Photos: My night at Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s ‘Seminar’

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By John Moore
Oct. 4, 2013

Opening No. 120: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s “Seminar”: In Theresa Rebeck’s new exploration of academic privilege and nasty human behavior, four aspiring young novelists find themselves in over their heads when they sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, a force of nature and washed-up international literary figure (John Ashton). Under his reckless instruction, the wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious. Also featuring Matthew Blood-Smyth, Devon James, Mary Kay Riley and Sean Scrutchins. Directed by Stephen Weitz. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; plus 4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 20 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or betc’s home page. Thanks: Maxie Beth Bilyeu, Rebecca Remaly Weitz.

To see the complete “Opening Nights” photo series to date (these are outtakes), click here: All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

Director Stephen Weitz gets his tie caught in a furry, salivating work of art at the Dairy Center.

More “Seminar” coverage:
John Ashton capped a crazy week with a triumphant opening performance on Friday night. Three days before the opening performance, Ashton was deployed by his day job, FEMA, to working 12-hour daily shifts in response to the flooding in Boulder. The extra busy-ness didn’t seem to affect his performance. The company drew a standing ovation.

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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The Denver Actors Fund (my new non-profit that provides immediate assistance to members of teh Colorado theatre community who find themselves in immediate, situational medical need) is hosting a Happy Hour starting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Cap City, 1247 Bannock St, Denver, 80204. Please join us for a drink — and learn about volunteer opportunities should you be so inclined.

If you cannot attend, you can still help get us off the ground with your donation. Just send your tax-deductible check (with our humble thanks) to:

Denver Actors Fund
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212

Here are your 2012 CultureWest.Org “True West” Award nominations


The 2012 True West "Theater Person of the Year" nominees.

The 2012 True West “Theater Person of the Year” nominees.


By John Moore
Dec. 16, 2012

One of the hardest things about leaving The Denver Post was leaving behind the Ovation Awards, which for 12 years was my annual salute to what we perceived to be the best in Colorado theater for any given year. Then I thought, “Why not?”

I can only judge what I saw, and this year I saw only about 100 productions, far fewer than the average of 165 I had established for the previous decade. But, then again, there was that whole “almost dying” thing that cut into my theatergoing time. Still, 100 shows, as they say … ain’t nothing. While some understandably think awards have no place in the creative process, I think it is important to properly acknowledge and archive the year just past, for posterity and history. Theater companies also benefit from awards nominations in their grant-writing and fundraising efforts.

So with great apologies to the many actors and shows I did not get to see in 2012 (the list of eligible shows is posted at the bottom), I humbly present my agonizing, loving look back at another great year in Colorado theater. I say agonizing because the theater community never gets to see these lists before the edits begin, when there are at times as many as 30 names up for legitimate consideration in any given category. That’s the hard part. The good part is the five names you get to keep.

But a new era calls for a new name, so welcome to the 2012 “True West” Awards nominations.

This year’s expanded list of “theater person of the year” candidates is the most varied yet. Dozens of companies again received at least one nomination. Curious Theatre leads the way with 27 nominations, followed by Boulder’s Dinner Theatre with 18, the Arvada Center with 14 and Buntport with 13.

You can again vote for “reader’s choice” designees in a limited number of categories through Dec. 20.

Winners will be announced here next Sunday, Dec. 23. Congratulations to anyone who wrote dialogue, got up on a stage, or played in part in creating theater in 2012.


Theater person of the year:
Rick Bernstein and Paige Larson: Announced the transition of the leadership of Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden to Brenda Billings and Len Matheo, ending a run of 24 years of storytelling in west Jefferson County.

Abby Apple Boes: Created Abster Productions, which became the first local theater company to stage the Pulitzer Prize-winning “August: Osage County.” She also played oldest daughter Barbara.

Craig Bond: The founder of the 11-year-old Vintage Theatre completed the nearly $1 million purchase of its new home in Aurora, and immediately expanded programming, adding a secondary studio theater and a cabaret stage. Vintage gave a presenting home to local deaf and Asian theater companies. Bond’s own offerings included the two-part epic “The Cider House Rules” and the large-scale musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” He also took over as president of the Colorado Theatre Guild.

Ben Dicke: Dicke created his own company to present the Colorado premiere of the smart off-Broadway musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at election time. He waged a creative, year-long fundraising campaign that included him running for 24 hours on a treadmill on the downtown 16th Street Mall. The night Dicke was to open in the title role, he fell down a backstage trap door and was seriously hurt. Three weeks later, the show went on. As an actor, he also performed in the Arvada Center’s “Legally Blonde, the Musical” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Brian Freeland: The LIDA Project founder directed two original pieces for his own company, designed sound and multimedia for several other local companies, including Curious Theatre (“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”), Town Hall Arts Center (“The Who’s Tommy”) and Ignite Theatre (“Spring Awakening”). Just before the election, he took a sponsorship offer from the ACLU to produce “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” which sold out and had an extended run at the Aurora Fox.

Eden Lane: Entered her fifth season self-producing and hosting “In Focus,” a weekly television program covering arts and culture for Channel 12.

Christy Montour-Larson: Directed the Henry Award-winning “Red,” “9 Circles” and “Time Stands Still” for Curious Theatre, as well as “The Giver” for the Denver Center.

Mare Trevathan: A founding member of Local Theatre Company, Trevathan acted in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “Richard III” and “Treasure Island,”  as well as Local Theatre’s “Elijah: An Adventure.” Trevathan, a member of Curious Theatre Company, is also the co-creator of the popular annual fundraiser: “Balls: A Holiday Spectacular,” at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret.

Jeremy Palmer: The Phamaly Theatre Company actor and writer won the Denver Foundation’s Minoru Yasui Volunteer Award, and Denver mayor Michael Hancock declared  Nov. 15, 2012, “Jeremy Palmer Day” in Denver. Palmer co-wrote and co-directed Phamaly’s sketch comedy “Cinco de Vox,” and he starred as the masochistic  dentist in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Stephen Weitz: The Boulder Ensemble Theatre co-founder performed in his own “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment”; in “Elijah: An Adventure” for Local Theatre;  as well as in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “Twelfth Night,” “Richard III” and “Treasure Island.” He directed the Boulder Ensemble’s “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde,” “How the World Began” and “The SantaLand Diaries.” And he directed the Denver Center’s far-reaching staged reading of “8,” about the legal challenge to a bill preventing gay and lesbian couples from marrying in California.

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