Denver Actors Fund in Action: Mark Dissette

Mark Dissette
Mark Disette How to Succeed
Mark Dissette as J.B. Biggley with Jeremy Palmer in Phamaly’s “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.”


‘Ask for the help. God knows we all need it at one time or another.’

Aid recipient: For all 30 years of the acclaimed Phamaly Theatre Company‘s existence, Denver actor Mark Dissette has been a member. Phamaly is one of the only companies in the world that exists to create performance opportunities for actors with disabilities. Among Dissette’s many roles have been Cogsworth in “Beauty and the Beast,” Shultz in “Cabaret” and Chumley in “Harvey.” He was nominated for a Denver Post Ovation Award for his work as J.B. Biggley in “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.” Dissette, who graduated from Gateway High School and Metropolitan State University, made a feature-length documentary on Phamaly called “There’s Still Hope for Dreams” in 2008.

Mark DissetteHis medical story: Mark’s career as a professional stuntman ended, and nearly his life, when a scene went horribly wrong in 1988. During a fall, he cracked five vertebrae in his back, which led him to Phamaly. Over the past five years, Mark has had several more health issues, including three operations and a heart-attack scare. The bills have been mounting up since. He presently owes $2,988 to health-care providers Carepoint, Porter Hospital and Kaiser Permanente – more than he’s been able to keep up with on his salary as a full-time school-bus driver for Aurora Public Schools.

How we have helped: The Denver Actors Fund board has unanimously voted to provide Mark and his wife with $2,988 to cover their immediate medical obligations.

How you can help us help Mark more: If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Mark further, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Mark Dissette’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation for Mark Dissette. (He will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, it will be applied to the replenishment of the Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.

A message from Mark: “With this gift I am able to move forward. It doesn’t get easier to be an actor as you get older. Life’s challenges can create an enormous weight between home, relationship, work and theater. I was at a point where I had decided to quit theater. My wife asked me about asking The Denver Actors Fund for help. I finally did. Don’t wait. Ask for the help. God knows we all need it at one time or another. It’s hard to say thank you for letting me keep my dream of acting alive. The Actors Fund did just that. Keeping dreams alive is a damn cool thing to do. Thank you.”

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $336,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

How you can help us help us replenish: If you would like to help us replenish by donating 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.

Mark Dissette leading the backstage circle before Phamaly's opening performance of 'Cabaret.' Photo by John Moore.Cabaret
Mark Dissette leading the backstage circle before Phamaly’s opening performance of ‘Cabaret.’ Photo by John Moore.Cabaret


To DONATE to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks)


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 $336,000 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



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.

NOW THROUGH APRIL 26: BDT Stage has undertaken a very special effort to help raise for The Denver Actors Fund. Throughout its entire run of “Motones vs. Jerseys,” Kenny Moten’s popular 1960s music battle where each night the audience decides who will reign supreme, BDT is taking collections from the audience on our behalf. Normally we ask our partnering theatres to make such a gesture just once throughout the course of a show’s run, but BDT Stage is going above and beyond by collecting on our behalf every night. So no matter what night you attend, you will be helping us. The show features the music of artists you love: Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Beach Boys, Rick James, The Platters, The Flamingos, Herman’s Hermits… to name a few. This production features Barret Harper, Will Hawkins, Brian Jackson and Jacob Villarreal as the Jerseys; and Amon Johnson, Richard Peacock, Alejandro Roldan and Tezz Yancy as the Motones. The director is Jessica Hindsley and the Emcee is Jalyn Webb. Performances daily except Mondays and Tuesdays (also no show April 21). But hurry … five upcoming performances are already sold out! 5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or

Hannah Haller and Laurence Katz. Sarah Roshan Photography.

TUESDAY, APRIL 23: If you are making your theatregoing plans, please consider attending Miners Alley Playhouse’s Industry Night performance of “Our Town.” All proceeds, including the bar, go to The Denver Actors Fund! “Our Town” is Thornton Wilder’s landmark drama that tells the story of small-town Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. We follow the Gibbs and Webb families through 12 years of life changes — from the ordinary through death, delivering universal truths about what it means to be human Jim Hunt stars as the Stage Manager with Laurence Katz as George Gibbs, Hannah Haller as Emily Webb, Rory Pierce as Doc Gibbs, Lisa DeCaro as Mrs. Gibbs and en ensemble that includes Josh Hartwell, Shauna Earp, David Jenson, Amy Arpan, Tim Fishbaugh, Dixon White, Ella Matheo, Brody Lineaweaver and Sam Charney. The director is Len Matheo. This special performance begins at 7:30 1224 Washington St., Golden,Get your tickets by calling 303-935-3044 or through this link.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26: OpenStage Theatre & Company of Fort Collins has designated every Final Friday of its 2019 season as a collection night for The Denver Actors Fund! If you are planning to see “Avenue Q,” circle Friday, April 26, on your calendars and say hello to the cast in the lobby as they greet audiences.We are so grateful to have OpenStage join our Tap Shoe Initiative at a time when the DAF has of late been of service to several Northern Colorado artists with varying medical needs. Thank you to OpenStage’s Kate Austin-Groen and co-founder Denise Burson Freestone, ‘Avenue Q’ Director Sydney Parks Smith and cast members Michael J. Martinkus, Debbie Swann, Dan Tschirhart, Jessica MacMaster, Bas Meindertsma, Cary Klataske, Natalie Santelli, Brian Wilcox, Sydney Johnson, Luke Stephens, Jade Tiller, and Kaya Rudolph. Support the DAF just by attending the show! ‘Avenue Q,’ winner of the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical a laugh-out-loud musical pupet show for adults. It tells the story of a bright-eyed college grad who goes to New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account. Moving to the only place he can afford – all the way out on Avenue Q – he meets an odd assortment of offbeat friends who struggle to find jobs, dates, and an ever-elusive purpose in life. Mature audiences only due to language and sexual humor. The show begins at at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or use this link. THANK YOU FORT COLLINS!


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