Photo essay: At the “Terminal Germinal,” these walls CAN talk

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By John Moore
Aug. 11, 2013

At the Germinal Stage-Denver, which I’ve taken to calling the “Terminal Germinal,” these walls CAN talk. For 26 years, actors have been reading the writing on the walls there. And they put it there.

They have filled most every inch of backstage wall space with favorite quotes from characters they have played, with their own pearls of wisdom, with self-help encouragement and with even a dialogue on the greatest film actresses. (The list includes Gena Rowlands, Vanessa Redgrave and Meryl Streep.) There’s an even a poignant farewell letter from actor Erica Sarzin-Borrillo written both to the building and a seminal character she just played there in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

The quotes, ranging from the Lillian Hellman to Harold Pinter to even the B-52s (!), not only tell the story of this particular theater, but in may ways, the story of live theater itself. Quotes etched into walls like grave markers reflect the necessarily impermanent permanence of live theater. It lasts only as long as a memory — or a wall. As it should be.

On Aug. 25, Germinal will shut the doors at its 26-year home at 44th Avenue and Alcott Street in northwest Denver. The 40-year-old “theater of substance” hopes to find a new space and begin performing new plays again sometime next year. (Read the complete story about Germinal’s decision to vacate its home here.)

The building, which has the wonderful smell of founder Ed Baierlein’s ubiquitous flavored pipe smoke leeched into its very walls, will be gutted and turned into a mixed-retail center. One of the storefronts will be a cobbler shop to be opened by the buyer. He’s the grandson of an original tenant in the building more than a half-century ago … yes, a cobbler.

“Offending the Audience”
Aug. 9-25, 2013
2450 W. 44th Ave., 303-455-7108 or germinal’s home page


Previous coverage:

Countdown to Closure: My blog chronicling the rehearsal process

In their own words: Why so many Denver actors are eager to offend you.

Germinal Stage-Denver: Countdown to Closure. The whole photo series to date, with some additional outtakes.

The complete story on Germinal’s decision to vacate its home.


How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

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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