DAF: Footloose, All About Eve and 1st Annual All-Colorado Theatre Picnic

The Denver Actors Fund has a variety of exciting, family-friendly events planned for this summer, and we hope you will join us as we continue our mission to build community while building funds for our nonprofit, which provides financial and practical relief for members of the local theatre community facing situational medical need. MORE INFO

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DAF DATE 1A special live, all-star reading of the classic screenplay “All About Eve” will be presented at the Arvada Center, with proceeds going toward defraying production costs for Season 9 of “In Focus with Eden Lane.” Featuring a stellar cast of Heather Lacy, Paul A. Page, Sylvia Gregory, Robert Kramer, Sam Gregory, Billie McBride, Michael J. Duran, Eden Lane, Adrian Egolf, Candy Brown, Emily Van Fleet, David Nehls and Joey Wishnia. Directed by Billie McBride. Presented by Sleeping Dog Media and Ebner*Page Productions Presents. Sponsored by Delta Dental of Colorado. Purchase tickets. Eden Lane, in association with Paul A. Page and Eugene Ebner, are presenting a reading of the classic film All About Eve at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Check out this great cast: Heather Lacy, Paul Page, Sam Gregory, Sylvia Gregory, Billie McBride, Michael J. Duran, Adrian Egolf, Joey Wishnia, Candy Brown, Emily Van Fleet, Robert Kramer, David Nehls and even Eden Lane herself. The big night will a fundraiser to help fund Season 9 of “In Focus with Eden Lane,” an important weekly half hour dedicated to covering arts and culture at 7pm on Friday nights. In this era of diminishing media coverage of local arts, it is all the more important that Eden Lane stays on the air. But even cutting corners, it costs Eden about $1,000 for every half hour she produces for the benefit of all manner of local arts organizations. And out of her own benevolence, Eden has chosen to split all proceeds from the evening with Denver Actors Fund. How all about “All About Eve” are we? ALL ABOUT IT. Thanks, Eden, Paul, Eugene, Director Billie McBride, the cast and the Arvada Center. Tickets are $35 or $50 and are considered fully tax-deducible donations. Make your reservation at www.infocustv.org

 

© Glenn Ross | www.glennrossphoto.com

© Glenn Ross | www.glennrossphoto.com

DAF DATE 2Denver Actors Fund Presents …” is a fun monthly series in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Denver featuring films that either inspired – or were inspired by – stage musicals that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Cast members from the BDT Stage’s current production of “Footloose” Center will entertain the audience at 6:30 p.m., with the (Kevin Bacon!) film screening to follow. Purchase tickets. The stage version of  “Footloose” plays through Sept. 3 in Boulder.

DAF DATE 4DAF DATE 5Denver Actors Fund friends and family picnic at City Park Jazz: Join your friends from throughout the theatre community for games, sack races, a balloon toss, a bar-be-cue set up and more, culminating with the regularly scheduled performance by City Park Jazz. This will be a potluck set-up, no charge but we will pass the picnic basket for Denver Actors Fund sometime during the day. We will be at City Park, Colorado Boulevard and 17th Avenue, from 4-8 p.m. Look for the DAF banner and bring your friends. For more information, or to offer your help, please email organizer Tracy Shaffer at tracyshaffer1@msn.com.

And, mark your calendars: MONDAY, JULY 18: Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, at the PACE Center in Parker.

MONDAY, SEPT. 26: Third annual “Miscast,” at Town Hall Arts Center.

Denver Actors Fund names Will Barnette Interim President

In the video above, Will Barnette announces the $10,000 Brenda Billings Memorial Match.

 

A Will Barnette 4

The Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors has voted unanimously to name Will Barnette Interim President through 2016, Executive Director John Moore announced today.

Barnette, 30, succeeds his mother-in-law, Brenda Billings, who died of a brain aneurysm on April 13. Barnette, a Web Developer for TeamSnap, Inc., will serve until the end of the year, at which time a vote will be taken to make the appointment permanent.

Barnette felt an urgent need to continue the work that Brenda Billings had begun as well as to keep strong the ties the Billings Family has forged with the Denver Actors Fund, a non-profit that provides financial and practical assistance to members of the local theatre community in situational medical need. The Denver Actord Fund, which turns 3 on June 1, has raised $114,502 to help artists of all kinds in the local theatre community. An outpouring of support for the non-profit has followed Brenda Billings death, with more than $21,597 donated in her memory to date.

“Brenda’s time as President of the Board of The Denver Actors Fund was an official manifestation of the love she always carried for others,” Barnette said. “It goes without saying that Brenda’s shoes in this role are impossible to fill. As her son-in-law, I was able to witness her incredible capacity to care for others, and I will draw on this experience and inspiration as I join the Denver Actors Fund team.”

Barnette is married to Jessica Billings Barnette, the oldest child of Jim and Brenda Billings. They are the parents of 2-year-old Liam Barnette.

Barnette is a graduate of Wheat Ridge High School, like his father-in-law, Jim Billings. While Barnette married into a performing family  – Brenda Billings was the Artistic Director of the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, “I hit my peak as a performer playing Daddy Warbucks in Annie,” he joked. Barnette’s  sister-in-law, Jamie Billings, will now direct an upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors there in Billings’ place. That musical, opening July 15, will star another Billings daughter, Jacquie Jo.

Barnette has a Bachelor of Science in Music from the University of Colorado Denver. Barnette worked as a sound engineer for public radio and sports TV for eight years before starting his own web development company. His small-business and engineering experience brings  a unique perspective to a non-profit organization. Throughout his years as a Sound Engineer, and now as a Web Developer, Barnette has continued to be involved with theatre, from teaching musical theatre sound design at Denver School of the Arts, to sound design for his mother-in-law’s shows (including Hair and Hairspray for the Evergreen Players).

“Brenda Billings’ death paralyzed us with grief,” Moore said on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund.  “Will Barnette came to us at our most vulnerable moment, lifted us up and got us moving again – even while he was dealing with his own, and his family’s, infinite sadness. He already has compiled a list of ideas and innovations that will not only continue the legacy begun by Brenda Billings, but propel it into an exciting new era. He responded to tragedy the way Brenda Billings herself would – by rolling up his sleeves and going to work.”

Barnette’s immediate goals include improving the Fund’s technological infrastructure; simplifying the donation process; and developing a large and unprecedented survey of the entire theatre community that will yield a useful demographic profile of the challenges faced by Colorado artists.

“Brenda Billings will always occupy an honored place in our hearts and in our history,” Moore said. “And having Will Barnette leading us will serve as a living testament to the incredible spirit of the entire Billings Family.”

Give to the the Brenda Billings Memorial Match

Read our tribute to Brenda Billings

Highlights from the Brenda Billings memorial concert

Donor launches $10,000 Brenda Billings Match Campaign

Last night, The Denver Actors Fund announced a $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor in memory of the non-profit organization’s late president, Brenda Billings. It represents the largest gift in the nearly 3-year history of the organization, which provides financial and other relief to local theatre artists in situational medical need.

The announcement was made Tuesday at a benefit concert honoring Billings’ memory at the downtown Hard Rock Cafe.

IMG_6219The donor’s wish is for the gift to be the launch of an ongoing matching campaign to raise another $10,000 in Billings’ memory.

The announcement was made at Tuesday’s concert by Will Barnette, Billings’ son-in-law and the newest member of the Denver Actors Fund’s Board of Directors.

Barnette said Billings and the Denver Actors Fund were a perfect match. “This is one of the most literal ways that she was helping people,” Barnette said. “She was doing that her entire life, but the DAF was such a great way for her to reach out and help people directly in need.”

Billings was also the co-Artistic Director at Miners Alley Playhouse and a longtime contributor to Colorado’s non-profit community. She died April 13 at age 57.

Give to the the Brenda Billings Memorial Match

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Brenda Billings Memorial Match Campaign is encouraged to give by clicking this link.

Tuesday’s concert, titled “Be Brave,” featured songs from musicals directed by Billings and performed by 30 returning cast members from Hair, Hairspray, The Fantasticks, Godspell, Songs For a New World and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Members of the Billings family sang. Billings’ nephew, Tucker Worley (Mamma Mia national tour) and Denver School of the Arts graduate Jordan Geiger (Peter and the Starcatcher) returned for special appearances.

The evening equally benefited the Denver Actors Fund and Miners Alley Playhouse. The organizations each raised $2,414 from ticket sales and on-site donations. The Denver Actors Fund earned an additional $1,400 from a silent auction to upcoming local theatre performances that were bundled into four silent-auction packages.

The donating companies were: And Toto Too, Arvada Center, BDT Stage, Bug Theatre, Buntport Theater, Curious Theatre, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Edge Theatre, Equinox Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, Ignite Theatre, Lost & Found Productions,  Miners Alley Playhouse, Paper Cat Films, Town Hall Arts Center and Vintage Theatre.

Read our tribute to Brenda Billings

The $3,814 raised by the Denver Actors Fund at Tuesday’s concert will be applied to the $10,000 match, leaving $6,186 left to be raised in the name of Brenda Billings.

The milestone donation brings the total raised by the Denver Actors Fund to more than $100,000 in less than three years of existence. Already, $45,000 has been distributed to actors, directors, stage managers and more facing immediate medical need. In addition, volunteers have logged more than 200 hours of service providing a variety of necessary services such as meals and transportation.

For additional information, email denveractorsfund@gmail.com.

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: ShaShauna Staton

Bradford Staton (II and III) with ShaShauna Staton

Bradford Staton (II and III!) with ShaShauna Staton

Financial-aid recipient: ShaShauna Staton is an actor, director, wife, mother and daughter of the beloved late founder of Shadow Theatre founder, Jeffrey Nickelson. Most recently, Staton appeared in Vintage Theatre’s “Ain’t Misbehavin” at the very same theatre her father opened in April 2008, about 16 months before his death at 53. Staton played Armelia alongside Dwayne Carrington, Leonard E. Barrett, Hannah Wheeler and Cicely O’Kain. Other credits include Vintage’s “A Song for Coretta,” the Aurora Fox’s “Once on This Island” and Shadow’s “In Search of Eckstine: A Love Story.” Following her father’s death, Staton brought back his youth program called EmUrge Theatre, which presented “EmUrgency” at Vintage Theatre.

shashaunaHer story: On April 26, ShaShauna went into premature labor, necessitating an emergency C-section and the arrival of her third child, Bradford Staton III, two months early. Her husband missed the next two weeks of work to care for his wife and three children. That loss of income brought immediate and pressing financial difficulties upon the Staton family.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund made $529.03 available to the Statons to help satisfy their immediate financial needs and allow them to fully focus on the health and well-being of their children.

How you can help us help the Statons more: If you would like to target a specific donation to the Staton family to give them a little more breathing room, simply mail checks made out to Denver Actors Fund (with the Statons’ name written in the topic field), to 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation to the Statons. Otherwise it will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

A message from ShaShauna Staton: “We are truly grateful for the Denver Actors Fund. This has been an extremely hard time for my family, and the DAF has been a complete lifesaver. This is a fantastic support system for our community, and we thank you.”

(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.)

shashauna 160ABOUT 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 www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund: Please click 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

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS

TUESDAY, MAY 10: “Be Brave!” The Denver Actors Fund celebrates the life of its late President, Brenda Billings, with an evening of songs from musicals she directed with the Evergreen Players and Miners Alley Playhouse. Songs will be performed from Hair, Hairspray, Godspell, The Fantasticks and Songs for a New World. This promises to be a night of wonderful music and surprise guest appearances that all fans of the musical theatre – and living life to the fullest – will enjoy. Hosted by Paul Dwyer. Musical Direction by Mitch Samu. Proceeds will equally benefit the Denver Actors Fund and Miners Alley Playhouse. Advance reservations strongly encouraged. Ticket information here.

ATTEND THE “DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS …” MONTHLY FILM SERIES: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Littleton hosts a monthly film series in partnership with the Denver Actors Fund featuring films inspired by musicals that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Monday, May 23 is “Legally Blonde,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Littleton Town Hall Arts Center’s upcoming production, scheduled May 20-June 19. “Legally Blonde” film director Robert Luketic and screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah are scheduled to appear at this special screening and will participate in a Q&A and autograph-signing in the lobby afterward. Luketic’s films include “The Ugly Truth,” “Killers,” “Paranoia” and “21.” More information.

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

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Kevin Lowry

Kevin Lowry.

Financial-aid recipient: Kevin Lowry is an actor, improviser, teacher and photographer whose recent credits include “12 Angry Men” for the Cherry Creek Theatre, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” for The Edge Theatre, “The 39 Steps” for the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre and “Juliet and Romeo” for the Betsy Stage. Other credits include the Arvada Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, Aurora Fox and No Holds Bard. He is also very active on improv comedy stages around Denver with the group Hot Nap. When local actor Shelly Bordas was receiving treatment for cancer, Lowry hosted a fundraiser on her behalf at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. He studied at Millikin University in St. Louis.

His story: Kevin’s permanent retainer recently broke after 22 years, leaving him with a sharp metal wire poking directly into his mouth. He had to go to an emergency dentist to have the rest of the retainer removed, and have a new retainer and night guard made. He was told the cost of the repair and replacement was not covered under his insurance. After his dentist convinced him of the overall health benefits, Kevin had no choice but to put the $444.06 expense on a credit card.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund is reimbursing Kevin Lowry for his expense of $444.06.

A message from Kevin Lowry: “When I wrote to the Denver Actors Fund, I was not sure if they helped with dental issues, or if this were a large enough expense (to bother). But within 24 hours, I got a return call assuring me this was indeed why Denver Actors Fund exists. Not having this unexpected debt really allows me to breathe a little easier, and the financial assistance makes me feel connected to our theatre community in a powerful and unexpected way. Thank you, Denver Actors Fund. Thank you, Denver theatre community.”

(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.)

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 www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund: Please click 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

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS

TUESDAY, MAY 10: “Be Brave!” The Denver Actors Fund celebrates the life of its late President, Brenda Billings, with an evening of songs from musicals she directed with the Evergreen Players and Miners Alley Playhouse. Songs will be performed from Hair, Hairspray, Godspell, The Fantasticks and Songs for a New World. This promises to be a night of wonderful music and surprise guest appearances that all fans of the musical theatre – and living life to the fullest – will enjoy. Hosted by Paul Dwyer. Musical Direction by Mitch Samu. Proceeds will equally benefit the Denver Actors Fund and Miners Alley Playhouse. Advance reservations strongly encouraged. Ticket information here.

 

ATTEND THE “DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS …” MONTHLY FILM SERIES: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Littleton hosts a monthly film series in partnership with the Denver Actors Fund featuring films inspired by musicals that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Monday, May 23 is “Legally Blonde,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Littleton Town Hall Arts Center’s upcoming production, scheduled May 20-June 19. “Legally Blonde” film director Robert Luketic and screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah are scheduled to appear at this special screening and will participate in a Q&A and autograph-signing in the lobby afterward. Luketic’s films include “The Ugly Truth,” “Killers,” “Paranoia” and “21.” More information.

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