Denver Actors Fund in Action: Damon Guerrasio

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‘I might have had thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary and overpriced work done on my teeth’

Aid recipient: Busy actor Damon Guerrasio is currently playing Mark “Facebender” Lender in Benchmark Theatre’s regional premiere comedy “Airness,” a love letter to competitive air guitar running through February 29 in Lakewood. Other recent credits include the Arvada Center’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Saturday Night Fever”; Curious Theatre’s “Water by the Spoonful”; and multiple roles at Cherry Creek Theatre, Miners Alley Playhouse, Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, Littleton Town Hall Arts Center and Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins. He is also a veteran children’s theatre performer, presently playing Father/Bird in Miners Alley Playhouse’s “Hansel and Gretel,” through February 29. Damon’s Arvada Center credits include “Ella Enchanted,” “Junie B. Jones,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “Lyle the Crocodile”; his Denver Children’s Theatre’s titles include “Sleeping Beauty” and “Rumpelstiltskin”; and at Miners Alley Playhouse: “The Pied Piper,” “Robin Hood,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “The Nutcracker” and “The Little Mermaid.” Damon is a Littleton native who graduated from Highlands Ranch High School. He co-hosted “Miscast” in 2015 and ’16, helping to raise more than $10,000 for The Denver Actors Fund.

Damon Guerrasio and Brenna Larsen in the Arvada Center’s ‘Lyle the Crocodile.’ Matthew Gale Photography.

His medical story: Like most theatre artists, Damon does not have dental insurance. But when he knew he had a pretty serious situation with his teeth, he made an appointment with a dentist based on location convenience. He was told four of his teeth were in danger of completely falling apart. We’ll save the rest of Damon’s story for him to tell below.

How we have helped: The Denver Actors Fund has a partnering dentist who accepts a limited number of emergency cases each year as his personal, in-kind donation through the Dental Center at Thornton Plaza. Dr. Brian Kelly DDS (himself a former Broadway dancer!) crowned two of Damon’s teeth. The cost of Damon’s treatment would run him $1,409 had he not been referred through the The Denver Actors Fund. Of that total, The DAF paid $99 to a third-party lab for the cost of making two custom-fit prosthetic splints for Neal. The remainder – $1,310 – was Dr. Kelly’s in-kind donation to the DAF.

A message from Damon: “Not having a steady dentist, I chose one nearby to get a check-up and and unexpectedly high-priced cleaning. More disconcerting was this dentist telling me that at least four of my fillings were cracked, and they all would need to be crowned. The price I was quoted came to nearly $6,000. I bit the bullet and ponied up just a little over a grand to get one tooth done. Knowing there was no way I could afford the full treatment plan, I then asked The Denver Actors Fund for assistance. My case was accepted and I was referred to Dr. Brian Kelly at the Thornton Dental Center. Dr. Kelly and his associates are nothing short of amazing. Aside from being incredibly welcoming and accommodating, they exude an atmosphere of family and, dare I say – ‘fun’? … At a dentist office? … Yes, very fun. It turns out Dr. Kelly used to act, and he is actually pretty good chums with many members of the Colorado theatre community. Perhaps the best thing the good doctor and his friends gave me was a second opinion. Dr. Kelly determined that my teeth were not in need of a complete overhaul. It turns out, the most significant work I needed was on the tooth worked on by my previous dentist. She had left what Dr. Kelly called “a void” in the crown. So Dr. Kelly and The Denver Actors Fund did the work for free – and Dr. Kelly even tried getting me my money back from the first dentist by sending her a very professional email and X-ray of her mistake. The lesson? Always get a second opinion, especially when it comes to major dental work. If not for The Denver Actors Fund, I might possibly have had thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary and overpriced work done on my teeth. A valuable lesson learned. Thank you so much, Dr. Kelly and The Denver Actors Fund!! My only regret is not asking for help sooner.”

The Denver Actors Fund now has made more than $462,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

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

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION

Damon Guerrasio and Eric Mather co-hosted ‘Miscast 2016’ for The Denver Actors Fund at the Town Hall Arts Center. Photo by John Moore.


ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $462,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.


HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


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


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

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

VOLUNTEER:

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


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

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


COME TO THE EVENTS THAT SUPPORT US:

TONIGHT, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13: Our friends at Miners Alley Playhouse are once again donating ALL PROCEEDS from that evening’s performance of “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” to The Denver Actors Fund. Terrence McNally’s enduring working-class romance, starring Jessica Robblee and Bill Hahn, tells the story of a diner waitress and a short-order cook. After they meet for a night of momentary connection, they expect a return to loneliness, but their desire turns into the possibility of love. The play begins at 7:30 p.m. Miners Alley Playhouse is located at 1224 Washington Avenue. Golden. Call 303-935-3044 or buy online at minersalley.com. Thank you to Len Matheo, Elizabeth Scott-Mckean, Jonathan Scott-Mckean, Lisa DeCaro, Bryanna Scott, the cast, crew and whoever kindly works the bar. It’s nights like these that truy make what we do possible.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17: The Cherry Creek Theatre Company has announced that its Industry Night performance of “My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” will be a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund. Let the music of Frank Sinatra transport you back in time to a swanky nightclub on the Las Vegas strip. Experience more than 50 quintessential hits from the Ol’ Blue Eyes collection. From The Lady is a Tramp to New York, New York, you can’t help but hum along with your favorite jazz standards on this trip down memory lane. Pack up, let’s fly away and fall in love all over again with the music of one of the most celebrated recording artists of all time. The director is Susie Snodgrass, with musical direction from David Nehls. The cast includes Sheryl McCallum, Stephen Day, Shannon Steele and Jeremy Rill. Tickets (normally $33) are $20. At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org

Kaden Hinkle and Darrow Klein

Kaden Hinkle and Darrow Klein.

FEBRUARY 28-29: CenterStage Theatre Company, which exists to create performance opportunities for students ages high school through college, will be collecting for The Denver Actors Fund following its February 28 and 29 performances of “Into the Woods” in Louisville. James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical gathers everyone’s favorite storybook characters “into the woods” and imagines what might have happened to them after all those fairy tales ended. CenterStage has long supported our efforts, and this collection is specifically being led by two of our longest-standing young supporters, Kaden Hinkle and 2019 True West Award winner Darrow Klein, both of whom appear in the show. The bad news is that all three designated DAF shows are already sold out. So if you are gong, bring your spar-change jar! CenterStage performs at 901 Front St. in Louisville. Information: centerstagetheatrecompany.org

SUNDAY, APRIL 26: True story: A few months ago, the local band Gin & Tonix did a show at the Clocktower to benefit the DAF, and I wasn’t sure I could make it so I didn’t book in advance. I dropped in just before the show began to buy a ticket at the door, and the woman looked at me like I was trying to walk in on Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, BTS, Shawn Mendes and the Wu-Tang Clan all at once. The look on her face was priceless. The event was was way sold out. “Gin & Tonix sells out every time,” she said. Point taken. So who is Gin & Tonix? A group of talented musician friends and family who have made music together on and off for many years. The band features vocal the harmonies of Morgan Griego, Kacie Thomas, Trinity Thomas, and Eileen Adair, by Madi Spillman on guitar, Ian Spillman on drums and vocals, and Jason Spillman on bass and vocals. The group plays songs by artists ranging from The Indigo Girls, The Eagles, The Avett Brothers and many more. The band will again be donating 10 percent of ticket sales for The Denver Actors Fund and taking a collection as a tribute to the late Amy Malmgren – an original DAF board member, and Jason Spillman’s sister. last time the total was a lucky $777. Gin and Tonix is as passionate about their community and family as they are about their music, which is touching. Now take the advice that is splased across the Clocktower’s web page: BOOK EARLY! GIN & TONIX *WILL SELL OUT IN ADVANCE!* Get your tickets here.

Stage Left Ordinary DaysJULY 9-18: Stage Left Productions has announced that it will donate ALL NET PROFITS from the entire run of its upcoming summer musical “Ordinary Days” to The Denver Actors Fund! “We are so excited to work with DAF on such an amazing cause,” says Stage Left Productions Owner Sophia Johnson-Grimes, who founded her company as a place for young theatre artists ages high school through college to let their talents shine, to collaborate, create, build leadership skills and give back to their communities. Every production has a designated philanthropic benefactors. “Ordinary Days” is a refreshingly honest and funny musical by Adam Gwon about four young New Yorkers whose lives intersect as they search for fulfillment, happiness, love and cabs. Through a score of vibrant and memorable songs, their experiences ring startlingly true to life. For more information, go to https://stageleftdenver.com


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