Back to Africa: My 2002 review of ‘The Lion King’ in Denver

‘The Lion King’ 2002 national touring production.

A journey to the heart of Julie Taymor’s imagination

By John Moore
Denver Post Theater Critic
Originally published April 28, 2002

It turns out “The Lion King” doesn’t bring Broadway’s most highly sought national tour to Denver after all. Instead, it transports the people of Denver nearly 10,000 miles away to the magical splendor of Africa. It is a journey deep into the incomparable imagination of director Julie Taymor.

Taymor promised the debut of her national tour in Denver would be better than Broadway, and her team has delivered – first-class.

From the opening guttural note, “The Lion King” viscerally explodes like a South African choral cannon shot, daring its expectant visitors to open their hardened hearts, inviting them along for a sensorial adventure unlike anything they have experienced before.

When the sweaty cast and crew finishes bestowing its profound, 2-hour-and-45-minute gift upon an exhausted audience, it seems inadequate that all the audience can do to reciprocate is stand and cheer.

‘The Lion King’ 2002 national touring production.

Actually, the audience spends much of its evening spontaneously moving its hands together, acknowledging disparate moments of wonder, such as balletic dance (“Be Prepared”), symphony-quality singing, and ingenious sets, masks and costumes.

But for all of its artistic and illusive splendor, “The Lion King” is a celebration of the extraordinary sophistication and elegance of … simplicity. Taymor uses every second of time and every inch of airspace to create worlds for us to explore. But she uses techniques so deceptively simple and traditional that the audience might think the opposite is true.

Of all her visual tricks, the greatest may be how she transforms 2,800 faces of all ages into the visages of children.

The opening number, “Circle of Life,” is a processional of human puppets dressed as jungle animals (the first of 232), from 12-foot giraffes to four-person elephants to lithe cheetahs to flocks of birds. As a saffron sun rises, so does the signal that this is a brand new day for all of us.

“The Lion King” is already a classic tale told on an epic scale.

The story is part “Hamlet,” part Cain and Abel, set in the African jungle. It is the story of Mufasa the lion king, who is put to death by his evil brother, Scar. Mufasa’s son, Simba, is led to believe he is responsible for his father’s death, but after a period of self-imposed exile, he returns to reclaim his rightful place on the throne.

With all due credit to the more than 100 actors and artisans who bring this story to life, it is Lebo M who makes “The Lion King” an incredible emotional experience. The South African composer’s chants, expressed in seven dialects, are what give the production its powerful spirit, and it is his rhythmic, percussive poundings that give it the pulse that moves its blood. More than anyone, Lebo M exemplifies theater’s power to topple borders. When Rafiki the baboon shaman cries in mourning over the death of Mufasa, you don’t have to be South African to understand the language of her words. You feel them:

“Spilled blood. Try courage so the beasts may fall. Those who defy mountains are in truth cowards.”

Much has been said of the spectacular, three-dimensionally staged scenes such as the wildebeest stampede. Such moments happily marry the hardware of machinery with the magic of wild imagination.

But one of the greater joys is watching how Taymor employs smaller, unexpected alternative storytelling techniques. Her influences come from Japan, China, Indonesia and beyond, and her techniques are as old as human communication itself. They include commedia dell’arte, miniature puppetry and simple shadows on a cave wall.

For example, when Mufasa takes his son for a walk, instead of the two actors walking across the stage, Taymor projects stick puppets of the two lions onto a cloth, and the figures are exaggerated by a receding flashlight. A drought is depicted by a sheet being slowly pulled through a hole in the raked stage, and a group of antelopes previously shown in the prime of their lives return in skeletal form. When a pride of lionesses erupts in grief over Mufasa’s death, ribbons, not tears, burst dramatically from their eyes. When Simba looks into a pond and sees his father in the reflection, the gigantic face of Mufasa forms from nowhere behind him, then dissipates like a settling ripple. These are solutions both simple and revolutionary for a commercial stage.

“The Lion King” is a multicultural family effort, from the nonstop, mind-altering sets by Richard Hudson to the orchestration of Jay Alger to the powerful lighting of Donald Holder to Taymor’s endlessly inventive costuming.

But if Lebo M gives “The Lion King” its signature sound, Michael Curry gives it its signature look with his detailed puppetry designs that emphasize the duality of the animals and their human conductors.

The cast yields superlative efforts, from the comedy of Fredi Walker-Browne’s Rafiki, Jeffrey Binder’s hornbill bird Zazu and John Plumpis’ meerkat Timon, to the powerful presence of Alton Fitzgerald White’s Mufasa (“They Live in You”) to the vocal supremacy of Josh Tower (Simba) and the graceful Kissy Simmons (Nala). Tower faces no small pressure to nail Taymor’s lone contribution to the score (“Endless Night”) and Simmons is simply spellbinding (“Shadowlands”).

Denver’s own Akil LuQman II, as cute as cute gets, plays Young Simba with overt exuberance. The 12-year-old was surely nervous in the first professional performance of his life, but he overcomes that with a magnetic smile and his cartwheeling, tail-wagging effervescence.

The central theme of “The Lion King” is the circle of life, a round-trip journey that may be a tad too long for some of its youngest passengers. But for those who go along for the ride, it is the trip of a lifetime. Words seem inadequate to describe an experience that is a visual and aural masterpiece.

“The Lion King”

****(Out of 4 stars)

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Melissa Lucero McCarl

Melissa McCarl.

Photo by Jeremy Rill.

 

‘I am a part of a community that takes care of its own in a profound way’

Aid recipient: Melissa Lucero McCarl is a prominent Denver playwright, director and actor. She is perhaps best known for writing the Denver Post Ovation Award-winning “Painted Bread,” about the fractured life of Frida Kahlo; “Poignant Irritations,” about Gertrude Stein; and “Lost Creatures,” which imagines the 1978 meeting between British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan and his longtime cinematic idol, Louise Brooks. As an actor she recently played Rita in Town Hall Arts Center’s “Casa Valentina.” Directing credits include the Aurora Fox’s “Anna in the Tropics,” “Real Women Have Curves” and “Hi-Hat Hattie”; Town Hall’s “Swingtime Canteen” and “The King and I”; and the Athena Project’s “Tell Martha Not to Moan.” Melissa attended Loretto Heights College and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

Her medical story: Melissa recently needed and an emergency-room visit requiring injection therapy and pathology. She was left with a post-insurance, out-of-pocket bill of  3,284.22. Like many in our community, Melissa has had all of her upcoming work canceled by COVID-19 and no significant sources of new income to take on this bill.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund has been experiencing an unprecedented run on our reserves in 2020, having sent out more than $58,000 in direct medical relief in the first four months of the year – not including the $50,000 in emergency funding we have paid out through our new DEAR Fund to support Colorado theatre artists who have lost the ability to earn income during the COVID-19 shutdown. So the Board has instituted a more conservative, temporary compensation formula. Essentially, until we can start replenishing our general fund through live performance fundraisers, the Board is compensating qualified applicants at a level that is about 70 percent of normal. In Melissa’s case, the Board has voted to reimburse her with $2,300, or 70 percent of her obligation. With targeted donations from the community, The Denver Actors Fund’s total support for Melissa is now $2,475.

How you can help us help Melissa more: Even after our assistance, Melissa has about $984 remaining on her balance. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Melissa pay down her bill, simply mail checks in any amount made out to The Denver Actors Fund (with Melissa McCarl’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is targeted for Melissa McCarl. (She will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of The Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.

A message from Melissa: “Having to get an emergency procedure right as the pandemic hit was not ideal. Receiving the large bill after learning that I’d lost at least $5,000 worth of gigs felt catastrophic. Having The DAF come to the rescue so quickly and effectively felt nothing short of miraculous. Sometimes it can be tempting to think: ‘I’ve spend most of my life making theatre, but what do I really have to show for it?’ Being reminded that I am a part of a community that takes care of its own in this profound way makes me think that I have a lot to show for it indeed.”

The Denver Actors Fund now has made more than $538,000 available to Colorado artists in need.

How you can help us help us help more Colorado theatre artists: If you would like to make a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link, with our humble thanks.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION

Cast members from Town Hall Arts Center’s 2019 production of ‘Casa Valentina.’ Photo by John Moore.


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 $538,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries 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 TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


Hippo Health LogoGET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.


COME TO OUR EVENTS

TUESDAY, MAY 5: Need some happy? The Happy Hour Foundation is partnering with CreativeMornings/Denver for a special virtual happy hour benefiting three local nonprfits including the Denver Actors Fund. How It Works: Step 1. Strap on your mask. Step 2. Buy some beer to go from Strange Craft Beer Company and FlyteCo Brewing between May 1 and 3. Step 3. Go home and wash your hands for 20 seconds. Step 4. Log on to our virtual happy hour on May 5. Step 5. Socialize while socially distanced. This event supports Prime Health, Denver Actors Fund and Culinary Hospitality Outreach & Wellness. Info: facebook.com/happyhourfoundation


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: Sean Cronan

Sean Cronan

Dr. Kelly comes to the aid of BDT Stage lighting designer

Aid recipient: Sean Cronan of Lafayette (who also goes by Seann) recently served as the assistant lightning designer and light-board operator for BDT Stage’s production of “Mamma Mia.” Other credits include “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.” He also lends his talents to BDT’s youth productions. He went to Boulder High School and is the brother of longtime BDT Stage actor Brian Cronan.

Sean Cronan

His medical story: Sean recently procured his own dental insurance for the first time and went in for his first check-up in years. He was told that because of bone loss, three teeth would have to be extracted. Even with his insurance, he was quoted an out-of-pocket price of about $2,400. That’s when he contacted The Denver Actors Fund.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund has a partnering dentist in Dr. Brian Kelly DDS, who accepts a limited number of emergency cases each year as his personal, in-kind donation to The DAF through the Dental Center at Thornton Plaza. Dr. Kelly performed all of the necessary work, including tooth replacement. The DAF chipped in $135 for an outside lab bill, but otherwise no money changed hands and Sean paid nothing. But here’s the thing: Dr. Kelly reported to us that had Sean been an uninsured patient who walked in off the street, his combined total bill would have been just $2,010 – another indication of what Dr. Kelly believes is widespread price-gouging among corporate and franchised dental practices.

The Denver Actors Fund now has made more than $538,000 available to Colorado artists in need.

How you can help us help us help more Colorado theatre artists: If you would like to make a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link, with our humble thanks.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION


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 $538,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries 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 TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


GET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.


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: Ashley Campbell

Ashley CampbellFrom training to trauma center: Life changes in an instant

Aid recipient: Ashley Campbell got into sound design as a theatre major at the University of Denver and was hooked. “I really enjoyed the process of creating sounds,” she says. “It was one of the most exciting classes I took throughout all of college.” So, she just kept doing it. Ashley recently designed the sound for Curious Theatre’s The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa Fasthorse and also worked on The Humans. For the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Ashley was the sound designer for Tiny Beautiful Things and worked on other shows including The Revolutionists and The Wolves. Last year, she ran sound for the Denver Children’ Theatre’s The Little Prince. While at the University Ashley-Campbell of Denver, she was part of a True West Award-winning effort to stage the play White Rabbit Red Rabbit as the Associate Artistic Director of her company, Pipedream Productions. The play has been performed (exactly one time) by thousands of actors around the world. It involves a sealed script that the actor reads aloud while performing its specific tasks before a live audience.

Her medical story: “One day, I was training for my new job as box-office attendant at Curious Theatre and, before I knew it, I was on the floor and my head was pulsing,” Ashley says. “I had lost consciousness, hit my head on a wall and had a seizure. The ambulance was called and I was taken to Denver Health to be inspected for head trauma. Luckily, everything was good and I was fully recovered by the next day.” But while Ashley has modest health insurance, she was left with an out-of-pocket bill of nearly $5,000. She has paid it down to $2,888.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund has been experiencing an unprecedented run on our reserves in 2020, having sent out more than $58,000 in direct medical relief in the first four months of the year – not including the $50,000 in emergency funding we have paid out through our new DEAR Fund that we have paid to Colorado theatre artists who have lost the ability to earn income during the COVID-19 shutdown. So the Board has temporarily instituted a more conservative compensation formula. Essentially, until we can start replenishing our general fund through live performance fundraisers, the Board is compensating qualified applicants at a level that is about 70 percent of normal. So in Ashley’s case, the Board voted to reimburse her with $1,946.70 – or 70 percent of her remaining obligation. With targeted donations from the community, The Denver Actors Fund’s total support for Ashley is now $1,996.70.

How you can help us help Ashley more: Even after our assistance, Ashley has about $800 remaining on her bill’s balance. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Ashley pay down her bill, simply mail checks in any amount made out to The Denver Actors Fund (with Ashley Campbell’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is targeted for Ashley Campbell. (She will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of The Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.

A message from Ashley:  “I am so thankful to the Denver theatre community and The Denver Actors Fund for helping pay my medical bills from this day. Without you, I’d still be drowning in medical debt.”

The Denver Actors Fund now has made more than $538,000 available to Colorado artists in need.

How you can help us help us help more Colorado theatre artists: If you would like to make a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link, with our humble thanks.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION


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 $538,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries 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 TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


Hippo Health LogoGET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.


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: Chris Casketta

Chris Cascketta‘My appearance and speech are as vital to my profession as my singing’

Aid recipient: Glenwood Springs actor and baritone Chris Cascketta appeared as the opera singer Rafael Bellini in “The Last Romance” for Thunder River Theatre Company in Carbondale. He is also Choir Director at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glenwood Springs. He is originally from Chicago and studied at the Oberlin Conservatory. Chris represents our first DAF beneficiary from Garfield County!

Chris Cascketta, left, in ‘The Last Romance.’

His medical story: Last year, Chris lost one tooth and nearly another in a freak accident. He went to a local dentist in Glenwood Springs, was given a partial denture and told that another tooth would need to be extracted. He made an appointment with another Glenwood Springs dentist for the implant surgery and was quoted a treatment plan of just more than $10,000. That’s when Defiance Community Players Co-President Chip Winn Wells referred him to The Denver Actors Fund.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund has a partnering dentist in Dr. Brian Kelly DDS, who accepts a limited number of emergency cases each year as his personal, in-kind donation to The DAF through the Dental Center at Thornton Plaza. Although Chris lives 150 miles from Thornton, he made the trip to see Dr. Kelly, who saved one tooth with a root canal (which also saved Chris more than $2,000) and gave him a deep cleaning that restored his gums to health. But because Dr. Kelly does not do implant surgeries himself, he worked with Glenwood Springs dentist Dr. John Murray on a plan where Dr. Murray would perform the implant and next, when dental offices re-open, Dr. Kelly will place the crown for free. The Denver Actors Fund paid Dr. Murray $2,195 for the surgery; Chris $530 for his expenses related to a CT scan and preparatory periodontal work; and Dr. Kelly made all of his services, presently valued at $2,008 (with more to come in June) his latest, greatest donation to the DAF. To date, Dr. Kelly has donated more than $50,000 in free dental care through the DAF. That brings our total support for Chris to date to $4,733 (not counting his savings from not going through with the originating dentist’s treatment plan.)

A message from Chris: “Because I’m a singer and an actor, my appearance and speech are as vital to my profession as my singing. Getting this implant frees me from having to wear a partial denture, which impedes both my speech and singing. I am so grateful to The Denver Actors Fund and Dr. Kelly for this assistance. I never would have been able to afford it on my own.”

The Denver Actors Fund now has made more than $538,000 available to Colorado artists in need.

How you can help us help us help more Colorado theatre artists: If you would like to make a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link, with our humble thanks.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION


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 $538,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries 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 TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


Hippo Health LogoGET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.


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: Lindsay Fuller

Lindsay Fuller

For an actor who often plays princesses, a front tooth is an essential prop

Aid recipient: Lindsay Fuller has appeared in many local productions including most recently as Cinderella in Town Hall Arts Center’s “Disenchanted” and in the Arvada Center’s children’s productions of “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Ella Enchanted.” Other prominent roles in recent years have included Penny in Breckenridge Backstage Theatre’s “Hairspray” and Brenda Strong in the Aurora Fox’s “Catch Me if You Can.” Other local credits include the Springer Opera House and singing with The Denver Dolls.

LINDSAY FULLER

Lindsay Fuller

Her medical story: Lindsay had a dental emergency that took out her front tooth at the end of 2016, which The Denver Actors Fund helped her pay to fix. This past December, the repair failed – a half-hour before a two-show day for “Ella Enchanted.” Afterward, she was able to see The Denver Actors Fund‘s partnering dentist, Dr. Brian Kelly DDS, who accepts a limited number of emergency cases each year as his personal, in-kind donation to The DAF through the Dental Center at Thornton Plaza.

How we have helped: Over the course of several months, Dr. Kelly (himself a former Broadway dancer!) and his partners repaired Fuller’s teeth and restored her smile in a way that better befits her often princess-worthy roles. Including our payment to the initial dentist back in 2016, and a more recent lab fee, The Denver Actors Fund now has paid $1,438 for Lindsay’s dentistry, while Dr. Kelly has donated $1,395 of his firm’s services. Including a recent DEAR Fund emergency stipend for Colorado theatre artists who have lost the ability to earn income because of the COVID19 shutdown, The Denver Actors Fund now has provided Lindsay with $3,083 in overall support. MORE ABOUT THE DEAR FUND

Lindsay Fuller in Town Hall Arts Center’s ‘Disenchanted.’ Rachel D. Graham Photography.

A message from Lindsay: “I could not be more grateful to The Denver Actors Fund and their partnership with Dr. Brian Kelly. Dr. Kelly squeezed me in for an emergency dental visit within a couple hours of my injury, and he had me laughing and smiling from ear-to-ear the entire time – despite my missing front tooth. What could have been financially detrimental for me was taken care of in a way that I don’t have close to enough thank you’s for. The DAF and their partners are a true gift to our community.”

The Denver Actors Fund now has made more than $528,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

How you can help us help us help more Colorado theatre artists: If you would like to make a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link, with our humble thanks.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION


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 $528,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries 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 TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


Hippo Health LogoGET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.


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.