Photos: My night at the 2013 Henry Awards

By John Moore
July 27, 2013

My photos from the 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards. To see caption information for any photo above, or to see the gallery if watching on a mobile phone, click here. (The information is posted on the lower-left corner of each photo.) Or just click the “show info” option on any photo.

Additional coverage:

Complete list of nominees
Complete list of eligible shows
Recap: Regional companies make an emphatic bow at 2013 Henry Awards

My video coverage:


My video tribute to Ray Angel, Diane Beckoff, Harry Cruzan, Shana Dowdeswell, Diane Gadomski, Robert Garner, Angela Johnson, David Kristin, Will Marshall, Brook Millard, Adam Perkes and Linda Rae Wheeler. This served as the “memoriam” section of the 2013 Henry Awards celebration held July 22 at the Arvada Center.

 


Members of the local theater community give their shout-outs to this year’s Henry Award nominees. One comes all the way from Poland.

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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):

Video: My Memoriam Film for the 2013 Henry Awards

By John Moore
July 23, 2013

My video tribute to Ray Angel, Diane Beckoff, Harry Cruzan, Shana Dowdeswell, Diane Gadomski, Robert Garner, Angela Johnson, David Kristin, Will Marshall, Brook Millard, Adam Perkes and Linda Rae Wheeler. This served as the “memoriam” section of the 2013 Henry Awards celebration held July 22 at the Arvada Center.

Thank you to everyone who helped me make this tribute: Jeremy Palmer, Beki Pineda, Randy Weeks, Neal Johnson, Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Bill Wheeler, Lauren Millard, Taylor Millard, Deb Flomberg and Brenda Perkes, mother of Adam Michael Perkes.

If you get a pop-up ad while watching, just click the X in the upper-right corner of the ad, and it will go away.

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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):

Newly eligible companies take emphatic bow at 2013 Henry Awards

177 CURIOUS

By John Moore
July 22, 2013

The Colorado Theatre Guild set out to put more Colorado in Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2013 Henry Awards, and tonight’s results certainly accomplished that goal. The question on many minds tomorrow, after the Guild had left so many of its own member companies out of the race for seven years, will be whether it perhaps overcorrected – all in one shot.

It was no surprise that the Arvada Center’s “Man of La Mancha” was the big winner of a refreshingly spread-out evening, pulling seven awards, including best musical and best direction for Rod Lansberry. Right behind was a mountain-company newcomer to the Henrys: The Lake Dillon Theatre Company pulled four wins, including three for “Kiss of the Spider-Woman.” Curious Theatre won best play for “The Brothers Size.”

In all, 11 companies and 16 shows won at least one award. (Here is the complete list of nominees and here is the complete list of all eligible shows.)

Theater companies from outside the metro area were eligible for Henry Awards for the first time, and all four trophies for best (male) actors went to regional theater companies:

*Jonathan Farwell, best actor in a play, OpenStage & Company’s “Amadeus,” Fort Collins
*Bob Moore, best supporting actor in a play, Lake Dillon Theatre’s “The Sunshine Boys”
*Joshua Blanchard, best actor in a musical, Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s “Kiss of the Spider-Woman”
*Thomas Rainey, best supporting actor in a musical, Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s “Kiss of the Spider-Woman

The Guild made great strides in expanding the eligible pool this year to a record 162 productions. That the 2013 winners represent a real swath of the Colorado theater community for the first time is the truest statement of community the Guild could make.

But one question tomorrow morning will be whether the Guild, in its noble effort to welcome statewide companies into the mix, inadvertently steered things in their favor. Because to make those outlying productions eligible, the Guild also expanded its pool of judges to those very communities. It takes six judges to make any production eligible for a Henry Award, which previously has made it logistically impossible to include regional theater companies in the pool. Now the outlying shows are judged by a mix of Denver-based judges who make the trek to see theater throughout the state, and reviewers and theater-lovers who live in the communities they now judge.

The natural, if uncomfortable, question might at least be asked: Were those judges predisposed to overly support the productions in their home areas? Or were the best theater performances in Colorado all living outside of the Denver area last year? Or is it maybe a little bit of both?

The eight women’s acting awards were more evenly distributed. It seemed a foregone conclusion that new Denver transplant SuCh (Celie) would win best actress in a musical for “The Color Purple” after she and castmate Ashlie-Amber Harris drew a mid-show standing ovation with their shattering live performance of the duet, “What About Love?”

This was easily the most powerhouse category of the night, including five amazing performances: Selah Grace (“Kiss of the Spider-Woman”), Norrell Moore (“Hair”), Megan Van De Hey (“Baby”), Kathi Wood “Little Shop of Horrors” and Brianna Firestone (“Sweet Charity”).

The Denver Center pulled two of the three remaining female acting awards: Jeanne Paulsen for “Romeo and Juliet” and Ruth Gottschall for “Sense and Sensibility, the Musical” (supporting actresses in a play and musical, respectively).

The other went to beloved local actress Laura Norman for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s “Ghost-Writer.” Interestingly, Norman’s was the most contained performance among a fiery field filled with incendiary performances by Abby Apple Boes and Anne Oberbroeckling in “August: Osage County,” Rhonda Brown in “Red Hot Patriot: The Wit and Wisdom of Molly Ivins,” and Kim Staunton in “Fences.”

Prognosticators were kept guessing all night long, simply because the fields were so deep in so many categories. The fully loaded ensemble award went to Town Hall Arts Center’s “Hair.”

On a night stuffed with surprises, one award that was no surprise at all was Curious Theatre winning the outstanding season by a company award. After all, it placed three of the five nominees in the “best play” category. What may come as a surprise is that this is the first time in eight years that Curious, whose mission is to stage only plays that are new to Denver, has ever won the best-season Henry award.


My video tribute to Ray Angel, Diane Beckoff, Harry Cruzan, Shana Dowdeswell, Diane Gadomski, Robert Garner, Angela Johnson, David Kristin, Will Marshall, Brook Millard, Adam Perkes and Linda Rae Wheeler. This served as the “memoriam” section of the Henry Awards.

The first-time hosts for the evening were GerRee Hinshaw and Stephen J. Burge, taking a lighthearted approach that kept the evening quickly moving. The hosts enlisted Eden Lane, Kirk Montgomery, Gloria Shanstrom and myself for a comic opening bit about whether there would — or should — be an opening number. (Of course there was one — “Show People” by the cast of the Arvada Center’s “Curtains.” That kind of made up for the most awkward moment of the night — when eventual Henry-winning best musical “Man of La Mancha,” for reasons both logistical and economic, could not perform live along with the other nominated best musicals. (Instead, a videotape was played of the song “Dulcinea”).

There were many fun small moments — such as the Curious Theatre husband-and-wife team of Chip Walton (“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”) and Dee Covington (“The Brothers Size”) going head-to-head for best director of a play. The winner was Bob Wells, who was honored for directing “The 39 Steps” for the Town Hall Arts Center. That was made sweeter when Wells reminded the crowd that he appeared in the first Arvada Center staging ever held in 1976.

It was also sweet to see a live performance of “On My Own” from Chaparral High School’s recent “Les Miserables.” The show was the first winner of the Denver Center’s new Bobby G Awards, honoring the best in high-school theater musical.

Chris Campbell gave an endearing speech after winning one of the two best-costume awards (for “Man of La Mancha”). She said: “In the words of Jack Benny, I don’t deserve this … but I have arthritis, too, and I don’t deserve that, either.”

A major change by the Guild was a last-minute decision to split the four design categories (costumes, scenic design, sound and lighting) into large budget and small budget tiers.

You couldn’t help but be moved by octogenarian Jonathan Farwell’s surprise win for playing Salieri in “Amadeus.” “I am astonished and humbled,” he told the crowd.

But I think for most people the highlight of the night had to be Jim Hunt winning the
Lifetime Achievement award. It was presented by his former acting student at Alameda High School, Rick Bernstein, who went on to found the Morrison Theatre Company and Miners Alley Playhouse. For more on that, scroll to the bottom of the page.


Members of the local theater community give their shout-outs to this year’s field of 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award nominees. One comes all the way from Poland.

Running list of winners:

Outstanding season:
CURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY

Outstanding Musical
“MAN OF LA MANCHA” Arvada Center

Outstanding Play
“THE BROTHERS SIZE” Curious Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
ROD LANSBERRY “Man of La Mancha” – Arvada Center

Outstanding Musical Direction
DAVID NEHLS
“Man of La Mancha” – Arvada Center

Outstanding Direction of a Play
ROBERT WELLS “The 39 Steps” – Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
JONATHAN FARWELL
“Amadeus” – OpenStage Theatre & Company

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
LAURA NORMAN
“Ghost-Writer” – Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

Special Award: Lifetime Achievement in Theatre:
JIM HUNT

Outstanding New Play:
“SWEET TOOTH” Buntport Theater Company

Special Award: Outstanding Regional Theatre:
THEATREWORKS, Colorado Springs

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical:
JOSHUA BLANCHARD
“Kiss of the Spider Woman”- Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
SuCh
“The Color Purple” – Aurora Fox Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
BOB MOORE
“The Sunshine Boys” – Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
JEANNE PAULSEN
“Romeo & Juliet” – Denver Center Theatre Company

Special award:
COLORADO STATE THESPIANS Advocate for Theatre Arts Education

Outstanding Ensemble
“HAIR”
Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Choreography
KITTY SKILLMAN HILSABECK
“Man of La Mancha” – Arvada Center

Outstanding Scenic Design, small budget:
ABSTER PRODUCTIONS “August: Osage County” – Abster Productions

Outstanding Scenic Design, large budget
BRIAN MALLGRAVE “Man of La Mancha” – Arvada Center

Outstanding Costume Design: Small budget
LINDA MORKEN
“The Wizard of Oz” – Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design, large budget:
CHRIS CAMPBELL
“Man of La Mancha” – Arvada Center

Special Award:
Outstanding Volunteer, Randy Dipner, TheatreWorks, Colorado Springs

Outstanding Lighting Design Small budget
JACOB M. WELCH
“Kiss of the Spider Woman” – Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design: Large budget
SHANNON MCKINNEY
“Man of La Mancha” – Arvada Center

Outstanding Sound Design: Large budget
BRIAN FREELAND
“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Curious Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design: Small budget
ADAM STONE
“Wake” – Buntport Theater

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

THOMAS RAINEY
“Kiss of the Spider Woman” – Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical:

RUTH GOTTSCHALL
“Sense & Sensibility The Musical” – Denver Center Theatre Company

Excerpt of Jim Hunt nomination letter:

Full disclosure: I nominated Jim Hunt for the 2013 Life Achievement Award. I leave you with an excerpt from the nomination letter I submitted to the Guild on Jim’s behalf:

Your requirements for this Life Achievement Award seem written in the very acknowledgement of Jim Hunt’s career:

The nominee must show a significant contribution to the Colorado theater community: Jim Hunt has been an actor, director, teacher and coach in the Denver area for 50 years, dating (in my mind at least) back to a 1964 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opposite Nick Nolte for the Little Theatre of the Rockies. He hasn’t taken much of a break since.

Jim graduated from Westminster High School (1961) and UNC (1965). He taught theater at Alameda High School for eight years, and at Arvada West for 8 1/2. His students have included Rick Bernstein, who founded Morrison Theatre Company and Miners Alley Playhouse. He directed new Arvada Center executive director Phil Sneed as a young man in “South Pacific” at the Arvada Center in 1977.

He has supported efforts promote Colorado theater in innumerable ways, including the often-thankless job of directing of the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards for many years.

The nominee must show at least ten years of active participation in theater in Colorado:
Ten? How about 50?

The nominee must show involvement in many aspects of theater:
Teaching
Acting
Coaching
Hosting
Volunteering
Boosterism

The nominee may show involvement with more than one theater:
Jim Hunt has performed and directed at dozens of local venues, including the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (for the first time) starting in 1974. He was part of the very first production at the Arvada Center when it opened in 1975, and he remained part of the inaugural company there through 1978. He has maintained a pretty good mix between acting and directing ever since.

Jim boldly faced down a serious case of stage-fright in the late 1990s by taking improv theater classes. Since 2001, he has been back on the boards everywhere from the Denver Center to Colorado Shakes to Curious Theatre to the Victorian Playhouse to Paragon to Conundrum to Modern Muse to The Avenue to Town Hall to the Aurora Fox to Country Dinner Playhouse.

His crowning achievement may have been in Paragon Theatre’s “The Caretaker” in 2006. Or maybe it was In 2009, when Jim won the Denver Post Ovation Award for playing “Her Father” in Curious Theatre’s “Eurydice.” Or maybe it was playing Bull McCabe in the final production ever staged at the Vic, “The Field.” You can’t say because he just keeps topping himself.

Jim remains active, vital, and working for a wide range of theaters. Just last year alone, at the age of 68, he performed in Boulder Ensemble’s “The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde”; Lake Dillon’s “Sylvia”; Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “Noises Off”; Vintage’s “Becky’s New Car”; and Backstage’s “A Christmas Carol.” That’s five productions for five different companies. In a single year! (He won the 2012 True West Award for this accomplishment). What actor – of any age – can ever have claimed that? Well how about Jim Hunt … the year before? In 2011, he won the Ovation Award for Victorian’s “The Field,” and also appeared in Lake Dillon’s “Seascape,” Paragon’s “A Lie of the Mind,” Boulder Ensemble’s “Mauritius,” and Town Hall Arts Center’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Already in 2013, he’s been in Boulder Ensemble’s “Ghost-Writer” and “Bach at Leipzig,” and Lake Dillon’s “The Sunshine Boys.”

Stay with me: That means in the past 30 months alone, Jim Hunt has performed in 13 productions … for eight different theater companies. … And did I mention … he turns 70 in December!

How has he been able to keep it going? “It’s my demon,” he told me once in an interview. “It’s my necessity.”

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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):

Video: Shout-outs to 2013 Henry Award nominees

By John Moore
July 18, 2013

Members of the local theater community give their shout-outs to this year’s field of 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award nominees. One comes all the way from Poland. The ceremony is July 22 at the Arvada Center.

Video by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. Running time: 7 minutes.

Shouters and the shouted at include: Colin Alexander, Joanie Brosseau, Rhonda Brown, Chris Campbell, David Cates, Matthew Dailey, Jennifer DeDominici, Ben Dicke, Terry Dodd, Michael J. Duran, Jonathan Farwell, Deb Flomberg, Brian Freeland, Ronni Gallup, Rachel D. Graham, Josh Hartwell, Tim Howard, Peter J. Hughes, Michelle Hurtubise, Wendy Ishii, Rebecca Joseph, Chris Kendall, Chris Kitchen, Madison Kitchen, Carla Kaiser Kotrc, Rod Lansberry, Sue Leiser, Lauren Cora Marsh, Matt Maxwell, Gavin Mayer, Melanie Mayner, Norrell Moore, Josh Nelson, James O’Hagan-Murphy, Anne Oberbroeckling, Jessie Page, Paul Page, Pat Payne, Max Peterson, Robert Michael Sanders, Steef Sealy, Megan Van De Hey, Jason Tyler Vaughn, Vintage Theatre, Burke Walton, Bob Wells, Chris Wiger, Kathi Wood and Ryan Wuestewald.

Please share this video
Direct link to the YouTube video above: http://youtu.be/5NzFbxsfxVg

2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards
Monday, July 22
Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
Tickets: $25; available only through the Arvada Center box office, 720-898-7200
Info: Go to the Colorado Theatre Guild web site

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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):

The list of shows eligible for 2013 Henry Awards consideration

The Vintage Theatre had perhaps the busiest year among small area theater companies, qualifying nine productions for Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award consideration.

The Vintage Theatre had perhaps the busiest year among small area theater companies, qualifying nine productions for Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award consideration.

 

By John Moore
June 19, 2013

The following shows presented by Colorado Theatre Guild member companies are fully eligible for 2013 Henry Award nominations. To qualify, a show must have opened between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013, and been seen by at least six judges.

In all, 59 Guild member companies were considered for at least one production, and overall, 167 productions reached the eligibility threshold, compared to 142 last year.

The 2013 nominations were released today, and you can read my analysis of the nominations here.


Abster Productions

August: Osage County

AHE Development
A Happy End

Aloft Productions
Bad Habits

And Toto Too
Naked in Encino
Pardon My Dust

Arvada Center
Legally Blonde, The Musical
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Miracle 34th Street
Blithe Spirit
Man of La Mancha
Dividing the Estate

Ashton Entertainment
The Seafarer

Aurora Fox
Wooden Snowflakes
Consider the Oyster
The Color Purple

Avenue Theater
Love Child
Motherhood Out Loud

Backstage Theatre
Leading Ladies

Band of Toughs
Moulin Scrooge

Bas Bleu Theatre
Almost Home
Mariela in the Desert
Ghosts

Ben Dicke Productions
Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Avenue Q
42nd Street
Church Basement Ladies
The Wizard of Oz

Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
How the World Began
Ghost-Writer
The Other Place
Bach at Leipzig

The Brothers Wefso
Constantine Aboard the Constantine

Buntport Theater
Sweet Tooth
Wake
A Knight to Remember

Byers-Evans House Theater Company
The Oscar Wilde Experience
A Doll’s House

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
Fiddler on the Roof
Mame
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Guys and Dolls

The Catamounts
Messenger #1
Jon

Cherry Creek Theatre Company
Grand Night for Singing
Visiting Mr. Green
Doubt
Baby, The Musical

Coal Creek Theatre Company
The Fantasticks

Creede Repertory Theatre
Is He Dead?
Harry the Great

Curious Theatre Company
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Time Stands Still
Maple and Vine
Brothers Size
God of Carnage

Curtain Productions
The Music Man
Quilters
Godspell
Steel Magnolias

Denver’s Dangerous Theatre
Comfort in the Arms of the Damned
The Perfect Gift

Denver Center Theatre Company
Three Musketeers
Fences
The Giver
When We Are Married
White Christmas
Ed Downloaded
Grace, or the Art of Climbing
Romeo and Juliet
A Weekend with Pablo Picasso
Other Desert Cities
Sense and Sensibility, the Musical

Edge Theatre
It’s Just Sex
Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them
Boom
Newark Violenta
Race
The Shadow Box

Equinox Theatre Company
Assassins
Bat Boy, the Musical
A Night at Fawlty Towers

Evergreen Players
Hair
The Laramie Project

Firehouse Theater
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Boy Gets Girl
Tigers be Still
Sylvia (with Spotlight)

Fourth Wall Theatre
12 Angry Women

Goodness Gracious
Harvey

Ignite Theatre
Spring Awakening
Sweeney Todd
Next to Normal
Cabaret

Inspire Creative
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Lake Dillon
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Marry Me a Little
Fox on the Fairway
The Sunshine Boys

LIDA Project
Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins
RUR/lol

Local Theatre
Elijah: An Adventure

Longmont Theatre Company
Over the Tavern
Lend Me a Tenor
A Little Night Music

Miners Alley Playhouse
Sweet Storm
The Belle of Amherst
The Threepenny Opera
Greetings!
Mrs. Mannerly
Pitman Painters
The Memory of Water

OpenStage
Wit
Bullshot Crummond
Amadeus

PACE Center and Slingshot
Scarlet Letter the Musical

Performance Now
Footloose
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Once Upon a Mattress
Sound of Music
South Pacific

Phamaly Theatre Company
Little Shop of Horrors
The Foreigner

Senior Housing Options
Driving Miss Daisy

Silhouette Theatre Company
Jailbait
This is How it Goes

Spark Theatre
Love Potion
Rebecca
Marie Antoinette
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Endgame
Mill Fire

Spotlight Theatre
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Sylvia (with Firehouse)
The Front Page

Springs Ensemble Theatre Company
The Pillowman

square product theatre company
44 Plays for 44 Presidents
The Ding Dongs

Starkey Theatrix
Little Shop of Horrors
Home for the Holidays
Noises Off
Hank Williams: Lost Highway
Always … Patsy Cline

Su Teatro
Miracle at Tepeyac

Theatre Company of Lafayette
Glengary Glen Ross

Theatre Esprit Asia
Dust Storm

Theatre Or
The Value of Names

TheatreWorks
You Can’t Take it With You
Red
Everyman (On The Bus)

Town Hall Arts Center
Sweet Charity
The Sound of Music
Forever Plaid
9 to 5 The Musical
The 39 Steps
Hair

Upstart Crow
The Glass Menagerie

Vintage Theatre
The Drowsy Chaperone
The Government Inspector
The Cider House Rules
Kiss of the Spiderwoman
RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy”
City of Angels
What’s Wrong With This Picture – Vintage
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
And Then There Was Nun

WIT Theatre
Arcadia

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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):

Town Hall Arts Center leads balanced field of 2013 Henry Award nominees

AE26THREVIEW1
Ashlie-Amber Harris, left, is nominated for her supporting work in both the Aurora Fox’s The Color Purple,” above, and the Town Hall Arts Center’s “Hair.” SuCh, also pictured above, is a nominee for outstanding actress in a musical.

Dig it: "Hair" received 12 Henry Award nominations, including nods for best musical, best ensemble, and best leading actor for both Matt LaFontaine as Berger, and Casey Andree, above, as Claude.

Dig it: “Hair” received 12 Henry Award nominations, including nods for best musical, best ensemble, and best leading actor for both Matt LaFontaine as Berger, and Casey Andree, above, as Claude.

By John Moore
June 19, 2013

The Town Hall Arts Center leads all companies with 17 nominations for 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, largely on the strength of its 12 nods for “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” the most for any musical.

The eighth annual nominations are more evenly spread out than in any preceding year, with 16 nods for Curious Theatre Company, 15 for the Arvada Center and 13 for the Denver Center Theatre Company, which garnered only three acting noms.

The upstart Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company did the best by far among small companies that don’t produce musicals. BETC garnered nine nominations for four plays. Boulder’s Dinner Theatre also scored nine.

The winners will be announced July 22 at a fundraising gala to be held for the first time at the Arvada Center.

This is the first year that Colorado Theatre Guild member companies from outside the seven-country metro area are fully eligible for Henry Awards — as long as at least six judges found a way to attend their shows. That opened the field to seven newly nominated companies from Fort Collins to Breckenridge to Colorado Springs. In all, 21 stagings from outside the metro area received consideration for nominations.

The Lake Dillon Theatre Company announced itself rather loudly, with eight nominations. Seven of those nods went to its spare, tough rendition of “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” directed by Christopher Alleman. A high-profile production of the same title at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora was shut out.

OpenStage & Company of Fort Collins received two nominations for its production of “Amadeus,” including one for 81-year-old Jonathan Farwell as lead actor in a play. He played the scheming Salieri. Colorado Springs TheatreWorks co-produced Curious Theatre Company’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” which got drew noms.

Among individual musicals, “Hair” was followed by the Arvada Center’s “Man of La Mancha” with 10 nominations, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “42nd Street” with eight, and Dillon’s “Kiss of the Spider-Woman” with seven.

The leading plays were Curious Theatre’s “The Brothers Size” and BETC’s “Ghost-Writer,” with six each. Curious claimed three of the five spots in the outstanding play category, including “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” (a co-production with TheatreWorks) and “Time Stands Still.” The other contender in that category is Vintage’s one-man play “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” which also scored noms for its director (Terry Dodd) and star (James O’Hagan-Murphy).

“RFK’s” fourth nomination is in the category that is sure to get a lot of unprecedented attention: Best scenic design in a smaller-budgeted play.

The Guild, responding to feedback from membership, has taken the controversial step this year of splitting out its four design categories — scenic, costuming, lighting and sound — into large-budget and small-budget tiers. For the first time, there are four nominees in each category, divided between those whose producing member companies have an annual operating budget of more than (or less than) $1.1 million. So there will be two winners in each of those four design categories when the recipients are announced on July 22.

“In recent years, the theater community reached out and asked that we consider ways that allow our larger and smaller companies to compete, more appropriately, with each other,” said Colorado Theatre Guild general manager Gloria Shanstrom.

The change is an acknowledgement that companies with more money to spend have a better opportunity to impress audiences and judges than companies with  fewer resources and smaller playing spaces. For 2013, the “larger budget” companies are the Denver Center, Arvada Center, Curious Theatre and TheatreWorks in Colorado Springs. Next year that group will grow to include Theatre Aspen, which is just joining the Guild; and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which removed itself from consideration for the 2013 Henry Awards after faring poorly in the 2012 contest. That decision was made last summer by then Colorado Shakes producing artistic director Phil Sneed, who, ironically enough, is now the executive director of this year’s Henry-hosting theater, the Arvada Center. Interim Colorado Shakes artistic director Timothy Orr has placed the company’s 2013 efforts back into consideration for the 2014 Henry Awards.

That still leaves about 85 member companies in the “smaller budget” category, at least for this year, and it will be interesting to see what kind of response this change elicits. The bottom line is that each design category now grows from five nominees to eight. So, combined, there are 12 additional nominees in those four categories than there were last year. Perhaps surprisingly, the tiering process did not only benefit smaller-budgeted companies. By placing four nominees into the “larger budget” class, that also created new nominees for larger companies in some instances.

To be eligible for a Henry Award, a presenting company must first be an active member of the Colorado Theatre Guild. Then, each show must have been seen by at least six judges – a mix of reviewers and informed volunteers who score every play in individual award categories using a  point scale of between 1 and 50. Only six ballots count toward each production’s eventual score. To accommodate the inclusion of outlying companies, the voting panel was expanded to include qualified judges already living in those communities.

This year, the Colorado Theatre Guild says a total of 206 member shows were eligible for consideration, and of those, 167 were seen by the necessary minimum of six judges. That’s an all-time high for the Henrys, up from 142 last year, and attributable largely to the field work conducted throughout the year by Shanstrom. In the end, 59 member companies were considered for at least one staging. Of those, 21 companies and 41 productions received at least one nomination.

As always, the nominees produced several multiple individual nominees, but there is only one this year among actors. Ashlie-Amber Harris is competing against herself for outstanding supporting actress in a musical for her work in both Town Hall’s “Hair” and the Aurora Fox’s “The Color Purple,” which, frankly, was the far more demanding role (she played Shug Avery).

Nick Sugar often scores multiple Henry noms, and this year is no different. Sugar, whose latest directing effort is an acapella comedy called “Minimum Wage” opening Friday at the Avenue Theater, pulled three nominations — and was responsible for several more. He was cited for directing and choreography for “Hair,” and for his choreography of Town Hall’s dark Neil Simon turn, “Sweet Charity.”

The other three-time nominee is Shannon McKinney, who won three of the four “larger budget” spots for lighting Curious’ “The Brothers Size” and “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” as well as the Arvada Center’s “Man of La Mancha.”

Donna K. Debreceni is a double nominee for musical direction — for Town Hall’s “Forever Plaid” and “Hair.” Chris Campbell pulled the same feat for costuming the Arvada Center’s “Blithe Spirit” and “Man of La Mancha.” Perennial scenic design honoree Brian Mallgrave is listed twice among “larger budget” scenic designs for his work on the Arvada Center’s “Blithe Spirit” and “Man of La Mancha.” Linda Morken took noms for costuming both Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s “42nd Street” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Terry Dodd was cited for directing “RFK” at Vintage, as well as co-designing the set.

2013 upstarts include Abster Productions, which scored four nominations for its regional premiere of “August: Osage County,” including two nominees in the high-octane category of lead actress in a play: Anne Oberbroeckling and Abby Apple Boes. That category will prove to be the humdinger of the evening. Those two women are joined by Rhonda Brown as Molly Ivins in LIDA Project’s “Red Hot Patriot,” Laura Norman in BETC’s Ghost-Writer” and the Denver Center Theatre Company’s great Kim Staunton (“Fences”).

Starkey Theatrix is making its first appearance among Henry nominees: Its homegrown seasonal offering “Home for the Holidays” earned a directing nod for Chris Starkey and a choreography nod for Ronni Gallup. Same for the Byers-Evans Theatre Company, which pulled its first nod, for Kevin Brainerd’s costuming of “A Doll’s House.”

Every year inevitably produces list of companies or shows left noticeably on the sidelines. Miners Alley Playhouse and Performance Now, companies that have fared well in Henrys past, did not receive nominations. The most obvious snub among shows were two musicals: The Arvada Center’s “Legally Blonde” and the Denver Center’s “Sense and Sensibility, the Musical,” which it has designs on taking to Broadway.  Neither were nominated for best musical. “Legally Blonde,” which won CultureWest’s True West Award for best musical of 2012, didn’t get a single Henry Award nomination. The Creede Repertory Theatre is easily one of the best theater companies in the state, but being 250 miles southwest of Denver, only two of its shows were eligible for nomination — the two that it presented in the Denver area as well. That resulted in no nominations.

One show that might appear to have been snubbed is Germinal Stage Denver’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” but while Germinal is a Guild member, founder Ed Baierlein did not enter his shows into consideration.

Additional special awards for regional theater, lifetime achievement and outstanding volunteer will be announced in July. The awards will take begin at 6 p.m. Monday, July 22, at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Tickets are $25 or $50, and go on sale Monday, June 24, by phone only by calling 720-898-7200.
 
 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

WAS YOUR SHOW EVEN ELIGIBLE?

To view the complete list of 167  productions that were eligible for Henry Award ocnsideration, click here:

THE 2012-13 HENRY AWARD NOMINEES:

Outstanding Season for a Theater Company
Arvada Center
Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Curious Theatre Company
Denver Center Theatre Company
Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Musical
“42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Directed by Michael J. Duran, Musical Director Neal Dunfee

“The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox
Directed by donnie l. betts, Musical Director David Wohl

“Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Directed by Nick Sugar, Musical Director Donna K. Debreceni

“Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Directed by Christopher Alleman, Musical Director Jonathan Parks

“Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Directed by Rod A. Lansberry, Musical Director David Nehls

Outstanding Play
“The Brothers Size,” Curious Theatre Company
Directed by Dee Covington

“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Directed by Chip Walton

“Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Directed by Josh Hartwell

“RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
Directed by Terry Dodd

“Time Stands Still,” Curious Theatre Company
Directed by Christy Montour-Larson

Outstanding Ensemble
“Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Directed by Josh Hartwell

“Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Directed by Nick Sugar, Musical Direction by Donna K. Debreceni

“How the World Began,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Directed by Stephen Weitz

“Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Directed by Rod A. Lansberry, Musical Direction by David Nehls

“Time Stands Still,” Curious Theatre Company
Directed by Christy Montour-Larson

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical
Casey Andree, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Joshua Blanchard, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
John Scott Clough, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Matt LaFontaine, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
William Michals, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
Brianna Firestone, “Sweet Charity,” Town Hall Arts Center
Selah Grace, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Norrell Moore, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
SuCh, “The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox Theatre
Megan Van De Hey, “Baby! The Musical,” Cherry Creek Theatre Company
Kathi Wood, “Little Shop of Horrors,” Phamaly Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Christopher Alleman, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
donnie l. betts, “The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
Michael J. Duran, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Rod A. Lansberry, “Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Nick Sugar, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
Laurence Curry, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
Jonathan Farwell, “Amadeus,” OpenStage Theatre & Company
Cajardo Lindsey, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
James O’Hagan-Murphy, “RFK” A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
Steef Sealy, “The Seafarer,” Ashton Entertainment

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Abby Apple Boes, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Rhonda Brown, “Red Hot Patriot: The Wit and Wisdom of Molly Ivins,” LIDA Project
Laura Norman, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Anne Oberbroeckling, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Kim Staunton, “Fences,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction of a Play
Dee Covington, The Brothers Size, Curious Theatre Company
Terry Dodd, “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
Josh Hartwell, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Peter J. Hughes, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Chip Walton, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Robert Wells, “The 39 Steps,” Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding New Play or Musical
“A Knight to Remember,” written by Buntport Theater
Directed by Buntport Theater
Produced by Buntport Theater

“Ed, Downloaded,” written by Michael Mitnick
Directed by  Sam Buntrock
Produced by Denver Center Theatre Company

“Elijah: An Adventure,” written by Michael Mitnick
Directed by Pesha Rudnick
Produced by Local Theater Company

“Newark Violenta,” written by Jonson Kuhn
Directed by Richard Cowden
Produced by The Edge Theatre Company

“Sweet Tooth,” written by Buntport Theater and Adam Stone
Directed by Buntport Theater, Musical Direction by Adam Stone
Produced by Buntport Theater

Outstanding Musical Direction
Donna K. Debreceni, “Forever Plaid,” Town Hall Arts Center
Donna K. Debreceni, “Hair, “Town Hall Arts Center
Neal Dunfee, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
David Nehls, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Jonathan Parks, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theater Company
Chris Starkey, “Home for the Holidays,” Starkey Theatrix

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
Ben Dicke, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Ed Dixon, “Sense & Sensibility the Musical,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Tyrell D. Rae, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Thomas Rainey., “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Burke Walton, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical    
Jennifer DeDominici, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Ruth Gottschall, “Sense & Sensibility the Musical,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Ashlie-Amber Harris, “The Color Purple,” Aurora Fox Arts Center
Ashlie-Amber Harris, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Madison Kitchen, “Next to Normal,” Ignite Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
Sam Gregory, “Driving Miss Daisy,” Senior Housing Options
Kevin Hart, “The Seafarer,” Ashton Entertainment
Chris Kendall, “How the World Began, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Bob Moore, “The Sunshine Boys,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Warren Sherrill    , “The Seafarer,” Ashton Entertainment

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
Kathleen M. Brady, “When We Are Married,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Rachel D. Graham, “Doubt,” Cherry Creek Theatre Company
Devon James, “Time Stands Still,” Curious Theatre Company
C. Kelly Leo, “Maple and Vine,” Curious Theatre Company
Jeanne Paulsen, “Romeo & Juliet,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Choreography
Ronni Gallup, “Home for the Holidays,” Starkey Theatrix
Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Nick Sugar, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Nick Sugar, “Sweet Charity,” Town Hall Arts Center
Tracey Warren, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Costumes: Large budget
Chris Campbell, “Blithe Spirit,” Arvada Center
Chris Campbell, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Clare Henkel, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” Arvada Center
Christina Poddubiuk,  “Romeo and Juliet,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Costumes: Small budget
Kevin Brainerd, “A Doll’s House,” Byers-Evans House Theatre Company
Linda Morken, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Linda Morken, “The Wizard of Oz,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Roxanne Storlie & Rebecca Spafford, “Amadeus,” OpenStage Theatre & Company

Outstanding Lighting Design: Large budget
Shannon McKinney, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
Shannon McKinney, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Shannon McKinney, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Jane Spencer, “The Giver,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design: Small budget
Seth Alison, “The 39 Steps,” Town Hall Arts Center
Kerry Cripe, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Jon Scott-McKean, “Hair,” Town Hall Arts Center
Jacob M. Welch, “Kiss of the Spider-Woman,” Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Outstanding Scenic Design: Large budget
Brian Mallgrave, “Blithe Spirit,” Arvada Center
Brian Mallgrave, “Man of La Mancha,” Arvada Center
Charles Packard, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Vicki Smith, “Fences,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Scenic Design: Small budget  
Abster Productions, “August: Osage County,” Abster Productions
Kathryn Kawecki, “Elijah: An Adventure,” Local Theater Company
David LaFont and Terry Dodd, “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre
Amy Campion, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design: Large budget  
Brian Freeland, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” Curious Theatre Company/TheatreWorks
Jason Ducat, “The Brothers Size, “Curious Theatre Company
Tyler Nelson, “Ed, Downloaded,” Denver Center Theatre Company
Rodolfo Ortega and Craig Breitenbach, “Romeo and Juliet,” Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Sound Design: Small budget  
Wayne Kennedy, “42nd Street,” Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Andrew Metzroth, “Ghost-Writer,” Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Adam Stone, “Wake,” Buntport Theater
Luke Allen Terry, “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” Vintage Theatre Productions
 

 

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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):

2012 Henry Awards paint the town “Red”

By John Moore

The Henry Awards painted the town “Red” on Monday night, giving the Curious Theatre  Company’s must-see staging seven awards among its eight nominations. The haul included best play, best director (Christy Montour-Larson), supporting actor (Benjamin Bonenfant) and even best ensemble, even though that play is an ensemble of two (Bonenfant and Larry Hecht).

John Logan’s charged dialogue between the manic — and egomaniacal — abstract expressionist Mark Rothko and his young whipping-boy of an assistant (Ken) was the 2010 Tony Award-winner for best play, and Curious proved to be up to the challenge of introducing the work to Denver audiences.

Sean Scrutchins’ win for best actor in ”9 Circles,” about a war vet on trial for heinous crimes committed in Iraq, brought Curious’ haul to eight awards at the Colorado Theatre Guild’s annual celebration of the best theater in the Denver metro area by its member companies.  That represented  a huge reversal from last  year, when Curious was shut out despite eight nominations.

The Arvada Center and Denver Center each won four awards Monday. The Arvada Center is well-known for its professional, Broadway-scale musicals, and its top-flight stagings of “Hairspray,” “The 1940s Radio Hour,” “Chess” and “Ragtime” helped it land the prestigious best-season award, along with plays such as “The Importance of Being Earnest” and a co-production of “Twelfth Night” with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Continue reading

Handicapping the Henrys: Who got snubbed (“Hairspray!”)

 

 

 

By John Moore

There seems to be more grumbling than ever before about this year’s list of Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards nominations, and for some understandable reason — five companies hoarded a combined 78 percent of this year’s noms. The CTG is a member-based, dues-paying service organization, and when only 14 of your 60 members get even a single nod (23 percent), you can bet there’s going to be some pushback.

But c’mon, what is this … Field Day?

To look at the list of 106 nominees (of which I saw 102 first-hand), I’ll just come out and say that I think the 30-plus Henrys judges mostly got it right. Mostly. What they got wrong, they got really wrong, but when it comes to singling out the best of what was staged in metro Denver theater in the past year, we really are a land of haves … and those with widely varying distances yet to go.

I love the Henry Awards. But I’m not here to defend their specific nominations. The goal for any awards program, however it is devised, is to come up with a list that fairly represents the quality of work presented on local stages in the previous year. And an easy case can be made for all 106 nominees. It’s solid.

And yet, every year there are big-name companies that are inexplicably wiped off the Henrys’ nominations map – this year, that’s most evidently the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, the handicapped company PHAMALy and that perpetual Henrys doormat, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. The CSF snub particularly stings this year given that “Romeo and Juliet” and “Comedy of Errors” helped make 2011 perhaps the fest’s best season in Boulder since Philip Sneed became producing artistic director in 2006. And for the second straight year, the Henrys gave him nothing for it.

Continue reading