“Penny Dwyer will bring wisdom, leadership and sensitivity to the job through her many years in the theatre community,” said Billings. “I have always been impressed by her groundedness, her sensibility and sensitivity. She has a great head on her shoulders, and great business sense.”
Dwyer has performed locally for more than 20 years at the Arvada Center, Country Dinner Playhouse, Garner-Galleria Theatre and more. She has taken an eight-year leave from the stage to raise her 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter with her husband, actor and producer Paul Dwyer.
“I am honored to join this board and help the Denver Actors Fund continue to grow and thrive and be able to reach out and assist even more people in this incredible theater community,” said Dwyer.
Dwyer grew up in Houston and graduated from Trinity University with a BS in Engineering Science. She moved to Colorado in 1992. Her first stage performance in Denver was also the first show that new Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford ever appeared in: Ruthless! The Musical at Theatre on Broadway. The two performed alongside Sue Leiser, Steve Tangedal, Heather Fortin Rubald and others. Dwyer has rubbed acting elbows with all kinds of bigshots, in fact, including Tony nominee Beth Malone (“Fun Home”) in the Arvada Center’s “Company,” and TV’s new “Supergirl,” Melissa Benoist. Dwyer, Ashford and Benoist all performed in the same production of “The Sound of Music” at Country Dinner Playhouse.
Dwyer counts among her favorite roles Miriam in Country Dinner Playhouse’s “The Music Man,” and performing in “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” for Theatre Group. She was nominated for a 2002 Denver Post Ovation Award as best supporting actress in the Arvada Center’s “Crazy for You.”
Dwyer has a unique empathy for those in medical need, having performed with many actors and crew who have faced medical emergencies. She is also the mother of an autistic son, and so she knows all too well the burdens that go along with caring for a loved one with a chronic medical condition. She supervised speech and behavioral therapy sessions for her son for more than six years.
“We have been lucky that we have been able to afford everything we needed to help our son, but it’s expensive,” she said. “If you were a struggling actor and had a child with autism, I can tell you that would be very difficult.”
James Dwyer is now a 7th-grader in a mainstream public school.”He is not only surviving, he is thriving,” Billings said. “And that says a lot about his parenting. Penny’s dedication to making sure her son has received the best education and medical resources has been remarkable.”
Dwyer is looking forward to her service with The Denver Actors Fund, in part because “this is a great way to reconnect with the community that I love, and with new friends I have yet to meet.”