Photos: Creede Rep leaves town with party to announce 2014 plans

By John Moore
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By John Moore
Nov. 1, 2013

The Creede Repertory Theatre marked the closing of its annual fall staging at the Arvada Center on Sunday with a party in downtown Denver during which the revered, remote mountain theater company’s plans for the summer of 2014 were revealed.

Artistic director Jessica Jackson announced Creede Rep’s 49th season, to be held in its two separate theaters that line Main Street, at a festive gathering at the Wazee Street Supper Club.

The eight-show slate again cuts a wide swath … just not as wide as we’ve become accustomed to in years past. The season ranges from contemporary comedies (“Hope and Gravity” and “The Last Romance”) to a traditional American musical (“Annie Get Your Gun”) to children’s theater (“Pants on Fire) to late-night improv comedy (“Boomtown”).

Creede, located 250 miles southwest of Denver, has weathered natural disasters the past two summers — in 2012, it was the influx of Hollywood crews filming the Johnny Depp bomb “The Lone Ranger”; and, in 2013, it was a trio of devastating nearby wildfires. Both catastrophes kept tourists away from Creede in the early summer. That may explain why the company’s 2014 lineup, for the first time in years, doesn’t include a title that could be called particularly groundbreaking or cutting-edge. (Last summer, that would have been its epic zombie Shakespeare mash-up, “William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead.”) It’s time to regroup and recoup.

Creede has built a national reputation for presenting risk-taking, original works alongside more standard, crowd-pleasing fare, but while the 2014 slate includes the newest works by Michael Hollinger, Joe DiPietro and David Ives (all titles new to Colorado), the collective lineup makes for a comparatively safe season by Creede standards.

Creede is a tiny mining town in the San Juan mountains where only 400 people live year-round, but with a summer population that swells to 20,000. As the largest employer in Mineral County, the theater company has long been a powerful economic generator for southern Colorado. Creede Rep is a powerful lure for some of Denver’s top actors and directors, including most recently John Arp, Christy Montour-Larson and a steady stream of Denver Center Theatre Company members from both on and off the stage. And Creede Rep has returned the favor, infusing the Denver theater community with a steady stream of new actors who first came to Colorado from Creede and then make significant impacts in Denver, including Michael Bouchard, Jake Walker, Diana Dresser and many others.

After closing Season 48 in Creede in September, Jackson moved “Around the World in 80 Days” up to the Arvada Center, where it played for three weeks. That show featured, among others, Arp and Caitlin Wise, a longtime Creede Repper and a graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory.

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Creede Rep’s 2014 summer season

(Descriptions provided by the Creede Repertory Theatre)
“Annie Get Your Gun”
By Irving Berlin, Herbert & Dorothy Fields. Revised by Peter Stone.
The feisty love story of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler set against the backdrop of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Irving Berlin’s timeless score includes “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “I Got the Sun in the Mornin’” and “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly.” Annie shoots for the stars, hits her target and lives scrappily ever after.

“The Liar”
By David Ives
Adapted from the comedy by Pierre Corneille
Paris, 1643. A charming young man has only one flaw: he cannot tell the truth. He hires a servant who cannot tell a lie, falls in love with Lucrece, whom he thinks is Clarice, who is secretly engaged to his best friend. Nor is he aware that his father is trying to marry him off to Clarice, whom he thinks is Lucrece, who actually is in love with him. His increasingly-more-ridiculous lies add up to a sparkling romantic farce, adapted for modern audiences.

“The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild”
By Paul Zindel
Mildred’s life is ordinary. But her dream world, fed by the 3,000 movies she has eagerly devoured, is spectacular. And when the outside world intrudes via her husband, his meddling sister, their hard-boiled landlady, or the wrecking crew sent to tear down the building – Mildred meets each crisis with a hilarious fantasy drawn from her precious lode of old movies. She makes for a kooky, lovable and enchanting heroine.

“The Last Romance”
By Joe DiPietro
Company favorites John Green, Christy Brandt and Annie Butler will star in this golden-years romantic comedy. Ralph, an elderly widower, feels young again – all thanks to an unexpected second chance at love. Relying on a renewed boyish charm, Ralph attempts to woo the elegant, but distant, Carol. Up against Carol’s reluctance and his domineering sister’s meddling, Ralph embarks on the challenge of a lifetime, and regains a happiness that seemed all but lost.

“Hope and Gravity”
By Michael Hollinger
Lives overlap and elevators stop on random floors as nine characters are compellingly revealed in this contemporary comedy about fate. From an impossible elevator accident to an unlikely hotel hook-up, chance encounters lead to surprising connections. From the author of 2012’s “Ghost-Writer,” this deeply fascinating play traces nine stories, told out-of-order, that lead inevitably to one momentous leap of faith.

“Pants on Fire”
A totally made-up musical for kids
Ever wondered what would happen if you could control a play? This hour-long improvised musical is created from the imaginations of kids in the audience. It’s your adventure. We just live in it.

“Boomtown”
Improv Comedy
Back, as they say, “by jocular demand.” Armed with only an audience suggestion and their twisted imaginations, these inventive actors perform an unscripted, often bizarre show.

Ticket information:
Call 719-658-2540
Go to www.creederep.org
The theater is located at 124 N. Main St.

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Fall 2012, No 10: Creede Rep’s “Is He Dead?” at the Arvada Center

Caitlin Wise and Steven Cole Hughes in Creede Repertory Theatre’s “Is He Dead?” Photo by John Gary Brown

 

By John Moore

When: Oct. 2-28 (previews Sept. 28-30)

Written by: Mark Twain, adapted by David Ives

The story: In this newly discovered Mark Twain comedy (and recent Broadway hit), the original master of American humor dishes out a sly critique of the art world with acerbic wit and social commentary well ahead of his time. Cleverly adapted for modern audiences by David Ives, “Is He Dead?” is a fast-paced farce about a struggling artist who stages his own death to drive up the price of his paintings. As the riotous scheme unfolds, Twain poses daring questions about fame, greed and the value of art, and pokes his signature, mischievous fun at everyone involved.

Why it made the list:  A “new” play from Mark Twain? Bring it. Plus, it’s another chance for Denver audiences to see old favorites like John Arp and Steven Cole Hughes, with other actors who help make the Creede Rep, located 250 miles southwest of Denver, one of the state’s best theater companies. This is Creede’s third straight fall to bring one of its summer productions to the metro area. It’s a fine tradition. And if you just can’t wait till October, you can still see it performed in Creede through Sept. 20 (719-658-2540 or 1-866-658-2540).


Cast list:

Director: Michael Perlman
Agamemnon Buckner (“Chicago”): Tosin Morohunfola
Hans Von Bismark (“Dutchy”): Patrick Du Laney
Marie Leroux: Caitlin Wise
Cecile Leroux: Adrian Egolf
Papa Leroux: John S. Green
Jean-Francois Millet: Steven Cole Hughes
Bastien Andre: John Arp
Madame Bathilde: Annie Butler
Madame Caron: Christy Brandt
Phelim O’Shaughnessy: Chad Afanador
Basil Thorpe/Claude Riviere/Charlie/King: Graham Ward

Where: Arvada Center studio theater, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.

Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, also 1 p.m. Wednesdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays (no Saturday matinee on Sept. 29)

Prices: $42-48

Contact: 720-898-7200 or the arvada center’s home page

 

The Fall 2012 theater preview countdown:

No. 1: Curious Theatre’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”
No. 2: Ben Dicke Presents’ “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”
No. 3: Abster Productions’ “August: Osage County”
No. 4: Midtown Arts Center’s “In the Heights”
No. 5: Denver Center Theatre Company’s “The Giver”
No. 6: Local Theater Company’s “Elijah: An Adventure”
No. 7: Vintage Theatre’s “The Cider House Rules”
No. 8: Miners Alley Playhouse’s “The Three Penny Opera”
No. 9: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s “Make Sure It’s Me”
No 10: Creede Rep’s “Is He Dead?” at the Arvada Center
No. 11: Theatre Or’s “The Value of Names”

Among the many other shows to watch:

Sept. 1-16, 2012: Ami Dayan Presents “A Happy End,” at Buntport Theater Read my interview with playwright Iddo Netanyahu
Sept. 4-16, 2012: National touring production of “La Cage Aux Folles,” at the Buell Theatre
Sept. 7-Nov. 3, 2012: Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “Avenue Q”
Sept. 7-22, 2012: Germinal Stage-Denver’s “A Kind of Alaska”
Sept. 7-Oct. 6, 2012: Spark Theater’s “Rebecca” (note new address: 985 Santa Fe Drive)
Sept. 11-30, 2012: Arvada Center’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (and Oct. 4-14 at the Lone Tree Arts Center)
Sept. 13-16, 2012: PACE Center’s “Scarlet Letter, The Musical” (Parker)
Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2012: Town Hall Arts Center’s “Sweet Charity” (Littleton)
Sept. 14-Nov. 10, 2012: The Avenue’s “Murder Most Fowl”
Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2012: Ashton Entertainment’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” at the Aurora Fox
Sept. 15-Oct. 14, 2012: Bas Bleu’s “The Love of the Nightingale” (Fort Collins)
Sept. 20-Oct. 14, 2012: Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Fences” (Space Theatre
Sept. 21-Oct. 21, 2012: The Edge’s “Boom” (Lakewood)
Sept. 27-Oct 21, 2012: Denver Center Theatre Company’s “The Three Musketeers” (Stage Theatre)
Oct. 2-24, 2012: And Toto Too’s “Pardon My Dust” (at Laundry on Lawrence)

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