their father was to go on with the show.

IMG_3556“He was one of the kindest and loving men, and I am so blessed to have had him as my dad,” said Jimmy. “He was honestly beyond supportive, and always told me to follow my heart.”

Not only did the Bruengers go on when the show opened on Sept. 12, Jimmy spearheaded the cast’s philanthropic effort. Director Shawn Hann encourages her casts to designate a nonprofit organization for every production. The students chose Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. In the first weekend of “Hairspray” alone, they had collected more than $2,000 for the nation’s leading entertainment-based fundraising organization to fight HIV and AIDS.

The next week, Denver actor Tom Borrillo was hired to teach two master classes at DSA as a guest artist. While there, he explained to the students that the reason he had limited mobility was because of recent emergency shoulder surgery. And he told them about the Denver Actors Fund, which had awarded him $1,000 to help off-set his nearly $15,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses.

At that point, the cast decided to use all remaining performances of “Hairspray” to help raise money for the Denver Actors Fund. Following Saturday’s closing performance, Jimmy and his 90 castmates surprised Denver Actors Fund founder John Moore with a check for $2,411.28. The  donation is the largest in the short history of the Denver Actors Fund. The gift also brings to more than $20,000 the total raised by the organization to date.

The Denver Actors Fund, founded by Moore and actor Christopher K. Boeckx in June 2013, offers financial and practical neighborly assistance including meals, transportation and child care to members of the local theatre community who find themselves in need resulting from sudden or ongoing medical situations. To date, the fund has helped actors, directors, artistic directors, stage managers and even props specialists facing a wide variety of crises.

“It is humbling when the youngest, healthiest members of our theatre community — students who are clearly in the prime of their lives — take the time and care to raise money for fellow members of the theatre community who are in far different stages of their lives,” said Moore. “Fellow artists facing illness, loss or end of life.”

The Bruenger siblings, prove, however, that tragedy and unexpected need know no age boundaries.

Jimmy Bruenger said he and his sister got the strength to keep going with “Hairspray” in part because of a massive show of support from friends and family, known and unknown.

But Jimmy was particularly blown away to receive encouragement from none other than “Hairspray” composer Marc Shaiman:

To Jimmy Bruenger:

Hello, Jimmy. I’ve heard from my pal Gregg Sherman that the Denver School Of Arts is putting on a fantastic production of “HAIRSPRAY.” I also heard you just lost your Dad. Jimmy, I’m sorry you’ve suffered this loss, and at such a young age. I was in my late 40s when my father died in 2007. I found, as I’m sure you are finding, that everything I did I would say to myself “This is the first time I am _______ without my father still alive.” Whether it was walking down the street back in NY, or seeing a show, I kept keeping this list in my head. I was lucky that, when I got back to NY, I was able to go to The Neil Simon Theatre and feel the warmth of the HAIRSPRAY family (as the show was still running). Before the show, at the pre-show circle, I told them it would be the first time I was seeing the show since my Dad had died. That night I watched from the pit. During the curtain call, when Tracy says “Let’s dance!” the actress said “for Bill Shaiman.” Man, I lost it…sat there sobbing from both grief and for the feeling of love I was so lucky to be bathing in there with my HAIRSPRAY family. Jimmy, I hope you are having a similar situation there, being helped along by your newest family as you come to terms with the change in your own. I know I am, right now, re-experiencing it all just from writing you about it. Just let it all out and take it all in, both the pain and the joy. It’s all there, as his spirit always will be too, right there within you. I hope you don’t mind me writing you this letter out of the blue. And thank you for using your talent, heart and soul to lift the audience with our little show. All My Best, Marc

“Marc is so kind,” Bruenger said after receiving the note. “He honestly helped remind me why I love what I do.”

IMG_3547In response to the surprise donation from DSA, Moore has invited the cast of  “Hairspray” to perform a number of its choice at “Miscast 2014,” a benefit for the Denver Actors Fund that will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, at the Aurora Fox Theatre.

Denver School of the Arts is a comprehensive secondary arts magnet school covering grades 6-12 the the Denver Public Schools district. In addition to a rigorous academic program, students engage in intensive studies in Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Stagecraft and Design, Theatre, Video Cinema Arts, and Visual Arts. DSA is committed to fostering a lifelong love of the arts in a culturally diverse, academically challenging environment.

To learn more about the Denver Actors Fund, click here

To read testimonials from artists who have benefited from the Denver Actors Fund, click here

To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, click here

To apply for aid from the Denver Actors Fund, fill out this brief online form

 

 

UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

Sept. 29: Miscast 2014, Directed by Robert Michael Sanders at the Aurora Fox. Click here for details and tickets.

Dec 8 and 15: “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” will perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Click here for details and tickets.

 

IMG_3539Jimmy Bruenger announces the “Hairspray” cast’s surprise donation to The Denver Actors Fund.

 

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“Hairspray” Director Shawn Hann, left, with Denver Center for the Performing Arts Teaching Artists Allison Watrous and Jessica Austgen.

 

IMG_3557Denver Actors Fund founder John Moore with Jimmy Bruenger and Damiana Bruenger.

Announcing: Performer lineup for “Miscast 2014”!

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Steven Burge was the uncontested “Best Dressed” performer at Miscast 2009. What surprises are in store for this year? Photo by John Moore.

 

By John Moore

Robert Michael Sanders today announced the performance roster for “Miscast 2014,” a fundraiser hosted by the Aurora Fox Theatre on Sept. 29 as a benefit for the Denver Actors Fund.

“Miscast” is an opportunity for members of the local theatre community to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legitimate stage. This popular tradition dates back a decade to its origination by the late Next Stage Theatre Company.

Performers were encouraged to apply for one of the 12 available performance slots, either as individuals or in groups. A panel of local luminaries considered the submissions, taking  into account the cleverness and creativity of the pitch.

We don’t want to spoil any surprises, so today we are announcing a partial list of confirmed performers. We’ll keep the songs or scenes they are actually performing a secret. The following list is subject to change. And there are a couple of additional surprises in the works that you’ll just have to see to believe.

MISCAST 2014

Co-hosts: Mark Pergola and Damon Guerrasio

Director: Robert Michael Sanders

Miscast poster ideaMusical Director: Trent Hines

Producer: Charles Packard

CONFIRMED PERFORMERS:

Chris Boeckx

Patrick Brownson

Lauren Dennis

Nigel Huckle

Debbie Minter

Josh Nelson

Owen Niland

Jeremy Palmer

Lyndsay Giraldi Palmer

Alisa Schmidt

Melinda Cary Smart

Daniel Traylor

Jalyn Courtenay Webb

Additional members of Phamaly Theatre Company

A group from Kaiser Permanente

Additional secret surprises.

Tickets for “Miscast” are just $10 and are available now by clicking here, or call 303-739-1970.

The Denver Actors Fund provides situational relief to members of the local performing community who find themselves in sudden, situational need.

ALSO: Please check back here tomorrow for a major, fun announcement regarding MISCAST 2014.

MISCAST 2014

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Russell Costen

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Russell Costen as Big Daddy in The Edge Theatre’s 2013 production of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Photo by Rachel D Graham / RDGPhotography.

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

Russ MUG 400Financial-aid recipient: Russell Costen, a 69-year-old veteran of stage, screen and the U.S. Army, appeared in many local productions after moving to Denver in 1999, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (as Big Daddy) and “Tell Martha Not to Moan” for the Athena Project, the Arvada Center’s “Dividing the Estate” and the LOCAL Theatre Company’s new-play festival. Russell grew up in Boston and appeared in the classic Milos Forman film “Hair.” (He can be seen in the number “White Boys.”) While serving in the U.S. Army, he played Walter Lee Younger in a military production of “A Raisin in the Sun” in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that was attended by Leonard Bernstein. In 1985, Russell was praised by the most feared theatre critic in America for his work in the Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s “Fences” in New Haven, Conn.: “Russell Costen is particularly formidable as the beatific Gabriel,” wrote Frank Rich of The New York Times. Russell has performed everything from Camus to Pinter, but his greatest pride was likely playing the lead in “Othello,” singing with the Denver-based Spirituals Project and starring in the one-man play “Paul Robeson.” He also was part of the cast of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Jitney” and “The Little Foxes.” Russell supported his dream to perform through the years by working as a concierge, security officer, sales agent, human-resources director and a teacher of English as a second language. Russell was also a prolific playwright whose first play was called “Prisoner,” in which one character advises another to “take care of the memories. Take care of the dreams.”

His medical story: Russell was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2014 and  underwent surgery to remove part of his lung. He spent six weeks recovering at the Denver V.A. hospital.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors unanimously approved a $1,334 grant to pay for two months of Russell’s rent and other miscellaneous expenses. In addition – with Russell’s permission – a group of Denver Actors Fund Action Team members led by Angela Astle endeavored over more than a month to give Russell’s low-income apartment a makeover to give him a more healthy and holistic environment to come home to and recover in. “Team Russell” included Abby Angell, Angela Astle, Carol Bloom, Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, Sam Gilstrap, Betsy Grisard, Megan Fevurly, Clint Heyn, Devon James, Cajardo Rameer Lindsey, Susan Lyles, Lara Maerz, Adrienne Martin-Fullwood, Shannon McAndrews, Billie McBride, Melissa McCarl, Sharon McClaury, Debbie Weinstein Minter, John Moore, Beki Pineda, Onna Poeter, Amelia Retureta, Eric Ross, Sean Scrutchins, Maggy Stacy, Cate Wiley and Kathi Gibbs Wood. When Russell was released from the hospital, these people and more from DAF Action Teams continued our support for Russell in his recovery.

A message from Russell: “Isn’t it extraordinary when people can offer you such extraordinary generosity, love and affection, which you never even knew existed or asked for? Such kindness! Such kindness! Thank you.”

Update: Russell died on October 3, 2018, from a recurrence of lung cancer. Read more about his extraordinary life here. The Denver Actors Fund paid $900 toward Russell’s funeral expenses, bringing the total financial value of our support for Russell to $2,234.

Read more Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

Team Russell 1000

ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. 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

APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here

 

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80211

 

COME TO OUR FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

Sept. 29: Miscast 2014, Directed by Robert Michael Sanders at the Aurora Fox. Click here for details and tickets.

Dec 8 and 15: “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” will perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Click here for details and tickets.

 

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. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com. We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.

 

 

 

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

 

Video: See highlights from a Feb. 10 fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

It’s Suicide Prevention Day: Read this excerpt from ‘The Forest’

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Today is World Suicide Prevention Day today. The suicide of a loved one makes loved ones feel powerless, confused, speechless, paralyzed. You want to do something, but you feel empowered to do … nothing.

I feel a natural urge to act out against doing nothing. So here is my … something.

I present to you the first scene of the play I recently completed called “The Forest.” It is not a “suicide play,” per se. It is simply the story of a mother and a daughter’s journey to reclaim their lives after a common loss. That’s not so scary, is it?

I hope this play means something to some of you some day. Click here to download the excerpt:

THE FOREST excerpt