Denver Actors Fund in Action: Adam Russell Johnson

Adam Russell Johnson
Adam Johnson Into the Woods. Photo by Michael Ensminger
Adam Johnson, Molly Nash and … the cow … in Phamaly Theatre’s 2018 production of ‘Into the Woods.’ Photo by Michael Ensminger.


‘Thank you for helping me pay for the orthotics that allow me to live and walk and perform safely and comfortably.’

Aid recipient: Boulder actor Adam Russell Johnson next will appear in Phamaly Theatre Company’s August 2019 production of “Chicago” at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Most recently, he appeared in Phamaly’s 30th anniversary concerts, and, in March, he performed in the intentionally lower-cased square product theatre’s “Everything was Stolen” in Boulder and Denver. Last summer, Adam played Jack in Phamaly’s “Into the Woods” at the Space Theatre. Blogger Pris Blossom called Johnson’s performance “seriously fantastic. He is an exceptionally skilled actor living with cerebral palsy.”

ADAM RUSSELL JOHNSON QUOTEHis medical story: Adam came to us with two medical issues. First, he requested a small grant to cover the cost not covered by Medicare for custom-made orthotics he needed to help relieve the his Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, a rare genetic disease that in infancy or early childhood permanently affects muscle control and coordination. (Orthotics are the branch of medicine that deals with artificial devices such as splints and braces.) Adam also needed some major dental work, including the removal of three wisdom teeth and a few cavities, and his dentist had warned him his out-of-pocket bill would run as high as $5,000.

How we have helped: The Denver Actors Fund reimbursed Adam for the $130 that remained on his orthotics bill. The DAF also has a unique, ongoing partnership with Thornton dentist (and former Broadway dancer) Brian Kelly, who each year accepts a limited number of emergency dental cases referred through the DAF as his own personal in-kind donation to the organization. Kelly’s goal is to transition every referred patient from gum disease to health. The estimated value of Dr. Kelly’s service to Adam turned out to be “just” (!) $1,010. That brings the DAF’s overall support for Adam to $1,140.

A message from Adam: “After receiving news from my dentist that I needed $5,000 worth of dental work, I reached out to The Denver Actors Fund to see if I could get a second opinion from Dr. Kelly and his staff. Dr. Kelly assured me that the $5,000 quote from the other dentist was way out of line. I was a difficult patient because of my own dental anxiety, but Dr. Kelly’s staff has patience with their patients. “On this night of a thousand thanks … to the Thornton Dental Center!” I’d also like to thank The Denver Actors Fund for helping my quality of life and my physical balance by helping me pay the remainder of my bill for the orthotics that allow me to live and walk and dance and perform safely and comfortably. Denver Actors Fund? “A blessing on your house. Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov!” Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $355,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

How you can help us help more Colorado theatre artists: If you would like to make a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link, with our humble thanks.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

Thornton Dental Center
Dr. Brian Kelly and his wife, Nan (center) with members of the Thornton Dental Center staff, Paige (left) and Kristi. Photo by John Moore.


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 $355,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.


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



Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org


Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212


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

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

THURSDAY, JULY 11: Join Eric Weinstein as he takes you on a journey of songs and stories from the three decades he has been part of the Denver theatre community. The evening will feature Ragtime and Stride piano solos that were a mainstay of the venerable Heritage Square Music Hall, hits from Vintage favorite shows “Ring of Fire” and :Ain’t Misbehavin’,” original music and a variety of musical styles. He will be joined by daughters Kaitlin and Kelsey, and performers Hazel Kachline, Adam Luhrs and Isabella Duran. One hundred percent of ticket sales will benefit The Denver Actors Fund. 7:30 p.m. at the Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Tickets at the door.


Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

By John Moore

Award-winning arts journalist John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine during has 12 years at The Denver Post. Hen then created a groundbreaking new media outlet covering Colorado arts an culture as an in-house, multimedia journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also founded The Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that has raised more than $600,000 for theatre artists in medical need. He is now a journalist for hire as the founder of Moore Media Colorado. You can find samples of his work at MooreJohn.Com. Contact him at