Survey: Most Denver theatregoers aren’t coming back anytime soon

John Hauser in Miners Alley Playhouse’s ‘Once.’ Photo by John Moore.

Audiences, and artists, express deep concerns over going on with the show

By John Moore
Senior Arts Journalist

The spirit is ready and willing, but when it comes to returning to our local theatre stages during an ongoing pandemic, the flesh is weak.

Local theatre companies are all wondering when they will be allowed to re-open as the  coronavirus rages on. But a major new survey of local theatregoers emphatically shows the profound challenge all theatre companies will face when they do. Because not only are audiences not coming back right away – neither, say the artists, are they.

Golden’s Miners Alley Playhouse polled more than 700 theatregoers last week, and 74 percent told them they aren’t coming back to the theatre – at least not for the next few months. And a full 35 percent said they will return only when there is a vaccine – if ever.

But MAP Producing Artistic Director Len Matheo found hope in the 40 percent who said that “within a few months,” they probably would join the 25 percent who say they are willing to come back right now. That would indicate a potential audience base of about 65 percent of normal if live theatre programming were to return to the metro area in the fall.

“I think that the short-term future is going to be smaller audiences and hopefully some kind of streaming option for our more vulnerable patrons,” Matheo said.

Perhaps even more telling: In a separate survey of more than 100 Denver metro actors, only 34 percent said they would feel comfortable going to work on a play or musical right away, even after all governmental “shelter in place” orders are lifted.

Matheo modeled his survey on a national questionnaire recently issued by the Alamo Drafthouse, which is similarly seeking to learn not only when patrons might be willing to return, but what it will take to make them feel safe coming back into an enclosed and crowded auditorium for an extended period of time. The survey asked patrons what potential new safety procedures they would support, from employees undergoing daily COVID screening (87 percent want this), to requiring all patrons to wear masks (89 percent) to enforcing a tough “no coughing or sneezing” policy (a proposal favored by a whopping 58 percent of respondents). A full 92 percent of audiences said they would be willing to have their temperature taken with a touch-free thermometer upon arriving at the theatre.

But the inherent disconnect between safety and economics was laid bare in one question that revealed 88 percent of all audiences would prefer for theatres to maintain at least 6 feet of empty space between patrons – which would essentially make producing most any live theatre fiscally impractical. However, when MAP asked patrons if they would be willing to pay $20 more per ticket to make up for the theatre’s reduced capacity, a perhaps surprisingly high 50 percent said they would be willing to pay up, at least once.

Respondents were allowed to comment as part of the survey, and here are a few representative opinions:

  • “I’m over 70 and as much as I love live theatre, and Miners Alley Playhouse in particular, I’m simply not planning to go to any theatre in the foreseeable future, sadly.”
  • “I love the arts but with this pandemic, I must stick with the science. I will not be returning to the theatre until there is a vaccine.”
  • “I would want to know what procedures are in place for actors so that we as audience can feel that they are also safe.”

  • “We’re certainly anxious to get back, but we’re very cautious. Cost has little to do with it. We want the family together again.”
  • “These are tough times for everyone. Things are never going back to normal as we knew them yesterday.”

The results from the Golden survey cannot be assumed to translate to all Colorado theatregoers, but they strongly resemble other surveys that have revealed the profound wariness Americans are feeling about spending any prolonged time in enclosed spaces with other people. Shugoll Research recently conducted a study of theatregoers in New York City, and another of theatregoers nationwide, which both showed that well less than half (41 percent) of regular New York theatregoers, and only a little more than a third (36 percent) of theatregoers nationwide, say they plan to return to their previous theatregoing habits when theatres reopen, with the vast majority opting to wait between three and six months before attending plays again.

“The bottom line is we will be back making great theatre in some form or another,” Matheo said. “And our patrons will be able to engage with us safely, in whatever way they feel most comfortable.”

AUDIENCE SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

Right away 26 percent
Not right away, but probably within a few months 39
Not until there is a vaccine in place 17
I’m not sure when I’d return 18

Go to the next page to see more survey results:

Costume Designer Kevin Brainerd was epitome of class and panache

Kevin Brainerd designed costumes for 18 productions at Denver’s Curious Theatre Company. Photo courtesy Markas Henry.

 

Death at age 58 has theatre community’s heart on its linen sleeve

By John Moore, Senior Arts Journalist

The clothes may not make the man, but under his meticulous eye, Kevin Brainerd’s clothes made hundreds of fictional characters come to vivid life on stages from Broadway to Boulder.

Brainerd, an acclaimed theatrical costume designer who wrapped a remarkably wide swath of the Colorado theatre, dance and opera communities in both his attire and acerbic wit, died April 27 from pancreatic cancer. He was 58.

Kevin Brainerd won the 2019 Henry Award for designing Theatre Aspen’s ‘Ragtime’ costumes. Photo by Austin Colbert.

“I have yet to allow myself to wrap my mind around not having him in my next production meeting,” said Curious Theatre Producing Artistic Director Chip Walton. “He will be missed in ways beyond words.”

Brainerd the costume designer is being remembered for his slavish devotion to detail and historical accuracy. “As a costumer, Kevin just gets you better than you get yourself,” said actor and producer Ami Dayan of Maya Productions. Actor Karen Slack added simply: “He always made me look better than I had any business looking.”

Brainerd the man is being remembered for his own impeccable fashion style, a mischievous smile, the ever-changing iterations of his facial hair and his love for the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.

Brainerd also was known for his hit-or-miss double-entendres, which often made some reference or another to a bishop or a wife. Paige Price, Producing Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Theatre Company by way of Theatre Aspen, calls Brainerd “the master of the drive-by quip.” Depending on your own sense of humor, you might say Brainerd was “situationally funny,” said his husband, Scenic and Costume Designer Markas Henry, also Director of Theatre at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“He could not tell a joke to save his life … but he was funny as hell.”

Curious Theatre Education Director Dee Covington organized a ‘Yard Bomb,’ encouraging friends to leave art on the front yard of Markas Henry’s home overnight May 2. The idea, she said, “was for Markas to wake up and see that we had been there – and that we are always here. Marking time and holding space with him.”

Brainerd also was a skilled croquet player, which suited not only his domestic landscape (the couple’s home sits directly across from City Park), but also his demeanor and fashion sense. Henry describes his style as “playfully classic … but with a flair.”

Imagine, if you will, Brainerd sporting his summer look of Bermuda shorts with a fitted T-shirt; a white, long-sleeved linen shirt (with the sleeves rolled up); and his essential Converse tennies.

“Oh, yeah, we’re both Converse whores,” Henry said with a laugh.

Now imagine Brainerd slinging a croquet mallet over his shoulder with one hand and holding a martini in his other. Brainerd was known for a mean martini, Henry said. “But just to clarify,” he added winkingly: “He could drink them – not make them.”

Brainerd also was capable of making swift and necessary decisions – like the morning after Dayan, in preparation for a production of his play “Conviction,” embarked on an ill-conceived, late-night experimentation with hair coloring, leaving Brainerd with no choice the next morning but to shave Dayan’s head clean.

“The beauty of that story is Kevin had so much compassion and appreciation for my childish inspiration,” Dayan said. “But make no mistake: He was decisive: ‘Off with the hair!’ And I have to admit it looked better than it did before.”

I didn’t know I had everything. But now I know I’ve lost everything.”  – Markas Henry

Over his 30-year career, Brainerd designed costumes for dozens of stage productions and assisted on many TV shows, films and no fewer than six Broadway musicals spanning 1993 to 2008. His Broadway break came serving as an assistant to the costume designers on “Bells are Ringing.” The pinnacle of his pre-Colorado professional life came while working on Martin Pakledinaz‘s costume design team (which included Henry) that won the 2002 Tony Award for “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Brainerd’s credits also spanned the Santa Fe Opera, The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepardstown, W.V., Opera Colorado, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Theatre Aspen, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Phamaly Theatre Company, CU-Boulder and Curious Theatre Company, where he and Henry became full artistic company members in 2012. Brainerd designed 18 shows for Curious Theatre, from Michael Hollinger’s “Opus” in 2010 to Tony Kushner’s “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures” in 2018.

“Kevin was the consummate collaborator — an artist with a clear vision, yet driven in ways that pushed the entire production toward greater clarity and excellence,” said Walton. “His attention to detail was painstaking and brilliant.”

Brainerd had a unique ability to visualize an instant understanding for each of his characters, Curious Theatre Managing Director Katie Maltais wrote in a 2017 essay. “His meticulous process was to fully psychoanalyze each of his characters to decide who they were, what type of clothes would fill their closets and what they would choose to wear both for big, important moments and simple, everyday ones.” Brainerd’s clothing choices communicated his characters’ cultural identities, professions and economic statuses, while also revealing subconscious clues about their inner worlds.

He will be missed in ways beyond words.” – Chip Walton

While Brainerd was known for researching his characters months before his directors would even decide who would be playing them, one of his defining characteristics as a costume designer was to never purchase a single piece of clothing until after he knew exactly what actor would be wearing them. He customized his designs to his actors’ skin tones, hair colors and character choices. That was a quality Slack deeply appreciated.

Karen Slack in Curious Theatre’s ‘Venus in Fur.’ Photo by Michael Ensminger.

“It doesn’t matter how much preparation you do. The moment you put Kevin’s clothing on your body, it changes everything,” said Slack. “You look at yourself and you see things differently.”

Slack had to leave her comfort zone in 2014 to play a scantily-clad human goddess in Curious Theatre’s “Venus in Fur,” fully revealing a back visibly scarred by multiple spinal surgeries. “I don’t have a normal body to work with,” she said, “but Kevin always got it just right.”

For “Venus in Fur,” she added with a laugh, “Kevin knew I was going to be mostly in my undies for the entire play, so it was really important that we had something that was revealing and sexy but also maintained some level of modesty – and made sure my lady bits were covered. Kevin taught me that double-sided tape is my dear friend.”

For “Maple and Vine,” a story that evoked 1950s Americana, Brainerd dressed Slack in some of his own mother’s period dresses. “I felt so honored. They were so beautiful and special,” Slack said. “He also taught me how to do a French twist for ‘God of Carnage.’ He did all this while always making me laugh and being my friend.”

The costumes, Brainerd told Maltais, should never overshadow the actors’ performances. “If the audience is unaware of my design,” he said, “then it is successful.”

Mayberry beginnings

Kevin F. Brainerd swelled the population of Vega, Texas, all the way to 670 when he was born on June 24, 1961, in the rural Texas Panhandle town situated on the original Route 66 about 35 miles west of Amarillo. Vega is known for roadside attractions like Dot’s Mini Museum, with its Avon perfume bottle collection and Cowboy Boot Tree.

“The Brainerds were the Cleavers of Vega,” said Henry, referencing the all-American family from TV’s “Leave it to Beaver.” Richard Brainerd was the town’s beloved District Attorney; Dorothy was a nurse for High Plains Baptist Hospital. They remain there and now have been married for 64 years.

Kevin, the third of their four children, was the smallest member of his high-school marching band – so naturally, he played the tuba.

“Kevin was a crazy, voracious reader, even as a boy,” Henry said. “When it was time for lights out, Kevin was the kind of kid who had a flashlight under his sheets reading ‘Dracula.’ He would climb a tree just to read a book, usually with his cat right by his side. He was a doodler and a drawer, and he began his career as a professional costume designer making clothes for his sister’s Barbie Dolls.

Growing up as the son of an attorney, Henry said, not only gave Brainerd a strong moral and ethical sense, it made him incapable of suffering dishonesty or fools. Which means “Kevin could gravitate toward the litigious,” Henry said with a laugh. “God forbid you ever pissed him off.”

He graduated from the University of Dallas and briefly attended SMU for graduate school before making his way to New York City and embarking on his career in costume design.

Kevin just gets you better than you get yourself.” – Ami Dayan

His early professional work included designing costumes at storefront theatres and Off-Broadway – and Off-Off-Broadway – theatres.

His life changed forever, as it did for … perhaps no one else on the planet, while attending a performance of the Broadway musical adaptation of “The Goodbye Girl.” That was a short-lived bust about which New York Times critic Frank Rich carped: “How good can a musical be when sneering drama critics get the best lines?”

Markas Henry and Kevin Brainerd

Markas Henry, left, and Kevin Brainerd have been together for 27 years. Photo courtesy Markas Henry.

Henry and Brainerd had met only peripherally, given that both were designing costumes for the New York theatre community. “We are a specific-looking lot,” Henry said. “The swatch rings, the shipping tags, the scissors and the staplers in our pockets give us away.”

The two were being initiated into the United Scenic Artists Local 829 union when Henry mentioned to Brainerd that he had an extra ticket the next night to see “The Goodbye Girl,” starring Bernadette Peters and Martin Short. Of the musical, Henry remembers only that it was kind of terrible. But he does remember the important stuff. “I remember that he had the most adorable twinkly eyes, a mischievous smile and an infectious laugh,” Henry said. “I remember that we liked the same foods, and we hated the same foods. And I remember  that he had amazing hands – and great calves.”

That it was June 8, 1993.

“We were an instant thing,” Henry said, “and we saw each other every day forward.”

The couple had a civil-union ceremony celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2013, and they were legally married in Denver in 2015.

The couple had moved to Denver at a time when Broadway was going big while the artisans’ time and resources were getting smaller. Henry, who had always wanted to teach, was hired as a temporary costume worker at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2004. He was soon made full-time and now runs the university’s Department of Theatre. The move gave the couple the opportunity to work on artistic projects together, relish in their complementary artistic aesthetics – and coordinate their calendars.

Life changes in an instant

Scenic Designer Markas Henry said Theatre Aspen’s 2008 production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ was one of the best experiences he and Costume Designer Kevin ever had working together. ‘That show fired on every single cylinder,’ he said. They revisited the show in Aspen last summer. It was their last collaboration together.

Brainerd, whom Price will remember for flashing “that impish smile that hid the cigarettes he was always quitting,” began feeling pains in his back two years ago. Then came a cough he couldn’t shake. At 8:05 a.m. the morning after Christmas 2018, a doctor called with the results of a CT scan that revealed both a small spot on one lung and a bigger mass in his pancreas. The next year was all about scans, biopsies, chemotherapy infusions and radiation treatments. Yet Brainerd and Markas managed one last summer designing Theatre Aspen’s “God of Carnage” and “Little Shop of Horrors” together.

In October, Brainerd had surgery that showed his cancer had spread to his stomach lining and was now inoperable. Henry says Brainerd approached his 16-month cancer journey with “resilience, strength and courage.”

It was in the early stages of that odyssey that Brainerd won his first major award since the Tony Award in 1993: The Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2019 Henry Award (regrettably, not named after Markas) for costuming Theatre Aspen’s “Ragtime.” It was an award, Henry said, that meant the world to Brainerd.

In the final 10 days of his life, when Brainerd wasn’t always cognizant through his morphine moments, another award was on Brainerd’s mind. Henry recalls Brainerd sitting at edge of his bed at home while drinking from a sippy cup. “Kevin pushed the cup away and reached out his hands,” Henry said. “I asked him: ‘What do you want?’ And he looked me in the eye and said, ‘Hand me my Oscar!’ ”

When the pain softens, Henry hopes he can look back at moments like those and smile.

“I didn’t know I had everything,” Henry said. “But now I know I’ve lost everything.”

Memorial service planned for future

In addition to his parents, Brainerd is survived by his sister, Becky Casso, her husband, jazz saxophonist Carlo Casso, and their children, Michelle and Daniel; his brother, Rick Brainerd, his wife, Gayla, and their children, Lauren and Trey; and his brother, Stephen Brainerd, and his husband, David. Kevin is also survived by his beloved Cat, Zeb, and was preceded in death by a pair of notorious felines named Theodore and Clifford.

Price equates Brainerd to a splash of paint. A force of energy. “Kevin was mischievous in that what he presented to you was only the part he wanted you to see,” Price said. “Those of us who knew his heart delighted in knowing that he was a deeply feeling person and he would deflect kindness with his sometimes wry, Eeyore-like personality that belied his absolute attention to whatever anyone needed from him.”

Donations can be made in Brainerd’s  name to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or Curious Theatre Company, where a memorial celebration will be held at a later date.

Senior Arts Journalist John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theatre critics by ‘American Theatre’ magazine and has been covering the Colorado theatre community since 2001. He is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund and was the recent recipient of Actor’s Equity Association’s Lucy Jordan Humanitarian Award. Reach him at culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

Markas Henry says Curious Theatre’s 2013 production of ‘Maple and Vine’ was Kevin Brainerd’s sweet spot as a costume designer. ‘The 1950s section of that play, with Karen Slack and C. Kelly Leo (above) – that was his element,’ he said. Photo by Michael Ensminger.

KEVIN BRAINERD/Selected shows

Broadway

  • “She Loves Me,” Assistant to the Costume Designer
  • “Bells Are Ringing,” Assistant Costume Design
  • “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Assistant Costume Design
  • “All Shook Up,” Associate Costume Design
  • “Ring of Fire,” Associate Costume Design
  • “Dividing the Estate,” Associate Costume Design

Off-Broadway

  • “Queen Bee’s Last Stand,” Urban Stages, Costume Design
  • “The Sweepers,” Urban Stages, Costume Design
  • “Seven Rabbits on a Pole,” Urban Stages, Costume Design
  • “Conviction,” 59E59, Costume Design

Film

  • “A Beautiful Mind”
  • “The Mirror Has Two Faces”
  • “Ghost Dog”
  • “Made”
  • “Requiem for a Dream”
  • “Exit Wounds”

Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

  • “Seminar”
  • “Crime and Punishment”

Curious Theatre Company

  • “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures”
  • “Detroit 67”
  • “Appropriate”
  • “Building the Wall”
  • The Elliot Plays: “The Happiest Song Plays Last,” “Water by the Spoonful” and “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue”
  • “Sex With Strangers”
  • “Charles Ives Take Me Home”
  • “Lucky Me”
  • “Venus in Fur “
  • “Rancho Mirage”
  • “God of Carnage”
  • “Maple and Vine”
  • “Becky Shaw”
  • “Clybourne Park”
  • “Homebody/Kabul”
  • “Opus”

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

  • “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Phamaly Theatre Company

  • “James and the Giant Peach”

Maya Productions

  • “A Happy End”
  • “Conviction”

Theatre Aspen

  • “The 39 Steps”
  • “Avenue Q”
  • “Ragtime”
  • “Dear Edwina”
  • “Buyer & Cellar”
  • “The Cottage”
  • “Becky’s New Car”
  • “Annie”
  • “God of Carnage”
  • “Little Shop of Horrors” (twice)

Lake Dillon Theatre Company

  • “The Underpants”

Byers-Evans House Theatre

  • “A Doll’s House”

University of Colorado Boulder

  • “Little Women, the Musical”
  • “You Can’t Take It With You”
  • “Twelfth Night”
  • “Peter and the Starcatcher”
  • “Cloud 9”

Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s 2009 production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’

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

‘The Lion King’ 2002 national touring production.

A journey to the heart of Julie Taymor’s imagination

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

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

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

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

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

‘The Lion King’ 2002 national touring production.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Lion King”

****(Out of 4 stars)

Arvada Center actor: ‘George H.W. Bush groped me,’ too


Jordana Grolonick, second from left, made a benefit appearance for the Denver Actors Fund with her Arvada Center ‘A Chorus Line’ castmates at the Denver Alamo Drafthouse on Aug. 28. Photo by John Moore.

The claim by Jordana Grolnick of Longmont has been confirmed by an official, and an apology has been issued

Posted by John Moore
Compiled from News Reports

Jordana Grolnick, who was raised in Longmont and just played Maggie in the Arvada Center’s production of A Chorus Line, today became the second woman to come forward and allege that former President George H.W. Bush groped her. Her claim has been confirmed by Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath, who issued an apology on behalf of the President.

She joins actor Heather Lind, who said earlier this week that the former president touched her from behind while telling her a dirty joke in 2014.

Grolnick has also now accused Bush of a similar incident in 2016, in which he allegedly fondled her during a photo opportunity. In a statement, the Silver Creek High School graduate said of Bush, who was 92 at the time of the alleged incident:

“He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’ As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’ ”

 

The incident took place when Grolick was working at a production of Hunchback of Notre Dame in Maine. Bush, who stays in nearby Kennebunkport during the summers, is a frequent visitor to the theater. Grolnick told Deadspin.com, which first reported the story, the “joke” was met with laughter by others in the room, and that former First Lady Barbara Bush responded by sarcastically saying, “He’s going to get himself put into jail.”

McGrath said in a statement that, because President Bush has been in a wheelchair for five years, his arm falls on the “lower waist.” He continued: “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”

Grolnick, who consented to have her name included in her statement, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2015. Shortly after, she made her Broadway debut in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, as both an understudy and swing.

Her A Chorus Line director, Rod A. Lansberry, praised Grolnick for coming forward.

“I applaud her honesty and courage to bring her experience to light,” Lansberry said. It definitely brings this blight home when you continually find it has occurred to someone you know and have worked with. Her courage only increases my respect for Jordana, as a person and a performer.”

During her recent stay in Arvada, Grolnick joined cast members at a benefit screening of the film version of A Chorus Line to benefit the Denver Actors Fund. At the benefit, held at the Alamo Drafthouse, Grolnick sang Dance: Ten; Looks: Three, a song that in the stage production is sung by the character of Val. Because that actor was not available, Grolnick volunteered to sing it in her place. (See a short excerpt of the video here.)

After the incident in Maine, Grolnick told Deadspin’s Dave McKenna: “I just thought, ‘Whatever. He’s a dirty old man.’ ” She said she told her friends and family of the incident, and that “nobody didn’t believe me.” However, she was reluctant to come forward with her story until the recent outpouring of sexual-misconduct allegations following widespread revelations of abuse against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

“Now that the #metoo movement has brought this all to light, I think I should have been a little more alarmed to be touched so inappropriately by a man who was once the leader of the free world,” Grolnick told Deadspin. “He knows the power he has, and the reverence he deserves, even while sitting perhaps somewhat senile in a wheelchair.”

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 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

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:

 

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: 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:

 

DSA students make remarkable, record donation to Denver Actors Fund

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Jimmy Bruenger:

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

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

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

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

To learn more about the Denver Actors Fund, click here

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

To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, click here

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

 

 

UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

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

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

 

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

 

IMG_3487b
“Hairspray” Director Shawn Hann, left, with Denver Center for the Performing Arts Teaching Artists Allison Watrous and Jessica Austgen.

 

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

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 91: Sam Gregory

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.

91 Sam GregoryWe are rolling one Sonnet video a week for, yes … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For Sonnet 91, acclaimed actor Sam Gregory uses his dream vacation in Hawaii as an opportunity to deliver a Shakespearean love letter to his wife, Sylvia. “Thy love is better than high birth to me,” says Sam, an homage made all the more poignant by her recent successful battle with cancer.  Gregory just completed a varied season at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival playing Barrymore in the comedy “I Hate Hamlet” and King Henry IV in “Henry IV,” Parts 1 and 2.  Sam is a multiple Denver Post Award winner who has performed in 42 plays with the Denver Center Theatre Company. He’ll star next in Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony-winning best play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” running Oct. 10-Nov. 16 in the Ricketson Theatre (303-893-4100 or www.denvercenter.org).

The Denver Sonnets Project is an ongoing public art project, open to a wide variety of area actors and filmmakers. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

Video by John Moore.

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

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 …”

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

Sonnet 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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

Performers: Cast yourselves in ‘Miscast 2014’ for Denver Actors Fund

By John Moore

Here's what Mark Pergola looks like today. But what will the host of "Miscast 2014" look like on Sept. 29?

Here’s what Mark Pergola looks like today. But what will the host of “Miscast 2014” look like on Sept. 29?

“Miscast 2014″ is an opportunity for some of the local theatre community’s top performers to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legitimate stage. This popular tradition is being brought back by the Aurora Fox for one night only on Sept. 29 as a benefit for the Denver Actors Fund.

It may be all wrong … but it feels so right.

As of today, performers are invited to apply for the 12 available slots. An invited panel of local luminaries will choose the dozen most creative, intriguing or outrageous proposals. Groups are encouraged. The deadline to apply is Sept. 11. The final line-up will be announced on Sept. 15.

Miscast poster idea

Click here to be taken to the link to apply.

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

Please note before applying: “Miscast” is a fundraiser, and because of expected demand, we are requesting a small performance fee, as a way of increasing the total funds raised for the Denver Actors Fund. Those performers who are selected will be asked to pay an additional $10 for the opportunity to perform, for a total of $20 each. All of which is tax-deductible.

“Miscast” is based on Gene Kato’s original concept for Next Stage, and carried on by Paragon Theatre Company.

“Miscast 2014” will be hosted by the inimitable Mark Pergola, with a special co-host. The director is Robert Michael Sanders. For additional information, call him at 720-435-4349, or email RobertMichael1232@gmail.com

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

MISCAST 2014

erinrErin Rollman at Paragon Theatre’s “Miscast 2010” at the Aurora Fox Theatre, which is bringing the tradition back on Sept. 29 as a benefit for the Denver Actors Fund. Photo by John Moore.

 

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 31: Sean Scrutchins and Devon James

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.

We are rolling one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For a very special Sonnet 31, married actors Sean Scrutchins and Devon James, on the eve of the birth of their first child, take a moment to honor their many departed family members who will be immortalized in their son, Liam. “Thou art the grave where buried love doth live …” Scrutchins is a Henry Award (Curious’ “Nine Circles”) and True West Award winner (Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”); while James is a True West Award winner herself (Curious’ “Time Stands Still”). Both are also teaching Artists with the Denver Center Theatre Academy. IMG_4947USE

The Denver Sonnets Project is an ongoing public art project, open to a variety of actors and filmmakers. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

Video by John Moore.

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

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 …”

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

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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 10, Augustus Truhn

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.

We are rolling one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

AUGIE TRUHN 100For Sonnet 10 — our 17th short film to date — Boulder actor Augustus Truhn turns another of Shakespeare’s many (many!) entreaties for procreation into something quite different. Here, without changing a word, Truhn presents the sonnet instead as one tortured man exhorting himself to allow love into his life before it is too late. For a man unwilling to care about himself cannot have love in his heart for anyone else. Truhn played Petruchio in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s 2010 “The Taming of the Shrew” and appeared last summer in the Germinal Stage Denver’s “Offending the Audience.” His wife, actor Karen LaMoureaux, will next appear in Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s “Ambition Facing West,” opening Oct. 9.

The Denver Sonnets Project is an ongoing public art project, open to a variety of actors and filmmakers. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

Video by John Moore.

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

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 …”

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

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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 6, Joe Von Bokern

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.

JVB2 SONNET 6We are rolling one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For our 16th Sonnet, No. 6 — one of Shakespeare’s many (many!) entreaties for self-propagation — actor (and, here, filmmaker) Joe Von Bokern finds a comic correlation between the notion of immortality through procreation and trends in commercially driven technology. “Or some (bleep) like that,” says Von Bokern, who is currently appearing in two farces in repertory for the Spotlight Theatre Company: “Boeing Boeing” and “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” both through Aug. 16 at the John Hand Theatre (720-880-8727), followed by Silhouette Theatre Company’s “Grace,” by Craig Wright, from Sept. 4-27 (303-999-9143). All three productions are the John Hand Theatre,7653 E. 1st Place.

The Denver Sonnets Project is an ongoing public art project, open to a wide variety of actors and filmmakers. Another new short film is posted here every Monday. Read more about the Denver Sonnets Project here: Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

Video by Joe Von Bokern. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

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

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

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

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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

The Denver Sonnets Project, No. 144: Cailin Doran

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.

CAILINWe are rolling one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

Four our 14th sonnet, No. 144, smoldering actor Cailin Doran (Arvada Center’s ‘The Great Gatsby’) considers the temptations of good and evil as two potential suitors in a bar who may have greater aspirations than her mere affections. These two flirts, she believes, are an angel inside a devil inside her own hell. But she’ll never know until her bad angel expels the good one out of hell.

Video by John Moore. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

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

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

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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

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.

IMG_3211IMG_3174 IMG_3175 IMG_3177 IMG_3181 IMG_3184 IMG_3186 IMG_3188 IMG_3190 IMG_3194 IMG_3198 IMG_3200 IMG_3204 IMG_3206 IMG_3210 IMG_3216 IMG_3219

 

 

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.

The Denver Sonnets Project, No. 73: Jim Hunt

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.

IMG_3117We are rolling one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

Four our 13th sonnet, No. 73 veteran actor Jim Hunt stands in for Shakespeare addressing a young man, but his message is oft-debated. He’s either preparing his protege for the elder speaker’s impending death, or the end of the young man’s youth. In either case, the lesson is the same: Love well that which you will soon lose.” Hunt is one of the busiest and most honored actors in Denver, most recently having appeared in the new play “And the Sun Stood Still,” as Copernicus, for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company.

Video by John Moore. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
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 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 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”
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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Traci Kern

DAF

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.

TraciFinancial aid recipient No. 7: Longtime actor and 17-year vocal coach Traci J. Kern has appeared in many productions for many local theatre companies, including recently in “Swing!”  for the Town Hall Arts Center and “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” for Ben Dicke Productions at the Aurora Fox. Next she will star as the Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for Cabrini Productions, playing July 18 through Aug. 3 at the St. Frances Cabrini Church, 6673 W. Chatfield Ave. in Littleton. She serves many beginners through professional local theatre vocalists through her private Traci Kern Voice Studio. She earned her masters degree in vocal performance from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Last year she held her own concert at the Vintage Theatre. Click here for photos.

Her story: In April, doctors discovered a mass on Traci’s right breast. An immediate surgical biopsy was ordered. The  great news is that the mass was benign. However, the cost of three mammograms, an ultrasound and the surgery came to more than $20,000. Traci is insured but she was left still responsible for about $5,500 of the costs.

How we will help … and you can, too: The Denver Actors Fund has issued Traci a $450 check to help defray her considerable remaining medical bills. Because that will help but not solve Traci’s greater financial situation, anyone wishing to make additional, specific contributions to Traci Kern may make out checks in her name and send them to Denver Actors Fund at 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO, 80212

A message from Traci: There’s a great peace of mind that comes with this gift, not just because of the financial relief but in knowing taht people you have spent time with on stage, and are invested in as human beings, are helping you. And as far as the bills are concerned, the majority are due upon receipt. Only one has offered a payment plan. So to me, $450 right now means that I can exhale for a minute. It doesn;t mean everything is OK, but it means everything is becoming OK. I am very grateful for that, and to everyone who has ever contributed to the Denver Actors Fund.

HELP THE DENVER ACTORS FUND REPLENISH:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. For more information, visit our web site at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund: Please go here (with our humble thanks):

 

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Download the brief form by clicking here

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

 

poster1.4_Cross

Buy a poster! 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. The 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: T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

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

 

The Denver Sonnets Project, No. 131: Josh Nelson

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.

IMG_20022We will roll one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

Four our 12th sonnet, No. 131, Josh Nelson addresses a woman not of evident beauty but with a considerable, compensatory emotional allure. Only here, she’s a dog named Meatball (and – in true Shakespearean fashion – actually a boy!). Nelson just appeared in the Aurora Fox’s ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ at Stapleton, the Denver Center Theatre Academy’s “An Evening of Sondheim” Master Class Project and next will reprise his role in ‘Guys on Ice’ at the Fox.

Video by John Moore. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Thank you to Meatball’s owner, Talia Liccardello. Read more about the Denver Sonnets Project here: Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
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 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life …”
Sonnet 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”
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 …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

 

 

 

The Denver Sonnets Project, No. 124: Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s ‘The Tempest’

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.

We will roll one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For our 11th sonnet, No. 124, the cast of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s just-opened ‘The Tempest’ take time out for a rumination on the presumed superiority of one young couple’s love. While mere mortals’ love is the mere sport of every wind that blows and every rain that falls, they believe, theirs will outlive time itself. Featuring Joshua Archer, Scott Bellot, David Bolus, Benjamin Bonenfant, Chris Kendall, Sammie Joe Kinnett, Kyra Lindsay, Rodney Zizcano and Michael Winters. Video by John Moore. Another new short sonnet film is posted here every Monday. Read more about the Denver Sonnets Project here: www.culturewest.org/the-denver…. Thank you Geoffrey Kent. “The Tempest” plays through Aug. 10. Call 303-492-8008 or got to www.coloradoshakes.org.

CSF 124

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
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 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life …”
Sonnet 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 124: Cast of Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s ‘The Tempest’
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

 

 

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Meghan Ralph

DAF

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.

meghanFinancial aid recipient No. 6: Meghan Ralph has been heavily involved in the Denver theatre community since 2004, working as actor, stage manager, assistant director, run crew, box office, photographer and anything in-between. She is one of the founders of Equinox Theatre Company and has worked with The E Project (now The Edge), Spotlight, Firehouse, Vintage, Mirror Image, Byers Evans House Theatre and others. Last year, she played the lead role of Theresa in Firehouse Theatre’’s “Boy Gets Girl.”

Her story: Meghan had emergency surgery and a hospital stay in March to remove her gallbladder. She wound up needing surgery twice in two days, which took heavy toll on her body and her finances. Though Meghan has health insurance through her work, she was left responsible for more than $5,000 in outstanding bills from six different medical agencies. Trying to keep up has affected her ability to purchase everyday things like gas and groceries.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has issued Meghan a $500 check to help defray her considerable remaining medical bills. In addition, the Denver Actors Fund’s Meal Prep Team headed by Kristen Samu has arranged to deliver several homemade gluten- and dairy-free meals to Meghan’s home.

A message from Meghan: ‘This day started off rough, but I am feeling a lot of the pressure lift. I feel like it will be a journey, but my feet are on the ground and better able to walk it. I am amazed — and so grateful for this support and help. When you’re down and out and you start feeling like you have nothing, and don’t know where to turn, and then you are quickly shown that you have backing and support and people ready to rally around you (“Avengers” Assemble Style!!!!) it changes the way you see the world and the people in it. I am truly grateful for this.”

To help us help Meghan more: If you would like to donate to the Denver Actors Fund, see below. If you would like to direct a specific donation to Meghan Ralph, mail checks in her name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212.

Meghan2_nMeghan Ralph in Firehouse Theatre Company’s “Boy Gets Girl” in 2013. Photo by Brian Brooks.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. For more information, visit our web site at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund: Please go here (with our humble thanks):

 

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Download the brief form by clicking here

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

 

poster1.4_Cross

Buy a poster! 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. The 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: T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

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

 

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 47: Adrian Egolf

By John Moore

Sonnet47smCultureWest.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.

We will roll one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For our 10th sonnet, No. 47, Adrian Egolf, currently playing Elaine in the Edge Theatre’s “The Graduate,” takes us to Denver Art Museum, where a forlorn woman connects with her distant lover through time and art. Video by John Moore.

Adrian also opens her new company, Screenplay, with a live reading of “The Princess Bride” on June 16 at Buntport Theater.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
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 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life …”
Sonnet 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

 

 

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 44: John Carroll Lynch

By John Moore

IMG_7500SMCultureWest.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.

We will roll one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For our ninth sonnet, No. 44, film and TV veteran John Carroll Lynch (“Fargo,” “Zodiac,” Gran Torino”) took us to the Satire Lounge on East Colfax to play a man who has a communication breakdown while missing his wife. Lynch is a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School. Video by  John Moore. Learn more about Adam Stone here.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”
Sonnet 44: John Carroll Lynch, “Thought kills me that I am not thought …”
Sonnet 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life …”
Sonnet 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, and how to sign up, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

 

 

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 90: Adam Stone

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.

We intend to roll out one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For our eighth sonnet, No. 90, multimedia performance artist and author Adam Stone tackles perhaps Shakespeare’s most defeatist of all his romantic sonnets. Stone presents a timid, hooded narrator who begs his lover, in effect, “If you will ever leave me, leave me now.” Stone has composed several musicals for Buntport Theater, and has since launched his own company, Screw Tooth, which presents crazy, cutting-edge original works, most recently the relationship examination, “Til Death.” He also performs under the moniker Gold Licker and just released an album called “Yurei Cafe,” described as “music for a Japanese Horror theme restaurant.” Video by Adam Stone for John Moore. Learn more about Adam Stone here.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”
Sonnet 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life …”
Sonnet 90: Adam Stone: “If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last …”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

 

ADAMTITLE

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 74: Lowry Elementary School

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.10298912_477037272428274_2344868424845112865_n

We intend to roll out one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.

For our seventh episode, Sonnet No. 74, we filmed second-graders from Lowry Elementary School performing at the recent 2014 Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Featured are students August Salbenblatt, Emmanuel Mendoza, Emma Hosking, Kelsey Simmons, Ryan Palmeiro, Evan Zilverberg, Diego DeHerrera and Bo Foster. Special thanks to their teacher, Tamara Marocco.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”
Sonnet 74: Lowry Elementary School: “Thou hast but lost the dregs of life”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

10255899_10152008195826854_5173058587265810089_o

 

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 1: Cult Following

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.

We intend to roll out one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts all the series.

For our sixth episode (Sonnet No. 1!), the young improv comics  from Off-Center @ The Jones’ “Cult Following” make comic hay of Shakespeare’s very first sonnet, which you’ll have to take our word for it, is about how we want the most beautiful among us to have children, thereby extending her gene pool for another generation.

“Cult Following” is a monthly comedy show that’s a completely unscripted, live B-movie. A team of six improvisers — Jessica Austgen (read our fun profile here), Asa Erlendson, Sarah Kirwin, Brian McManus, Nanna Sachiko Thompson and Chris Woolf — are assigned a movie genre, and they present a new, totally made-up movie in that genre on show night, using audience suggestions to keep it fresh and improvised. The season ends with an 8 p.m. performance on Thursday, May 8 in the Jones. There’s a bar and popcorn, free swag and lots of audience participation. Video by John Moore. Thank you Charlie I. Miller, Emily Tarquin, Lauren Driscoll, Jane McDonald and Stuart Barr. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

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 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

CULTFB

 

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 2: Josh Robinson

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.

We intend to roll out one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts all the series.

For our fifth sonnet (No. 2), actor Josh Robinson implores a woman a great beauty to consider having a child, thereby extending her gene pool for another generation. Robinson just completed a run of “End of the Rainbow,” about the final days of Judy Garland, for the Arvada Center. Video by John Moore. Thank you Arvada Center, Jamie Ann Romero, Aidan and Fiona Robinson, and Sydnie Leeson. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

Completed episodes to date (in numeric order):
Sonnet 2: Josh Robinson, “See thy blood warm …”
Sonnet 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”
Sonnet 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

thumbnail

Denver Sonnets Project, No. 94: James O’Hagan-Murphy

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.

We intend to roll out one Sonnet video a week for … zoinks! … 154 weeks. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts all the series.

Four our fourth sonnet (No. 94), actor James O’Hagan-Murphy channels his signature character, Robert F. Kennedy, to morph Shakespeare’s poem from a caution against the misuse of beauty, to a call for the honorable, proper and essential use of power for good. O’Hagan-Murphy is performing his one-man “RFK: A Portrait of Robert F. Kennedy” through May 11, 2014, at the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave. Call 303-321-5925, or go to www.avenuetheater.com. Video by John Moore. Thank you Denver Botanic Gardens. Please support the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.

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

Completed episodes to date (in numeric order):
Sonnet 23: Gabra Zackman, “As an unperfect actor on a stage …”
Sonnet 36: Rachel Fowler, “I may not evermore acknowledge thee …”
Sonnet 94: Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds …”
Sonnet 136: Lyndsay and Jeremy Palmer, “Make but my name thy love …”

Look here for a new sonnet every Monday. For more information on The Denver Sonnets Project, please email culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

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

RFKUSE

Save the dates: Late-night Denver Actors Fund parties

IMG_5284

Seth Caikowski and Joel Adam Chavez singing “Can’t Fight This Feeling” at the Denver Actors Fund’s inaugural party last June 1 at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. Theatre Karaoke Nights return this summer.  Photo by Kevin Lowry. 

By John Moore
With summer fast approaching, the Denver Actors Fund is happy to announce the return of its signature late-night parties filled with song, camaraderie … and a few libations. Save the dates: May 10, June 28 and Oct. 11.

BCWe’ll start on May 10 with a late-night Saturday  at the Black Crown Piano Lounge hosted by the Piano Man himself,  Dan Dobbins. Grab a drink and a mic. Pick a song, throw $5 in the jar and sing your heart out. Simple as that. Join us anytime after 9 p.m. through closing time at 1446 S. Broadway. Admission is free.

The Denver Actors Fund was launched last June 1 with a fun evening of karaoke silliness at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. The gimmick was this: You pay $10 to sing whatever song you want. Or you pay $10 to have anyone on our lengthy list of volunteer local musical theatre stars sing whatever song you want them to, in whatever combination you want to throw at them. I recommend, for example, having Daniel Langhoff and Tim Howard sing “Islands in the Stream.” Let your imagination run wild. $5 suggested donation at the door.

We have been invited back by Stephen Wilder and the the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse for two more such evenings, on June 28 and Oct. 11. It’s located near Coors Field on 22nd Avenue between Larimer and Lawrence streets. We’ll start at 10 p.m. and go through closing both nights.

The Denver Actors Fund has two primary goals for 2014. The first is proliferating the new services offered by its action teams (transportation, meals, errands, construction, child care and more). The second is diversifying its revenue sources. So these late-night gatherings are not meant to be seen as all-out benefit evenings (though they do raise some money for the Fund). Just as important is creating opportunities to  gather members of the local theatre community  for fun times.

For a full list of upcoming Denver Actors Fund events, click 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. For more information, visit our web site at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Please go here (with our humble thanks):

 

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Download the brief form by clicking here

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

 

poster1.4_Cross

Buy a poster! 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. The 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: T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

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