Photos: 2014 Underground Music Showcase

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Photos from Day 2 of the 2014 Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, July 25, 2014. To see the full photo gallery, click here.

Photos by UMS co-founder John Moore, now Senior Arts Journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Find more of his work at  MyDenverCenter.Org

The UMS is Denver’s premier indie festival, now in its 14th year. Yesterday, The Denver Post said, “The Undergound Music Showcase has become the juggernaut of indie music in the West.” While national acts like Blonde Redhead and Real Estate are  welcome, The UMS is a non-profit endeavor known  for its focus on local bands and for  benefiting the local community.  This year’s UMS will showcase 400 performances at more than 20 venues along South Broadway over four days.

The music continues Saturday and Sunday from noon through 2 a.m.. Single-day passes  still available for $35 per day. Go to TheUMS.Com, or buy a pass at the box office on the corner of Broadway and Archer Streets.

 

A Message from Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield …

stone-garfield-youtube-460When movie stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were being hounded by paparazzi at lunch, they put their celeb status to clever and good-hearted use: By hiding their faces with note cards calling attention to worthy non-profit organizations.

And, well … we took it from there.

The Denver Actors Fund provides financial and support assistance to members of the local theatre community in sudden medical need.

Here’s our web site

Here’s how to donate

And join us late-night on Saturday, June 28, for some kamikaze karaoke at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.

Thanks, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield for your wit and big hearts! And to Patty Kingsbaker for the idea.

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Thank you: Diana Dresser, Patty Kingsbaker, Melanie Mayner, Brett Aune, Cat Tobiasson, Michael Morgan, Susie Scott, Gloria Shanstrom, John Moore, Missy Moore, Burke Walton, Jake Elvig, Josh Hartwell, Colin Alexander, Piper Arpan, Tracy Shaffer, Thom Wise.

Top 25 Shots from 2013 “Opening Nights” photo series

By John Moore
Jan. 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

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

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

How you can donate directly to the Denver Actors Fund:

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

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

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

By John Moore
Jan. 8, 2014

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Heritage Square” outtakes), click here.

 

OPENING 151
At the end of their final performance on Dec, 31, it was only fitting that, from left, Scott Koop, Alex Crawford, Amie Rau, Johnette Toye, Annie Dwyer, Rory Pierce, T.J. Mullin (and, unseen, musicians Randy Johnson and Eric Weinstein) had no choice but to stand silently while the overflow cheering crowd stood for several minutes thanking them not just for an evening of entertainment, but for a quarter century of laughs, songs, terrible puns and heart-tugging moments.

No. 151: Heritage Square Music Hall’s ‘Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodbye’: It seems only appropriate that the final entry in our “opening nights” photo series was, in fact, a closing night. And what a closing night it was for the Heritage Square Music Hall: A New Year’s Eve celebration, followed by a midnight toast, live band and dancing into the wee hours. For this wasn’t just the end of a show for the Golden institution. That was closing night … period. And not just for T.J. Mullin and his venerable cadre of triple-threat performers. No, this was the end of the kind of entertainment Heritage Square has been providing audiences since Mullin bought the Heritage Square Music Hall from the legendary Bill Oakley in 1988. The Music Hall stopped being an old-fashioned house of melodrama long ago. It evolved into a place that offered blue-collar, comfortable, throwback fun. Clean, family entertainment (the hardest kind of comedy to pull off) that was both ridiculous and impeccably delivered at once. The Music Hall became best-known for its “Loud” shows, a series of pop radio hits performed by a cast that never got the credit it deserved for being among the most talented performers on any Denver stage. That final cast was Alex Crawford, Johnette Toye, Annie Dwyer, Rory Pierce and T.J. Mullin, with musicians Randy Johnson, Eric Weinstein and Crawford, with help from the booth from Scott Koop and Amie Rau. Merry Christmas indeed, Heritage Square Music Hall. And to all of you: Goodbye. Until we see you again. All photos by John Moore for CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Connie Helsley. Look in the coming days for a video podcast from the final night. It will include cast and audience interviews, and some performance highlights.

IMG_7567The mark of Dwyer … Annie Dwyer.

 

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

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

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

How you can donate directly to the Denver Actors Fund:

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

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

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

By John Moore
Jan. 4, 2014

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Balls” outtakes), click here.

 

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

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

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

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

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

How you can donate directly to the Denver Actors Fund:

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s ‘Spamalot’

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

By John Moore
Dec. 26, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Balls” outtakes), click here.

 

Opening No. 146: Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “Monty Python’s Spamalot”: Monty Python has come to Boulder a first time to taunt poor King Arthur, the principled if idiotic leader of the quest for the Holy Grail. Why God the all-knowing has misplaced a cup is anyone’s guess. “Spamalot,” the Tony Award-winning best musical of 2005, lovingly rips off the beloved, warped source film, with its full allotment of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and that one snickeringly legless fightin’ knight. While the plot loosely follows the same course of events as the film, the stage equivalent is very much its own sacrilegious thing, so do not come expecting a carbon copy. We open in Finland, after all. I mean, this is a bona fide Broadway musical, so it’s got to have some actual women too. And here those women are Laker Girls. For real. Starring Wayne Kennedy as the utterly guileless King Arthur, with Alicia Dunfee as his Lady of the Lake. The ensemble includes Brett Ambler, Scott Beyette, Brian Cronin, Barrett Harper, Jessica Hindsley, Bob Hoppe, Brian Jackson, Norrell Moore, Brian Norber, Joey Revier, Scott Severtson, Burke Walton, Tracy Warren, Tracey Zimmerman and … STG … Jerry Lewis (the real Jerry Lewis) as the Voice of God. Directed by Piper Lindsay Arpan, who appeared in the Broadway production of “Spamalot.” Showtimes: 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:45 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 1:30 and 7:45 p.m. Sundays (dinner service 90 minutes before) through March 1 at 5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or BDT’s home page Thanks: Michael J. Duran, Seamus McDonough, cast and crew.

OPENING 146 Introducing one of the lesser-known Knights of the Round Table: Sir Fabio. Scott Severtson, who’s not normally this … maned … plays Sir Dennis, a k a Galahad.

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

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

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

How you can donate directly to the Denver Actors Fund:

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at ‘Balls V! A Holiday Spectacular’

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

By John Moore
Dec. 26, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Balls” outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 141: “Balls V! A Holiday Spectacular”: For the fifth straight year, a trio of “Balls Babes” and a standing bass player joined forces to present a rollicking benefit variety show that included audience sock puppet sing-alongs, spontaneous haikus and worthless prizes. “Balls” is slightly bonkers, mostly heartwarming with an emphasis on fun. It played Dec. 1 and 2 this year at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. It again starred GerRee Hinshaw (host of The Bug Theatre’s “Freak Train”), Melanie Owen Padilla (of the Cedar Avenue Blues Band) and local actor Mare Trevathan of Boulder’s Local Theatre Company. Musical accompaniment by Jim Ruberto. Rotating special guests included John Common and Jess DeNicola, Lannie’s emcee Naughty Pierre, comedian Matt Monroe, singing comedian Shayna Ferm and juggler Reid Belstock. This year, proceeds went to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a non-profit promoting safety, justice and healing for survivors of sexual violence. If you missed this year’s “Balls,” you can still make a donation to CCASA here.

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Among this lovely crowd of sock-puppets and do-gooders are “Balls” cast members GerRee Hinshaw, Melanie Owen Padilla, Mare Trevathan and Jim Ruberto, as well as staff members from the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, including executive director Erin Jemison and program manager Karen Moldovan.

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

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

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

How you can donate directly to the Denver Actors Fund:

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Starkey Theatrix’s ‘Home for the Holidays’

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

By John Moore
Dec. 18, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Home for the Holidays” outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 149: Starkey Theatrix’s “Home for the Holidays 2013″: This musical revue offers some of the most popular holiday music from the past and present, much of it recast with cleverly altered lyrics to suit any given situation. And a wide variety of dancing styles, including gymnastics and a pulse-racing break-dance segment. The narrator is an elf played by Sarah Rex, alongside a deep ensemble made up of some big names in the local theater community including Lamb, Kenny Moten, Randy St. Pierre, Stephen Bertles, the very busy young Alejandro Roldan (“In the Heights” and “Next to Normal”) and Starkey’s founders, Chris Starkey and Ronni Gallup. The ensemble includes Rae Klapperich (who made the more than 100 costumes with her mother, Laurie Klapperich), Wyatt Baier, Hula-Hooper extraordinaire Ambrosia Brady, Olyvia Beyette, Cole Emerine, Ian Meyer, Erica Lloyd, Britni Girard, Jennifer Lynne Jorgensen, Anne Terze-Schwartz, Kristi Vogel and Tess Williams. In addition, there are special appearances by — I kid you not — members of the Denver Broncos Stampede Drumline, a competitive jump-roping team called the Jumping Eagles, and a dance company called Hip Hop Theatre. Not to mention 14 children and a live orchestra of six. Directed by Paul Dwyer, best known from his days as an actor at the now-closed Country Dinner Playhouse. The music director is Trent Hines; the choreographers are Matthew D. Peters and John Gilette. Modifications have been made to make this show more accessible to individuals on the autism spectrum, who have learning disabilities or a variety of sensitivities. Remaining showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 19 and 22; 8 p.m. Dec 20 and 21; 1:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St. That’s just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000, or go to Lone Tree’s home page. Thanks: Heidi Echtenkamp.

OPENING 149
For theater audiences, and the actors who perform it, a play or musical is an everyday, scheduled, temporary escape. But there are days when there is no escape from the unexpected barbarities the real world has been visiting upon Colorado with cruel regularity over the years: Chuck E. Cheese. Columbine. Platte Canyon. Aurora Century Cinemas. Multiple award-winning actor Margie Lamb (“Next to Normal”) sang and danced in the opening performance of Starkey Theatrix’s “Home for the Holidays 2013″ in Lone Tree on Thursday night. Now just try to imagine her horror when, at 12:36 p.m. the next afternoon, she received the text pictured above from her son, Blake. He’s a junior at Arapahoe High School. That text came in just a few minutes after fellow Arapahoe student Karl Pierson allegedly sought revenge against a teacher by opening fire with a shotgun at the school before taking his own life, police believe. What does a son do in those first few moments of inescapable, indescribable panic? Blake took out his phone and wrote his mom to make sure his parents knew, no matter what might happen next, that he loves them. Lamb immediately rushed from her downtown job to the school in Littleton, where she was reunited with her son, who by then was safe. Together, they became part of the lockdown that kept them both at the school for several more hours. And then, because the clock never stops, there was another show scheduled for Lamb to perform that night. And Lamb, being the pro that she is, went on. The show is a talent-laden bouquet to family audiences, a high-energy trifle meant to lift the community’s spirits during the holiday season. So what better way to stand up to violence and fear than to sing and dance?

 

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund:

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Phamaly Theatre Company’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”

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

By John Moore
Dec. 16, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Feed” outtakes), click here.

OPENING 145
Noal Blessing, left, and Everett Ediger show off their varying flying machines backstage on opening night. Noal sports a Lego spaceship; Everett sends his paper airplane aloft just as the shutter is snapped. Noal, who has Spastic Cerebral Palsy and a progressive hearing deficit, and Everett, who has Spina Bifida, play the sons of George Bailey. The Phamaly Theatre Company prides itself on adding new levels of complexity and meaning to any production it takes on by virtue of the evident disabilities its actors incorporate into their stage characters. So what we have here is a George Bailey driven to the brink of suicide, only here he’s leaving behind four handicapped kids, two of them young boys in wheelchairs. That certainly adds layers to the emotion-laden issue of suicide. There are those who intractably believe that any act of suicide, for any reason, is inherently selfish and/or sinful. So the very idea of George leaving a wife behind to care for four (adorable) handicapped children here no doubt makes actor Jeremy Palmer’s challenge in playing him sympathetically that much more difficult. But young Jeremy is up to the task. It should be noted that directors Steve Wilson and Bryce Russell Alexander do not have Palmer utter the second half of Jimmy Stewart’s most chilling line of the famous source movie, which he blurts when George is at the depth of his anger and despair: “You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?”

Opening No. 145: Phamaly Theatre Company’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”: This is the acclaimed local handicapped theatre company’s first-ever holiday presentation. The story of George Bailey and his not-so-wonderful life in Bedford Falls (he thinks) remains a timeless fable of dreams, disillusionment and, ultimately, the power of love. The cast includes Jeremy Palmer (George Bailey), Lyndsay Palmer (Mary Bailey), Trenton Schindele (Clarence), Michael Leopard (Mr. Potter) and an ensemble that includes Daniel Traylor, David Wright, Lucy Roucis, Edward Blackshere, Ashley Kelashian, Jaime Lewis, Twanna Latrice Hill, Kim Jackson, Cassie Ferro, Amber Marsh, Tammy Davison, Noal Blessing, Everett Ediger, Lily Blessing, Harper Ediger, Shannon Wilson, Alicia Young, Eric Richerson and Edric Richerson. Co-directed by Steve Wilson and Bryce Alexander. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; plus 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16 and Thursday, Dec. 19. Through Dec. 22 at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., 303-575-0005 or phamaly’s home page. Thanks: Gloria Shanstrom, Chris Silberman, Grace Hartke and Danielle Rankin.

 

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

Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at The Catamounts’ “Feed: Short and Sweet”

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

By John Moore
Dec. 14, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are specifically the “Feed” outtakes), click here.

OPENING 147Young Catamounts cast member Quinn Hirschland jumps for joy – and casts a long shadow – during a pre-show rehearsal for Feed.”

Opening No. 147: The Catamounts’ “Feed: Short and Sweet”: Boulder’s The Catamounts performance collective reference food in their slogan: “Theatre for the Adventurous Palate.” So it’s feeding, I mean fitting, that Amanda Berg Wilson’s young team has turned its unique “Feed” series into its signature offering. “Feed” offers audiences professional storytelling paired with specialty beer and locally sourced food. In this case: A roster of Sanitas beers paired with hand-crafted desserts from Kim and Jake’s Cakes; Sweet Cow Ice Cream; and pastry chefs Dorian O’Connell and Kathy Moore.) They perform while you nosh in the back brewing room at Sanita’s Brewing Company. The food and the theater fare serve as equal partners in creating a cohesive narrative here. The common ingredient for this round of stories: Each evokes sweet moments that arise from The depths of the coldest and hardest times of year, when the days are shortest and challenges the biggest. The Catamounts’ aforementioned Amanda Berg Wilson, Joan Bruemmer-Holden, McPherson Horle and Jeremy Make are joined by guest storytellers Heather Grimes (from Boulder’s “Truth Be Told” story slam) and a boy named Quinn Hirschland to perform a mix of monologues, adapted short stories and real stories from Boulder’s recent floods. There’s some A.A. Milne (“A House is built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore”) in there, with a taste of former Colorado Mines engineering student turned celebrated fiction writer George Saunders (“Tenth of December.”) A second “Feed” has been scheduled to accommodate demand at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m. at Sanitas, 3550 Frontier Ave. (off Foothills Parkway and Pearl Street). Tickets are $30. Call 720-468-0487 or go to The Catamounts’ home page. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Mare Trevathan, Lauren Shepard, Aaron Boisvert, cast and crew. To see the entire Opening Nights photo series to date, click here.

 

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Su Teatro’s ‘La Pastorela’

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By John Moore
Dec. 15, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are the “La Pastorela” outtakes), click here.

OPENING 144
Pssst …. Look who’s REALLY playing the Baby Jesus bundle of joy in Su Teatro’s holiday pastoral? Yes … It’s Minnie Ratón! I think that kid’s got a future in show biz. That’s Jessica Portillo as Proud Mary.

Opening No. 144: Su Teatro’s “La Pastorela”: “The Shepherd’s Play” recounts the epic battle between the dark angel Luzbel (Jesse Ogas and minions) and the sword-swinging San Miguel (Amy Luna). Luis Valdez’s retelling of this centuries-old folktale is a family friendly comedy that follows the trek of humble shepherds as they encounter the Angel of the Lord, who announces the birth of the Redeemer in Bethlehem. Embarking on their spiritual journey in search of the Holy Child, the scruffy shepherds find themselves beset by the demonic followers of Lucifer and Satan, who waylay them with obstacles born of their own human frailties. This adaptation is no sleepy drummer-boy version of the Nativity: it is a pageant of passion, excitement, action, adventure, music and comedy. Valdez, considered “the father of Chicano theatre,” attended Saturday’s performance. It was`his first visit to Su Teatro, though his brother, Daniel, has contributed original music for Su Teatro productions for years. Daniel is the music director of “La Pastorela.” He is in residence at Su Teatro for the next two years, to develop new work with artistic director Anthony J. Garcia as part of a two-year innovation grant from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. In the fields of rural California, without financial backing and using farm laborers as actors, a 25-year-old Luis Valdez singlehandedly created a movement that has since become international in scope. “La Pastorela” is also performed as part of the St. Cajetan’s Reunification Project, an annual event in which Su Teatro and the community recognize the Chicano residential community that was displaced in 1972 for Auraria to be built. Also featuring Lorenzo Gonzales, Charlie Romero, Jaycee Sanchez, an ensemble of dozens and a live band of six. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. matinees (Dec. 15 is reserved solely for AARP members and their families). Through Dec. 22 At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or su teatro’s home page. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Mica Garcia de Benavidez.

 

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at the Denver Center’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

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By John Moore
Dec. 5, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are the “Over the Tavern” outtakes), click here.

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You know what I was thinking before the opening performance of “A Christmas Carol”? It’s too bad these poor kid actors are so darned shy. Clockwise from center, that’s Max Raabe (nephew, I found out Thursday night, of longtime Denver Post reporter Steve Raabe), Sam Modesitt, Edwin Harris and Connor Nguyen Erickson

Opening No. 143: Denver Center Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol”: The Denver Center Theatre Company’s holiday tradition turns 21 this year with a return to its opulent musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel. Twenty-one? That’s older than, like, every kid in this picture combined. The story, of course, traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s overnight journey to redemption. This timeless tale illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. Again starring Philip Pleasants as Scrooge, with Phamaly Theatre Company’s Leonard E. Barrett as the Ghost of Christmas Present, John Hutton as Marley, Jeff Cribbs as Cratchit, Stephanie Cozart as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Douglas Harmsen as Fred, M. Scott McLean as Young Ebenezer, Michael Fitzpatrick as Fezziwig, Leslie O’Carroll as Mrs. Fezziwig, Leslie Alexander as Mrs. Cratchit and Charlie Korman as Tiny Tim. (Check out our short video interview with Charlie here. It’s worth the two minutes, I promise). They are backed by a huge ensemble that includes Colin Alexander, Benjamin Bonenfant, Michael Bouchard, Kathleen M. Brady, Courtney Capek, Jenn Miller Cribbs, Connor Nguyen Erickson, Michael Gaessler, Tanner Gardner, Edwin Harris, Gabe Koskinen-Sansone, Kyra Lindsay, Amelia Modesitt, Sam Modesitt, Gabriel Morales-Gonzalez, Tricia Moreland, Mackenzie Paulsen, Jeffrey Roark, Christine Rowan, Thomas Russo, Maggie Sczekan, Lauren Shealy, Jake Walker and Christopher Wells. Showtimes: 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays; 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. Also: 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24. No performance on Wednesday, Dec. 25. No evening performance on Sunday, Dec. 29. At the Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or the denver center’s home page

 

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Photos: My night at Bas Bleu Theatre’s ‘Over the Tavern’

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By John Moore
Dec. 5, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these ones are the “Over the Tavern” outtakes), click here.

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Opening No. 142: Bas Bleu Theatre’s “Over the Tavern”: This bittersweet period comedy looks back at family living over a blue-collar bar in 1959. Four children are caught between the claustrophobic authoritarianism of the Roman Catholic Church and an emotionally abusive father. Only their mother keeps this family afloat. At the center of the piece is precocious 12-year-old rebel named Rudy, who goes knuckle-to ruler-with his formidable teacher, Sister Clarissa, in the questioning of his beliefs. The cast features Thomas Borrillo as Chet (revisiting the bad-dad role he played at the Arvada Center in 2006) Ailee Holland as embattled wife Ellen and Deb Note-Farwell as old-school nun Sister Clarissa, a character who bears a striking resemblance to battleaxe Sister Aloysius in “Doubt.” Director Jonathan Farwell (he won the recent Henry Award for his performance in “Amadeus”) has gathered some fine teen and teen(ish) actors in August Slaughter (perhaps the greatest not-even-fake stage name in stage history), Billy Dean Allen as Georgie, Miles Chandler Horne as Eddie and Erin Johnson as Annie. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 5 at 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or bas bleu’s home page. Thanks: Wendy Ishii, Tricia Navarre and Amy Mills.

 

OVER THE TAVERN
Bas Bleu Theatre co-founder Wendy Ishii, right, greets the cast in the dressing room before they face their first audience, a sold-out house in Fort Collins. From left, Thomas Borrillo, Billy Dean Allen and Ailie Holland.

 

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Photos: My night at Boulder Ensemble’s “The SantaLand Diaries” at the Denver Center

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By John Moore
Dec. 5, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these ones are the “SantaLand” outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 140: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s “The SantaLand Diaries”: National Theatre Conservatory graduate and Wheat Ridge native Matt Zambrano is donning the candy-cane tights for a second straight holiday season telling David Sedaris’ real-life story of working as an elf in the New York Macy’s SantaLand display. This staging is a co-production with Denver Center Attractions, which is presenting the show in the Garner-Galleria cabaret bar. Directed by Stephen Weitz. Contains adult subject matter and explicit language.  Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays; also 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. No performances on Wednesdays. At the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or the Denver Center’s ticketing page. Thanks: Heidi Bosk, Anja Hose, Jess Buttery and Maxie Beth Bilyeu.

Highlights:

OPENING 139
Matt Zambrano has constructed a dressing-room tribute to all of the recent Denver actors who have played Crumpet before him. That’s Geoff Kent’s head on the golden reindeer, and a Billie Holiday-ish Gary Culig with an elfin Bernie Cardell atop the clock radio (surrounded by, you know, a Lego Gandalf and other action figures). Kent preceded Zambrano for three Decembers playing Crumpet for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company; Culig played the caustic elf for 10 straight years at the Bug Theatre; and Cardell starred for Vintage Theatre.

 

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Matt Zambrano attended a reading by “The SantaLand Diaries” author David Sedaris in Denver the week before his opening last Saturday. He waited in line and got Sedaris’ autograph and good-luck message. Zambrano’s signed script reads: “To Matt: You used to be a lesbian.”

 

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Just outside the Garner-Galleria Theatre, acclaimed local indie music hero Ian Cooke played a set for passersby.

 

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Photos: My night at the Arvada Center’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

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By John Moore
Dec. 2, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 139: Arvada Center’s “A Christmas Carol”: The Arvada Center’s version of “A Christmas Carol,” back after a year off, is the 1994 musical adaptation of Dickens’ classic story, written by Mike Ockrent and Lynn Ahrens, featuring music by Alan Menken (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”). The cast features Richard White as Ebenezer Scrooge — he was the voice of Gaston in the “Beauty and the Beast” animated film), Cole Burden (Bob Cratchit), Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck (Ghost of Christmas Future), Megan Van De Hey (Ghost of Christmas Past), Stephen Day (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Brad Nacht (Jacob Marley). The ensemble members include Joanie Brosseau-Beyette, Stephen Cerf, Rob Costigan, Jennifer DeDominici, Ben Dicke, Maddie Franke, Kaden Hinkle, Tim Howard, Hannah Katz, Emily Luhrs, Charla Mason, David Miller, Julia Perrotta, Katie Phipps, Gregory Price, Parker Redford, Vincent Rodriguez, Mark Rubald, Robert Michael Sanders, Nate Patrick Siebert, Jacob Lewis Smith, Ron Tal, Rachel Turner, Kira Vuolo and Sharon Kay White. Directed by Gavin Mayer and David Nehls. Showtimes through Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or www.arvadacenter.org. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Melanie Mayner, Rod Lansberry, Pat Payne, Lisa Cook, Lisa Kurtz, cast and crew. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here.

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Emily Ann Luhrs accepted two marriage proposals on Tuesday. First, as herself, she agreed to marry longtime boyfriend and “A Christmas Carol” castmate Ben Dicke, mutton chops and all. Ben (star of the self-produced “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson last year at the Aurora Fox), presented the ring at a private dinner before last night’s opening performance. Just an hour or so later, Emily, playing a character named Emily (!), accepted another marriage proposal from young Ebeneezer Scrooge. One not being played by Ben Dicke. Nervy! (In her defense, she does give THAT ring back.)

 

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Following the opening-night curtain call, actor Ron Tal tells the crowd that cast members will be in the lobby selling the 2013 edition of the “Carols for a Cure” CD. The annual two-disc holiday compilation raises money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as well as Colorado nonprofits who provide services for those battling the disease. The CDs boast voices from the worlds of Broadway and select regional theaters. The cast of the Arvada Center’s “A Christmas Carol, contributed “Gather around the Christmas Tree” for this year’s CD. Last year, the Arvada Center collected $34, 969.61 for the cause, making it one of the top-selling venues outside of New York City. For info: www.broadwaycares.org.

 

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Photos: My night at Midtown Arts Center’s ‘Les Misérables’

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By John Moore
Nov. 30, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 137: Midtown Arts Center’s “Les Misérables”: This production has closed, sadly, but the buzz on it was so strong all the way down from Fort Collins, I wanted to see it — and represent it in our photo series — before it was too late. So think of this as the first “Closing Night” entry in our soon-to-close “Opening Nights” photo series. And the production lived up to its billing. The crowd may have been prodded, but it didn’t take much cajoling to get the screaming dinner patrons to wave their red napkins at the curtain call in support of the rebellion — and the production they had just seen. In all, more than 9,000 attended “Les Misérables” during its 12-week run, making it the second-most attended show in Midtown (formerly the Carousel Dinner Theatre) history. No. 1: “Shrek, the Musical.” “Les Misérables” featured a cast made up of both established local actors and a few who were brought in from New York. It starred David Ambroson as Jean Valjean and featured Brandon Schraml as Javert, Amy Madden Copp as Fantine, Nigel Huckle as Marius, Colleen Johnson as Eponine, Lisa Carter as Cosette, Colin Morgan as Enjolras, Michael Lasris as Thenardier and Jalyn Courtenay Webb as Mrs. Thenardier. The ensemble included Allen Dorsey, Tom Berger, Mikeal Macbeth, Jodye Carroll, Lauren Neely, Benjamin Danielowski, Julia Smith, John Sosna, Anne Tereze-Schwartz, Cynthia Vaughn, Camille Nugent, Korynne Terrio, Rylee Vogel, Elijah Walker Brandt and Kellan Oliver. The directors were Kurt Terrio, Jalyn Courtenay Webb (vocals) and Casey Cropp (orchestra). All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here. Thanks: cast and crew.

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The cast gets jazzed with director Kurt Terrio moments before the final performance begins.

 

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Photos: My night at Equinox’s ‘Carrie, the Musical’

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By John Moore
Nov. 29, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 138: Equinox Theatre Company’s “Carrie: The Musical”: This musical takes a legit stab at adapting Stephen King’s novel for the musical stage. Carrie White is a misfit. At school, she’s an outcast who’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she’s at the mercy of her wacko, overprotective mother. But Carrie has just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it… And you already know she does: When Carrie is humiliated at the prom, she wreaks havoc on everyone and everything in her path. Audiences should know that unlike recent stagings of “Night of the Living Dead” and “Evil Dead” at the Bug Theatre, “Carrie” is not a campy satire. It is written very much in the vein of traditional Broadway fare. “Carrie” stars Haley DiVirgilio, Terra Salazar, Shahara Ray, Dana Hart Lubeck, Devin Bustamante and Ember Everett; and features Chris Arneson, Joseph Graves, Savannah Lake, Chelsea Winslow, Ashley Brown, Taylor Sommer, Chris Riney, James L. Crapes and Zach Nick. Directed by Colin Roybal and Hunter Hall. Final performances: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29-30, at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page. Thanks: Alex Weimer, Lauren Meyer, Deb Flomberg, Leticia Bisgard, cast and crew.

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The cast gets ready to open the house with an energy-building exercise. Contrary to the story they play on stage, this tight-knit, “let the sun shine in” group of friends appears to be bully-free.

 

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Photos: My night at the Denver Center Theatre Company’s ‘Jackie & Me’

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By John Moore
Nov. 25, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 136: Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Jackie & Me: Temperamental 12-year-old Joey Stoshack is being bullied because of his Polish descent. When he goes back in time to 1947, he not only witnesses Jackie Robinson break the baseball color barrier, his own skin color changes in the process, giving him a whole new perspective on prejudice and discrimination. “Jackie & Me” is written by Denver native Steven Dietz, who also wrote “Rancho Mirage,” which is presently being performed by the nearby Curious Theatre Company through Dec. 7. “Jackie & Me” is directed by Stephen Weitz. Starring William Oliver Watkins and Aaron M. Davidson and featuring Michael Santo, Kristen Adele, Ryan Wuestewald, Diana Dresser, Timothy McCracken, Leigh Miller, John Jurcheck and Justin Walvoord. It runs through Dec. 22 in the Space Theatre. Showtimes are variable because of a preponderance of student matinees during the week. Generally there are public performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 1:30 p.m. Sundays. Call 303-893-4100, or go to the Denver Center’s web site. Thanks: Lyle Raper, Alexandra Griesmer.

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Linda G. Alvarado, co-owner of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, congratulates 22-year-old actor Aaron Davidson for his opening-night performance by allowing him to wear her 2007 World Series ring. Alvarado is president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc., which built Sports Authority Field at Mile High. She is also a member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America by Hispanic Business Magazine. When the Rockies were awarded a franchise, Alvarado became the first Latino owner, male or female, in Major League Baseball history, and the second female owner in the big leagues.

 

More “Jackie & Me” coverage:

Dexter Fowler interview: Colorado Rockies center fielder says “God could not have picked a better person than Jackie Robinson”

Video: Watch as the cast of “Jackie & Me” takes a field trip to a Lakewood batting cage, and gets a tour of Coors Field.

Video: Montage of play highlights at a glance

Video and story: The making of the coolest stage floor … maybe ever

Meet the cast videos: Here’s a link to our full YouTube playlist

Profile: Stage manager Lyle Raper: She wields her wit like a baseball bat

 

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

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The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Betsy Stage’s ‘The Travesty of Lear’

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By John Moore
Nov. 22, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series (these are outtakes), click here.

Opening No. 135: Betsy Stage’s “The Travesty of Lear”: There’s a new theater sheriff in town, and she’s doing things a little differently. Shannon McAndrews is the general manager of the Betsy Stage (not to be confused with Boulder’s BETC, also colloquially referred to as “Betsy”) and get this — the shows are all free. Always. AND the actors even get paid. Decently, even. How do they do it? There’s a benefactor, McAndrews says. A benefactor with a kingdom, apparently, to partition out, only her kingdom is funding for the making of art. The company’s mission is to “adapt Elizabethan theater for a new audience.” Here, Shakespeare’s “King Lear” is set in the Old West. Lear is the owner of the Scarlet Slipper Saloon. Here he divides his kingdom by putting his three favorite prostitutes to the loyalty test. The script is rife with one-liners, but mostly sticks to Shakespeare in tone. They call in “Shakespeare spiked,” but it’s more like Shakespeare with a “Deadwood” ear. You may recognize some of the names — Phil Luna and Kevin Lowry, for example, but even those you might not recognize make for a pretty decent ensemble. Starring Michael Vasicek as Lear and also featuring Patti Murtha, Brooks Mullen, Michal Andrea Meyer, Jacob Abbas, Todd Simmonds, Elinor Reina, Jeannie Saracino, Jim Hitzke and R.J. Harris. Directed by Samantha McDermott. Again, all tickets are free … really … and the bar is even run on the honor system. Please call for reservations, or email Lear@Betsystage.com — though you won’t be turned away if you don’t. “The Travesty of Lear” plays through Jan. 25. Showtimes: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays at 1133 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 or go to betsy’s home page. Thanks: Jennifer McCray.

 

OPENING 135SMBW Pictures of pictures of cast members arranged on a lit lobby tree. Not pictured: Kevin Lowry.

 

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Photos: My night at Buntport Theater’s ‘Electra Onion Eater’

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By John Moore
Nov. 17, 2013

Opening No. 134: Buntport Theater’s “Electra Onion Eater”: “Hilarious. Squeamish. Incorrigible … Sunburnt.” Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have stumbled upon Buntport Theater’s new slogan. Buntport kicks off its 13th season of innovative, organic and original collaboration with a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ classic yarn. Set in the kitschy pop-culture world of the 1970s, Electra (Erin Rollman) waits patiently for her studly, sunburned brother (a hybrid of Selleck, Reynolds, Hasselhoff and Hutch, to return home in order to enact revenge on their mother for killing their father (who had killed their sister — you know, just the usual family dynamic). With nothing but time on her hands, Electra watches soap operas, cuts patches in her scalp and makes onion pies as offerings to the gods. Also featuring Erik Edborg, Hannah Duggan and guest star Drew Horwitz as … Bruce. And Samantha Schmitz pushing all the right buttons. Showtimes: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 23 at 717 Lipan St. Call 720-946-1388 or go to Buntport’s web page.

 

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Erik Edborg, left, and Andrew Horwitz backstage before Buntport’s “Electra Onion Eater.” Some photos … some completely candid photos … require no explanation.

 

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Photos: My night at The Edge’s ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

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By John Moore
Nov. 14, 2013

Opening No. 133: The Edge’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”: Brian Landis Folkins plays the boozy, brutal and broken Brick, who is tormented by the death of his best friend (and the incriminating inferences made about that friendship) in Tennessee Williams’ uncompromising tragedy, presented here in its ugly, unedited glory by director Angela Astle. In the tradition of O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” the play follows one long day of a Southern family in inebriated crisis. (But which came first? “Long Day’s Journey” was written 13 years earlier, but wasn’t published until a year after “Cat” won Williams a Pulitzer Prize in 1956.) The story is set on the night of a gathering at the family estate in Mississippi to celebrate the birthday and apparent good health of patriarch Big Daddy Pollitt (Russell Costen). Much like “Death of a Salesman,” the story is a constant joust between appearances and delusion and the malleable, elusive truth. And starving in the corner of this house of malice and death is a wounded, feral alleycat named Maggie (Maggy Stacy). Also featuring Emma Messenger, Marc Stith, Kelly Alayne Dwyer, Ryan Goold, Bob Byrnes, Geri Crawley, Banji Osindero, Sonsharae Tull, Amelia Modesitt, Sam Modesitt, Aliza Fassett and Pace Becker. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 17 at 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or the edge’s home page. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Amelia Retureta, Rick Yaconis, Patty Yaconis. To see the entire “Opening Nights” photo series, click here

 

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Brian Landis Folkins puts one of his core performing skills — juggling — to useful use before a performance of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the Edge Theatre.

 

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Photos: My night at 11 Minutes Theatre’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’

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By John Moore
Nov. 13, 2013

Opening No. 132: 11 Minutes’ ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’: The 11 Minutes Theatre Company may be one of the area’s newest theater companies, but they perform in the historic and cozy Arvada Festival Playhouse, believed to be the oldest building in Arvada. The company is the work of Janine Ann Kehlenbach, who has put together a tight and talented “Dancing at Lughnasa,” Irish playwright Brian Friel’s answer to “The Glass Menagerie.” It’s a memory play told intermittently through a narrator (a wonderful Andrew Uhlenhopp) as he remembers one summer in 1936 with his mother and four aunts. As he recounts the story, we go back in time and watch as these five feisty women confront their loves, hardships and a society whose customs are not changing fast enough. Also featuring Margaret Amateis Casart, Sasha Fisher, Janet Mylott, Sara Michael, Dawn Bower, Kevin R. Leonard (“Sordid Lives”) and Charlie Ault as the uncle missionary who has just returned from an African leper colony with malaria. Ault’s family started the Festival Playhouse’s resident company (the Festival Players) nearly 80 years ago. Their next offering is “Somethin’ Special for Christmas,” opening Nov. 19. “Lughnasa” plays through Nov. 16. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; also 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 at 5665 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., 303-422-4090, or go to the Festival Playhouse’s home page. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Janine Ann Kehlenbach, Amy Hanselmann and Donna Ault.

 

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Dawn Bower, left, and Sasha Fisher put the dancing in the “Dancing at Lughnasa” during a pre-show “dance call.”

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Photos: My night at Curious Theatre’s ‘Rancho Mirage’

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By John Moore
Nov. 12, 2013

Opening No 131: Curious Theatre’s “Rancho Mirage”: Colorado native Steven Dietz’s latest play continues Curious’ entire season of evident if perhaps unintentional looks at dysfunctional family relationships. Here, six longtime “friends” (?) gather for one final dinner party. The evening unfolds with comic surprises, alarming secrets and near-farcical bombshells. Also featuring Erik Sandvold, Emily Paton Davies, C. Kelly Leo, David Russell, Karen Slack and Devon James. Directed by Christopher Leo. Dietz is now the most produced playwright in Curious history. Dietz also wrote “Jackie & Me,” which will be performed by the Denver Center Theatre Company, opening Nov. 15. “Rancho” showtimes: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 7 at 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or Curious’ web page. Thanks: Sean Cummings, Kate Marie.

 

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“It’s been a year … did you miss me, Denver?” “Rancho Mirage” marks oft-honored freakyman actor Bill Hahn’s return to the stage since last appearing at Curious in “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.” Here, he plays a freakily normal-seeming suburban husband. Which, for Bill, is, you know … freaky.

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Byers-Evans’ ‘Evermore’

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

By John Moore
Nov. 5, 2013

Opening No. 130: Byers-Evans House Theatre Company’s “Evermore”: Maggie Stillman’s company, which specializes in the period macabre, is presenting its final show in the environs of the Byers-Evans House. She’s renaming her troupe the Ripple Effect Theatre Company and moving into a bona-fide theater in RiNo that is about to be vacated. (We’ll leave it to you to connect those dots.) Her goodbye to the museum tells the romantic whims and publishing difficulties of Edgar Allan Poe. We open October 1849. Poe has recently died, and his literary executor is compiling Poe’s works for posthumous publication. Memories of Poe’s final years full of love, hate, loss, and literature are played out through the memories of Dr. Griswold and Poe’s mother-in-law, Maria Clemm. Poe’s best-known tales and poems are woven into the dialogue. Featuring Seth Maisel, Kristin Mair, Michael Gurshtein and Nancy Flanagan. Directed by Ed Berry. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 16 at 1310 Bannock St., 303-620-4933. Thanks: Dana Huss, Orianna Keating and Maggie Stillman. Click here to see the complete “Opening Nights” photo series.

 

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Oooh, Edgar Allan Poe, he’s so scary, can’t you tell? From left: Nancy Flanagan, Seth Maisel, Kristin Mair and Michael Gurshtein yuk it up before one of the Byers-Evans House Theatre Company’s final performances before the troupe moves to RiNo as the new Ripple Effect Theatre Company.

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s ‘The Full Monty’

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

By John Moore
Nov. 4, 2013

Opening No. 129: Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “The Full Monty”: Based on the popular British film, this now ubiquitous tale has five unemployed steelworkers (moved for the stage to Buffalo) who come up with a bold way to make some quick cash: By taking off their clothes. In the process, they find renewed self-esteem and the importance of friendship. “The Full Monty” stars Seth Caikowski as Jerry, the gruff but well-meaning dad who’s desperate to make some cash to keep visitation rights with his son. Also featuring Joel Adam Chavez as Dave; Scott Beyette (also the director) as Harold, Burke Walton as Ethan, Brett Ambler as Malcolm, and longtime big-time vocalist Robert Johnson (17th Avenue All-Stars) as Horse. The cast also includes Alicia Dunfee, Shelly Cox-Robie, Amanda Earls, Jason Vargas, Joanie Brosseau, Scott Severtson, Tracy Warren, Jessica Hindsley, Norrell Moore, Bob Hoppe (alternating with Matthew D. Peters), and young Thomas Russo as Nathan (alternating with Kaden Hinkle). Showtimes: 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:45 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 1:30 and 7:45 p.m. Sundays (dinner service begins 90 minutes before) through Nov. 9 at 5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or go to BDT’s home page. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Michael J. Duran, Seamus McDonough, Neal Dunfee and Brian Jackson. To see the entire “Opening Nights” series to date (these are outtakes), click here.

 

OPENING 129
The photo above shows a side of working the dinner-theater circuit that most audiences don’t see: The actors settling up at the end of each performance. (Most times they don’t do it in robes, but most times, it’s not “The Full Monty,” hah.) Most actors also bus tables for the tips that, combined with their acting stipends, help make for something approximating a liveable wage doing what they love to do on the stage. It’s a good opportunity to remind readers that when you attend theater that involves personal service, the performers are primarily working for your gratuity.

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Video: Watch ‘After the Darklights,’ Episode 2

The pilot episode of “After the Darklights,” above, and the newly released Part 2. Each runs about 10 minutes.

By John Moore
Oct. 29, 2012

The second episode of “After the Darklights,” an online, post-apocalyptic web series written and directed by Denver’s Michael Morgan, has been launched.

In the story, the world as we knew it ended “the night the lights came.” Those who watched fell where they stood in the glow of the unexplainable strobes. But not all. A bloody few, called “ferals,” rose, changed like ravenous animals. The few unchanged survivors are fighting every minute to survive against a world that wants them all dead.

The pilot episode debuted a year ago. Since then, Morgan, producer Brian Landis Folkins (an instructor with the Denver Center Academy for the past 14 years) and his all-local cast and crew have been working to raise the money needed to continue telling the story to their exacting, professional standards. The cast includes Emily Paton Davies, Leah Watson, Josh Hartwell, Jim Hunt, Andy Waldschmidt, Brian Colonna, Channel 9 news anchor Kirk Montgomery and others. Music by Bop Skizzum. Future episodes will feature Karen Slack, Jude Moran and more. Special effects were designed by nationally recognized make-up artist Todd Debreceni.

We were on set for the recent filming of Episode 2, and shot the photos featured below:

Photos: On the set of “After the Darklights”

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

Here’s a link to a video podcast we aired in 2012 from the launch party for Episode 1.

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Springs Ensemble Theatre’s ‘A Steady Rain’

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

By John Moore
Oct. 25, 2013

Opening No. 124: Springs Ensemble Theatre’s “A Steady Rain”: If you loved “The Shield” on FX, you are certain to get Vic Mackey flashbacks while watching the equally round-headed rogue cop played by Steve Emily in Keith Huff’s uncompromising crime drama now being staged by the Springs Ensemble Theatre. In the story, two cops are longtime partners, best friends since childhood … and seriously flawed human beings. One is single, a recovering alcoholic and lonely. The other is married with children, but there are clearly … shades of Mackey. What begins as a routine domestic disturbance call snowballs into an uncompromising downfall that tests their loyalties. For mature audiences. Starring Steve (Vic Mackey) Emily as Denny, and Matt Radcliffe as Joey. Directed by David Palmbeck. Through Oct. 27. Remaining showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, at 1903 E. Cache La Poudre in Colorado Springs. Call 719-447-1646 or go to the Springs Ensemble Theatre’s home page. Thanks: Keri Pollakoff and Keegan Jenney. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org..

To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these are outtakes), click here: www.culturewest.org/?p=6068. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

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Steve Emily getting down with his bad Vic Mackey self.

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at The Catamounts’ ‘Failure: A Love Story’

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

By John Moore
Oct. 24, 2013

Opening No. 123: The Catamounts’ “Failure,” A Love Story”: This fanciful musical fable is about the triumphs, aspirations and untimely demises of three Chicago sisters who never saw death coming. Set in 1928 in a clock shop on the edge of the Chicago River, this wistful comedy that tells the stories of all three sisters, and the one man who loved them all. “Failure” features Joan Bruemmer, Ed Cord, Crystal Verdon Eisele, Meredith C. Grundei, Michelle Hurtubise, Trina Magness, Jeremy Make, Jason Maxwell and Ryan Wuestewald, with Nina Rolle providing live various music (which includes a bell on her head). Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson. There are three remaining performances, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 24-26) at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder. The Saturday performance will be preceded by a community meal from a menu inspired by the play. Call 303-440-7826, or go to the The Catamounts’ home page. Photo by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.. Thanks: Andy Bakehouse.

To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these are outtakes), click here: www.culturewest.org/?p=6068. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

OPENING 123SM
Meredith C. Grundei, playing one of the fated Fail Sisters, goes for a pre-show swim practice safe in the arms, er, feet, of castmates Ed Cord, front, and Ryan Wuestewald. Her character swims the Chicago River.

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at the Denver Center Theatre Company’s ‘The Most Deserving’

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

By John Moore
Oct. 23, 2013

Opening No. 122: Denver Center Theatre Company’s “The Most Deserving: The Denver Center’s new world premiere is a comedy about amateur art and amateur politics in a tiny West Kansas town. The local arts council has $20,000 to award to a hometown artist with an “under-represented American voice.” Should they choose the son of a town big-shot, thus guaranteeing their continued funding; or the mentally unstable, self-taught “Trash Man” who creates religious figures out of rubbish? Gregory, believe it or not, is NOT playing the unstable Trash Man. Rather, he’s a ponytailed British beatnik on the lookout for a shag. (And a member of the town arts council.) The play explores how gossip, politics and opinions of art can decide who is “the most deserving.” Featuring Sam Gregory, Jeanne Paulsen, Judith Hawking, Rebecca Miyako Hirota, Craig Bockhorn and Jonathan Earl Peck (who once played Othello at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival). Written by Catherine Trieschmann. Directed by Shelley Butler. “The Most Deserving” runs through Nov. 17 at the Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets. Showtimes: 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 1:30 p.m. Sundays. Call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org. Thanks: Rachel Ducat, Mariah Becerra.

To see the official “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these are outtakes), click here: www.culturewest.org/?p=6068. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

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Hold that tiger! (Or should I say, “Hold that, Tiger?”) Sam Gregory wants you … to see him (very nearly ALL of him) in “The Most Deserving.”

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Colorado theater schedules, however you like them:

All currently running theater productions

All theater listings by company
All theater listings by opening date

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Photos: My night at Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s ‘Seminar’

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

By John Moore
Oct. 4, 2013

Opening No. 120: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s “Seminar”: In Theresa Rebeck’s new exploration of academic privilege and nasty human behavior, four aspiring young novelists find themselves in over their heads when they sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, a force of nature and washed-up international literary figure (John Ashton). Under his reckless instruction, the wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious. Also featuring Matthew Blood-Smyth, Devon James, Mary Kay Riley and Sean Scrutchins. Directed by Stephen Weitz. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; plus 4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 20 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc’s home page. Thanks: Maxie Beth Bilyeu, Rebecca Remaly Weitz.

To see the complete “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these are outtakes), click here: www.culturewest.org/?p=6068. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

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Director Stephen Weitz gets his tie caught in a furry, salivating work of art at the Dairy Center.

More “Seminar” coverage:
John Ashton capped a crazy week with a triumphant opening performance on Friday night. Three days before the opening performance, Ashton was deployed by his day job, FEMA, to working 12-hour daily shifts in response to the flooding in Boulder. The extra busy-ness didn’t seem to affect his performance. The company drew a standing ovation.

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The Denver Actors Fund (my new non-profit that provides immediate assistance to members of teh Colorado theatre community who find themselves in immediate, situational medical need) is hosting a Happy Hour starting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Cap City, 1247 Bannock St, Denver, 80204. Please join us for a drink — and learn about volunteer opportunities should you be so inclined.

If you cannot attend, you can still help get us off the ground with your donation. Just send your tax-deductible check (with our humble thanks) to:

Denver Actors Fund
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212