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”)

Theater news: Vintage completes $1 million purchase

Photo by John Moore


By John Moore

The 11-year-old Vintage Theatre has completed the nearly $1 million purchase of its new home in Aurora, and immediately announced plans to expand its programming, performance spaces and collaborations with other local companies.

Vintage has purchased the 190-seat theater complex at 1468 Dayton St., originally opened in 2008 as the Shadow Theatre and most recently known as the Dayton Street Theatre, from Cornerstone Equity of Aurora. Vintage took occupancy in April, and is currently offering “The Inspector General” on a mainstage theater that is about to get some company.

The two-part epic “The Cider House Rules,” playing on alternating nights, will christen an accompanying new 70-seat studio theater on Sept. 7. The new space has been carved out of what used to be backstage rehearsal and banquet rooms. Artistic director and co-founder Craig Bond also plans to offer live, late-night cabaret entertainment on a new raised stage in the theater’s existing lobby. A liquor license hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.  Comedy and live music programming begins there Aug. 24.

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