Denver Actors Fund in Action: Patrick and Melissa Sawyer

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Financial-aid recipients: Patrick and Melissa Swift-Sawyer are longtime contributors to the Colorado theater community. Patrick’s roots go back 40 years, from performing in melodramas at the historic Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek (where he grew up) to The Crystal Palace in Aspen, Boulder’s Dinner Theater, The Carousel Dinner Theater (now Midtown Arts Center) in Fort Collins and most recently at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown for the past eight years – six as Food & Beverage Manager and the past two as Production Manager. Roles of note there include playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (opposite his wife as Golde) and Edna in Hairspray, among many others, along with direction of several shows, most recently Evita and South Pacific. Melissa perfromed for more than 250,000 patrons starring in Always…Patsy Cline at the Denver Center’s Galleria Theatre from 1995-99. She has since played many roles at the Candlelight and the Arvada Center. The Denver Post called her voice magnificent and her performance transformative as the racist mother of a pioneering DJ in Memphis. The Sawyers make their home in Westminster with their daughter Abby, a sophomore at Pomona High School.

 Real-life husband and wife team Melissa Swift-Sawyer and Patrick Sawyer play Golde and Tevye in the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse production of "Fiddler on the Roof." (Special to Go) "Fiddler on the Roof," winner of 11 Tony Awards, opened Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, featuring real-life husband and wife team, Patrick Sawyer and Melissa Swift-Sawyer in the roles of Tevye and Golde. One of the most famous married couples in musical theater history, Tevye and Golde, parents of five daughters, struggle with a hard life in Tsarist Russia in 1905. Tevye, especially, bravely attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. "Fiddler on the Roof" is a timeless classic from a book by Joseph Stein that was based on "Tevye and His Daughters" by Sholem Aleichem. The show opened in September 1964 at the Imperial Theatre, and then in February 1967 at Her Majesty's Theatre. It ran for seven years and nine months and was the first Broadway production to stage over 3,000 performances. The film version was released

The real-life husband-and-wife team of Melissa Swift-Sawyer and Patrick Sawyer played Golde and Tevye in the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Their medical story: For all the work the Sawyers have logged in Colorado theatre, they are both currently unemployed, and the timing could not have been worse for Patrick, who recently underwent emergency triple bypass heart surgery. The Sawyers have no insurance, but thankfully Medicaid will cover the majority of their medical expenses. But deductibles and other real-world living expenses are accruing, and they presently have no incoming income.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $2,500 available to the Sawyer family to pay for their initial uncovered medical expenses to date and help with living expenses as Patrick continues to recover.

UPDATE: To help the Sawyers with essential expenses as Patrick’s rehabilitation from heart surgery has continued, the DAF board has agreed to provide an additional $2,000. DAF supporters have kicked in another $417, bringing the total support from DAF efforts to $5,017.

Help us help the Sawyer family more: There is obviously much continuing financial uncertainty in the Sawyer family’s immediate future. If you would like to target a specific donation to help give the Sawyers some more breathing room in the coming weeks and months, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with the Sawyer name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Sawyers. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

PLEASE REMEMBER THE DENVER ACTORS FUND ON COLORADO GIVES DAY DEC. 6

A message from Patrick and Melissa Sawyer: “We would like to thank the Denver Actors Fund for the immense and immediate generosity to help make ends meet in this difficult situation – one that many, many performers are in due to their commitment to perform their craft in an industry that doesn’t often provide insurance or enough income to purchase it. It is so comforting to know that there is an entire community of people who go the extra mile to help those of their own kind in tough times. We look forward to supporting the DAF in any way we can going forward to help this amazing organization help others in need.”

(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:

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 medical need. To date the Fund has allocated more than $66,000 to artists facing 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.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO 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 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

“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 and plays that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Monday, Dec. 5, is It’s a Wonderful Life, featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Spotlight Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play. Join us for live musical performances, talk, trivia, prize giveaways … and the movie! RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW

Coming up next:

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22: Billy Elliot, with entertainment from Vintage Theatre

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

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

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: Cody Schuyler and Jacquie Jo Billings

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Financial-aid recipients: Cody Schuyler and Jacquie Jo Billings are longtime performers  in the Colorado theater community and engaged to be married next year. The couple recently appeared together in Miners Alley Playhouse’s “You Can’t Take it With You” as Essie Carmichael and Tony Kirby Jr. Schuyler was nominated for a 2015 Henry Award for his starring turn as Cripple Billy in Miners  Alley Playhouse’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” Billings won a 2014 True West Award for her work in Miners Alley  Playhouse’s “The Fantasticks” and “Songs for a New World,” as well as Town Hall Arts Center’s “Spring Awakening.” Jacquie Jo is the daughter of former Denver Actors Fund President Brenda Billings, who died from a sudden brain aneurysm earlier this year.

cody-1Their medical story: Cody and Jacquie Jo were randomly assaulted by three men on Oct. 15 when they came to the aid of another person being attacked outside a hotel on South Broadway. When they tried to intervene, the attackers slammed Cody’s head on the concrete ground, splitting his eyeglasses in two, and beat him until he was unconscious. “When they were kicking him, they were laughing over and over,” Billings told the local news media. When she started screaming, she added, “One of them held me back and the other hit me in the face as hard as he possibly could. Then I blacked out.”

Cody is employed as a breakfast server, and his face was so cut up, his bosses did not want him coming back to work until significant healing takes place. By the time Cody is back to working his normal schedule, he estimates he will have lost about $5,000 in wages. Jacquie Jo missed about a week from her job recovering and visiting specialists. She also faces possible surgery.

Jacquie Jo Billings and Cody Schuyler, right, performed in the Denver Actors Fund "Be Brave" benefit concert honoring Billings' late mother, Photo by John Moore

Jacquie Jo Billings and Cody Schuyler, right, performed in the Denver Actors Fund “Be Brave” benefit concert honoring Billings’ late mother, Brenda Billings. Photo by John Moore.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund board will make $3,000 available to Cody Schyuler to help reimburse him for eyeglass replacement, prescriptions, and lost wages while recuperating from his injuries. The board also voted to make $1,000 available to Jacquie Jo Billings to help compensate her for lost wages while recuperating. Their cases will remain open in consideration of the possibility of future medical expenses resulting from the attack.

Help us help Cody Schuyler and Jacquie Jo Billings more: There is much financial uncertainty in the couple’s family’s immediate future. If you would like to target a specific donation to help give Cody and Jacquie Jo some breathing room in the coming weeks and months, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Cody Schuyler or Jacquie Jo Billings’ name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Cody Schuyler or Jacquie Jo Billings. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

PLEASE REMEMBER THE DENVER ACTORS FUND ON COLORADO GIVES DAY DEC. 6

A message from Cody Schuyler and Jacquie Jo Billings: “We both are eternally grateful to the Denver Actors Fund and the community as a whole for their generosity and outpouring of love. It’s nice to know that there are such wonderful people out there after an incident like this.”

(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. To date the Fund has allocated more than $55,000 to artists facing 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.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO 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 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

“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 and plays that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Tuesday, Nov. 15, is “A Christmas Story,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Town Hall Arts Center’s upcoming stage production. Join us for live musical performances, talk, trivia, prize giveaways … and the movie! RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW

Coming up next:

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Spotlight Theatre Company, Monday, Dec. 5. RESERVE YOUR SEAT 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. 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: Asad Clinton

Asad Clinton spent a year working as a choreographer for the NBA's Detroit Pistons.

Asad Clinton spent a year working as a choreographer for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.

Financial-aid recipient: Littleton actor, dancer and choreographer Asad Clinton was an ensemble member in Breckenridge Backstage Theatre‘s recent production of “Chicago.” He was called “commanding” by The Denver Post when he played a tagger named Graffiti Pete in Vintage Theatre Productions’ “In the Heights.” He appeared in both “Aida” and “The Wild Party” for Ignite Theatre at the Aurora Fox. Before that, he spent a year working as a choreographer for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. Asad has degrees in Biology from Colorado State University and in Engineering from the University of Colorado-Denver.

asad-clinton-quoteHis medical story: During a performance of “Chicago” in Breckenridge this past summer, Asad  had to be rushed to St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center in Frisco to be treated for High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. He spent the the next three days in St. Anthony’s North Campus Hospital, where he was tested and treated for numerous heart and lung problems. He had to miss the final week of shows because the doctors were nervous about Asad returning to high-altitude performing before all of their test results came back. (Side note: Backstage Artistic Director Christopher Willard and Director Nick Sugar honorably paid Asad his stipend  for the final week of performances anyway.) That first ordeal was essentially covered by insurance. But just a few weeks later, Asad was seen by a heart specialist, and the visit was not covered by insurance, leaving him $735 in the hole.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $735 available for Asad Clinton to pay for the uncovered portion of his  E.R. visit and EKG exam.

How you can help us help Asad Clinton more: There is  financial uncertainty in Asad’s immediate future. If you would like to target a specific donation to help give him some breathing room in the coming weeks and months, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Asad Clinton’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Asad Clinton. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

A message from Asad Clinton: “The grant from the Denver Actors Fund has provided me with not only the means to deal with the hospital and medical bills, but also it has helped to ease the stress of the situation and has allowed me the time to focus, heal and move forward.”

(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. To date the Fund has allocated more than $55,000 to artists facing 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.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO 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 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

“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 and plays that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Tuesday, Nov. 15, is “A Christmas Story,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Town Hall Arts Center’s upcoming stage production.  Join us for live musical performances, talk, trivia, prize giveaways … and the movie! RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW

Coming up next:

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Spotlight Theatre Company, Monday, Dec. 5. RESERVE YOUR SEAT 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. 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: Bailey Walton

Bailey Walton as Tracy Turnblad in "Hairspray." Photo by JR Cody Schuyler.

Bailey Walton as Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray.” Photo by JR Cody Schuyler.

 

Financial-aid recipient: Bailey Peyton Walton is part of the well-loved local theatre family that includes her brother, Burke Walton, and father, Kevin Walton. Bailey studied English at the University of Colorado-Denver and is a graduate of Cherry Creek High School. Recent roles have included Tracy in Hairspray with both the Evergreen Players and Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown.

bailey-quote-3Her medical story: Just two weeks ago, Bailey relocated to Redondo Beach, Calif., to pursue her dreams as a vocalist and performer. On Sept. 25, during the drive from Denver to California, Walton and her boyfriend were rear-ended 15 miles outside of Las Vegas by a car going more than 75 mph. The car rolled several times, and Bailey and her boyfriend landed in the desert sand covered in dirt and glass. “Considering the severity of the accident, both Sam and myself are lucky to be alive,” she said. A trip the ER Trauma Center and follow-up tests yielded a diagnosis of a concussion that will take several months to fully heal. Bailey had lined up a high-energy job working as an DJ and performer for an L.A. entertainment company, but her doctor has ordered her not return to work until fully recovered from headaches and general body soreness. So for the time being, she has no car – or source of income. In a new city.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $1,645 available to help Bailey Walton with the immediate financial burden brought on by this accident. The DAF Board is considering hers an ongoing case, leaving open the possibility of additional financial relief as her situation unfolds.

How you can help us help Bailey Walton more: There is much financial uncertainty in Bailey’s immediate future. If you would like to target a specific donation to Bailey to help give her some peace of mind in the coming weeks and months, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Bailey Walton’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Bailey Walton. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

A message from Bailey Walton: “Growing up in the Denver theatre community, I knew from a young age what it meant to choose your family. I learned from the best, and was always surrounded with endless love and support. I never thought I would ever need to contact the Denver Actors Fund, but I think we all can agree that life is continuously unexpected and comes without a guarantee. I can’t thank the Denver Actors Fund enough for their generosity and love during an extremely challenging time. As you all can imagine, the emotional stress of dealing with a car accident and health issues are enough on their own. Combine that with moving to a new city, having to tell your new employers that you are unable to work until a later date and being without a car and … the burden becomes tremendous. Thanks to this help, a great portion of my stress has been relieved knowing that I have some time to heal. It will be appreciated for the rest of my days.”

(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. To date the Fund has allocated more than $55,000 to artists facing 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.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO 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 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

“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, Oct. 12, is “Night of the Living Dead,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Equinox Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production. Tickets available here.

Coming up next:

“A Christmas Story,” with Town Hall Arts Center, Tuesday, Nov. 15

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Spotlight Theatre Company, Monday, Dec. 5

 

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 announces statewide expansion

In the video above, new parents Rebecca Joseph and Daniel Langhoff present Denver Actors Fund President Will Barnette with the Colorado Theatre Guild’s first Community Impact Award at the 2016 Henry Awards.

 

The Denver Actors Fund, which in three years has directly distributed more than $55,000 to metro-area theatre artists in situational medical need, has announced it is expanding financial eligibility to theatre artists statewide, effective immediately.

Since forming in June 2013, the grassroots non-profit has come to the financial aid of 32 actors, directors, stage managers, backstage technicians and others. In addition, a team of more than 60 volunteers has provided practical neighborly assistance that includes making and delivering more than 200 meals to dozens of additional beneficiaries facing surgeries, illness, family deaths and other difficulties.

Denver Actors Fund President Will Barnette announced statewide eligibility at the recent Henry Awards. Photo by John Moore.

Denver Actors Fund President Will Barnette announced statewide eligibility at the recent Henry Awards. Photo by John Moore.

 

When the Denver Actors Fund was founded, the board of directors could not have yet known how much funding the start-up non-profit might have available for artists in need, or how much of an initial demand there would be for its services. So the board chose to launch prudently, using the seven-country metro area as the initial eligibility boundary. Since then, the organization has raised $120,000 in seed money, mostly from small benefit performances and individual donors. The response from the community has been so generous, Barnette said, that the board voted unanimously to expand eligibility to statewide.

INFO: MISCAST 2016, BENEFITING THE DENVER ACTORS FUND

“In the Denver Actors Fund, we have a wonderful resource  to continue to support this community,” Barnette said. “And that resource has grown large enough now that we are happy to be expanding our financial grant coverage to the entire state of Colorado.”

Denver Actors Fund founder and Executive Director John Moore announced that Jalyn Courtenay Webb will be the DAF liaison to all theatre companies outside the metro area. Webb is Director of The Academy at the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins, a place where students from kindergarten through high school explore their potential through arts and creativity.

Despite the initial metro boundary, the DAF has received significant volunteer and donor support from communities such as Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, even though their artists were not yet eligible. That, Barnette said, made the board particularly pleased to expand eligibility to artists statewde.

“We look forward to reaching out to every theatre company in the state and letting them know what we can offer to their artists in need,” Barnette said.

a-featured-daf-400

Daniel Langhoff, a cancer survivor and Denver Actors Fund recipient, announced the DAF’s Community Impact Award with his wife, Rebecca Joseph, at the recent Henry Awards. Photo by Brian Landis Folkins.

Moore will be working with Webb to make initial contact with all statewide companies. He said it will take several months before the DAF will have a plan in place to deploy action-team assistance in remote communities outside the metro area. “But eligibility for financial relief starts today,” he said.

HOW TO APPLY FOR DENVER ACTORS FUND HELP

To be eligible for Denver Actors Fund assistance, an artist must have worked in some creative capacity on a legitimate theatrical production somewhere in the state of Colorado within the past five years, and have called Colorado home for at least six months. That could include actors, directors, crew members and designers. It does not at present include administrative staff or volunteers.

Moore said that if the Denver Actors Fund continues its present growth trajectory, the board will next consider possible eligibility for actors who perform in other types of theatrical genres, including improv comedy and, eventually, film.

“One of the things we are most proud of is our commitment to sensible, managed growth,” Moore said. “That’s what has allowed us to make this announcement today, and will hopefully pave the way for even more expanded eligibility in the near future.”

READ STORIES OF THE DENVER ACTORS FUND IN ACTION

In July, the Colorado Theatre Guild presented the Denver Actors Fund with its first Community Impact Award.

daf-in-action4The Denver Actors Fund’s two most significant sources of revenue (after the annual Colorado Gives Day) are its annual “Miscast” production, which is coming up Monday, Sept. 26, at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center; and a monthly film series in association with the Alamo Draft House in Littleton.

For Miscast, which is among the most entertaining evenings of the Colorado theatre year, some of the best theatre performers in Colorado sing songs they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legitimate stage. Tickets are $20  and are available at 303-794-2787 or online at townhallartscenter.org. Cocktails at 6 p.m.; show at 7. ORDER TICKETS

The Denver Actors Fund Presents …” film series is an opportunity for the DAF to partner with a different local theatre company each month, and help them to promote their current productions. The DAF schedules the screening of a movie with a stage counterpart that’s being presented by a local theatre community. That company’s cast entertains the Alamo audience with 30 minutes of performances, trivia and prizes before the source film is screened. Next up: “Night of the Living Dead,” with live pre-screening entertainment from Paper Cat Films and The Bug Theatre. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at the Alamo Draft House in the Aspen Grove shopping center. ORDER TICKETS

DONATE TO THE DENVER ACTORS FUND

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Robert Larson

Robert Larson with Becca Fletcher bringing holiday cheer with the Original Dickens Carolers.

Robert Larson with friend Becca Fletcher bringing holiday cheer with the Original Dickens Carolers.

 

Financial-aid recipient: Robert Larson is a graduate of Cherry Creek High School and serves as the music director of Hope United Methodist Church. As an actor, he most recently appeared in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at the PACE Center in Parker. He is also a singer with the Original Dickens Carolers, who spread cheer during the holiday season through song. “Robert is a warm, loving and devoted friend,” says Becca Fletcher.

robert-larson-3His medical story: In the early morning hours of May 18, Robert went to the emergency room with shortness of breath. Shortly thereafter, he lost consciousness. He was suffering from pneumonia, sepsis of the blood and a collapsed lung. He was unconscious for the next four days. “No one was sure if I would make it, and my family flew in from out of town in case I died,” he said. Robert spent a total of seven days in the ICU. To date, his out-of-pocket expenses have come to more than $6,000.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $3,000 available to help Robert Larson defray his medical expenses.

How you can help us help Robert Larson more: If you would like to target a specific donation to Robert Larson to help raise the remaining $3,000 (minimum) he needs, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Robert Larson’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Robert Larson. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

A message from Robert Larson: “I am so thankful for your existence, and your willingness to help the Denver theatre community members through the toughest times in their lives. I don’t know how to thank you enough, but I would love to help pay it forward though volunteering.” HOW TO VOLUNTEER

(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. To date the Fund has allocated more than $50,000 to artists facing 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.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO 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 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

COMING MONDAY, SEPT. 26: “Miscast 2016,” the Denver Actors Fund’s major annual fundraiser, takes place at Town Hall Arts Center. Come for the fun as actors from all over the metro area and Front Range perform in roles they would never – ever – normally cast to perform. READ MORE BUY TICKETS

“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, Oct. 12, is “Night of the Living Dead,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Equinox Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production. Tickets available here.

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: Angela Mendez

ANGELA MENDEZ 2

Angela Mendez appeared in Vintage Theatre’s recent production of “Curtains” as songwriter Georgia Hendricks.

 

Financial-aid recipient: Angela Mendez is a longtime local performer most recently seen in the New Works Festival at the Historic Elitch Theatre. She will be traveling with Director Christy Montour-Larson and her all-Colorado cast of the Armenian massacre musical “I Am Alive” for a special performance on Sept. 10 at the Alex Theatre in Los Angeles. She will then play Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” for the Vintage Theatre this winter. Of her recent performance in Vintage’s “Curtains,” Broadway World said Mendez brought “an outstanding, classic voice and a palpable heart” to the role of songwriter Georgia Hendricks.

ANGELA MENDEZHer medical story: A root resorption is an odd occurrence where your body decides to treat your tooth like regular bone. Instead of healthy dentin, the body starts to turn over the tooth’s inside, so that it becomes like Swiss cheese – the internal structure becomes weak, and it can break suddenly. This happened in one of Angela’s front teeth this year. She had to have it removed and have a bone graft surgery so that the area would heal properly for a permanent implant and a crown. Altogether, Angela faces $3,461 in out-of-pocket costs. Because the oral surgeon must be paid in full, up front, without help, Angela would not be able to schedule the procedure until March 2017 at the earliest. She has just moved and is living on a shoestring budget.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $2,000 available to help Angela Mendez achieve her goal of raising the full $3,461 she needs to schedule the surgery sooner and put her dental ordeal behind her.

How you can help us help Angela Mendez more: If you would like to target a specific donation to Angela Mendez to help raise the remaining $1,461 she needs, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Angela Mendez’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Angela Mendez. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

(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 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:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

COMING SEPT. 26: “Miscast 2016,” the Denver Actors Fund’s major annual fundraiser, takes place at Town Hall Arts Center. Come for the fun as actors from all over the metro area and Front Range perform in roles they would never – ever – normally cast to perform. READ MORE BUY TICKETS

“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, Oct. 12, is “Night of the Living Dead,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Equinox Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production. Tickets available here.

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: Jihad Milhem

Jihad Milhem,left, with Benaiah Anderson in Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 2016 "Troilus and Cressida." Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

Jihad Milhem, left, with Benaiah Anderson in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s 2016 “Troilus and Cressida.” Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

Financial-aid recipient: Jihad Milhem is a Denver actor who this summer played King Priam’s son, Paris, in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “Troilus & Cressida.” Previous Denver roles include James St. James in K: The Rise and Fall of the New York Klub Kids for Denver’s Pandemic Theatre Collective; and Happiness is a Warm Gun for The LIDA Project. Milhem moved to Denver after having worked in New York City and Philadelphia for 12 years. He can be seen this fall in The Edge Theater Company’s “Marie Antoinette.”

His story: Jihad was assaulted after performing in the play “K: The Rise and Fall of the New York Klub Kids” with Pandemic Theatre Collective at the Milk Bar near 10th and Broadway. His knee was dislocated, and his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was completely torn, requiring reconstruction. While Medicaid covered his surgical costs, Milhem has been unable to return to his restaurant job as he continues his rehabilitation. And that has made paying the rent and other expenses difficult. (Side note: The Colorado Shakespeare Festival staff was kind enough to incorporate Milhem’s injury into the story, allowing him to continue to perform in “Troilus & Cressida.”)

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $900 available to Milhem to help satisfy his immediate needs including rent, and give him some financial breathing room going into September.

Jihad Milhem 2How you can help us help Jihad Milhem more: If you would like to target a specific donation to Jihad Milhem, simply mail checks made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Jihad Milhem’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Jihad Milhem. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

A message from Jihad Milhem: “My Denver Actors Fund aid makes it possible for me to go through this next month of healing and physical therapy without having to worry about keeping a roof over my head or food in my stomach. Words cannot begin to express the gratitude and respect I have for the DAF. So many actors like myself would be lost without the help the DAF provides. All the thanks must go out to the Denver theatre community – this embodiment of all of your kindness and caring has truly made my life better. This token of your concern and charity graces me, and all I can hope is to one day help you good folks help someone else one day.”

(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:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

COMING SEPT. 26: “Miscast 2016,” the Denver Actors Fund’s major annual fundraiser, takes place at Town Hall Arts Center. Come for the fun as actors from all over the metro area and Front Range perform in roles they would never – ever – normally cast to perform. BUY TICKETS

“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, Oct. 12, is “Night of the Living Dead,” featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Equinox Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production. Tickets available soon.

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: Joey Wishnia

Joey Wishnia with Robin Wallace in Senior Housing Options' "A Hint of Winter" at the Barth Hotel in 2011.

Joey Wishnia with Robin Wallace in Senior Housing Options’ “A Hint of Winter” at the Barth Hotel in 2011.

‘Thank you so much for your invaluable help to me.’

Financial-aid recipient: Joey Wishnia, who won the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, was educated at Rhodes University and received a teaching diploma in Speech and Drama from Trinity College in London. He came to the United States in 1993 and quickly established himself in the local theatre community as actor and director concentrating on classical theatre. He has worked in practically every facet of the entertainment industry, most recently having performed in JoeyWishnia QuoteVintage Theatre’s “Sunset Boulevard.” He has also written scripts for children’s theatre, devised and appeared in four one-man shows and developed several educational programs aimed at encouraging children to read.

His story: Joey Wishnia has Macular Degeneration, which involves monthly visits for eye injections. He also has recently had two cataract removal surgeries (one eye at a time) and also has had two teeth extracted. These medical setbacks have made it hard for Joey to keep up on his everyday expenses.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund initially made $522.40 available to Wishnia to help satisfy his immediate financial needs and give him some breathing room going into September.

Update February 2017: The Denver Actors Fund has made an additional $900 available to Joey Wishnia to help pay for his continuing eye injections.

Update May 2018: The DAF Board approved an additional grant of $520.37 to pay for Joey’s continuing eye injections for macular degeneration.

Update March 2019: The DAF Board approved an additional grant of $682.25 to pay for Joey’s continuing eye injections, bringing his total overall support including targeted donations from the public to $2,939.62.

How you can help us help Joey Wishnia more: If you would like to target a specific donation to Joey Wishnia family to give them a little more breathing room, simply mail checks made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Joey Wishnia’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, 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 Joey Wishnia. Otherwise it will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

A message from Joey Wishnia: “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Denver Actors Fund. Not only because they have helped me, but because they hold an umbrella over the heads of our theatre community to protect us from the rain that always comes unexpectedly.”

(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:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

COME TO OUR EVENTS:

Friends, we at The Denver Actors Fund believe in building community while building funds. Most of our events are performative in nature so that you have a good time while helping a good cause. Here are some of the events that are currently being planned on our behalf.

MONDAY, MARCH 18: Lauren Bahlman and Jessica Austgen, improv comedians, book nerds and hosts of a popular podcast called “Required Readcast,” are hosting a special event in collaboration with Benchmark Theatre: Their first-ever LIVE recording of the podcast, during which they comically dive back into the age-old required-reading list to see which books are still awesome … and which scarred them for life. (For a taste, just listen to this hilarious conversation about “Lord of the Flies.”) On March 18, the quippy literary pair will be discussing George Orwell’s 1984. Which is perfect because Benchmark Theatre will be staging the dystopian classic from March 15-April 13. “We’ve been wanting to discuss this one on the pod for a while, and thought it would be a perfect collaboration with the opening of the Benchmark production,” Bahlman said. “Maybe we can bring a little levity to the situation. We’re hoping to have one of the cast members as a guest as well.” All proceeds from that evening, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, will go to The Denver Actors Fund. Suggested donation of $5. Drinks and such will be available. No reservation necessary.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20: Local actor (and former DAF aid recipient) Emma Rebecca Maxfield (Performance Now’s The Wedding Singer) and actor Andy Seracuse (Vintage Theatre’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) present an evening of songs at the Vintage Theatre with special guest Brandon Bill. Maxfield and Seracuse plan to independently stage an upcoming production of The Last Five Years in September with a “large portion of our proceeds going to The Denver Actors Fund every step of the way,” Maxfield says. So attend the fundraising event at Vintage on March 20 and enjoy an evening of cabaret. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Vintage; of what remains, a portion will go toward The Last Five Years, and an equal portion to the DAF. 7:30 p.m. at 468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, MARCH 22-23: Darrow Klein, star of the Arvada Center’s new production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” is also one of the youngest and oldest (as in longest) supporters of The Denver Actors Fund. She is arranging to take collections for the Denver Actors Fund following the March 22-23 performances. This effort is being initiated entirely by Darrow, who is also donating one week of her own acting stipend. If you plan to see this important and acclaimed show about the 13-year-old Jewish girl who chronicled the horrors of being trapped in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, why not plan to attend on one of our special DAF nights? Performances take place at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. For ticket information, call 720-898-7200 or go to arvadacenter.org

Click here for the complete current lineup of events

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

 

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

 

‘Legally Blonde’ director, screenwriters to join DAF screening

As Elle says in the 2001 cult classic film Legally Blonde: “Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”

We are so not shooting any husbands, because we are very happy people.

The Alamo Drafthouse Denver has just announced that Legally Blonde director Robert Luketic and screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah will come to Denver for a special screening of the film on Monday, May 23, benefiting the Denver Actors Fund. Luketic’s films include The Ugly Truth, Killers, Paranoia and 21. McCullah and Smith were screenwriters on 10 Things I Hate About You and The Ugly Truth.

legally-blonde-posterAlamo Drafthouse General Manager Walter Shaw will conduct a Q&A with all three guests after the screening, followed by an autograph-signing in the lobby.

You know the story, right? When a blonde sorority queen (Reese Witherspoon) is dumped by her boyfriend, she decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined.

Denver Actors Fund Presents …  is a monthly film series featuring titles that are also being staged by a partnering local theatre company. Next month, the nearby Town Hall Arts Center will be staging the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of Legally Blonde: The Musical from May 20-June 19 in downtown Littleton. That production is directed by Nick Sugar. Cast members from the show will provide pre-screening entertainment and giveaways at the May 23 Alamo event beginning at 6:30 p.m., with the film following at 7.

Half of all ticket proceeds will benefit the Denver Actors Fund, which provides financial relief and functional support to members of the local theatre community in medical need. In less than three years, the fund has distributed more than $42,000 and logged hundreds of volunteer service hours.

Robert LuketicAfter Legally Blonde on May 23, Denver Actors Fund Presents … will screen Footloose, with entertainment by  BDT Stage, on June 20, followed by Little Shop of Horrors, with entertainment by Miners Alley Playhouse, on July 25.

Ticket information:

Warner Huntington III: You got into the Alamo Drafthouse? 

Elle: What? Like it’s hard?

Warner Huntington III: Not if you get tour tickets in advance. All seating is reserved.

When: Monday, May 23

6 p.m.: Doors open

6:30 p.m.: Entertainment by Town Hall Arts Center’s cast of Legally Blonde

7 p.m.: Legally Blonde Screening

Alamo Drafthouse is located at 7301 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, CO 80120, in the Aspen Grove Shopping Center. MAP IT.

Advance purchase strongly encouraged.

To reserve tickets to Legally Blonde on May 23, click here.

To reserve tickets to Footloose on June 20, click here.

For information on the Town Hall Arts Center’s upcoming staging of Legally Blonde: The Musical, click here.

Evening of songs to honor Brenda Billings at Hard Rock Cafe

Brenda Hard Rock 2

The Denver Actors Fund will present an evening of songs on Tuesday, May 10, in honor of its late President, Brenda Billings.

Billings was the co-Artistic Director at Miners Alley Playhouse, President of the Denver Actors Fund and a longtime contributor to Colorado’s non-profit community. She died April 13 of complications Brenda Hard Rock 3from a sudden brain hemorrhage while conducting auditions for her next production, Little Shop of Horrors. She was 57.

Read our tribute to Brenda Billings

“Be Brave” will feature songs from musicals directed by Billings and performed by returning cast members from Hair, Hairspray, The Fantasticks, Godspell, Songs For a New World and more. The Emcee will be Paul Dwyer and the Musical Director will be Mitch Samu. A complete list of performers will be announced as the event draws closer.

The venue is being donated by the Denver Hard Rock Cafe at Glenarm Place and the 16th Street Mall. “We are glad to help, especially during this difficult time for everyone in the arts community,” said John Lindsay, Hard Rock Cafe’s Senior Sales and Marketing Manager. “We’ll make this a great event and celebration of her life.”

A Brenda Hard Rock

Daughters Jacquie Jo and Jamie Billings sang “Purple Summer” at their mother’s memorial celebration earlier this week.

Tickets are $25 and will equally benefit the Denver Actors Fund and Miners Alley Playhouse.

Advance purchase is strongly recommended as maximum capacity is just 150.

Participating local theatres including the Denver Center for the Performing Arts are donating tickets to upcoming performances that will be bundled into three silent-auction packages.

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE TICKETS

For additional information, email denveractorsfund@gmail.com.

Special thanks to Heidi Bosk of the DCPA.

Brenda Hard Rock

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Eric and Jenny Mather

Jenny, Eric and Myles Mather.

Jenny, Eric and Myles Mather.

Financial-aid recipients: Eric Mather is one of Denver’s most gifted comic actors, most recently having played Inspector Hans Kemp in Town Hall Arts Center’s “Young Frankenstein.” Denver Post Theater critic John Moore once wrote of Mather: “Here’s a guaranteed formula for staging a successful comedy: Cast Eric Mather, wind him up like a child’s toy, and just … let him go.” He is co-host of the monthly “Drunken Bachelor Talk Show” at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, and is experienced in commercials, voice-overs and improv comedy. His deep theatrical resume includes being a member the Walden Family Playhouse’s resident company in Lakewood, creating many original children’s musicals. He was twice nominated for Denver Post Ovation Awards before being named best actor in comedic role as the God-like title character in Miners Alley Playhouse’s “The Visitor.” His job was to engage Sigmund Freud in the philosophical and spiritual debate of a lifetime. Eric’s wife, Jenny Weiss Mather, has appeared in many musicals around town, most recently in Vintage Theatre’s “Mack and Mabel.” The couple appeared together at Backstage Breckenridge Theatre in the 2013 farce “Out of Order,” followed by “Beauty and the Beast,” as Lumiere and Babette.

Their story: Last August, at just 25 weeks pregnant, Jenny Weiss Mather went into pre-term labor that mandated an emergency airlift from Aspen Valley Hospital to Presbyterian St. Luke’s in Denver. Jenny underwent surgery to keep her son in the womb for another two weeks, giving Myles a better chance at a healthy life. Myles was born on Aug. 25, weighing just 1 pound, 9 ounces. Myles spent his first two months in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Luke’s, and he is now receiving follow-up oxygen treatment at home. All of this came soon after Mather’s son Braeden broke both his arms at a time when the couple had no medical insurance. After Myles was born, friends launched an online giving campaign that raised a whopping $8,823. But all of that has been exhausted by medical bills, and the couple are still swimming upstream because they have maxed out their health-insurance benefits.

Mathers quoteHow we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has granted the Mathers $2,500, matching the largest individual grant in the short history of the non-profit organization.

How you can help us help the Mathers more: Even with the gift from The Denver Actors Fund gift, the Mathers still face more than $5,000 in post-insurance medical bills. To help us help the Mathers more, simply mail checks made out to Denver Actors Fund with the Mathers’ name written in the topic field, to 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. In the comment field, be sure to designate whether your donation is intended for the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund, or a direct, targeted donation to the Mathers.

A message from the Mathers: “The last few months of our lives have been an incredible blessing with the arrival of our son. We just want to thank Denver Actors Fund and the community for helping us in this time of financial need. The money we are receiving will go directly to Aspen Valley Hospital and the emergent care that Jenny received, which represents a significant portion of the medical bills we are dealing with now. It really does take a village.”

(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 DESIGNATED DENVER ACTORS FUND PERFORMANCES:

JANUARY 28: StageDoor Theatre is giving ALL proceeds from its Industry Night performance of “Calendar Girls” to the Denver Actors Fund. 7:30 p.m. Pay what you can at the door. Call Jill Manser at 303-995-8311.

ATTEND THE NEW “DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS …” FILM SERIES: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Littleton is launching a new monthly film series in partnership with the Denver Actors Fund. The series, “Denver Actors Fund Presents …” will feature films inspired by musicals that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. The series kicks off Sunday, Feb. 14, with an exclusive screening of the cult classic “Heathers.” Ignite Theatre Company, whose upcoming production of “Heathers The Musical” will perform songs from the show prior to the screening. Click here for tickets.

DAF ALAMO 2

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

 

Penny Dwyer joins Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors

Penny Dwyer

Penny Dwyer

 

The Denver Actors Fund has appointed Penny Dwyer to its Board of Directors, President Brenda Billings announced today.

“Penny Dwyer will bring wisdom, leadership and sensitivity to the job through her many years in the theatre community,” said Billings. “I have always been impressed by her groundedness, her sensibility and sensitivity. She has a great head on her shoulders, and great business sense.”

The Sound of Music 2

The cast of “The Sound of Music” at Country Dinner Playhouse in 2002 included Penny Dwyer, left, as well as Thaddeus Valdez, Melissa Benoist, Annaleigh Ashford and future Broadway actor Jesse JP Johnson.

Dwyer has performed locally for more than 20 years at the Arvada Center, Country Dinner Playhouse, Garner-Galleria Theatre and more.  She has taken an eight-year leave from the stage to raise her 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter with her husband, actor and producer Paul Dwyer.

“I am honored to join this board and help the Denver Actors Fund continue to grow and thrive and be able to reach out and assist even more people in this incredible theater community,” said Dwyer.

Dwyer grew up in Houston and graduated from Trinity University with a BS in Engineering Science. She moved to Colorado in 1992. Her first stage performance in Denver was also the first show that new Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford ever appeared in: Ruthless! The Musical at Theatre on Broadway. The two performed alongside Sue Leiser, Steve Tangedal, Heather Fortin Rubald and others. Dwyer has rubbed acting elbows with all kinds of bigshots, in fact, including Tony nominee Beth Malone (“Fun Home”) in the Arvada Center’s “Company,” and TV’s new “Supergirl,” Melissa Benoist. Dwyer, Ashford and Benoist all performed in the same production of “The Sound of Music” at Country Dinner Playhouse.

Dwyer counts among her favorite roles Miriam in Country Dinner Playhouse’s “The Music Man,” and performing in “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” for Theatre Group. She was nominated for a 2002 Denver Post Ovation Award as best supporting actress in the Arvada Center’s “Crazy for You.”

Dwyer has a unique empathy for those in medical need, having performed with many actors and crew who have faced medical emergencies. She is also the mother of an autistic son, and so she knows all too well the burdens that go along with caring for a loved one with a chronic medical condition. She supervised speech and behavioral therapy sessions for her son for more than six years.

“We have been lucky that we have been able to afford everything we needed to help our son, but it’s expensive,” she said. “If you were a struggling actor and had a child with autism, I can tell you that would be very difficult.”

James Dwyer is now a 7th-grader in a mainstream public school.”He is not only surviving, he is thriving,” Billings said. “And that says a lot about his parenting. Penny’s dedication to making sure her son has received the best education and medical resources has been remarkable.”

Dwyer is looking forward to her service with The Denver Actors Fund, in part because “this is a great way to reconnect with the community that I love, and with new friends I have yet to meet.”

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 78: Erica Lee Johnson

By John Moore

CultureWest.Org is endeavoring to make short films out of all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, each featuring actors with Colorado connections. The artistic intent is primarily to further CultureWest’s mission to spotlight the local theatre community and their current or upcoming productions. It’s also an attempt to promote Shakespeare education in a fun way. This is an entirely volunteer project with a proud budget of … zero dollars.

Jakarta SonnetWe are rolling out new Sonnet videos … well, as soon as they are completed and turned in. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For Sonnet 78, actor Erica Lee Johnson takes us all the way to West Java, Indonesia, where she serves as a Peace Corps volunteer. Here, in this enlightening and heartfelt video, Johnson shows us how she uses John Lennon, a ukulele and the universal language of Shakespeare to teach Sonnet 78.

Scholars believe that in this sonnet, Shakespeare has been hurt by the source of his poetic inspiration. That other contemporaries have adopted his poetic style and honed in on his muse. Here, Erica’s interpretation seems much more an ode from teacher to students and back again. For surely just as she has opened their eyes to new worlds, so too have they for her. Communally they allow the educated to soar even higher, and enhance the gracefulness of the already graceful. Unlike the narrator of Shakespeare’s sonnet, there is no shortage of inspiration in this small classroom outside of Jakarta.

Johnson’s remarkable DIY film includes contributions from a choreographer, three cinematographers and a cast of 24 Indonesian locals. It’s longer than our previous Sonnet film entries – and worth every second.

Johnson is a graduate of Littleton High School and Metro State University. Recent acting credits include Miners Alley Playhouse’s “Present Laughter” and “Wonder of the World,” as well as And Toto Too’s “The Greater Good.”

The Denver Sonnets Project is an ongoing public art project, open to a variety of actors and filmmakers.  Each new short sonnet film is posted here first. The project is an endeavor to call attention to the work of the Denver Actors Fund. Learn more at  www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

Video series by John Moore. For those of you who have signed up for a sonnet, please keep them coming!

The Denver Sonnets Project is a volunteer collaboration, with limited eligibility requirements for participation. For information on how to register for a future episode, email your interest to John Moore at culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

 

erica

 

Completed episodes to date (in numeric order):

Sonnet 1: Cast of “Cult Following”: “From fairest creatures we desire increase …”

Sonnet 2: Josh Robinson, “See thy blood warm …”

Sonnet 6, Joe Von Bokern: “Make worms thine heir!”

Sonnet 10, Augustus Truhn: “Thou art so possessed with murd’rous hate …”

Sonnets 11: Crystal Verdon Eisel: “Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.”

Sonnet 17: Anne Sandoe: “If I could write the beauty of your eyes …”

Sonnet 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”

Sonnet 31: Sean Scrutchins and Devon James: “Thou art the grave where buried love doth live …”

Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”

Sonnet 44: John Carroll Lynch, “Thought kills me that I am not thought …”

Sonnet 47: Adrian Egolf, “Thyself away are present still with me …”

Sonnet 55: Cajardo Rameer Lindsey: “You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes”

Sonnet 73: Jim Hunt: “Love that well which thou must leave ere long …”

Sonnet 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life …”

Sonnet 78: Erica Lee Johnson: “So oft have I invoked thee for my muse” …

Sonnet 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”

Sonnet No. 91: Sam Gregory: “Thy love is better than high birth to me”

Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”

Sonnet 124: Cast of Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s ‘The Tempest’

Sonnet 131: Josh Nelson, “In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds …”

Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Sonnet 144: Cailin Doran, “Two loves I have, of comfort and despair …”

 

Please consider supporting the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

Brenda Billings named Denver Actors Fund President

Brenda Billings, Artistic Director at Miners Alley Playhouse and a longtime contributor to Colorado’s non-profit community, has been named President of The Denver Actors Fund, Executive Director John Moore announced today.

“I am honored and very enthused to join the Denver Actors Fund,” Billings said. “The founding of this unique and vital organization is making such an important difference in the lives of the Denver theatre community.”

Brenda Billings. Photo by Jonathan Scott-McKean.

Brenda Billings. Photo by Jonathan Scott-McKean.

Billings succeeds Denver Actors Fund co-founder Christopher Boeckx, who will remain active as the fund’s Legal Counsel.

“The Denver Actors Fund never would have gotten off the ground without the wit and wisdom of Chris Boeckx,” Moore said. “He took care of all the initial filings. He led painstaking efforts to secure our good standing as a fully fledged nonprofit in the eyes of the state of Colorado and the IRS – and in record time. He also spearheaded the launch of the ongoing Tap Shoe Initiative, which allows local theatre companies to take ownership of the organization by collecting funds at their shows.

“But Chris’ life circumstances have changed significantly, and so we are not only grateful to have his continuing legal guidance, but also to infuse our efforts with the energy,  clout and smarts that Brenda Billings brings to the Denver Actors Fund. She is without question a matriarch of one of Denver’s most accomplished and beloved theatre families.”

Moore pointed to Billings’ steadfast support for the Denver Actors Fund from the beginning. Not only does the Miners Alley Playhouse give free ad space to the fund in every show program, the company keeps an authentic miner’s lunch pail open in the lobby at all times to collect donations.

Billings grew up in a Kansas theatre founded by her father, the legendary PK Worley, who was a musician and director, most notably with the Evergreen Players. Brenda graduated with a degree in Speech and Drama from the University of Kansas and moved to Colorado in 1983 to marry Jim Billings of Wheat Ridge. Her brother, drummer Tag Worley, came six months later, followed by their father in 1984. That began a long family association between the Worleys and with the Evergreen Players, Evergreen Chorale, Colorado Childrens Chorale and more.

“From stage management and directing to acting, dancing and singing – I am most at home in the theatre,” said Billings, whose recent directing credits include “Godspell,” “The Fantasticks” and “Songs for a New World” at Miners Alley Playhouse, as well as the critically acclaimed and award-winning “Hairspray” for the Evergreen Players. She will next direct “Pump Boys and Dinettes” this summer for the Miners Alley Playhouse.

Billings has served on the Board of Directors for many nonprofits in the Denver area. Her longest tenure was with the Colorado Children’s Chorale. She spearheaded their fundraising efforts for more than 10 years and was instrumental in their overall financial success. She also has been active in fundraising for the Denver School of the Arts and The Evergreen Players.

Brenda and Jim Billings have four children: Jacqui Jo, Jamie, Jessica and Brady. Jacqui Jo Billings won a 2014 True West Award for her performance in her mother’s “The Fantasticks.” Jamie Billings performed in the national touring production of “Spring Awakening” and went on to study direction in London. Billings’ brother, Tag, remains a highly sought drummer in the local theatre community. He is married to choreographer Alann Worley.

“I am so enthused to be a part of furthering and growing the success of Denver Actors Fund,” Billings said. “I am looking forward to working with John and the ‘army of angels’ who  have taken the charge of caring for our fellow theatre colleagues.”

The Denver Actors Fund, founded in June 2013, is a modest source of  financial and other immediate relief for members of the Denver theater community who find themselves in situational medical need. In two years, The Denver Actors Fund has raised about $45,000 and distributed about $16,000 to help recipients with medical bills, insurance, co-payments, supplies and more.

(Click here to read stories about some of the actors, directors, stage managers and more who have been helped to date)

The Denver Actors Fund “Action Teams,” an army of more than 60 volunteers, run errands, provide rides, meals, child care, pet-sitting, personal company and more. To date, volunteers have donated more than 200 hours of service, delivered nearly 50 meals and delivered about 15 bags of groceries.

When Moore and Boeckx started the Fund two years ago, Boeckx was a Peace Corps volunteer finishing up law school at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. Since graduating with honors as a member of the Order of St. Ives, he has taken a job with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, gotten married and last week became a first-time father.

“Chris and I said from the very beginning that we want helping the Denver Actors Fund to be a manageable volunteer task for everyone,” Moore said, “… including us.

“We are so grateful for Chris’ essential service, and we will always consider him a vital member of the Denver Actors Fund family.”

One Board position remains open. Anyone interested may inquire by emailing denveractorsfund@gmail.com

 

MORE INFORMATION ON THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

To apply for aid: Click here

Web site: Click here

Email us: DenverActorsFund@gmail.com

Facebook: Click here

Twitter: @denveractorsfun

 

OUR NEXT EVENT: THE MILE-HIGH 24

Eight local playwrights are given just one night to write an original one-act piece – a lost scene from an assigned pop-classic film. The next morning, eight directors will gather their actors and scripts, and start rehearsing. The result will be performed later that same night. Performances will be held Saturday, June 27, with shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Vintage Theatre in Aurora. Tickets are $20 each and are available online now. A portion of the night’s proceeds will benefit the Denver Actors Fund. The Mile High 24 is the creation of local Producer Gene Kato. Read more about it here.

 

 

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Amy Malmgren

Watch: Amy Malmgren is interviewed along with the rest of The Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors on a recent episode of  “In Focus With Eden Lane.”

Update: So there is a reason we have legal counsel! The Denver Actors Fund has a stipulation that was unanimously approved by its board of directors upon founding that states board members are ineligible for financial gifts. That means no matter how badly we want to help Amy Malmgren with funds to help defer her medical expenses, we are legally prohibited from doing so. What we can do is help get Amy’s story out there, and encourage the community to support Amy Malmgren directly.

Amy Malmgren appeared at the very first Denver Actors Fund event, a late night of theatre-themed karaoke.

Amy Malmgren appeared at the very first Denver Actors Fund event, a late night of theatre-themed karaoke.

Financial-aid recipient: Highlands Ranch resident Amy Malmgren, a graduate of Arvada High School and Metro State College, has often appeared in Magic Moments’ annual musical revue extravaganza, most recently in 2014. She also serves as Treasurer on the Denver Actors Fund’s Board of Directors. Amy actually sits on several boards, and she prefers to concentrate on issues that impact the health, independence and quality of life of individuals living with spinal-cord injury or disease.

Her story: Amy was paralyzed in a near-death car accident 24 years ago. Since then, she has battled infection, illness and overcoming the stigma of living with a disability. All while raising three young men as a single mother, including two now 16-year-old twins. Nine months ago, Amy was diagnosed with Stage 4 bladder cancer. (There is no Stage 5.)  After a strict regimen of chemotherapy and radical surgery, doctors miraculously declared her cancer-free in October. But her celebration was short-lived. Her cancer has returned, again as Stage 4. It has metastasized from her lymph nodes, spread into the small intestines and has possibly reached the pubic bone. Amy is taking on the challenge with good grace: “I beat it before, and I will beat it again,” she says. But Amy’s first fight against cancer depleted her savings. She currently owes Swedish Hospital $2,358, before the next round of treatment begins. Amy is self-employed, but had to let many of her contracts go last year while she focused on chemotherapy and surgery.

How we will help: See the update above

How you can help us help Amy Malmgren more:  Amy will face significant new costs associated with her next round of treatment. Any support you can help her with would be greatly appreciated, and will be directly applied to medical costs. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Amy Malmgren, you have two options:

Online: Click here to go to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to support Amy.

Postal:  Checks made out to Amy Malmgren may be sent to 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. They will be forwarded directly to her. Checks must be made out to Amy Malmgren.

A message from Amy Malmgren: “Life is crazy sometimes. We don’t get to choose all our paths, or I certainly wouldn’t have chosen cancer. But here I am again. With lots (and I mean LOTS) of prayers, I beat the highest stage of cancer in just four months, and I plan on doing it again. Please pray for my healing and ask everyone you know to do the same. If you can donate, wonderful. If your prayers are what you can offer, that is wonderful, too. I appreciate any and all of it. Thank you, family and friends for all your generous support and may God bless you!

 

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

 

BDT Stage raises $5,173 for Denver Actors Fund

DAFBDTMWPhoto by Glenn Ross.

 

BDT Stage’s special added performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” raised a total of $5,173.29 for the Denver Actors Fund, making it one of the two most successful evenings in the growing non-profit’s short history.

Of that total, $1,660 comes directly from performers and musicians donating their show pay. Another $602.52 comes from added donations collected at the door as the crowd exited. The rest comes directly from BDT Stage (formerly Boulder’s Dinner Theatre), headed by Michael J. Duran.

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sanal 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

The Denver Actors Fund would like to thank Michael J. Duran, Wayne Kennedy, Shelly Cox-Robie, Jessica Hindsley, Rebekah Ortiz, Sarah Grover, Darrow Klein, Rachael Perez, Tricia Moreland, Katlin Miller, Brett Ambler, Burke Walton, Matt LaFontaine, Scott Beyette, Bob Hoppe, Jason Vargas, Barb Reeves, Brian Burron, Matthew D. Peters, Scott Severtson, Brian Cronan, Tracy Warren, Joanie Brosseau,  Amanda Earls, Bren. Eyestone Burron, Thomas Russo, Ethan Leland, Jake Elvig, Carter Hanson, Matt Reichen, Neal Dunfee, Jean Denney, Leah Mohling, Morgan Denney, Nick Vocatura, April Johanessen, Rob Reynolds, Rich Dustin, Michael Hilton, Gail Harris, Carlton Bacon, Nick Vocatura, Jon Stubbs, Nick Gnojek, Dean Vlachos, Seamus McDonough, Jared Williams, all the front of house staff, running crew and dining staff.

And, most of all, everyone who bought a ticket.

Read Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 WHAT’S NEXT? IT’S NOW!

Denver actor (and DAF volunteer) Rhonda Brown is offering theatregoers the opportunity to play the walk-on role of Molly Ivins’ assistant in her current staging of  “Red Hot Patriot.” For everyone who volunteers, Rhonda and Director Richard Pegg will donate $50 to The Denver Actors Fund in your name. Won’t cost you a thing. No rehearsal – just show up early on your assigned night and get some very simple direction. (You walk on and hand Molly a piece of paper four times. You have no speaking lines to memorize).

To put your name on the list and support a great cause, email Richard Pegg at harcourtp@comcast.net. “Red Hot Patriot” plays at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Aurora Fox Theater through March 15. Thank you, Rhonda, Richard and, of course, the late, great Molly Ivins. 

Tickets: http://aurorafoxartscenter.org

 

HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

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

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

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

 

 

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

 

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Joe Majestic

a joe add

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.

a joe fullFinancial-aid recipient: Littleton native Joe Majestic, a graduate of Arapahoe High School, appeared as Lewis in Ignite Theatre’s “Pippin,” and as Bobby in “Cabaret.”  He also played a protean in Town Hall Arts Center’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and has performed with the Original Dickens Carolers.

His story: Joe has been dealing with a double hernia for the past year, but, being without insurance, it went untreated. His condition   grew progressively worse until Thanksgiving week, when the pain grew so bad he couldn’t keep food or liquids down. Surgery was put off until Dec. 5, when the damage was repaired. He’s working with the hospital on a payment plan but, even after negotiating his bill down, his real costs are currently at about $43,000.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund board of directors has approved a gift of $2,000, matching the largest gift in the short history of the Fund. 

How you can help us help Joe Majestic more: Obviously our help will only buy Joe a little bit of time, but his remaining costs remain significant. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help further defray Joe Majestic’s obligations, mail checks made out in his name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link, and in your note, be sure to direct your gift to Joe Majestic.

A message from Joe Majestic: “Thank you so much for helping out.  It will help a ton in the coming weeks.”

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 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 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:

Feb. 17: The BDT Stage will host a special benefit performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” with  proceeds going to the Denver Actors Fund. Your attendance serves as a tax0deductible donation to the Denver Actors Fund.  Click here for deals 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 “Miscast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

Video: DAF Night at ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is coming Feb. 17

Wayne Kennedy, star of BDT Stage’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” introduces a special added performance of the hit musical on Tuesday, Feb. 17, to benefit the Denver Actors Fund. Kennedy talks about when his 1-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia and why “the introduction of the DAF is so important for people in my business.”

All proceeds from the Feb. 17 performance after cost benefit the Denver Actors Fund.  The actors are all waiving their performance fees for that night.

Tickets for dinner and the show are $37-48. To make a reservation, call the BDT box office at 303-449-6000, or go to www.BDTStage.com.

A limited number of VIP tickets (36 at six tables) are also available. Each table purchase ($500) receives the following:

  • Six tickets to the show (including dinner)
  • Two bottles of wine for the table
  • Business logo in program

Photos with the cast after the performance. To reserve those, call 303-968-5834 or email chris.boeckx@yahoo.com.

BDT Stage is located at 5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder.

Read Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

BDTVIDEO2

HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form 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 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 go here (with our humble thanks):

 

 

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:

Feb. 17, 2015: BDT Stage (formerly Boulder’s Dinner Theatre) presents a benefit performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Call 303-449-6000.

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

‘BALLS!’ raises $5,250, inspires more to cap record-setting year for Denver Actors Fund

a balls

At the Denver Actors Fund, we’re feeling pretty close to a mile high.

Earlier this year, we were told the Denver Actors Fund had been selected to be the sole charitable beneficiary at the 6th annual performances of “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. The numbers are in, and those performances directly raised $5,250. That represents 20 percent of all funds raised by the Denver Actors Fund in the 18 months of our existence heading into those performances. Of that, $1,000 was put up as a matching grant by outgoing Denver Actors Fund board member Paul Dunne, who has recently relocated to Houston.

Needless to say, December was the best month on record for the Denver Actors Fund, which exists to support artists in response to situation medical needs, either with cash donations or volunteer assistance. While the Denver Actors Fund is considered too small to be officially included in Colorado Gives Day, we also received about $1,489 in donations inspired by that statewide effort.

In addition, two local theatre companies chose “BALLS!” performances to let us in on a little secret: The boards of the Buntport and Front Range Theatre Companies (formerly Castle Rock Players) had voted separately and independently to donate $500 gifts to the Denver Actors Fund.

The “BALLS!” total includes contributions from a variety of sources. Lannie Garrett, owner of the host venue (Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret), waived rent for the night. Performers Emily K. Harrison, GerRee Hinshaw, Mare Trevathan, Jim Ruberto and rotating guest stars performed for free, as they do each year for different deserving charities. (The complete list of thanks is noted on our Facebook page.) “BALLS!-related” donations were received by Pesha Rudnick, Cynthia DeLarber, Laura Norman and Barbara Afanador (mother of DAF beneficiary Chad Afanador). There were handmade sock-puppet and notecard sales (thank you, Margie Lamb), along with other sources of donations. It all added up.

To make our holiday season complete, we received word late last week from Sheila Sears that both Colorado Creative Industries and the Denver Office of Film, Television and Media have decided to give the Denver Actors Fund grants of $1,250 – each.

And now, for the bottom line … Thanks to the community’s efforts on our behalf, the Denver Actors Fund has now raised, to date, $35,510 to help artists of all stripes in the local theatre community.

A year ago, that total was around $9,000. That means 2014, our first full year in existence, was a $25,000 year for the Denver Actors Fund. That’s 294 percent growth.

We are beyond humbled. Daunted. And charged-up for 2015.

Events like the one the BALLS! team put on for us are vital for the continuing growth of the organization, because the money is needed in our community. Each quarter another performing-arts organization puts on a fundraiser on our behalf. Please plan to join us for our next event on Feb. 17, when Boulder’s Dinner Theatre presents a benefit performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” with all proceeds after cost benefiting the Denver Actors Fund. All actors are waiving their performance fees for that night. Call 303-449-6000 for ticket information.

Read  Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

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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 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:

Feb. 17, 2015: BDT Stage (formerly Boulder’s Dinner Theatre) presents a benefit performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Call 303-449-6000.

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

 

Testimonial: GerRee Hinshaw on the Denver Actors Fund

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A testimonial from GerRee Hinshaw, pictured above performing in the 2013 presentation of “BALLS!, A Holiday Spectacular.” This year’s “BALLS!” benefits the Denver Actors Fund:
“One Sunday morning last April, my husband, Lee, called me from his parents’ Washington farm with the unimaginable news that his dad had just died in an accident. My son, Manny, and I were on a plane within hours and we stayed with our family in Washington for a week. As the week drew to a close, I began bracing myself for the sudden re-entry to the work week and how tough it would all be on Lee. It occurred to me that nearly everything in the fridge at home in Denver would be spoiled and that we would be arriving to DIA late at night. I was quickly resigning myself to feeding Manny PB&J “parental failure” sandwiches that first day or so back. Then I got an email that the Denver Actors Fund intended to support us with meals upon our return to Colorado. We were stunned. Overwhelmed with gratitude. It was completely unexpected, this show of love from my theatre community, some of whom didn’t know me from Adam, let alone know Lee and his family. Grief is a messy process. It is distracting and confusing. It is painful and revealing. And because of The Denver Actors Fund, we did not go through it alone. And Manny didn’t eat a single failure sandwich. That week.”

COME TO BALLS! ON DEC. 8 AND 15

10300052_858059890874668_5645312277954252133_n“BALLS!, A Holiday Spectacular,” a fundraiser for the Denver Actors Fund, will be held on Dec. 8 and 15 at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret on the 16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street.

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate relief when members of the Denver theater community find themselves in situational medical need. In its first 18 months, it has raised more than $26,000, delivered more than 50 meals and provided more than 15 bags of groceries.

“BALLS!” is an annual holiday variety show with musical  guest stars, audience sock puppet singalongs, spontaneous haikus and a white elephant. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Mondays, Dec. 8 and 15. Hosted by GerRee Hinshaw, Emily K. Harrison, Jim Ruberto and Mare Trevathan, along with guest stars including musicians John Common, Jess DeNicola, Janet Feder and Jen Korte; storyteller Adam Goldstein; drag queen Zoe O; and comedians Mara Wiles and Eric Mather..  Click here for tickets and more details.

For tickets: http://lannies.com/?p=12918. For info on the Denver Actors Fund: http://www.denveractorsfund.org.

 

 

 

Young ‘Oz’ actor speaks up for Denver Actors Fund

dorothy1

 

On Saturday morning, young Theatre of Academy Arts actor Hannah Katz spoke to audiences at the Town Hall Arts Center in support of the Denver Actors Fund.

“We are lucky to have so many gifted, talented, caring, dedicated actors in the professional theatre community who set great examples for us both onstage and off,” Katz, a 12-year-old who attends Campus Middle School, said moments before she played Dorothy in two performances of the Academy of Theatre Arts’ production of “Oz.”

The ATA, founded by Alann Estes and Paul Dwyer, is now owned and operated by Mary Daily, with Robert Michael Sanders and Piper Arpan as directors.

The idea to use the “Oz” performances as an opportunity to raise awareness of the Denver Actors Fund was entirely Katz’s, Sanders said.

“Hannah asked if she could do a speech for the Denver Actors Fund, and she put out a ruby red slipper to collect money,” Sanders said. “… And I think it’s cute as heck that this is all her idea.”

Hannah’s efforts raised more than $100 for the Denver Actors Fund, and she intends to make the same speech before the final performance of “Oz” this coming Wednesday  morning. (The show, music directed by Mary Dailey, starts  at 10 a.m. Tickets $6: 303-794-2787 ext. 5)

Below is a transcript of Hannah’s speech:

Thanks everyone for coming to our show today. We would like to take a moment to talk with you about something very important.

Denver is a great place to learn the art of musical theatre. Part of what makes it so great is that we are lucky to have so many gifted, talented, caring, dedicated actors in the professional theatre community who are willing to share their time and talent with the performers of tomorrow like all of us.

They spend much of their free time teaching and nurturing kids like us and being great role models. They set great examples for us both onstage and off.

One great way they are doing this is through an organization that was founded a little over a year ago called The Denver Actors Fund. It is a non-profit organization that helps members of the Denver theatre community who find themselves in situations of medical need. The fund offers both financial and volunteer assistance.

To help support the DAF, the “Tap Shoe Initiative” was formed. As part of this project, theatre companies design a “themed” shoe, or boot, and collect donations for the Fund. You might have seen our ruby-red slipper boot when you came in the theatre. We at ATA would like to thank the Denver theatre community by helping to raise funds for the DAF.

Please help us fill our boot and support fellow Denver actors in need!

Thank you, Hannah, for setting a great example for the next generation of Denver’s theatre performers!

slipper

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

DENVER ACTORS FUND IN ACTION:

Read Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

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:

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

 

Video: See highlights from “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Sheila Ivy Traister

Traister99Sheila Ivy Traister, left, in “99 Histories” for Theatre Esprit Asia last year at the Vintage Theatre.

 

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.

_DSC0621Financial-aid recipient: Actor, director and playwright Sheila Ivy Traister has been performing in Denver since 2000. Her first year in Denver,  Westword designated her as the year’s Best Actress for her work in Shadow Theatre Company’s multiracial production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and Theatre Group’s “The Blue Room.” Most recently, she has performed in “99 Histories” for Theatre Esprit Asia at the Vintage Theatre, and performed in the world premiere of “Slow Dance with a Hot Pick-Up” at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. She starred with Dale Li in Paragon Theatre’s acclaimed “The Sound of a Voice” in 2010. “Traister is heartbreaking as she reveals the combined effect of a cycle of loss, grief and isolation,” wrote Adam Goldstein in the Aurora Sentinel. Sheila has also performed for the Denver Center Theatre Company, Aurora Fox, Town Hall Arts Center, And Toto Too, Playback Theatre and Changing Scene. Sheila has appeared in more than 15 films, and her TV credits include “In Plain Sight” and the miniseries “Asteroid.” Sheila studied mechanical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and served on the Pistol Team.

 Her story: Sheila took a serious fall in November 2012 and has since accrued more than $73,000 in debts related to her medical expenses. She still awaits three additional surgeries: A full knee replacement, the repair of a torn hip ligament and the repair of a separated shoulder. Sheila also was diagnosed with a severe concussion in the fall, which affects her vision and cognitive functioning. Her recovery has exhausted both her personal savings and retirement. Her expenses average about $1,800 a month, but, at present, her income only amounts to about $600 a month.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund board of directors approved an initial gift of $1,800, or the equivalent of about one month of Sheila’s overall expenses. That made for the second-largest gift in the short history of the Denver Actors Fund. Combined with subsequent support including targeted donations from the community, The Denver Actors Fund now has made $2,800 available to Sheila.

A message from Sheila Ivy Traister: “I’m so incredibly grateful to this community of artists and patrons; those of you who have given of yourselves, your time and resources to be there for those of us in dire need. I was really at a loss for how I would get through this next month. Beyond helping me to meet the financial demands created by the circuDAFmstances surrounding my medical needs, you’ve helped me to remember that grace is at work in my life, and that no matter what happens I can trust that I am always taken care of.  I’m humbled and most appreciative to everyone who has made the Denver Actors Fund possible. I would like to thank my dear friend Cajardo Lindsey for reaching out on my behalf.  With my whole heart, thank you all for this most timely and blessed gift!”

To help us help Team Traister 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 further defray Sheila Ivy Traister’s significant ongoing financial obligations, mail checks in her name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link, and in your note, direct your gift to Sheila. 

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 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

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:

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 “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Laura Adducci

LauraLaura and Lucien Adducci.

 

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: Laura Adducci is the Program Director at Mirror Image Arts, a nonprofit outreach performance company whose mission is to take a sustainable approach to bullying prevention, and to empower young voices through applied theatre. Laura, a native of Lafayette who graduated from Metro State, directed  “Bullying & Friendship” and the current “Your Voice Matters,” which has been touring schools for the past year. She is also an actor at Go Voices, a voice talent agency. She and her husband, Lou, the registrar for Denver Center Education, are the parents of 3-year-old Lucien.

DAF Her story: After several trips to the doctor, an E.R. visit, an ultrasound and blood tests, it was determined that Laura needed to have her gallbladder removed. Insurance covered the majority of the costs associated with the surgery, but the couple was still left with more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. That wiped out the family savings, creating financial stress for the family on top of the surgery, which took place Oct. 20. Laura has more healing to do and is not allowed to pick up her  kiddo for another week.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund board of directors has approved a gift if $610. That’s the equivalent of what these two working parents pay for a month of preschool tuition. We later added  $200 to the total.

A message from Laura Adducci: “The moment I discovered I needed surgery, two thoughts ran through my mind in quick succession. One: Surely there’s some hippy-dippy way of getting out of this, and two: We’re a nonprofit family. How in the world are we going to afford it? Unfortunately, there was no way to get out of having the surgery, but very fortunately, The Denver Actor’s Fund exists. I am so proud to be a part of this community of talented, thoughtful and generous souls. To everyone who ever has and ever will contribute to this fund, please accept my great thanks. You have provided much needed relief to my little family, and for that I am incredibly grateful.”

To help us help Team Adducci 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 Laura Adducci and her family, mail checks in her name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link, and in your note, direct your gift to Laura.

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 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 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:

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 “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Shelly Bordas

Actor, teacher and mother’s long and defiant battle galvanized the Colorado theatre community

Nathan and Shelly

Nathan and Shelly

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: Shelly Bordas was a Denver actor and teacher who appeared in dozens of plays all around Colorado, including memorable turns in Theatre Group’s “Cell Block Sirens of 1953,” “Bat Boy, the Musical” and “Debbie Does Dallas.” She also performed at the Arvada Center, the Avenue Theater, Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge and many others. Shelly wrote, taught and directed youth theater for more than 16 years. She founded her own school, Acting Up, giving teenagers professional acting instruction. Many of her students have gone on to work in New York. She taught kids at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton for 10 years. She also was an instructor for Denver Public Schools, Gunnison High School, Stage Eleven and the Cherry Creek School District. She was named the 2013 CultureWest Theatre Person of the Year for the courage and inspiration she demonstrated in her attempt to come back from her cancer battle to appear in Town Hall’s “9 to 5: The Musical.”

Her medical story: Shelly was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in November 2009, while she was pregnant with her son, Nathan. After five years of chemo, radiation and dozens of surgeries, Shelly entered the home hospice stage of her disease. She and her family decided that she would undergo no more radiation or chemotherapy. Shelly’s needs at that point became both financial and practical. Doctors wanted Shelly to have a 24-hour in-home companion. Her were running about $5,000 a month, including ElderLink Home Care service, which cost about $200 a day. For two months, “Team Shelley” – led by Chris Whyde, Steve Burge, Steve Tangedal, Barbara Bordas (Shelly’s mom) and other friends, family and an army of Denver Actors Fund volunteers – took on 12-hour shifts, each of which saved money the family did not have to pay for the ElderLink service. Still, Shelly and her family were rapidly running out of money to pay for her continued in-home care.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund board of directors initially approved the largest gift in its history to that point – $2,000 – to extend Shelly’s ElderLink service a little longer, in addition to rallying Action Team volunteers to help Team Shelly in a variety other ways, including organizing play dates or sleepovers with her 5-year-old son, Nathan. There’s no way to know exactly how much our services saved the family but in the end, The DAF provided $4,165 in financial support to Shelly and her family through her ordeal.

How you helped: Shelly felt more safe when there was someone with her at night. So we expanded the circle of friends and family who took on 12-hour shifts  (daytime or overnight) sitting with Shelly. Every every shift Team Shelly takes on saved the family about $100. Both friends and strangers joined in, either as Individuals or in tandems. This was not medical care. It was offering companionship and help with the wheelchair, water, light errands, etc. Our accompanists were essentially a security blanket.

A message from Barbara Bordas: “I can’t put into words what this help means to me. It gives me a sense of relief and calmess knowing Shelly has friends who are willing to help her during this time.”

Update: Shelly Bordas died on January 4, 2015, just a few days after she was moved into a hospice care. To read her remarkable life story, click here.

To help us honor Shelly: If you would like to direct a donation in Shelly’s memory, mail checks to Denver Actors Fund, P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link.

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 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

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

 

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 “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund: