Photos: My night at Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre’s ‘Murder at the Howard Johnson’s’



By John Moore
May 8, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore copyright 2013 for www.CultureWest.Org.

Opening No. 66: Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre’s “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s”: There’s not another theater company in Colorado like this one, where primarily deaf actors perform plays using American Sign Language whole voice interpreters sit off to the side and provide spoken dialogue for the benefit of the hearing audience. In the photo above, deaf actors Nouri Marrakchi, right, and company founder Nicki Runge have a laugh on the Vintage Theatre’s studio stage just before the opening-night performance. Also starring hearing actor Shawn Harmer. Voice interpreters are Abigail Hoffman and Victor Parrish. Directed by Betsy Quillen. Through May 12 at the Vintage Theatre studio theater, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Call 970-373-5266, go to the company’s web page, or email for more information. Thanks: Nicki Runge, Cassie Short, Victor Parrish, Gloria Shanstrom, Deborah Persoff and Ashley Gibbon.

The following gallery is just one chapter in my ongoing photo series called “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theatre,” bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes all over Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the actual, official photo series featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from 62 Colorado opening nights (and counting), click here.

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Hearing actor Shawn Harmer, left, runs through a scene with deaf actor Nouri Marrakchi (in the tie) an hour before their opening-night performance, while two of the three “voices,” Abigail Hoffman and Victor Parrish, sit nearby. Behind them are Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre¬† founder Nicki Runge (back left), who plays Arlene in the show, and director Betsy Quillen.


Everyone loves voice interpreter Victor Parrish … except for his affinity for the San Francisco Giants.


Director Betsy Quillen addresses her cast from the stage.


While the Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre rents the Vintage Theatre’s studio theater for its show, the host company was staging “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” through last weekend in the nearby mainstage theater. That’s director Deb Flomberg with her cast.


¬†The two shows share the limited backstage space … with some boundaries.


Actor Deborah Persoff, who will star in the Vintage Theatre’s remount of “Grey Gardens” with Megan Van De Hey next season, is also now the president of Vintage Theatre’s board of directors.


Victor Parrish’s tattoo, “Those who slay together, stay together,” references lyrics to a song by the band Chiodos.


Company founder Nicki Runge is helped into her costume for the performance.


The view of the stage from the Vintage studio theater’s light booth.


(Please click “Page 2” below to go to the next page of our photos from our visit to “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s”)

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